Dear Sarah

“Dear Sarah,” Friend, June 1991, 32

Dear Sarah

Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Gal. 6:9).

May 1

Dear Sarah,

Or should I say Sister Evans, now that you’re a missionary? How is New York? Big, I imagine. Are you meeting lots of people who want to learn about the Church?

I guess Dad wrote to you about Lindsay’s operation next month, Mom and Dad will have lots of hospital bills, so I’m going to figure out a way to earn some money to help pay for your mission.

Have you seen the Statue of Liberty?

Angela the Thinker

May 15

Dear Sarah,

This is it! I’m really excited. Do you remember Mr. and Mrs. Trujillo over on Cottonwood Lane? I haven’t seen them at church, so I guess they’re not members. But remember how Mr. Trujillo always had that enormous garden in the field next to his house? He sells his vegetables at the farmer’s market.

Well, I went by there and saw him working and stopped and talked to him. He said he was having some trouble with his arthritis and couldn’t handle such a big garden this year. I told him I was looking for a way to earn money, and he said I could have some of the space there and raise some vegetables to sell. In return, I’ll help him irrigate and things like that. I should have some money for your mission by August.

Lindsay’s pretty scared about her operation, but if it’ll mean she can eat regular food, it’ll be worth it.

I loved your letter. Do you only teach Spanish-speaking people?

Angela the Gardener

May 22

Dear Sarah,

A Baptism already! That’s great!

I have some pretty bad blisters on my hands. Mr. Trujillo hired someone to plow the field, but then we raked, and that was pretty hard. Next Saturday we’re going to plant. That should be fun. Mr. Trujillo says there’s no use planting before memorial day. Things just freeze. I’m learning a lot. Mrs. Trujillo said to put ice packs on my hands, so I did. She also said to wear gloves. I hate gloves.

Thanks for the postcard of the Statue of Liberty.

Angela the Wounded

May 27

Dear Sarah,

Mr. Trujillo said he likes my name because it sounds Spanish, and his parents came from Mexico. I told him my ancestors came from Wales, and we laughed. Then I told him that my sister is on a Spanish-speaking mission, and he asked a lot of questions about that. I explained to him that that’s what I want the money for—to send to you—and he seemed pretty surprised about that and asked if I wouldn’t rather buy myself a bicycle, since he noticed I didn’t have one.

Anyway, the planting wasn’t exactly fun. He made the furrows and holes, and I did all the bending over to drop in the seeds. My back really ached, but no blisters. Then we set out some little plants.

I’m growing tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, pumpkins, and watermelons!

Angela of the Aching Back

June 15

Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your letter. I’ll remember to pray for the Gonzales family. I’ll be praying for Lindsay, too, because her surgery is next week.

Lots of things have come up in the garden!

Lindsay loved the stuffed penguin you sent. She’s going to take it to the hospital with her.

Angela the Prayerful

July 1

Dear Sarah,

So much has happened that I don’t know where to start. The home teachers came and helped Dad give Lindsay a blessing. After that, she wasn’t so scared. But she looked so little standing there with her bag in one hand and that big stuffed penguin under her other arm. I guess Mom and Dad told you in their letter that the surgery went fine. They let me go see Lindsay the second day. She still looked pretty sick.

After Lindsay came home, Mom had to spend a lot of time caring for her, and I helped a lot around the house, I didn’t have much time for the garden. I didn’t go all week, and when I finally got over there on Saturday, Mr. Trujillo was really sad. About half of our tomato plants were gone. Gophers got them. They just burrow underneath and pull the plants down—one day you see them, and the next day you don’t. He said he didn’t know how to get rid of the gophers. He was afraid to put out poison because pets might get into it. And he didn’t want to flush the gophers out and bash them over the head the way some people do. He’s really a nice man.

I told him I’d pray about it, and he kind of smiled and patted my head. On Sunday I fasted and prayed for Lindsay to get all well and for a solution to the gopher problem.

Monday morning I thought of Billy Swenson who lives down by the river. Remember him? He’s the kid who has live traps and catches squirrels and stuff up in the canyon. I went to see him, and we made a deal. He said that he’d come and trap the gophers and turn them loose down by the river if I would give him some tomatoes, three pumpkins, and two watermelons when they’re ready.

