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A book of faith promoting stories submitted and formatted by the sisters in the Hurricane West Stake.

A book of faith promoting stories submitted and formatted by the sisters in the Hurricane West Stake.

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    Sisters in the Kingdom~ Treasures of Light- e book Sisters in the Kingdom~ Treasures of Light- e book Document Transcript

    • This Book Belongs To ____________________________________________ The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salva- tion, and my high tower. For [He] wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalms 18:2, 28ii
    • Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light Hurricane Utah West Stake Relief Society August 2012
    • Foreword A Message from our Stake President Dear Sisters of the Hurricane Utah West Stake: I am so happy to have been a part of this wonderful project. It has been a testimony-build- ing experience to have read a few of the “Treasures of Light” as they have come in. I know that as we each take time to read and reread this book, we will be blessed and our lives enriched, and we will be able to overcome difficult times in our lives. I am grateful for each of you and the blessing you are to your families, your wards, and to our stake. I marvel at the great testi- monies of the sisters as I go around the stake to your sacrament meetings and also as I have the opportunity to visit with you during temple recommend appointments. I am grateful for my testimony of the gospel and to be able to live in this wonderful valley. I want you to know that I have a strong testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that we have a living prophet in President Thomas S. Mon- son. I pray that we will listen to and follow his council. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple and pray that we will all take the opportunity to attend or prepare ourselves to attend the temple often. I pray always that the Lord will bless each of you individually, and that He will bless your families. The gospel is true. May each of you continue to be blessed in your own lives with “Treasures of Light.” President Jason A. Gubler Hurricane Utah West Stakeiv
    • Foreword A Message from our Stake Relief Society Presidency Our beloved sisters in the Hurricane Utah West Stake: This book represents only a portion of the thoughts and testimonies that have filledsouls over the past six months as we have pondered and remembered the “Treasures ofLight” in our individual lives. It has been a time of sweet remembrance and awareness thatFather in Heaven loves His daughters, that Christ is ever ready to minister to us, and thatthe Holy Ghost is a gift beyond measure. The submissions in this book are expressions of testimony and love: love for God … andlove for one another as sisters in the kingdom. We wish to thank those who have sharedtheir faith that all may be strengthened. We know beyond a doubt that this is the Lord’sproject and not ours – that He knows every sister in this stake and is ministering to each ofus individually through this project; and He is also allowing us to minister to one anotherthrough these contributions. It is our desire that each of us will continue to search for treasures of light every day ofour lives – that our eyes will be opened to who we are and our divine destiny. May we have“eyes to see” and “ears to hear” as we strive to grow closer to our Father in Heaven andJesus Christ and to each other. With love and gratitude to be one with you!Stake Relief Society PresidencyBrenda MacbethMarti BrueckAbby ArmstrongTasha McNamee v
    • THE LORD IS MY LIGHT The Lord is my light; then why should I fear? By day and by night his presence is near. He is my salvation from sorrow and sin; This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring. (Chorus) The Lord is my light; He is my joy and my song. By day and by night he leads, He leads me along. The Lord is my light; tho clouds may arise, Faith, stronger than sight, looks up thru the skies Where Jesus forever in glory doth reign. Then how can I ever in darkness remain? The Lord is my light; the Lord is my strength. I know in his might I’ll conquer at length. My weakness in mercy he covers with pow’r, And, walking by faith, I am blest ev’ry hour. The Lord is my light, my all and in all. There is in his sight no darkness at all. He is my Redeemer, my Savior, and King. With Saints and with angels his praises I’ll sing. ~James Nicholson, 1828–1876vi
    • Development of the “Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light” Book Project As told by Brenda Macbeth, Stake Relief Society President During the planning phase for “Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light” we began to wonder if de- veloping the book was an impossible project because of money and time constraints. The obstacles seemed insurmountable. We didn’t know how to accomplish it even though we felt this was the Lord’s project - not ours. It was a heavy burden on our hearts. We prayed, fasted, and tried to think “outside of the box” but no solutions came. I was lying in bed in the dark early one morning pondering our dilemmas with the Relief Society project when suddenly I became aware of light filtering through my closed eyelids. My immediate thought was of Moroni when he visited Joseph Smith in the middle of the night. I smiled to myself when the thought came to me but couldn’t deny that light had suddenly burst into my room … and tentatively opened my eyes. Our windows have an arch at the top that doesn’t have window coverings and when I opened my eyes the moon almost blinded me. It had just sunk low enough in the sky to shine brightly into the room. Well, it wasn’t a messenger who came to help us with our project but it was a heavenly body that reflects the sun ... and Christ is the source of all light. It was a reminder to me of whom we serve and that this is His project. I knew He would be our guide ... and that He would help us. Three days later I had a dream where I saw a pile of books in a Relief Society room - the books were ready for sisters to check out and return, like in a library. My dream seemed to last the rest of the night because it was as if I were awake and had to mull over every angle and detail of whether or not “this” and “that” would meet our needs. Details were so thoroughly worked out in my sleep that in the morning I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew exactly how the plan would work and why it would work. I knew that Father in Heaven had given me the answer! And I knew it would be a simple and wonderful process to complete the project. The plan Father in Heaven has given us answers every need and every desire. viii
    • Miracles Preceeding the Book: “Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light” Submitted by the Stake Relief Society Presidency When the name “Sisters in the Kingdom” was suggested for our 2012 stake Relief Society book project,it seemed perfect because Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society had been givento sisters worldwide only a few months previously. “Sisters in the Kingdom” seemed to go hand-in-handwith the Church’s book. It also seemed to be the perfect title for a book that was to be developed during the170 year anniversary of the Relief Society. Because the name was so close to Daughters in My Kingdom, we felt we couldn’t use it without permis-sion. The Relief Society hotline in Salt Lake City was called to ask if it would be permissible to use the title“Sisters in the Kingdom”. We were told that the matter would have to be taken to the Relief Society generalpresidency for a decision. We were thrilled when word came back that we could use that wonderful title!Eventually the title expanded to became “Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light”. There is a painting in the general Relief Society building in Salt Lake City of a woman in biblical cloth-ing who is holding one of the ancient lamps. The single flame in the lamp burns brightly and illuminatesthe woman’s face. The digital photo we have of that painting is the perfect choice for our book’s cover pagebecause of the symbolism. To us, the woman represents each sister in our stake; the flame represents atreasure of light; and the light on the woman’s face represents an increase in faith as each sister pondersand remembers God’s influence in her life. We knew, however, that copyright laws had to be respected. The Church’s Intellectual Properties officewas contacted. They discovered in their files that there is only one of that painting in the entire world andno copies have ever been made. Did we think there was even a chance we would be able to use it? No! It feltlike the door had firmly closed. Imagine our surprise and delight when we received a phone call telling us that approval had been givento use the picture! We are so grateful and are filled with awe! We hope every sister in this stake is as excitedas we are that we can use this amazing painting for our precious book! Three other paintings grace the pages of “Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light”. “Jesus with Maryand Martha” (by Del Parson) is owned by the Church and available for general use. We were able to receivepermission directly from Del Parson to use another of his paintings: “Christ and Young Women”. And RobertT. Barrett, another well-known artist, has personally given us permission to use his painting: “Well of Life”.We feel so blessed and are humbled by God’s tender mercies as this book nears completion. ix
    • Stephanie Peck The opportunity to identify how Heavenly Father is aware of me and has His hand in my life was a chal-lenging assignment for me. However, on the last morning for submissions, I pleaded for Heavenly Father tohelp me identify times in my life when I had a spiritual experience. It was amazing. Almost immediately some thoughts started to flood my mind reminding me of my lovefor the temple and the blessings that come from attending; blessings that have come from paying my tith-ing; the chance to identify and follow the Spirit; how my testimony is shared and has increased throughmusic throughout my life; the feeling of love as I attended a Young Women general broadcast; how blessedI am to be from a great country and to have lived in another; the story of how I got to go on a mission; theopportunity to have a patriarchal blessing; how I’ve found answers to questions through reading the scrip-tures; and how the Spirit prompted me that I needed to marry my husband the first time I met him – somany experiences that I have unfortunately forgotten about. I have had the Lord’s hand in my life. Then when I attended sacrament meeting I was so overcome by the Spirit, I had a difficult time singingthe hymns and for the first time in a long time I truly had a spiritual experience during the sacrament andfelt a great appreciation for the Savior. The rest of my meetings were also filled with things that let me feelthe Spirit. Because of the thoughts and feelings I had today I know that Heavenly Father IS aware of who I am andloves me. He has had a hand in my life and wants me to succeed.Jamie Campbell I’ve just finished my Personal Progress again as an adult leader. When I started, I really didn’t thinkthere would be a ton for me to learn. I’ve been surprised and overwhelmed by my journey a second time.There’s always room to improve in my life – some principle of the gospel that I’ve slacked off on and needednew determination for. These are a few of my favorite value experiences: In the Virtue Value Experience, we are required to read the entire Book of Mormon. One of our YoungWomen took this idea a step further and challenged us to read the entire Book of Mormon, Doctrine &Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price in three months. I took up the challenge. It came out to 10 pages a dayand I’m not a very fast reader. It was hard to find time to read 10 scripture pages between kids and dinner-making and laundry. I’ve never been on a mission and was married at 20, so I’ve never read the Book ofMormon so fast in my whole life. At the end, I finished on time. I couldn’t believe what a wonderful experi-ence it was. In my journal I wrote, “The scriptures are more alive to me than at any other point in my lifeso far. I am enlightened and feel the Lord’s love often. It helped me keep the Spirit in my life continually.” Iremember laughing and crying through reading. I was touched reading the scriptures in a way that I neverhad before. My last value experience that I completed was about the attributes of motherhood and striving todevelop them. I was required to ask my mom what she thinks is an important attribute for motherhood.She responded, “Unconditional love for your children.” I thought that was brilliant because it’s exactly whatthe Lord would want. My final value experience has encouraged me to be more like Jesus and developing aChrist-like love. My personal progress journey has helped me love the gospel even more. It’s helped me become a bettermother, a better wife, and a better daughter of my Heavenly Father. If anyone feels like they’re stuck in agospel rut, I want to encourage you to take up the Young Women Personal Progress Program. It’s amazingand has helped me so much! Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 1
    • Terri Colledge My testimony of prayer and the gift of the Holy Ghost is deep and in my heart forever. After many years of being an inactive member of the Church, I came back into the gospel after an all night prayer was answered and I knew my life would be changed forever. I made many promises to the Lord which I knew I had to keep. After I had been back in the Church for a while, I was teaching Primary and learning all I could about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because I was fairly new in the gospel it was a little different at times. One after- noon I hurried home from work (Primary was held in the middle of the week at that time) to get my things for Primary. I had an activity planned and my lesson was all intact and ready to go. Suddenly, it seemed like a wind came through and sent my lesson into complete disarray. For some reason I was unable to put any of it back in the right order. As I sat in the jumbled mess of papers I began to really break down. I knelt in prayer and asked Heavenly Father what to do. The still small voice said, “You made promises to me that need to be kept. You cannot teach my children if you cannot keep the Word of Wisdom. Coffee is part of the Word of Wisdom. You cannot teach unless you know these things are true.” I prayed for some time as tears were in my heart and streaming down my cheeks. I was crushed. I had been drinking six to seven cups of coffee a day for many years. I wondered how I could stop that day so suddenly but I knew I had to do it. I promised the Lord that if He would help me I would not take another drink of coffee. I can’t remember how long I knelt praying; it seemed so long, but was probably a fairly short time. I got up from my prayer and saw that my lesson was now fixed and in perfect order. I was in a state of happiness and contentment. I knew how close my Heavenly Father was to me and how much He loved me. It was not an easy promise to keep, but from that day I have never had another cup of coffee. Of course there were many more promises to keep as time went on, but a strong testimony of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and their love for us has helped me to keep them. Megan Smith My story is a brief one but is significant to me. I was not active in the Church at the time and was at a point where I felt the need to make the choice, once and for all, to go back to church or to choose another life and lifestyle. I was finishing my undergraduate degree in a summer study abroad program in Cam- bridge, England. I had already begun reading my scriptures and praying in an effort to know what to do in my life. I then decided to attend church. So, with what seemed like a great amount of effort, I ordered a taxi to take me to church. At church, I sat alone in the pew. I had a prayer in my heart to know that my prayer had been heard – I sat, I listened, and I took notes. As one of the speakers spoke, I wrote down a few things he said: “We can be different; we can think in a different way; we can change our lives.” Then he concluded by saying, “I don’t know why I feel impressed to say this – maybe it will help someone – but you already have a testimony. Look inside your heart; you will find your answer.” I feel like this speaker was listening to the promptings of the Spirit. I received my answer because he spoke. This experience helped me to make gradual changes in my life. One year, one month, and one day later I was sealed in the temple to my sweet husband. I hear people say that if you are worthy you will receive answers to your prayers. From personal experience, I know that answers can be received even when we are less then worthy but when we are earnestly seeking.2 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Shawna Wolsleger It was an extraordinarily busy day running here and there – all over town. Sometimes I feel the moreI have to do, the more I get done. Then I discovered a conflict in my schedule. I had a Relief Society presi-dency meeting at the same time my second oldest son was receiving a special honor award in high school.Normally my husband and I can split up and be two places at once; unfortunately, his place on this particu-lar night was at work. I prayed to Heavenly Father to please be aware of my needs as a mother and to helpme to best fulfill my calling in Relief Society. My presidency meeting began at 6:30 p.m. while the awards ceremony began at 7:00 p.m. I prayed forguidance to know when to leave my meeting so I could see my son receive his award. On several occasionsI thought to leave the meeting but I heard a quiet whispering that it was okay to remain. Then at approxi-mately 7:20 p.m. I heard firmly, “NOW!” I immediately stood up, gathered my things, and excused myselffrom the meeting. I ran to my car with a prayer in my heart that I would not miss this moment in my son’slife while I was serving the Lord. As I pulled into the high school parking lot it was completely full. I hysterically thought, “I will NEVERmake it now!” I drove to the front of the school and there was a spot right by the door. I quickly parked andas I was running into the auditorium I sent a text to my son to let him know I was there. I turned the cornerof the auditorium to see the stage as they called Zackary’s name to receive his award. I was able to spend afew minutes with him and then return to my meeting. As I drove back to the church to rejoin the meeting,I had a prayer of thankfulness in my heart to my Heavenly Father for being aware of me and my needs andfor allowing me to serve Him to the best of my ability.Bette Jo Cline We got the call on September 26 , 2010, that our daughter, Lisha Bauer, had been admitted to the hos-pital in Salt Lake City having many major seizures. When we arrived from our home in Hurricane, Utah, shehad been induced into a coma to protect her brain. For the next two and a half months she lay there as fourneurosurgeons and doctors tried to find out what was causing these seizures in a very healthy woman whowalked over seven miles every day and had no medical problems of any kind. Every treatment available, in-cluding a brain biopsy, was performed on her. She had five spinal taps, all returning negative. Lisha becamea medical mystery. One day our son-in-law, Clay Bauer, got a call from the office of the First Presidency of the Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-day Saints informing him that President Monson would be arriving at 4:30 p.m. togive Lisha a blessing. We do not know to this day how he knew Lisha was there in the hospital. We were sothankful and filled with joy as we saw him and two officers and an aide walking toward her room. He wasso humble and unassuming, a large man, with a beautiful countenance about him. He asked Lisha’s father,Johnnie Cline, to perform the annointing and he and Lisha’s husband laid their hands on her head. Whilethey were getting prepared to do this, President Monson put his arm around me and said, “My wife lay likethis awhile back and today is her birthday.” Then President Monson, Johnnie Cline, and Clay Bauer laid theirhands on her head and President Monson gave our daughter a blessing of healing wherein he stated thatshe would rise again and be with her family. As he prepared to leave the room, President Monson took myface in his hands and gave me a kiss on the forehead. I knew at that moment that our daughter would live. On December 9, Lisha’s fiftieth birthday, she woke up and since that time has been improving physi-cally and mentally. As of this writing on May 28, 2012, she has come a long way, with still some short-termmemory loss. We are so thankful for the priesthood of God and the miracles that come from that power. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 3
    • Janice L. Vick My dad died in 2011 in New Jersey. I could not be there, but Heavenly Father gave me a great gift in an- swer to a prayer I made while flying home to visit dad two weeks earlier. It was a miracle of love made just for me and I will be forever grateful. Growing up, I always tried my best to please my dad. With his help, I graduated from BYU as a nurse in 1970. I wanted to be the best nurse ever to make him proud. I married my BYU sweetheart and we started rearing our family. I always worked part-time and saw nursing as a higher calling. Dad and I talked over the phone about my experiences but because we lived in Utah we would only see my parents occasionally. I felt so guilty as I flew home that night that I had not been there more for my dad, especially as his health started to fail, and I wished many times that I could use my nursing skills to make his life better. He had a stroke and I prayed against all odds that he would still be alive when I got there and that he would know me so I could thank him one more time for all he had given me. Dad was alive but it broke my heart to see him confused, nearly blind, paralyzed on one side, with dirt under his long fingernails. At times I thought he knew me and then he would speak of me in the third person as if I were not there. I was so frustrated that with all the nursing skills I possessed, I really could do nothing to save my dad from this terrible situation. After praying for an answer, I was inspired to purchase a nail kit from the gift shop. I cleaned and trimmed dad’s nails, washed and lotioned his hands, and told him how much I loved him. I also did simple range of motion exercises with his affected right hand. I had never felt so much love for my dad and with limited speech he tried to tell me that I had made good choices in my life. I went home that day sad but with peace in my heart, having been a loving nurse to my dad. Later that night my niece told us that dad told her that a great nurse had cared for him who really went the extra mile and washed his hands and cut his nails and really seemed to care about her patient. He did not mention my name but I knew he was talking about me and, with tears in my eyes, I knew that Heavenly Father had heard my prayers and given me a gift. My dad validated my whole life in that moment. It truly was a tender mercy delivered by my Father in Heaven. I will never forget that Christ-like service is the best nursing care that I could ever give or be remembered for. Thanks, Dad! Darian Shaw While on a mission with my husband I had a good experience that strengthened my testimony about tithing. We were serving in the Vergennes area of the New Hampshire-Manchester Mission (New England- USA). We were teaching a single lady along with two elders. The elders had found her while tracting. She lived in a small trailer so seating arrangements were tight. I sat next to the lady on a small two cushion sofa. We were close enough that we touched each other at the hip. The elders were teaching about tithing and how tithing blesses lives. They mentioned how tithing money was used by the Church. My husband bore his testimony about our personal experiences paying tithing and how we had been blessed with sufficient funds to put a down payment on our first home. I spoke up and began adding to his testimony. Then a feeling of a live current of electricity ran between the lady and myself. It was like a surge of cold power. I was stunned and stopped speaking. She turned to me, her eyes were opened wide, and she said to me, “Was that the Holy Ghost?” “Yes,” I said, “That was the Holy Ghost. He was telling us that tithing is a true principal.” She went on with the discussions and was baptized. I bear my testimony that the Holy Ghost does indeed let us know that the gospel is true. Paying our tith- ing in a timely and fair manner is a priority in our home.4 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Leah Pemberton My family and I came out to the St. George area just to visit and ended up feeling like this was wherewe were supposed to be. In about a year’s time we moved out here. This was a big choice for us, for myhusband and I had lived in the same county for 30 years and we would be changing everything we had everknown. I believe that Heavenly Father has put people in my life to bring me to where I am today. People weretouching my life in ways that I did not even know. Our intention was that we would go to a couple of differ-ent churches to see what felt right for us. Who would have thought that when we went to the Coral CanyonWard (at the wrong time for our address) that we would be changing our lives for all of eternity. It was asif that day in sacrament meeting was meant for us. Heavenly Father knew what we needed and we werefinally ready to listen. My heart was fully ready for this new path that was calling to me. I am so grateful. I have always feared death, not knowing what was really going to happen; and the fact that I was notbaptized scared me. I thought for sure that I was going to end up somewhere not so great. The greatest giftI have received is knowing that I have an eternal family. To know that I will always be with my family hasmade me feel much more peaceful. One of my favorite passages is 1 Nephi 8:10-12: “And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruitwas desirable to make me happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; andI beheld that it was most sweet. Above all that I had ever tasted … And as I partook of the fruit thereof itfilled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake ofit also, for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.” I am grateful for my Church family. It’s so wonderful to feel all their love and support. Thank you for be-ing part of my life!Mandy Cluff I wouldn’t be able to count the number of times in my life where I’ve needed to do or accomplish some-thing but didn’t have the energy or strength to do it. Recently, while reading my scriptures, I gained someinsight which has helped. In the past, while reading in Alma about the different wars between the Laman-ites and Nephites, I hadn’t gained much from my reading. In Alma 2:28 it says: “Nevertheless, the Nephitesbeing strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them outof the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and theLamanites and the Amlicites did fall before them”. Also in Alma 56:56 it says: “But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to theearth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have foughtwith such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they didfrighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war”. In these scriptures the Lord gave the people strength beyond their own to fight their enemies. I realizedthat through the Savior and His Atonement I can be given extra strength – strength above my own to do thethings with which I have been entrusted. Even though I am not currently in a great and physical battle, I amin a spiritual battle; and I can have the strength needed to overcome and gain strength as I ask for it andhave faith in my Savior. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 5
