Baptism No Accident Following Harrowing Experience
Contributed By Chelsee Niebergall, Church News and Events
“Before, I did not believe in miracles. But as I was helping to pull people out of the bus, I noticed no one was hurt. God gave me an opportunity to believe.” —Brother Francisco Montejano Murillo, bus driver and recent convert
For Francisco Montejano Murillo, April 16, 2011, was just another day on the job. That Saturday, his work as a bus driver involved him transporting members of the Cavadas Ward in the Zamora Mexico Stake to the Guadalajara Mexico Temple.
He had no idea that the morning's events would change his life.
Although Brother Murillo was not a Latter-day Saint at the time, he was familiar with the Church, as Bishop Marco Antonio Ramirez Vargas had contracted him many times before to drive ward members to activities.
“We always tried to get Brother Murillo to go to our activities with us, but he never seemed interested—not until what happened that day,” Bishop Ramirez said.
Before the group departed, a ward member prayed, asking a blessing of safety for their trip and that Mr. Murillo would be guided as he drove them.
The ward was making their way to the temple when a car carrying a young family coming the opposite direction tried to pass a truck —resulting in the car’s being directly in the path of the bus. Brother Murillo had to make a decision. If he hit the car, the bus would likely stay on the road, limiting injuries to the dozens on board, but the result would likely be fatal to the young family. If he swerved to avoid the car, the bus would roll down an embankment into a field covered in large boulders—a disaster for those on the bus.
Yet Brother Murillo said he felt guided to drive the bus off the road.
In all his years as a bus driver, he said nothing like this had ever happened before. “I was scared,” Brother Murillo said. “All I could think was ‘Help me, God,’ and He did help me. He helped us all.”
The bus rolled several times and came to a stop upside-down. Miraculously, the bus landed on a patch of land not covered by boulders. Brother Murillo said that usually an accident of this severity would be tragic. However, everyone was able to walk away from the accident. The 27 members aboard—13 adults, 6 youth, and 8 Primary-aged children—exited the bus in an organized, calm manner.
Brother Murillo said that usually when such an accident happens, people panic and try to assign blame. In this case, however, he said the members were grateful that no one was hurt and thanked him for keeping them safe.
The passengers recognize the protection they received, says Bishop Ramirez.
“My son, who is ten, said that as the bus started rolling and he fell out of the seat, he felt like someone caught him in midair and placed him on the ground,” Bishop Ramirez said. “Everyone was saying that they had similar feelings, as though someone was holding them so they wouldn’t get hurt.”
Brother Murillo was astonished that there were no serious injuries.
“Before, I did not believe in miracles. But as I was helping to pull people out of the bus, I noticed no one was hurt. God gave me an opportunity to believe,” Brother Murillo said.
When he realized that God had heard and answered the group’s prayer of that morning, Brother Murillo had this thought come into his mind: “Your prayer was heard! This must be the true Church!”
Soon after the accident, toward the end of a sacrament meeting in the Cavadas Ward, the doors at the back of the chapel opened, and Brother Murillo and his wife entered the meeting. Bishop Ramirez said that tears came to his eyes as soon as he saw them. After the meeting, Brother Murillo was introduced to missionaries and agreed to take the missionary discussions.
On May 28, 2011, just a little over a month after the eventful day of the accident, Brother Murillo entered the waters of baptism.
“The moment after the accident I realized God had given me another opportunity, and I didn’t want to waste it,” Brother Murillo said.