Small Things

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“Small Things,” Friend, Aug. 2007, 8–9

Friend to Friend:

Small Things

Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander

I served my mission in Finland from 1959 to 1962. I loved the service, and I loved my companions. I had wonderful mission presidents. I loved the Finnish people and their language. I loved my mission. To this day, I hold my mission experiences as sacred and wonderful, and I often refer to them.

After this wonderful mission in Finland, I returned home and my bishop called me in for an interview. I loved my bishop, and I expected him to say: “We are so proud of you! You have represented the ward well, and we are sure you represented the Lord well.”

But instead, he looked at me and said, “Well, Dennis, are you converted?” It was a question I did not expect.

While I was thinking about this, the bishop helped me understand why he had asked me that question. He told me that we had wonderful people in our ward, but some of them would not accept a calling or pay their tithing or keep the Sabbath day holy.

My bishop wanted me to answer the question about being converted because that would determine how I lived my life. I told the bishop that I was indeed converted.

This question burned itself into my mind and into my heart. We must do the little things in our lives every day. They not only bring conversion, but they keep us converted.

My parents taught me to do the small things. They taught me to pray, to appreciate the scriptures, to accept calls, and to keep the Sabbath day holy.

These seem like little things—to pray every day or to go to church every week or to pay tithing. But all together, over a lifetime, those small things become very big things. They become habits. And they keep us safe. They give us direction. They keep us converted.

I am grateful that my parents taught me those little things to do every day. The Lord says that we should never be tired of doing good things, because we lay the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.*

Children, learn to do the small things. Learn to be polite. Learn to say “thank you.” Learn to say “please” and “I’m sorry.” Learn to go to church and be reverent. Learn to read the scriptures and learn to pray. Each of these things may seem like a small thing, but over a lifetime, they will bring great things into your life.

For me, gospel conversion sometimes does not come from dramatic experiences, but from very quiet experiences. That’s why the voice of the Holy Ghost is still and small and quiet. It’s tiny. And yet the effects are enormous.

I’m pleased with the small things in my life. And I’m grateful for my bishop. Every time I see him, I thank him for asking me that question.

Illustrations by Brad Teare