    • The “Light” of Revelation David A. Bednar: “The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign, May 2011. “As we entered a dark room and turned on a light switch … in an instant a bright flood of illumination filled the room and caused the darkness to disappear. What previously had been unseen and uncertain became clear and recognizable. This experience was characterized by immediate and intense recognition of light. … “In contrast to turning on a light in a dark room, the light from the rising sun did not immediately burst forth. Rather, gradually and steadily the intensity of the light increased, and the darkness of night was replaced by the radiance of morning. Eventually, the sun did dawn over the skyline. But the visual evidence of the sun’s impending arrival was apparent hours before the sun actually appeared over the horizon. This experience was characterized by subtle and gradual discernment of light. … “A light turned on in a dark room is like receiving a message from God quickly, completely, and all at once. Many of us have experienced this pattern of revelation as we have been given answers to sincere prayers or been provided with needed direction or protection, according to God’s will and timing. … “The gradual increase of light radiating from the rising sun is like receiving a message from God “line upon line, precept upon precept”. Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently ‘distil upon (our souls) as the dews from heaven’. … “As you appropriately seek for and apply unto the spirit of revelation, I promise you will ‘walk in the light of the Lord’. Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it. But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding, and direct and protect you and your family.”6 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous Before I moved here I dreaded visiting a lady I had been assigned to visit teach. I had a young familyand our visits were always at least an hour. What was worse, this sister was generous with advice. She oftenreminded me of the importance of losing weight, saying, “If you don’t get a handle on that weight ... ,” and“Are you doing anything to lose weight?” On a regular basis she would suggest that I needed to “show hima little more attention” in reference to my son’s “energetic” personality. And “If you don’t teach them, you’lllose them …” I am aware that I have a hearty physique. I don’t make excuses nor do I ask anyone to lie to me aboutthe reality of the situation, but it was painful listening to her say those things and keeping a smile on myface. I’m also keenly aware of my kids’ behavior. Daily I pray for wisdom to guide them in life. But really, sis-ter?! My weight and my weaknesses in child rearing? Could you think of any subjects that are more delicateto a woman and mother? I wrote my actual sister and told her I no longer wanted to visit this woman. I was disheartened by herresponse, “Every person I have been assigned to visit has ended in a positive relationship.” She was suggest-ing that I needed a change of attitude and lots of prayer. I determined I would go to my next appointment with a new attitude and prayed to have a positiveexperience with her. When I arrived, we started sharing our thoughts about the visiting teaching message.Soon the Spirit accompanied us and I felt love for her and love for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt like thescripture that says, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us … ?” Every visit after that was a similar experience. Ifound it interesting (and a relief) that the comments on my weight and child rearing diminished and thencompletely stopped. I learned that she was honest with people out of love for them and the gospel. I alsolearned that she was more like me than I originally thought. I still see this sister occasionally. Our fam-ily visits her home and we chat like old friends. I have only positive feelings about her when I think of ourvisits. My testimony is that though we might struggle at times with callings, our Father in Heaven is generousin pouring out the Spirit when our hearts are sincere. I know He will help us when we make our visitingteaching visits; and the blessings outweigh the effort. I felt so loved through this experience. All it takes isan attitude shift and prayer to be able to say, “Every person I have been assigned to visit teach has ended ina positive relationship.” “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Be- hold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do.” 3 Nephi 18:24 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 7
    • Lareesa Jensen After I was first married, my husband went through several job layoffs. I remember each time feeling scared, but at least I still had my job to keep us going. Then I found out I was expecting a baby. I was so ex- cited because we had struggled with some infertility issues. By then my husband had a new job we thought we could count on, and so I had planned to quit my job a month or so before the baby arrived so I could stay home with my child. Well, I ended up quitting about two weeks before my due date. Then my husband came home two days before my due date to tell me he had been let go from work because of the economy. I knew I should have been scared but, in that moment, a feeling of peace came over me and I knew we would be okay somehow. Then I saw many little miracles happen. A visiting teacher whose own husband had also gone through a layoff gave me a baby shower and the members in my ward were so generous. My niece also had a family baby shower for me. Also, one day the bishop called us to say a couple was moving and didn’t want to take the contents of their freezer with them, and would we like it? Since their son had butchered a cow, it contained a lot of meat. It just so happens that right before I quit my job, my boss gave me an old freezer he didn’t want anymore so we had the space to put the meat in. We received many other gifts and help along the way. One of those gifts that touched me the most was a dear sweet single sister in my ward. One day she handed us a check for some money to help us out. We knew she didn’t have much herself and knew she couldn’t afford to give us the money. We tried to tell her she needed it as much as we did, but she told us she needed the blessings more than the money so we received her gift humbly and we both cried. I learned that even when times are hard, we are never alone or forgotten. Our Heavenly Father is aware of us and loves us. Harmony Vanderhorst As a background to my family: My parents were both converts later in life and didn’t have religion growing up. They were determined to have God play a bigger role in both theirs and their children’s lives. There was never a time in my life I can remember that we did not read scriptures, say prayers, and have family home evening on a daily basis. I don’t recall these gatherings being super spiritual. They were more like wrestling matches trying to get the attention of their children. Sometimes they would win and make us tap out; other times we would win and the torture would end with us being woken up. As I got to be a teenager I didn’t even want to participate but my parents were faithful and they persisted. I have now been married for 10 years and have a family of my own. I have four small children ages 3 to 8. I, like my parents, have tried to be consistent with the little things such as prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Most of the time these activities are a battle – I have often wondered if anyone was even benefiting. Reading scriptures seems to be the most challenging for me because only one of my chil- dren can read; the other three have to be helped. You can only imagine the distracting things kids find to do while someone is reading (in my case, I KNOW the distractions from first hand experience). Only a few short weeks ago Heavenly Father gave me a “tender mercy” to let me know that these little things are so important and that my children are paying attention more than I know. I was substitute teach- ing in my son’s Primary class. We were discussing things we do with our family that make us happy. Out of the blue, my son raises his hand and says, “We read scriptures together as a family and that makes me happy!” He then drew a picture of his family reading the scriptures. At first I was shocked. I needed a cam- corder, my phone, SOMETHING to record this epic moment. Then something more important happened … I felt the Spirit touch my heart. That experience reaffirmed to me how important the little things are. I have a testimony that the Church is true. Our prophets are called of God and when we obey their counsel, no mat- ter how little the task, we will be blessed.8 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Connie Martin When I married my husband Larry he was a non-member of the Church. I was inactive and felt it didn’tmatter if I married a non-member. When our neighbors learned that I was a member they made sure I hadvisiting teachers. I started to feel a desire to return to church and Larry came with me. The ward memberswere warm and friendly and made him feel most welcome as a non-member. The full time missionaries came to our door one day when I was gone and my husband let them in. Theystayed for over two hours discussing gospel doctrine. Larry knew the Bible well and had a strong testimonyof Christ and the Atonement. He invited the missionaries back for discussions. He was getting a kick out ofasking questions they did not have the answer to. To their credit, they always came back with an answer.After several weeks, the missionaries told me they didn’t think Larry was ever going to accept the gospel. I had begun to hope that Larry would join the Church and we could be sealed in the temple. I was dis-couraged when they decided to send the stake mission president to us. As it turned out, he was a scriptori-an and could easily answer any question Larry had. After a few weeks, he told me they had discussed everypoint of doctrine he could think of. We needed to back off and let the Holy Ghost work on him. I was so discouraged and had lost hope. I went to my room one evening and knelt in prayer. I askedmy Father in Heaven to give me hope that Larry would someday join the Church. I continued to remain onmy knees when the prayer was finished to see if I would feel something. After a few minutes of silence, apicture opened up to my mind and I saw Larry in the sealing room of the temple. I felt such a sweet spirit inthe room and my body was tingling from head to foot. I knew without a doubt that the Lord had answeredmy prayer and Larry would eventually join the Church. It only took two weeks for him to feel the witness of the Spirit testifying that the Church was true. Hemade an appointment with the bishop (behind my back) and arranged for a baptism date. I didn’t find outuntil it was announced over the pulpit that Larry Martin would be baptized the following Tuesday and ev-eryone was invited. I couldn’t believe it. It was the most romantic thing he has ever done for me. The ReliefSociety room was overflowing the next Tuesday evening for the baptism. I will always be grateful to themembers of that ward for their fellowship and kindness. As a side note, Larry spent several days a week atthe temple for the next year doing baptisms for the dead. By the time we could be sealed, he had done over5,000 names.Susan Wiese It’s interesting to see the challenges we face and how the Lord blesses us to feel His love in them. Whenmy husband Terry and I dated prior to marriage, we lived four hours apart. We visited each other on theweekends when we got more serious, taking turns making the drive. I held a leadership calling in my sin-gles ward at the time and even though I never left responsibilities unfulfilled, I felt anxiety and guilt aboutbeing gone half the time. Those feelings were accompanied by other stresses of life. One Sunday when we were together, I asked Terry to give me a blessing. It was probably the first bless-ing he had ever given. I didn’t tell him what I had been fasting and praying about, nor had I expressed myconcerns about other anxieties with him. However, in the simple priesthood blessing, he specifically ad-dressed each concern I had shared with the Lord, and blessed me with peace. The best blessings are the ones I know come from the Lord. Those are the moments when I feel, not justknow, that He is aware of and loves me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 9
    • Donna Mangelson When my husband and I were first married we were not active in the Church. Neither of us had gone to church in a long time. We had both been raised as active members of the LDS Church but had fallen away for various reasons over time. When we started having children we decided we wanted them to have the same upbringing we each had, so slowly we became more active – going to church, serving dutifully in our callings, paying our tithing, etc. However, we never felt the desire or the need to go to the temple. We were happy to be where we were in our life and didn’t feel the need to move forward. In 2007 my nephew passed away at the age of 20 months. He suffered a tragic death that left us ques- tioning our beliefs in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and our belief in the Church. We stumbled in misery, still going through the motions of attending church and serving in our callings, but there was an emptiness that could not be denied. There was a vast hole in our hearts from the loss that our family had suffered. One Sunday the phrase “Families are Forever” seemed to be a recurring theme. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We had suffered such a loss and yet I did not have my own children and husband sealed to me. I began to think about losing my own children: What would I do? How would I possibly be able to go on with life? I knew the answer immediately – it is one of the things about our Church that makes death bearable – knowing that we will have the opportunity to see our loved ones again someday. We began taking temple preparation classes and on May 16, 2009, my own little family was sealed for time and eternity in the Manti temple. I still think about my little nephew and pray daily for my sister who still suffers from the loss. What a great example she has been to those around her with her strength and faith. And how grateful I am that my family is an eternal family and that one day we will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed on. Jodi Stewart I was newly married and 21 years old. My mom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After two rounds of chemotherapy her body could no long fight the battle. I bargained with the Lord. I lost my father over a decade before this and was certain that Heavenly Father wouldn’t leave me parentless. I remem- ber the moment my mother’s spirit left her mortal body. I was sad, scared, upset, and confused. For days I reminisced about all the sweet memories I had with my mom. I was so close to her. I depended on her for so many things. She was my safe place to fall; she was there for me always. How was I going to maneuver through this world without her? It’s been 17 years since her passing. And I have a testimony of the tender mercies the Lord has granted me. I have felt her presence in my life time and time again. I miss the sparkle in her eyes and the warmth of her smile but I feel her. I know with all my heart that she is there and she is a part of my life even though her mortal body is gone. I can hear her words of wisdom. I can feel her nudging me toward the things that will bring me true joy. I can feel her “cheerleading” me along. Sometimes I need to know she is proud of me – and the Lord (through others) has blessed me with that knowledge. It’s not easy. Sometimes it feels un- fair that she is gone so prematurely. But I know without doubt that there is a plan. And that if I am willing to accept the Lord’s tender mercies I am blessed beyond measure. My mother was an incredible warrior. She was strong and stayed true to everything she knew to be true. I need her example, I need her strength, and I need her council. I am so grateful that I can draw on her strengths and feel her presence in my life as I am learning and growing. The veil is thin. I am encouraged to live my life so that I can experience the privilege of those little pieces of heaven from time to time. Families are eternal. Today is part of eternity. It’s my testi- mony that those who pass before us can still be an integral part of our lives here on earth.10 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Holly Tuttle When I was 16 years old I was a lost soul. I had not been raised in the gospel and was left to make myown decisions, which ended up being not very good decisions. I was full of anger and hated life. I was athe-ist/agnostic and was so miserable I felt hollow. I will never forget how horrible it was to feel that way. After several failed attempts at trying things I thought would make me happy, I began to want some-thing different. The month after I turned 16 I got my first job and met a guy on my first day. He asked meout and we began to get to know each other as we worked together. Being lost, I had a way of bringing outthe worst in people and I always enjoyed the challenge of corrupting people and what they believed. De-spite my efforts, the only thing I discovered was that this guy was a genuinely good person and stood up forwhat he truly believed. I had already begun searching for something to believe in and had been spending my lunches in thehigh school library studying various religions. I was raised in Utah and was aware of the Mormon Churchand even attended with friends (inactive ones who skipped class) but I didn’t know what they believed. Dueto my anti-Mormon upbringing it was never one of my first choices until I met Zach. He was so happy andwhen I met his family they were unbelievable. I was jealous of what they had and I wanted that same happi-ness for myself. So when he invited me to church with him, I agreed and even looked forward to it, and forthe first time I actually approached it with an open mind and listened. That day the Spirit touched my heart,I heard exactly what I needed to, and I wanted more. I began reading the Book of Mormon and started themissionary discussions. My spirit was so starved for the gospel that it became everything to me. I felt soloved by my Heavenly Father and I was finally able to love others. It took baby steps but I changed every-thing about my life and I never looked back. After baptizing me, Zach went on his mission. We wrote each other the whole two years and weremarried within three months of him coming home. We have been married for five years now and have twobeautiful children. The gospel is true – it has brought me true happiness – and I know my Heavenly Fatherloves me and has always been there for me. I just had to let Him in to realize that.Abby Bergquist-Armstrong After the death of my sweet husband I found that the nights were the hardest for me. It was hard tobe alone. I didn’t sleep well. I was so lonely and missed his loving touch. One night in particular was verydifficult. I couldn’t control my tears. My heart ached so badly and I was lamenting about why God had totake my sweetheart and leave me to raise our five children alone at such a young age. I was getting myselfworked up a bit and really started questioning if “all this was worth it?” I knew and had always known thatthe plan of salvation was true and that we would be able to live with our Heavenly Father again. But at thatmoment it seemed so bleak. I couldn’t see the bigger picture — none of it made sense. As my tears contin-ued and my heart ached and my mind questioned, the Primary theme for that year came clearly into mymind: “God’s Promises are Sure!” My tears continued to flow and my heart still ached but the question inmy mind was gone and my mind became very clear. Peace filled my heart. As time went on and as I continued to lean quite heavily on my Savior’s love, the tapestry of God’s planfor me began to unfold. It wasn’t the plan that I had in mind but things began to make more sense. A won-derful man came into my life. I knew that my Heavenly Father was guiding me. We married and blended afamily of ten children! What joy! What work! What a miracle! Through good times and bad times, throughtears of joy and tears of sadness and heartache, I understand so much more now what God was doing andwhat His plan really was. God was saving a family! God IS saving a family! Being a mother to ALL of my tenchildren has made me realize how important motherhood really is. To help these children through theirown broken hearts has made me grateful for my own broken heart. I understand it and have empathy forthem. I can help them through and testify to them that I KNOW “God’s Promises are Sure!” Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 11
    • Jessica Wright I have felt the Lord lead my life several times, but the following experience was one of the first times I felt like He was talking directly to me. Several years ago, my husband and I were planning a vacation to Hawaii. We had wanted to go for a long time and finally were able to save enough. We started planning and even booked the vacation, when one night I was awakened by a clear voice telling me not to go but to spend that money (stating a specific dollar amount – which happened to be the amount we had for our trip) on food storage. I knew it was the Lord. I was so stunned I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. I knew nothing about food storage. Plus, my husband had been working on a job that involved many hours away from home – the trip would allow us to spend quality time together. I didn’t know how to tell my husband so instead of waking him, I decided to ponder how I would tell him. The next day, while weighing our options, I found a quote saying that if we have money to buy boats, new cars, vacations, etc., we have money to build up food storage and should be doing that before enjoying the material things of life. I knew then, we had to forego our vacation to build up our food storage. When my husband returned from work, I told him of my experi- ence and that I knew it was what we were supposed to do. My husband looked at me with loving eyes and said, “I know. I’ve felt the same thing all day.” Hmmm. That night we cancelled our airline tickets, started making lists of things we needed for our family, and went out that weekend and bought a two-year supply. The next week I stumbled upon a lady who taught food storage classes and she invited me to attend. I have since learned about food storage and we have even changed the way we eat. From time to time we have had to rely on our storage and I am grateful we chose to invest in a food storage program. Not long after buying our supplies, I received a calling to teach about food storage that helped me learn about my storage even more. This experience has led me to many more opportunities and wonderful callings. I am so grateful we were obedient. We feel blessed knowing that God communicates with us. I have also learned that when we are obedient, He blesses us. Three years later we were blessed to go to Hawaii – not once, but twice. I know those trips came as a reward for being obedient and acting on the Lord’s instruc- tions to our family. How thankful I am to know we have a good Lord who is on our side and wants us to succeed. I am forever grateful to have the gospel in my life! “Our trust in the Lord and our testimony of his Church have been our pillar of strength. He has kept us mercifully, and although there was much to suffer, He has given to us a measure of His strength. When we say ‘It is better to walk with God in the darkness than with- out Him in the light,’ we know whereof we speak. … With joy we sing the songs of Zion and put our trust in the Lord. He maketh all things well.” (Maria Speidel, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 76.)12 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous My life is made up of many experiences that have strengthened my testimony: struggling with my chil-dren alone at church, priesthood blessings that have been answered, loss of a child and my own personalrevelation of life after death, and the blessing of tithing in spite of the loss of a job. I realized one answer toprayer recently that I had not even thought about: Some 20 years ago I was Young Women president in an area in Missouri where the ward boundarieswere extremely large. My 16-year-old daughter had moved out and was making choices I did not agreewith. When called to be Young Women president, I prayed and promised the Lord that I would do every-thing to activate the girls and fulfill my calling; and I asked Him if he would send someone to activate mydaughters. I would drive miles to contact and visit the girls. I loved working with them: it strengthened meand I hope I made a difference in even one of the girls’ lives. About 6 or 7 years ago my daughter was working full time and making good money. She could pay allthe bills and her husband did what he wanted but was not the provider. Their marriage was falling apart. Avisiting teacher challenged her to start reading the Book of Mormon. My daughter accepted the challenge.At the same time, her son of about 13 had a friend whose parents refused to allow him to hang out withour daughter’s son because he was not baptized. By reading the Book of Mormon my daughter’s heart wassoftened and they had the missionaries teach their son. Today this young man has gone back to Missouri to teach his family in the Missouri St. Louis Mission.My daughter is Young Women president in her ward, affecting other young women’s lives. I realized recent-ly this was an answer to my earlier prayer that if I served diligently the Lord would send someone to touchmy daughter’s heart. By serving with obedience and faith, the Lord sent the right person at the right time tomy daughters. I know the gospel is true.Jazmin Jordan Today I am experiencing one of the more difficult challenges of my life. However, every day I becomemore and more convinced that I am a daughter of God and that I am loved by not only Him but by everyonearound me, and especially my parents. I will admit that I have had a very rough time in the relationship with my parents, especially my mom.My dad and I have always butted heads, but I have butted heads with my mom far more. We both havestrong, determined personalities. We are both independent and confident in ourselves. She has taught meto be the strong woman I am today, and she is my tender mercy of the Lord. I know that the Lord placed mymom in her role because of the wonderful woman she is and all the wonderful things that she can do. Froma very young age, my mom has taught me to pray to the Lord at all times and for all matters, no matter howinsignificant. When I was little, it was upon her faith that I rode. She knew the gospel was true and, for me,that was enough. But she always encouraged me to be strong on my own, and so I did. I followed her adviceand began developing my own testimony. One day I experienced the true love of our Savior and it was in my own home. I have been gone for overa year at school and realized when I returned home that my home is where I feel the most loved. It wasn’tany different than when I left but I had changed significantly. Then came the day of great heartache andI learned a valuable lesson. The moment my mom held me close as I cried tears of pain was the momentthat solidified my testimony of family — that we are given a family for a specific purpose, and part of thatpurpose is love. So now as I struggle through this challenge, I turn to my mom because God gave her to meso that I could survive, and also be happy. Thank you, Mom. You are my tender mercy. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 13
