By the time my uncle Ken Porter was 19 years old, he had flown more than 50 missions in Europe as a tail gunner on a B-17 for the U.S. military. Of all his World War II experiences, one of my favorites is his story of the first all-black fighter group, known to history as the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Tuskegee Airmen often acted as escorts for Ken and his bombing group, assigned to keep them as safe as possible and giving aid when needed. Their help was never more valued than during one hazardous mission over Hungary when things went badly and my uncle’s plane was hit by flak from head to tail, knocking off the nose cone, damaging two of the engines, and wounding most of the crew. In an attempt to stay in the air, they discarded most of their guns, ammo, and anything else they could find. Even so, their situation became dire until at last they were able to make radio contact with the Tuskegee Airmen.
“Where are you boys?” one of my uncle’s crewmen asked. “We can’t see you.”
Within seconds of his call, the answer came reassuringly back: “Don’t worry, fellas. You can’t see us, but we sure enough can see you!” With that, the Tuskegee Airmen flew in to help my uncle, his crew, and their damaged B-17 to safety.
In recalling that story, I’ve often thought how we also have a guide in our lives. While the Savior was gathered with His Apostles before His Crucifixion, He told them, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). This Comforter was also meant for us. With the Holy Ghost to guide us, our life’s journey will be safer and more sure, bringing us to where the Lord wants us to go.
This guide follows us through all phases of our lives. When I was younger, my life’s questions focused on things such as which university to attend, which career path to follow, whether or not to serve a mission, and whom to marry. Now as a parent, my decisions affect not only my life but also those of my husband and our children.
Such a decision faced our family several years ago when we were given the opportunity to adopt a child. It was a decision that required sacrifices of time and money and the changing of our family dynamics. After prayerful consideration, we felt certain there was a child waiting to join our family and started the process that eventually led us to an orphanage in Asia.
Once there, we continued to need the guidance of the Comforter. Because adoptive parents in that part of the world were allowed to choose their child, we needed help to know, in a very small amount of time, which child would fit into our family and be the most happy with us. We arrived at the orphanage with a prayer in our hearts.
After spending less than an hour moving from room to room, holding and playing with one child after another, we met Sophie, a beautiful four-year-old with a shy smile, sitting quietly in the last room we visited. For my husband and me, it was love at first sight, along with the assurance that this child was meant to be ours. In all the years since, we have never doubted or regretted our choice. Sophie is a vital part of our family and a joy to have with us.
We can have such guidance in all areas of our lives. If we consider the Holy Ghost as our personal guide, sent from a loving Father and His Son, we begin to understand how invaluable this blessing is to us. With the Comforter by our side, we can, like my uncle Ken and his crew, return safely home.