My Small and Simple Answer

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“My Small and Simple Answer,” New Era, Mar. 1999, 49

Scripture Lifeline:

My Small and Simple Answer

Let’s see now. Hammer, nails, staples, drill—yes, I had everything I needed to finish getting myself into the mission field.

I’ve always known that I needed to go on a mission. I also knew that the prophets had commanded every worthy young man to serve. I just wasn’t sure if I could do it. My family, not being well off, had to struggle when my older brother served his mission. It just didn’t feel right to cause my family to suffer for me.

I started to read the Book of Mormon again, but this time 1 Nephi 3:7 [1 Ne. 3:7] impressed me in a way that it had not before. I must have read or heard the story of Nephi getting the plates from Laban a hundred times. It was his reply to his father’s request that moved me. “The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them.” My answer was that the Lord would prepare the way, and I must then walk it.

How would He do it? The only answer I could come up with was by “small and simple” means (Alma 37:6). It wasn’t much to go on. I decided to put my trust in the Lord and let Him use me to further his work.

After this, I began to feel a desire to finish our garage. I could not understand the reason for this desire, nor could I ignore it. It was a task I felt had to be done right then. I set about the steps for completing the task.

I started putting the insulation in the walls. This helped the work progress faster, but soon I was in need of another roll of insulation. I purchased the insulation, put it up, and rested.

A couple of days later I was out there with my drill and a bag of screws. My task now was to finish the walls with some scrap pieces of plywood. The wood required very little cutting and soon all of the walls were done.

I knew that the ceiling needed to be done, and I did not have the money for that. The Lord, however, saw to it that the funds were made available. My dad received a surprise bonus check from work that covered the cost of the sheetrock and insulation for the ceiling of the garage. I worked with my dad and younger brothers for the next few nights putting up the sheetrock. It took a little time and a lot of patience, but we finished the job. I was then able to look and admire the completed work.

A couple of months later, I received my mission call. I went to the missionary training center and then to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission. The work done on that garage was forgotten as I now worked for the Lord. Winter came as it always does, and my mom was surprised at the utility bill. It was very low for that time of year. The drop in the electric bill in our all-electric house in Provo, Utah, was the result of the work done on the garage.

I have paused to look back and see how the Lord led me. He placed a desire in me to finish the garage and would not let me rest until the work spread to those in my family. It was only by a joint effort that it was ever completed. The money saved by this work now helped support me on my mission.

I now truly know that the Lord will prepare the way. Still, the principle is the same for us as for Nephi. We must listen to the Spirit, even if we are told to do something as trivial as finishing a garage. The Lord knows what will make things work out for the best. We need to have the faith to follow.

Illustrated by Greg Newbold