It was a hot, miserable day to be a missionary in Tucson Arizona. In the middle of June the temperature peaked at one hundred fourteen degrees Fahrenheit. I had been in the field for about five months, and was on a bicycle with a companion who refused to be in the apartment for any reason between the hours of 9:30 am and 9:30 pm, except for a 55-minute lunch. When I complained about going door-to-door (tracting) in such conditions, he would give what seemed to be the standard Arizona reply, "But it's a dry heat," as if to imply that the lack of humidity made this heat better than a humid 95 degrees somewhere else. I would simply point out that if one put an egg on a frying pan or in a pot of water, it would still cook.
On most days, when tracting we could count on at least a few people feeling sorry for us. These kinds souls would let us in out of the heat for a few minutes and give us some water to drink, even if they did not want to hear what we had to say. On one particular day, however, my companion and I could not find a kind soul in 3 hours of tracting in the middle of the day. It was around 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We had no appointment, and every door we had knocked on had either not opened or had been slammed in our faces after generally unpleasant comments. My companion and I had decided that we had worked in this neighborhood enough, and were riding our bikes to the other end of our area (passing right by our cool, air-conditioned apartment, I noted to my companion).
At this point, on this day, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was mad at my companion. I wanted to go home. Not to the apartment, but HOME to my mom who would understand how hot it is and insist that I not go out into the heat. As I was thinking these thoughts, I realized that going home was not an option that I would seriously consider. I knew that "this too would pass," as my dad used to tell me. I just had to get through this rotten day.
When I began to realize these things, I decided to pray. I was riding my bike down the street; my companion was probably 30 yards ahead of me. I prayed in my heart that the Lord would help me get through the day. I told Him that if I had a better attitude, we would have more success. If it were not so miserable outside, then my attitude would be better. "So Heavenly Father," I silently prayed, "If you could just cool things off for me, I would be a better missionary."
These thoughts no more than crossed my mind when a convertible came speeding around the corner ahead of us. The next thing I knew, I was completely drenched from head to toe. The teenagers in the car had a fire hydrant filled with water that they emptied on me. My companion stopped to make sure I was all right. He was dry. Nothing else was wet, except my bike and me. My first reaction, of course, was anger. "Hey!" I yelled. "Come back here right now!" Then it hit me. This was the best that I had felt all day. "Come back right now and do that again!!!"
To illustrate that the Lord is merciful (and how dry it really is in Arizona), I was dry by the time we reached our destination, and got into some one's home to discuss the gospel.
© John W. Edwards, II 2002