They clasped hands, then hugged each other. They couldn’t understand each other’s language, but they were friends. They understood a certain language of the spirit that recognizes a friend.
I traveled 14,000 miles to your land. I didn’t know that I would meet you. But if that is the only reason I was sent here, it would be worth it.
Elder Hall’s eyes were wet as he looked at his new friend. Tears were mirrored in the eyes of his friend.
The sister missionaries began the lesson with a hymn as usual, and with a prayer.
Brother, there is something that we need to talk to you about. There is a mission rule that you must be interviewed a week before your baptism. That would be today. But you have only gone one day without any cigarettes. You need a little more time.
The man looked at the floor. His body language showed disappointment.
I really wanted to be baptized on my birthday. That is the 17th of December.
But what would you think about getting baptized on December 25th? Would you like to be baptized on the day that we celebrate the birthday of our Savior?
The man sat with his head down. The sisters looked at each other, then looked at their calendar.
We could schedule your baptism for the 25th, the 26th or the 27th. What do you think?
The man looked up. He took a deep breath and seemed to breathe in resolve with the air. He looked the sisters in the eyes.
I will be baptized on the 27th.
Elder Hall let his breath out.
The 27th is our grandson’s birthday. He is serving a mission in New Zealand.
The man looked at Elder Hall and smiled.
Then I will be baptized on your grandson’s birthday.
The man laughed, and the sisters continued the lesson.
As we left, we stopped for a picture. Elder Hall looked at his friend.
I will bring you some more gum. You can chew it when you feel that you need a cigarette.
As we walked through the field to the road, Elder Hall stopped to greet the young bull that belonged to the man in the bamboo home behind us.
Meeting new friends is a wonderful thing.