“What about Agabus?” Ensign, Sept. 2004, 68–69
While serving a mission in England, one morning I read Acts 11:28, which briefly mentions a prophet named Agabus who prophesied of a famine that eventually came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. At the time I didn’t give the seemingly insignificant verse much thought.
Two days later my district leader, Elder Gallafent, telephoned and said he wanted to do a companion exchange the next day. The next morning my companion and I took a bus to Southampton, where we met Elder Gallafent and his companion, Elder Langston. I set out contacting people door-to-door with Elder Langston while the other two drove back to Winchester.
Our morning had been uneventful until we knocked on a certain door just before lunch. The woman who answered the door was a neighbor visiting from the house next door. I soon learned that the woman who lived there was in the living room within reach of my voice.
When I announced we were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the woman in the living room yelled that she was of another faith and knew all about the “Mormons” and wasn’t interested in learning more. When I replied that everyone should be interested in a living prophet on the earth, she cried, “That’s not so! There are no prophets on the earth! Jesus Christ was the last prophet.”
Then something strange happened. A question came to my mind: “What about Agabus?”
I immediately called out, “What about Agabus?” There was a long pause. Then the woman responded, “Who’s Agabus?”
“A prophet who lived after Christ and who prophesied of a famine that came to pass,” I said.
She asked me, “Where did you read that—in your Mormon Bible?”
“No,” I replied, “in the book of Acts, chapter 11, verse 28.”
“Show me,” came the skeptical voice. The neighbor let us enter, and Elder Langston and I made our way down a small hallway into the living room, where a woman in her 40s was seated on the sofa.
I opened to the scripture and handed her the Bible. After she finished reading, she didn’t know what to say. I told her of the living prophet on the earth at that time, President David O. McKay (1873–1970). I testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Spirit was so powerful that I knew she could feel it.
Elder Langston and I left two copies of the Book of Mormon—one for this woman and one for her neighbor. I walked away feeling like I was floating on air. I was sure she would be baptized. Why else would I have remembered Agabus?
The following Sunday at church, I rushed up to Elder Gallafent and Elder Langston and asked, “Did you go back? What happened? Tell me!”
They told me they had gone to her home to give her the first discussion but were turned away. She returned the Book of Mormon we had given her.
I couldn’t believe it. I sat through church wondering why I would receive such a wonderful prompting and then have it result like this. I was terribly discouraged, but I tried to put it out of my mind.
The next Sunday as I walked into the church foyer, Elder Langston ran up to me with an ear-to-ear grin.
“Remember that woman we left the Book of Mormon with?” he asked.
“Of course,” I replied.
He then reminded me that we had left two copies of the Book of Mormon—one with the woman and one with her neighbor. The neighbor had never taken her copy home. So, without the knowledge of the woman of the house, her daughter had begun to read that copy and wanted to know more about the Church.
The woman eventually took the missionary discussions with her daughter, and both were baptized.
As I look back more than 30 years and recall the question that came to me, “What about Agabus?” I am reminded of another scripture: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). I am grateful that as a missionary I was able to have the Spirit bring to my remembrance the significance of Agabus. The Holy Ghost truly was my teacher that day.