It was a chilly Wednesday afternoon when I opened a white envelope with a blue Mount McKinley stamp. As a missionary in southern Brazil, I always looked forward to Wednesdays because it was preparation day, and that meant reading my mother’s encouraging letters.
This particular day my mother’s letter did not appear different from any other letter she had sent me before. The envelope was covered with the usual colorful Primary stickers, and I opened it quickly. My mother wrote that Brett had just received his mission call to Tokyo, Japan. As I read, I could not control my smile, and I tried to hide my moist eyes from my companion. My mind went back to the day I met Brett.
One Sunday at church a family friend introduced me to his son, who had recently moved back home. “Hey, Tyler, this is my son, Brett.”
Brett was chatting with his family in the bench behind mine. I politely smiled and leaned back over the bench to meet him. I figured this was what his dad hoped I would do. He had informed me previously that Brett was less active in the Church. Brett appeared nice enough, with his brown, gel-slicked hair and red pullover sweater. I remember thinking, “This guy seems cool. We’ll have to hang out sometime.” As the day wore on, I forgot all about Brett and my good intentions to become his friend.
Hours later, after a delicious Sunday dinner, a thought came to my mind, “You should call Brett now.”
As an enthusiastic priest and soon-to-be missionary, I longed to feel the Lord’s influence more powerfully in my life. My heart thrilled at the thought that the Lord might use me to help Brett come closer to Him.
But as I sat considering the impression, doubts began to creep in. “I barely know this kid,” I thought. “What will I say?”
Recognizing the source of these doubts, I made a conscious decision to follow the prompting to call Brett. I said a short prayer: “Please help me know what to say to Brett. I really want to help.” After the prayer, I felt an odd mixture of apprehension tempered with faith. Not wanting to allow any time for my fears to return, I quickly grabbed the telephone and dialed his number.
As the phone rang, I tried to decide what I would say to Brett.
“Hello?” I heard. It was Brett’s voice.
“Hello, Brett. This is Tyler, the guy who sat in front of you at church. What’s up?” I tried to sound cool.
“Oh, not much. How are you?”
“Umm, good.” There was an awkward pause. “Hey, I was wondering if you would like to go to ummm … institute maybe this Thursday night. It’s a long drive, and I would like someone to go with me.”
“Sure, Tyler, that sounds cool,” was his response.
“Awesome. I’ll pick you up at 6:30.” After a little more small talk, I hung up the phone. I eased into my chair and smiled.
We went to institute and church together that week and a couple weeks thereafter. Brett and I became good friends, and I realized later that the call I had been inspired to make came at just the right time in Brett’s life. He longed to feel closer to the Lord. Just like me, he was in desperate need of a friend who could give him support and encouragement.
Sitting in my apartment in southern Brazil, thousands of miles away from home and more than a year since I had met Brett, I became fully aware that the Lord had inspired me to be one of the friends Brett needed. Gratitude overwhelmed me as I realized that, despite my weaknesses and insecurities, the Lord can magnify my efforts and make up for my shortcomings. If I desire to serve Him, His hands will mold me into the servant He wants me to become.