In 1981, when we were on a welfare services mission in the Philippines, we needed a meetinghouse. We found a house with an old piano in it and were told that if we could fix it, we could use it. We looked for a piano tuner and found Oscar Unabia, a young man with two children. He was likable, honest, and kept all commitments.
He fixed the piano, and we sent the elders to him. The family started coming to church, and Oscar learned to play some hymns by ear.
We were transferred just before Oscar’s family joined the Church. However, we had the privilege of returning to visit and were thrilled to see them active in the Church. After we returned home, Kathy Workman, a friend of ours, volunteered to send the Ensign to some members in the Philippines. We suggested the Unabias. In response, we received the following letter:
“It was really a great surprise for us when the Ensign magazine first arrived at our door. I never thought that someone would care enough about us to pay the subscription.
“Before the Ensign arrived, several Sundays had passed that I did not attend church services. I was inactive, discouraged, and frustrated. We quit holding family home evenings, family prayers, and had also stopped paying our tithes and other offerings. My wife still continued to serve in the Primary as second counselor and a teacher, but I started to discourage her, and there were several meetings she did not attend.
“All these things caused my family unhappiness. In spite of all this, I read every issue of the Ensign sent us. The contents are filled with wonderful messages. Tears sometimes flow in my eyes when I read them. The Ensign has touched me; I know that the gospel is true. I know that the Holy Ghost helps me to understand my problems in life, to love, to forgive, and to be happy in the Church. The Ensign helps me gain spiritual strength and helps me live the Word of Wisdom. It has helped guide me back into the “fold of God.”
“Our faith was tried and tested recently when our house was broken into while we were attending church. Many important things were stolen—including our small amount of savings. But this trial only helped to make us stronger in the Church. We have learned to be self-reliant and to understand the needs of others. We have faithfully paid our tithes and offerings and have magnified our callings. My wife, Willreda, is now president of the Primary, and I am first counselor in the branch presidency. We are happy. Living the gospel is sometimes a sacrifice, but it also brings great blessings.
We thought you would appreciate this story.
George and Velda Peterson
My uncle, a retired minister, teaches servicemen every Sunday using information from Ensign magazines I have given him. One of his former “students,” who is now in the South Pacific, is asking for materials from which he can teach what he heard in Uncle Ray’s class. I just wanted to share this information with other readers of our missionary, “Elder Ensign”!
May I add further information about the DPT vaccination, which was mentioned in the July 1985 “Random Sampler” article on immunizations.
According to a recent U.S. ABC News presentation on “20/20,” most American doctors are using a British study as the basis for their confidence in safety of the DPT shot. Yet, in the United States, different methods are used than those mentioned in the British study. In the study, a more refined strain of vaccine was used, and the shots were not given until the babies were six months old—which allowed more time for the infants’ nervous systems to mature.
However, in the United States, we are immunizing our two-and three-month-old babies with a cruder strain of the vaccine. Some of these children have negative reactions to DPT shots—reactions that are even being associated with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or “crib death.”
The study seems to suggest four areas of action for parents: (1) Ask questions and make sure that your doctor is familiar with your child’s and your family’s medical history before administering the DPT vaccine; (2) urge your doctor to follow the warning on bottles of whooping cough vaccine and to pass the warning on to patients; (3) encourage drug manufacturers to make a safer, purer version of the whooping cough vaccine; and (4) wait until your children are six months old before giving them their first DPT shot.
I first became interested in the DPT vaccine when my daughter contracted polio from her DPT shots. Afterwards, my pediatrician told me that I could have “buffered” her against such a strong reaction by giving her Vitamin C just before she received the shot. Each time I buy her a shoe lift, I think of how this belated advice could have saved my daughter from the deformity she now must live with all her life.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Many thanks for the two-part article “The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836” by John P. Pratt, which was printed in the June and July issues. Although I am a graduate student in music and am not well-versed in astronomy and history, I was glad to read an article that challenged my intellect as well as my spiritual understanding. Your continued efforts at bringing to Church members reading that is both scholarly and spiritual will help fulfill Brigham Young’s statement that we must gather home to Zion “every accomplishment, every polished grace, every useful attainment in mathematics, music, in all science and art. … All the knowledge, wisdom, power, and glory that have been bestowed upon the nations of the earth, from the days of Adam until now.”
I realize that the Ensign has a lot of hats to wear and that its primary purpose is not to report scientific theory, archaeological discovery, or aesthetical thought. But frankly, the hat you picked up when you published this article had been sitting a while. Pick it up again, would you?
I was fascinated by “The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836, Part 1: Dating the First Easter,” (Ensign, June 1985) by John P. Pratt. I was especially intrigued by the astronomical implications. I own a home computer with a program that allows me to view how the sky looked at any point on earth at any period of time—from ten thousand years in the past to ten thousand years in the future.
I decided to see if I could verify a lunar eclipse occurring on Friday, 1 April 33 A.D., viewed from Jerusalem after sunset. I placed in the coordinates for Jerusalem and the date of 1 April 33 A.D. I set the time for evening, around 6 P.M., and directed the program to trace the position of the moon. Within a few minutes, I began to see how the sky would have looked. Before my eyes was a picture of the heavens and the moon in lunar eclipse—matching almost exactly the painting on page 64 illustrating this occurrence.
I was amazed that this computer program developed nearly two thousand years later could corroborate Pilate’s claim that “the moon appeared like blood” on the day of the Crucifixion. I think we are on the right track in determining the correct dates for scriptural history.
Joseph C. DeCastro
I am a fairly recent convert who has subscribed to the Ensign for about one and a half years. Since I am single, I have always skipped reading the family-oriented articles, preferring the doctrinal articles.
But recently I have had more time to read, so I began reading some things I had previously skipped. They are great! The Ensign must be the best magazine on parenting in existence. I can even apply the principles taught to my nonparenting relationships. Thanks so much for the wonderful contributions to our lives.