“Building an Eternal Family—Nolan Anderson of Soda Springs, Idaho,” Friend, May 2005, 15
The town of Soda Springs is named for the natural springs that bubble beneath the ground in this part of southeastern Idaho.
One of the bubbly young residents of Soda Springs is Nolan Anderson, a 10-year-old who lives there with his parents and five brothers.
Nolan is a creative person. He likes to take photos with the family’s camera, and his favorite subject in school is art. He says, “I want to be an artist when I grow up.” But art isn’t his only pursuit—he enjoys sports like bowling and swimming. He also plays sports with his family. One summer his family learned how to play badminton.
But some activities are more of a challenge for Nolan. When he was a baby, he contracted spinal meningitis, a serious infection that can cause brain damage and paralysis. His illness caused him to have a stroke, and doctors weren’t sure if Nolan would be able to walk or talk when he grew older. Fortunately Nolan recovered, but he still has trouble using the right side of his body. He says, “Sometimes when I color and hold the paper with my right hand, it crumples the paper.” Sometimes he becomes frustrated, but he is learning to use his right hand more and more.
His challenges have helped him to become a more caring person. Nolan likes to play the drums, and he recently received a new drum set. He decided to send his old drum set to the children in the rehabilitation unit at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. When asked why, Nolan simply answers, “I wanted them to learn to play the drums.” He is also a caring brother. On the day the Friend magazine interviewed Nolan, he and his brothers were enjoying lunch from a local fast-food restaurant. The younger boys all received toys with their meals except for Austin, Nolan’s three-year-old brother. When Austin told his mother that he wanted a toy, too, Nolan immediately tossed his toy over to his brother, saying, “Here, you can have mine.”
Nolan has also learned to be persistent. Even when activities aren’t easy for him, he works hard at them and keeps trying. He has been practicing throwing and hitting a baseball, and is getting quite good at it. During the summer, he ran in a 5K race with his mom and his brother Hayden, 8. They practiced for a few weeks ahead of time. His mom says, “I was expecting to have to urge them along, but they left me in the dust. Nolan walked a little in the middle, but he pushed me the whole way. He ran across the finish line, and we were very proud of him.”
Whether competing in races or just spending time at home, Nolan likes to have fun with his family. One of his favorite activities is to wrestle with his brothers. He says that Andrew, 16, is the best wrestler in the family. Nolan also likes to go on vacations with his family. One of his favorite places to visit is Salt Lake City, he says, “because I get to see the Salt Lake Temple.” His favorite thing about the temple is seeing the statue of the angel Moroni on top. Moroni is Nolan’s favorite prophet, and he likes to read about him in the Book of Mormon.
Remembering that Jesus loves him helps Nolan to be happy every day. It is clear that Nolan and his family love Jesus, too, as they are striving to serve Him and are working together to build an eternal family.