One Saturday afternoon I decided to study the Sunday School lesson for the next day’s class. It was on miracles. “If ever we needed a miracle, it is now,” I thought. My mother was a widow, and our family was going through a difficult time financially.
Ever since my sisters and I were little girls, we had devoted ourselves to the art of horsehair weaving. We would wash the horsehair, color it with dyes, and then weave it hair by hair into shapes such as butterflies, mice, and copihues (the national flower of Chile). It is very fine work and unique to our country. All winter long we would weave, and in the summer we would sell our work at art fairs.
The national economy was depressed that year and greatly affected our business. In the past a major source of our income had been an art fair in Temuco, a tourist town in southern Chile. But that year we had not been invited. We had even called the fair’s organizers, but they refused to give us a booth. We worried about how this loss of income would affect us.
But as I studied the Sunday School lesson that afternoon, my attitude changed completely. First I read Mormon 9:19 [Morm. 9:19]: “[God] ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.” This promise lifted my spirits. Then as I read verse 21, [Morm. 9:21] I felt even better: “I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him.”
I thought about the miracle my family needed, and I decided to travel the four hours to Temuco to plead our case.
When I arrived at the office of culture, I was discouraged to see many other people there to make the same request and to learn that all these people had been told no. Still I felt the Lord was with me.
When my turn came to speak to the man in charge, he bluntly told me there was only a remote possibility we could have a booth but that a final decision could not be made yet. I explained that a booth would mean bread for my mother during the winter months, but I felt as if I were talking to a wall. Then without thinking, I told him I believed in miracles and left his office.
I called my husband and asked him to fast with me. My mind constantly reverted to the words of the Sunday School lesson: “[God] is a God of miracles.” I needed a miracle—now.
I waited for six hours at the office of culture, feeling greater anguish with each passing minute. Finally I saw craftspeople arriving from every corner of Chile and also from other countries. The fair was starting. With a lump in my throat, I prayed, “Thy will be done.” Suddenly a feeling of peace overcame me, and I decided to talk one more time to the man in charge.
When I entered his office, I could see his attitude had changed. He courteously told me I could have a booth. Once again I told him I believed in miracles.
We made the money we needed at the fair, and I learned for myself that God continues to work miracles today. My faith grows each day because of all He gives me.
Intensive Family Care
Two hours after our fifth child, Angelique, was born, she began crying with every breath and started to turn purple. We realized something terrible was happening.
Medical tests indicated that Angelique had group B streptococcus, a serious illness for newborn babies. She was immediately transferred to a hospital that specialized in such problems. I was weighed down by worry as my new baby was taken away in an ambulance.
After I was released from the hospital two days later, I went directly to see Angelique. As I walked into the neonatal intensive care unit, I was gripped with fear. Two doctors and many nurses were surrounding my daughter. She was hooked up to so much machinery that I could hardly see her little body.
I pulled one doctor aside and asked, “Will she live?” He looked at me grimly and said, “We aren’t sure at this point, but we will do everything we can for her.” He asked me to go home and rest.
As my husband drove me home, we did not speak. We were both too worried. My husband went back to the hospital to give our daughter a blessing and to spend the night outside the intensive care unit.
That night as I tucked our other four children into bed, my oldest, who was seven, cried because she couldn’t hold Angelique. We had told the children that Angelique might not live, but they didn’t really understand.
I went to my room and offered the most sincere prayer of my life. I told Heavenly Father how much I loved Angelique but that He could take her if that was His will. I explained that I knew we were an eternal family and expressed gratitude for my temple marriage. In that instant a feeling of peace, love, and even happiness came over me—a feeling I’ll never forget.
I then had a distinct feeling that Angelique needed to hear our voices. My children had often “talked” to Angelique before she was born. She had been with us when we said family prayers, when we ate dinner together, and when I was singing. Now she was hearing only strangers in the hospital.
I woke the children, and they eagerly took turns sharing messages with Angelique using a tape recorder. We sang familiar Primary songs and told her how much we loved her. We told her that we would care for her and do things with her if she would get better. The next morning I took the tape recorder to the hospital and asked the nurses to lay it at the end of Angelique’s bassinet and play the tape for her continuously.
When I returned to the hospital later in the day, an excited nurse greeted me and told me the most amazing thing had happened.
