The mission president from Idaho stood at the podium. He was speaking at the Toledo District Conference in Toledo City, Cebu, Philippines. He opened his scriptures and read.
“And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.” (1Ne 3:5)
He looked earnestly at the audience.
“Sometimes the Lord asks us to do hard things. We might think we are not strong enough to do what is asked of us. The Lord has an answer for us:”
I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)
“Sometimes we are afraid or apprehensive about approaching someone about the gospel. Sometimes we might think there is no use talking to a certain person.
Let me tell you about my friend, Ernie. As a young man he served in the military. He played for a professional ball club. He had a number of interesting jobs around the country. He married his sweetheart and bought a farm. He thought it would be a good place to raise a family.
His wife was a wonderful woman. For 60 years she faithfully attended church. She invited Ernie, but he preferred to attend the local bar. For 60 years she faithfully served and lived the gospel. She invited Ernie to serve with her, but he preferred to serve his homemade wine. But for 60 years, she never gave up on her husband.
One day, Ernie became ill. He had been sick before, but he was past ninety now, and this illness seemed different. He felt so weak and tired. Ernie was scared. In his weakness and fear, he did something he had never done before. He asked for a Priesthood blessing. As he waited for the blessing, he made a promise. He promised the Lord that if he could be healed, he would serve the Lord as best he could.
My friend received the blessing, and he was healed. I interviewed him for baptism. Ernie looked at me thoughtfully. Then he said something interesting:”
You know, I really don’t want to go to the church and get baptized. Someone I know might see me. I don’t know that I feel comfortable about that. How about if I just get baptized in my hot tub here?”
The president smiled at the audience and then continued his story.
“I looked at Ernie. I don’t know why I did it, but I said, “OK. We can do that.”
Ernie stared at me, and then he grinned.
I was just testing you. I will go to the church to get baptized.
After his baptism, Ernie changed. He even looked different. I saw him at church a few months later, and I didn’t even recognize him. He had become a man of God.
For 60 years, Ernie’s wife didn’t give up on him. For 60 years the Lord did not give up on him. Do we dare give up on our family, on our friends, or on less active members?”
“Behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.”