    • Debra Tait Life isn’t always easy. We get so busy in life that we can hardly keep up and the world keeps expect- ing more of us. Visiting teaching is a way to lift the sisters’ spirits. I am a busy woman and do things when I have the time. Visiting teaching is one of those things to fit in. I visit taught an elderly neighbor lady who couldn’t drive to town anymore. She would see me anytime because she was usually home. I mentioned go- ing to the temple and she eagerly wanted to attend but didn’t have a way to get there. She was available to go anytime I could, so I offered to take her with me. A simple desire to attend the temple turned into a sweet weekly date of us attending the temple togeth- er that lasted for five years until she was unable to sit for a whole session. We became such good friends. The locker room attendants would mention how nice it was for me to bring my grandmother to the temple and we would just smile and not let them think otherwise. She was quite the character and had me laugh- ing the whole way there and the whole way back. Many times I laughed harder on those trips than I did the whole rest of the week and, of course, we made it tradition to get an ice cream on the way home. She lifted my heavy spirit of being so busy with seven children, going to college, and the scheduled life. I was always so happy to see her and together we would go to that peaceful place each week. She felt it was such a miracle blessing to be able to get to the temple. She had wanted to go to the temple but didn’t know who could take her as her children were busy with careers and such. Attending the temple was our individual personal goal. But the pleasure we got from going together is an eternal treasure. She did just as much to lift my spirits as I did to get her there. Visiting teaching was the avenue that brought us together. It was the reason I would reach out from my busy life when otherwise I would have felt I didn’t have the time to add another thing. Jean Jepson I was 20 years old when I married my best friend Mike. We were married in the Saint George Temple on May 15, 1987. About one year later, we had our first child. Then two years later, we had our second child. Life was good. In fact, life was great. We were a happy family and we didn’t think things could get any better. But little did we know that our lives were about to change. In December 1993 my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We were devastated and shocked. Life had changed as we knew it. The doctors demanded that we travel to Salt Lake City the next month for brain surgery, so on January 14, 1994, Mike was operated on. It was very scary to be a mother of two young kids, not having any idea how things would turn out. It happened so fast and we didn’t have any time to prepare for it. I remember begging Heavenly Father for help. I didn’t know what to do. I was scared to death. I knew that I had to be tough in front of Mike, and that was hard. I didn’t want to let him know how terrified I was. I remember praying. And then crying. And then praying some more. That whole week was a blur. That year was definitely different. Everything changed. It was amazing to see the love our Heavenly Father has for us. Our family received many blessings through this trial. It taught us faith, patience, and humility. It also taught us how to trust the Lord with all of our hearts. We received many blessings through the power of the priesthood. Mike and I felt God’s presence and we knew we weren’t alone. We learned how to pray with a sincere heart. We learned how important it is to love one another unconditionally. Our family is so blessed. We are so thankful that we made the decision to be married in the temple. It is one of the big- gest blessings of all to know that we are sealed together for eternity. Later we found out that Mike’s tumor was benign. This was an answer to my prayer.14 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous I was like so many young girls growing up in the Church. I felt that if I did my best to keep the com-mandments and married in the temple, my dreams would all come true. My life seemed on track for eternalblessings. My husband and I had several children, we both served in significant callings, and we had a hap-py family life. Then, in an instant, my world fell apart. My husband was excommunicated from the Church.I saw no signs of it coming, even in retrospect. I couldn’t understand how my patriarchal blessing could befulfilled or even who God was. What was truth? Was everything I knew a lie? How could I go on with life?Who was I? Who was he? How could I even survive day by day? In those dark and hopeless days, I was given the strong prompting that I needed to give my husbandone year to put his life in order – nothing more. Somehow I listened and obeyed. It is hard to understandeven now how I got through that year. But Father in Heaven knew that the Atonement could save my hus-band and the Atonement could save me. Slowly, very slowly, the light in my husband’s eyes began to return.And slowly, very slowly, my own heart began to heal. I learned that the Atonement heals the sinner; andit also heals the innocent. After a year I knew that I needed to stay and give my marriage a chance. It tookmany more years to regain trust and the relationship we had lost, but the Atonement is a gift of miracles.Strength, insight, testimony, and love grew day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.My sorrow is now a distant memory. The best thing I ever did was listen to the Spirit even though I didn’tthink I could ever be happy again. I am so filled with love for my husband. Our life is filled with romance and wonder. There were timeswhen I wondered if I had made the right decision in marrying him but it is so apparent he is the rightperson for me. I feel we are walking squarely side by side into the eternities. I am so grateful for the Atone-ment that gave him back to me. I am grateful I stayed in the marriage out of faith, as hard as that was. Whata blessing I have been given because of my faith!! I love him so much! He is such a part of me and I am a partof him. These are days of joy for both of us. And to top all of that, he makes me laugh.Peggy Stokes While living in Salt Lake City I went through the temple preparation class. When I finished the class, Iset the date to go to the Salt Lake Temple for my endowment. I invited my mom and dad and several otherfamily members, plus my best friend Sharon. After the session Sharon gave me a big hug and said, “Wel-come to the family.” I planned to go to the temple every Wednesday after work. The first Wednesday, I went alone and wasscared because I was alone. I said a small prayer to Heavenly Father to be with me or to help me to not beafraid of being alone. In the Salt Lake Temple you go from room to room for the different kingdoms. Whilein the celestial room I noticed that the girl next to me had the same last name of the lady I was doing. Wediscussed the family name and discovered that 10 other women were doing the same last name – motherand daughters. While discussing this, the lady next to me saw my own last name and asked if I knew TomStokes. I said, “Yes, he is my uncle.” She said, “He’s my father.” I had never met her before. The Lord put menext to a cousin so I wasn’t alone. The Lord works in mysterious ways but always answers prayers. Mine was answered that day. I got to meet a cousin, exchange information, and learn it’s not real scaryto go to the temple alone. I learned I could do anything I want or need to do, alone. I don’t have to dependon anyone but Heavenly Father to be with me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 15
    • Jeannene Colbert Our family was at Bear Lake for a summer vacation and after a couple of days of water activities we de- cided to venture to some caves nearby. Before we began our walk, we had family prayer and asked Heavenly Father to watch over us and protect us. As we approached the highway to cross toward the caves, our older boys had gone ahead and we walked behind with our 4-year-old son Jeff and older daughter. Jeff suddenly ran across the road, and as we were yelling, “Don’t go yet!” he immediately was struck by a vehicle. We heard the noise and waited forever for the car to stop. When it came to a stop, the people inside the car came out, frantically saying, “We hit him; we hit him.” At this point, we assumed that the vehicle had dragged him but we could not see him. We looked across the road at our other children to see if everyone was all right and that’s when saw little Jeff in the arms of his older brother Greg. We hurried to cross the road to them and noticed immediately that Jeff was not crying and did not show any sign of injury. I asked Jeff if he hurt anywhere and he answered that only his heel was hot. We were amazed that he seemed to be fine, but confused as to how he got into his brother’s arms. I asked Greg, “How did Jeff get into your arms?” He replied, “I don’t know. He was just here.” The people who had hit Jeff were in shock that he was fine – as were we. With tears streaming down my face, I contin- ued to walk with my family to the caves. My 16-year-old son Eddie came up to me and said, “A miracle just happened, didn’t it, mom?” Twenty-eight years later, Jeff was reading the last book of Harry Potter and came across the scene where Harry has to choose whether to stay on earth or go beyond. Jeff called me and told me what he was reading and that he remembered being given the same choice back when he was 4 and in the car accident – whether to stay or go. He said that he chose to stay with his mom and dad. He also said that he was grabbed by his heel and thrown into the arms of his brother Greg. I share this story as a testament of the power of prayer and I am reminded that we should ask our Heavenly Father for protection and guidance. Our family received a wonderful miracle that day and I have a testimony that when we called upon our Father in Heaven, we were blessed. Tabitha Ramsay These past few years have been hard for me, not so much that I couldn’t handle, but hard enough that I felt it both physically and emotionally. I had a stressful pregnancy with twins where I was constantly sick and then on bed rest for a month. They were born eight weeks early and had to be in the NICU for 39 days. The day after they were born, we got a phone call saying that my husband would deploy that June to Iraq for one year. My sweet husband left on my 24th birthday. He was in the United States for two months and then in Iraq for four months. When the new year came I sat down to think of what my new year’s resolution would be — the only thing that came to mind was RELAX. When I wrote it down in my journal, a flood of emotion came over me and I felt so warm and comforted and blessed that I was actually able to write this, and follow through this year. My children are healthy, my sister and her family were able to move in with me while my husband was away, my husband was able to come home six months earlier then expected …These were all tender mercies given to me by my Heavenly Father. I am so overwhelmed with how much my testimony has grown these last few months. I am thankful for the gospel and all the kind people in it who have helped us through our trials. And I am especially grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows and understands what I can handle and what I need help with.16 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. For (He) wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalms 18:2, 28Shanna Christ It was early Thursday morning when I realized that the brand new athletic shoes my husband had pur-chased for basketball had been left at the church. I had used them, without asking, for a Relief Society skitthe morning before. I felt some concern in remembering that the youth had the building that night and mayhave tampered with the goods. I scurried to the last place I had held them, but to my dismay, there were no athletic shoes. Anxietyswept over me, knowing that we did not have the money in the budget to replace them and that my hus-band would be upset. I pondered what to do next. I knew that, “If ye have faith as small as a mustard seed nothing will be impossible” (Matthew 17:20),and that Heavenly Father answers prayers, but would missing athletic shoes be important enough? I prayedearnestly that He would show me where the shoes had been hidden. Immediately the thought came, “Lookin the garbage can.” I began searching through every classroom but the shoes were not to be found. Lastly, I checked thewomen’s restroom and, with great delight, grasped hold of one of his precious athletic shoes in the bottomof the garbage can. I just knew that the other shoe would be close by, but it was not to be found anywhereelse in the building. I felt stumped. I got into my car and offered one last prayer that the Lord would bless the custodian tofind the other shoe and call me. Suddenly, the still small voice whispered again, “Look in the garbage can.”Then, off in the distance behind the church, I saw a large garbage bin. I could hardly move fast enough as Iclimbed up and threw myself into its belly. To my great joy I saw the shoe lying amidst the trash. It was a miracle! The Spirit had been directingme all the time! My heart jumped for joy! I shed some tears as I thanked the Lord for caring enough for ourtemporal needs to guide me in prayer to the missing shoes. Truly, this was my first knowing that all thingsare spiritual to the Lord. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 17
    • Jody Lybyer In 1976 I was serving a mission in Sendai, Japan. A favorite Japanese holiday in the spring is “Sakura” (cherry blossom season). This was a perfect time to meet families and introduce ourselves as sister mis- sionaries. We had just finished the first discussion with a lovely family when we realized the sun had set. Looking around, we saw the park was filling up with rough-looking and obviously intoxicated partygoers. The darkness, the heavy foliage around us in the park, and the calls from the intoxicated men scared us. We rapidly walked to our bikes and in my heart I began praying that Heavenly Father would help us leave the park safely. Just before reaching our bikes, a group of about ten men surrounded us; we were in deep trouble. I prayed harder for our Father to help us. It occurred to me that if we were assaulted it could become an international incident and the Church work in this city and others in this beautiful country could be greatly hindered. Men grabbed my arms and began pulling me toward the bushes. I looked around for help – and then I saw them. Across the dark playground rode six elders. Their white shirts seemed to shine as they rode in a wind- ing line parallel to us; they were not aware we were there and in trouble. I called to them, “Elders, Elders.” The district leader saw us at the same time as the men holding us saw them. The men let go and ran off in various directions as the elders rode toward us. Sister Barney and I hugged each other and cried as the elders surrounded us with their bikes. I cannot describe the relief we felt or the gratitude to our Heavenly Father for protecting us. Later I asked the district leader how they came to be at this obscure part of the park at sunset. He said, “I really don’t know how that happened. We were having our evening meal. We were not done but all arose at the same time with the thought that we should go to the park. It seemed to make sense at the time, but now I see it was not normal for all of us to go to the same place, at the same time. Our Heavenly Father looks out for us. I will always know we were protected that day by our Heavenly Father’s love and grace. Lorine Jarrett Many years ago as a single mom, I lived in a humble home in North Las Vegas and worked as a school teacher to support my family. Living under the Nellis Air Base flight pattern caused my windows to rattle and shake every time a plane roared overhead. My bedroom window developed a large crack from top to bottom. Being a single parent made it a strain on my budget to replace such a big window. Instead, I used filament tape and securely covered the crack from top to bottom hoping that would stop the problem. At this time in my life, I was not only stressed financially but especially spiritually and emotionally for my six children. I felt overwhelmed. I was praying mightily, especially for my teenage children. They at- tended a rough high school and I was concerned because their choices were not in harmony with gospel standards. I felt my heart was breaking for them, and a broken window was just too much. One day as I looked at my broken window, I realized the crack and tape were gone and the window was perfect! I went outside, wondering who had surprised me and fixed my window pane. After careful exami- nation, I realized there was no evidence of the window being removed and replaced. As I stood there won- dering what had happened, I felt the Spirit whisper, “If I can fix broken windows, I can fix broken families.” I continue to trust that the Lord can and will keep that promise.18 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Bobbie Morgan I had only been a member of the Church for three years when I was having severe female troubles. Thegynecologist said I needed a hysterectomy but he feared it might be cancer. He scheduled a D&C. If he didfind cancer, he would have to schedule radiation before the hysterectomy. We went to San Diego the week-end before my D&C. I enjoyed the trip but couldn’t get the big “C” off my mind. The day after returning home I had to go to the hospital for all the pre-op tests. The kids knew I washaving surgery but not about the cancer part. On the way home from the testing, Rick and I were involvedin a traffic accident. We were pretty banged up and I had a dislocated shoulder. The pain was excruciating.We were taken in an ambulance back to the same hospital we had just left. Pre-op testing was done fromthe ER in our town so the nurses had tons of “Weren’t you just here?” jokes. I was in too much pain to thinkof anything at the moment, but when the doctor arrived and relocated my shoulder (instant relief), I wasthinking more clearly. My first real concern was the surgery scheduled for the next day. As I waited in the ER, I earnestly prayed that if I had cancer, the delay from the accident wouldn’t makeit worse. At that moment, I received the most peaceful feeling all over my body. The words in my mind wereeven more encouraging. I kept hearing, “You don’t have cancer. Don’t worry about it. You are going to be allright.” I knew Heavenly Father was blessing me with the knowledge that I was going to be fine. I’ve alwaysthought He probably had the Spirit whisper to my gynecologist also. My doctor came to the ER and said,“We won’t do the surgery in the morning and I think we’ll skip the D&C all together. We will schedule thehysterectomy for a month from now.” My completely black and blue stomach from the seat belt appreciatedwaiting awhile. As for me, I never gave the outcome of the surgery a second thought after that. I had thesure knowledge that I did not have cancer. And I didn’t.Heloise Martin The year was 1963 in the little town of Reserve, New Mexico. I had just had my third son, my husbandwas teaching school, and I was asked to be a visiting teacher. I was a little taken aback but agreed to do it. Ihad never attended Relief Society before, believing it was for “older women”. My companion was an olderlady and very gracious and accommodating. This was really an experience, never having been out of Utah.We traveled about 60 miles every month, taking all day because the sisters we visited loved having us andlived so far out they did not get into church much. Our meetings were held in Luna, New Mexico, which was30 miles away over the mountain. In February 1964 I went back to Salt Lake City for a sister’s wedding, bringing the baby with me. Thetwo older boys stayed with an Indian sister and her family while their dad was at school. On Sunday, rightafter my husband and the boys had left for church, the furnace exploded. Neighbors rushed over to makesure no one was in the house. We lost everything. I hadn’t taken many clothes with me except for the baby’sthings. I wanted to come home but my husband said no because there wasn’t any place for us to stay. Therewas an old schoolhouse that had been converted into an apartment; it was empty but had been left sofilthy-dirty that the owners wouldn’t rent it out. My husband finally convinced them that he would get itcleaned. Three of the sisters from Reserve scrubbed and cleaned for three days to get it clean. The sisters inLuna made quilts. My companion and her three daughters went through the fire-ravaged home to find whatthey could salvage. They found the stainless steel pots and pans and scrubbed them to look like new, theyscrubbed and polished my silverware, and washed and cleaned some sheets that were in drawers. When I returned home at the end of the week, I walked into a very clean home with new quilts andbedding on all the beds and food in the refrigerator and cupboard. To this day, I will always be grateful tothe sisters in the Relief Society. They taught me a very meaningful lesson about what it’s all about – HelpingEach Other. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 19
    • “God bless you, my sisters, and encourage you, that you may be filled with light, and realize that you have no interests but in the wel- fare of Zion. … By seeking to perform every duty you will find that your capacity will increase, and you will be astonished at what you can accomplish.” (Eliza R. Snow, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 58.) Saundra L. Rowzee It had been a day exactly like a hundred days before it. I had taught eighth grade “Language Arts” at the local junior high all day, arriving home still harried to perform a series of habitual motions – pull into the carport, turn off the car, open the door (hitting the lock button as I stood), turn back to grab my keys, purse and papers to be corrected – when nature decided to throw me a curve. A sudden gust of wind slammed the heavy truck door, tearing the handle from my grasp and leaving me to stare wide-eyed through the window at all of the things left behind in the now-locked interior. My keys sat on top of my papers-to-be-corrected pile – my back-up keys swinging tauntingly from the rear-view mirror. I panicked! I tried one door and then went around and tried the other. The van was locked tight! I leaned against the van as my situation poured over me. It was 114 degrees, I was locked out of doors, my neighbors would not be home for hours – now what was I to do? I went slowly around my home, trying every door and window, finally ending at my bedroom window. It was shut and locked of course – a woman alone does not have open windows. The heat was really getting to me. A diabetic, I could feel myself becoming dehydrated. I was awfully thirsty! Eventually my mind turned, as one always does at such times, to the need to call upon the Lord. I put my head down and prayed fervently – asking Him if He would please unlock the bedroom window. When I finished, I left my eyes closed, pleading still – “Please, please help me.” Finally I opened my eyes and looked – the window remained locked, looking just as it had before I asked. Again I bowed my head and repeated my prayer, yielding the same result. At this I cried aloud, “Father, thou hast said that faith the size of a mus- tard seed can move a mountain. Don’t I even have enough faith to move a lock?” Tears ran down my face and a feeling of utter failure filled my heart. Slowly I moved back to where my van stood, locked tight. I had no plan, no purpose really – I just reached for the door handle and to my astonishment, the van opened! Oh how I rejoiced! I did so more for the discovery of my faith than for the return of the keys. The Lord had proven Himself to me and me to myself in one action. I also recognized that His wisdom had been greater than mine, as He opened the lock which would do me the most good – sharing a rare glimpse of His love and humor with me in a very personal way. Now when days are trying, and they often are, I embrace the knowledge that the Lord is that close by, and that He answers my prayers in wondrous ways.20 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous Leaving my previous ward was hard for they truly were my family. It was there that I received a testi-mony of visiting teaching, found some of my dearest friends, and learned from sisters who had “alreadybeen there” while I started to raise and teach the gospel to my own family. Needless to say, I was excited about my visiting teaching calling in my new ward. There was one youngmom on my list who lived close to me. I was at a point in my life that I could give more of my time, andI loved being able to give her what all the sisters gave to me when I was in that same situation. My newfriend eventually needed to move. We cleaned and organized her house, I watched her kids, and broughther meals. She had a yard sale. I purchased a few things, helped at her sale, and when it was over, delivereditems that didn’t sell to people in the ward and then to DI. I was going to miss her but I was happy for hernew adventure with her family. That afternoon I received a call. She told me I had used her to my own advantage by stealing from her.She accused me of taking whatever I wanted from her yard sale and not paying her fairly. She was mad andI was devastated. Numb from shock and sick to my stomach, I didn’t see how this could have happened.I tried to explain through tears that all I was doing was trying to help her. I cried for days for this loss offriendship. Later I found out that other women in the neighborhood told her I took things from her yardsale (the trailer full that I took to DI); and the flames of gossip continued from there. Anger began to con-sume my heart. I had never before been offended enough not to socialize with members of the ward. It waseating me up. I knew I did no wrong. It hurt to have sisters think so little of me. I didn’t want to see them atchurch. I was afraid of visiting teaching. Tear-filled prayers filled my days. I recognized that though it was a misunderstanding, I had still hurt my friend’s feelings. I called herand asked for her friendship and forgiveness. Despite my shaken confidence, I had to dig deep to realize myintentions were truly good, only miscommunication tripped it up. I was so upset of what others’ thought ofme that I had forgotten to see what the Savior thought of me. I knew I was good with Him and therefore Icould let the hurtful gossiping go. My service in the Church was for the Lord and when I understood that, Icould continue serving happily if I was doing it for Him.Lorna Flater It is vitally important that we heed the promptings of the Spirit the first time we feel them. One day as my friend, Norma Noble, was walking her dog, she had the distinct feeling that she shouldwalk over to my house and see how I was doing. The minute she stepped into my house she said, “I smellgas.” My smeller doesn’t work very well so I couldn’t smell anything. She walked into the kitchen and foundone burner that wasn’t all the way off. That was the first time she had walked over to my house in monthsbut she was prompted to come that day and probably saved my life. Thank you, Norma! And I thank myHeavenly Father for His hand in taking care of me. The next day my daughter, Louise Thomas, called the gas company to come shut the gas off from thestove. Then she went out and bought me an electric skillet and a hot plate to use when I need to cook some-thing. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 21
