Serving Sister Simmons
My day had been absolutely miserable. I wasn’t prepared for a pop quiz in biology, the teacher put me on the spot in English, and after our class ran laps for the entire period in P.E., I was exhausted.
I was a Mia Maid and my Young Women leaders had planned a service project that night for Sister Simmons, an elderly woman whose husband had passed away a few years ago. Sister Simmons’s health was failing, so it was almost impossible for her to accomplish simple tasks. Tonight the Mia Maids were going to do some deep cleaning in her home.
I had had such a terrible day at school, and I did not want to go and participate in this activity. All I wanted to do was watch TV and relax. While sitting in front of the TV, something kept nagging at my heart: “Would you deny this woman of your service?” As I sat there I pondered the Young Women value; good works. Yes! This was definitely good works. I knew that I must go and serve Sister Simmons.
My mom drove me to the church. I walked in feeling tired and worn out, but I was glad I had made the right decision to come to this activity.
Sister Simmons lived a block away from the church, so after opening exercises the seven of us Mia Maids ran in the rain to her house, carrying cleaning supplies. Sister Stout, our Mia Maid adviser, knocked, and Sister Simmons slowly opened the door, looking a little shocked to see us all. She said “Oh my, I had forgotten that you were coming.”
We all filed inside and were assigned chores. Carlene and I were assigned to scrub down the kitchen. Carlene washed all the dishes and the countertops, while I meticulously cleaned the front of all the oak cabinets and the old, white stove. As we worked, Carlene and I were giggling and talking. I was actually having fun.
An hour and a half later we had finished, and the house was sparkling clean. Time had gone by so fast. As we were all heading towards the door telling Sister Simmons “good night,” and giving her a hug, she stopped us and, with tears in her eyes, thanked us profusely.
I left that night with tears in my own eyes. I had learned so much about service. I had always been taught that when you serve someone else, you forget about your own problems. Now I knew that was true. I fell asleep peacefully that night, not thinking about myself at all.
The next morning Mom came into my room as I was getting ready for school. She sat me down on the side of my bed and explained to me that Sister Simmons had passed away in her sleep that night. I was shocked as I sat on my bed sobbing, thinking to myself how glad I was that I had been prompted to go and serve Sister Simmons. I am so grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and what I learned that night about serving others.
Who Am I Really?
When I was 17 years old, I had been to many different Church dances, early morning seminary classes, and even a few Church meetings, but I was not a member of the Church.
One Sunday afternoon I was home with my mom. I think I had disappointed her and was feeling very down. My friend Karen called to see if I wanted to go to a fireside with her. I wasn’t familiar with that meeting. I truly thought that we would be outdoors by a campfire.
I agreed and attended the fireside with her and several other friends. I remember that as the speaker came to the pulpit, he started by saying, “Who am I?”
I thought to myself, “I am a horrible person. My mom is mad at me.” The speaker continued, “I am a son, I am a father, I am an uncle, I am an American citizen.” And then he paused. It became very quiet, and he said, “I am a child of God.”
He looked into the audience. He looked at me and said, “You are a child of God.” And then he looked to someone else and said again, “You are a child of God.”
I was not yet familiar with the Spirit and what it felt like, but I got a lump in my throat and started to cry. I was a little embarrassed and didn’t know what to think, so I left. I walked down the hall and found a phone and called my sister and her husband, who are Church members, and asked if I could talk to the missionaries that night. We met with them, and I was baptized three weeks later. The Spirit truly witnessed to me that night that I was a child of God.
It was Easter Sunday here in Southern Australia, and I was staying at a friend’s house while my mum was away for the weekend. As it turned out, the people that usually provided the music at church had gone away too.
I am only a beginner at the piano, but when asked to play, I reluctantly accepted as there was no one else. That Sunday I realized what an important part the sacrament hymns play in our meetings. Even though I only played with my right hand and missed many notes, the congregation sounded like angels.
I am grateful for the Saints that provide the music for us in sacrament meeting, and even though I was terrified, I am truly grateful for that Sunday because it helped me develop my talents.
Illustration by Sam Lawlor; photograph by Candelaria Atalaya