Grandpa’s Mission Surprise

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“Grandpa’s Mission Surprise,” Friend, Aug. 1986, 30

Grandpa’s Mission Surprise

Peter really missed Grandpa. Mom and Dad had said that Grandpa wouldn’t be home until summer was over. Grandpa was in Kansas, helping people learn about the Church, and he was happy. Peter wanted Grandpa to be happy, but he also wanted to show Grandpa how much he’d grown and how he could ride his bike without the training wheels and how many new birds and little animals he’d found in the woods where he and Grandpa always walked together.

One afternoon a thick envelope addressed to Peter came in the mail. It was from Grandpa, and inside was a small packet and a short letter. Inside the packet were five large black-and-white striped seeds. Mom read the letter to Peter:

“Dear Peter,

Here is a mission surprise for you. Find a nice sunny place by the fence to plant the seeds. If you water them a little every day, you will grow something that we can share with our special friends.


Mom gave Peter a big, old spoon, and Peter dug five little holes in the soft, warm soil by the fence. He put one seed in each hole, then covered it with soil and patted it down with his hand.

Peter found a watering can in the shed and watered the ground every day, just as Grandpa had told him. But nothing happened. Peter told Mom, “I don’t think Grandpa’s seeds are going to grow.”

Mom smiled at him. “You have to be patient,” she said. “It will probably take at least another week before they push up out of the ground.”

“How many days are in a week?” Peter asked. “I want to see what the mission surprise is. Besides, the sooner the seeds grow, the sooner Grandpa will be home.”

“There are seven days in a week,” Mom told Peter. “Look. Every morning when you get up, cross off one day on this calendar. When you get to this one with the circle around it, you will know that a week has passed.”

So Peter watered the seeds and marked the calendar every day. And sure enough, on the day that was circled, five little green bumps were coming out of the ground!

Soon the bumps were little plants, and then they were big plants! Peter was astonished each time he watered them at how much they grew every day. Soon they were taller than he was, and he still didn’t know what they were or whom he and Grandpa were going to share them with.

One flower grew at the top of each tall plant. Peter had never seen such big flowers. They were even bigger than Mom’s dinner plates, and they followed the sun all day.

Before long summer was nearly over, and Peter was worried. The flowers had gotten so fat that they drooped over and no longer followed the sun. Would they die before Grandpa came home? How could he and Grandpa share dead flowers with their friends? And Peter still didn’t know who the special friends were.

Then one bright sunny afternoon, Grandpa came home. “I see you took good care of the sunflowers, Peter,” he said. “Let’s go cut them down and dry out the seeds. They’ll be a wonderful treat for our special friends this winter.”

Sunflower seeds! Now Peter understood—and he could guess who the special friends were too. All the little animals and the birds would be very happy to share Grandpa’s mission surprise.

Illustrated by Lynn Titleman