“When Saw We Thee Sick?” Liahona, Dec. 2009, 41–42
From 2003 to 2005 I served as Young Women president in the Gutiérrez Zamora Ward, in Veracruz, Mexico. Each Christmas the young women and their leaders baked treats to take to the older members of our ward.
As Christmas 2005 approached, we practiced singing Christmas carols and donned red hats and scarves. In the winter our village receives a steady drizzle of rain and a lot of cold wind from the north. But that did not prevent about a dozen of our young men and young women from going out with our load of pineapple pies.
When we arrived at the homes of our elderly brothers and sisters, we sang with great joy. We left each home feeling pleased because, even if for only a moment, we had brought happiness with our carols and pies.
The last sister we visited had been less active for many years. Though none of the youth had met Juanita, my husband and I had known her for a long time. She was now bedridden, terminally ill, and very poor. A few days prior, the elders quorum had visited her home to make some repairs.
When we arrived at her home, I called out her name. No one answered, so I kept calling. Soon I heard a soft voice say, “Come on in, Sister Araceli.” We entered and sang with joy and enthusiasm, even though her condition saddened us. Not long before, Juanita had been full of life. Now when she sat up, the youth couldn’t restrain their tears. She was deeply moved and thanked us for visiting her and helping her feel, through our carols, that our Heavenly Father remembered her and loved her.
After we left her humble dwelling, the youth expressed gratitude for having been able to sing for her. They didn’t care that they ended up wet and cold; their hearts were filled with joy for having shared a small portion of the happiness they felt. It was then that I understood more fully the verses that read:
“I was sick, and ye visited me. …
“… When saw we thee sick … and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:36, 39–40).
I was saddened when Juanita passed away a few days later, but I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father loves His children. I also know that if we follow the Spirit, we can be instruments in His hands in blessing each other.