    • Donna Wheeler (Donna passed away July 30, 2011) Submitted by Donna’s husband, Ned Wheeler Donna Wheeler has always been Christ-like in all that she did. She was blessed so many times with an- swers to her prayers. Her daughters would ask her to pray for special needs and they said Donna’s prayers were always answered. Donna would go the extra mile to help others in need. She had special feelings of compassion for others and would show gratitude to everyone. These attributes came to her because of her desire to please the Lord. She continually studied the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, and tried to apply the principles that were taught. When the prophet spoke, Donna was ready and willing to do what- ever was required to be obedient. Great blessings came to Donna as a result of her humility and obedience. Donna’s final days on earth gave her a vision of the glorious life hereafter which she was able to share with everyone. Doctors and nurses witnessed the pure love of Christ that Donna demonstrated during her most trying and painful experiences. They were surprised when they would receive a “Thank you” from Donna after the most painful procedures they had just performed. Donna had a vision of the great privilege it was to be here on earth to work out our salvation and appreciated the blessings from the Lord applied at the hands of trained doctors and nurses. Nurses would come from Donna’s bedside with tears in their eyes explaining that Donna had asked them how they were doing, even though many times she was in terrible pain. The nurses said they should have been the ones asking how Donna felt. Donna’s actions and words demonstrated to all that whatever the Lord requires of us is right and for our best good. She taught us to see things from an eternal perspective and was willing to get outside her comfort zone if it would bless the lives of others. Things that others did not want to do, Donna would accept, and then do her best with a faith in our Savior that was commendable and pleasing to the Lord. During Donna’s final two weeks on earth she taught everyone she met of Heavenly Father’s tender mercies and gave us a glimpse into eternity that will be everlasting. I will always remember and ever be grateful. Amanda Ruesch I have been blessed many times to have prayers answered, feel the comfort of the Spirit in trying times, and receive miracles through priesthood blessings. Some of these were very powerful and sacred experi- ences. I know that the Lord blesses us in significant times in our lives. But the experience I have decided to share was not necessarily a life-changing blessing and that is why it was so dear to me. One summer when my son Connor was about three years old, we bought him his very own fishing pole and took him to a pond to try it out for the first time. My husband was showing him how to cast in a nearby field. On the end of the line was tied a little plastic fish that came with the pole. After a few casts, the fish went flying off and vanished somewhere in the tall grass. Our little boy was devastated. He hadn’t even tried to fish yet and a piece of his pole was broken and lost. We knew that before long he would forget all about the missing toy but at that moment he couldn’t think of anything else. We searched that field for some time and couldn’t see any sign of it. Then we suggested that he say a prayer. With the absolute faith of a little child, he prayed that Heavenly Father would help him find his lost fish. When he finished, he opened his eyes and pointed in a direction that we had already searched, but I went that way anyway. After about 100 feet I looked down and sure enough, there was the fish. Connor was so happy! My husband and I were surprised but our son was not. He knew his prayer would be answered. In the big picture of life, finding that plastic toy was quite insignificant. But Heavenly Father answered that little prayer so that a three year old (and his parents) would know that He loves us and He is listening anytime we need Him, no matter how big or small our cares may seem. He knows each of us as His individ- ual children and wants so much for us to be happy.22 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Carrie Parker The past six months have been one of the most challenging times of my life. In January I had an unusu-ally painful earache and excruciating headache that didn’t improve after several days; in fact, my symptomsgot increasingly worse. I was referred to an ear specialist and found out that I had lost 30 percent of mynormal hearing. After many tests, he found there was nothing wrong with my ears but that the problemwas neurological. I was then referred to a neurologist. I was tested for everything from multiple sclerosis and lupus tointracranial hypertension and TMJ disorders. I had several series of lab tests, a CT scan, four MRIs, and aspinal tap that took two blood taps and two weeks of bed rest to repair. In additional to the medical testing,I was prescribed several medications. At one point, I was on eight different medications, four of which werenarcotics. Each day I would wake up and have to choose between being in severe pain or being in a groggy“stupor” the whole day. I wasn’t able to function at home with my family or at work with my condition. This was one of the low-est times of my life. I became very depressed and very frustrated. I knew this was not the kind or quality oflife I wanted to live. I received priesthood blessings and prayed and fasted for help, strength, and guidance. And after sometime, my Heavenly Father heard my prayers by sending me friends and neighbors with the support, en-couragement, and answers I had been praying for. I was guided to seek out someone who helped me withalternative medical treatment that gave me some relief almost immediately. I was also inspired to reach outto another dear friend to help me improve my diet and nutrition which eventually helped me get off all buttwo of my medications. Each day I get a little better and can now see light at the end of the tunnel. I havehope for a brighter tomorrow and that has made all the difference. These challenges have given me the opportunity to gain a stronger testimony of the love my HeavenlyFather has for me. I know He is aware of my struggles and He knows what is ultimately right for me at thistime of my life.Linda Jaynes About four years ago I was really having a hard time. My husband had little to no work. We were hav-ing the usual children problems and I just felt that my prayers weren’t being heard or even answered andwas just wondering if Heavenly Father even loved me. At this time I had been sick for several days with abad cold and it was conference weekend. I slept in on Sunday until conference started and tried to watchconference but mostly slept. Then I suddenly woke up and heard one of the speakers say, “Recognize thatif you have feelings that you are not loved by your Father in Heaven, you are being manipulated by Satan.” Ididn’t hear the rest of that talk because I was thinking about what I had heard and wondering if I had reallyheard what I thought I heard. I realized that was just what I was doing – letting Satan manipulate me andweaken my faith. I later looked through all the conference talks for that Sunday morning and found thatstatement in Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk. His talk was on a completely different subject. I know that if I hadbeen listening to all of his talk, I would have missed that message to me. I’m so thankful for conference andthat experience. I’ve thought about it often. I’m thankful for the gospel in my life and blessings and strengthit can bring us. I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who loves us and answers our prayers. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 23
    • Diann Watterson Over the years I have had many manifestations and testimony-building experiences. Through priest- hood blessings, I and my children have been healed. I know without a doubt our Heavenly Father knows each of us, our needs, and the desires of our hearts. One of the most wonderful experiences came at a time when I was struggling for answers and help. I needed strength and direction. I knelt down and poured out my heart to Him in mighty prayer. I prayed for help with my family life. I was very unhappy, very much alone, and in deep despair. Soon after, my Young Women leader gave a wonderful lesson about patriarchal blessings. I knew in a very real sense that my Heavenly Father wanted me to have one. I went to my bishop and got a recommend for one. I was very excited about getting my special blessing. In preparation, I fasted and prayed. When I re- ceived my blessing, I felt the Spirit so strongly. Our Heavenly Father spoke through the patriarch to me. As tears ran down my face, Heavenly Father talked to me of the problems and concerns I had been praying about and things that were weighing upon my mind, things I had never told a living person about. He gave me advice and direction. He thanked me for finding Him in prayer and for being aware of His blessings. He gave me wonderful promises: A promise of a special worthy son of God who would take me to the temple and would honor his priesthood and bless our home. A promise of children, happiness, and security if I would remain worthy. He warned against ingratitude and temptations of the world. I knew and now know He will always be there to love and guide me through this life if I will keep my covenants, remain active in the Church, and live worthy. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true! I know Heavenly Father is very aware of us, our needs, and our desires. He keeps His prom- ises and is always there. I pray to be worthy to kneel at His feet and thank Him for His goodness and love. Leslie Taylor On March 26, 2010, my family gathered to have dinner with my oldest sister prior to her going in for major surgery on newly-found pancreatic cancer. We were visiting and enjoying our time together. My older brother Steve was talking about the job in Salt Lake City he had applied for, a house he wanted to buy, and his plans if the job came through. As I stood there looking at the house, I had a clear and strong revelation that when my son Jeff left on his mission in June, Steve would not be living in my parents’ home. He would be in a position to help Jeff during his mission. My parents would be able to financially help with Jeff’s mission. This was clear and strong – I knew he was getting that job. I looked at my brother and told him I just had an insight about this job. He asked me what it was but I refused to tell him. I said I would explain once he heard from the compa- ny. Within the next week, however, he received word that he did not get the job. I had slight confusion, but absolute knowledge that what I had been told was true. I was certain that another job was close. On April 21, 2010, our family was awakened in the early morning hours to the news that Steve had suffered a severe and fatal heart attack. He had passed away suddenly, and completely unexpectedly. After the long day with my family, as I crawled into bed, that revelation returned to me exactly as it had almost a month before. It was followed by the understanding that it was God’s plan for Steven to return home. From his home in heaven he would be able to help Jeff on his mission and watch over our sister Nyla in her battle with cancer. This brought me the peace and comfort I needed, as well as helping my parents, siblings, and children through this time. I recognized that during the previous year my Heavenly Father had prepared my family, especially me, to deal with Steve’s death.24 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Angela Jean Aleman This is a poem I wrote during my first year at college when I recognized the Lord’s love for me evenamidst the winds of change and self-doubt. I definitely feel that at the time I wrote it the Spirit was with meand gave me inspiration and I was comforted. It still brings me comfort when I read it today and I hope itwill do the same for others. The Helmsman Oh, that I could free myself! With mercy search my soul . . . And let each throbbing heartbeat Remain unstained and whole. Could I part the threatening clouds And bring to light the deeps, On heaven’s wings to soar, And angels tongues to speak. The quaking storms within me rise And give me no release, The winds of doubt and fear Do never seem to cease. Driven to and fro, Lost and lone and cold . . . The waves ne’er let go, My vessel cannot hold. Just when I feel defeat is nigh, The storms seem about to engulf me; The Sun breaks through the clouds on high- And the wind becomes a gentle friend. I rejoice in the return of the helmsman! I trust my vessel to his keeping- The precious cargo of gold within me I know he will refine, And bring me at last to those distant shores- Where peace and rest I’ll find. For now there is a calm After every storm, That I with patience bear And trust in his redeeming arm. Beauty and hope faileth not, But upon the waters forever shine. For my Savior is there, at the helm; With wisdom, truth, and endless mercy, He doth guide my vessel weary. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 25
    • Chauncey Turley Through visiting teaching I became friends with an amazing and very funny woman. During our visits and talks about gospel principals, she had a witty way of making life’s struggles seems funny and would always put me at ease. Our relationship was one of fun-loving and good humor. I always left her house with a smile. Her job required her to work on Sundays but eventually her schedule changed and she was able to become a Relief Society teacher. Her humor and wit were brought into the classroom. She was the first to admit she wasn’t perfect and had a way of letting others feel accepted. In one of her lessons she talked about the Word of Wisdom and her struggle to give up coffee, saying she drank it out of habit and just didn’t know how to replace it. The next day I went to the store and purchased Pero, a non-caffeinated barley drink with a taste similar to coffee. I took it to her house but she wasn’t home; her husband answered the door. I felt a little foolish handing him Pero so, in my nervousness, I turned it into a joke and told him to give it to his wife as intervention. A few days passed and I was out doing errands; when I returned home I found a little bag containing a can of coffee and note which said: “Thank you so much for your sweet gift. I know you thought of it as a joke but it actually means so much to me. I would probably never buy myself Pero until I was out of mine, and then I would probably just grab my regular coffee off the shelf. I actually am sipping my first cup of Pero and it’s a great alternative to breaking the Word of Wisdom. My goal for my family this year is to become temple worthy. My husband and I have never been to the temple and I know that coffee was my first problem. Drinking it made me think that when I give up this small thing, I can eventually work on paying tithing so I can be worthy to enter the temple and seal my family together for all eternity. But without a kick in the pants, I would struggle to give up my little habit. I thank you from the deepest part of my heart and soul. I have a gift for you also. Here is the last container of coffee I will ever buy. I make a promise to you that I will NEVER again buy a container of coffee. Thank you for your sweet gesture. It means more than you’ll ever know.” Tearfully and humbly, I folded the paper and put it in my journal, and then put the coffee in my pantry where I always see it and remind myself that even small acts mean a lot. Alisha Pollock 0n May 8, 2007, our ward in Layton and many other wards and religions all started a fast for my hus- band who was in the Nero Critical Care Unit. He would not come out of the coma he was in and there was no medical reason why he had not come out. On May 9 there was still no change and they said he wouldn’t live. I was sitting by his side when his brain waves started going all over the place and he was moving his finger. I yelled for the nurse and she was as surprised as I was that he had just come out of the coma for no reason. Without knowing why, I looked at the clock and realized all at once what had happened. Everyone ended their fast at 2:00 pm that day and that was the same time he came out of his coma. There were so many miracles that happened that year with his accident. I can say that I know without a doubt that God was with us all every step of the way. I wish I could share more of the experiences we had, but I hope this one will help to strengthen your faith in the power of fasting. I know that it was not just my family that was blessed that day but everyone who took their time and faith and put it towards helping us.26 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Helen Lenz My grandmother, Pamelia Kate Brotherton Hartford, was given a family Bible on her 16th birthday,which was June 11, 1896. When my parents, James Leon Hartford and Alice Ada Colegrove, divorced, we three children – Cassie(Kathryn), Burt, and I (Helen Joy Hartford) – went to live with our grandparents, Grandma Kate and LenardJames Hartford, who lived in the woods in Princeton, Idaho. I joined the “Mormon” Church in 1959 – whichI always felt was because of the heritage of a love of reading, research, and family pictures that my grand-mother gave me while I lived with them. I knew how the pioneers must have felt as there was no runningwater or electricity. Grandpa would haul water from the springs when the well went dry and we had kero-sene lanterns, candles, and a wood stove to heat and cook by. After I was baptized I learned about geneal-ogy (family history). It was my treasure of light as I worked in the Family History Center in Oakland, at theLDS Bookstore, and in the Oakland Temple. Through the years, the Bible my grandmother was given became lost. It was red and as large as thedictionaries you used to see at the local libraries. In the center of it are pages of family history with births,marriages, and deaths in original handwriting of those who were there for these events. Her Bible usuallywent to the oldest child, which would have been my dad. On March 10, 2008, my cousin, Bill Nave, passedaway and when his wife Elaine called me, she said they had grandma’s Bible, but since I was the family his-tory person of the Hartford clan, she and her children felt I should have the Bible. I was so touched that Ijust cried. The story of how we got the Bible home is for another time. This precious Bible has come full circle as my dad passed away in 1978, my sister Cassie died in 2003,Burt was killed in an automobile accident in 1950, and now I have this wonderful Bible in my home in Hur-ricane, Utah.Dowanna Cox For a few years I have experienced poor health, making it difficult to care for my family and serve in theChurch. While lying in bed, I became very discouraged and sad and many times wondered, “Why me?” Oneday it came to me that I am certainly not above the Savior and He suffered MUCH more that I have suffered,so I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. I needed to remember my numerous blessings and thank Heav-enly Father. I have a wonderful supportive family and many other blessings. During a Relief Society lesson on “Gifts of the Spirit”, I was asked to talk about the gift of healing. It cameto me that day that if I had the faith, I could be healed. I felt like I had tried every doctor, prescription, andnatural product. Many times, early in the morning, not being able to sleep, I would pray to Heavenly Fatherto be healed and relieved from the constant pain of fibromyalgia. During those silent hours of pain andsuffering, the Lord comforted me. I feel so grateful for the still small voice that helped me emotionally andspiritually. Many times, words of comfort came through the Book of Mormon. I love the truths that we havein this book and the comfort it gives us. Caring friends and visiting teachers helped our family feel love and support during this difficult timewhen I was not able to cook or clean or even drive the children to school or myself to the doctor. It was avery difficult time for me when I was not even able to be a visiting teacher. I feel very blessed that the Lord healed me of the painful condition and guided us to the nutritionalsupplements that gave me my health back. It is great to have my life back and to be able to serve my familyand serve in the Church again. I feel so grateful that I am able to travel and to visit my children and grand-children. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 27
    • Cherie Lee Thompson In the summer of 1977 I was in the King Benjamin scene in the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, New York. I felt the power and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost very strongly as I participated in this scene and lis- tened to the words of King Benjamin. The entire speech is amazing and I encourage you to go and read it for yourselves in Mosiah chapters 2 through 5. The following are some of the verses that made a deep impact on my soul and really strengthened my testimony of our Savior, Jesus Christ: This is from Mosiah chapter 3 beginning with verse 5: 5. “For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. 6. And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men. 7. And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people. 8. And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary. 9. And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him. 10. And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men.” I testify that Jesus Christ lives today! Rebecca Black Our daughter and two sons were visiting with us during their summer break. My husband had taken them out on Monday, at the beginning of their visit, to see the petroglyphs at Canaan Wash. By Thursday my husband noticed that the spare battery for his camera was missing. This particular battery is quite expensive. As a family we mentally retraced our steps trying to remember where we last saw the battery. We came up with a lot of possibilities but nothing conclusive. On Friday, while our daughter and sons were visiting other relatives, we decided to go back to Canaan Wash and retrace our steps. Both my husband and I prayed that if the battery was there that we would be able to find it. We scoured the area and found noth- ing. Finally my husband decided to walk the same route that they had walked to the petroglyphs. As I was getting out of the truck I happened to glance down at the empty parking space next to us and there I found the lost battery on the ground. It was just sitting there in perfect condition (no one had run over it nor had the heat warped it). The battery had been there for five days without any harm coming to it. After retrieving the battery we both said a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.28 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous I have a family member who chose a different path in life than I did. I really didn’t want to be aroundher or involved with her. She lived her life in a way that I couldn’t understand. Then a turn of eventschanged everything. I would be sitting in sacrament meeting and start to cry for her, worried about how shewas doing. One day we got a phone call that she was in Leeds and needed a ride. She was on her way to Californiawith her daughter and they had a big fight, so my husband went and picked her up. She spent four dayswith us and in that time I was shown what it felt like to have unconditional love for another person, some-one that I hadn’t wanted anything to do with because of her lifestyle. I had always been polite with her butreally hadn’t wanted to be involved in her life. My husband and I felt very strongly that we needed to giveher a chance at a new different kind of life. My husband’s family didn’t want us to let her come and live withus. They didn’t trust her and felt she would use and abuse us. But we felt prompted by the Spirit that sheneeded our help. We felt that we were her last chance to change her life and we couldn’t turn her away. Since then she has moved to Southern Utah, has a job, and has created a new life for herself and herdaughter. I have had many wonderful and Spirit-filled conversations with her as she is trying to bring theSavior’s love into her life again. I have grown to love her as a sister should and feel that I never would havegiven her the chance without first feeling the unconditional love of the Savior. We know that her strugglesaren’t over, but she is trying and that is all we can ask for.Donna M. Park My experience was an answer to a prayer. It helped strengthen my testimony of the gospel of JesusChrist and it was a tender mercy of the Lord. In 1971 my youngest son was five months old and became very ill with the croup. I took him to theemergency room at the local hospital. At this point, he was struggling to breathe. The nurse took him intoa room and several doctors and nurses went in the room and made me stay out in the hallway. I was sittingthere crying, praying, and very scared. I was told that they had called a specialist/surgeon and might haveto perform a tracheotomy on my son so that he could breathe because his airway was closing off. Leo cameto the hospital. By then they had put our son in intensive care and told us that the next 24 hours were criti-cal. If he survived that time period, he would probably be okay. Then here came our bishop and his counselor and told us that they came to give our son a blessing. Thenurse let them go in to perform the blessing. After the bishop talked to us and went into the room, I stoppedcrying and knew that my Father in Heaven would take care of our son and everything would be okay. I didnot know exactly what was going to happen because I was not allowed in the room and did not hear whatwas said in the blessing. I just knew everything was going to be okay because I had faith that the priesthoodblessing and my Father in Heaven was the only thing that would save my son. The next morning the nurse came into the waiting area where Leo and I had spent the night and toldus that she could not believe it but our son was doing so much better and they were going to put him in aregular room. She said that she had seen a miracle because when she had seen how sick our son was thenight before, she really did not think he would make it. I told her that I knew he would be okay after he hadthe blessing. I had experienced a great blessing and a tender mercy from the Lord. I am so thankful to myFather in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ for letting me keep my son here. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 29
