Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lost Lambs

63.February 2, 2013

I thought the biggest predator on the island is the occasional feral cat.  Yesterday Gaye and I saw a weasel.  I haven’t seen one of those for years, but there it was right by the road, very much alive.  I imagine weasels would do very well here with the abundance of chickens and rats.  Good for them.

I saw a little lamb beside the road.  There are bunches of sheep and goats along the roadside here on the island.  They seem to just wander at will, eating whatever they like.  The goats are often seen climbing up the very steep rocky hillsides.  The sheep seem to like the flatter places.  Goats tails go up, but sheep tails go down.  That is the fast way to tell which is which.  Plus the goats often have horns and the sheep never do.

Anyway, I saw a little lamb dead along side the road.  It was very small, probably not very old.  Lambs tend to wander sometimes, and when they do they always get into trouble.  Little goats wander, too.  I saw a goat with its horns tangled up in a fence.  When we came back past that spot, though, it was not there any more.  Maybe somebody helped it.  But little lambs always get into trouble when they wander.  If somebody is not there to find it and bring it back, then sometimes the trouble they get into is really bad.  That is what happened to this little lamb.

We have many wandering lambs on the island.  I stopped in at the local hardware store to get some drain baskets for our kitchen sink.  The store had a section of plumbing fixtures so I went there first.  The pleasant young woman who was over that section offered to help me.  I told her what I needed and she told me to follow her.  As we walked to where the baskets were she started a conversation with me.  

“Are you new here, Elder Patterson?” she asked as she read my name tag.

“We have been here a couple of months.  Do you know about us?”

“Yes, I used to go to your church.”

“Why did you stop coming?”

By then we were at the place in the store and she was distracted by another customer.  She helped him and came back.  

“I was too busy.  I just couldn’t work it in.  The Kalama’s know me.  I know Alicia.  (Alicia is a member of the branch, originally from Australia.)”

I asked her name.  “Patricia, are you a member of the Church?”

“Not really.”

It was time to break off the conversation.  She was working and I was distracting her from her job.  I told her I would like to see her again.  She said I would be welcome to visit her any time at the store, in the plumbing section.  I told her that it was a pleasure talking with her.  She said, “And for me, too.”

How did this lamb get lost?  The next day I saw Alicia at the church, so I sat down with her to get some history while Gaye was teaching her daughter the keyboarding lesson.  I asked her if she knows Patricia.  She responded strongly in the affirmative.  “So what is the history there?” I asked.  “Is she a member or was she an investigator?”

“She is a baptized member.  She used to come all the time.  She had a job at a car dealership that required her to keep her phone with her on Sunday.  They would text her when they had a problem.  Sometimes she would get texts in church and she would have to respond to them.  Somebody told her to stop receiving text messages in church.  She quit coming because she needed to keep her job. (Patricia is from Guyana, of course.)  I invite her to come back every time I see her, which is often, but she hasn’t been for about 2 years.  She now has a guy living with her.  It isn’t going anywhere, but she enjoys the company.  (Patricia is 30, divorced, no kids, no other family here. Her dad recently died and she could not even go home to his funeral.)”

“Do you think she would respond to some attention and an invitation to come back?”

“She might.  She is a wonderful person.”

So yesterday afternoon Gaye and I went to the hardware store to ask a plumbing question.  Well, that was at least part of the reason we went there.  She smiled when she saw us come through the door.  Gaye was not with me last time, so I introduced them to each other.  We sat down at the desk in her section and had a short conversation.  I told her I had talked to Alicia about her history with the Church.  I told her that if she comes to church nobody will tell her to not use her phone.  (I would like to tell everybody to not use their phones in church, but that is not the first thing I would tell them.  We have to start somewhere.)  I told her that we will look for her and take good care of her.  We had a nice visit for a few minutes, told her that we love her and that Heavenly Father loves her.  She said she has gone to another church.  I asked her how she felt about that.  She said it is not the same.  I asked if she remembered how she felt when she worshipped with the Saints.  She lowered her eyes and said she missed that.  

My parting words to her were, “We love you and we invite you to come back.  And I am not going to go away, so you might as well do it.  I will just gently push you a little.”

Patricia smiled.

Stay tuned.


  1. I like that story Dad. Its a sweet reminder of the love heavenly father is just waiting to give us if we just show him that we want it. Keep up the good work.

  2. What a great story. I enjoy reading about your adventures. I am sorry you will not be joining us next week on our adventure to Guatemala. We will miss you.

  3. Great story dad. It's easy to get distracted by traditions and comfort. I remember a few rough looking folks visited our church in Athens. They stood outside the front doors to finish their cigarettes before they came in. I was so happy nobody got angry at them because they eventually brought about 6 other people with them.

  4. Ken and Gay: you are doing a great work in your small part of the vineyard. The Saviour and President. Monson remind us that ministering is a one on one activity! We will pray for this lost Sister. Bob