The Lost Watch

“The Lost Watch,” Ensign, Oct. 1988, 46

The Lost Watch

In 1975, I was stationed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, during the first several months of my mission. On Monday, our “D-day,” the elders with cars picked up “bus-pass elders,” and we all headed to the University of Manitoba for a good, old-fashioned missionary basketball game. Afterward we stopped for lunch, groceries, and ice cream, and then scattered to laundromats and our various apartments.

On Tuesday, I discovered my wristwatch was missing. It wasn’t just an ordinary watch; it had belonged to my Grandfather Alston. He had died in 1972, and my father had given it to me as a going-away present as I left for the mission field.

I was heartsick. Where could it be? I cleaned every inch of our apartment (much to the delight of my companion), called the other elders we had been with, ransacked missionary cars I had ridden in, and inquired at every conceivable place we had stopped the day before.

Weeks passed. Conferences came and went. Questions were asked—but all for naught. No one had seen my treasured watch.

More than two months later, I was attending a meeting at our zone leaders’ apartment with several other missionaries. My companion and I had been fasting with one of our contacts and were feeling close to the Spirit. As we started to leave, thoughts about my watch burst upon my mind. I didn’t understand why, but I felt distinctly that I should ask the Lord about it.

I found a room where I could be alone and knelt down to ask for guidance.

Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw my watch. I could see it doubled up inside some sort of black tubing. The image enlarged and I could then see not only the black tube, but also its immediate surroundings.

Outside, much to the dismay of several other missionaries, I dismantled the entire dash of the missionary car I had seen in my mind. There was my watch! It had slipped down the defrost vent and was lodged in one of the many hoses of the car’s heating system.

After reassembling the dashboard, I again retired to a vacant room to thank Heavenly Father for his loving influence.

Within a week, all the missionary cars in Winnipeg were replaced and that particular car was sent to the junkyard. The car was gone, but the watch was found—thanks to the power of fasting and prayer.

Illustrated by Mark Buehner