    • Valerie Spackman My cousin introduced me to a program called “Legacy” in the latter part of 2007. I was very interested in the program, not because of genealogy, but because of its ability to preserve family history (photos, docu- ments, certificates, etc.) electronically. I spent the next year scanning and entering boxes of family history and linking them to my ancestors. Upon completion, I began to look at the genealogy records and was filled with the Spirit of Elijah. My maternal ancestors came from Sao Jorge, Azores, Portugal. I found an Azores website that had thousands of pages of handwritten baptismal records from the 1800s. The handwriting was very difficult to read and many pages were not legible. And I didn’t know Portuguese. I found a Portuguese genealogy blog, wrote to a lady that was so kind to interpret a couple of pages for me, and before long, I was interpreting the pages enough to find needed information. After searching hundreds of pages that spanned 50 years, I found all eleven siblings of my great-great-grandfather. Over the next year our family performed the temple work for our ancestors. For one reason or an- other, a couple of years went by and we were unable to get the family together to do the sealing. The delay became a blessing. During that year my brother, who had not been to the temple for over 10 years, began working with his bishop and received his temple recommend. He and his family spent 10 days with us dur- ing Christmas of 2011. My mom, dad, sister, brother, and our respective spouses were able to kneel around the altar in the St. George Temple to seal our ancestors. This was the first time our immediate family had been in the temple together. Heavenly Father surprised us with an additional “tender mercy”. As we sat in the sealing room, our seal- er looked at the names and told us it was not a coincidence that he had been assigned to us. He had served his mission in the Portuguese-speaking area of Brazil and had a great love for the Portuguese people. As our ancestors’ names flowed from his mouth, with the correct accent and dialect, it was if we were in their land and they were with us in spirit. We felt so blessed that Heavenly Father would unite us with our Portu- guese-speaking sealer. Anonymous During a very trying time in my life, if not the most, I was traveling back to my home 130 miles away. I had been visiting some dear loved ones and had departed much later than I had intended. Within 65 miles of home, all of a sudden my car stopped. So here I am, stranded and alone, on a long, straight highway both behind and in front of me. I can see for a long way in both directions. I was, to say the least, very concerned. I had been sitting there for 30 to 40 minutes when a car was suddenly by my side. A well-dressed, nice- looking, soft-spoken man began talking to me. I thought, “Can I trust this person?” Earlier I had locked my doors. I rolled my window down maybe an inch. He wanted to know what my problem was. After I responded, he raised the car hood and after a few minutes said he was unable to fix the problem. He asked where I lived and said he would take me there. I hesitated but he said it wouldn’t be safe for me to remain here. “Come. Let’s go,” he commanded. Then, quickly, a warm trusting feeling came over me and I knew Heavenly Father was watching over me. The Spirit told me I could trust him. He did deliver me to the front door of my home. To this day I question, “Was he an angel, my guardian angel, or one of the Three Nephites?” I know my Heavenly Father lives, loves each of us, and watches over us. One day, maybe in the not-too-distant future, He will gather us home to Him. Oh! Happy Glorious Day!30 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. … It requires a conscious effort to diminish distractions, but having the spirit of revelation makes it possible to prevail over opposition and persist in faith through difficult days and essential routine tasks. … When we have done our very best, we may still experience disap- pointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.” (Julie B. Beck, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 158.)Karen M. Cleverly There was a time in my life when I had one major challenge after another: My oldest son had died atage 37. My middle son was going through a divorce. I had remarried only to find that my new husband, whohad been a bishop and was a temple ordinance worker, was heavily into pornography, and so my new mar-riage was ending. In addition, I was recovering from major surgery and knew that somehow I had to findthe strength to start over again in the work force. On top of all of this, my husband had accused me of beingunrighteous. Feeling very much alone and depressed, I went to the temple, praying that I would just be able to feelthe Lord’s Spirit. As I sat in the endowment room, I looked up. Tears started streaming down my cheeks as Iwas blessed to be able to see my son who had passed away. He was dressed in a white suit and had the mostincredible smile on his face. He did not speak to me; there was no need. And I knew in my heart that he wasand is incredibly happy. I returned to the temple again the next day and was blessed to feel the Spirit of theLord and the deep love that He had for me and knew that somehow I would be okay. That night I went to my knees in fervent prayer and asked Heavenly Father why I was having so manymajor challenges in my life. I told Him that I was not asking, “Why me?” but I needed to understand whyso many things were happening to me. My answer came immediately: “To prepare you for what is yet tocome.” Because my answer was so swift and so strong, I found great comfort in it. I knew that whatever Iwas going through and would yet go through, I was not alone. I then turned my challenges over to HeavenlyFather. He blessed me with peace so that I felt comforted, strengthened, and lifted up. I was blessed to be able to return to my old apartment in St George in the basement of a friend’s home,I found a good job, and my divorce was uncontested. Then, one of my greatest blessings was to meet andultimately marry a wonderful loving man whom I was able to serve a mission with and be sealed to in theLima Peru Temple. He was also a great strength and comfort to me as I did indeed go through my greatestchallenge ever. I never once doubted that the Lord was with me. He had prepared me and taught me to relyon my faith and blessed me with comfort and strength beyond my own. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 31
    • The “Light” of Sisterhood President Thomas S. Monson, “Charity Never Faileth,” Ensign, Nov. 2010. “True charity is love in action. The need for charity is everywhere. “Needed is the charity which refuses to find satisfaction in hearing or in repeating the reports of mis-fortunes that come to others, unless by so doing, the unfortunate one may be benefited. … “Charity is having patience with someone who has let us down. It is resisting the impulse to becomeoffended easily. It is accepting weaknesses and shortcomings. It is accepting people as they truly are. It islooking beyond physical appearances to attributes that will not dim through time. It is resisting the impulseto categorize others. “Charity, that pure love of Christ, … is shown when devoted visiting teachers return month after month,year after year to the same uninterested, somewhat critical sister. It is evident when an elderly widow is re-membered and taken to ward functions and to Relief Society activities. It is felt when the sister sitting alonein Relief Society receives the invitation, ‘Come – sit by us.’ “In a hundred small ways, all of you wear the mantle of charity. Life is perfect for none of us. Ratherthan being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travel-ers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challengeswhich come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out. “Charity has been defined as ‘the highest, noblest, strongest kind of love,’ the ‘pure love of Christ … ; andwhoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with (her).’ “‘Charity never faileth.’ May this long-enduring Relief Society motto, this timeless truth, guide you ineverything you do. May it permeate your very souls and find expression in all your thoughts and actions.” Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 33
    • Dolores W. Spendlove I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know God and Jesus live, love us, and guide us when we heed the Holy Ghost. This is why I believe: In 1955 I was driving to Virgin from Springdale with four small children under six years old (there were no seat belts or car seats at the time), just coming out of Rockville where the side of the road I was driving on dropped off to a very steep wash, when suddenly I had a strong feeling to stop the car. I didn’t. Then the feeling came even stronger so I pulled over and stopped. Just as the car stopped, the front left tire rolled off. I was stunned, especially when I looked over the edge of the road to where my children and I would have gone. I gathered my little ones in my arms and thanked God for the blessing of the Holy Ghost and for His caring for me and my children. Another time, about ten years later in 1964, I was working in Zion. I was about halfway there from Vir- gin when something told me to stop and turn around. I knew my six children were well at home so I drove a little further. With the feeling still there, I turned and started back to Virgin. After driving a few miles I had the feeling that it was all right to go on to my job. I stopped and prayed, then went on to Zion. Everything went fine. I don’t know why I was told to turn around but I know it was necessary that I did. Maybe someday I will know. What I do know is that it was important for me to do it. I don’t question the reason. I have learned to pay attention when the Holy Ghost speaks. These are only two examples — I have witnessed that still small voice many times in my life. I love the Savior with all my heart and I am so thank- ful for Him. Janet Hunter While living in Littleton, Colorado, we became friends with Larry and Gail Miller. My husband was their home teacher, I was Gail’s visiting teacher, and she was one of my teachers when I was Primary president. They were from the Salt Lake City area so when they had the opportunity to move back to Utah, they were excited to do so. Larry became a partner with his uncle in a (one) car dealership. The Millers hadn’t been married in the temple so we were pleased to be invited about a year after they left Colorado to attend their sealing in the Salt Lake Temple. The sealer was visiting with them about mar- riage and eternal families when he stopped suddenly and appeared to be in deep thought. It was at least 10 long seconds before he began again and uttered these truly prophetic words: “Brother Miller, I feel inspired to tell you that your name will be known for good throughout this valley one day!” When Larry passed away, I reminded Gail of those inspired words. Over the years I have witnessed the fulfillment of that prophecy as Larry acquired many car dealer- ships, purchased the Utah Jazz basketball team, built the Delta Center, and financed “The Work and the Glory” films and The Joseph Smith Papers project. He also built the BYU baseball and softball fields, the Miller Motorsports Park facility, a community college campus, and a movie theater complex (Jordan Com- mons, which won’t show “R” rated movies). He also owned the Salt Lake Bees baseball team and financed the Rice-Eccles Arena’s jumbo TV screen. He was quite the philanthropist and many of his good deeds went unseen (which is how he wanted it). He was a wonderful employer, helping the children of his employees with college scholarships. I feel very blessed to have been a witness to that prophetic declaration more than 30 years ago. My testimony of the gospel has always been strong, but this special event was truly an added confirmation of revelation and prophecy and the power of the priesthood.34 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Karin Knoch In early November 2004 Sister Brenda Tilby, our Relief Society president, called and asked if I wouldmake a cake for the luncheon after the funeral service of Sister DeMille. There were not many in the wardwho knew her but our ward was in charge of the luncheon. I said, “Sure, I can make a cake.” My first thoughtwas to do a lemon cake, but then I thought maybe a German chocolate cake. I was only asked to prepare onecake but I made two. Not knowing why, I thought maybe I’d leave the German chocolate cake home and takethe lemon cake to the ward. At the last minute I frosted both cakes and took them to the church. When Idelivered them I said, “You only asked for one but for some unknown reason, I made two!” The next day in fast and testimony meeting one of the Relief Society counselors, Sister Sharon McK-night, got up and shared her testimony with the ward. She thanked everyone for helping with the luncheonfor someone most did not know. Sister McKnight indicated that a son of the deceased came into the kitchenand thanked them all for their efforts with the luncheon, and especially for the German chocolate cake. Hismother, the deceased, had always made a German chocolate cake for family gatherings. He indicated it wasextra-special for him and the family to see a German chocolate cake as part of the luncheon after the funeralservices. I had been praying to live closer to the Spirit. I was grateful for this opportunity, as I know we are allsisters in the gospel.Jo Covington In February 2008 I went for a regular physical and mammogram. The doctor called and said I neededanother mammogram, then a biopsy. A couple of days later my doctor called again to tell me it was cancer. Iprayed hard for peace and patience. Bishop Mitchell and one of his counselors gave Paul and me blessings.What a great help that was. I felt such peace from that moment on. I did not know that everything wouldwork out well or that I would even be here four years later – I just felt peace. I still had to work on patience. In March I went in for surgery. The surgeon did a lumpectomy and dissected 14 lymph nodes. Theyfound cancer in one of the lymph nodes. That left the possibility that the cancer could have spread to otherparts of my body, so I was told I would have to have chemo and radiation therapy. In May I began the chemo treatments. There were six treatments three weeks apart. I did really wellwith the chemo treatments. I was not sick like many people are. But with each one, I was more and moretired. There were other side effects such as hot flashes, which I still have, and all my hair falling out. Thelast three chemo treatments used different chemicals than the first three. They had different side effects,such as my hands and feet being very tender. My fingertips were so tender it was painful to touch anything.Everything tasted metallic, even chocolate. In October I started radiation treatments. I had to go to St. George five days a week for seven weeks. Theworst side effect from the radiation was that I felt like I had a bad sunburn on my chest. I finished all thetreatments in December, but then I got shingles. You might not think there would be good things from having cancer but there are. One of them is thatit makes you appreciate life. I found joy in being with family, helping my granddaughter make a Halloweencostume, visiting beautiful places like Zion and Yellowstone, and just going for a ride to enjoy the fall colors.I felt such comfort from priesthood blessings. I felt peace in my life. There are many people who have hadfar worse experiences during cancer treatment or other problems than I have had. I am grateful for modernmedicine, for the peace the gospel brings to my life, and for all my friends and family. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 35
    • Stake Conference and Tropical Flowers Submitted by the Stake Relief Society Presidency Sister Carolyn Reed arranges the flowers for stake conference. These are her words: As I planned for January 2011 stake conference, I prayed that the flowers would be en- joyed by those who saw them and a reminder that winter would be followed by spring. Tropi- cal flowers seemed perfect! I found a supplier who would send them direct and overnight from California. The day the flowers were to be shipped turned bitter cold. That night the temperature dropped below freezing and the wind whipped, adding to the frigidness. I realized the flowers would have no protection from freezing, first in the hold of an airplane and then in an un- heated delivery truck with freezing wind blowing underneath. I prayed that the flowers could be protected as they made their way to me. The temperature continued to plummet. It was brittle cold … and too late to ask for the flowers to be held for another day. Before bed I again asked God to protect the flowers. I woke up every little while all night long and offered prayers that the flowers would be protected. In the morning, I started to pray again. The words came to my mind, “You have asked for My help. If you have faith and trust in Me, let it go. Put it in My hands.” I waited anxiously, although calmly and resolutely, for the truck to arrive. Early in the afternoon the phone rang; it was the farm the flowers had been ordered from. The agent sounded frantic. “I don’t know what happened,” she said. “The flowers were sent to shipping; everything was labeled with your name and address. For some reason the flowers didn’t get on the truck. I can’t imagine what happened!” I knew what had happened. The Lord had heard and answered my prayers. She continued, “They will be on their way on the truck tonight.” I could hardly believe it! How good the Lord is. I said a prayer of thanks. The next day dawned bright and beautiful. The unusual cold snap was over. The flowers arrived with no damage. What a beautiful reminder that the Lord is aware of our needs and knows us individually. Sometimes miracles come to us that we don’t recognize and sometimes miracles come to us and are seen immediately for what they are. What a lesson this was for me. Pray, then having faith, put your trust in the Lord. He will provide.36 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Danielle Leavitt I was expecting our first child, a boy, around the middle of June 2011. Our little miracle, Tritton, camethe end of May. It was a beautiful and easy delivery. It was the hours after the delivery that became theworst moments of my life. We made our way to the “Mom and Baby Unit”. A couple hours later, he was sedated in the NICU. I beganto pray – because I knew this was going to be a long night! In the hours that followed, we learned that Trit-ton had a congenital heart defect called “Transposition of the Greater Arteries”. He would need to be life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Days later he was strong enough for surgery. The surgeon basically had to cut off the main arteries,criss-cross them, and reattach them to the heart. Sounds easy, but his heart was the size of a walnut and thearteries and veins not much bigger than small straws and fishing line. The surgery was NOT by the book.My little boy had to undergo the heart and lung machine twice. For an infant, one time is enough; twiceis life-threatening. Twelve hours later we were able to meet with the surgeon. He took off his scrub hat,slouched in his chair, and said, “I didn’t think your little boy was going to make it.” It was a long and harsh month at PCMC. But through it all the Lord blessed us, He held us all in Hisarms, and never has let go. Here are some thoughts from my journal while we went through this ordeal: I felt guided to open the May 2011 Ensign and read a talk by Elder Russell M. Nelson titled “Face theFuture with Faith”. He said: “..And remember, God’s holy angels are ever on call to help us. The Lord so de-clared: ‘I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in yourhearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.’ What a promise! When we are faithful, He and Hisangels will help us.” The most profound statement of the whole talk was a quote from President Monson: “My belovedbrothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” I knew that my prayers and the prayers of so many were not in vain. That these ‘Hiccups’ had a reasonfor happening and that I had to endure it with faith. I love my little family so dearly and I am thrilled to saythat our little boy has defeated the odds and is a strong and healthy one year old today! The Lord truly loveshis little ones; I know He held him during his darkest hours. And I know that He lives to bless us in our timeof need. “The day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me.” D&C 88:49-50 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 37
    • Gloria DeCampos I have felt the Light of Christ and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost since I was in high school — long before I was to become a member of this Church. During a religious assembly our school had, the speaker was an Evangelist who spoke with great ardor about the role of Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. At the conclusion of his lecture he invited those in the audience who were willing to accept Jesus into their lives to come forward to where he was speaking. I remember the burning in my bosom and the pounding in my heart as I walked down the aisle, accepting his invitation. Not much happened after that experience but the feeling and the memory always remained, as well as the desire to fill that spiritual void that I knew existed in my life. Years later when the missionaries taught me about the Church, its origin, its doctrines, the plan of salva- tion and also about the temple, sacred ordinances, and marriage for time and eternity, I knew then that this was the answer I’d been looking for all those years. Deciding to be baptized was a decision that didn’t require much effort. It came as a natural spiritual consequence of that strong feeling I’d had when I was young. But this all had to happen on the Lord’s terms and on His timing. Just as Lehi and his family were taken from their land by the hand of the Lord and were brought into a land of promise, I also feel that I was brought out of my country to find the true gospel and the true Church. It’s been a long journey of challenges and accomplishments but throughout it all I have felt the hand of the Lord sustaining and upholding me. The gospel has brought an eternal perspective into my life and such perspective allows me to walk in faith with the assurance that I am His spiritual daughter who dwelt with Him in the pre-existence, and that someday, if I endure well and remain true to my covenants, I shall have the privilege of dwelling in His presence again. This is my testimony: I KNOW that He lives, that He is my Savior and Redeemer, and that His true gospel and Church have been restored here on earth. Barbara G. Smith I’d finished Christmas shopping one evening after work, and as I drove home, discovered it was rainy, dark, and windy. As I slowed my car for a traffic light, I noticed that another vehicle had pulled far out into the traffic lanes. I assumed the driver would continue driving or would move back into the parking lot just exited. It didn’t happen. As I continued approaching, I knew I would either have to stop or switch lanes. Braking hard, I realized I couldn’t stop in time due to the wet, oily road surface. I felt impressed not to move left into the fast lane. Good thing — two cars passed me, moving swiftly. Though braking, I still hit the other vehicle with a crunch! I pulled into the parking lot and the other driver backed into the lot also. A woman stepped out of her car as I exited mine. She was crying, saying over and over, “I should have backed up!” I noted that neither car was seriously damaged and she appeared to be all right, as did I. We exchanged names, numbers, and insurance information and both left the parking lot. My home was a short two blocks away. As I slid out of my vehicle at home and started up the walkway, intense pain shot into my foot and ankle — the one I had pushed so hard against the brake pedal during the crash. I hobbled into my home and shared the sad tale with my husband and an older son. It was decided they would give me a blessing. My husband annointed and our returned missionary son sealed the annointing with a sweet, humble blessing. It was no surprise when I stood that the pain was gone and I walked normally about the house. My husband felt we should still go to the neighborhood InstaCare. I wasn’t surprised when the doctor, after an X-ray and exam, said there was no damage, as though no accident had ever occurred.38 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Jolene Evans My parents taught me how to pray when I was tiny. By the time I was a teenager, I understood thatthe Lord hears and answers our prayers. What I didn’t know was that prayers could be answered quickly.Shouldn’t we have to “search, ponder, and pray”? My mother died when I was 15 years old. I was alone in our house at night. My brother stayed with afriend; and an older brother and sister were away from home. My dad worked the graveyard shift at GenevaSteel Plant all night long. I remember one sad, lonely night I spent alone. It was a restless unsettling night. I felt scared and un-able to sleep with no one to comfort my aching heart from losing my mother just two weeks before. Lessonsfrom home and Primary came to mind about prayer. I knew that I could pray for comfort if I needed to. Well,I needed to! If ever there was a time to pray for comfort, this was it for sure! I couldn’t quit crying for mymother and I needed help when no one was there to hug me. I got out of bed and kneeled down on the floor and offered sincere prayers to the Lord, asking for com-fort and peace in my life. I spent the night on my knees praying, crying, and sleeping in between prayers.When I woke up to pray again, I felt a wonderful sensation around my shoulders, which felt like a hug! Inthat dark bedroom, was this my mother hugging me?! I didn’t dare move at all because I didn’t want thatfeeling to go away. I felt peaceful and was finally able to sleep a few hours before getting up for school. Just as I was about to leave for school, the doorbell rang. It was my mother’s best friend. She told methat my mother came to see her that night. She had a message from my mother that she was happy andwanted me to be happy too. She also said things my mother told me herself, so I knew it was real. I know without a doubt that the Lord hears and can answer our prayers quickly! I received an instantanswer that I could not deny. The Holy Spirit gave me peace of mind and healed and comforted my achingheart that sad, lonely night. I truly experienced the love and tender mercy of the Lord! I have a testimonythat the Lord truly loves us. What a blessing it is to know that all we need to do is pray and He will be therefor us! “The history of Relief Society is recorded in words and numbers, but the heritage is passed heart to heart.” (Henry B. Eyring, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 86.) Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 39
