One minute Norene was sitting quietly in the passenger seat with her little brother, Mark, while her sister, Janette, drove toward home. The next minute the car went out of control and crashed into a cement culvert.
The accident happened so fast Norene only knew that her face hurt, that Mark lay on the floor much too quietly, and that Janette sagged against the steering wheel with blood dripping from her head. A fear worse than any she had known in all her eight years seemed to freeze Norene’s body, and she began to cry.
She heard voices coming closer to the car. “You call an ambulance, and we’ll try to get them out before the car catches fire.” Hands reached in and lifted Norene through the window.
“Are you all right?” a woman asked.
“Yes, but my brother and sister—”
“We’ll have them out in a minute. You lie right here on the grass and rest.”
The man who had come to help pulled at the car doors, but they wouldn’t open. He climbed through the back window and over the seat to get Mark off the floor. He handed the still unmoving two-year-old out the window to the woman. After she laid Mark on the grass beside Norene, she and the man carefully lifted Janette through the broken glass.
Janette moaned weakly and opened her eyes. She tried to reach out to Norene, but her hand fell to the grass by her side and her eyes closed again.
“The ambulance should be here any minute,” the woman told Norene, putting her arm around her shoulder. “Don’t cry any more. They’ll take good care of all of you. Where’re your mother and father?”
“They went on a trip,” Norene replied. “My big sister knows where.”
“Well, the folks at the hospital will find them, and everything will be all right. Don’t you worry.”
The trip to the hospital was a frightening one. The siren was going, and the attendants were too busy with Janette and Mark to offer Norene any comfort.
At the hospital a nurse helped Norene onto the bed in a little room and cleaned the cuts on her face. Janette and Mark had been taken to a room down the hall. Norene tried to answer all the questions the nurse asked, but there were many things she didn’t know. Then a new nurse came in and put her arm around Norene’s shoulder.
“Your sister is too sick to tell us very much, but whenever she is able to talk, she says, ‘Get the elders.’ Norene, do you know what that means?”
“Oh, yes! She wants you to call the missionaries.”
“What missionaries does she mean?”
“The Mormon missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Norene answered. “Can you find them?”
“I don’t know if there are any in our town, dear, but I’ll try to find one.”
“Can I see my sister and brother now?”
“Not yet. The doctor is still with them. I’ll be back, and as soon as possible, I’ll take you to see them.”
When she was alone, Norene began to pray. She asked Heavenly Father to help her sister and brother and to please bring Mom and Dad to them quickly. When she opened her eyes, the door had been swung open and she could see nurses and doctors hurrying back and forth, pushing carts and carrying trays filled with bandages and medicines. Then she saw two young men. Their faces were unfamiliar, but Norene knew who they were. They wore suits and had name tags. She had never been so glad to see anyone in her life. Norene ran out of the room. “Are you the elders?” she asked.
“Yes, we are,” one of the young men answered. He glanced at a paper. “Are you Norene?”
“Yes.” She threw her arms around the young missionary’s waist. “Will you give my brother and sister a blessing? They’re really hurt.”
“We’ll be glad to, Norene,” the other missionary replied. “Would you like a blessing too?”
“Yes, please,” she answered.
An elderly couple hurried down the hall. “We got here as soon as we could,” the man said, all out of breath.
“Brother and Sister Kendall,” the first missionary said, “this is Norene. We’re going to administer to her and her brother and sister now.”
A calm feeling came into the room when the elders put their hands on Janette’s head and then on Mark’s. They asked Heavenly Father to heal them and to help the doctors do everything they needed to do. When Norene’s turn came, a peaceful feeling took the place of the frantic one she had had, and she knew everything would be all right.
The doctor and nurses came back into the room to take care of Janette and Mark. One of the nurses said, “I’m afraid you won’t be able to see your brother and sister again until tomorrow. Please go out to the waiting room now and try to get some rest.”
Norene and the missionaries went back into the hallway. The elderly woman held out her hand. “Until your parents are located and can get here, how would you like to come home with us?” Sister Kendall asked. “My husband and I are here on a mission, too, and we have grandchildren back home who are just about your age. It would be a treat to have you stay overnight with us.”
Norene thought for a minute. She felt sure that Heavenly Father would watch over Janette and Mark and that He must have sent these kind people to take care of her until her mom and dad came. She reached out, put her hand in Sister Kendall’s and walked with her toward the door.