Shining Moment: A Radio Signal from Home
Contributed By Ronald K. Christensen, Church News contributor
- When a sailor during WWII felt homesick, Heavenly Father sent a radio miracle—the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast.
“God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.” —“God Moves in a Mysterious Way,” Hymns, no. 285
During World War II, my father, Kurt Christensen, who is now 93, was on an aircraft carrier on the Pacific Ocean about a day’s travel across the international date line. He was in the ship radar room when thoughts of his home near Ignacio, Colorado, began coming to him. He realized it was Sunday at home, even though it was Monday aboard the ship. He then began thinking about what time it was at home and the thought came to him that it was time for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast in Salt Lake City.
In the radar room were some fairly powerful radios. He turned one on and tuned to AM 1160. To his surprise, the choir broadcast came on the radio. Others in the radar room reacted, saying incredulously, “I know what that is!” It surprised my father that some of the others recognized the choir. They listened together as the choir sang.
After the broadcast, a radar technician said, “I’ve got to figure this out.” After some time, he announced that they had received the radio signal from Salt Lake City on the “seventh bounce.” He explained that for them to get the signal, the radio waves had to have bounced off the ionosphere above the earth and back down to the earth seven times for the ship radio to get the signal from Salt Lake City. That meant that the ship could not have received the radio signal if the ship had not been where the signal had bounced back down to the earth.
Heavenly Father knew that and helped my father that day. Thoughts of home came to him just when he could hear the choir broadcast. His ship was on that vast Pacific Ocean in just the right place to get the radio signal from Salt Lake City. It shows that Heavenly Father is mindful of us all—even a Latter-day Saint sailor on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean.
Little did my father know that one day his future wife would sing for 20 years with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and that his daughter would sing in the choir as well. Little did he know that one day he would accompany his wife and the choir to Japan to help share the gospel with the very country and people with whom they were at war. “God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm” (“God Moves in a Mysterious Way”).
—Ronald K. Christensen is from the Highland 16th Ward, Highland Utah Central Stake.