Three Centavos

“Three Centavos,” Liahona, June 2002, 20

Three Centavos

Three centavos might not sound like much, but finding them added up to a very big change in my life.

“No, bishop, I don’t think I’m going on a mission,” I said each time my bishop invited me to consider going on a mission.

When my family joined the Church, there were many things we had to learn and unlearn. As first-generation Church members, we had never before considered or discussed going on missions. The sacrifice seemed to be too great.

Still, I was an active member of the Church. I attended all my meetings and accepted responsibilities as they were extended. I was in my second year of studying accounting when the bishop called me to be the financial clerk.

One Wednesday I was faced with trying to find an error in the records. I felt helpless as I labored to find the three centavos’ difference between the Church’s and the bank’s records. The report was due the next day, and that deadline compounded my distress. I realized the only sensible thing to do was to ask for help.

I explained my predicament to the bishop. It surprised me when instead of immediately reviewing the report, he invited me to kneel and pray with him as we explained our problem to the Lord. When we got up from our knees, the bishop asked to see the report. Almost immediately and without using a calculator, he pointed to a column and said, “This is where your problem is.”

I totaled the numbers, and he was right. I felt I had just witnessed a miracle. My young and feeble testimony of the Church and Church leaders was strengthened.

While I was still caught up in this experience, the bishop asked, “Now are you going on a mission?”

This time, I said, “Yes.”

As I left the meetinghouse that night, I had with me all the missionary papers I needed to fill out. I was soon called to serve full time in the Philippines Baguio Mission.

It has been many years since that night and that answered prayer. After completing a two-year mission, I returned to school and obtained my college degree, four years behind most people my age. But if I had to do it over again, I would still choose to serve.

I’m thankful for a bishop who set a good example and obeyed a prompting to ask the right question at the right time. I’m also thankful to Heavenly Father. He not only helped me find the three centavos to reconcile my report, but He also blessed me with a wealth of missionary experiences without price.

Illustration by Greg Newbold