Not by Chance

“Not by Chance,” New Era, July 2009, 22–23

From the Field

Not by Chance

Trying to find the person we were looking for seemed impossible.

One afternoon my mission companion and I unexpectedly found ourselves with an extra block of time and were discussing what we should do. We were assigned to a United States Army base in western Germany, and as we drove to the base, I pulled out a list of all the branch members there. On the bottom of the list was a name that I had penciled in just the day before. It was the name of a less-active member who was living on the base alone while he waited for his family to arrive from the United States. The branch president had given his name to us and asked us to find the brother and invite him to the next week’s stake conference. I said a silent prayer that we would be able to find and invite him.

When we entered the base, I received an interesting impression that we should go buy batteries. I shared the impression with my companion, and he drove us to a small electronics store. We quickly found our batteries and were standing in line when I bumped into one of the soldiers standing there. Fortunately for us, all U.S. soldiers have their last names stitched onto the front of their uniforms. My spirits soared as I saw that he had the last name of the man we were looking for. His eyes grew wide in recognition as he exclaimed, “Elders! It’s good to see you. I had been praying that you would find me.”

I have always loved the passage in the New Testament about sparrows:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31).

Heavenly Father lovingly watches over His children. It’s especially worth noting in those scriptures that His eye is on the sparrow that falls. It suggests that the lost soul causes Him specific concern.

With the Spirit’s guidance, my companion and I were able to bring that brother to stake conference and help him become firmly rooted in the branch before the rest of his family arrived. I know that if we, like Nephi, let ourselves be “led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [we] should do” (1 Nephi 4:6), then Heavenly Father will allow us to be tools in His hands to bless others, especially his fallen sparrows.

Illustration by Greg Thorkelson