“Thanks to a Single Act,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, 69–70
When I was a boy of nine, our family moved to a small community in northern Arizona. The town had a large Latter-day Saint population, so we found ourselves surrounded by people interested in sharing the gospel.
Within a short time we were taking the missionary discussions, and we eventually received the gospel and joined the Church. It was a joyous time for us, but along with the joy of conversion, my parents also faced trials not uncommon to new members.
During their first year of Church membership, my parents braved stark criticism from family members and former friends. In the midst of these unexpected challenges, they faced another difficulty—isolation. The warm feeling from ward members that existed when our family was investigating the truth seemed to dwindle after our conversion, even though we needed more support than ever. As a result of these and other trials, my parents grew weary of the “good fight” (see 1 Tim. 6:12) and decided to leave their newfound faith.
I remember well the evening my father was preparing to talk to our bishop about formally leaving the fold. As he dressed in his Sunday best, the house was somber. Even though I was only 10, I could feel the tension weighing heavily on our family.
As my father was putting on his shoes, a knock came at the door. He opened the door to find our home teacher and the home teacher’s nephew standing on the porch. The overalls and heavy boots worn by our home teacher, a cattle rancher, were covered in dirt and grime. In his hands was a copy of the standard works.
Surprised, my father greeted our two visitors and invited them in. After preliminary greetings, our home teacher came right to the point.
“Chuck, what’s going on?” he asked my father.
Reluctantly and ever so carefully, my father rehearsed the difficulties of the last few months and his intention to leave the Church.
Our home teacher responded, “I thought it might be something like that.” He then related to us what had transpired earlier that evening.
He had been finishing his work in the field when he heard a voice tell him to get in his truck and head toward town. Without hesitation, he called to his nephew, who was working nearby, and they started driving down the road.
When his nephew asked, “Where are we going? What’s the rush?” our home teacher had no answer, for he had no idea where the Spirit was leading him.
Our home was on the way to town, and when he came to the small dirt road that led to our home, he felt prompted to turn onto it.
Now, with a full understanding of why he had been summoned from his work, he did what a faithful home teacher is called to do and began to teach. Sharing a few key scriptures, he brought the Spirit into our home and hearts. My parents decided to stay with the Church.
Years later, my father told me what he had done after our home teacher left that night. He went outside alone and looked up at the stars. Silently, my father offered a prayer of thanksgiving. He realized that despite the vastness of the universe, God knew him and cared enough to send a messenger to keep him from making a serious mistake.
I, too, am thankful for a fine home teacher who recognized the promptings of the Spirit and put aside the concerns of the world for a moment to nurture and strengthen my family. Now generations of our family have been blessed, and through our missionary service many others have converted to the gospel, all because of this single act of a home teacher.