“The $5 Challenge,” Ensign, Jan. 1988, 71–72
It was cold and dark outside, but the little kitchen was warm and light as I entered.
“I am so glad you stopped by this morning. I was hoping you would,” greeted my 95-year-old father. “I have something exciting to tell you. Since the last general conference I have been wondering what I can do to help the missionary program. I have prayed and pondered for three weeks now. This morning I awoke about 4:00 and once again asked the Lord if there wasn’t something I could do. Suddenly this plan came to me.”
Dad had decided to cash his five hundred-dollar savings certificate and send every unmarried grandchild and great-grandchild five dollars, along with a letter telling them he would like them to start a missionary bank account with the money. He would also challenge them to pay tithing on all the money they earned, then put at least another 10 percent into their missionary account. If they did this faithfully year after year, they would have enough money to pay for their missions by the time they were ready to serve.
I was excited about Dad’s idea, so I helped him write a letter explaining the plan to each grandchild.
The next day Dad called and said he had been thinking about the small children and those yet to be born. Since they would not know him, we decided to make 100 copies of a small picture of Dad and attach it to a three-by-five-inch card. On the top of the card we typed “10% Tithing” and below that, in red, “10% Missionary Fund.” Dad signed each card, and we mailed a copy of the letter, a card, and five dollars to each grandchild.
The response was wonderful!
A granddaughter in Logan, Utah, reported that she and her husband had told their two boys, ages five and six, that Grandpa Hill wanted them to plan now to go on missions. They gave each boy a five-dollar bill from Grandpa, added another five dollars from them, then took the boys to the bank to open their missionary accounts.
From California came a letter from a grandson. He and his wife had explained the plan to their family. Each child had agreed to the plan and had decided to report his progress regularly in home evenings.
A teenage granddaughter in Archer, Idaho, really caught the spirit. She got a job picking raspberries to add to her missionary account. She also bought some copies of the Book of Mormon, wrote her testimony inside, and sent them to her missionary brother in Australia. Her brother’s friend was leaving for a mission in France, so she had her testimony written in French, put it in a Book of Mormon, and gave it to the friend to take on his mission.
Grandchildren from throughout the United States wrote or called. All accepted the challenge and excitedly began saving for their missions. Until his death last year at age 99, Dad sent a letter each year reminding the children of their commitment.—Cora Hill Arnold, Salt Lake City, Utah