“Blessings in Time of Need,” Ensign, Jan. 1984, 59
I had looked forward to this moment for nineteen years. And now we were at the airport at 6:00 A.M., surrounded by friends and relatives and brothers and sisters in the gospel. Who but a mother could understand a mother’s feelings as the line started moving and her missionary son gave her that hurried good-bye hug and kiss that must last for two years!
Although my husband had died seven years earlier, I felt he was there, too. He had ordained our son a deacon from his hospital bed, and I knew he would have been pleased, as we all were, that David was called to the same area in which he had served forty years earlier.
The mailbox became a very special part of my life during the next two years. David’s letters arrived faithfully every week and were a joy to read. We grew very close through our exchange of letters, and I rejoiced with him in his many spiritual experiences. Soon he was saying that the time was going too fast and that he wouldn’t trade those experiences for all the money in the world.
But I discovered that having a son in the mission field doesn’t mean everything will run smoothly at home. The roof leaked, the washer broke twice, the oven burned out, the hot water tank needed repairing, the plumbing and sewer system backed up many times, faucets dripped into a stream, the refrigeration broke down more than once, and the water main burst in the front yard, flooding the whole street while I was at work. One night I was awakened at 3:00 A.M. by a burglar breaking a back window. Both David and I were hospitalized during his mission.
And yet my blessings far outweighed my problems. I believe life was never intended to be easy for very long. In fact, I have come to realize that it is a blessing to be in need. How else could we know the great joy of receiving help from others? My bishop, who was then my home teacher, was particularly helpful and sensitive to my needs. The young men of the Aaronic Priesthood sacrificed time and effort in my behalf—how wonderful to come home and find the lawn mowed! A Mutual class left cheery notes and surprises on my doorstep for an entire year before I learned who had left them.
Finances had concerned us before my son left. Over $2,000 in savings had dwindled because of dental expense. I cashed an insurance policy, sold my car, and had faith that somehow we would have the necessary money; but I was not prepared for the miracles that came.
Just prior to my son’s call, my job had suddenly become part-time due to the election that reversed the political party in power. But the very night after David’s farewell, I received a phone call asking if I would be willing to take a secretarial position. It would last for at least two years and offered health benefits and vacation. One month my utilities almost doubled, jumping to $125 at a time when David had asked if I could spare an extra $40 for his expenses. Within a few days I received a check for $165 which had been issued seven years earlier, was lost, and then was reissued at that time of need. It was an insurance refund I didn’t even know was due me.
Another time when money was low, I received a letter from a secretary I had worked with a year earlier, who said she wanted to help with my son’s mission and enclosed a check for $25. Money also came from friends, and my two daughters and other relatives contributed on a regular basis. I received raises on my job during those two years which were far beyond the normal increase.
When David was transferred because of his health, he had faith and confidence that the decision of his mission president was right, although it was discouraging for him to find himself sick and among Saints speaking Spanish, which he did not understand. There was even some question of his coming home before his mission was completed.
One morning as I arose early to study the scriptures, I read the words of Ammon. They were especially comforting. He said, “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.” (Alma 26:27.)
I shared this scripture with David, since it seemed to apply to his situation. He completed his mission, and soon we were at the airport again, wondering how two years could have gone by so quickly.
During those two years we were greatly blessed in our needs—David in his efforts to serve the Lord as a missionary in the field, and me in my efforts to support my son. The Lord was indeed watching over us.