A few years ago I was called to be the scoutmaster in our ward. This was not my first ride in that rodeo so I enlisted the help of my best friend (Teresa) as my Number 1 unofficial assistant.
We started our adventure with 5 or 6 boys and over the couple of years we worked together, we were able to increase our numbers to 14 or so regulars.
Included in the posse was my youngest son Joel and one of his friends, Cory Mortensen. I knew Cory’s parents and had some affiliation with him before our Scouting encounter, but to me he was really just another 12 yr old who we were trying to get to Eagle before he turned eighteen (made it when he was 14).
A few years earlier, because of a calling in the bishopric and later work I did as YM president, I became acquainted with an energetic, excitable, never stop talking, speed speaker named Ellice Tan. For a time she had quite a crush on Joel and made it a point to be in our circle whenever he was around. She got over Joel but never slowed her speech pattern (I often had to remind her my ears were old and couldn’t conjugate as fast as she was spewing).
I mention these two because today we had a sacrament meeting with both as our main speakers. Since we no longer have “Missionary Farewells”, we make it a point to hear a last message from the departing missionaries as they are about to leave for their field of service.
Both were assigned topics and we requested they take approximately 15 minutes each to share their feelings and testimonies. Knowing both, as I do, my fear was that we might have one of those meetings that extended past the one hour ten minute limit we try to enforce. In fact, I had already warned my counselor who was conducting to not announce my comments for fear there might not be time.
No need to worry!!! Ellice, who could barely tell us what she had for breakfast in less than 15 minutes, took a total of nine for her message. She also decided that her friends, who were supposed to provide a musical number, weren’t really ready to share so they didn’t come prepared to sing. Then Cory followed up with a whopping 8 minute sermon, leaving a large void for someone to cover.
The Stake President had no interest in talking so I was left with 20+ minutes before the meeting should be ended.
What was to be done???
The Bishop stood, shared a few words, announced the closing song and ended the meeting at a quarter to the hour. (You see, I know that the President likes short meetings and wouldn’t be concerned if we left early.)
Don’t trust young people who talk a lot to fill your meeting because they panic and talk even faster than normal. And don’t be afraid to end early if things don’t go as planned.
It was a good meeting and both will be wonderful missionaries.