President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Virtue Garnish Thy Thoughts Unceasingly,” April 2007 General Young Women Meeting
For the Strength of Youth
Some years ago, long after he had returned from his mission, Bishop J. Richard Yates, of the Durham Third Ward in the Durham North Carolina Stake, was out on the family farm in Idaho, helping his father milk the cows and do some of the evening chores. Because of limited family circumstances, Richard’s father, Brother Tom Yates, had not been able to go on a mission in his youth. But that disappointment only strengthened Brother Yates’s vow that what he had not been able to afford, his sons would certainly realize—a full-time mission for the Lord—whatever the sacrifice involved.
In those days in rural Idaho it was customary to give a young man a heifer calf as soon as he was old enough to take care of it. The idea was that the young man would raise the animal, keep some of the offspring, and sell others to help pay for the feed. Fathers wisely understood that this was a way to teach their sons responsibility as they earned money for their missions.
Young Richard did well with that gift of a first calf and, over time, expanded the herd to eight. Along the way he invested some of the income from the milk he sold to buy a litter of pigs. He had nearly sixty of those when his call finally arrived. It was the family’s plan that they would sell future litters of the pigs to supplement income from the sale of the dairy milk to cover the costs of Richard’s missionary labors.