Anna’s Journey

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The train rumbled through the night until it shuddered to a halt at the station in Salt Lake City. It was nearly midnight. Anna grabbed her bag and dragged it onto the platform. Her tired eyes searched for her aunt.

But there was no one waiting for her.

Fear slid over Anna. She scanned the platform again, hoping she had missed something. Her eyes lingered on the shadows. She tried to make out people’s features in the flickering lights. But her aunt was not there.

Strangers walked up to her and asked her questions. Anna thought they wanted to help, but she could not understand what they were saying.

She had never felt so scared in her life. Not when her classmates in Sweden had mocked her new faith. Not when she had been sick on the boat to New York. And not even when she had said good-bye to Mamma.

Anna closed her eyes and thought back to her mother’s words: “Don’t forget to pray to your Father in Heaven because He can understand you.”

Anna knelt on the platform next to her suitcase and prayed harder than she had ever prayed in her life. She prayed that Heavenly Father would send her someone who spoke Swedish and could understand her.

When she finished her prayer, she looked up. There was still no one waiting for her. But then she saw a German family she recognized from the train ride. The mother motioned for her to follow them. Still crying, Anna grabbed her bag and shuffled after them.

She followed them to the south gate of the Temple Square block. She looked at the spot where the beautiful new temple had been built. Then suddenly Anna heard quick footsteps nearby. A woman was hurrying toward them, looking closely at all the arriving immigrants. The woman’s gaze passed over the German family. Then she paused on Anna. When Anna looked up, the woman stopped and stared. Anna stared back, hope rising in her.

Anna knew her! It was her Sunday School teacher who had gone to Utah only a year before. She knew her!

The teacher pulled Anna tightly into her arms. She wiped away Anna’s tears and whispered in Swedish, “I had gone to bed, but I was awakened over and over again. Images of the arriving immigrants raced through my mind. I could not go back to sleep. I was prompted to come to the temple to see if there was anyone I knew here.” She took Anna’s hand and led her down the street. “Now come with me.”

Later Anna learned that her aunt and uncle had moved from Salt Lake and had not received her mother’s letter. Her teacher sent word to them, and they came to pick up Anna four days later. Eventually Ida and Anna were able to bring Mamma to America too.

But for now, none of that mattered. As Anna walked to her teacher’s home, she thought, Heavenly Father more than answered my prayer. I only asked for someone who could understand me, and He sent someone I knew.