Author: ourimaginationrunning PM
Noah Neely and companion Eric Schrader arrive for their mission, fresh from the New Zealand MTC.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - & Elder McKinley - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,969 - Reviews: 7 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 07-25-12 - Published: 04-28-12 - id: 8068802
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Eric Schrader knelt on the dirt at the edge of a field, his knees on his polyester jacket so his clean black pants wouldn't get any stains on them. He looked over at his companion kneeling by the well and smiled. Noah had never been all that great at following rules, and he frequently forgot about Number 72 – "Do not leave your mission companion." Still, Eric didn't really mind having to be the one to tag after his friend, reminding him not to get too far away. It was an easy job, and one he did gladly if it meant it helped Noah be a better missionary.
He had always been confident Noah would make a good Elder. He'd known ever since they were eight and had started sitting together in meeting – Noah had always stared, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, at the older boys who gave testimony or talked about their missions. When Eric's older brother Ben had left for his mission to Peru, Noah had been at their house almost every day asking about what Ben had been doing, if they'd had any mail from him, when he was coming home… he'd almost been more excited than Eric when the Elder finally came home. In fact, Noah had called Ben 'Elder Schrader' for almost two months, even though he was just 'Ben' to everyone else. That was seven years ago, but maybe it was the reason Noah had such trouble calling him Elder Schrader – he still thought of Ben that way.
Eric shook his head to clear it and looked at the ground, trying to judge the distance between him and Noah. Were they far apart? Maybe, but they were close enough to be considered 'together' if any of the other Elders noticed, that's what mattered. He knew Noah sometimes needed his space, and he did his best to give it to him. But, he remembered, he was supposed to be praying. He needed to focus on himself, and his relationship with his Heavenly Father. Eric bowed his head, interlocked his fingers, and smiled. He loved this position. He loved the comfort it brought him, the sureness that Heavenly Father was listening. He rarely entered prayer with a clear mind or a single purpose, but he always left feeling sure and collected.
Heavenly Father – I want to thank you for this time I have to share the scripture with others, to introduce them to your Word and the Word of your prophets. Please give me the strength I need to teach with compassion and understanding. I want to thank you for my family, for Mom and Dad, who I'm sure have already written me tons of letters – they are wonderful parents, and they've raised me right, and I have you to thank for that. Thank you for Ben and for Lisa; they are so perfect together; I see your hand every time I look at them. Thank you for Hannah and Danielle, and please protect them and see that they are safe and healthy. I know they're big girls, but Hannah's just graduated and she needs your steady hand, and Danielle's starting college in a month… I know they'll be okay with you there to help them. Thank you for Lila and Michelle and little Claire, and please protect them and guide them in all their endeavors. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Eric opened his eyes, smiling slightly. He did feel better. Looking up at the sky, he closed his eyes again and let the warm sun beat down on his face, basking in the glow of the Ugandan sun. After a few glorious moments, he looked over at Noah.
To his surprise and distress, the Elder saw his friend shaking slightly as he kneeled by the well. Eric's eyes widened in concern. Noah's whole body posture slumped as he sobbed silently into the unforgiving harshness of the stone, his arms stretched unnaturally taut, supporting the whole weight of his body. Even from several meters away, Eric could see the sunlight glint off the tear rolling down Noah's cheek. He wanted to stand up, run over to his friend, take him in his arms and tell him everything was okay, but he couldn't. And clearly it wasn't okay. But as he watched, Noah took several deep breaths and sat up a little straighter. Eric quickly bowed his head and clasped his hands tightly together.
Heavenly Father, I don't know what's going on with Noah. Elder Neely. Noah. I don't know and I'm sure you do but I don't know how to help him, and I know I am there for him and I think he knows that but oh, please, if there's anything I can do… please send him to me. I think he will go to you first, I think he will, but just in case he feels like he can't, send him to me. That's my prayer, my biggest desire, Heavenly Father, please, grant me the wisdom to help however I can, and may Noah have the strength to pull through this – whatever this is – as well. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.