A Small Thing
January 2005

“A Small Thing,” Liahona, Jan. 2005, 39–40

A Small Thing

I joined the Church when I was in high school and was the only member in my family. I had a difficult time making the transition to life in the Church, finding many of the activities and callings unfamiliar. So when I was asked to be a visiting teacher for the first time during my second year in college, I struggled to understand exactly what that meant. My companion was a faithful young mother, Sister Bray (names have been changed), and it was easy for me to let her set the appointments, direct our visits, and care for our sisters. One sister, in particular, proved more challenging than the rest. Cassie was less active, living with her boyfriend, and expecting their first child. She always seemed sad or troubled.

One Sunday the branch presidency asked us to make sure we invited everyone on our visiting teaching routes to a missionary fireside that evening. “No problem,” I thought. “Sister Bray will call Cassie.” I scanned the chapel. Sister Bray was out of town that Sunday and would not be making any calls.

When I reached my apartment after church, I felt the tugging of the Spirit: “Call Cassie.” I stoutly refused. Surely she wouldn’t come even if I did call. A second time the Spirit prompted strongly: “Call Cassie!” Again I refused. Finally the Spirit was impossible to ignore, and I grudgingly made the call—only to reach Cassie’s answering machine. “See,” I thought, “I knew it wouldn’t do any good.” I left a message telling Cassie and her boyfriend, Will, that there would be a fireside that evening and we’d love to see them there.

At the fireside I noticed that although many were in attendance, Cassie and Will were not among them. “I knew they wouldn’t come,” I thought, somewhat smugly. With 10 minutes left in the fireside, I was quite surprised to see Cassie and Will enter the chapel. The missionaries stood up quietly and left with them. “How about that!” I said to myself.

Christmas break came soon after that, and I attended my home ward for the holidays. A month later when I returned to my college ward, one of the members excitedly approached me and asked if I would be at the baptism that evening. “Of course,” I said, “but who is getting baptized?” The sister answered, “Will, Cassie’s husband.” Husband? I went to look for Cassie as quickly as I could.

When I found Cassie and Will, I congratulated them on their marriage and Will’s baptism and asked how it had all come about. “Remember that fireside you invited us to attend?” Cassie answered. “We got there late, so the elders took us into another room and showed us a video. Will liked it so much he asked to hear the discussions. We were married, and today Will is getting baptized.” I was humbled and ashamed of myself and yet in total awe of Heavenly Father’s love for each of His children.

But this isn’t the end of the story. Not long ago I had the opportunity to return to my college ward after being away for six years. I was thrilled to see many familiar faces and to introduce my old friends to my husband and two children.

As I passed through the foyer, I saw someone I thought I knew but who looked different somehow. “Don’t I know you?” I said. “Yes, I’m Cassie. You were my visiting teacher. You remember Will, don’t you?” She pointed to the man standing to her left, then called to two children in the hallway. “And these are our two children.” She looked happy, peaceful, and sure of herself. She said she was serving in the Primary presidency. “Have you had a chance to go to the temple?” I inquired. “Which one?” she asked with a smile. “Chicago? Detroit? Nauvoo? We’ve been to all of them.”

This encounter once again reminded me “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6)—even a small thing like a phone call.

  • Shannon Vanderspool Watson is a member of the Lake Villa Second Ward, Buffalo Grove Illinois Stake.