The Courage of Anisberto

Anisberto meant to be careful cutting the sugarcane, but somehow his big machete slipped. When the Perez family saw their nine-year-old son’s wound, they were frightened and took him to the missionaries for help.

The tip of Anisberto’s finger was almost cut off, and Elder McClellan and his companion struggled for more than three hours before they could stop the bleeding. The missionaries knew that Anisberto needed a doctor, but there was no medical help on the small island in the Caribbean Sea.

At first, flying to the mainland seemed a frightening experience to Anisberto. But when Elder McClellan said he would go too, the boy was no longer afraid.

Early the next morning a dugout canoe took the Indian boy and his missionary friend to meet the plane. Before leaving the island, they offered a special prayer and asked our Father in heaven to protect them as they traveled.

The plane was crowded when it arrived on the island, so Elder McClellan held Anisberto on his lap.

The sandy landing strip was soft from the night’s rain, making it difficult to reach takeoff speed. At the end of the runway the pilot lifted the plane sharply, but the slow speed dragged it back down. Windows shattered as the aircraft crashed into the ocean!

A wing near Anisberto collapsed. Water, broken glass, and panic filled the cabin as Anisberto wiggled free from the seat belt and swam out the opposite side. Elder McClellan was forced underwater, but finally he too was able to swim out through a broken window. He found Anisberto treading water.

Sensing that the plane could not stay afloat much longer, Elder McClellan took hold of Anisberto and started to swim back to the island, calling to the other passengers to follow. Just as the plane sunk out of sight, boats arrived and picked up the tired swimmers. Soon everyone was safely back on shore.

Anisberto’s family greeted the two travelers calmly. “We knew the Lord would save you,” they explained.

They also knew Anisberto still needed to see a doctor. So a boat was found and hours later, after a chilly ride, the elder and the boy reached the mainland, where a doctor treated the wound.

Afterward Anisberto wondered about flying back to the island. He kept his courage, however, and agreed to fly if Elder McClellan was with him. The trip home was without accident.

Before long Anisberto was taken back to the mainland hospital, because the doctor found that his finger was not healing. A few days later Elder McClellan was also hospitalized with bronchial pneumonia. Now the two friends were together again and together they became well.

Anisberto’s experience showed him and his family that our Heavenly Father loves His children everywhere in the world.

Remembering his Indian friend, Elder McClellan says, “I still marvel at the courage and trust of young Anisberto.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Jerry Thompson