So Much for So Little

    “So Much for So Little,” Ensign, Jan. 1985, 65–66

    So Much for So Little

    When the Teton Dam above Sugar City and Rexburg, Idaho, broke on 5 June 1976, news of the disaster spread like a shock wave. Our hearts went out to those in the path of the ravaging waters who suffered such heavy losses.

    Before fast Sunday the next month, we received a special request from our stake president. “Double your present fast offerings, or more. Do the best you can for these good Idaho Saints.”

    We had a small sum tucked away—money we were saving for food storage or fall school clothing. Though it was insignificant compared to the losses suffered in the Snake River Valley, we gave it with the feeling that small contributions from many families would soon add up.

    Later, when our monthly bank statement arrived, we were surprised to find that we had an extra one hundred dollars in the bank. We assumed it was a mathematical error, yet every deposit, every check seemed to tally.

    We knew by our “Hyde’s Law” that we had better not spend the “extra” money, because next month we’d find out what the mistake was. Surplus just didn’t happen.

    For a short time, though, we allowed the pleasant thought to linger: “What if we really did have a hundred dollars extra? We could use it for food storage, school clothes, …” The Teton Dam disaster had been a startling reminder of the need for adequate food storage. Serious business problems several years earlier had made it necessary for us to use our stored supply, so we well knew how important a storage program is.

    Our business situation had improved since those hard times, but we were still feeling their effects. Bit by bit we were rebuilding our storage, but we still needed more. So we began to pray for the means to get it.

    The answers to our prayers came in seemingly ordinary ways, on a small scale at first.

    “I know a bag of sugar is a strange birthday present,” said a favorite sister in the ward. “But when I thought about what I’d like, that’s what I decided to give you.” Later she also brought cherries and raspberries for canning.

    “Could you use some extra fruit and berries?” another friend asked. “We have more this year than even our family can use.” We both laughed, for the amount of food her family of fifteen children consumed was legendary. But this year their fruit trees and berry bushes had outdone all past records.

    Next, our neighbor came over and mentioned that they were leaving on vacation. She had already picked and canned all the pears her family could use. Would we be able to use the rest? We would do her a great favor if we’d take them so they wouldn’t go to waste. Then, while we were picking the pears, this good neighbor noticed that she had an oversupply of cucumbers as well. Three kinds of pickles graced our storage shelves that year along with the pears.

    But this still was not the end. A family in our ward closed down a small clothing store and asked if anyone could use the remaining items at greatly reduced cost. We bought many things for our children for the coming school year—better clothing than we could normally have bought, and for much lower prices.

    Then the wheat we had ordered in the spring was delivered in the fall for exactly half what we expected to pay. With the remaining money, we bought extra beans, rice, and split peas for our storage.

    A job we usually did at Christmastime for extra funds began a month earlier than usual.

    We received half a beef as a Christmas gift.

    The blessings went on and on. Within six months after we began praying for help in increasing our food storage, we had what we felt we should have.

    It was more than just our prayers. We feel certain it was also the increased payment of fast offerings that made these things a reality. We have long had a testimony of the power of the priesthood, of healing, of the effectiveness of the Word of Wisdom, and of paying tithing. We now have a fervent testimony of the value of giving a generous fast offering as well. We received so much for so little.

    • Elinor G. Hyde, mother of six, serves as editor of the East Millcreek Fifth Ward newsletter.

    Illustrated by G. Allen Garns