Make Our House Invisible
Alice W. Flade, Utah, USA
At the end of World War II, when I was 19 years old, enemy troops came to occupy my hometown in Europe. One evening my parents and I were sitting at our table when we heard a loud noise. We looked out through the blackout curtains, hung so that bombers couldn’t detect our house at night, to see enemy troops—along with their motorcycles, trucks, and tanks—coming into our village from two different directions. I was very frightened.
My father, always a faithful man, said simply, “Don’t be scared.” In the face of what was just outside our house, that was an extraordinary statement. We all knew that the soldiers would likely invade the neighborhood to pillage people’s homes. Father suggested that we kneel next to the couch and pray for Heavenly Father’s protection. He prayed, “Father in Heaven, please blind those soldiers. Make our house invisible so they won’t see it.”
After he prayed, my mother prayed. Then I prayed. Afterward, we returned to the table and cautiously looked out the window. We watched soldiers storm into every house on our street. Ours was the last one on the street. They approached our house but then passed our front gate and went to the next street. We watched them enter every house that we could see from our window.
After an invasion of about two hours, someone blew a loud whistle, and the soldiers returned to their vehicles. As they slowly left, we were tremendously relieved and knelt again, thanking Heavenly Father for His kindness and protection.
The next day I learned from a distraught friend that the soldiers had done terrible things in every house she knew of. When I told her that they had not come to our house, she was shocked. She said she had watched them go in our direction and that she knew of no homes in our sector that they had not entered. Our house was the only one the soldiers had left alone.
I know that Heavenly Father hears our pleas and answers them. Sometimes it seems that we might not ever receive an answer, and we wish that He would answer sooner. But I know that in our home 65 years ago, He answered right away.
We looked out through the blackout curtains to see enemy troops coming into our village from two different directions. I was very frightened.
I Missed Feeling the Spirit
Victoria Mikulina, Russia
When I was 16, I participated in a student foreign-exchange program for a year. I went from my home in Ukraine to a small town in Arizona, USA, where I stayed with a Latter-day Saint family. I had never heard of Latter-day Saints before.
The exchange program didn’t allow the family to preach to me, and I wasn’t allowed to meet with the missionaries. But I chose to attend church with my host family and participate in all Church activities.
I felt the Spirit with that family, and I felt much love at church. At that time I didn’t know that what I was feeling was the Spirit, but my heart was touched.
When I returned to Ukraine, I missed that feeling very much. I remembered how my life was when I went to church and lived gospel teachings. I realized what was missing, but there was no church and no missionaries where I lived, so I thought I would never have that feeling again.
About four years later, however, some missionaries knocked on my door. I was so happy to see them. While they were out working, they had listened to the Spirit, which led them to my house. I’m so grateful they were obedient. I was baptized and confirmed soon afterward.
Since then I have been sealed in the Stockholm Sweden Temple to my husband, a returned missionary who is from Russia. And now there’s a temple in Kyiv. We plan to attend regularly.
The temple is the most amazing place on earth. It is a place where you can be close to Heavenly Father. I feel so grateful that in the temple we can receive one of the greatest gifts given to us by Heavenly Father: to be sealed as families for eternity.
I am grateful to the members of that Latter-day Saint family who helped me feel the Spirit, starting me on a journey that would lead me to a family of my own that is sealed together forever.
Note: To see an inspiring video about the youth cultural celebration for the Kyiv Ukraine Temple, visit LDS.org and search for “Kyiv Ukraine Temple video.”
Go to Church!
Dwight LeRoy Dennis, Utah, USA
During my junior year of high school, I met a Latter-day Saint girl in my art class. She had a great influence on my life, and I was baptized a member of the Church.
After I graduated from high school, Mom and Dad decided to move from our home in California to Idaho, USA. We hooked our trailer to our truck and headed north. We had just passed through Lovelock, Nevada, when I started driving too fast down a small hill. Because there were no stabilizing bars to keep the trailer in place, it started whipping from side to side. I slammed on the brakes, and the trailer jackknifed, sending us through a borrow pit and leaving the truck tipped over one way and the trailer tipped over the other way.
Fortunately nobody was hurt. But the outside and the inside of the trailer were a complete disaster. The trailer hitch was bent like a pretzel, the windows were all broken, and our belongings were scattered everywhere.
The highway patrol arrived and called a tow truck. Mom and Dad didn’t know what to do. The little money they had went to the towing company. At this moment I felt the overwhelming impression that I should go to church the following day, Sunday. Dad, who was not a member of the Church, thought I was crazy. We had to gather our belongings and fix the trailer, and since he was crippled and in poor health, I was the main worker. But the impression to attend church persisted. I asked Mom to talk to Dad for me. She did, and surprisingly he consented.
On Sunday morning I found the local meetinghouse and sat down on the back row of the chapel just as sacrament meeting was starting. I prayed for the Spirit to be with my family at this difficult time.
At the conclusion of the meeting, one or two people introduced themselves to me, and I briefly explained what had happened. I then returned to where we were camped and spent the rest of the day helping clean things up.
On Monday morning we had started to clean again when all at once members of the ward I had attended started arriving, offering help. The owner of a local window store said he would replace all of the trailer windows at no charge, and a welder offered to straighten the hitch for free.
My father said little but was obviously amazed, Mom shed tears of gratitude, and my sister and I were thankful for the help. By the end of the day, we were ready to continue our trip to Idaho.
As a result of this experience, I learned that the promptings of the Spirit are real. I also know that our prayers are frequently answered by other people and that trusting the Lord will bring peace and joy to our hearts.
Fortunately nobody was hurt in the accident. But the trailer hitch was bent like a pretzel, the windows were all broken, and our belongings were scattered everywhere.
Should We Sell Our Dream Home?
Sullivan Richardson, Nevada, USA
In 1998 the Spirit was nudging me to sell our dream home, which we had completed and moved into just four years earlier. As our older children were beginning to graduate from high school and leave home, it became apparent that our house was larger and more costly than we needed. I had just gone through a job change that showed me how vulnerable my income was to possible disruption.
When I attended the priesthood session of general conference that October, I was struck by the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008). Speaking of our finances, he told priesthood holders, “The time has come to get our houses in order.” Then he warned, “There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.”
Later in the talk he said: “It may be necessary to borrow to get a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years.”1
I told my wife about President Hinckley’s counsel, adding that I felt we should sell our house. To my surprise, she agreed.
Over the ensuing months, we prepared to sell our house and buy another one. It was a long, drawn-out process that involved much prayer and a family fast. Finally, a year later we moved into our new home, which had a much lower monthly payment.
President Hinckley’s words did indeed prove prophetic. The following year the U.S. stock market peaked as the dot-com bubble burst. Several years of low interest rates then followed, which we used to our advantage to pay down our mortgage debt.
Now a new economic crisis is upon many countries throughout the world. President Hinckley’s words are just as true today as they were in 1998.
How happy we are that we followed the counsel of the prophet and the promptings of the Spirit. We no longer have any mortgage debt, and we are happy to see our children living within their means.
We look forward each general conference to the counsel of our Church leaders. We know that we will be blessed if we heed their direction.
When I attended the priesthood session of general conference, I was struck by President Gordon B. Hinckley’s counsel, which I shared with my wife.
Gordon B. Hinckley, “To the Boys and to the Men,” Liahona, Jan. 1999, 65; Ensign, Nov. 1998, 53.
Illustrations by Bjorn Thorkelson