“Vivre avec ma famille à tout jamais, ensemble à tout jamais. …” You might recognize this song if you knew its English title: “Families Can Be Together Forever.” This song, along with many others, often rings through the halls of the Anthian home. Oksana Anthian, 9, her older sisters Sarah, 12, and Lydia, 11, and younger brother Benjamin, 7, regularly fill the house with music.
Oksana plays the piano, flute, and xylophone. She started playing the piano several months ago and has played the flute and xylophone for two years. She attends a special school that focuses on music, along with her sister, Lydia. Oksana studies French, English, and math at school like other children in Quebec, but there are more music classes than in a normal school. Oksana and Lydia are the only members of the Church in their school.
The Anthians live in Bois-des-Filion, a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, in Canada. In Quebec, many people speak both French and English. The Anthians speak mostly French—Oksana’s father, Eric, is from France. But the children are learning to speak English in school.
Oksana has had some challenges in her life. About two years ago, she developed a lot of pain in her back and legs, so much that she couldn’t walk or bend over. Her parents took her to the hospital, where the doctors discovered a tumor on her spine. As the doctors prepared to operate, they told her parents that she had a 50% chance of being paralyzed from the waist down. “I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me,” Oksana says.
“The doctors scheduled an emergency operation on fast Sunday,” Oksana’s mom, Andreé, explains. “Members of our ward fasted for her. And when the doctor came out of the operating room, he said it was like a miracle.” The doctors were able to easily remove the tumor without damaging Oksana’s spine, which they had not thought would be possible. “It was a miracle,” Oksana’s mom adds. Today Oksana is healthy and happy, though she still has one more surgery scheduled to remove some metal rods placed in her spine, which are helping it to grow straight again.
She loves her family and enjoys spending time with them. One of her favorite activities is family home evening. Oksana likes the games and refreshments, and she also enjoys performing with her sisters: “Sometimes when I play the piano, Lydia plays the violin and Sarah sings.” Another favorite family activity is movie night. Oksana says, “Each Friday, one of us gets to pick a video to watch.” The children switch off choosing a movie from week to week. Family meals are another fun time—Oksana enjoys eating pizza, hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, tacos, and spaghetti.
The family has a lot of fun traveling together. They like to visit their cabin in St. Denis (on the St. Lawrence River, north of Montreal). Oksana also likes to visit her Tonton Pierre, who lives nearby. (Tonton is a French word for uncle.)
Oksana likes so many Primary songs that she can’t name them all! But some of her favorites are “Love One Another,” “On a Golden Springtime,” “Families Can Be Together Forever,” “I Love to See the Temple,” “Where Love Is,” and “A Child’s Prayer.” Her love of music also extends to her plans for the future: she wants to become a musician when she grows up. But if that doesn’t happen, she would like to work with animals in some way. She loves to play with the family’s dogs, Goutchi and Vanill.
Music isn’t Oksana’s only interest. She also enjoys drawing, making crafts, playing computer games, and watching movies. One of her spiritual interests is reading her scriptures. Her favorite scripture story is about Daniel in the lions’ den (see Dan. 6). She says, “I started reading my scriptures regularly while working on my Gospel in Action Award, and I want to keep doing it.” She enjoys going to church and has many friends there.
Oksana is a good daughter, too. Her mom notes: “Oksana is a very clean girl. She has the neatest room in the house.” Whether through keeping her room tidy or filling her house with music, it’s clear that Oksana contributes to the harmony in her family.