Angelique was on a respirator that recorded when she was breathing on her own and when the machine was doing the work. When our tape was playing, she started to breathe on her own half the time. When the tape stopped, the machine would do all of her breathing for her again. It was amazing to watch her little body perk up when the tape played. The nurses played the tape around the clock. Angelique slowly recovered and was able to come home two weeks later.
I believe strongly in the power of prayer and a family’s love. I have a testimony that Heavenly Father does hear our prayers and that if we seek His will, He will inspire us through the Holy Ghost.
Never Give Up
It was the 1970s, and my father, Horacio Lacayo, was a poor 13-year-old boy. One day his mother was angry with him and told him he would never amount to anything. He was upset and knew he had to do better. He decided he would make some changes.
Not long after that he met two missionaries, and they began telling him about the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Horacio had a great desire to learn more and to be baptized, but when he told his father, his father was angry. He said they already had a religion and he would never allow him to be a member of another church.
So Horacio asked his sister Maria to talk to their father for him. He often listened to her advice. After Horacio told Maria about the Church and explained that he wanted to be baptized, she agreed to help. She took the permission form to their father and told him firmly, “Signing this paper is the best thing you can do for your son.”
His father eventually gave his permission, and Horacio was baptized. But soon his father began to regret his decision and forbade Horacio to go to church. When Horacio begged him to reconsider, his father angrily told him to leave their home and never come back. So Horacio went to live with his aunt.
One night about a year later, Horacio dreamed that his father was very sick and was calling for him. The next morning before going to church, he told his aunt about his dream. She assured him it was just a dream and he should not worry about it.
When he returned home from church, his aunt was upset. She said, “I don’t know how you knew, but your dad has been hurt in an accident. He is calling for you.” When Horacio went to see his father, his father apologized for what he had done and said he would no longer oppose Horacio’s Church activity.
Eventually many of Horacio’s family members and friends joined the Church. Today Horacio, his wife, Aida, and their four sons are active Church members. Two sons are serving missions, and one just returned from a mission.
How was Horacio able to keep his faith as a boy? He never forgot that the Lord was at his side and that He would not let him down. My father never gave up.
I know the Lord will strengthen us in our spiritual battles, just as He did my father, Horacio Lacayo.
Our New Mission Life
After retirement my wife and I were living a comfortable life. We enjoyed working in the temple, fulfilling ward and stake assignments, and visiting our children, grandchildren, and widowed mothers. It seemed that things couldn’t have been better.
But something began stirring within us. The time had come to seriously consider serving a mission, and we knew it. We soon decided to serve but felt we should make a list of things that needed doing before we turned in our missionary application forms. We dutifully made the list and began whittling it down.
Two months passed, and we discovered our to-do list had only become longer. “No problem,” we thought. “We’ll just put more effort into making it shrink.” But it didn’t. We came to realize that although the stirrings to serve a mission were still in us, our fear of the unknown was causing us to add to our list faster than we could complete the tasks on it.
One morning shortly after our most recent review of our to-do list, I was studying Jesus the Christ by Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933). One passage touched me profoundly: “Excuses are easy to find; they spring up as readily and plentifully as weeds by the wayside. When the Samaritan came along and saw the wretched state of the wounded man, he had no excuse for he wanted none” (3rd ed. , 431–32).
With considerable emotion I hurried into the kitchen and shared these words with my wife. They had a significant impact on her as well. There was no question about our next move.
We immediately shredded our to-do list, or what we now laughingly call our excuse list, and initiated the process necessary to be called as missionaries.
Once we did this, things fell together quickly for us, and soon we found ourselves enjoying our lives even more as we served in the Singapore Mission. Our assignment was to train new leaders in Church branches, first in Sri Lanka and then in Malaysia. We discovered that our family back home could get along just fine without us, and we soon realized how badly we were needed as senior missionaries.
Two nights before we returned from our mission, the members of the two branches we had been working with in Malaysia invited us to what turned out to be a surprise farewell party. We will never forget stepping outside the Church meetinghouse to be encircled by the local members, each holding a homemade Chinese lantern as they sang to us in Chinese “God Be with You Till We Meet Again” (Hymns, no. 152). To this day I cannot share that experience without crying. How grateful we are that we didn’t let our excuse list—our fears—keep us from a priceless experience.