Upon Elder Reed Allen's Homecoming
Ken Allen

What do the following people have in common?

Alma the Younger, Ammon and the Sons of Mosiah.
Reed Allen, Tim Schmalbeck, Chris Bradshaw and others of the boys of 78.
Saul of Tarsus and Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee.

Here are the choices:
They loved each other as brothers.
They overcame great personal challenges and even experienced personal miracle.
They accepted a call to serve after a mighty change of heart.
At one time they had no intention to be missionaries.
They traveled to faraway lands.
The learned a foreign tongue.
They walked a lot.
They wrote letters about their experiences.
They led by their good example.
They shared their talents with thousands.
The Lord blessed them in their work.
They did some good.
They returned with honor.
They had mothers who loved them.
The changed the world, one soul at a time.

The experiences shared by all of them were not so unique as to be called miracles but not so common as to be overlooked.  They sought and the found a great source of miracles, one that was promised in scripture.

In the first letter of John, Chapter 3, it says:
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth."
And this is the miracle:
"And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him...
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments and we do those things that are blessings in his sight."

Let me share with you the poetic hymn "LORD, I WOULD FOLLOW THEE" No. 220

Savior, may I learn to love thee, Walk the path that thous hast shown,
Pause to help and lift another, Finding strength beyond my own.
Savior, may I learn to love thee--Lord, I would follow thee.

Who am I to judge another, When I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet hear is hidden Sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another--Lord, I would follow thee.

I would be my brother's keeper; I would learn the healer's art.
To the wounded and the weary I would show a gentle heart.
I would be my brother's keeper--Lord, I would follow thee.

Savior, may I love my brother As I know thou lovest me,
Find in thee my strength, my beacon, For thy servant I would be.
Savior, may I love my brother--Lord, I would follow thee.

Two score and two months ago, Reed went away as a young man, More mature than most missionaries having been tested by the world, and yet a child of God with potential and a hard-won testimony of his faith.

When Reed went out, he faced a challenge, to do some good and to help save the world one soul at a time. Certainly there was some fear.  But he was never one to show his fear no matter how frightening.

We watched proudly from afar as he traveled half-way around the world to a remote country we knew virtually nothing about.  Uruguay.  Most people cannot find it on a map, let alone say where it is.  There in a small Spanish-speaking South American country with more sheep than people, he moved easily between beaches and barrios, great cities and vast countrysides, seeking and teaching.

We prayed for him, for his safety, for his good health, for his spiritual growth, for his success and the spiritual awakening of those he touched.  We received his letters and pored over them and shared them.  We all learned of his literacy as he shared his moments of joy and laughter and disappointment.  We suspect he has told us only a few of his harrowing experiences.  We heard of only a few as he wrote of the extremes of weather, of illnesses, of food poisoning, of injuries, and of the harassment, the personal pain and the apathy.  But we learned of his encounters with remarkable people who found the Gospel and enriched their lives.

We know he worked hard.  We could tell he developed his spiritual muscles, just as he exercised his physical muscles and wore out his soccer cleats.  He told us of tucking his toes back into the ragged shoes after every shot.

And he shared his talents.  Here is a young man who had nearly mastered the language before he departed, who acted as interpreter and counselor and leader and teacher:  He who has music in his soul.  He organized musical groups, sang and played.  Just two days before he left, he performed his violin in recital and thus opened the doors of the church for the townspeople.

As he has returned to carry on his life and his growth, I am reminded of the scripture in Alma (Alma 41:14): Be merciful to your brethren; deal justly and do good continually.  And if you do all these things, you shall have good rewarded to you again.

As we learn to follow the Lord in whatever we do or wherever we go, missionary, student, doctor, lawyer, athlete, mother, laborer, artist, brother, then miracles follow.

<>"And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.