Mr. Trujillo was pretty surprised and happy. He looked at me in that puzzled way he does sometimes.

It took Billy four days to get all the gophers, but they’re gone. Yesterday we set out more tomato plants.

Angela the Problem Solver

July 15

Dear Sarah,

How great to hear that the Gonzales family was baptized!

Guess what we had for dinner—zucchini squash that I grew myself! Mrs. Trujillo gave me a recipe, and Mom cooked it. Even Lindsay ate some of it. Mr. Trujillo says we’ll have beans in two more weeks.

I thought raking and planting were bad, but this week we’ve been hoeing weeds, and I have blisters again (not as bad as before because my hands are tougher) and a backache. But Mrs. Trujillo made lemonade and cookies, and we sat under the peach tree and ate them. They told me some stories about Mexico, and they asked about you. I told them about the Gonzales family. So it was kind of nice, even though I had aches and pains.

Angela the Contented Gardener

August 10

Dear Sarah,

Nothing has been worse so far than picking beans. Mr. Trujillo can’t bend over now, so I picked all the beans, my rows and his. Your back aches, and the leaves make your skin itch, and the sun is beating down on you. Mrs. Trujillo gave me an old straw hat to wear. We got three bushels! Mr. Trujillo smiled and said, “There’ll be this many again in about ten days.” I could have cried. But by then it was cooler, and Mrs. Trujillo brought out ice cream with fresh peaches sliced on it. Then you’ll never guess what happened—Mr, and Mrs. Trujillo took me into their garage and gave me one of their kids’ old bicycles. It was all clean and shiny, with new paint and new tires and the chain all oiled. I gave them both a hug.

I took a big, juicy peach home to Lindsay, and she ate it all!

Have you found any new people to teach?

Angela the Cyclist

August 20

Dear Sarah,

Mr. Trujillo and I took the beans to the Farmer’s Market and sold them. I got $8.00! After tithing, that’s $7.20 I have ready to send you, but I’ll wait till I get some more.

Yesterday I picked beans again. It was easier this time.

Do you remember the Claybourne family? The ones with all those kids? Well, he lost his job, and they’re having a hard time. Mom said they’re trying to get by on their food storage, so she wondered if I would mind giving them the beans from this picking to freeze for the winter. Mom said she’d like to freeze some, too, and that would help us have more money for bills and for you.

So I told Mr. Trujillo why I wouldn’t be selling my beans this time, and he looked at me sort of funny again, then gave me a bushel from his rows too. We gave the Claybournes zucchini also.

I hope you won’t mind about the bean money.

Angela the Delivery Girl

September 2

Dearest Sarah,

We sold some tomatoes this week, and I got $13.00. They’re easier to pick than beans, and I like the way the vines smell. I also like to stop every now and then and eat one—all juicy and warm from the sun. I wish I could send you one in the mail.

I hope that you’ll understand this part. I was in a store last week, looking for notebooks and pencils for school, when I saw this little sweatshirt just Lindsay’s size with a penguin on it. She needs school clothes. I knew it would remind her of you; she still adores the penguin you sent her. It was $9.99, and so I bought it for her. Lindsay was thrilled. She put it on and wouldn’t take it off, even for bed. But after tithing and the notebooks … well, I hope you understand.

School starts Monday.

Angela the Spendthrift

P.S. I promised the Claybourne kids some pumpkins for Halloween and a watermelon.

September 15

Dearest Sarah,

Thanks for not minding about the sweatshirt. Enclosed is a money order for $7.20.

Mom says having the vegetables is helping. The bills for the operation are getting paid gradually, and Lindsay’s eating fine now, and Mom and Dad always seem to find the money to send you.

Now for my surprise! The Trujillos are having the missionaries come and teach them! They came over last night, and the elders taught them the first missionary lesson. Mr. (Brother) Trujillo gave the prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for “the flower”—he meant me!—“that bloomed in his garden and showed him a more beautiful way of life.” Wasn’t that beautiful? And they’re coming back next week for another lesson.

We served watermelon from the garden!

Angela the Missionary

Illustrated by Shauna Mooney