“No Sundaes on Sunday,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 55–56
When I was a child in Samoa my friends and I never seemed to get tired of swimming. It was our favorite thing to do. I remember that as a four-year-old I even wanted to go swimming with my friends on Sunday after Sunday School—as if there weren’t enough hours for playing together in six days a week. But I was reared in a good Latter-day Saint home, and I recall vividly how my wonderful mother worked with me to keep the Sabbath day holy.
Mother solved the problem by directing me toward the scriptures. Knowing how much I liked to show off by reciting from books, she asked me how I would like to learn to read and recite passages from the scriptures. I jumped for joy at the opportunity, so she said to me, “All right, I’ll meet with you every Sunday after dinner to help you learn passages from these two books”—she held up the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
The first passages I learned to repeat from memory were the Ten Commandments and the first Psalm. Then I learned to recite the story of Lehi’s family from the Book of Mormon. Naturally, the more I learned, the more the principles contained in these scriptures became a part of my life—something that was strengthened by the example of my parents, who lived the gospel very faithfully in our home. By the time I left home for college in 1962, the teachings of my parents were well planted in me.
I first went to the Church College of Hawaii (BYU—Hawaii) and remained there after my mother passed away on 2 April 1964. (My father died when I was very young.) My mother fully supported me financially, and her death left me destitute.
Several months after her death, I became very discontent with college and my life in Hawaii and subsequently requested relocation to another campus. Since my brother, Tu’ualofa, was living in Tempe, Arizona, at the time, I was encouraged to apply to Arizona State University. My application was accepted, and Tempe became my new home for a year.
In 1966, I felt a desire to move to Salt Lake City and pursue my education there. Upon arriving in Salt Lake, I investigated LDS Business College and became very impressed with its curriculum. I decided to pursue my studies there but had only $30 to my name. Fortunately, arrangements were made for me to attend school and pay my tuition in installments during the first quarter. So I had to find a way to earn money.
During my first week in Salt Lake City, I must have walked thirty long blocks each day searching for part-time employment. Most of the businesses I contacted needed full-time employees, but I left my application at several places for possible part-time work. To my surprise, within a few days I had a number of offers to choose from. Unfortunately, all of the jobs required me to work on Sundays, beginning in the afternoon. This meant I would miss sacrament meeting every Sunday.
I pondered the matter very carefully. I needed the money very badly; yet to work on the Sabbath would mean breaking one of the Lord’s Commandments I had learned to obey even as a child. I knew that if my parents were living, they would not allow me to take any of these jobs. So to help me make the right decision, I sought counsel from a good friend. “I have never in my life worked on Sunday,” I told him. “It disturbs me to think I would miss church. I don’t want to break the Lord’s commandments.”
“I am sure the Lord is aware of your needs,” he said. “If it’s the only kind of job the Lord has given you at this time, perhaps you’d better take it.”
Somehow I felt uncomfortable with this counsel. “Do you really think the Lord will excuse me if I work on Sunday and miss sacrament meeting?” I asked.
“I’m sure the Lord is mindful of your needs,” he said. “Right now you need work to meet your financial needs. I suggest you take the job.”
So I decided to work as a cashier at an ice cream store. The following Saturday I went for instructions and was asked to start work the following Wednesday. But on Monday afternoon, I was back in my friend’s office.
“I don’t think it’s proper for me to work on Sunday,” I told him.
He looked serious. “What are you planning to do then?” he asked. “The payment on your tuition is due pretty soon.”
After some discussion he again urged me to take the job, and I told him I would think about it. But I still was not comfortable with his counsel, and on the way home I decided that the only thing I could do was take my problem to my Heavenly Father. No one else seemed to understand how deeply I felt about this commandment, which I had lived all my life.
So, alone in my room I knelt and prayed to my Heavenly Father. In detail I told him my problem and said that I wanted to do his will in all things. Then I expressed my faith in whatever his answer would be. Afterward I felt very relieved, as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I picked up my books and went to class, feeling completely happy and at peace.
That same afternoon I received a call from the manager of a large store downtown. I had applied to the store for employment some weeks before, but hadn’t heard from them. I learned that I had passed their math test with a high score, and they wanted me to replace one of their sales clerks who was leaving. I could start work the very next day after my morning classes, and I would be working six days a week, Monday through Saturday.
I hung up the phone and ran to my room overwhelmed with tears of joy and gratitude. Again I went down on my knees to thank my Heavenly Father for his goodness. Instead of allowing me to break one of his commandments, he had provided another job.
After my prayer, as I sat quietly on my bed, these words formed in my mind, as if I were reading large printed letters: “REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY.” The message was repeated to me.
Now I knew for myself that the Lord does not make compromises when it comes to his commandments. I know without a doubt that the Lord can and will provide a way for us to meet our personal needs in a pleasing and righteous manner before him. Nothing is impossible with the Lord.