Out of small things

The recently returned missionary had decided to climb Ensign Peak, a mountain near Salt Lake City with tremendous historical significance to Latter-day Saints.

Nearly 147 years earlier, on July 26, 1847, a small group of Mormon pioneers, led by President Brigham Young, climbed that peak to survey the valley. On that occasion, President Young raised an ensign, an act in keeping with the prophecies of Isaiah: "And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly." (See Isa. 5:26.)Although this returned missionary was atop the peak to fill a meteorological assignment for a university class, the significance of the events of the peak overlooking the Salt Lake Valley was not lost on him.

Imagine his surprise when, there in the middle of the Mountain West, he overheard a couple speaking French - the language he had learned so well while serving in the Belgium Brussels Mission.

And imagine the surprise of this couple from Lille, France, when, here in the United States they found a young man with whom they could converse fluently in their native tongue.

After making his introduction, the young man inquired about the circumstances that brought the French couple to Salt Lake City, worldwide headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He learned they hadn't intended to visit Salt Lake City, but air-travel arrangements had necessitated a layover. With time to pass, they decided to rent a car. Once in the city, the conspicuous mountain - and its potentially spectacular view of the valley - lured them to make the short, but rather steep, hike up Ensign Peak.

The view, they agreed, was worth it.

The conversation while enjoying the view was even more worthwhile.

Having served many months in Lille, the returned missionary was very familiar with the city. When the couple told him their home address, he knew exactly where they lived. Coincidently, their home is very near the Church's meetinghouse.

Given the circumstances, one wouldn't be surprised to learn that the three spent the next several hours discussing the restored gospel - and that the couple will likely visit the LDS Church near their home and hear the missionaries.

Who would have thought that, after spending two years preaching the gospel in Europe, this young man would return home to share the gospel with two fine French residents.

And who would have thought that this young man, trying to fill an academic assignment, would have spent his time instead bearing his testimony.

But here was a young man who, though on an academic errand, didn't lose sight of the Lord's errand.

He did not "weary in well doing." Perhaps he was helping to lay "the foundation of a great work." And he was certainly learning that "out of small things proceedeth that which is great." (See D&C 64:33.)

The story is even more remarkable when one learns that this returned missionary was on that same historical peak the next evening to once again secure his meteorological data. This time, however, he encountered a group of Aaronic Priesthood youth from a nearby stake who had ascended to view the Salt Lake Valley and learn why Ensign Peak holds such significance in Mormon history.

A fter a well-prepared Young Men president rehearsed the historical events surrounding the peak, the youthful priesthood holders were invited to share their feelings and testimonies.

The returned missionary, having decided that the historical lesson was more important - and more interesting - than the scant meteorological observances, joined in. Before long he was at the front of the group relating the story of the previous evening.

So now many, many others - Aaronic Priesthood holders who would soon enter the mission field themselves - were learning about the importance of faith and obedience, of being prepared to stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things, and in all places. (See Mosiah 18:9.)

And they were learning the joy of righteously and faithfully serving their Lord.

When they set out to climb Ensign Peak, these good people - the returned missionary, the couple from France, those on the Aaronic Priesthood outing - probably had no idea what was in store.

But out of such a small thing, proceeded that which was great.

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