“Just Like Grandpa,” Friend, September 2018
William’s 12th birthday was coming. He couldn’t wait! There were six other boys in his class at church, and he was excited to be a deacon with them. It was nice to have so many good friends at church.
One day, the stake president came to William’s house. William heard him talking to Mom and Dad. “The Lord would like to call you to be the president of the sign-language branch,” he said.
William’s heart pounded in excitement. His family was going to go to a branch with members who spoke sign language! He had been learning sign language at school. It would be fun to learn more. His little sisters were excited too.
But then, William’s heart sank. He thought about all his friends in his ward. He wouldn’t get to be a deacon with them, or pass the sacrament with them. His excitement quickly melted away.
Later that night, William was practicing the piano. Mom came in and scooted next to him on the piano bench. “How do you feel about Dad’s new calling?” she asked.
William stopped playing. He looked down at the piano keys and sighed. “I’m kind of sad,” he said. “The sign-language branch will be nice, but what if there isn’t anyone my age there? I’ll miss my friends.” He felt bad for complaining, but he was really worried. “I want to do what Heavenly Father wants. But it’s going to be hard.” He tried to blink away the tears in his eyes.
Mom put her arm around him and smiled. “You remind me of your great-great-great Grandpa Turner,” she said. “When he joined the Church in England, he had to leave his friends and family to go to Utah.”
Mom got up and walked over to the bookshelf. When she came back, she was flipping through the pages of an old photo album. She pointed to an old black-and-white photo of a man with a beard.
“This is Grandpa Turner,” she said. “When he got to Salt Lake City, Church leaders asked him to move to a small town in the desert several hundred miles away. He didn’t like it there. He thought it was dry, hot, and ugly, and he missed his friends. But he stayed there because he wanted to obey the Lord.”
William looked up at Mom with wide eyes. He imagined moving to a desert without any friends. It sounded miserable.
“What happened after he moved?” he asked.
“He lived there for a few years. But then he had to move back to Salt Lake City because they couldn’t grow enough food in the desert,” Mom said.
William frowned. “But why did Heavenly Father tell him to move somewhere he didn’t like, when he was just going to leave a few years later?”
“I don’t know,” Mom answered. “But I do know Grandpa Turner got a lot of blessings by obeying Heavenly Father— like meeting his wife in that small desert town. And he learned important things that helped him serve the Lord for the rest of his life.”
William thought for a moment and looked at the old photo of his great-great-great grandpa again. Leaving my friends is going to be hard, he thought. But if Grandpa Turner could do it, Heavenly Father will help me too. He felt happier inside. He knew he could be brave and follow the Lord. Just like Grandpa did.