Wednesday, May 23, 2007

And a little child shall lead them...

We have some pretty amazing kids. I know, every mom will tell you their kids are amazing. But let me share a story about KC to illustrate my point.

KC has the uncanny ability to make friends. Everywhere he goes he seems to make a new friend. The amazing thing here is that his best friends are adults. The picture you see is of KC and his good friend, Walt. When Walt first moved into our neighborhood he was immediately popular with the kids and adults alike because he worked for an ice cream company and kept our freezers chock full of the good stuff. The kids called him "The Ice Cream Man". Now, KC is no dope. It didn't take him long to figure out that if Mom didn't give him any ice cream, he could go stop by Walt's for a visit and, without a doubt, be offered some frozen concoction there. KC and Walt were getting to know each other pretty well, and KC was consuming his fill of Drumsticks and Popsicles. Good times all around.

Another thing you have to know about our neighborhood is that we have neighborhood barbecues quite often in the warmer months. We all get together and stuff ourselves while the kids play and we chat. On one such occasion, KC found out that Walt is not a member of our religion, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as "The Mormons". If you know KC, you know he has a strong testimony of what we believe. So his visits for ice cream became longer and more frequent, and he would ask Walt questions. Walt's wife is a member of the Mormon church, so he had been attending it for years with no commitment. KC just kept asking when Walt was going to get baptized.

Some days when Walt was not home, KC would walk into our house, grab a piece of paper and a pen, and write him a note. He would often attach a treat, then leave it at his doorstep. One note had mini Hershey bars with nuts attached and said,

"Dear Walt, I think you are NUTS if you don't get baptized! Love, KC"

This note he taped to the garage door so Walt would not miss it. Did I mention it was summer? Chocolate and summer do not always do so hot together (pardon the pun) and Walt found a note with melted chocolate upon his arrival. He taped the note to the inside of his pantry, because he liked our little KC and his forthright manner.

KC asked me if he could earn money to buy Walt a CTR ring. These are rings worn by many of our faith. CTR stands for Choose the Right, a little reminder to make good decisions each day. You can purchase some really nice CTR rings, but there are also some available for about 50 cents. KC did some extra chores, bought Walt a ring, and attached it to a little note that he taped to Walt's front door. It said,

"Dear Walt, This is a CTR ring. It will help you to choose the right. If you choose the right, you will be baptized. Let me know when it is and I will come. Love, KC"

Walt taped this note to the inside of his pantry door. He liked that KC would say what he really thought.

Over the years, Walt has had many sets of missionaries from the Mormon church come and visit. He has loved and fed them all. Every set of missionaries asked him if he was ready to be baptized. Not yet. Not yet. But look in my pantry - don't you love these cute notes I have from the little boy around the corner?

A young man from our church was returning home from his mission and speaking on his experience in church the following Sunday. He needed a companion speaker, and KC was asked to speak on missionary work. He invited Walt to come hear him speak. Accepted. KC and I sat at the computer and worked out a talk. I helped him with the beginning, but here is my favorite part, in KC's words:

"I am only six years old, but I love to be a missionary. President Hinckley wants us to be good examples and share our testimonies with our friends. I am not old enough to serve a full-time mission yet, but there are lots of ways I can share the gospel with others. There are things that all of you can do, too. We can always be kind and honest. We can wear a CTR ring and tell our friends what it means. We can invite our friends to ward or primary activities. And we can pray for the courage to share the gospel.

I have a good friend named Walt. He lives behind our house. He is older than my dad, but we are still buddies. Walt has been investigating the church for a long time. I love to write him notes and bring him treats and encourage him to get baptized... He is a really nice man. I love him and I hope he gets baptized soon."

KC became a legend among the missionaries. Whenever a new set would move into our area, or go meet Walt for the first time, they would stop by to meet KC.

"Why do you want Walt to get baptized so badly?" they would ask.
"Because the church is true. I know it. I know it will make him happy."

Finally, the day comes that KC has hoped for, prayed for, wished for and dreamed of. Some missionaries come by. They tell KC that Walt has committed to be baptized. We call Walt's wife. Is it true?

"It's true," she says. "But he's committed before. I think he means it this time. I hope he means it this time."

KC can hardly stand it. How can he get Walt to follow through? He will ask Walt to baptize him. In our religion, a child is baptized at the age of 8. At this point, KC is almost eight!! We give KC our endorsement on the idea. He presents it to Walt.

"If you get baptized in March, you can baptize me in April!"

Walt calls. Is this really okay with us? Usually a father would baptize his son. Yes, it's okay. It is definitely okay.

Walt gets baptized in March. KC gets baptized in May. As Walt and I are sitting outside the dressing room, waiting for KC to dry off and get dressed after his baptism, Walt says to me,

"Isn't it amazing, the blessings that come?"



Julie said...

Wow. That is one amazing little missionary you've got there. Congratulations to Kobe AND to Walt. That is awesome!

Trish said...

Gerb, this made me cry...:)

Gina said... remember me? Gina? I've only got two kids now, but I WILL beat you. Right!! ha ha Just had to say that I love this story. What a guy! The girls at work told me of your blog. Love it.

Gerb said...

Hi Gina! "Do you remember me"??? Are you even serious? You have 2 kids now? You ARE going to beat me. Laugh now, but let's see what happens a few years down the road...Thanks for the comments, you made my day.

texasgal said...

The world needs this story. Send it to the Friend. As Kobe would say, "if you don't send it to the Friend you are NUTS>"

Also loved the eighth grade graduations.

laura said...

I remember little Kobe coming to visit SSV once in a while. How handsome he is. A miniature Jake Gyllenhaal. (sp?)

Rachel said...

Wow!........ I'd not read this before. Love your All a boy.

Petersons Blog Spot said...

I so love this story. My youngest is 6 and she is so shy...but she loves to give gifts! What an amazing All-a-Boy!

Richard & Natalie said...

Such an inspirational story. I love your family and the great examples they are to all around them. And, I love that boy & miss him too!