I Always love the stories that the brethren tell at conference. I have loved this story as well.
I have titled this story “Missionary Service” This story comes from Anita R. Canfield’s Book “By small and simple things”
I met an elderly couple in central Canada who seemed to have lived ordinary lives, yet in their presence I felt an uncommon spirit.
They had sustained themselves temporally through their adult lives by farming. They had owned a modest but comfortable home near the town, and their farm property had been in a more rural area outside the town. During the years they were rearing their children they lived lives common to Latter-day Saints. They were active in church, they attended the temple, and they sent many of their children on missions. All of their children had married in the temple.
They were nearing retirement when the economy in their Canadian province went sour. The economic crisis threw many businesses and services into turmoil and financial straits. As a result, they lost their farm and their life savings. However, with the assistance of some of their children they managed to scrape together the funds to save their home and belongings. They were too old now to ever recover financially, and there was only enough money, through pensions, to cover living expenses for the remainder of their lives.
And then, about one year later, they were called on to continue in a path of duty. A call to serve a full-time mission in a foreign land was issued to them. In order for them to be able to go they would have to sell their home and most of their possessions. But this little couple had not come to this life for the possessions or goods of the earth, but for the treasures of heaven and the gifts of service they could render. They sold all that they had and labored for 18 months in a foreign land.
When I met them, their dreams of living out their last years in their comfortable, little home were gone forever. They now lived in a modest apartment building and rented, not owned, a one-bedroom flat. Their possessions amounted to mismatched, somewhat shabby but clean thrift store purchases. Some ward members had contributed a table here, a chair or two there. It was very, very humble.
But not as humble as I felt when they invited me in and I crossed that threshold. I was immediately overcome with such a power of love and was so enveloped by a spirit of peace that I was hard-pressed to restrain my tears. I could not take my eyes off of their faces. They radiated, almost glowed. Their demeanor was so amazingly gentle and so incredibly powerful at the same time. I felt loved. I felt I was in the presence of angels. I felt like this abode was a place of refuge, a temple. I had not expected to feel these things, these emotions. But I left there several hours later filled with a desire to be like them.
I have no idea whether in their youth they were handsome or smart or clever. I know nothing of their education or if their former home was remarkable. I don’t know if they had any special talents or could even sing a note. Certainly farming isn’t a glamorous career, and they probably never had a big fancy car.
But I left, wanting to be like them. I felt their greatness and felt they were “worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory”. (D&C 132:16)
I feel this scripture summarizes the status to which this couple had reached:
Read (Alma 7:23) And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and l0ng-suffering; being temperate in all thing; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.