    • Kristine Rix Before retiring, I had worked many years as a registered nurse in a hospital newborn nursery on the night shift. I enjoyed the quiet time after the babies were all bathed, fed and changed, and were sleeping – I could read, study, or write in my journal. But all that changed when a new nurse’s aide was hired for the same shift. She was a non-stop talker. She was one of those people who could be labeled “unlovable” or “irritating”. She would chatter on and on about whatever came into her mind – things I really didn’t want to hear about, like her son’s acne in great detail!! Well, I got to the point of dreading going to work. “Couldn’t she see I just wanted to read, or to even think!?” One night when she had taken a few babies out to their mothers, I remember grabbing the sides of the big wash basin, bowing my head, and silently pleading with Heavenly Father to help me love her because the situation was becoming unbearable to me. That was the quickest answer to prayer I have ever had. Im- mediately, my whole body was filled with love for her from my head down to my toes. It was a good thing I was hanging onto something. I had never felt that much love. I was amazed at the power of Christ’s pure love – I knew how much He loved her because He shared it with me. He increased my understanding of the depth of His love. When she came back to the nursery I saw her with different eyes. She now was a valued person that I loved and with whom I became friends. I looked forward to going to work because she was there. Since that experience I have been able to see all the people I meet as valued and loved because I have felt the overwhelming love of the Savior. It was a fantastic revelation to me. He must love me like that too! His voice spoke to me through the feeling of love. “The Lord’s tender mercies do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Faithfulness, obedience, and humility invite tender mer- cies into our lives, and it is often the Lord’s timing that enables us to recognize and treasure these important blessings.” (David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005) Lisa Henderson As I was lying in bed this morning half awake/half asleep, my mind wandered to a talk I had the night before with a friend. There were some circumstances we had been discussing that we don’t have a lot of control over. I began to say a silent prayer about the situation. The more I thought about it and prayed about it, the more helpless I began feeling, and a sense of frustration and hopelessness came flooding into my heart. And then as quickly as it began, it was like my thoughts and my heart hit a block wall and I had the flash of an impression that lasted barely a moment. It was of the children of Israel and also Laman and Lemuel. At the exact same moment my mind had time to register them, I heard a voice in my head that commanded, “You are forgetting who I am!” In that instant all sense of despair and frustration disappeared and I was flooded instead with a sense of peace and comfort. So many times I have read the scriptures and wondered how the children of Israel or Laman and Lemuel could be so blind, and it was eye-opening for me to see how simple it was for me to lose my faith and question the power of the Lord. Since that experience I have tried to keep my perspective clear. No matter what trials I encounter or how hopeless things feel, I know that my Father in Heaven is watching over me and has more power than anything here on this earth. I am learning to trust Him more and more.40 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Morgan Dunn I was 19 years old when my mom told me her cancer was back. She said that she was lucky because thedoctors had put her on medication that would keep it at bay for about five years. During that time I worriedabout losing my mom. After five years, just as the doctors had predicted, the cancer was growing again. Iwas struggling with depression, anxiety, and basically felt miserable. One night I had a dream. I was in my childhood church meetinghouse and was going to be receivinga new calling. I was panicking and explaining to those in the room that there was no possible way I couldhandle anything else in my life. Then my father walked into the room. Peace overcame me. I knew when Isaw him that if he gave me the calling, I would be able to handle it. However, the next morning I woke up still feeling miserable. I spoke to my mom the next day telling herhow overwhelmed and unhappy I was. She knew that I was struggling and had been praying for me. Sheasked me to come home to receive a father’s blessing. I was amazed how in tune with the Spirit she was.Her loving advice was what my dream the night before had been. I came home that weekend and my dad gave me a blessing. He blessed me that I would be able to en-dure the trials that were coming in the next few months, that I would feel peace and be comforted. I do notremember everything else he said in the blessing, but I remember knowing that everything would be okay. My mom passed away that fall. Just like the blessing had said, I felt love, peace, and even strength dur-ing her passing. At her funeral, I was able to speak clearly and confidently without having the time to writea talk. The words felt inspired. My duties at work surprisingly brought me joy and gave me relief from mygrief instead of adding to my burdens. The blessing did not make everything easy, because losing my moth-er is the hardest thing I have ever endured, and I still miss her terribly every single day. But I felt HeavenlyFather’s love and care in many small ways – through a dream, a mother’s inspiration, and a father’s priest-hood blessing that came to fruition.LaRue Lockhart My testimony has been strengthened by so many wonderful experiences throughout my life. In Novem-ber 1993 I went into surgery to replace my right knee. I always have a priesthood blessing before I have anykind of surgery, so I wasn’t worried. The surgery went fine and I was released to go home. My brother andsister-in-law were here visiting for Thanksgiving. I was home only a couple of hours and I couldn’t breatheand started feeling really bad. It was getting worse so they called the doctor and he told me to get back tothe hospital as soon as I could. I was worried because we didn’t have the money for another hospital co-payif I went back to the hospital. I had a blood clot in my lungs and would have to go back into the hospital. My family and I prayed andprayed that I would be all right. The doctor told me that if I didn’t let them admit me again to the hospitalthat I would die before I got to the freeway. My doctor told us that he would pay the co-payment for me; hewould rather do that than lose a patient. They treated me with nitroglycerin and worked on me to get mestable. I knew that I was going to die. I wasn’t afraid of dying but I wanted to be around to take care of myfamily. Well, the clot passed through without any damage to my lungs. Our prayers were answered and I got togo home the day after Thanksgiving so we had the celebration then and had so many things to be gratefulfor. I thank my Father in Heaven several times a day for the blessings we have. I have a strong testimony andknow this Church is true and President Monson is a true prophet. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 41
    • Bonnie Kennedy All my life I have been sensitive to the sun. I didn’t know why I didn’t like to swim or try to get a tan like all my girlfriends in high school; I always felt sick afterward and thought it was just the heat from the sun. It wasn’t until the fall of 2003 that I was diagnosed with lupus. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. Needless to say, Southern Utah is not a good place for me to live but why we live here is another story. It has really been a struggle trying to find a medicine other than prednisone that would help me. Just a few weeks ago I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and pain from inflammation and depression issues when I asked Heavenly Father to help me. After my prayer I called the St. George Temple and put our family name on the prayer roll. By that same afternoon I felt the anxiety and depression lift from me. I was so happy to feel good again. A week later I met with my doctor in Salt Lake City. He was at a loss as to what to do for me so referred me to a new doctor who has had a lot of success dealing with lupus patients. I have been with the same rheumatologist for nine years now and feel that the Lord had a hand in finding this new doctor. I’m grateful for visiting teachers – sometimes they are my only connection with the ward. Their sweet spirits lift my soul. I know that if I have an emergency I can call them to help. One of the hardest things for me is not being involved with the ward. I miss the spiritual strength that goes on in a ward with meetings, activities, and just being with ward members. I really enjoy attending sacrament meeting when I can. I feel my soul rejuvenates from taking the sacrament and feeling the Spirit lift my soul to go on another day. I’m so very grateful for my many blessings that I have received and for my husband and family. I pray that the Spirit will guide me that I too may be of service to others in need as others have served me. Carol White When I was a young girl, I did not like to hear that life was a test. I thought that if I lived my life in ac- cordance with the gospel of Jesus Christ, I could avoid those difficult experiences. Now that I am no longer young, I realize that sorrows, burdens, and challenges are an important part of this life. At times they come in multiples with no relief in sight. They may seem more than we can bear and often the most difficult chal- lenges involve those we love. It is in looking back that I have been able to see more clearly the Lord’s purposes in my life. I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. He is aware of my needs and the needs of those I love. If I am will- ing to put my trust in Him, He can replace despair with hope and courage. When there is nothing that I can do but pray, He can bring peace and comfort to my soul. Because of my trials, I know that even the darkest day will end and there will be a better tomorrow. Through scriptures, prayer, and service I have felt His love and guidance. I have learned that Heavenly Father wants us to have joy. It can be present in the midst of sorrow and pain. We must make the effort to choose joy but the choice is always available. I am more aware of the tender mercies that are always present. I know when I express gratitude for those blessings, they increase. A painting, a tapestry, or a quilt is most beautiful when there are contrasting colors of light and dark. Our lives are much the same. Heavenly Father is the creator of our masterpiece. The tests of my life are helping me on my journey home. I still do not like them and do not have the courage to ask for more but I have a greater hope and understanding in God’s plan for me. Our home in Hurricane has many windows and as I watch the light intensify each morning with the rising sun and again each evening before it sets, I am reminded of God’s love for His children. He seems to whisper, “I am with you in the light of day and will protect you in the dark of night. Trust me.”42 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Lyndy Smart What we have learned from Rand’s bone marrow cancer and transplant: We have had an increase of knowledge – God knows and loves us and answers our prayers personally!God gives us one piece of the puzzle at a time; any more would overwhelm us. First: humility and patienceas we tried to discover what was wrong with Rand. Second: faith that we were on the Lord’s path. Third: Hewould give us strength to do His will. We received greater knowledge of the Atonement. As I watched Randy in extreme pain, I could notbegin to comprehend what the Savior has suffered for us! We learned to rely on the Holy Ghost for comfortand knowledge. Elder Ence (an Area Authority) gave Randy a blessing. In the blessing he was told that ifthings got “dark and depressing” to call out and ask the Holy Ghost to help him. There were many timesduring the bone marrow transplant that Randy would get this faraway look in his eyes. I felt I would losehim. I would say, “Rand, did you ask the Holy Ghost to help you?” He would reply, “No, but I will.” I wouldwatch the life come back into his eyes. Rand would smile; I would cry out of gratitude. We have always hadprayers answered, but prayed in more detail and asked for the Holy Ghost’s help. This calls down “the pow-ers of heaven.” We learned the importance of keeping our thoughts and minds clean. We only listened to upliftingmusic and movies. We turned off the television. Rand’s nurses commented that there was a different spiritin his room. The negative things that surround us do not allow us to heal. The positive sources “fill up ourcups” and let us focus on the “light”. The transplant gave Rand and me four and a half more years together. Our children and grandchildrenwere great sources of comfort and joy. I know without a shadow of a doubt that even with the passing of mymost beloved friend and eternal companion, that this is what we agreed to in the pre-existence. Rand’s mis-sion is in heaven; mine is on earth. As hard as it is to say: I know it to be true. I ask for strength and cour-age and every day I receive it! I have witnessed Rand making a difference in our family’s lives many times.I believe he has more influence there than if he were still here. All blessings come from God. The gospel istrue. May we all live it to the fullest!Collette Jensen I want to share an experience that I just had a couple of weeks ago. I have had a lot going on in my lifewith family health issues, working two jobs and struggling to pay the bills, and trying to serve the Lord thebest I could. I just had an overwhelming feeling that I could not and did not want to do it any longer. I brokedown and cried in my car and told the Lord I needed help: I needed to know that everything would be okay.Within less than ten seconds I had a rush of warmth come over my body. I felt a great feeling of comfort andat that moment I knew without a doubt that everything would be fine. I kept coming across articles andscriptures (not even looking for them) that if I did as I have been asked, and trusted in the Lord and contin-ued to serve Him, that it will all work out for the best. I have decided to let Jesus take the wheel, serve the best way I can, and keep a positive attitude. I knowthat He will put me where I need to be and we will be okay physically and spiritually. I am so thankful forthe answer to my prayers. I am so thankful to be able to feel His love and know without a doubt that myHeavenly Father truly loves me. He is there for all of His children. Like I have always told my children – He isjust waiting for you to ask for His help. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 43
    • Rachael Shaw As I pondered which treasured spiritual experience to share while looking through the many I recorded in gratitude and some in frustration, I had one stand out. It is actually the most recent. I have been expe- riencing a change in my life the last few weeks. It has caused strain in emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial areas in my life. I struggled with how to handle the change because it affected more lives than just my own. It was in the afternoon as I tried to block out the chaos of my busy home in the summer and bless a meal. I didn’t realize the stress, anxiety, and fear I was feeling until I opened a blessing on my meal as I had done many times before. I was suddenly overcome with a wave of peace and love from my Heavenly Father that seemed to relax and revitalize me. Most of all, it filled me with gratitude to realize that my Heavenly Fa- ther was very aware of me and what was going on in my life and He was there for me. I didn’t even have to ask for His pirit and love as it enveloped my heart. I realized that my Heavenly Father was not only comfort- ing me but reminding me of the light and influence He has blessed me with. I get to share it with others. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of the gospel and the things I learn daily. It scares me because I feel I will come up short. Even though I may doubt myself and my talents and how to share them with oth- ers, my Heavenly Father knows me better than I do. I get to be the woman He knows me to be – an influence of love, joy, and leadership, sharing His light with those around me. I am grateful for the testimony I have of the gospel and my Savior, friend, and big brother. I am a daughter of God and get to share His love and light with others so they know they are valued children of God as well. Carolyn Reed It was bitter cold that early morning in mid-winter 1969. I had loaded our children – Chris (6), Shane (4), and baby daughter Cheli (about 10 months) – into the car and headed to the babysitter’s. The tempera- ture, in the single digits, was so cold that hoarfrost had created a fairytale landscape where it appears as if everything is covered in sparkling diamonds. I was mesmerized by the beauty of it, unaware of the night- mare I was about to experience. My shift started at 6:00 a.m. so it was still dark and numbing cold as I pulled into the covered parking space of the babysitter’s apartment. Our car, an older model although new to us, had some idiosyncrasies I didn’t know about yet; one of them – a tendency to jump gears. I pulled the gear shift into park, rationaliz- ing that as cold as it was and because it would only take a few minutes to get the kids inside and back to the car, it would be okay to leave it running, keeping it warm. I gathered the baby into my arms, my left foot already on the ground outside the car. I turned to grab the diaper bag. As I was in that precarious position, the automatic shift jerked out of park and into reverse. The momentum caused the door to knock me down onto my back on the graveled asphalt. I clung tena- ciously to the squirming infant in my arms. All that was keeping us out from under the tires was my right ankle and foot which I gripped tightly to the floorboards of the car. We were being dragged backward at an ever-increasing speed. Frantic, and feeling like I was losing the grip on my baby, I quickly asked my Father in Heaven to help me keep my baby from harm. I knew I would likely survive if the car ran over me but my daughter probably would not. Miraculously, the car started to turn slightly, traveling in a semi-circle away from us, away from other gnarly dangers. I continued to cling to the car as we circled backward until the car crashed into the back of the other apartment, stopping it. The tenants of the duplex awoke thinking there had been an earthquake! I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who knows our needs and answers our prayers. Through His tender mercies what might have been a tragedy was avoided.44 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12Anonymous For many years I have suspected infidelity in my marriage. Not long ago, my suspicions were con-firmed. I learned that the man I had made the most sacred of covenants with had been having an affair. Hewas in a prominent position of Church leadership when it happened. To deflect attention from himself, hetold many people that it was, in fact, me who had been unfaithful, which was a hurtful lie. He was very goodat taking a small portion of the truth and twisting it into something very different. He was very convincingand many people believed him. I have had my reputation tarnished and relationships damaged because ofhis lies. My life has been turned upside down and my dreams for the future have had to change. The thingthat I cherish more than anything, being a mom, is something that I am no longer able to do full time. Myheart breaks when it is a holiday, weekend, or any other moment when my kids have to leave my home. There have been dark moments when I have felt overwhelmed by the unfairness of it all. I have won-dered why Heavenly Father would confirm to me my decision to marry a man who would betray anddeceive. But Heavenly Father gave us our free agency. That is why I know that I did marry the right person.That person just used his gift of free agency to make decisions that have hurt me. I can use my agency todecide what to do now. This past year has brought me more pain than I’ve thought that I would have the ability to endure. But,through it all, I have felt many moments of happiness and peace. I have felt the Lord’s hand in my life moreclearly than ever. I have felt His guidance as I have had to make tough decisions. I have felt peace from at-tending the temple. I have yearned to go there often. I have gained a stronger testimony of the blessingsthat come from scripture study. I have learned that I want to cling to the gospel. I have made mistakes, andI will make more, as we all do. But because of our Savior’s sacrifice, I have the opportunity to return to livewith my Heavenly Father. And, if the man who hurt me chooses, he too can be included in the atoning sacri-fice of our Savior. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned this past year. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. I wantvery much to be a good daughter to Him and to my earthly parents, and to be a good mother to my children.I will use my free agency to forgive, to be grateful, and to choose the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 45
