Courage to Ask a Question
In the summer of 1994 I took a break from school in Taipei, Taiwan, to return to my hometown of Miao-li to spend my vacation. While home I took a job at a floral shop. My heart is full of gratitude when I recall what followed.
As I was watering plants one day, a man in a motorized wheelchair stopped by to look at the flowers. He bashfully declined my invitation to come inside the store, but something about him left a deep impression on my mind. Afterward I ran into him several times on the street, and we would exchange a nod and a friendly smile.
One hot day as I was sitting in a restaurant enjoying a bowl of shaved ice, someone patted me on the shoulder. It was the man in the wheelchair. He was dressed up nicely and had a big smile on his face. He bravely asked for my name and phone number and left.
A few days later, he called to invite me to attend a Church dinner. Encouraged by a friend, I hesitantly went. The dinner was delicious, and the reception the members gave me made me feel welcome from the moment I entered. Later that evening another Church member asked for my address and phone number in Taipei and sent my information to the missionaries there. Thus began my eternal tie with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was baptized and confirmed in the fall of 1994 and served a full-time mission in 1997. Two years after I returned home, I married a returned missionary, and we began our family.
All of these blessings came to pass because a member of the Church had the courage to ask a question. At the time, he was a total stranger, but eventually he helped lead me to the Savior’s gospel. He reminds me of a scripture I came to know in the Book of Mormon: “I have none other object save it be the everlasting welfare of your souls” (2 Nephi 2:30).
A Warning Voice
I had been staying with my parents for a few days, taking a break because I had been ill. But it was now time to return home, so I said my farewells and caught a bus into Leicester, in central England. I watched houses pass by and people busily going about their daily lives. It was a bright, sunny day in the summer of 1976, and I was feeling happy, ready to tackle anything that came my way. I alighted the bus and walked a mile to the railway station.
Passengers jostled on the station platform as they waited for trains to take them to their various destinations. Every now and then a voice would come over the loudspeaker announcing the trains.
Soon the train I was waiting for arrived. But as I stepped aboard, a distinct impression came over me. I stepped back, feeling strongly that I should not take the train but that I should return home via the bus. I had purchased a return train ticket, and I couldn’t really afford to pay for a bus ticket as well. My impression was so strong, however, that I could not ignore it.
I was fairly new in the Church, but I had felt the Spirit when I was baptized and confirmed. As I was about to board the train, I heard a quiet voice say, “No!” I stood still for a while to see if I would hear it again, and again the voice said, “No!’
As soon as I had left the railway station, I felt a warmth that confirmed the correctness of my decision. After I arrived at the bus station, I had to wait more than an hour for a bus to take me home to Coventry. Had I taken the train, I would have already arrived—or so I thought. But on the bus, I didn’t get home until early evening.
Turning on the television news, I was shocked by what I saw. The train I was scheduled to take had crashed just outside of Nuneaton! Many people had been injured, and there had been several fatalities.
I always traveled in the front coach, just behind the train engine—an area that was severely damaged. I couldn’t help but think what would have happened to me had I not listened to the still, small voice. I also couldn’t help but think about all the family history and temple work I would have been unable to complete for my deceased ancestors had I been seriously injured or killed.
I am grateful for the warning, confirming voice of the Holy Ghost. I know that if we heed the voice of the Spirit, we cannot go wrong.
I Needed a Blessing
In February 2005 I was going through the final phase of my army officer candidate school in the wintry woods of Alabama. We spent days and nights perfecting small-infantry tactics in freezing temperatures. One particular evening a hard, freezing rain poured incessantly on us as my fellow officer candidates and I struggled to set up camp to bunk down for the night.
I felt miserable. My hands and feet were frostbitten, and every movement was painful. I was soaked from head to toe. Every part of my body was shaking. To make matters worse, I feared that I was developing pneumonia, which I had had several times in the past.
The thought of quitting crossed my mind, but I then recalled the example of the handcart pioneers who never gave up despite seemingly insurmountable odds. I resolved that I would finish my training. My family and I had sacrificed too much for me to give up on my goal of becoming an officer. I prayed to Heavenly Father for strength to keep going.
I did not sleep at all that night, and the next day found me in worse shape. I was exhausted. Hours of training in the cold did nothing to alleviate my pain and coughing. One of the instructors noticed my condition and ordered me to spend a couple of hours in the warm-up tent.
While standing barefoot in the mud and hanging up my soaked clothes, I yearned for a priesthood blessing. One of the tent flaps suddenly opened, and in walked two officer candidates. I began chatting with one of them, Scott Lundell. Somehow the conversation steered toward international travel. Scott told me he had spent a couple years in the Philippines before joining the service. The Spirit immediately told me that Scott was a returned missionary.
“What did you do over there?” I asked.
“Oh, just a church thing,” he replied.
“Are you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I asked.
“Yes, I am,” he said.
“I am too,” I added.
As we shook hands, I asked Scott if he would give me a blessing. He unhesitatingly said yes, and I knelt in the mud. He pronounced the blessing, and I was healed immediately! Strength returned to me, and I stopped coughing. My illness was gone. I finished my training, and a month later I was commissioned an officer.
Heavenly Father truly is mindful of each of us and in His own way will bless us as we exercise faith in Him. In our most difficult moments, He will bear us up.
Scott Lundell was killed in action in Afghanistan on November 25, 2006. I didn’t know him well, yet his death deeply affected me. Heavenly Father sent him to me at a critical point in my life. I will never forget him, and I will always remember that special blessing given to me by a worthy priesthood holder.
The Power of Two Testimonies
One day as I was looking through books in the Deseret Industries thrift store near my home, I decided to buy a copy of the Book of Mormon to give to a friend on Easter morning. I found a nice used copy, put it into my cart, and continued to browse. I soon came upon another copy that looked even nicer, so I exchanged it for the one in my cart and headed to the cashier.
Upon arriving home, I slipped the Book of Mormon into my desk to save it for Easter. When Easter arrived, I pulled it out and decided to write my testimony inside.
Imagine my surprise when, as I opened the book, I saw a picture of my family taken 25 years before. Beneath the picture was a testimony written by my father. He had recently passed away, and tears sprang to my eyes as I read his testimony and felt his presence.
I remembered that when I was a youth, President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) had challenged families to personalize copies of the Book of Mormon with their pictures and testimonies and then send them to Church headquarters to be distributed to missions throughout the world. 1 When I found this copy of the Book of Mormon, I lived several hundred miles away from where my family had lived when we first had the book.
After adding my testimony to my father’s testimony, I gave the Book of Mormon to my friend. I then thanked my Heavenly Father for the blessing that the former Book of Mormon project had given to both my friend and me. My friend felt especially touched by my father’s testimony and the special “coincidence” that had occurred. She eventually gained her own testimony of the Book of Mormon and entered the waters of baptism.
My testimony was strengthened as I was touched by President Benson’s inspiration and by the blessing of that Book of Mormon finding its way back into my hands after 25 years.
See “Flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 4–5.
Illustrations by Daniel Lewis