We Rejoiced in Her Healing
On June 2, 2002, my little granddaughter, Susan Melina, who was only seven months old, became ill, and her parents took her to the hospital. The doctors diagnosed her with a kidney infection. She also developed a serious bacterial infection that spread throughout her system, causing damage to her heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, lungs, and nervous and digestive systems. She was so ill she was admitted to intensive care.
The doctors advised her parents to prepare themselves because she could die at any time. She remained in intensive care for 26 days, during which time she was given antibiotics and many transfusions. Meanwhile, we, her family, fasted often and asked God for a miracle, for a complete healing—if it was His will. Two priesthood brethren anointed and blessed her.
When Susan Melina had been in the hospital for two weeks, her mother became ill also and had emergency surgery for appendicitis. This was a difficult trial for the whole family.
Twenty days after Susan Melina entered the hospital, she was no better. But because of the generosity of a person we didn’t even know, her parents were able to move her to a private hospital where she would receive better care.
One Saturday at noon I received a telephone call from my daughter, Susan Carolina. I was in the Guatemala City Guatemala Temple, where I work in a custodial position. My daughter told me that her baby’s condition had worsened and that the infection had now lodged in one of the ventricles of her heart. According to the doctors, it was hard to do anything to help her because she was completely malnourished. She was so ill that it was dangerous to hold her because it could cause internal bleeding. When I learned about the situation, I immediately began to pray to my Heavenly Father. Once again I fasted.
The next day, Sunday, my daughter called and told me that the bacteria had completely disappeared. The doctors were releasing Susan Melina on Monday because she was out of danger.
As we rejoiced in this great miracle, we realized that not every prayer of faith is answered so quickly in the way we desire. But I am infinitely grateful to Heavenly Father. I have no doubt that He lives and hears our prayers.
I Will Get Rid of Them
I was 20 years old and had spent most of my life as a member of my parents’ church. But for three years I had not gone to church because I was considering other religious and moral philosophies—although none of them felt right to me.
One day when I arrived at my parents’ house, my brother and my best friend were there. They said some young women had come to visit and had left a book with my brother. My brother had asked my best friend to be at the house when they came back. He wanted him to be the one to tell them not to come anymore.
But when the missionaries returned, my friend said, “Come back in three days because I want to hear the discussions.”
My brother was furious. I asked my friend what he had been thinking, and he just said, “Well, they are very beautiful, and they have a nice way of talking about Jesus Christ.”
“Well, I will get rid of them,” I replied arrogantly.
Two weeks went by without my being able to do so. They were now visiting my brother and my sister and many of my friends. They were surrounding me on all sides, and I didn’t even know who was responsible for what felt like an ambush.
The following week, my brother told me that two of my friends had already been baptized and that another was going to be baptized that Sunday. I agreed to go to church on Sunday just to see my friend’s baptism. “But this is crazy,” I said to myself.
That Sunday I finally met the two missionaries who had been giving me so many headaches. At the end of the baptismal service they came up to me, gave me a Book of Mormon, and invited me to hear the first discussion. On the inside I was resisting and shouting, “No!” But on the outside I was crying, and I said, “Yes,” to all their invitations.
A week later, there I was watching another of my friends be baptized. And on the following Sunday, my best friend and I also entered the waters of baptism.
Almost a month went by. I felt a need not just to believe, but to know for sure that these things were true. One Sunday morning I decided not to go to church but to go somewhere else and pray. I headed toward a hill about six miles (9 km) from the city. When I got there I found a place off the beaten path where I could be at peace. After almost an hour of reading the Book of Mormon, pondering, praying for an answer, and intending to stay there until I received one, something strange started happening. I felt a desire to go to church. My heart was beating rapidly. That was my answer.
Almost in spite of myself, I got on my bicycle, returned to the city, and got to the meetinghouse as quickly as I could. To my great surprise, the meetings were just starting.
Ever since then I have known that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and that this is His Church. It’s a message I shared as a full-time missionary, trying to be the same kind of missionary as those sisters I couldn’t get rid of.
How Could They Forgive Me?
One evening several years ago as I was driving home from work after having picked up my two children, I momentarily lost consciousness. When I came to, I found myself looking up over the dashboard just in time to see a pickup truck right in front of me. The collision caused me to lose consciousness again. When I awoke, my vehicle was on its side and my children were screaming.
Several people rushed to help me and my children get out because our car’s engine was on fire. I was extremely sore all over, but my children and I escaped serious injury. My greatest concern at that moment was for the occupants of the vehicle I had hit.
Through the hours that followed and into the next day, my attempts to find out about the people in the other vehicle didn’t succeed. Finally, a hospital social worker came to my room and informed me that the driver of the other vehicle had been killed. I was devastated.
In the days following the accident I took time off work to recover physically, mentally, and emotionally. I also learned what had happened. I had crossed the center line into oncoming traffic and had hit a vehicle head-on. I also learned that the wife of the man who had lost his life had been a passenger in the vehicle and had been seriously injured. They had a large family, and although most of the children were grown and on their own, some were still at home. It was so disturbing for me to think that I had caused another human being to lose his life, a wife to lose her husband, children to lose their father, and grandchildren to lose their grandfather.
My physical wounds were healing, but the mental and emotional wounds were not. I kept asking myself, “Why did this happen?” I knew it had been an accident, but that did not make me feel any better. I was unable to sleep or cope with life. I couldn’t bear the thought of what the other driver’s family must be feeling.
I tried to get on with life and return to normal, but nothing seemed to work. All I could do was pray. I remember pleading for Heavenly Father to take this pain and suffering from me because I knew I could not continue on like this and fulfill my most precious callings as a wife and mother.
Then one day my doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a man standing on my porch. He had a very solemn and uneasy look on his face. Without saying a word, he handed me a box and an envelope. Accepting the gifts, I stood there, waiting for him to say something. After a moment I asked the man if I knew him. He shook his head and introduced himself. I instantly felt a lump in my throat as I recognized his last name. He was the eldest son of the man who had died in the accident.
I invited him in, and we talked for a long time. Our families had several common acquaintances, and he had heard through them what a difficult time I was having. He said his wife had asked him how he would feel if he were in my shoes, and that brought him to my doorstep. He told me his family knew it was an accident, and they knew their father and husband had received a call home from our Heavenly Father. He let me know his mother was going to be fine. We then hugged and cried for a time.
The envelope he gave me contained a card expressing that their prayers and thoughts were with my family and me. The box contained a small shelf plaque that reads:
“We work and pray, but at the end of the day, no matter how hard we try, there are still many reasons to cry. So please send us angels to comfort us in our fears and help us turn the small successes into cheers. Amen.”
My prayers had been answered. I was able to sleep that night for the first time in the two weeks since the accident.
Since then I have seen this man and his wife from time to time, and they always ask how we are doing and if there is anything we need. I remain humbled by their thoughtfulness and unselfishness.
One general conference Sunday, between the morning and afternoon sessions, my doorbell rang again. It was not only this man, but also his mother and younger brother. They did not stay long, but I cherish their visit. Once again they came bearing a gift—a beautiful painting of Christ with this scripture inscribed on it: “I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:29). The mother and I hugged and cried.
This family has taught me a kind of forgiveness and love that I never knew. I testify that through others our Heavenly Father and our Savior can convey Their love to us. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, and I now know that sometimes we have to let the atoning sacrifice of the Savior take away our pain when we have done all we can do. I am thankful that this family was able to feel and follow the promptings of the Spirit to answer my prayers.