“Friend to Friend,” Friend, Apr. 1987, 6
Elder Waldo Pratt Call was born in Colonia Juárez, Mexico, but was raised in Colonia Dublan. He was the third of thirteen children. “In our home,” he said, “English was usually spoken, although some words or expressions were more easily said in Spanish. In school both English and Spanish were spoken, and on the farm we always spoke Spanish.
“The Mormon colonies in Mexico are very similar to southern Utah Mormon communities,” related Elder Call. “It’s flat agricultural land, where people raise fruit, grain, alfalfa, hay, and cattle for beef and milk. The colonies are located in a semidesert. You can’t grow anything there without irrigation.
“My father was a farmer, and we ate what we produced. We had chickens and cows, and we ground flour from the wheat we raised. Mother bottled fruit and meat. We didn’t have any refrigeration.
“About a block away from our home was an irrigation ditch. That’s where I was baptized on my eighth birthday. Then we went to my grandfather’s home, where I was confirmed.”
“My parents always had Church assignments, and they taught us the importance of serving in the Church. My mother had a calling in the Relief Society and was the Mutual president. She also directed the ward choir. I remember Dad punching down bread dough or taking loaves of fresh bread out of the oven or washing and folding diapers while she was fulfilling her Church callings. As we were growing up, we would always be excused from the chores to do Church assignments.
“A great lesson that I learned from my parents and grandfather was to pay my tithing. Not much money was made from operating the farm; the only cash income came from selling milk. But somehow my parents worked it out so that we each had an allowance. As soon as I got my allowance, I would cross the street and pay my tithing to Grandfather, who was the bishop. There weren’t any tithing envelopes in those days, and Grandfather was his own financial clerk. When I took my tithing over, I’d sit in the office in his home, and he’d write out a receipt. As he gave me the receipt, he’d say, ‘Waldo, the Lord will bless you because you have paid your tithing.’ I always thought that I was the most important person in the world when I went into the bishop’s office.
“We had our home evening on Saturday nights when I was growing up. The thing that I remember most about those home evenings is that my mother would read to us from the Children’s Friend or the Book of Mormon. Every time we got a new Children’s Friend, she would read us the stories. They were often continued stories, and we were always anxious for the next issue to arrive so that we would find out how the story ended.
“When I was a stake president, President Spencer W. Kimball said to me, ‘Tell the people to have their family prayers every morning and every night and their home evenings every Monday. And have the children learn to pray to our Heavenly Father, and He will lead them by the hand and give them answers to their prayers.’ That is my message to the children of the Church. I don’t remember a day that our family didn’t pray together both morning and night. Before breakfast we’d all kneel around the table and have family prayer. Then we’d sit down at the table, and Father would call on somebody to say the blessing. Before the evening meal, we’d again kneel around the table in family prayer. That has been a great influence and spiritual strength to me.”
Elder Call hopes that all children will obey the prophets. “If children will read or listen to the messages of the prophets, like those given by President Ezra Taft Benson in general conference or in the Friend, and follow them and endure to the end, then they will have eternal life, which is the greatest gift of our Heavenly Father.”