Called to Rescue

By Sandra Marsaw

The author lives in Arizona, USA.

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Challenged by two presidents to rescue others, I tried and failed—until I included the Lord in my efforts.

Some years ago, my stake president initiated a series of meetings on “The Rescue,” President Thomas S. Monson’s call to Church members to invite less-active members and those not of our faith to receive all the blessings of the restored gospel. I came away from the meetings feeling personally called to help with the rescue.

Throughout the years, I have invited less-active sisters to church, given copies of the Book of Mormon to friends, and had gospel-centered discussions with members of other faiths. Yet nothing I did resulted in any fruit I could see. Most painful of all had been my inability to bring one of my children back to the Church.

However, as I pondered the invitation to rescue others, words from the Primary song “Nephi’s Courage” (Children’s Songbook, 121) came to mind:

I will go; I will do the thing the Lord commands.

I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey.

woman praying

Illustration by Julie Rogers

I knew that two of the Lord’s servants had asked me to obey. I just needed to trust the Lord to provide a way. So I began praying for His help. Several days later, the name of a sister I visit teach came to mind. I had been visiting LaDonna for more than a year. The only Latter-day Saint in her home, she had come to church several years earlier but had stopped coming because of family emergencies.

As I prayed for guidance, the Spirit whispered that I wasn’t including the Lord enough. So I began entering LaDonna’s name on the temple’s prayer roll. My husband and I began to pray for her every day, and we fasted for her on fast Sundays.

One day, LaDonna told me unexpectedly that she wanted to go to church the next Sunday. I was thrilled. However, six weeks later, LaDonna’s mother-in-law was hospitalized; LaDonna felt she had to stop coming to church in order to care for her.

Shortly afterward, I received inspiration to prepare a meal for LaDonna’s mother-in-law when she came home from the hospital. About 2:00 a.m. a few days later, I awoke abruptly, overwhelmed with the impression that I needed to bring them dinner that very day.

I was unable to contact LaDonna during the day, but that night, not knowing if anyone was home but trusting in the Spirit, I took the meal to their house. When I arrived, I discovered they had come from the hospital just 20 minutes earlier. I told them how I had been prompted to bring them a meal. I wanted them to know, as I did, that Heavenly Father was aware of their needs.

Sometime later while visiting LaDonna, her husband, Harry, mentioned that he wanted to start reading the scriptures. I was prompted to challenge him to read the Book of Mormon. This time, however, I didn’t want to follow the prompting. I was afraid of offending him. But as Harry continued to speak, the impression grew stronger, and the words “be bold” came clearly to my mind. I took a deep breath and gave him the challenge.

Harry responded that he already knew what Mormons believe. Peace came over me, and I received inspiration on what to say. I told Harry that he didn’t need to take anyone’s word on what Mormons believe. He could find out himself by reading the Book of Mormon. I promised him that God would let him know what was true. Much to my surprise, Harry accepted the challenge.

LaDonna and Harry began to read the Book of Mormon together. Several weeks later, while they were reading, Harry stopped and asked, “What do Mormons believe?”

LaDonna pointed to a bookmark with the Articles of Faith that I had given him and said, “This is what we believe.” He read the bookmark several times, and as he pondered, the Spirit witnessed to him that the Articles of Faith are from God. With that witness, he knew the Church was true. He surprised his wife by announcing that he wanted to be baptized.

I watched in amazement as the Lord continued His work. Harry’s brother, John, overheard one of the lessons and became interested. He soon began taking the missionary lessons as well. Both Harry and John were baptized.

I’ve learned that rescuing others is not about me; it is not about my unsuccessful attempts. It is and always will be the Lord’s rescue. All He requires is that we ask for and use His help. The Holy Spirit knows how and where to direct us.