“Grandma’s Gift,” Ensign, June 2005, 39
When I was five years old, my grandmother Elsie Millward gave me a precious gift—a subscription to the Friend magazine. Although my father was raised as a member of the Church, he was not active, and my mother was not a member. We lived far away from my grandparents and other relatives who were Church members. So the Friend was essentially my first exposure to the Church.
I was a voracious reader, and I loved reading the stories in the Friend. There were stories about pioneer children from long ago, children who lived on the other side of the world, and children pretty much like me. Although I didn’t understand much about the Church’s doctrine, I did understand what it meant to be kind and to share with others, and the stories reinforced the values my parents taught me.
But some of the ideas in the Friend were new to me. One concept that was particularly confusing to my young mind was that of the Holy Ghost. Was He really a ghost? Did He haunt people, like ghosts in the movies did? How could He help people and talk to them when He didn’t even have a body? Then one day I read a story called “The Comforter” by Laura Dene Card (Friend, Mar. 1981, 32–34). The little girl in the story, Jenni Lynn, had the same questions I did. Jenni Lynn’s mother explained to her that the Holy Ghost is also called the Comforter and that He helps us feel warm and safe—like a comforter that you would wrap around your body.
Suddenly I understood what it meant to have the Holy Ghost with me. I had felt His presence before and not even realized it. Over the years, I experienced many small testimony-building moments like this while reading the Friend.
My grandmother renewed my subscription to the Friend every year until I was 12 and old enough to start receiving the New Era. That year, my mother, sister, and I were baptized by my reactivated father.
My grandmother has since passed on, but I am grateful to her for her gift. It must have seemed like a small gift at the time, but it was one with eternal rewards for our family.