Heavenly Father is Mindful of Each of His Children


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James D. Stice

Let me share with you a brief missionary story. Our oldest son J.D. (our number-two child) is 19 years old. He was called on a mission and assigned to serve in the Peru Lima North Mission. He was to spend three weeks in the Provo MTC and then head to the MTC in Lima for six weeks. When we left him at the MTC here in Provo, we left him knowing that in three weeks we would see him at the airport.

My dear wife had spent 19 years raising this young man. For 19 years, raising him was her full-time job. When she put him in the MTC, she was forced into a kind of retirement. No longer would she be right there to help him solve his problems or, in those instances when he was the problem, help him to see what he could do better. Now he was out of her reach, and so she, like all mothers, worried. And because he was her first missionary, she worried all the more.

She regularly sent letters and care packages to the MTC, and on occasion she would drive by the MTC in hopes of perhaps catching a glimpse of her missionary. I should note that she never got his schedule so that she could time things just right—after all, that would have been against the rules. She would just randomly drive by the MTC, and she would consistently strike out. She saw everyone else's missionary, but she never saw hers. But that was okay, because after three weeks she would see him at the airport.

Then we got the phone call telling us that the hoped-for reunion was not to be. Visa problems would prevent his leaving on time. Three weeks would stretch to nine weeks. It's not a long time, but when your heart is set on seeing your missionary on a certain day, what a disappointment it is to find out it just isn't going to happen.

On the day J.D. was originally supposed to leave, I, without any clue as to the significance of the day, went with my wife to mail J.D. a package. As we were leaving the parking lot of the post office, she said, with a quiver in her voice, "I was supposed to see my son today." I could hear in her voice the ache in her heart. After a moment she then said, "I think Heavenly Father will let me see my son today." So off we went to the MTC with me thinking, "Sure, honey, like that will happen. Three thousand missionaries up there coming and going all the time, and we are going to see J.D. I don't think so."

We circled the field that is in front of the temple and just across the street from the MTC. On the south end of that field is a parking lot. As we approached that parking lot, there stood J.D., just as though he had been waiting for us. We pulled over, and out she jumped. As my wife threw her arms around her boy, I saw the weight of her world lifted off her shoulders as she saw with her own eyes what had become of her son. That was all she needed, and if she had not been listening to the promptings of the Spirit, we would have missed him.

I was reminded of two things on that day: (1) never trifle with the faith of a mother; and (2) Heavenly Father is mindful of each of His children. He knows our weight-lifting capacity, and He is there to help us when life starts to get heavy.

Personal experience shared by James D. Stice at a BYU Dev. on Oct. 2, 2001