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When our eldest son, Jason, was 11 years old, we had an experience we will never forget. It was Sunday, and as the rest of the family was preparing for church, Jason complained he was feeling ill. We decided to leave him home and promised we would telephone him later to see how he was doing. Our meetinghouse was not far away, and we could run home if he needed us.
Just before sacrament meeting began, I felt prompted to call Jason right at that moment. The telephone rang many times, but Jason didn’t answer. I assumed he was sleeping and did not hear the phone. Yet a nagging feeling told me something was very wrong. Since my husband was in the bishopric at the time and was already sitting on the stand, I left my other children in their seats and told them I would return in a few minutes.
The five-minute trip to our home seemed to take forever. Once there, I raced into the house, frantically calling Jason’s name. For what seemed like an eternity, there was no answer, and I could not find him. Finally, I heard soft crying as Jason cautiously crawled out from behind the couch in the family room. I put my arms around him and could feel him trembling as he related what had happened.
He had been lying on the couch when he had a feeling he should hide. He got up immediately and hid behind the couch. Just then, he heard someone come in the front door. Thinking it must be the family, he quietly peeked out from his hiding place. He was horrified to see an intruder, wearing a black ski mask and gloves, going through drawers. He listened as the stranger wandered throughout the house. At that point the phone began ringing, and the intruder left. Of course, the ringing phone had been my call just before I left the meetinghouse.
I will always be grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost that both Jason and I experienced that day. I am so grateful I was prompted to come home to be there when Jason needed me. Who knows what might have happened if Jason had been discovered by the intruder? Not only was he protected, but I believe the Spirit helped him heal from this traumatic experience. Today Jason is a courageous and strong missionary whose treasured companion continues to be the Holy Ghost.
The Lord Knew What Was Ahead
Alone in my home and on my knees in tearful prayer, I asked Heavenly Father why things were not working out for me. Personal challenges during the previous two years had convinced me that I needed to move from the small town where I lived and find a different job. Despite many efforts, however, I had not yet been able to find an appropriate position.
As I sobbed and prayed to know why I did not seem to be receiving the help I needed, a peaceful, warm feeling came over me. I stopped speaking and just knelt there quietly. I knew that Heavenly Father was comforting me through the Spirit. To my mind came the passages of scripture that I had read many times during the previous two years and that had been a source of great comfort.
One passage was 2 Nephi 4:16–35 [2 Ne. 4:16–35], particularly verse 28, where Nephi says, “Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” The other passage was Doctrine and Covenants 98:3 [D&C 98:3], which reassured me that my prayers were heard and that “all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.”
So now, even though I still felt that I wanted to move from that town, I knew with all my heart that I would be OK. Heavenly Father was there, and I felt fine about staying if He wanted me to.
Just three months later I learned that my 24-year-old son, who was attending medical school in a neighboring state, had cancer. I spent the next three weeks with him at the hospital. Had I gotten a new job, I would have had no vacation time, no release time, no sick leave. I would have had to quit the new job in order to be with my son, thereby adding unemployment to my challenges.
I couldn’t help but think that the Lord knew what was ahead and so for the moment had said no to my prayer.
My son underwent chemotherapy, and during the first few months we had no assurance he would live. I felt I needed to move to the neighboring state where he was; I could not stand to be so far away when he was sick and still making the effort to attend classes at medical school. Thankfully, through a chain of events that indicated to me the Lord was helping me, I was able to get a job in the area where my son lived.
I lived in that area long enough to see my son marry his childhood sweetheart, regain his health, graduate with honors, and present me with my first grandchild. Soon I was blessed to marry a wonderful man who was a longtime and respected friend.
“Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.” “All things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.” When the time was right, the Lord opened the windows of heaven and blessed me. I continue to remember those blessings and the comforting words of the scriptures, and I pray never to forget.
He Restoreth My Soul
I was born in 1961 in Brazil and learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when I was six years old. My childhood was immensely happy, but my family’s life began to change at Christmastime in 1970, when I contracted a very rare disease.
At one point I was admitted to the hospital for a year, and the doctors didn’t know what to do. Several times the Lord saved my life after my father placed his hands on my head and pronounced a powerful priesthood blessing. I recall one occasion when a team of doctors was amazed upon seeing my fever of 106 degrees (41° C) instantly abate when my father took his worthy hands from my head. Such miracles went on for about four years while the disease was at its worst.
One day there was a conference in our city. My parents were excited and grateful when they learned we would have Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles among us.
On the day of the conference, the chapel was overflowing. My mother could not get close to Elder Ashton. When my six-year-old brother saw my mother’s despair, he managed to get through the human barrier and reach him. He asked Elder Ashton to bless his brother who was very sick and insisted that he come to where we were. But Elder Ashton couldn’t come at that moment. We prayed for an opportunity to meet him at the end of the conference.
To our surprise, at the beginning of his talk Elder Ashton said, “When I got here, a little boy asked me to bless his brother who is gravely ill, and I would like to say to all within the sound of my voice that your brother will get well and fulfill his mission here on earth.”
For my parents, this was the balm they had prayed for, a relief from their days of pain and sadness. We began a new treatment, and with confidence in the power of Elder Ashton’s promise, I found my life changed completely.
When I turned 19, I went into the mission field in partial fulfillment of the promise I had received and to satisfy my heart’s desire to serve the Lord by sharing His wonderful gospel. I served in the Brazil Recife Mission, where elect families were placed in my path, and I was able to serve as an instrument in the hands of the Lord in bringing souls to repentance.
When I returned from my mission, I married a beautiful young woman I had grown up with in the Church. When our first child was born, however, the Lord took it unto Himself. I couldn’t believe this new tragedy in my life, but I knew my testimony and confidence in the Lord were still being molded.
Today my wife and I have a beautiful family of five children. Our oldest son is preparing to serve a mission. I have served as bishop of my ward. The symptoms of my previous illness have disappeared.
My life and my testimony are based on a belief in the power of the priesthood, the eternal nature of the family, and the teachings of the 23rd Psalm, in which David says:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”