    • Carol Sauers At age five our son Greg began suffering with dizziness. His schoolwork was affected as everything was swimming before him. He would cry at night as he closed his eyes with the world spinning; and he’d cry again in the morning when he opened his eyes. Thus began a five month trek to pediatricians, ENT special- ists, and neurologists. A battery of sophisticated uncomfortable tests revealed true vertigo, but no cause nor cure. In spite of praying for direction, an answer eluded us. Finally, in desperation on my knees one day I poured out my soul to the Lord, expressing my love and appreciation for my son and beseeching the Lord for help. Never had I made a more passionate plea nor felt more intensity in prayer. I completely submitted my will to that of Heavenly Father, willing to listen to or do whatever may have been more important on the Lord’s agenda at that time. Two days later my visiting teachers made their regular monthly visit and asked about the family. Upon hearing my deep concern for my son, one of the sisters said, “You know, I was dizzy once. When my chiro- practor adjusted my neck the dizziness disappeared.” Bingo! It was as if a thousand flashbulbs went off in my head. Talk about flashes of inspiration. I had just been zapped with the answer. I knew it. It was exciting. Why hadn’t I thought of that? I immediately checked Greg out of school and took him to our chiropractor. An X-ray showing the top of the spine revealed the answer. The top vertebra was tilted, putting pressure on nerves running the brain and eyes. Standing on his head a lot had probably been damaging. Following an adjustment, we left the of- fice feeling great peace. The next morning Greg ran down the stairs and excitedly reported, “Mom, I’m not dizzy anymore!” Those were the sweetest words I’d ever heard. Even his teacher scooped him up with a big hug when he told her. What had turned the tide? I believe it was the heartfelt intensity and total submission I experienced during my prayer that led to undeniable guidance from the Lord. And the answer came through my visiting teacher. How cool is that! This tender mercy of the Lord I count as one of the spiritual high points of my life. Carol Anderson When I was about 15 years old, I thought perhaps it was time for me to start praying for the man that I would marry someday. My mother and my sisters all had troubled marriages that ended in divorce. I did not want that to happen to me. Near the end of my 17th year, I met my husband. Although I had been pray- ing for him, I did not think this was him. He was nice but, other than that, I had no special feeling for him so I continued to pray for that special man. One night, not long after I met him and just after my prayer, I felt the Spirit say, “You have met him.” Again the next night I continued praying, thinking, “No, that can’t be right,” and again I felt the Spirit say, “This is him.” He wasn’t who I had in mind. He was young – the same age as me. My father always told me to marry an older man, someone stable who could take care of me. So I prayed one more time, asking again about the man I should marry. Again, I received the Spirit telling me, “This is him,” very strongly. I was convinced. In the meantime, we had begun seeing one another. My feelings for him grew and soon love developed. We were happily married for time and eternity at age 19. We are still married and happy after all these years – 56 years, to be exact. Our Father in Heaven knows better than we do what is best for us. Through all these years, I can see in my husband why God chose my husband for me. He has been very forgiving, loving, and calm; I am quite the opposite of that. He has taken very good care of me, as my father desired - plus, I love him very much as well as our Father in Heaven.46 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Elaine Thompson In 1970 I was pregnant with our fourth and last child and due in August. In June I discovered that I wasgoing to have triplets. I think Heavenly Father decided that I wasn’t going to tell him how many children Iwanted. In 1970 there weren’t ultrasounds or any of the modern-day devices we have now to tell the doctorif the babies were healthy or of sound body, just an X-ray that showed a bunch of arms, legs, vertebrae andribs. I was extremely worried that they wouldn’t all survive or, if they did, there would be complicationswith their health. I wanted all of them. We had a family life insurance policy so I got it out and read it overto determine if newborns were covered or if they had to reach a certain age to be covered. Right now I re-ally can’t remember the details as too much has happened since. I did a lot of praying. The doctor had thehospital reserve three isolettes that no one was allowed to use as I would probably deliver early and theyneeded to be ready. One day I asked my dad if he would give me a priesthood blessing and, of course, he did. As I sat therein a chair with his hands on my head and listened to the blessing, I felt like the weight of the world had beenlifted off of me. I knew with certainty that everything was going to be all right. My due date was August 25.I delivered three healthy babies naturally on August 19 with no complications. They weighed, in this order:a girl, 6 pounds 3 ounces; a boy, 6 pounds 4 ounces; and a girl, 5 pounds. They were put in the isolettes butthe isolettes were never plugged in. They were unnecessary. I took my three healthy babies home. I am for-ever thankful for a father who was a worthy priesthood holder and for having the priesthood here on thisearth. I have an unshakeable testimony of the power of the priesthood and am so grateful to be here on thisearth in these latter days.Kate LeFevre Brother Dennis Marriott, who is in our ward, said, “Even when it’s bad, it’s good.” My interpretation:“Life is hard, but Heavenly Father still cares for us (perhaps, especially, during hard times).” Here’s oneexample: We’ve experienced many hardships since moving to Washington County. They seemed to reach a climaxfor me when we moved to Hurricane in April 2010. My son and his wife had their first child, born with mi-crocephaly, on April 1. I drove up to Ogden alone (because my husband had bronchitis) to be with them. InJuly my daughter, who has three boys and was expecting a girl, lost her baby. While I was up caring for herand her family, my husband called with more bad news. Our former bishop from Stansbury, and purchaserof our home there, hadn’t put the mortgage in his name and had stopped making payments. I drove out tothe house to talk to the renters. They had moved out and the house had been vandalized. We spent thou-sands of dollars on repairs and mortgage payments (until we were able to rent it out again). In October mymother died. Fast forward to October 2011. My beloved dog died on October 17. My husband had been trying toamass enough business at Edward Jones to make a decent living for us. He made it to over 90 percent of thegoal he was given. Nevertheless, the company let him go on October 31. Fast forward to March 2012. We went to Salt Lake City to my granddaughter’s baby blessing (the newbaby of my daughter who had miscarried in July 2010). Then the timing belt on our car broke. Our mechan-ic (our son who has left the Church) told us not to try to fix it. We were still out of work and couldn’t afforda new car. We asked for prayers on our behalf. Our son humored us and replaced the timing belt anyway.When he turned the key, the car started right up. He even admitted we needed to give thanks to God. Before Mom died, I joked with her about putting in a good word for me when she got to heaven. (Ihad six grandsons and one granddaughter and wanted more granddaughters.) I believe it’s more than acoincidence we had two new granddaughters born this year. Thanks, Mom, and thank you, Heavenly Father. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 47
    • Dilleen Marsh In May of 2011 I was diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis sometimes carries a death sentence with it. The first and greatest tender mercy from my Heavenly Father was my faith in life after death and a resurrection. For the next 6 1/2 months, six doctors, nine blood tests, biopsies, and exams, this knowledge blanketed me with calmness and peace. The night before surgery to have the lump that started the cancer experience removed from my groin, I asked for and received a priesthood blessing. In the blessing I was assured that I would be “completely healed”. God has always been kind to me through priesthood blessings. I trust in the effectiveness and power of priesthood authority on the earth today. There was an outpouring of love, sympathy, and support from family, friends, and community. There were amazingly appropriate phone calls, thoughtful information shared, and timely offers of help. Since all good things come from God, people were receiving whisperings from the Spirit under the direction of my Heavenly Father. My cancer was of an “unknown primary”. There was some frustration among the doctors I visited in prescribing a specific treatment. Prayer helped me make decisions about what NOT TO DO as well as what TO DO and I am grateful to impressions of the Spirit that guided me safely through what could have been an even more expensive and invasive process. In one more attempt to assess where my cancer was coming from, I underwent a second full body PET scan. On November 15, 2011, a few days following the scan, my then current doctor called to inform me that “there is not an abnormal cell in your body”. It was through the grace of a kindhearted Heavenly Father that I do not have cancer. And it is through the grace of a kindhearted Heavenly Father that having a cancer adventure and any other adventure wait- ing for me around the corner “shall give (me) experience and shall be for (my) good … for God shall be with (me) forever and ever.” (D&C 122:7-8) “Each of you is a daughter of God, endowed with a divine birthright. … There is strength and great capacity in the women of this Church. There is leadership and direction, a certain spirit of independence, and yet great satisfaction in being a part of this, the Lord’s kingdom, and of working hand in hand with the priesthood to move it for- ward.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 143.) Arnetta Beer I had constant kidney infections, so much so that my doctor put me on steady antibiotics to control the infections. I accepted a job teaching school in Guam. The doctor there said I did not need antibiotics and took me off them. After another infection and X-ray, it was discovered that one-third of both of my kidneys had been eaten away with infection. This same doctor told me he was sorry but that my kidneys would not grow back. There was nothing else he could do. My husband and bishop together fasted for me. The next time I had an X-ray, my kidneys had grown back. I have had no more problems with my kidneys.48 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “Feeding the Five Thousand”A letter written by the Stake Relief Society Presidency to the women of the Hurricane Utah West Stake What a privilege it is to call you sisters as we marvel in the bounteous love we shared last following the General Relief Society Meeting on September 25, 2010: night at the General Relief Society Meeting and the Relief Society activity preceding it. Our hearts are so filled with joy we can hardly contain it! The evening was filled with the true spirit of the gospel: service, selfless sharing, gathering together as Saints to be edified and filled, feasting at the feet of our Prophet and inspired leaders in the Relief Society general presiden- cy, joy in association, the strength of faith as we were unified in our purpose. We want to thank you for who you are. We had planned a meal for 180 people, but our numbers started swelling well before the activity began and eventually numbered approxi- mately 325 people. Did we have enough food? No. Did we have enough seating? No. Were we prepared to deal with those kinds of numbers? No. But the miracle of the gospel took care of our stake as sisters rushed to the kitchen to assist in meeting the demand; as our bishops and others set up additional tables and chairs constantly throughout the activity; as each of you who were there passed your own food to tables where there was none so all could be fed; as those of you who sat at these extra tables without adornment received the food with gladness and gave us all bright smiles; and best of all, as we crowded together in the chapel and over- flow area, making room for women who were gathered together to hear the counsel of our beloved leaders. We feel we experienced as a stake the true meaning of Zion last night. Dear sisters! How we love you! And we know God loves the sisters in this stake! He blessed us so much yester- day!! We will never forget the miracles of last night; they will warm our hearts for many years to come. Last night we experienced the power of “Gathered in Faith ... Bound with Love”. Let us continue as families, as wards, and as a stake to have this power grow within us. Truly, “Char- ity Never Faileth”!Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 49
    • Tasha McNamee We made the decision to move to Scotland to further my husband’s education after much prayer and fasting. We were certain it was the right decision not only for the sake of education, but I knew I had a true purpose to be there as well. We were excited for this adventure for our little family. With these thoughts in mind we packed our suitcases and our two children up and flew 4600 miles away from home. We rented a car for the first few days to make setting up our household easier, but had to return it on Sunday morning. It was bus transportation for us now in a city we had limited familiarity with and under- standing the accent was proving more difficult for me than I had anticipated. I was beginning to feel a bit of trepidation about this ‘adventure’ we had eagerly jumped into. We arrived at church and I was told we had Relief Society first, so I made my way there and tried to tune in to the sister teaching the best I could to understand the lesson. After Sunday School I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and thought to myself, “What did I get myself into?” By the time we reached sacrament meeting, I sat in my seat trying to control my emotions so I wouldn’t cry. We stood up to sing the rest hymn, “How Firm a Foundation”. As we got to the third verse we sang the words, “Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, For I am thy God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, — Upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.” Peace overwhelmed me and a sense of my Father in Heaven’s love for me filled my heart. I knew in that moment it didn’t matter how far away from home I had moved, my Father knew where I was and with His help I could do anything, including learning my way around a large city on a bus and understanding all the different accents. I’m so thankful for the tender mercies the Lord extends to us. He grants them because He loves us and He wants us to know He loves us. Barbara Myers It is amazing to me the many ways my Father in Heaven has been present in my life. I’ve found it diffi- cult to choose just one of the countless ways He has shown His love for me. At age 37, just four months after the birth of my seventh child, I discovered a lump in my breast. Two separate biopsies proved the lump to be benign and related only to the birth of my child. However, the lump remained and I felt strongly that something was wrong. I know it was the prompting of the Holy Spirit: there were no words, just the overwhelming feeling. I requested that the lump be removed. During surgery a second lump underneath the first was discovered, removed, and found to be malignant. I fought through other instances of cancer and subsequent surgeries. Nine years later the cancer had moved to my neck. I was told it would be very dangerous to remove as it would probably leave my diaphragm half paralyzed as well as half of my face. I prayed for 10 more years of life so that I could finish raising my youngest child who was then 10 years old. Prior to surgery I received a priesthood blessing and was told that all would be okay and I would be whole. I had the surgery and en- dured the radiation that followed. That was 25 years ago and the last of my cancer battles. I received my patriarchal blessing when I was 19. I was promised a long and happy life in the service of the Lord if I would be worthy and keep all my covenants made with Him, beginning with baptism. He has kept His promise to me and I will always strive to be worthy. I have been privileged to bring many of my an- cestors forth that their work might be done. This is one of the ways I have tried to serve the Lord and thank Him for His love and my life.50 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Elaine L. Hicken When Mark and I were newly married we lived in River Heights, a town just south of Logan. He and Iwere both students at Utah State University. I was cleaning houses to help pay for school and Mark workedat an audio/video retail store called Lynn’s Audio and Video. Money was tight and we were hoping we couldmeet all of our financial obligations. One especially lean month, I was figuring our tithing and preparing to pay it when I realized that rentwould come due before Mark received another pay check. We both had a testimony of tithing but I was wor-ried about being late on our rent. We paid our tithing that Sunday. Shortly after, I received an unexpectedletter from my grandma Ruth Lamoreaux. She had always been so thoughtful to send birthday letters anda bit of money each year, but we rarely received a letter from her at other times. When I opened the letter,a check for $100 was in the envelope. She explained that Mark and I had been in her thoughts and that shefelt we could use this money more than she could that month. I was so grateful! With this unexpected gift,we were able to pay our rent on time! I knew then and know now that the Savior is aware of me and my life. I feel so grateful for these tangi-ble blessings that have helped to build my testimony and my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have alwayspaid an honest tithing and have felt the blessings that have come as we are obedient to this law.Anita Mott We’d been married four years and my husband was a graduate student at Purdue University. We’d be-come concerned because we had no children and went to a doctor for testing. The result was that we weretold we should consider adoption. I watched helplessly while my strong man became more and more depressed, seeming to think himselfless-of-a-man since the fault lay with him. He was fast becoming a Wednesday night drunk. I feared that hewas heading down a path toward suicide. For only the second time in my life, I got down on my knees andbegged for a son to restore my husband to his former confident self, promising that I would raise that sonto serve God. The son they told us we’d never have arrived almost nine months to the day after that prayer. Whenhe was only five months old, I found that I would soon have another child. Did this mean that his birth wasonly a coincidence and not an answer to my prayer? I was confused and not at all happy to have anotherchild so soon. I felt I needed more time to enjoy that little boy. When our daughter was born, I thought that the woman in the bed next to me in the hospital wasstrange. She had dozens of visitors all the time while I had only my husband. I couldn’t smoke when any ofthem were there either. One day her husband asked me if I knew what the picture on the baby’s crib meant.When I told him the nuns in the Catholic hospital believed it was “Father Joseph” watching over the childuntil he could take her home, he yelled, “Sacrilege,” ran to the nursery, and made them take it off his daugh-ter’s crib. I thought they were very strange people but, to make a long story short, two years later I wasbaptized by her husband. I believe my daughter was sent at that time to enable me to keep my promise toraise my son to serve God. We have since been blessed with six children, twenty-five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.I am now serving as a Family History Support Missionary and am happy to be able to give something backto the Lord for all the blessings He has given me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 51
    • Stake Relief Society Fireside with Mariama Kallon Sisters throughout our stake had been actively engaged in donating items for hygiene kits Submitted by the Stake Relief Society Presidency for our stake humanitarian project since July 2011. Sister Mariama Kallon from Sierra Leone was asked if she would present a fireside to the women in our stake midway through the proj- ect and she kindly agreed to do so. She speaks throughout the country at women’s conferences telling her story of the horrendous and tragic things she experienced during the war in Sierra Leone. She is very much in demand but this wonderful woman was willing to travel from Salt Lake City just to speak to our stake. Her testimony and delightful personality are a wonderful combination that touches sisters everywhere she speaks. We were all ecstatic and anticipation throughout the stake was high! On August 27, 2011, the chapel began to fill well before the fireside was scheduled to begin and eventually 450 women filled the chapel, the overflow area, and halfway to the back of the cultural hall. Truly we felt the power that women bring when they come together in faith! Sister Kallon always wears African clothing when she talks of her experiences and this was no exception. We were all captured as she spoke of her personal desires, of her family, and of her life in Sierra Leone. She especially talked of the atrocities of war and the death of her family, of her eventual conversion to the gospel, and how, through God’s tender mercies, she was able to serve a mission in the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. Her portrayal of the hygiene kit she received during the war and how it was shared by many around her was especially touching and personalized our own project. Sister Mariama Kallon is a scriptorian, humble, filled with wisdom, submissive to the Lord’s will, has a delightful personality, a great laugh, and is filled with joy and optimism in spite of the great trials she has experienced. It was a blessing to each of us to hear her speak. The entire congregation of sisters was enrapt and deeply touched by her words. We gave her a tastefully-decorated wooden plaque with our theme on it: “Gathered in Faith … Bound with Love” and hope she will remember us with the same love that we remember her. Thank you, Sister Kallon, for touching our hearts and souls!52 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.” D&C 88:11Danna Blad There have been many times I have been prompted, counseled, and comforted by the Spirit. Often Ihave had direct answers to prayers that were not necessarily a matter of eternal salvation that confirmedHeavenly Father is in tune with all aspects of our life and happiness. This was manifest to me at a time of“stress in my life”. I was doing housework when I realized the diamond from my wedding ring was gone.The frantic search was to no avail. I was living in a “mobile home” which we had moved in from the middleof the Mojave Desert. I was currently raising three boys and carrying our fourth (hopeful for a girl). I wasvery busy being a mom, fulfilling a stake calling in Primary, teaching preschool in my home, and trying tobuy a house (which was not going well). Because of heightened emotions (blame it on the pregnancy), I wasfeeling badly done by. Therefore I was quite flippant at the loss of my diamond – just another event to showthat life was not fair nor going the way I wanted. After months of a pity party but still doing the right things by attending church, being uplifted in ReliefSociety, reading my scriptures, having family home evening, and through prayer, I renewed what I knewdeep down. I was again thankful for the many blessings I had and knew I was being watched over. I feltrather ungrateful for grumbling. After repenting and counting my blessings, I really did have a desire to findmy diamond. I prayed, “Heavenly Father, I know it’s a small thing, but even though it’s been three months, Iwould really like to find that diamond! I’ve been looking on my own but, with your intervention, I know it’sstill possible to find.” I had faith. Later I was getting out of the car after picking up my husband’s 12-year-old brother. As he got out ofthe car, something sparkling caught his eye. He reached over and picked up something in the crack of ourdriveway. “Has anyone lost a diamond?” he queried. Now mind you, this was three months later. I had sweptand hosed down that driveway! I was shocked and amazed. Talk about the Lord restoring what was lost. Ifelt very grateful for small blessings and answers to sincere prayers that showed me He cares and lessonsof life are learned in the right season. This continued to manifest as we did have a girl and were able to getinto a bigger home, which went smoothly and was much better suited to our growing family. I learned thatHe knows the big picture and blesses us according to the timetable that is best for us when we sincerely askHim. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 53
    • Renee Linge Anderson I am still waiting for my tender mercy from the Lord – trying to wait patiently but patience was never one of my strong points. This is very difficult to share. In fact, I kept putting it off and when the deadline came and went I figured, “Oh good; it’s too late now.” But when they extended the deadline, I knew I needed to share my experience even though it would bring more tears. This month has been a difficult one, for in a week I would have been nine months pregnant. I had a miscarriage in January. I went in for a normal appointment and the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat. I was 14 weeks along and my body was not taking care of it on its own. After a second ultrasound to confirm the loss they gave me medicine to induce labor. Mind you, I was all alone at this appointment and Matt would not answer his phone; neither would the rest of my family. I had to call on my Father in Heaven for help. He carried me through this very difficult time. I really thought I would get pregnant again right away but I knew that July would be very difficult if I was not pregnant yet, which I am not. I have been through a roller coaster of emotions. I have learned to trust in the Lord for He sees the bigger picture, but it is also difficult when you are wanting something pure and good and you don’t receive the blessing you are asking for. I guess I should say “learning to trust in the Lord” because I am still in the process. I’ve had a couple of blessings in which one promised me more children, along with my patriarchal blessing that says choice spirits will come. Sometimes I wonder if that will be in this lifetime. I have called on my Father in Heaven many times to put His arms around me and let me know I am loved; and He has comforted me. The first fast Sunday after this happened, two babies were blessed and I cried through the entire meeting. However, I do know that everything happens for a reason and that our trials make us stronger and bring us closer to our Father in Heaven. It is in His hands and I know that everything will work out as He intended. I am grateful for the knowledge of the gospel and the plan of salvation. It makes things like this a little bit easier to handle. Cheryl Easton Being in the temple over the course of my life has brought me such peace and joy that it is hard to de- scribe. I have learned so much and have felt the Spirit testify to me of so many truths. I would like to share two special experiences that occurred this past March. Our youngest daughter traveled from Washington D.C. to St. George to receive her endowment. Most of our family was present and as we waited for her to come through the veil we were all in a line to greet her. As she came through the veil, the Spirit bore witness to me that this is what it is truly like when we leave this life and go to the spirit world. Every one of our loved ones and friends that have gone on before will be waiting to greet us with open arms. We traveled the next day to Mesa, AZ, to participate in my granddaughter’s sealing in the Mesa Temple. As all the women in the party went into the room to change from our street shoes to white booties, my sweet daughter who had never experienced any of this before, immediately knelt down on her knees to help her mother remove her shoes and put on her booties before she took care of herself. This was such a simple little act, yet tears came to my eyes as the Spirit bore witness that this is how it must have felt as the Savior knelt to wash the feet of His friends that last night in Jerusalem. Selfless love abounds when we are doing the right thing and are willing to serve others. I am eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father and His Son for the gift of the temple and the things we experience there.54 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Annette Bolton Divine encounters, God winks, coincidences — those magical moments when you feel, see, or experi-ence in some unique way a relationship with a Higher Power. Years ago there was a time that I found myself at a jumping-off place and living contrary to the gospel.It was a very sad time. Eventually, with help, I regained enjoyment with family and friends but not with theChurch. Maybe it was fear (of false evidence appearing real) but that big “but” held me away from enjoyingtemple blessings and full activation in the Church. So when my transgression of a couple decades ago showed its ugly head, I again found that jumping-offplace. This time I did things differently. I talked to my housemate, my family, a Church leader, and a closefriend — who were all very supportive. I asked God, “Do you really just not like me?” I traversed throughdaily life with a heavy heart. I prayed for the Lord to lift, love, and direct those involved and, please, help meto forgive, surrender the “buts”, and understand His purpose for me. Forgiveness came and then I asked, “Do You love me?” One day I had an overwhelming feeling comeover me of a spiritual tone. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the next day I received a calling. BishopWendt asked if I would accept the call of a ward missionary. I said, “Yes!” I had almost forgotten the miraclethat precedes the miracle of the calling. Was this all part of the Lord’s divine plan for me? The day I was set apart was magical. Was it a coincidence that my early morning meeting would incor-porate our spirituality with religion? Or that someone would proclaim that he felt “redeemed”? Was it a co-incidence that in sacrament meeting Elder Taylor began his talk by saying that he prayed, wanting to knowthat His Heavenly Father loved him? Or that my new missionary companion led the song “We Stand AllAmazed”? Was it a God wink when the Relief Society lesson sounded like an awesome 12-step meeting? Orthat the postlude was “As I Have Loved You”? Our Redeemer loves us! We can see Him in the coincidences,God winks, or divine encounters that we are each blessed to have. There are no “buts” about it!Diana Coleman This event occurred many years ago when four of our seven children were still at home. I was goingthrough a difficult time. Two of our children were making important decisions that I didn’t agree with buthad little influence over. Other things at home were not exactly at their best either. I thought I was actuallycoping pretty well but in reality was probably quite depressed. I was in a group where someone was giving a prayer and the person saying the prayer suggested thatsomeone there needed a special blessing. A very strong and clear voice next to me said, “Listen – this prayeris for you.” I tried to concentrate as the person praying pronounced a blessing of healing “both physicallyand spiritually.” I felt that warm, sweet power others have described go through me and was lifted from adark place I didn’t completely realize I was in. I realized that my Heavenly Father knew who I was. He knew even more than I did what I needed. TheHoly Ghost made sure that I got the message. I have had my testimony tested several times since that event,but because of this assurance that my Heavenly Father knew me and loved me and had suffered all thesethings and more to understand my trials and help me, I knew I could never deny Him and His Church. Thisis all the testimony we need to know to endure to the end. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 55
