“We Had No Food,” Ensign, July 2005, 57–60
As missionaries in the Canada Winnipeg Mission, my companion and I were serving in the beautiful city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. I had grown up in Laie, Hawaii, in the shadow of the Laie Hawaii Temple. My companion, Elder Larmour, came from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Our families and wards back home supported us, but at times our monthly allotment of funds was held up en route. Such was the situation that brought about this experience.
At the beginning of one month, after I received my check, we waited for Elder Larmour’s to be forwarded from the mission office. As usual, our rent was due and the cupboards were getting bare. We had to decide whether we should pay the rent with my check or buy food. We paid the rent.
A few days passed and we still hadn’t received Elder Larmour’s money. We had eaten all the food in our apartment, except for half a bag of frozen mixed vegetables and an old freezer-burned soup bone that took some effort to pry loose from its icy confines. With these ingredients I cooked a vegetable soup. It wasn’t much, but we were grateful for what we had.
The next day we decided to tract in an area not too far from home. The street seemed endless, and no one was interested in our message. Hunger pangs tormented us, and we were both getting faint from lack of food. As we came to the end of the street, we decided to take a break. We found a bench in a park at the end of this street and tried to recover our strength. My companion said in a sincere plea, “I’m hungry.” My heart went out to him as we sat there. I was twice his size. I knew I would be able to endure for quite a while, but I did not think he’d be able to go on for long if he didn’t get something to eat.
I was the senior companion, so in my heart I pleaded with Heavenly Father to provide the means we needed to get us through. I looked across the park and noticed a short street with about five homes on it. It was a continuation of the long street we had just tracted. I turned to my companion and said, “Come on, let’s finish this street.” He turned to me and said, “Let’s just go home.” We came to an agreement that if we finished the street and no one was interested, we would then head home.
As we walked past the first home, a couple was busy in the driveway doing some work on their car. A call of “Not today, guys” kept us moving to the next home. As we approached the door, we could smell the wonderful aroma of home cooking. Suddenly the door opened wide, and a smiling, middle-aged woman greeted us with “Come in, boys. I hope you’re hungry!”
With hesitation we entered her home, not knowing what to expect. She led us to the dining room, where two places were already set. We sat down and she busied herself with serving us. I started to get a lump in my throat, anticipating a feast fit for kings. Or perhaps we would be thrown out when she finally came to her senses and realized who we were.
After filling the table with pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, and all the fixings, she said, “I don’t know why I cooked all this food, but something told me to do it. I wasn’t expecting company, and I live here alone. I’m sure glad you boys happened by. You haven’t eaten, have you?”
I replied, “No, but do you know who we are?”
“You’re Mormon missionaries, aren’t you?” she answered. “So don’t you say a blessing on the food before you eat?”
We did bless the food and give thanks for the many blessings the Lord had given us. And to this day I cannot think of a better meal than that meal the Lord provided in our time of need.
For the Lord has said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: … and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:19–20).