Lost in a Blizzard

(Based on a true story)
Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him (Alma 34:19).

I stood with my face pressed against the window, trying to see the shed next to our house. For three days, the whirling, howling wind had threatened to blow our house down. We were in the middle of a big blizzard. My family was living in Wisdom, Montana, where Dad was working on a large cattle ranch. He said I was his best cowhand, aside from Mom, of course.

“Danny, it’s time to go feed the cows,” Mom called as she walked into the room carrying my two-year-old sister Brenda. My other sister, June, trailed behind.

We bundled up in our coats, hats, and gloves, and climbed into the red pickup. “We should have a truck with four-wheel-drive in these conditions,” Dad said, shaking his head. Mom looked at Dad with concern. But she knew that the cattle must be fed, even in a fierce storm like this.

The raging wind yanked the truck from side to side as we drove to the haystack. A frozen snowdrift completely covered the fence. It was frozen so hard that the cows could walk right over it and eat the hay.

When Dad opened the truck door and jumped out, a cold blast of wind made us huddle in our coats. It took Dad a long time to dig the tractor out of the snow and load it with hay. It took even longer to move the hay to where the cows could eat it. The wind kept blowing it away.

Finally the cattle were fed, and we headed for home. The wind had picked up speed and was blowing snow from the open fields all around us, surrounding us with white. Snow had also blown across the road, creating huge snowdrifts. Dad had to speed up before each snowdrift. Without a running start, the truck couldn’t make it through them. It seemed like it took forever just to go a short distance.

About the time Mom said we were a mile from home, we hit a drift that stopped us in our tracks. Dad and Mom worked for some time to dig us out, but we stayed stuck. They climbed back into the truck and Dad thought for a moment.

“Danny,” he said, “you and I will walk to the house and come back for Mom and the girls on the snowmobiles.”

“Good idea, Dad!” I exclaimed. Excitement welled up inside me. I loved riding the snowmobiles! I slid out of the truck and walked in Dad’s footprints through the snowdrifts toward home. Even though the wind threatened to knock me down, and the snow blowing against my face felt like bundles of knives skinning me, I still felt like I was having a great adventure with Dad.

Anticipation kept my feet going until we arrived at the shed with the snowmobiles. I looked up at Dad. “Can I ride up over the hill?” I asked. “I’ll stay alongside the road and then go on down to the truck.”

“No, Son. Please stay on the road,” Dad said without hesitation. He turned and looked right at me. “Blizzards are very dangerous, Danny. You need to stay on the road and go straight to the truck. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Dad.”

He started a snowmobile for me. “Can I go now?” I asked.

“OK, but remember to stay on the road. It will guide you back to the truck.”

I climbed on the snowmobile and headed out. “I’ll go over the hill. It will be faster. I can beat Dad back to the truck,” I thought once I was out of Dad’s sight. I quickly turned and drove up the hill. The wind swirled around me and I was having trouble seeing very far ahead. But I was having fun. Surely I could beat Dad to the truck.

I rode and rode in what I thought was the right direction. No truck. I rode further. Still no truck. Fear started to creep up inside me. “I should be to the truck by now.” I came to a large ravine, stopped, and looked around, trying to recognize my surroundings.

“Where am I?” This wasn’t fun anymore. My glorious adventure was gone, and I was freezing! The wind yanked at me. It was so loud I couldn’t think.

I was lost and plain scared. “What can I do?” I remembered Dad’s words and how I had disobeyed him. I closed my eyes tight, trying to hold back the tears. Suddenly I realized I could die in this blizzard!

“Oh please, someone help me.” My words were scattered by the wind just as the hay had been.

Then I felt a warm, tingling feeling spread over me like a blanket. I knew what I needed to do. I quickly climbed off the snowmobile and knelt beside it to offer a simple prayer. “Heavenly Father,” I said, “I’m lost. I’m sorry I disobeyed Dad. Please help me get home.”

As soon as I finished my prayer, a feeling inside me said, “Look up.” I looked up and saw the power lines. This was the way home and an answer to my prayer!

I hopped back on my snowmobile and carefully followed the power lines back to the house. Leaving my snowmobile running, I ran inside to see if Dad had made it back with Mom and the girls. No one was there. I turned and ran back outside, jumped on the snowmobile, and started for the truck, this time following the road. But I only made it a few yards when the snowmobile ran out of gas. I was so cold! I ran back inside and curled up in a sleeping bag to warm up.

Moments later, Dad, Mom, and my sisters arrived home on the other snowmobile.

“Danny!” Mom exclaimed as she rushed in, pulled me to her, and held me tight. “What happened? Why didn’t you make it to the truck?”

I looked up into her eyes and told the truth: I had disobeyed Dad and gotten lost. “Mom, I know Heavenly Father loves me because I made it home safe again. He answered my prayer today.”

[Prayers in Time of Need]

Elder Richard G. Scott

“The Lord will hear your prayers in time of need.” Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Power of a Strong Testimony,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 88.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dan Burr

Danny and Lindi Anderson are members of the Ashley First Ward, Vernal Utah Maeser Stake.