As Elder Boyd K. Packer returned from Peru, he told me of his experience in a branch sacrament meeting in Cuzco in the lofty Andes. The chapel was still, the opening exercises finished, and the sacrament in preparation.
A little Lamanite ragamuffin entered from the street. Calloused and chappy were the little feet that brought him in the open door, up the aisle, and to the sacrament table. Here was dark and dirty testimony of deprivation, want, unsatisfied hungers -- spiritual as well as physical. Almost unobserved, he slyly came to the sacrament table and, with a seeming spiritual hunger, leaned against the table and lovingly rubbed his unwashed face against the cool, smooth-white linen.
A woman in the front seat, seemingly outraged by the intrusion, caught his eye, and with motion and frown, sent the little ragamuffin scampering down the aisle out into his world, the street.
A bit later the little urchin, seemingly compelled by some inner urge, overcame his timidity and came stealthily, cautiously down the aisle again, fearful, ready to escape if necessary, but impelled as though directed by inaudible voices with "a familiar spirit" and as though memories long and faded were reviving, as though some intangible force were crowding him on to seek something for which he yearned but could not identify.
>From his seat on the stand, Elder Packer caught his eye, beckoned to him, and stretched out big welcoming arms. After a moment's hesitation, the little Lamanite ragamuffin was nestled comfortably on his lap, in his arms, the tousled head against the great warm heart -- a heart sympathetic to waifs, and especially to little Lamanite ones.
Later, Elder Packer with a subdued voice recalled this incident to me. As he sat forward on his chair, his eyes glistening, emotion in his voice, he said: "As this little one relaxed in my arms, it seemed it was not a single little Lamanite I held. It was a nation, indeed a multitude of nations of deprived, hungering souls, wanting something deep, good and warm they could not explain -- a humble people yearning to revive memories all but faded out, of ancestors standing wide-eyed, openmouthed, expectant and excited. A people reaching for truths they seemed to remember only vaguely; for prophecies which surely would some day be fulfilled; looking up and seeing an holy glorified Being descend from celestial areas and hearing a voice say: 'Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God . . . and in me, hath the Father glorified his name . . . I am the light and the life of the world.'"
The day of the Lamanite is surely here and we are God's instrument in helping to bring to pass the prophecies of renewed vitality, acceptance of the gospel, and resumption of a favored place as part of God's chosen people. The promises of the Lord will all come to pass; we could not thwart them if we would. But we do have it in our power to hasten or delay the process by our energetic or neglectful fulfillment of our responsibilities. (From "Faith Precedes the Miracle," p.348)