No Time for the Prophet?
One Thursday afternoon in late April the mail came, and with it our copy of the Ensign conference report. I picked it up and thumbed through it, but I didn’t have time to read any of it. As a homemaker and mother of eight, I always could find much to be done.
That night, I dreamed that President Benson came to my home. I excitedly invited him in. He was filled with the Spirit and radiated love and peace.
I wanted to show President Benson a poster I had made of a scripture our stake president asked us to memorize, so I invited him to come into the family room. When we got there, I couldn’t find the poster; all I could see were piles of books, clothes, and toys everywhere. I was embarrassed, but President Benson didn’t seem to mind at all. He just smiled warmly, and we went back to the living room.
Then the thought came to me, What if he wants to go upstairs and see the rest of the house? I excused myself and went to help the children straighten their rooms. As I rushed around, I glanced out the front window and saw President Benson getting into his car.
I dropped what I was doing and ran outside. I told him I was sorry he had to leave so soon. I hugged him good-bye and told him that I loved him. He told me that he loved me, too. He then got into the car and drove away.
I was depressed when I woke up. In my dream, President Benson had come to my home. Instead of sitting at his feet, listening to and learning from him, I had cleaned and straightened. I had missed a wonderful opportunity.
As I continued to think about my dream, I realized that President Benson had come to my home one Thursday afternoon. He came in the Ensign. His current words and counsel were there. His spirit and strength were there. But I had been too busy to read.
Now, thanks to a dream that changed my priorities, my Ensign conference report is a well-used and loved issue.
“Mommy, the Prayer Didn’t Work!”
We have always taught our children the importance of praying and listening to the Holy Ghost’s promptings. They have learned from Primary and family home evening that after we have done all we can to solve a problem, then it is time for prayer. Our children believe in prayer and love the Lord with all their hearts. One day their faith was put to the test.
I was with my husband and son Jarid watching a television program in the living room while my two daughters, Lori and Julie, were playing upstairs. While I was sitting there, the thought came to me, Are the girls locked in the closet upstairs?
I knew I would hear them calling if they were in trouble, so I brushed the thought aside. The television program was boring, so I picked up the Book of Mormon and went into my bedroom to read.
Again, the thought came to me, Are the girls locked in the closet? But I could hear nothing. Again I brushed the thought aside.
While I was reading, Jarid came into our bedroom from the hallway. “Mom, I hear the girls crying upstairs.”
Immediately, I ran up the stairs and heard them calling from their bedroom closet. I opened the door, and two sobbing girls fell into my arms. After their crying subsided, six-year-old Lori looked up at me with tear-stained cheeks and whispered, “Mom, we prayed to Heavenly Father and it didn’t work.”
Since then, we have discussed many times what happened and how their prayer had worked. The Holy Ghost had told me they needed help. I just hadn’t acted on that prompting.
I learned that night that the Lord often works through us to help and sustain others. When the Holy Ghost speaks to me, that moment is when someone needs my love and help. If I let it pass, the opportunity may not come again. But if I act then, not only will a brother or sister be uplifted, but the knowledge that I listened and responded might bring a spark of light to a dark closet.
He Watches Over Me
In 1982, I was struggling with my testimony. I read the scriptures, I did my visiting teaching, I attended the temple regularly, and I said my prayers. Yet I did not feel the spirituality I was longing for.
I began doubting the gospel. I did not know why so much doubt filled my being, but it did. I was floundering.
Then one night when my husband was at work, I had an experience that changed my doubt to a testimony that God lives.
I was bathing the children around 7:00 P.M. when an image came into my mind—my husband, a policeman, in his patrol car. I saw him driving around a curve. Coming from the opposite direction was another car on the wrong side of the road. To my dismay, they crashed. I saw an officer come to my door to inform me of the accident. I saw myself crying in my husband’s hospital room.
The vision horrified me, and I offered a heart-felt prayer begging my Heavenly Father to protect my husband. The image of this disaster left me as quickly as it had come, and I felt that everything was all right.
