It Wasn’t an Ordinary Day

“It Wasn’t an Ordinary Day,” Ensign, Feb. 2009, 77

It Wasn’t an Ordinary Day

The morning was like any other on the streets of downtown Solo, Indonesia—people came and went, motorcycles dodged between cars, and vendors were setting out their wares. But then I noticed her. A little old woman sitting on a mat with her legs folded under a ragged dress stretched her hands toward me. Her palms showed only stubs where her fingers should have been. Her mouth was open, but no sound came out. Her plea was in her tired eyes.

I was deeply moved by the scene. I placed some coins in her tiny palms then started on my way, but something drew me back. I bent down, and putting my hand on her cheek, said, “Allah, Berkat Ibu” (God bless you, mother).

We saw her from time to time during the next few weeks, and we would always exchange the same greetings. Then one day, Latter-day Saint Charities (LDSC) provided us wheelchairs to place wherever we saw the need. I immediately thought of her.

We went to the place where she usually sat, and for the first time I noticed the set of handmade wooden crutches lying on the ground behind her. They were worn with age, and the paint chips that still clung to them indicated they had once been red.

A man who turned out to be her husband approached us and put his right hand straight out in front of him for me to shake; he was blind. He said he had longed to buy a wheelchair for her but could not afford such a luxury. Smiling, he said, “I can push!” even though he was blind.

The following week we scanned the crowd and could make out the bright white LDSC emblem on the back of her chair. She sat in it proudly, comfortably, and perhaps a little taller.

These words came to mind: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).