His Promise Was Fulfilled
Ted Bainbridge, Colorado, USA
During a combined priesthood and Relief Society meeting in 2009, our high priests group leader explained our stake presidency’s desire for every adult to take a family name to the temple within a year. He introduced stake and ward programs to help members achieve that goal. As he concluded, he gave an authoritative promise by virtue of his responsibility for the family history program that if we would try to achieve the stake’s goal, we would succeed.
After the meeting my wife and I discussed the promise and agreed that it could not apply to me; we had already spent 40 years investigating every branch of my family tree. My ancestors were difficult to find, and we had made no significant progress for several years. We believed nothing more could be done. Nevertheless, the group leader’s promise echoed in my mind for the next few days. I decided to take him up on his promise. Staring at my pedigree chart, I tried to think of what I could do.
After three days of careful thought, I felt inspired to look in a specific place for information about one of the end-of-line people on my chart. In less than half a day of research on the Internet, I discovered that another man had researched that family name in an English parish. One of the most recent names he’d located was my end-of-line person. Using his data, I was able to extend my line another five generations—back to 1650—and include the maiden names of several women in my line and the names of several brothers and sisters. My wife and I were stunned and delighted.
Some time later I started hunting for information on the Internet about a great-great-grandfather who had seemingly disappeared. After a brief search, I found him. I discovered that he had moved from Pennsylvania, USA, to Wisconsin, USA, shortly after his first wife’s death. With information gathered from Wisconsin records, I added more than 400 names to my family history.
Later I discovered 100 ancestors who had fought in America’s Revolutionary and Civil Wars. I traced six lines to the 1600s.
During my previous 40 years of research, I had recorded about 65 names on my pedigree chart and almost 3,000 names in my database. In the 20 months after my high priests group leader made his promise, I added more than 70 names to the chart and more than 17,000 names to the database, including two presidents of the United States!
The Lord tells us that His word “shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). Truly, Heavenly Father’s promise, given through an inspired, authorized priesthood leader, was fulfilled.
After three days of careful thought, I felt inspired to look in a specific place for information about one of the end-of-line people on my pedigree chart.
The Spirit Spoke through Me
Christy Rusch Banz, Utah, USA
When I received my call to serve in the France Toulouse Mission, I was excited to serve in a foreign country and learn a new language. Despite not having studied French before, I was confident I would be able to learn to speak the language easily.
My stake president blessed me with the gift of tongues when he set me apart as a missionary. This blessing added to my confidence that I would be able to learn French quickly.
When I arrived at the missionary training center in Provo, Utah, I was eager to begin, but my time at the MTC was humbling. I was overwhelmed and struggled every day. When I left the MTC, I felt I had made few advances with French. I wondered when the gift of tongues would come.
My first assignment in the mission field was in a small town in southern France. One afternoon, just days after I had arrived, my companion and I were street contacting. I didn’t say much when we spoke with people—I could hardly understand them, and they could hardly understand me.
We approached a woman, and my companion began telling her about the Church. The woman listened for a few minutes and then suddenly turned to me and said, “What do you have to say?”
I anxiously and desperately tried to remember something I had learned. In a trembling voice, I bore a simple testimony about Heavenly Father and the Book of Mormon. As I did so, the Spirit bore witness to me that what I had said was true. I don’t know if the woman felt anything, but she smiled, turned back to my companion, and asked her to continue with her message.
This experience taught me an important lesson. I learned that even though I couldn’t speak French well, the Spirit could speak through me. I learned that perhaps the blessing I had received from my stake president was actually a blessing to be able to speak the language of the Spirit.
President Thomas S. Monson taught: “There is one language … that is common to each missionary—the language of the Spirit. It is not learned from textbooks written by men of letters, nor is it acquired through reading and memorization. The language of the Spirit comes to him who seeks with all his heart to know God and keep His divine commandments. Proficiency in this language permits one to breach barriers, overcome obstacles, and touch the human heart” (“The Spirit Giveth Life,” Liahona, June 1997, 4; Ensign, June 1997, 2).
