"Father, we must have a blessing on the food like they do in America."
"Son, I guess we can, but I don't know how to say a blessing. Do you?""Yes, Father, I'll say the blessing tonight and I'll teach you how to say the blessing and how to say family prayer."
Dragos Hatu-Tieru, then 11, had just returned to his home in Bucharest, Romania, after a three-month visit to America where he had surgery performed in Salt Lake City and lived with the Glen K. and Anne Lund family in Bountiful, Utah.
A handsome, brown-haired youngster with a sharp mind, a winning smile, and a radiant personality, Dragos was so influenced by the Lund family's lifestyle that he wanted to introduce it to his family in Romania.
While living with the Lunds, Dragos was invited to attend Church and the Blazer B Class that Brother Lund, a medical doctor, was teaching. The Romanian lad had loved the stories he heard and he sang the Primary songs with gusto. Brother Lund made him a present of the Blazer B manual and a tape of recorded Primary songs.
During the week Dragos attended the Sarah Jane Adams Elementary School in Layton, and was well accepted by the teachers and students. He was ahead of his classmates in mathematics and his English was acceptable. Basically, he was a good student.
"At no time did I try to proselyte the young boy," Brother Lund said, "but I wanted him to see and be part of LDS family life while he was here in America."
That it was having an effect on the lad was first noticed when the Lunds took him to Temple Square to attend the Tabernacle Choir broadcast one Sunday morning. After a tour of Temple Square, Dragos wrote in the guest book in one of the visitors centers. In the space for comments, he wrote, "I want to be a Mormon."
As Dragos left to return to his home in Romania, Brother Lund's parting suggestion was that he ask his mother to find where the new branch of the LDS Church was meeting in Bucharest and have someone from the Church teach him the Blazer B lessons from the manual. The suggestion was followed.
With the completion of the lessons, the Hatu-Tieru family took the missionary lessons. Dragos, his mother Constanta, and older brother Bogdan, were baptized. His father, Ioan, a technician and draftsman, was ready but wanted to be baptized in the place of his birth, the old country of Transylvania, now a part of western Romania.
Now all four members of the family are actively engaged in Church activities. Dragos is a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, his brother is a teacher, his father is a member of the presidency of the Bucharest 1st Branch, and his mother is the branch's all-around helper, filling many positions of responsibility. In his last communication to the Lunds, Dragos said he was so happy now to be able to pass the sacrament with his brother Bogdan. And he thanked the Lunds "for the many happy moments I spent with you."
Dragos, who received a crash course in English by his aunt just before he left for America, now speaks it quite fluently. Now 12, he had an unexpected thrill recently when he served as translator for the mission president during a visit to the Bucharest Branch.
"We can take no credit as a family for the conversion of the Hatu-Tieru family in Bucharest," Brother Lund said. "All we wanted to do was to help this brilliant young boy learn about America and witness the family life we are accustomed to and often take for granted. He's certainly one of our Heavenly Father's special spirits."
The Lunds first made contact with the Hatu-Tieru family when they went to Romania under the Church Humanitarian Service program. Constanta Hatu-Tieru, a nurse, asked Dr. Lund, an ear, nose and throat specialist, if something could be done to help her young boy's orthopedic problem with his ankle. Further, she explained to the doctor, he had a bleeding disorder and the doctors in Romania were not equipped to handle the case.
A congenial and understanding person, Dr. Lund said he would look into the problem when he returned to Utah. After checking with Primary Children's Medical Center and making arrangements for the surgery, he placed a telephone call to Mrs. Hatu-Tieru in Bucharest.
"If your family can get the boy to New York," Dr. Lund told the mother, "we'll see if we can work out some way to get him to Salt Lake City." A short time later he received a telephone call from the boy's mother that Dragos was on his way to New York via Romanian Airlines.
"A miracle took place right in my office," Dr. Lund said. "One of my patients, Bruce Gillian, a Delta Airlines pilot, came in on an appointment. I told him the situation and he responded, "I better get on this right away." The pilot took the midnight special to New York and met the Romanian youngster as he deplaned at Kennedy Airport. It was easy to spot the boy. He wore a large sign hanging from his neck that read, "I am Dragos from Romania for Dr. Lund, Salt Lake City." With his credit card, Gillian paid for Dragos' fare to Salt Lake City where Glen and Anne Lund stood waiting to greet him.
Miracles continued. Dr. Steven Scott, an orthopedic surgeon, performed the operation without charge, correcting the deformity on Dragos' ankle, and the Primary Children's Medical Center cooperated fully.