This afternoon as I headed to my computer to begin another missive to some special missionaries, my mind went back to a special event that happened over 30 years ago. One morning as I answered our telephone, a voice on the other end of the line announced, "Hello. This is Elder L. Tom Perry" I about fell off my chair. I almost wondered if I had heard correctly. Then he gave me a message that I shall always treasure. It began something like this: "I just returned from Europe, where I had the privilege of visiting with your missionary son. I want you to know that he is in good health, working hard and enjoying his mission experience."
How often does one get to talk on the telephone with a General Authority? I decided that the gesture was one of the marks of a truly great man. I am positive that you will realize my mind still clings onto the words "working hard and enjoying his mission experience." How well those words fit together! Today in our testimony meeting I heard three parents recite with deep feeling how their family missionary was "working so hard" and "achieving real success." It was obvious that these parents were so proud of a missionary son that it was difficult to control their emotions. I know the feeling. It reminds me of another time when my wife and I stood at the bedside of a mission president in the Netherlands where he was fighting his way back from a heart attack. He had us close the door to his hospital room, then he asked our son to bear his testimony for our benefit. Then that mission president told us of his deep love for our son, adding that he had worked so hard and been such an excellent missionary that the president hated to have him leave the mission. Think of your own mission president and his concern for you and his prayers for you.
I am sure that you frequently read in the letters from your loved ones that they are so proud of you, and their prayers go heavenward every day in your behalf. I want you to know that someone else I know really well is including you each day in daily devotions. Think of the hundreds of prayers that are offered by the Church authorities and by the dedicated workers in the houses of the Lord, as well as millions of families in the Church. Many of those who pray are PLEADING for your success. Such power!
On Friday of this past week I was privileged to attend the new Brigham City Temple when Jeremy got his endowments. That temple is another heavenly place. And some of the workers are still a little bit nervous and need prompting in their assignments, but they are growing in their experience. Every job in the Church brings its rewards to those who are willing to put forth the effort.
Yesterday I had a surprise visit from a fellow who is about 13 years younger than I--a friend whom I had hired a few decades ago at Hill Air Force Base. He is having 24-hour nursing care, so I know he is not well. I had decided to phone him a few days ago after having had no contact for many years. I learned that he had lost his companion a couple of years ago. During our conversation he mentioned how much he missed his companion, who had died two years ago. That admission opened the door so I could ask him if he had been to the temple yet. As expected, I got a negative answer. That opened the door so I could urge him with deep feeling that if he would begin at once to prepare, he could be assured of being with his loved one eternally. I explained that since my temple marriage back in 1949, I have complete assurance that my eternal sweetheart and I will be together again. This blessing is so strong in my mind that I cannot say that I mourn my loved one's passing 3 years ago.
Like you, I KNOW that the gospel is true. If we give our best daily, we can be assured of "the peace that passeth understanding."