“Finding the Sheep,” Friend, Feb. 2007, 4–6
Look up the following scriptures: Psalm 23:1, Ephesians 2:19, 1 Nephi 22:25. Which one do you think fits the story best? Write that scripture on the blank lines.
The sun was just going down behind the mountains when Annie and her two brothers set out for the sheep pasture. Since the sheep hadn’t been in for water that day, Dad was worried that something had happened and they were lost. Annie and her brothers were often asked to follow the fence along the pasture and check for any holes that would allow the sheep to escape. This time was the same as any other time, except that night would soon be upon them.
“I wonder if the sheep went through the same hole in the fence as last time,” Annie said.
“I doubt it,” Karl told her. “Dad fixed it really good. I know because I helped him.”
“Then did they make another hole?” Lewis asked.
“Probably,” Karl said. “Maybe they were chased through the fence by that pack of stray dogs that has been running loose.”
The threesome said nothing more as they hurried around the fence. Annie was sure that her two brothers were thinking the same thing she was: It would be dark soon, and if the sheep hadn’t gone through the familiar hole, it could take a long time to find where they had gone. Stray dogs could have chased them far away by now.
At the old hole in the fence, their fears were realized. It was patched well, and there were no tracks showing that the sheep had escaped that way.
“We won’t have time to find them tonight,” Lewis said. “We better go tell Daddy.”
“If we go back without having any idea where they are, it could take Dad a long time to find them. We better finish walking by the fence and see if we can find where they escaped,” Karl said.
As Annie walked near the fence behind her brother, a Primary lesson she once had came to her mind. It was about Jesus and His sheep. Her teacher said that Jesus would look for even one of His lost sheep. Maybe He would help them with theirs.
“Hey!” Annie exclaimed. Her two brothers jumped at her sudden outburst. “Why don’t we pray and ask Heavenly Father to help us find our lost sheep like Jesus finds His lost sheep?”
“Why would He want to find our sheep?” Karl asked.
“He looks for lost sheep all the time,” Annie told him. “He can help us find our sheep.”
“He looks for sheep?” Lewis asked with a confused look on his face.
Annie nodded. “My Primary teacher told me that He does. And if we pray, He will help us find our lost sheep.”
The two boys agreed, and the children made a tiny circle and bowed their heads in prayer. As soon as the prayer ended, the children heard the sound of a bleating sheep.
“It worked!” Annie cried happily. “Heavenly Father answered our prayer!” The children rushed toward the sound, barely finding their way in the growing darkness. Karl began calling for them, and soon the sheep crossed through a hole in the fence and hurried back to the water trough.
“How did you find the sheep?” Dad asked the children when they arrived home. Annie explained how she remembered her Primary lesson on Jesus being the Good Shepherd and that Heavenly Father helped them find their sheep, just like Jesus looks for His sheep.
“And do you know who His sheep are?” Dad asked.
Annie shrugged her shoulders.
Dad chuckled, but his eyes filled with tears. “All of Heavenly Father’s children are Jesus’s sheep,” he explained. “If there are any that are lost or hurt, He does all He can to bring them back to the flock where it’s safe.”
“You mean Jesus’s sheep aren’t really sheep?” Annie asked in surprise.
Dad nodded and a tear slid down his cheek. He sat in a chair and lifted Annie onto his lap. “Jesus used this parable about sheep to teach us about caring for others. You had great faith that Heavenly Father would help you find your sheep. And now you might know a little bit about how Jesus feels when one of His sheep is lost.”
Annie sat on Dad’s lap thinking about what she had just learned. After a while, she said, “Daddy, I want to help Jesus find His sheep too.”
“I know you do, sweetie,” Dad said. “We all want to.”
“How can I?” she asked.
Smiling, Dad explained, “Pretty much the same way you found our sheep today. You have to look for them and lead them to water.” At her questioning look, he continued, “Jesus is the Good Shepherd, but He is also called the Living Water because He feeds us spiritually. By sharing your testimony with your friends, and living as a good example, you can lead them to the Savior.”
Annie clapped her hands. “I get it now. That’s what my Primary teacher meant when she talked about the sheep following Jesus to green pastures and pure water.”
“Yes,” Dad agreed. “The scriptures say, “‘He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.’”*
“He who sees all things, whose love is endless, … knows what the sheep need at every moment. By the power of the Holy Ghost, He can tell us and send us to them.”
Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “‘Watch with Me,’” Ensign, May 2001, 39.