Later that night my husband came home from work, and as we knelt to pray, he said, “The strangest thing happened to me tonight. I was going around a curve, and I heard something say, ‘Slow down in case there is a car on your side of the road.’ I slowed down immediately—and sure enough, there was a car on the wrong side of the road. If I had not listened to the prompting of the Holy Ghost to slow down at that very moment, I would have been seriously injured or even killed.”
Not only had the Lord blessed me with a strong testimony that he is real, he also blessed me with the knowledge that he loves and watches over me and my family.
Our Eight-Year-Old Missionary
The wedding reception—and the people she’d met there—must have made quite an impression on eight-year-old Krista. As we traveled home from the evening’s events, she declared, “We should belong to that church. We should be like those people and be members of their church. That is the right church for us.”
A bit taken aback, my husband, Rod, responded, “Well, why don’t we discuss it over the weekend. Then Mom can make a phone call on Monday to see what we need to do.”
During the days that followed, Krista talked incessantly about joining that church. So on Monday, I made a phone call.
I knew that our friend, who had invited us and our daughters, Krista and Tracy, to his wedding reception, was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The woman he’d married was also a Latter-day Saint, as were most of the guests. So I began by looking up the Church in the phone book.
I dialed the number listed for the mission. A young man answered, and I asked him how my family and I could join his church. I laugh now as I recall how the phone went silent for a moment, then he haltingly requested that I repeat the question. I did, and then agreed to meet the missionaries.
After several discussions with the elders, we agreed to attend church. We woke up that Sunday morning to find Krista standing in the doorway of our kitchen with her arms folded and feet firmly planted against the frame, blocking our passage. She emphatically announced, “I want to be baptized today!”
We urged her to wait until we could all be baptized together. She reluctantly agreed, but then said: “I’ll give you just one more week.”
Three weeks after we started hearing the missionary discussions, our family was baptized. It’s been fourteen years, and we still look back on our baptism day as one of the best days of our lives.
We later learned that on the day of our Latter-day Saint friends’ wedding, the missionaries had held a mission-wide fast to find one golden family. We are grateful that a little child felt the Spirit that day and led us to the gospel.
Judy Sprague serves as a Primary teacher in the Victoria Third Ward, Victoria British Columbia Stake. Her daughter, Krista, served a full-time mission in the Switzerland Geneva Mission.
“Go Back Home, Now!”
As members of the Church, we’ve all been taught the importance of listening and responding to the Holy Ghost. I have frequently felt his influence in my life, but never as powerfully as on one particular occasion last year.
My mother-in-law, who has struggled with several physical ailments as a result of a train accident many years ago, came to visit. She appeared remarkably healthy and vibrant that particular afternoon. My father-in-law dropped her off to visit while he attended to some business. Both my children were excited to have a chance to spend some time with Grandma.
Mom encouraged me to take advantage of her baby-sitting services and do some of my own errands. Grateful for that opportunity, I left the children with her.
Driving down the street, I marveled at her improvement. However, as I stopped at the first stoplight, I heard a distinct warning: Go back home now!
It was so powerful and urgent that I looked around to see who was speaking to me. Of course there was no one there, and I proceeded on, ignoring the incident. Within seconds I heard the warning again. This time, I turned around and headed home.
Mom was surprised to see me and couldn’t understand why I had returned. Telling her I had simply changed my mind, I looked around to see if anything was out of the ordinary. Everything appeared fine. The children were watching cartoons and all was quiet. Sitting down, I was confused, but I knew without a doubt that I had come back home for a reason. My heart was beating fast as I thought, Please, Father, be with me.
At that moment, my daughter exclaimed, “Look, Mom, Grandma is making funny faces.”
My mother-in-law, her face dusky blue, was sitting in the recliner having spasms. As a nurse, I recognized the grand mal seizure. Quickly I helped Mom to the floor and dialed the paramedics.
Within minutes they had arrived and stabilized Mom. Her seizure was over, but she was unable to speak. Her resulting stay in the hospital was lengthy, and her recovery was far from complete. Everyday tasks are still difficult for her.
Looking back on everything now, I realize that things might have turned out much differently if I had ignored the prompting of that still, small voice.