“Faith, Determination, and a Deadline,” Ensign, August 2017
My father, Tim Barrus, who owned a woodshop, had invested in sophisticated machinery that allowed him to create designs on his computer and then mill those designs in wood. He had previously used this machinery to create decorative trim for the Bountiful Utah Temple. During the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, he was hired to mill some cylindrical parts out of solid maple to help support the handrails. The design was simple in nature but difficult to produce. Nevertheless we were excited to use our machinery on another temple project. We tested the cuts and milled the parts for the temple and delivered them with confidence.
Unfortunately, the parts were rejected because of imperfections in the maple wood that chipped so easily. My father said he would replace the parts at no cost, and we got to work testing ways to cut the parts without damaging the dense maple. The day before the deadline, we still had not found a way to make the parts without imperfections. We worked late into the evening, when I finally gave up and went home. But my father was determined and stayed behind at the shop.
The next morning I arrived back at the shop early, and to my surprise my father was in full production. As I approached the table where the parts were stacked, I was amazed at the quality. They were beautiful. In fact, they looked perfect. When I asked my father what had happened, he told me the following story.
After I had left that night, my father was very frustrated and wanted nothing more than to accomplish the task before him. He said that after a few moments of sitting in the office alone in silence, he knelt down and pleaded with Heavenly Father to help him. He said, “If You want these parts on the delivery truck tomorrow morning, I’m going to need Your help.” After his prayer, he sat again at the desk and placed his hands on the keyboard. A design came to his mind that he had not considered before. He could visualize how to mill the parts, and instantly he began programming the computer. Then he tested the cut and was humbled to find that it worked perfectly. He milled through the night and was finishing up when I arrived the next morning. We quickly sanded the parts and finished the final packaging just 15 minutes before the delivery truck arrived.
Those simple, beautiful cylinders made of solid maple still adorn the hallways of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. They stand as a reminder to me of what I learned from my father’s example—that there is power in the combination of choosing faith in Jesus Christ and working with determination when it comes to facing our challenges.