The day was cold as I sped down the black, ribbon highway, thinking about how late I would be for my appointment. I was 9 miles out her Show Low and my appointment was in two minutes. It was spring, and the wind was blowing as I passed a car parked along the side of the road with the trunk popped open. A woman was standing along at the edge of the road.
“Don’t stop,” I thought. “You’ll miss your appointment,” I said to myself.
Then another voice whispered softly to my mind, “Stop.”
Somewhat reluctantly, I pulled the car to the side of the road where I stopped and backed up to the stranded vehicle. Getting out of my car I walked to the lady who had her arms folded and was standing by the opened trunk. “Can I help you?” I asked.
“Oh, yes!” She replied enthusiastically. “Are you an angel?” She asked. “I have been stranded here for over an hour, and cars just keep speeding past. I finally prayed for an angel. ...You must be an angel.”
“Not even close,” I chuckled. I proceeded to ask her what the problem was and was able to quickly change her tire. It was the first time I’d ever been accused of being an angel.
It ended up that I made my appointment…because they were late.
Are you an angel? St. Johns is a wonderful town! It is full of angels. I remember, years ago, I had hurt my back and was unable to chop my firewood. I don’t even know how he found out, but my home teacher came over and chopped up all my firewood. He was an angel.
On another occasion, the wind had destroyed my roof, and I was replacing it with a steel roof. The only help I had was my 11-year-old son. I was concerned that the winds would catch the tin and crumple it with just me and a small boy handling the long, fragile pieces. We decided we needed to get up at 4 AM and get started, because by 9 AM the winds were gusting to 15 or 20 mph. This time, a different home teacher had come by visiting the night before, and I had told him my plan of getting up at 4 AM to thwart the winds. The next morning at 4 AM-without being asked-this home teacher showed up and helped all morning. He helped for the next four days until the roof was completed. He was an angel.
Three decades ago (my family and I had just moved to St. Johns) it was a little bit scary moving to a new town where I knew no one. A few days after we had moved into our new apartment, one of my sons stepped on a fishing hook. It went in deeply and was buried beyond the barb. It was late at night, and we had no insurance to take him to the emergency room. The move to St. John’s had deleted whatever money we had. We were panicked. I called the only LDS friend I had in town and found out that there was a dentist who was also LDS. We called him. He arranged for us to meet him at his office where he extracted the hook. When we tried to pay him; he wouldn’t take any money. He was an angel.
Once, shortly after we had moved to town, we were in dire need financially, and an envelope arrived at our PO Box without any return address. I opened it, and inside was $200! It helped us through a cold winter… Someone was our angel.
When my son moved into town, 10 years ago, our small trailer could no longer hold his expanding family and us. The solution was to put another place on the backend of our property. A young man who had also just moved into town and was very busy trying to make his own ends meet, came over and spent three days helping to level the lot, put in the sewer and electric, and lay the concrete pad for our manufactured home. He was an angel.
Sagebrush smells good when it rains, but when it is close to your home it is a fire hazard during the summer. When I tried to burn it myself, I was politely asked by the Sheriff’s Department not to do so because it was red flag season (I didn’t know that). I made the fortunate mistake of telling one of the families that I home teach about what had happened. Without being asked, he showed up with his tractor the next morning and scraped the sage and chemise far from my house. He even leveled the land. He was an angel.
We have been challenged each day to pray that we will find someone to serve. At the, November 1, 2014, Stake Conference, President Burgoyne said, “Serving others…opens doors. Look for opportunities to invite and serve.” He then promised us, “As your stake president, I promise that as you seek understanding you will be blessed with "great treasures of knowledge." The spirit of the Holy Ghost will rest upon you and will testify the truth of all things to you. I further promise that you will receive a change of heart capable of changing your behavior to do all things that the Lord commands you to do.” He then challenged us to read M. Russell Ballard’s talk: “Be Anxiously Engaged”, and to pray for guidance from the Holy Ghost. In that talk Elder Ballard said, “great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands “anxiously engaged in a good cause (D& C 58:27).”. King Benjamin said, “... I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when you’re in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2: 17)”.
There is an interesting thing about being an angel for somebody else. Although we are serving others, we receive a great reward. I will explain. The other day I went to the post office and there was an elderly lady who entered with me. She smiled at me as I opened the door for her. Later, again as I left, she was there at the door struggling a little to get out. I opened it for her, and then asked she would like me to help her to her car. She replied that she would, and as I held up my arm for her to take it, she surprisingly grasped my hand with hers. She then explained to me that it was the best way to maintain control when you’re helping someone to walk (I didn’t know that). We engaged in a short, friendly conversation, and as we said goodbye she said, “God bless you.” My heart filled with the joy of the Holy Ghost as He witnessed to me that this very simple active service was also serving God. Service of others can be a selfish thing, because those who serve others receive just as much as those they serve.
The slogan for the town of St. Johns is, “The Town of Friendly Neighbors”. Although that is true to me, I think perhaps a secondary slogan is appropriate: “The Town of Angels”. I only hope that I am as good an angel as others have been to me.