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“Ina,” Friend, Oct. 1999, 11


(Based on an actual experience by the author)

Teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit (D&C 43:15).

Dear Sister Woolley,

My name is Sara. I am nine years old. Today at Primary, our teacher asked us to write to missionaries. I got your name.

How are you doing? Do you like your mission? How is the weather in Chicago, Illinois? Write and tell me what you do. We pray for the missionaries.


Dear Sara,

Thank you for writing to me. I love to get letters from home.

You asked what I do as a missionary. Well, I get to teach people about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. My companion and I teach the kinds of things that you learn in Primary! The people who came here from Russia often don’t know about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ at all, because for many years it was against the law there to teach anything about religion.

Just the other day, we met a girl about your age who had never heard of God. It was very hot and sticky, so my companion and I were glad to go inside an apartment building when we knocked on doors to try to tell people about the Church.

We met Ina’s mother first, but as we talked outside the door with her in Russian, Ina poked her head out and stared at us with big blue eyes. She was amazed that we spoke her native language. When her mother explained how busy they were and said that she just didn’t have time to hear about Bog (God), we were disappointed. We really want to tell people about Heavenly Father, and no one had wanted to listen that day.

Then Ina gave us hope. As we left, she asked, “Did Bog send you here?”

I told her, “Yes,” and we smiled at each other.

Later, as my companion and I left another apartment down the block, discouraged because we had just finished a discussion with people who wouldn’t believe God existed, Ina came roller-skating by. “What are you still doing here?” she asked.

“We’re telling people about Bog.”

“Who’s Bog?”

I’d forgotten that she’d grown up in Russia and didn’t know anything about Him. “Bog is the Father of your spirit, and you are His daughter,” I told her.

“His daughter?”

“Yes.” My companion and I explained. “Tyee deetya Boga (You are a child of God). In fact, we all are children of Bog—everyone on earth is brothers and sisters.”

Ina giggled. “Then that means that my mom is my sister. That’s funny!”

“You’re right—she is your sister.” We continued, “And Bog loves all of us, just as your parents love you.”

“Where is Bog? How come I don’t see Him?”

“Bog is in nyeba (heaven), and you might not see Him, but He’s there, and you can talk to Him.”

“I can talk to Him?”

We explained to Ina about moleetva (prayer). We told her that she could really talk to Heavenly Father just like she talks to her mom and dad and that when she did, she would feel good inside.

“But how will I know that Bog listens to me?”

“How do you feel when you help your mom?” we asked.

“Well, … good. … Sort of warm.”

“That is how Bog tells you that what you are doing is good and that He is happy with you. You’ll have that same feeling when you pray.”

Ina wanted to know how we knew about Bog. We told her that we had prayed to know if He really existed and was our Father and that He had answered our prayers. We added that He spoke to men called prorokee (prophets) and that when they told us about Bog, we felt warm and good inside then, too.

“Someone has seen Bog?” Ina was excited.

“Yes, Ina, prorokee have seen Bog. They talk to Him and tell us what He says.”

“Why can’t I see Bog?”

“Do you know what?” we said. “You did see Him. You lived with Him before you came to earth, and you will see Him again when you die.”

Ina was really thinking hard. “I want to see Bog again!”

“Do you know how you can do that, Ina—how you can live with Him again? You can start now by being nice to everyone and doing kind things for them. You can also pray to Him and help your mom and dad pray to Him.”

“I’m going to!” she exclaimed. With determination in her stride, she skated down the street toward her home. Suddenly she stopped and called back, “Can I pray by the window?”

“Yes, you can pray anywhere, anytime,” we assured her.

“I’m going home to pray right now!”

We didn’t get in any more doors that day, but three days later, we ran into Ina again. When she saw us, she grabbed our hands and exclaimed, “It’s my seostra (sisters)!”

We asked if she had prayed, and she nodded. “How did you feel?” we asked.

“Warm!” she said. “Good!”

Sara, sometimes missionary work gets frustrating, and I begin to be discouraged. Then I think about Ina and about what the Savior said to the Nephites: “Ye must … become as a little child.”* Heavenly Father is real. He loves us, and He answers our prayers. I want you to know that I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that They love me and that They love you, too. Thank you for praying for the missionaries. We need your prayers.

Please pray for Ina, too.

Sister Roberta Woolley

Illustrated by Julie F. Young

Christ and the Book of Mormon Children by Del Parson