“Elder Meeks and Goliath,” Friend, Oct. 1999, 40
I was excited when Mom told me that Sean was coming for dinner.
He’s my big brother, but he doesn’t live at home anymore. He moved out when he finished high school. My other brother, Mike, went on a mission when he finished high school, but Sean doesn’t even go to church. He’s a great brother, though, and I love him. I especially love it when he teases me. When I was smaller, he let me take horsey rides on his back. He ran all over the yard with me hanging onto his neck and him holding onto my legs. I hollered, “Giddy-up!” and pretended to whip him, and he snorted and bucked around like a real horse.
I’m too big for that now, so, instead, he shows me wrestling moves. He won the city wrestling championship in the eleventh grade. I was really proud of him that night. Sometimes we throw the football around, and sometimes we just sit and talk. I was really looking forward to his coming over tonight because I wanted him to help me make my pinewood derby racer. Sean is good with his hands, and I like to work with him in the garage.
I helped Mom set the table to make the waiting go faster. As I put the knives and forks out, I noticed that something was wrong. “Hey, you have too many plates on the table,” I said.
“No, dear. Sean is coming tonight, remember, and so are the missionaries.”
“The missionaries!” I cried, slamming down the last fork. “Why do we have to have the missionaries when Sean is here? I wanted to have him to myself. I wanted it to be a special night.”
Mom looked at me in surprise. “It can still be a special night,” she replied gently. “The missionaries are nice young men. I’m sure you’ll like them.”
That’s all she knew about it. How could Sean play and work with me when the missionaries were there? I knew that he’d be polite and spend his time talking to them.
By the time Sean arrived, I had worked myself into a real lather. He could tell I wasn’t happy, but I knew better than to tell him why. Mom and Dad would be really disappointed if I ever complained about the missionaries to him. More than anything else in the world, they wanted him to come back to church. So did I, but I didn’t think talking all night to the missionaries would make it happen.
When the missionaries arrived, Mom had dinner all ready, so we sat right down to eat. Everyone had a good time. Mom was right—the missionaries were great guys. They cracked jokes with Sean, and both faked surprise when he told them he had wrestled in high school. Sean’s not my big brother just because he’s older, but also because he’s big. Not fat and flabby big, but muscle and bone big.
Dinner ended with everyone laughing and joking. Then it happened. Elder Blair asked if he could leave a message and a prayer before they went on to their next appointment. Well, this is the end of the night for me, I thought, my head sagging. Sean won’t be helping me with my racer tonight. He was going to escape before anyone could talk religion to him.
I waited for the scraping back of his chair, the excuse why he couldn’t stay. But nothing happened. Slowly I looked up, and he was still there, watching Elder Blair thumb through his Book of Mormon. When Elder Blair found what he wanted, he read a few verses. Then he started asking Sean questions. Mom and Dad just sat there looking worried and hopeful. Sean answered each question in a humorous kind of way. He had stayed because he enjoyed having fun with the missionaries, and now he was going to go on joking even though the elders were being serious.
Suddenly Elder Meeks, the skinny one, caught on to what Sean was doing. “Sean,” he said, looking him straight in the eye, “do you believe in Jesus Christ?”
The whole atmosphere in the room changed. Sean looked back at him, but instead of answering in an offhand way, he very softly said, “Yes.”
“Then why are you making fun of what we’re saying?”
I looked at Mom. She had tears in her eyes. Dad did, too. What’s the matter with them? I wondered. Were they upset with Sean or with the missionaries?
Sean and Elder Meeks continued talking, Elder Meeks asking questions and Sean giving him straight answers. Finally Elder Meeks said, “Sean, when was the last time you went to church?” Sean shrugged and looked at Mom and Dad for help, but they both shook their heads. They couldn’t remember, either.
I could remember—not the date, but how happy I had felt sitting beside him, feeling proud to be his brother, how glad I was to sing along with him, even though he couldn’t sing very well. I wanted to tell them all this, but suddenly there was a big lump in my throat, and I wasn’t sure I could speak.
“Sean,” Elder Meeks asked, “will you go to church with us on Sunday?”
Sean was looking at his hands. I couldn’t see his face, but we could all see his head slowly nod up and down. The lump in my throat grew bigger, and now I had tears in my eyes, too. Everyone in the room was crying, but we all had smiles on our faces.
As I looked from face to face, I paused at Sean and Elder Meeks. I didn’t see a scrawny elder and a wrestling champion. I saw David and Goliath. Once again David had saved the day because he had the Spirit of the Lord with him. That’s why we were all crying—we could feel that Spirit, and it felt good.
I love my brother Sean, but at that moment I wanted to be like Elder Meeks. I wanted to have the Lord on my side all the time, and I think Sean did, too. Mom was right. This had been a special evening. I had seen David, unafraid, go into battle with Goliath, and they had both won!