Instant Messages

By Christina Holt


Instant Messages features personal experiences, insights into favorite hymns and scriptures, and other uplifting thoughts. If you have a personal experience that has strengthened your testimony and you’d like us to consider it for Instant Messages, please e-mail it to newera@ldschurch.org or send it to

New Era, Instant Messages
50 E. North Temple St. Rm. 2420
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3220, USA

Please limit submissions to 400 words or less. They may be edited for length and clarity.

Sometimes It Rains

It was the first night of girls’ camp. It had started to rain lightly, but we figured it would pass by. As the night went on, though, the rain got harder and the wind blew stronger. The group in my tent tried to sleep, but because we had only staked the four corners of our tent when we set it up, the sides were being pushed in and puddles started forming around the edges. It got so windy I was afraid the wind would take our tent with it!

Pretty soon our tent began to leak, and we were forced to move all of our things to the center of the tent. I huddled in a ball and started to silently cry. This was my first day of my first year at girls’ camp, and already things were going wrong.

At this point, my tent leader started to sing the song that we had chosen for our camp song, called “Sometimes He Lets It Rain.” The chorus says:

Sometimes He lets it rain
He lets fierce winds blow
Sometimes it takes a storm
To lead a heart where it can grow
He can move mountains of grief
And oceans of pain
But sometimes He lets it rain.

As we sang, we could hear the rain coming down on us, but we felt happier than before. We finally went and slept in the cars of the leaders. I only got four hours of sleep, but, amazingly, I felt energized and ready for our hike the next morning.

At our testimony meeting on the last night of camp, nearly all the girls who were in my tent bore their testimony about how that night strengthened us. He let it rain that night, but that storm led our hearts to where they could grow.

[illustration] Illustration by Greg Thorkelson

Crash Course in Prayer

The familiar 10-hour drive from southern California to Utah should have been uneventful. The roads were clear of snow, and I was awake and alert. But I didn’t expect a 57-inch TV to suddenly appear in my lane. It had fallen from a pickup truck in front of us. I swerved, but not in time. We had hit the TV, and now I was struggling to get control.

My best friend, brother, and little stepsister were all in the car. My brother in the backseat woke up and started shouting that we were fine, but with the car still spinning, I wasn’t so sure.

Eventually, we came to a stop in the median. It was only then that my stepsister woke up, confused and in shock. There was nothing around us but empty, black desert and an occasional semitruck whizzing by. The four of us sat in silence for a moment, realizing we were still alive. None of us knew what to say or think. Then my best friend asked, “Should we say a prayer?” The idea was a welcome relief. The Spirit was the only thing that could calm our nerves at that time. We bowed our heads and thanked our Heavenly Father for preserving our lives. We asked Him to comfort us and help us to get home safely. My fear and shock from the accident wore off and I felt calm.

A police officer and the driver of the pickup came over, relieved to find everyone okay. The impact from the TV alone could have been fatal, even without the added danger of spinning. The car was damaged but drivable, and we got home safely. It amazes me to think of how much worse the outcome could have been. I am so grateful for my safety and the safety of my passengers. Before and since then, we start every long car trip with a prayer. I’m grateful that we can call on the power of the Lord to watch over us. But even with this added protection, accidents may happen. And if they do, we will have the Spirit to comfort us.

Friendly Conversation

Our stake asked us to pray for missionary experiences, and I had a very special one when I was with my family on a vacation in the Florida Keys. One day I was out on the beach watching the waves when I noticed a lady sitting next to me reading a magazine. The magazine happened to be the Friend. Being shy, I was afraid to start a conversation with her. But I had a very strong feeling that I should. So I began by asking her if she was a member of the Church. She said she was an investigator. Our conversation continued for at least 30 more minutes. She had many different types of questions. For example, she asked about Church missions and what my family does for family night. I tried my very best to answer all of her questions. This experience strengthened my testimony. I also learned that I need to be ready to answer people’s questions.

An Exemplary Performance

In Hungary, when a class graduates from high school, we put on a grand ball. All teachers, parents, and friends are invited. The class members perform dances and give other presentations. When I graduated, I was asked to make such a presentation. I decided to play the piano. One of the two pieces I chose to play was a Church hymn. There are not many members of the Church in Hungary, so I didn’t expect any Church members to hear my performance.

The Sunday after the ball, a sister at church excitedly approached me, congratulated me, and told me that she, other Church members, and some investigators had heard me perform. Less-active members had also attended the ball and heard me play the hymn. The sister told me how wonderful it was to hear the hymn at an activity not sponsored by the Church and said that it had strengthened the testimonies of those who attended.

I learned that we never know when we are setting a good example and that even small actions can have a big impact on other people.

[illustration] Illustration by Chris Hawkes