bee on a sunflower

Contest Winner: Honeybees and Service

Out of small things—even “honeybees”—great things can come to pass.

Great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands anxiously engaged in a good cause.Though I lacked the funds, the feeling that I should do something to help a missionary’s struggling family in Tonga persisted. This elder had served long and faithfully in our stake; now his mother’s diagnosis of cancer and mounting medical costs darkened his imminent homecoming and future.

In contrast, my own blessings were evident everywhere I looked, from my sparkling Christmas tree with presents underneath to the manger scene resting on the mantle. The holiday season added to my feelings of urgency to help this family in their time of need. In the hush of early morning, I knelt and pleaded for help, telling my Father that I wanted to serve but didn’t know how.

Following prayer, as I sat quietly pondering, my gaze rested on a copy of the Ensign. As I picked it up, the page fell open to Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “Be Anxiously Engaged.” Reading through the talk, learning how honeybees work together to provide for the needs of the hive, I had the thought: I can’t do it alone, but with help . . .

Through the influence of the Spirit and the help of several bishops and ward leaders, word about this family’s needs quietly spread throughout our stake. We had only three weeks in which to raise the needed money and present it to the missionary before he returned home to Tonga—could it be done? Stake members rallied to help, yet with one week left, we were short of our goal by one-third. Many members of our stake were exercising their faith; what did we lack?

While I was reading my scriptures, the thought came: Ask the missionary to pray for his family. With permission from the mission president, I called the elder. I told him simply that it was a prompting I had received after reading Moroni 7:33–48. He quietly responded that he would fast and pray and asked, “How did you know that’s my favorite scripture?”

On the last snowy evening before the elder’s departure, my children and I anxiously added up all the contributions. Imagine our gratitude to find that the goal was exceeded by one-third! In the final week we had gathered twice what we needed. With great joy, on the following day, we surprised a very tearful missionary, who flew home to Tonga with our love nestled safely in the breast pocket of his suit coat. Through prayer, fasting, exercising faith—including the faith of the one we wished to bless—and following the counsel of a prophet of God, our stake “honeybees” accomplished what we once thought impossible. And through our individual and collective sacrifice, the missionary and our stake family were blessed beyond measure as we worked together to serve.

Be a honeybee! Read or watch Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “Be Anxiously Engaged.”

Source: October 2012 General Conference

—Susan L. Martin, Idaho Falls, Idaho

feature image by jenni peterson

Find more insights 

Read or watch Elder Dallin H. Oaks‘s address “Unselfish Service” to learn about the reasons for and the joy found in serving others.

Read or watch Elder M. Russell Ballard’s talk “Finding Joy through Loving Service” to discover how gratitude for the Atonement of Jesus Christ is shown through our service to one another.

Check out President Gordon B. Hinckley’s talk “Words of the Prophet: Forget Yourself and Serve” on how we can experience greater joy by reaching out to others.

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  1. What a wonderful story! My family has a quote from this talk on our wall. It is a good reminder of the things we can accomplish when we all do a little together.

  2. What a lovely reminder of what faith paired with action can accomplish. This story is the perfect encouragement to find my own causes to become more anxiously engaged in. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This is a beautiful reminder. It is easy to feel too inadequate to truly help other people facing trials. If we make a real effort and follow promptings of the spirit, we are capable of doing far more than we would be capable of on our own. We must remember to trust in the Lord and do our best to go to work.

  4. What an inspiring story. It reminds me that many people’s small contributions add up to make a great whole. The story of the widow’s mite has often inspired me when I feel like I am not doing very much. As long as we serve and give with a willing heart, we are giving enough.

  5. What a great reminder that if we work together we can make a difference in someone’s life. It is also a testament to the power of prayer. God is willing to help us if we ask him for it.

  6. This is an amazing story! All things are possible to God. Sometimes I don’t realize that. I mean, I get it in principle, but quickly forget when it seems that–for a time–He isn’t answering my prayers. But ultimately, faith and trust will triumph with His aid. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I love how this story unfolded little by little. Little by little, with faith and diligence, prayers were heard and answers were received. This is how our lives are. We often don’t see the full picture–we can’t see the miracles that God has already set in motion for us! They are just around the corner if we can continue faithfully. As we walk with God step by step, we can walk with absolute hope, knowing that he is working to answer our prayers in some way.

  8. I love this story! Anxiety is a beast, but the feelings of inadequacy that make it up are the worst. I prefer to make tidal waves from my ripples, but I will take any small effort that helps me feel like I’m making a contribution.

  9. This is such a sweet story! I think the whole Church operates very much like a colony of bees. All the priesthood organization and auxiliaries join forces to help others. You all did that for that missionary! When we work together, we can create some very sweet results for others. It all starts with following a spiritual prompting! Had you not had the courage to call that elder, this story might have unfolded differently.

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