The Shepherd of Apache Junction

The Shepherd of Apache Junction

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

The Shepherd of Apache Junction

Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.

Mosiah 8:18

Our daughter Kimi had struggled with activity in the Church during the year since her marriage to a nonmember— but after a spiritual experience during the open house of the St. Paul Minnesota Temple, she had promised herself and her Heavenly Father that she would try to get to sacrament meeting every week if possible. It was a difficult goal to attain: Her husband resisted her religion. Added to that was her typical weekend work schedule— the Renaissance Faires she worked at usually only operate on Saturdays and Sundays. Regardless, many small miracles occurred as she tried to keep that promise. The following was one of the more memorable.

Several years ago, Kimi and her husband followed their Renaissance Faire circuit to Apache Junction, Arizona, for the Arizona Renaissance Festival. One Saturday evening shortly after they arrived in Apache Junction (near Mesa), we received a phone call. Kimi was in tears: she had tried all day, without success, to find a ward to attend the next day. She had been on a pay phone for hours, calling ward numbers in the phone directory, but getting only answering machines and hall phones. She had even called the Mesa Temple, hoping to narrow her search for a ward close to the Renaissance Faire site, but the switchboard was closed.

Kimi was near hysterics, and I tried to think of a way to calm her down and get her the information she needed. I had been to Mesa, and I remembered there was a Wal-Mart not far from the Faire site. I told Kimi to call the Wal-Mart and ask if any Mormons worked there; I told her to ask that employee to tell her the location of the meetinghouse closest to her, as she wasn’t familiar with the addresses in the phone book.

After we hung up my husband, youngest daughter and I had a quick family prayer, asking that Kimi get the information she needed. I prayed that she would find a “shepherd who was in need of a little sheep to care for and befriend.” We had barely finished the prayer when Kimi called back and said, “Mom, you’re brilliant.” The person at Wal-Mart who answered the phone said that the only Mormon employee she knew wasn’t working that night— but if Kimi would read her the addresses in the phone book, she’d tell her which one was closest to Wal-Mart. Together they found a building close to the store that she would be able to find. Kimi felt calm and was sure she could get to church.

I didn’t hear from her until later that week when she called to say that a friend from the Faire had offer her a ride to Mesa that Sunday, and that they had had no problem finding the building. She said the people in the ward were very friendly, and one young brother had even offered to drive her back to the Faire after the meeting— quite a sacrifice, since it was at least fifteen miles away.

Kimi said they stopped at the man’s house on the way to the Faire site to pick up his wife and child, who had stayed home from church that day because the child was ill. They all enjoyed the ride out to the site, and Kimi offered them complimentary tickets to the Faire for the next Saturday in appreciation of their kindness to her.

I told Kimi I was so grateful for the ward, and especially for the youngman who had taken her back to the Faire site. I told her I had prayed that the Lord would send her a “shepherd who was in need of a little sheep to care for and befriend.” After a long pause,Kimi quietly said, “Oh,Mom, the last name of the brother who took me home was Shepherd!”

I couldn’t believe how intricately the Lord had answered that prayer! It’s obvious that He loves each one of us so much when He goes to that kind of trouble to let us know that He has heard our pleas for help. Our experience helped me to know that the Lord hears and answers my prayers—no matter how insignificant my problems may appear—and gave Kimi a sure witness that He loves her!

Chrystine Reynolds

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