“I Don’t Want to Know You!” Liahona, Feb. 2011, 40
With a sincere prayer in my heart and my 14-year-old companion at my side, I knocked on Andy’s door. This was our first visit to his home as his new home teachers. We had recently accepted the responsibility to visit him despite his reputation for being difficult. The door opened, and there he stood, dressed in a Japanese kimono.
“Hi, I’m Irvin, and this is my companion. We are your home teachers and would like to visit with you.”
His wife was sitting at a table behind him, dressed in the same fashion. They were having a Japanese-style dinner.
“I think you can see that we’re having dinner and don’t have time for you,” he said.
“Perhaps we could come back some other time?” I asked.
“So we can get to know you,” I responded.
“Why do you want to get to know me?” he asked. “I don’t want to get to know you!”
I suppose we could have resigned as their home teachers right then, but we didn’t. When we returned the next month, Andy actually let us in. We sat facing a wall lined with empty beer bottles that were arranged in the shape of antique cars. Our meeting with Andy was short, but we learned that he was a retired air force colonel. Our subsequent visits were also short and yielded little results.
One night as I was leaving a Church meeting, I heard a voice within me telling me to visit Andy. “No, thank you,” I thought. “Not tonight.”
When I stopped at a red light, the prompting to visit Andy came again. I thought, “Please, I’m in no mood for Andy tonight.”
As I made my last turn for home, however, the same prompting came a third time, leaving me sure of what I needed to do.
I drove to his home and parked, praying for guidance. Then I approached his door and knocked. When Andy let me in, I saw a Book of Mormon and a book of genealogy on the table. I felt a different spirit in his home; something was different about Andy too. He spoke softly of his love for his mother and his sister, who had compiled the genealogy.
For the first time, he talked openly with me. He told me about pain he’d been feeling in his back, adding that he was going to the March Air Force Base hospital in nearby Riverside, California, the next day. I asked him if he would like a priesthood blessing. Without hesitation he answered in a quiet voice, “I’ll take it.” I called our elders quorum president, who came to help give the blessing.
The next day doctors told Andy he had inoperable lung cancer. After receiving the news, he went to see the bishop. Within a few months, he was confined to his bed.
One evening when I arrived at his home for another visit, his wife ushered me to his room, where he lay in a frail condition. I knelt beside his bed and cradled him in my arms. I whispered, “I love you, Andy.” With all of his strength, he put his arm on my shoulder and, with great effort, told me that he loved me too. Two days later he died.
His wife invited me to the funeral. Besides the four members of his family, I was the only one in attendance.
I’m so grateful I listened to the Spirit’s promptings to visit Andy.