“Flossie,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 55–56
My husband and I had just moved to Paonia, Colorado, when we noticed our new neighbor, Flossie. She was a small woman, a widow for many years, and walked with the aid of a crutch.
One morning when I met her outside, I greeted her cheerfully. But Flossie only mumbled something and turned her head.
Each time we met, Flossie made it clear that she didn’t want a thing to do with me, but I continued to smile and greet her. Soon I noticed she had started to use two crutches and could barely get out of her car.
One day I noticed Flossie in her backyard, struggling to hang clothes on the line. I went outside and offered my help.
Flossie scowled and snapped, “No thanks—I’ll do it myself.”
I retreated inside, saying a little prayer for her. A few moments later, I glanced outside again and saw that Flossie had fallen. I knew I couldn’t lift her by myself, so I ran to get help from some neighbors.
We helped Flossie up and settled her into a lawn chair. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt. The others left, but I started to hang the clothes on the line.
Flossie watched for a while, then I heard her chuckle for the first time. “I guess I don’t have much of a choice now,” she observed.
As I continued to hang her clothes, we began to talk and she asked me if I was a Mormon. I nodded and asked what religion she belonged to.
Her haughtiness returned as she answered, “I’ve been a member of my church for over fifty years, and I don’t want to hear one word about your religion.”
“We can be friends, and I won’t talk about my religion unless you ask me about it,” I assured her.
Flossie went from crutches to a wheelchair. We became her family; my husband took care of her yard, my daughter took out her trash, and I fixed her breakfast. One day she asked if we could give her her daily insulin injections. My daughter volunteered, and she continued to do this every day for five years.
Flossie loved to read the Bible, but her eyesight was failing her. One day she asked, “You don’t believe in the Bible, do you?”
“Certainly I do,” I answered. “In fact, we are studying the New Testament in our Sunday School class this year.” Thus began our daily habit of reading the Bible aloud to her.
Soon I was called to teach seminary. We were learning about Church history, so I had to study a lot in order to increase my knowledge of the subject. For four days in a row, I cut my Bible-reading sessions with Flossie short so I could go home and study for my seminary lesson.
On the fifth day, Flossie said, “Oh, go get your books and study here. You can read them out loud to me.” So I did. After a few days of reading, Flossie began asking me questions.
Once she decided to learn, she learned fast. My son, serving a mission in the Philippines, wrote faithfully to our dear neighbor, answering her questions and paving the way for future missionaries to teach her.
At one point, Flossie had to have surgery on her eye. I asked her if she would like a priesthood blessing.
Her refusal was adamant. “I think the Lord will hear my prayers just as well as he would anyone else’s,” she observed dryly. But after only a few hours, I received a call from her. Flossie had had a change of heart and wanted a blessing immediately. In the blessing, she was promised that her surgery would go well and her eyesight would return.
Her surgery went well.
I soon asked Flossie if she would like to have the missionaries visit and teach more about the Church. She agreed. And when they invited her to be baptized, Flossie gratefully accepted.
I was thrilled and deeply grateful. A relationship that had had a rocky beginning had turned into a source of joy, comfort, and truth for all of us. Flossie seemed like a member of our immediate family as well as a member of our Heavenly Father’s family.