“Once You Get to Utah, Part 1: Leaving England,” Friend, May 2014, 18–19
“We’re going to America!” Eleven-year-old Henry was excited. His parents had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before he was born. His family loved the gospel, but not everyone in England felt the same way. Some of their neighbors wouldn’t speak to them, and some people at school were mean to Henry and his siblings because of their faith. But in America they could go to Utah and be with other members of the Church.
Henry looked at his parents, and his smile faded. They didn’t look excited. “Aren’t you happy to be going to America?” he asked.
“It costs a lot of money to get there,” his father said. “It will take a long time to save enough for all six of us to go, and we don’t want everyone to have to wait that long. So we have decided to go to America one at a time. And Henry, we want you to go first.”
“All by myself?” Henry asked.
His father nodded. “You will take a boat across the ocean, from England to New York City,” he said. “Then you can go by train to Salt Lake. Once you get to Utah, you will stay with our cousins the Lowes. In the meantime, we will stay here and save our money so we can join you soon.”
Henry’s stomach dropped. Going to America was something he’d dreamed about, but he didn’t want to go without his family. “I don’t know, Papa,” he said. “I’m not sure I can go all by myself.”
“We have faith in you,” Papa said. “You are brave and smart, and Heavenly Father will protect you.”
Henry thought hard about it. Even though some people had been mean to his family, he liked his life in England. He had friends, and he had his family. He liked going to school, singing in the church choir, and playing with his brothers and sisters in the countryside. He knew these things would change if he went to America.
What if I don’t like it there? he wondered.
Then he looked at his parents. He knew they wanted him to be happy, and he knew they would come to Utah as soon as they could.
“Do you think you can do it?” Mama asked.
Henry took a deep breath. “I can do it.”
She gave him a hug. “We’re very proud of you.”
A few weeks later, Henry and his family woke up early and walked to the dock. Everything Henry owned was packed in a wooden trunk his father had made for him. They had painted his name on the front, along with the words Salt Lake City.
The dock was crowded, and Henry walked close to his family. How will I find my way around in America when I’m all alone? he wondered.
Finally they reached the S.S. Nevada, the ship that would carry him to America. Henry swallowed hard as he looked up at it. It was the biggest boat he’d ever seen!
Henry hugged his family goodbye, then boarded the Nevada. He stood at the railing and waved to his family until he could no longer see them. He said a prayer in his heart that Heavenly Father would protect them. Someday they would all be together again in Utah.
I can do this, he told himself. God will watch over me, and everything will be all right once I get to Utah.
To be continued …