“Meeting Mike,” New Era, Oct. 2000, 32
I recently had the opportunity of attending Especially for Youth. Youth from all over the country gathered together for a fun and spiritually uplifting youth conference. My personal favorite activity was the service project. At that time, something happened to me that definitely changed me for the better.
On Wednesday, my group sat on the lawn, anticipating what activity was in store for us. We tried to guess what the counselors had planned. My group looked up to see one of our counselors holding the hand of a young person who was clumsily skipping toward us. As they got closer, we realized that our counselor was holding the hand of a young boy with Down’s syndrome. A contagious smile stretched across the boy’s face, letting us know that he was excited to be with us. We immediately noticed a name tag, Hello! My name is Mike. We were asked to play games with Mike and have a good time. The boys in the group asked Mike what his favorite game was. “Kickball!” he shouted, so we gathered some bases and a ball and began to play.
While waiting in line to kick, I was approached by the director of my EFY session, Brother Buckner. We started talking and laughing. I told him that Mike was extremely polite and fun to be around. I also mentioned how much I loved doing service for others and how great it made me feel.
Brother Buckner smiled, then asked, “Have you ever met anyone guaranteed to be in the celestial kingdom?”
Puzzled, I replied, “You mean Mike?”
With a slight nod of his head, he responded by saying, “Yes, so who is serving whom?”
His question surprised me, and I began to think. I realized that, since we are not from the same place, the next time I would see Mike he will most likely be in perfect form without flaw. His constant smile made me think that somewhere inside of him, he knows it too. I also realized that Mike taught me more about life and how to enjoy it in 30 minutes than I had learned in my previous 16 years.
I think of Mike every day, and I thank Heavenly Father for allowing me to have the opportunity to meet him and learn from him.