The Last-Minute Miracle

By Cesar H. Bonito Duarte

The author lives in Aragua, Venezuela.

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I was young, inexperienced, and short on time. Could a simple prayer really bring about a miracle?

circuit board and people

Illustrations by David Curtis

When I was 16, I attended high school at a technical school in order to earn an associate’s degree in electronics. As a requirement for my degree, I had to complete a 30-day internship at a local business to show my technical skills.

My internship was with a paper goods company. My desire to serve a full-time mission had begun to grow, and this job would help me earn enough money to go. But there were three of us interns, and the company would only select one of us for a full-time position.

The company had a machine that had failed. When the machine was working properly, it could complete as much work as three similar machines. This piece of equipment hadn’t been working for quite some time, and the company had ordered replacement parts from abroad to activate it—but it still didn’t work. I accepted the challenge to try to fix it.

Day after day, I spent hours studying the machine. But it was complicated, and it wouldn’t be easy to determine in just 30 days why it had failed, especially for someone as inexperienced as I was. However, I felt I could do it. Each morning before work, I read articles from the Liahona magazine and prayed to my Father in Heaven. I also struck up a friendship with my boss, an experienced electrical engineer, who obtained permission for me to take home copies of the blueprints on the weekends. I studied them intently.

As the internship drew to an end, my two colleagues finished their assigned projects and I felt the pressure growing. But in spite of negative (and even mocking) comments around me, I never doubted. The Friday that marked the end of our internships arrived quickly. Though I had resolved some of the issues, the machine still wasn’t working. I felt confident that I was close to fixing it, so I told my boss that if I could have permission to work on Saturday, the machine would be fixed by Monday.

circuit board and young man

My words astonished my boss so much that he personally requested permission from the president of the company. My boss then informed me that the next day, all three of us—the president of the company, my boss, and I—would be working, just until noon. “All three?” I asked. He explained that the company president, an electronics engineer, was interested in my proposal because there had been so many failed efforts to repair the machine that he had given up on repairing it.

The next day, I was very intimidated to be working alongside two adult engineers. I was young and lacked expertise. However, they offered to work as my assistants; I felt uncomfortable and, at the same time, very privileged.

It was just minutes before noon when the president and my boss realized that our efforts had been a waste. I excused myself and went into the bathroom. I knelt down, praying to my Father with great fervor. I felt an unexplainable, marvelous strength. I asked Him to help me get the job because I would need it to help me pay for my mission.

I came out of the bathroom electrified; but by that time, my assistants had already closed up the circuit compartments and gathered up the tools. I opened the machine back up and looked carefully at the 15 circuit cards inside. I noticed that one simple pin among over 4,000 pins in the system was not connected to the card. I connected it, put it in place, and turned on the machine. It worked! It was a miracle.

It was an unforgettable and touching moment. My boss hugged me, and the company president shook my hand and congratulated me energetically.

I was able to work for that company for nearly two years, save up the money I needed, and leave on my long-awaited mission. When I explained the reason for my departure, the president of the company bid me farewell and said, “You already know where to come back to work after you finish your mission. I wish you much success.”

circuit board and young man

This experience showed me that nothing is impossible for God. If we do not doubt, miracles will be made manifest, but only after the trial of our faith—even at the last moment. Yes, miracles do occur.