We Need to Pray—Now!
Jeffery R. McMahon, Alberta, Canada
Our family was returning from a weekend getaway to Peace River, Alberta, Canada, about five hours north of our home in Edmonton. Darkness had long since descended on the northern landscape, and although the wind was blowing snow wildly across the road in front of us, all seemed peaceful and calm inside our van.
Suddenly an ominous warning light appeared on the dashboard. I had seen it only once before, years ago, and now I feared what was in store. I quickly turned off all unnecessary power, but the engine soon stalled. I knew we had traveled several kilometers since we had passed the last town, and it would be many more kilometers before we reached the next town. I could not even remember the last time we had encountered a vehicle going in either direction.
As we desperately considered our options, our 11-year-old son, Casson, said, “We need to pray—now!” Not three months before, Casson had been devastated by the loss of his younger brother, who had passed away from cancer. How many prayers had Casson sent up to heaven as he struggled to understand why he had lost his only brother?
My wife and I were not sure how fully he had understood our explanation that our prayers need to be aligned with Heavenly Father’s will and not necessarily with our own desires. Yet here he was, showing us that we needed to turn to Heavenly Father and continue to have faith in Him.
Not long after we had finished praying, the headlights of an approaching vehicle began to sparkle in our rearview mirror. Within seconds a long flatbed truck en route to Edmonton stopped in front of us.
As the driver and I approached each other, he asked in a thick French Canadian accent, “Do you have any children in that van?” When I told him yes, he said he had passed another stopped vehicle several miles back but had not pulled over because of the bad weather. However, as he had approached us, he felt a distinct impression that we had children who needed his help. As a result, he stopped.
Within a few minutes he had our vehicle winched onto his truck, and we were heading to Edmonton. It was a cold trip back, but we were warmed by the sweet confirmation that Heavenly Father does hear prayers. Sometimes the answers come in ways we don’t envision, and sometimes the answers are more powerful and direct than we can ever imagine. We just need to have faith and trust in the Lord.
I’ll Never Go to Another Dance
Wendy Van Noy, Illinois, USA
In our suburb of Chicago, Illinois, USA, fewer than 20 Latter-day Saint youth attend a high school of about 4,400 students on two separate campuses. We have been pleased with the education our son has received, and many good families with high standards live in our area.
In the spring of our son’s junior year, he was invited to a school dance. His date wore a beautiful, modest dress, and we were eager to hear how their night went. When he came home, he said, “I will never go to another school dance!” He said students had engaged in provocative dancing, which the administration did nothing to stop. I was appalled.
I am a part-time employee of this school district, and a couple of days after the dance I sought out a vice principal. He is a man of integrity, and I felt that he would listen to my concerns. He recommended that I write to the high school principals.
I prayerfully considered what to say and decided to tell them I was disappointed with the inappropriate dancing and that nothing was done to stop it. The bar had been set high for academics, so why not for all activities?
Several months passed, and I thought my letter had fallen on deaf ears. But one day, during back-to-school registration, a vice principal asked me, “Are you the mother who wrote the letter about the school dances?”
“Yes, I am,” I replied.
“I want you to know that your letter has caused quite a stir!” he said.
I learned that one of the principals wasn’t convinced that changes needed to be made until he asked a few students their opinion. Everyone had the same reply: “We will never go to another school dance! They are too disgusting!”
The administration then implemented rules of dance etiquette, which would be enforced during an upcoming homecoming dance. The principal informed students that they would be asked to leave if they disregarded the rules.
I anxiously awaited our son’s return from the homecoming dance. When he arrived, he said students who had tried to get away with the old behavior were removed. He said it was the best dance he had ever attended.
I wrote to the administration, thanking them for making this one of the best school dances in a long time. The vice principal I knew responded: “Thank you for starting that conversation last spring. Without your input we might not have moved forward in this area.”
I have since found out that most of the schools in our county are adopting these new dance rules, so thousands of students will now be able to enjoy school dances.
I pray that the Lord will bless all of us to find the courage to speak out and up for what we believe. I learned that one person can make a difference.
I Prayed for You
Ami Hranac Johnson, Idaho, USA
Recently I was running a little late to church and hurried into the chapel during the opening hymn. When I walked into the chapel, I saw that it was fuller than normal. As I looked around at the numerous visitors, I realized two things: it was our ward’s Primary program, and my usual spot was taken.
I hurriedly took a seat on the first row of chairs in the overflow seating just in time to see a young mother arrive with her two-year-old son in tow and her six-month-old daughter in her arms. I noticed that her husband didn’t follow her in. When I glanced around the chapel, I saw that he was on the stand, sitting at the piano—he was the accompanist for the Primary.
Because I am single, I usually sit with a particular friend. But that day my friend was out of town. I thought it might be nice to sit with the young mother and her children instead, so I asked if I could join them. The mother agreed. Throughout the meeting I enjoyed helping with the young boy and listening to the Primary children.
At the end of sacrament meeting, the mother leaned over and said she had prayed for me that morning. I waited for her to elaborate. She said she had prayed that I would be at church and that I would sit with her and help her. She had thought she might not be able to make it through sacrament meeting by herself. I felt overwhelmed that I had answered her simple prayer, offered just that morning.
I know that the Lord loves us more deeply than we can truly comprehend. Witnessing an answer to a simple request taught me a powerful lesson, and I am sure the experience taught this mother as well. When I asked if I could sit with this sister, I wasn’t thinking about being the answer to a prayer—I was just doing what I would want someone to do for me if I were in her situation.
Truly Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, even the seemingly small ones.
You Removed My Sadness
Kissy Riquelme Rojas, Chile
For some time I was active in doing family history and temple work. As I progressed in my research, though, I knew I would have trouble finding information about one person—my maternal grandfather.
My mother was not raised with her father and had lost contact with him, her siblings, and all her father’s relatives. She didn’t have anything to confirm his birth date or birthplace, and she wasn’t sure where or when he had died. I wondered if I would ever find the necessary information.
One day as I was looking through my mother’s diary, I noticed a photograph of my grandfather. As I turned it over, I saw that he had signed and dated the photo and indicated how old he was at the time. I now had an approximate date for his birth! I excitedly searched his name and the dates on FamilySearch. To my great astonishment, I saw that his ordinances had already been done. Who could have done my grandfather’s temple work?
I soon discovered that the work had been performed by one of my long-lost maternal uncles. I searched for his contact information and eventually found his telephone number.
I was nervous about calling him because he had met me 30 years before—when I was one. I didn’t know how he would react.
Still, I decided to call. When he answered, I explained how I had found the information about my grandfather—his father—and told him that I was his niece.
I will always remember his response: “You could never know the sadness I have felt about having lost contact with your mother. Now you have removed that sadness from me!”
We learned that his family and mine, though separated, had been baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the same time, and both families were firm in the gospel. It was a joyful, emotional moment for us.
I had long understood that family history and temple work can connect us to our deceased ancestors, but I had never considered that it could connect us to our living relatives as well. I am grateful that I have been able to help unite our family through family history—not only in the spirit world but also during our earthly life.