“The Muchacho’s Mite,” Ensign, July 2008, 72
My missionary companion and I were deciding where to tract when we spotted a woman entering a home. We were sure she was arriving home to prepare lunch because the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina, were already shutting down for siesta. Before I realized it, my companion was teaching her a gospel principle, and I was testifying of its truthfulness. Narda enjoyed our message and invited us to return the following week.
When we arrived at Narda’s home, her five children were sitting around the table waiting for us. Neither parent had full-time employment, and our hearts ached as we realized that they had barely enough to survive. Their humble home had no flooring or running water, and the walls consisted of boards loosely hammered together. Their only source of heat was a small single-burner stove.
However poor the family’s circumstances, they were rich in a desire to learn more about God. Narda loved and studied the Bible and wanted her children to have a similar foundation. Twelve-year-old Cristian especially enjoyed listening to the missionary lessons. After we left a copy of the Book of Mormon with the family, he eagerly read the first few books. Narda’s husband was also interested, but he was shy and listened from the bedroom.
Because of their financial situation, we hesitated to teach them about fast offerings and tithing. We wanted them to have a solid testimony of Jesus Christ and the Restoration before we introduced principles that would require more faith. But because the older children had begun reading the Book of Mormon and attending church, they had questions that we needed to answer.
“Sister,” said Cristian, “at church and in the Book of Mormon, everyone talks about fasting. What does fasting mean?” We taught and testified of the importance of fasting and then silently prayed that the family would accept this commandment.
Cristian later shared his testimony with us: “The other day, my mom gave me some money to buy candy. While walking to the store, I remembered your lesson on fasting, and I wanted to try it. But I only had 20 centavos. I decided to fast anyway and use those 20 centavos as my offering.”
Narda discouraged Cristian from contributing such a small sum, but he was determined. He wanted to live all of God’s commandments and give what he could. A few weeks later he and two of his siblings were baptized. His parents joined the Church the following year.
Now whenever I think that I can’t afford to give fast offerings, I remember Cristian and his faithfulness, and I realize that I have more than enough to give. His offering reminds me of the widow’s mite (see Mark 12:42–44). It may have been small, but Cristian gave because he truly loved God and wanted to obey.