20 Feet Down

Colin Mason lives in California, USA.


How would my aunt and uncle’s home ever survive the category-5 hurricane that was heading straight for their small island?
house on island

Photo illustration by David Stoker

My aunt and uncle live on a tiny island in the Caribbean in a part of the world known as “Hurricane Alley.” In 2004 our family learned that Hurricane Ivan was heading straight for their home. My aunt had evacuated to Florida, but my uncle stayed to weather the storm in a bunker that he’d built in the middle of the island and that they always kept supplied with emergency essentials.

Hurricane Ivan slammed into the small island with the full force of a category-5 hurricane. The winds traveled at over 200 miles per hour (322 km/h). And during the worst of the storm, the entire island was completely covered with water—it even disappeared from satellite.

When the storm was over, my uncle emerged from the bunker and looked out to see complete and utter destruction. He slowly walked toward his home on the coast, and his heart sank as he looked at all of the houses that had been destroyed. He was dreading what he’d find when he arrived home.

As he came around the curve, he anxiously looked and saw, amid the devastation, his lone house completely intact and standing tall. The lights were on because his generator had survived too.

When we asked him how his house had survived when the others fell, he told us his strategy for success. When he’d built the house, he’d bored and anchored the foundation into the bedrock 20 feet down. Even a hurricane could not destroy the strong foundation my uncle had built.

I realized that having a strong foundation can really make a big difference. Just as my aunt and uncle had built their house on solid rock so that it survived, so we too must build our lives on the “rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, … which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12).

We can build our strong foundations—spiritually speaking—by reading the scriptures, listening to the counsel of our Church leaders, following the principles outlined in For the Strength of Youth, and striving to live the commandments so we can always have the Spirit with us.

We can build rock-solid testimonies of the Savior before the storms hit, so we will be prepared. We will be ready to withstand any temptations or trials that face us. And when we return to our Heavenly Father and to our heavenly home, we can find that our spiritual home is standing, that the lights are on, and that all is well.

Building a Foundation in Christ

Jesus Christ

Detail of Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann, courtesy of C. Harrison Conroy Co. Inc.

In the April 2013 general conference, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles mentioned several ways we can “become strong in the Lord” by building our foundation in Him. For example, we can:

  • Learn doctrine and share testimonies with Come, Follow Me Sunday lessons and activities.

  • Develop our gifts and talents as the Spirit guides.

  • Participate in family, quorum, class, and Mutual activities.

  • Have faith in the Savior and fear not!

As we do these things and build our foundation on the rock of Christ, we will be able to withstand any storms that threaten our spiritual safety. Elder Hales said, “In the strength of the Lord we are able to stand against any philosophy or creed that denies the Savior and contradicts the great, eternal plan of happiness for all of God’s children” (“Stand Strong in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2013, 50).

Read more from Elder Hales’s address at lds.org/go/13Stand, along with the talk “A Sure Foundation” from Bishop Dean M. Davies at lds.org/go/13Sure, or find them in the May 2013 issue of the Ensign.