THIS STORY ALWAYS TUGS ON MY HEART STRINGS. I HOPE THAT I CAN BE AS FAITHFUL AS THIS MISSIONARY AND ONE DAY BE READY TO TOUCH HEAVEN.
"Spiritual strength frequently comes through selfless service. Some years ago, I visited the California Mission, where I interviewed a young missionary from Georgia. I recall saying to him, “Do you send a letter home to your parents every week?”
He replied, “Yes, Brother Monson.”
Then I asked, “Do you enjoy receiving letters from home?”
He didn’t answer. At length, I inquired, “When was the last time you had a letter from home?”
With a quavering voice, he responded, “I’ve never had a letter from home. Father’s just a deacon, and Mother’s not a member of the Church. They pleaded with me not to come. They said that if I left on a mission they would not be writing to me. What shall I do?”
I offered a silent prayer to my Heavenly Father: “What shall I tell this young servant of Thine, who has sacrificed everything to serve Thee?” And the inspiration came. I said, “Elder, you send a letter home to your mother and father every week of your mission. Tell them what you are doing. Tell them how much you love them, and then bear your testimony to them.”
He asked, “Will they then write to me?”
I responded, “Then they will write to you.”
We parted, and I went on my way. Months later I was attending a stake conference in Southern California when a young man came up to me and said, “Brother Monson, do you remember me? I’m the young missionary who had not received a letter from my mother or my father during my first nine months in the mission field. I’m the one to whom you said, ‘Send a letter home every week, Elder, and your parents will write to you.’” Then he asked, “Do you remember that promise, Elder Monson?”
I remembered. I inquired, “Have you heard from your parents?”
He reached into his pocket and took out a sheaf of letters with an elastic band around them, took a letter from the top of the stack and said, “Have I heard from my parents! Listen to this letter from my mother: ‘Son, we so much enjoy your letters. We’re proud of you, our missionary. Guess what? Dad has been ordained a priest. He’s preparing to baptize me. I’m meeting with the missionaries; and one year from now we want to come to California as you complete your mission, for we, with you, would like to become a forever family by entering the temple of the Lord.’” Then the young man put his hand in mine and asked, “Brother Monson, does Heavenly Father always answer prayers and fulfill Apostles’ promises?”
I replied, “When one has faith as you have demonstrated, our Heavenly Father hears such prayers and answers in His own way.”
Clean hands, a pure heart, and a willing mind had touched heaven. A blessing, heaven-sent, had answered the fervent prayer of a missionary’s humble heart."