Primary Purpose

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“Primary Purpose,” New Era, May 1997, 9

Primary Purpose

I had to choose between the grocery store job I needed and the Primary class I loved.

The year before I served my mission the bishop called me into his office and extended a call for me to be a CTR B Primary teacher. I accepted the call, excited to teach the seven- and eight-year-olds in my class. At the same time, I also worked at a local supermarket. It was a good job.

Not long after I was hired, the manager and assistant manager of the store where I worked informed me that I would have to start working on Sundays. The manager said, “I am not going to work around the Mormons or any other church.” To keep my job, I knew that it would mean giving up my calling. My manager wouldn’t discuss it any further.

I sat down with the bishop and explained the whole situation. This was one of the first times we talked about a mission. I wasn’t sure that I would even go on a mission. But if I did go, I would need a job to earn money to pay for it. But I also wanted to keep the Sabbath day holy and be able to attend church and teach Primary. After a long discussion with the bishop, I decided to quit my job. Not long after that, I found a job at another store that allowed me to have Sundays off. I kept my calling, and for the next several months I helped those children prepare for baptism.

One day I was looking at the missionary discussions, just to see what was in them, and it suddenly became clear to me why it had been so important for me to teach Primary. The discussions taught about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon, the First Vision, faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost—the very same principles I had been teaching my Primary class. I decided to pray about a mission.

I received an answer to serve a mission. I was interviewed by my bishop and received a call to serve in the Jacksonville, Florida, area. Teaching Primary gave me a better understanding of the things I would need to know to be prepared to serve a mission.

When I quit my job, some people might have wondered why, especially when someone else could have easily taught that Primary class. But giving up my job to keep the Sabbath and teach Primary resulted in a greater blessing for me.

Illustrated by Bryan Lee Shaw