99965_000_002(Adapted from an October 1996 conference address. See Ensign, November 1996, pages 16–19.)Hear my voice and follow me (D&C 38:22).
Long years ago, when I served as a bishop, I learned that Mary Watson, a member of my ward, was a patient in the county hospital. When I went to visit her, I discovered her in a large room with so many beds that it was difficult to single her out. As I identified her bed and approached her, I said, “Hello, Mary.”
She replied, “Hello, Bishop.”
I noticed that a patient in the bed next to Mary Watson covered her face with the bedsheet.
I gave Mary a blessing, shook her hand, and said good-bye, but I could not leave her side. It was as though an unseen hand were resting on my shoulder, and I felt within my soul that I was hearing these words: “Go over to the next bed, where the little lady covered her face when you came in.” I did so. I have learned in my life never to postpone responding to a prompting.
I gently tapped the other patient on her shoulder and carefully pulled back the sheet that had covered her face. Lo and behold, she, too, was a member of my ward. I had not known that she was a patient there. Her name was Kathleen McKee. When her eyes met mine, she exclaimed through her tears, “Oh, Bishop, when you entered that door, I felt you had come to see me and bless me in response to my prayers. I was rejoicing inside to think that you knew I was here. When you stopped at the other bed, my heart sank, and I knew that you had not come to see me.”
I said to Kathleen McKee: “It does not matter that I didn’t know that you were here. It is important, however, that our Heavenly Father knew and that you had prayed for a priesthood blessing. It was He who prompted me to come to you now.”
A blessing was given, a prayer was answered. I bestowed a kiss on her forehead and left the hospital with gratitude in my heart for the promptings of the Spirit. It was the last time I saw Kathleen McKee alive.
Down through time, the message from Jesus Christ has been the same. To Peter and Andrew by the shores of beautiful Galilee, He said, “Follow me” (Matt. 4:18–19). To Philip came the call, “Follow me” (John 1:43). To Levi, who sat at receipt of customs (collected taxes for the Romans), came the instruction, “Follow me” (Luke 5:27). And to you and to me, if we but listen, shall come that same invitation, “Follow me.”