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“Second-Milers,” Ensign, June 1992, 68–69


Beth Sorensen and Joe Ann Smith know that Latter-day Saints should be willing to go the extra mile in order to serve others, but they don’t bother keeping track of how many extra miles it takes.

Beth, who served a mission in Canada, lives in the Wilson Ward, and Joe Ann, who served a mission in Holland, lives in the Ivins Ward, both in the Salt Lake Wells Stake, and they’ve been friends for a long time.

“One Labor Day weekend, Joe Ann asked me what we should do with time off from work,” recalls Beth. “I told her I really ought to go down to California to help my sister with some of her yard care and housework.”

To that, Joe Ann responded, “Well, let’s do it!” And they were on the road to Downey, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, where Beth’s sister lives.

After the fourteen-hour drive, Beth and Joe Ann arrived and allowed themselves a ten-minute rest from the road before they plunged in to their “work of love.”

Beth’s sister, Harriet E. Singer, eighty-five at the time, was slowing down. She had always kept a tidy house and yard, so Beth knew it would mean a great deal to her to have some help with the polishing, pruning, and trimming.

Beth and Joe Ann pulled weeds, raked leaves, trimmed trees, and turned flower beds, filling sixteen bags and eight barrels with leaves and weeds. Then, after washing the exterior of the house and cleaning windows till they sparkled, they went inside and vacuumed, scrubbed, and dusted.

After the flurry of work was done, the two extra-milers took Harriet out to dinner and toured the city and the beaches. The next day they all attended church together. On Monday, Beth and Joe Ann headed home, feeling the satisfaction that compassionate service brings. The round-trip was 1,550 miles, and since that first set of extra miles, they visited Harriet two or three times a year for five years, until Harriet passed away recently. “It’s our work of love,” Beth says, smiling.

“Have love, will travel”—a motto that drives Beth and Joe Ann. (Photo by Phil Shurtleff.)