“The Bishop and the Deacon,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 66–67
I remember well the day Daniel and his family came to our ward. As they entered the chapel, I watched with curiosity as the brown-haired boy struggled to follow a couple who appeared to be his grandparents to the only available seats, which were in the front. The boy walked with great effort, and every few steps he grabbed the top of the pew to steady himself.
I soon became acquainted with Daniel. I often substituted in his Primary class. He was an intelligent, eager boy. His blue eyes were full of earnest desire to learn more about the gospel. He was a joy to teach, and I admired him for the effort he put into learning.
Not long after Daniel moved into the ward, our bishop announced that Daniel had turned twelve and would be ordained a deacon. The next Sunday, I noticed that Daniel was not sitting with the other deacons. I was not really surprised. Walking was such a challenge for him that he likely could not pass the sacrament without spilling the contents of the trays. A few weeks later, just after the sacrament hymn had begun, the bishop left his seat on the stand and walked reverently down the aisle and stopped beside the pew where Daniel and his family were seated. Leaning over, he whispered something to the young man, who immediately stood up. Together they went to the deacons’ pew and sat down, side by side.
Following the sacrament prayer, the deacons stood and waited to approach the table to receive bread-filled trays. In line with the boys was one very tall bishop standing beside a very short Daniel, who struggled to remain standing as he waited. The bishop gently reached down and steadied him, and together they approached the table. Daniel received a tray and turned toward the nearest pew. I could see that his steps were made with determination and completed through sheer force of will. The bishop also took a tray and passed the sacrament alongside Daniel.
Passing the water took a little longer, but Daniel did not spill a drop, although he stumbled once and had to grab a pew to catch himself. The bishop’s reassuring presence was never far from his newest deacon.
During the next year, Daniel rarely missed a Sunday. He confidently administered his duties as a deacon. Our bishop’s love-filled actions that day gave strength and courage not only to a young deacon but also to all who witnessed the bishop’s tender deed. Daniel’s family has since moved from our ward, but the memory of him and his determination remain with us.