Paint a Bright Spot

“Paint a Bright Spot,” Friend, June 1989, inside front cover

Paint a Bright Spot

(Adapted from an October 1988 general conference address. See Ensign, November 1988, page 47.)

Be ye kind one to another (Eph. 4:32).

One winter day while serving as a bishop, I visited an elderly couple. As I approached their home, I met the eighty-two-year-old husband, his aged body bent in the driving snow as he gathered a few pieces of wet coal from the uncovered coal pile behind his house. I helped him carry in the coal but made a solemn resolve to do more.

I prayed and pondered, seeking a solution. Step by step, the inspiration came. In the ward was an unemployed carpenter. He had no fuel to heat his home, but he was too proud to accept it from the ward. I made a suggestion: “Would you work for the fuel you need by building a coal shed for an older couple?”

“Of course,” he replied.

But building materials were needed. I approached the owners of a local lumberyard and said, “How would the two of you like to paint a bright spot on your souls this winter day?” Not knowing exactly what I meant, they said that they would. I invited them to donate the lumber, nails, and hardware for the coal shed, which they did.

Within days the project was completed. The coal shed was simply beautiful. The carpenter testified that he had actually felt inspired as he labored on the modest shed. My older friend patted the wall of the sturdy structure and said, “Bishop, take a look at the finest coal shed a man ever had.”

The Lord uses the time, talents, skills, compassion, donated materials, and money of faithful Church members to bless His children who are in need. And if we help others, our Father has promised that He will hear us in our hour of need.

Illustrated by Larry Winborg