Years later, this experience still influences me. I am not required to preach the gospel in French anymore, but I need the help of the Spirit when I am asked to teach a lesson or give a talk in church. When I feel that I am struggling to express myself, I find comfort in remembering that the Spirit is able to speak to the hearts of all of God’s children.
The woman listened for a few minutes and then suddenly turned to me and said, “What do you have to say?”
The Temple Was Closed!
Chinedu Enwereuzo, Lagos, Nigeria
Our marriage in the temple was set for July 7, 2009—a date that we eagerly anticipated. Having grown up near the Aba Nigeria Temple, we were pleased that even though we had moved away, many friends and family members still living in the area would be able to join us either in the temple or later at a reception.
We arrived in Aba after traveling more than six hours from Lagos and made our final preparations for our sealing and reception. But three days before our scheduled wedding date, we were told that the temple was unexpectedly closed until further notice. We were distraught and confused. No one could tell us when the temple, which had closed because of unrest in the area, might reopen. Disappointed, we told friends and family that our sealing was being postponed, and we sadly returned to Lagos without knowing when we might reschedule another sealing date at the temple.
Upon retuning to Lagos, we prayed fervently for the Aba Nigeria Temple to reopen. A week passed without any news about a reopening date. This one week seemed like one year to us. We looked forward to our temple marriage and celebrating with friends and family as soon as possible.
As time passed with no news regarding a reopening date, we felt that we should consider alternatives. Because the Aba Nigeria Temple is the only temple in Nigeria, we realized that we would have to travel to the Accra Ghana Temple if we were going to be sealed anytime soon. Unfortunately, the trip would cost money we did not have. But we had always planned on a temple marriage, and we knew that we should move forward.
Borrowing money from family and friends, we arranged for an international passport, called the Accra Ghana Temple to schedule a date, and purchased airline tickets to fly to Ghana.
We arrived in Accra on August 14, 2009, and went to the temple the next day. In the sealing room, only the temple sealer and two witnesses joined us. No friends, no family, and no one we knew was with us. But in an unfamiliar country, in an area far from our home, we knew we were where we should be, doing what we should be doing. During that moment, we felt the powers of eternity and understood more clearly the love Heavenly Father has for us and for all of His children.
Tragically, my wife died in 2010 after giving birth to our first child. I miss her deeply but take great comfort in knowing that we have been sealed in the temple. I am eternally grateful that we didn’t put off our temple marriage by waiting for a convenient time. Our marriage is something I will always cherish and includes a story I will never forget.
Could I Find a Job?
Greg Burgoyne, South Africa
I stared at the folded bill in my hand as I realized I still needed to pay tithing on money I had earned during the last week of my summer job. I owed 90 rands in tithing, and I had one R100 bill.
I had just started my final year of medical school and had many school expenses. I sat there fiddling with the R100 bill, thinking about paying tithing. My summer job had ended, and it was unlikely I’d find a job that would fit into my busy schedule. However, my parents had taught me to pay a full tithe. This money belonged to the Lord, and I knew it. With that thought, I placed the money in the envelope and paid my tithing.
In the days following, as I searched for a job, I prayed that the windows of heaven would open for me. I needed a job that would fit my schedule, pay well for low hours, and still allow me time to study. In short, I needed a miracle.
Two weeks later a friend suggested that I apply for a job at the hospital where our medical school had just opened a new education floor. I walked to the office and knocked on the door. The woman inside, who had taught our class two years before, remembered me.
“I was wondering if you were looking to hire any tutors for your new program,” I said. “If you are, I would like to be hired.”
“We are indeed,” she replied. “We are looking for someone to tutor a group of second-year medical students for an hour in the afternoons. It’s a flexible start time and will require you to study a different patient each day and then to teach the students. Can you do that?” she asked.
The Lord had helped me find a job that was exactly what I needed! It was the answer to my prayer.
After working a month, I found out just how much I had been blessed. My paycheck showed that I was being paid a monthly salary three times higher than I had thought. In addition, I received vacation pay.
The Lord had opened the windows of heaven and showered me with blessings far greater than I had ever expected. As a result, my faith was strengthened in the principle of tithing.
I needed a job that would fit my schedule, pay well for low hours, and still allow me time to study. In short, I needed a miracle.
Illustrations by Bjorn Thorkelson