They Gave Away Their Beds

They Gave Away Their Beds

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

They Gave Away Their Beds

He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

Isa. 57:2

While serving in the New Zealand Auckland Mission, I often sang Hymn 219, “Because I Have Been Given Much,” in district meetings. With the frequency of the meetings and the limited number of songs everyone knew in English, I soon wearied of repeatedly singing this same hymn.

While serving in Ellerslie, a suburb of Auckland, Sister Scofield and I lived in a little flat without heat that was furnished with one table and two chairs—that was all. We had no beds—only piles of blankets and a pillow each. We joked with each other that we were like the legendary Matthew Cowley, who had also slept on floors as a missionary in New Zealand. But as the days in my new area became weeks, and as summer turned to fall, the temperatures decreased, as did our joking.

Several weeks after I transferred to Ellerslie,we had a dinner appointment at the home of the Fafitas, a member family. The other missionaries in our ward—Sisters Cameron and Larson—were with us as well, and Sister Fafita visited with us all as we ate the huge roast dinner she had prepared for us. As we were talking, Sister Fafita asked us if we needed more blankets.We thanked her, but told her we had enough. She persisted, asking if we needed anything else, and that, whatever it was, they would get it for us. The other pair of missionaries mentioned that they could use some drinking glasses and a portable heater. Sister Fafita said, “No problem,” and started making a list. Then she told me to write down what we needed. I looked at my companion, hesitated a moment, and then wrote “beds.”

Sister Fafita looked at the list. “Beds?! You mean you don’t have beds?”

“No, we don’t,” I said. “We’ve been sleeping on the floor.”

“Sisters,” she said, “you should have told me about this before! We will get you some beds right away.”

The very next night she called to say that both she and her husband were coming over. They arrived in their little red pickup truck and proceeded to unload various pieces of disassembled beds. Brother Fafita put them together quickly. When we looked into our room and saw twin beds with lace coverlets and big fluffy pillows, it was one of the most beautiful sights we had ever seen. That night we were so grateful (and warm) as we thought of the generosity of the Fafita family.

It was not until our next district meeting that Sister Scofield and I learned how generous the Fafitas really were. Sister Larson said, “Don’t tell them that I told you, but the beds they gave you were their beds. They didn’t want the missionaries to be without beds.” That day, when we sang Hymn 219 in our meeting, I sang the words—”I shall divide my gifts from thee/With ev’ry brother that I see/Who has the need of help from me”— loud and energetically, my heart full of joy.

Larisa Schumann

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