Was My Bishop Mistaken?
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“Was My Bishop Mistaken?” Ensign, Jan. 2011, 69

Was My Bishop Mistaken?

Jeannie L. Sorensen, California, USA

Our ward had just been divided, so when the bishop asked to see me, I was sure I would receive a calling in the new ward. I had been working with the young women and loved them. They were so receptive to the gospel and such a joy to teach. Surely the Lord would allow me to continue teaching them.

To my surprise, the bishop said the Lord wanted me to teach in Primary instead. Surely he was mistaken! He assured me, however, that he had fasted and prayed and felt strongly about my calling. I loved children, but what did I know about teaching them?

For 15 years of marriage the only sadness my husband and I shared was that the Lord had not blessed us with children. Our efforts to adopt had also been fruitless because of our medical challenges.

Trusting the bishop, I accepted the call to teach in the Primary, but in my heart I struggled. I was angry with the Lord for leaving me childless, and I resented this new calling.

“Why, Lord, art Thou asking this of me?” I wondered. “In Thy wisdom, I have been deprived of children of my own. Why should I be asked to teach other people’s children?”

I prayed and struggled and wrestled with the Lord, pleading through my tears for understanding. Finally I decided that since I had accepted the calling, I had better stop feeling sorry for myself and do the best I could.

That is when the blessings came. I quickly learned to love the children, and they learned to love me. I found that their love was great enough to help me fill the emptiness in my life. Soon I couldn’t go down the hall at church without at least two children holding onto my hands and others stopping for a hug as I passed by. In turn, my husband was called as a Scout leader. Before long our home was full of children and teens.

My husband died at age 47 in November 1986. Once again the Lord knew what I needed better than I. Within weeks of my husband’s death, I was called to serve a teaching mission in the Primary of the Fresno, California, Laotian branch. The courage of these exceptional people and their children gave me strength to carry on without my husband.

What a special joy it was to see the young people I had taught grow to adulthood, serve missions, marry in the temple, and start families of their own. Dozens of these “adopted” children still stop by to say hello and make my day brighter, and I’m happy when I see them in the Fresno California Temple, where I now serve.

My service in Primary truly has been a lifelong blessing. I am so grateful that our callings are dictated by the Lord and not by us.