    • Connie Wheeler The Lord’s tender mercy brought Ned Wheeler back into my life after 20 years. My husband and I had separated after 45 years of marriage. I pleaded with the Lord to help me and resolved to trust the Lord in all things. Ten months after my separation, my best friend in Massachusetts e-mailed me of Donna Wheel- er’s passing. Wanting to comfort Ned and his family, I sent a card and e-mailed pictures of Donna with me and two others on a trip to Cape Cod shortly before I moved. In return, Ned sent me Donna’s obituary, Smilebox video, and history. When he asked how my family was, I told him of my circumstances. In his kind- ness, he asked what he could do for me and I said, “Pray.” We waited to correspond further until after my divorce. I had not expected to remarry. I had seen my mother widowed for 29 years and told myself, “I can do this.” The day of my divorce, Ned sent an e-mail under his daughter’s name saying, “My father is worried about you and wants to know how you are doing.” How could he have known the day of my divorce? I replied, “I’m fine; today I was divorced.” Ned responded, “This is what I’ve been waiting for.” The next day I was sitting in my recliner and the sun behind me cast a rainbow circle atop the angel Moroni on the picture of the temple across from me. The Spirit whispered, “No matter what man chooses to do, the Lord keeps His covenants.” “The Lord would provide an eternal companion,” came into my mind but I thought that meant in the millennium. I was prepared to wait. Ned pursued me but I needed time. When he told me that if I found another man, he would understand but he would be heart-broken, my heart was pierced. I needed answers from the Lord. In the temple I felt impressed to get more information. Once home, I called the stake president to whom Ned served as a coun- selor for 10 years. President Pitcher, a very outspoken individual, said enthusiastically to my surprise, “Per- fect match! What are you waiting for?” The Spirit confirmed his words. While fasting and praying, I opened my scriptures and they fell open to Psalms 18:24: “Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.” The Lord provides. “If there are any principles which have given me strength, and by which I have learned to live more truly a life of usefulness, it seems to me I could wish to impart this joy and strength to others; to tell them what the Gospel has been and is to me, ever since I embraced it and learned to live by its laws. A fresh revelation of the Spirit day by day, an unveiling of mysteries which before were dark, deep, unexplained and incomprehensible; a most implicit faith in a divine power, in infinite truth emanating from God the Father.” (Elizabeth Ann Whitney, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 129.)56 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Helen Smith A wondrous experience happened to me in 1980 while traveling to the Los Angeles Temple from myhome in San Juan Capistrano. I was to accompany a young Jewish convert (a friend of my daughter) as shereceived her endowment prior to serving a mission. We had prearranged to meet and travel as a group. On the freeway, I quickly got in the fast lane. About five miles out, my right rear tire blew out. I crossedthree lanes of heavy traffic to get into the emergency lane just past an off-ramp. I didn’t have a clue what Ishould do. I didn’t own a cell phone and I wasn’t familiar with the area. I decided to get out of the car andwait to see if someone would stop to help. No one did. Walking halfway up the off-ramp in high-heeledshoes, a car came up beside me. An Hispanic-looking man was alone in the car. He asked if I needed help. Itold him what had happened and he said he would come back around and help me. I walked back to my car and in a few minutes he came and parked in front of me. He was nicely dressed.Nothing was said about where I was going. Not many words were spoken. He quickly changed the tire witha spare from my trunk and asked how far I was going. “To Los Angeles,” I said as I handed him an old teeshirt form the trunk to clean his hands. I thanked him. He handed back the shirt and in a soft, accentedvoice said, “The Lord will protect you all the rest of the way.” That was all he said. He got back in his car anddrove away. I was stunned by his words. He didn’t know I was going to the temple or if I was Christian or pagan. AsI got in my car and on my way, his words played over and over in my mind. “The Lord will protect you allthe rest of the way.” It came to me then, and I still believe, that if one of the “Three Nephites” was availablethat day – it was him. I felt like a loving Heavenly Father had His protecting hand over me as I left home,enabling me to do His work that day.Julie Hirschi The Book of Mormon is the keystone of my life. This book has power – it is alive. It energizes my soul,and if there are moments of discouragement in my life, I can turn to it. Since I was in Primary, the eightharticle of faith has always stood out in my mind. I have always known the Book of Mormon is true. It is theword of God, and it was translated correctly. I never have doubted it. I lived in a barren land – Olancha, Cali-fornia – away from others. I felt I could directly relate to Nephi and his family traveling in the wilderness. Inmy youth, as my family and I would travel in our car, I could visualize the stories of the Book of Mormon inmy surroundings. As I think back, I realize that this is a gift from God. Early in my mission to New York I saw firsthand how the Book of Mormon can change a person’s life.I met Michelle within the first week of service. She and her husband had been taking discussions prior tomy arrival. She struggled with smoking. It was customary for her to smoke at work. The Church has a basicstop-smoking program that we reviewed and worked with her. We left and wondered how she would do. Anumber of days passed and we weren’t able to get hold of her. When we showed up for our next appoint-ment, we weren’t sure what we would face. When we saw Michelle we noticed a change, a brightness in hercountenance, a glow. She was so bubbly and happy she couldn’t wait to share the following. She told us howthe Book of Mormon helped her and gave her the strength to stop smoking. She took the Book of Mormonwith her to work and when it was break time, instead of smoking, she would read the Book of Mormon.Whenever she had the urge, she would turn to reading instead of smoking. When she smoked, there was noroom for the Spirit. She said she would visualize the Spirit come into her body and there would be no roomfor smoke. She wanted the Holy Ghost to be part of her life and not the smoke. Michelle soon was baptizedalong with her husband. The Book of Mormon changed her life. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 57
    • Connie Puffer The following is part of an address given at my brother-in-law’s funeral. He was an adored father and husband who was once a faithful member of the Church but had lost his spiritual moorings and felt it was too late to repent. He was an avid outdoorsman and nature lover. I wrote this story in an effort to comfort his wife and children: “A solitary man walked along a well-worn path through a beautiful dense forest. The fragrant tall ev- ergreens offered him shade and respite. The ferns and grasses along the way hid the foxes and songbirds that nest on the ground. His walk was pleasant and easy going. He enjoyed the beauty of the sky which was decorated with ribbons of white clouds. He spotted a deer and her fawn feeding in a nearby meadow. A bit further down the trail, a scraggly mountain lion crossed his path on its way to somewhere else. “‘They were right,” he thought to himself. ‘This is the path I’m supposed to be on. It is beautiful and easy to travel. I can drink all I want from the stream nearby. The wild berries are sweet and plentiful.’ Caught up in thought and the beauty of nature around him, he walked on and on. “The shadows on the trail began to deepen. The sun was low in the western sky and a chilly wind began to blow. The towering evergreens which had once sheltered him now seemed threatening and dangerous. The man stumbled along in the ferns and grasses which now seemed thick and stubborn. As darkness fell, the once friendly fauna loomed from the shadows with fierce and shining eyes. Still the man persisted mak- ing his way blindly into the unknown forest. Having wandered far from the stream, his throat was dry and his stomach cramped for want of food. His thin clothing no longer protected him from the cold. Exhausted, alone, and helpless, he lay down on the ground. ‘I am forever lost’, he said. He closed his eyes and he waited. “Dimly at first and then brighter, he saw a faint light in the distance. Soon a familiar stranger stood over him with a lantern held high. In a voice that sounded like beautiful music, he said ‘In this, your darkest hour, I have come for you. Around the bend, beyond your sight, there is one who will quench your thirst, feed your hunger, and give you shelter. You need not fear. All must walk the path of life and all will have adver- sity. But you, my friend, are welcome here. Here you will find peace.’” JeNee Hullinger Our oldest son and his wife were in the process of divorcing, our third son had just told us he was gay, and we were losing our home. The bishop called me into his office and asked me to speak in sacrament meeting on Mother’s Day. “Bishop, are you sure?” I asked. He said “Yes, yes, you are the one. I am certain.” It seemed to me, with all that was happening in my life, that I would be the last one who should speak on Mother’s Day. I thought and prayed fervently about this assignment, and when I sat down with my pencil and paper to begin writing, the thoughts and words flowed and the talk was written in one sitting. It was still very dif- ficult to stand and deliver but, with my heart pounding, it was done. After the meeting, two sisters who said they did not like Mother’s Day meetings came up to me and said it was the best Mother’s Day talk they had ever heard. It wasn’t the typical talk about how perfect my mother was, etc., but it was more down-to-earth and in the trenches. It was inspired and what was needed if only by those two sisters. This experience helped me to know that if we answer yes, even though it is extremely difficult, and if we are humble and prayerful, we will receive the blessings we need to accomplish that which we have been asked or called to do.58 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Heidi Taylor The last couple of years have been hard because my husband has been away for work more than he’sbeen home. It was hard taking care of my two young daughters, fulfilling my calling as a Relief Societyteacher, and staying motivated to go outside and get things done. It was hard lying in bed night after nightalone. I got through each day the best I could and didn’t want to complain to my husband or anyone else. Ijust wanted to feel comfort and knew where I had to turn to receive it. I prayed to Heavenly Father. I knewthat He and Jesus Christ know me better than I know myself and could help me get through it. Throughprayer I expressed my concerns and asked for help to be my best self; sometimes I felt I had little to give.I tried to have faith and not let feelings of fear or doubt creep into my mind. I tried to read my scripturesdiligently and pray with more thoughtfulness. Heavenly Father blessed me during this time with a visiting teaching companion who strengthened methrough her example and friendship, a visiting teacher and other ward members who lifted me up throughour conversations, and a calling that increased my knowledge of the gospel and strengthened my testimony.I felt Heavenly Father’s and Jesus Christ’s personal love for me. I know they are aware of my family and ourneeds and I’m thankful that they know better than I do what I need. I’m thankful for answered prayers andfor angels, seen and unseen, who are instruments in His hands to be there to help. I’m thankful for personalrevelation — that Heavenly Father loves us so much He doesn’t leave us blind, having to fend for ourselves,but answers our quiet pleas and fills our hearts with comfort and hope. I know that life isn’t always easybut I’m so thankful for a loving Heavenly Father and Savior who know my heartaches, concerns, and weak-nesses — who will be there so long as I keep turning to Them in my trials and trust in their will and timing.Glenna Hepworth In 2009, after 25 years, my life was certainly in turmoil and yet a new journey was beginning. I experi-enced not only my divorce but lived through my daughter’s divorce. At times I could not distinguish whichwas more painful – hers or mine. Like Job I felt not much more could happen. I had friends asking how Icould endure the ugliness of seeing my daughter’s life become so disarrayed and so contrary to the epitomeof what an LDS marriage is all about. Many of us are faced with these very situations that leave us as par-ents grieving and feeling helpless. Now here was my daughter after serving a mission for the Church, facing a devastating event thatwould scar her even to this day. For over a year I found myself bitter and angry that her life should be filledwith so much pain and suffering. I asked God over and over, “Why did he get away with all of this?” Thenwhen I silenced my anger, I found myself weeping in prayer and exercising humility. Heavenly Father al-lowed the Holy Spirit to begin to comfort my soul and reach down into the depths of my heart, allowing meto start realizing this was part of a journey that she signed up for in the pre-existence; one that would shakeher testimony to the core, but if she endured, the blessings would abound. What I came to learn was thateternal love is something two people have to experience. It cannot be only one or the other or it will notsurvive the temptations of this world we live in. In 2011, after I learned the love of my Savior and what eternal love is, Heavenly Father blessed my lifewith one of the most righteous and loving relationships I could ever imagine. I had to learn first that lovefor Father is the foundation of all relationships. With that foundation — it is a fortress that will weatheranything this world throws our way. He never leaves us; we walk away and yet He always waits with openarms to receive us again. “Love is patient, love is kind … is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, isnot provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, bears all things, believes all things, hopes allthings, endures all things. Love never fails.” (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 59
    • Jan Anderson President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “All of us have made wrong turns along the way. I believe the kind and merciful God, whose children we are, will judge us as lightly as he can for the wrongs that we have done and give us the maximum blessings for the good that we do.” (Alma 9:26) I testify this has been true in my life. After years away from the Church, I was terrified and felt too weak and less-than-worthy to take the road back. I even made life choices that would prevent me from being faced with the decision of coming back. So many earthly angels with bright, strong, and loving testimonies were placed in my life to help me. They were patient and prayerful in my behalf. I will never know how many prayers were said but I will forever be humble and grateful. I began to lean on the prayers of others until I could stand on my own. My prayers started to come from deep in my soul, wanting the blessings of the gospel in my life, but I was afraid I couldn’t do the work to receive them. As I believed, trusted, and began to know my Heavenly Father the blessings came. Ned, my husband, who was just an acquaintance at that time, became a major angel. The day he bore his testimony to me literally changed my life. I felt new hope that shocked me but gave me the added strength I needed. When, prayerfully, I made my personal commitment to change my life, the blessings poured in. Angels ap- peared everywhere to help me through the process. Even as I write, my heart is full and tears of gratitude fill my eyes. I share my precious personal experience as my testimony that if you feel you can’t do whatever it is you are afraid of or whatever you need to do to have all of Heavenly Father’s blessings in your life, YOU can do it! Don’t wait – do it now! Prayers are answered – angels, even earthly angels, are sent to us. The gospel is such a sweet treasured blessing in my life. I know my Heavenly Father has been merciful, gentle, and kind to me. Knowing that He personally knows me and loves me gives me comfort and peace. Margaret Sorenson One evening several years ago I was driving home from work, exhausted, discouraged, and hungry. The thought of sitting through an evening of Relief Society homemaking did not appeal to me. I thought I would rather head straight home and fix dinner for the hungry teenagers waiting at home – which is a good indi- cation of how low I was feeling since I do not even like to cook. The Spirit spoke gently to me that the Lord would rather I attend my meeting even though I hadn’t signed up for anything and nobody would miss me in the class I had intended to attend, which required no preparation from me. Okay, I reluctantly agreed. I would go. But I would not really participate. I just did not feel like conversation. When I got there I slumped into a cushioned chair, sitting by myself in an isolated area of the room, but could not totally isolate myself from the music coming from the piano in the front corner. It was soothing. A sister walked the long row to sit by me and hugged me hello. Why wouldn’t they leave me alone? The sister conducting the meeting was smiling as she welcomed us. The chorister was smiling as we sang a very familiar opening song, the melody filling the room in two-part harmony. I started to feel pretty comfort- able. There was a short lesson, which I do not recall, but which fed me. Afterward, two more sisters went out of their way to speak to me, giving me two more hugs with generous smiles before we left the room and headed for the mini-classes. Was I glad to be there? Oh, yes. Heavenly Father was there. He is always there. And I always need Him. I was a Primary teacher at the time, and I also needed my sisters in the ward. I love Primary – there is no greater feeling than to learn Primary songs with the beautiful children – but sometimes we have to go back to the well. I had been spiritually fed, and that was what I had needed the most. Since that evening I never have to struggle to make myself attend Relief Society. There is no choice to make.60 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Elna Sip When you hear of someone having a knee replacement you think, “Oh, they will be down for six months and then everything will be all right.” Not so lucky in my case. My first knee was done in 2007 and every- thing was all right until late September 2009. I was at work having a great time and all of a sudden my leg started to really hurt. Well, long story short, it’s 2012 and I have had seven surgeries and three knees later and I’m still hanging in there, still without a knee. My last surgery resulted in a very serious staff infection that almost took my leg. During this time I have grown to have a much deeper love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that my prayers are heard and answered by a loving Heavenly Father. I have come to know the re- deeming and cleansing qualities of the Atonement of Jesus Christ; that He came to earth to die for me that I might live. I have also learned that the second part of the Atonement is to strengthen me and has given me the enabling power through the gift of the Holy Ghost to do better. I don’t know what I would have done without the strength I received from my Heavenly Father every day – through all the hypobaric treatments, all the trips to the wound clinic, all the nausea that goes with taking high doses of antibiotics, and with the possibility of losing my leg. My Father gives me strength every day to get up, put on a smile, and to have the very best attitude that I can under the circumstances that I’m in. More patience and understanding are other great gifts that I received this past year, for without them I wouldn’t be doing very well. I have a quote that I have relied on this past year: “Hold on a little longer – we need to stay close to God every day if we are to survive the adversity that we all must face.” When I have had a bad day, which have been many, I have kept this in mind. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know that Jesus Christ is my elder brother and He loves me. I know that we have the only true keys of the priesthood on earth. I know that we can have our families forever through temple sealings. I know Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet and he directs this Church here on earth as Jesus Christ would have him do. Colleen Wilburn I will never forget the loss of our grandson Anthony at age two and a half. It was so hard but I want to share an even harder challenge a few years later. Makenna was born just one day after her cousin Andrew. Born prematurely but weighing four pounds two ounces, she was 11 days in the NICU at CHOC ( the same hospital Anthony died at). They took her in for surgery because she had a tumor next to her liver, but ended up bringing her to us so we could hold her because her tumor ruptured. We held her as she took her last breath. I asked if I could bathe her since it was the only thing I could do for her on this earth. It was very special. My husband was there with me and it felt good to be able to bathe her before the coroner came for her. As I got home, I closed the gate on my hand and fell to the ground and cried; I was so mad at God. I told Him how unfair it was for him to take Anthony and now Makenna. Then I had to pull myself together because I had the privilege to go to dress Makenna. As I was there alone I talked to Makenna, telling her how beautiful she was – just like a porcelain doll – and told her how unfair, and how mad I was at Heavenly Father. I poured my total heart out. Then I felt her presence next to me and she spoke to me. Three times she told me, “Grandma, you knew the plan, and you agreed.” Right then I had total peace come over me and I was able to go forward and all the anger left me. I want to thank my two beautiful daughters: April, mother to Anthony; and Amber, mother to Makenna. Thank you both for the greatest gifts and for sharing them with me. My two beautiful angel grandchildren are buried right next to each other, forever cousins, watching over us and helping us to strive to do our best.62 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Janet Perkins The year was 1983 or ’84. Aunt Isabel and I were traveling through New Mexico. We stopped at a reststop in a desert-like area. When we pulled in we saw a young couple sitting in the shade on some picnictables. An old car was parked by them. They looked like what used to be called “hippies”. We had to drivepast them on the way in. When we got near them, they motioned for us to stop. We stopped to see whatthey wanted. They asked us if we could give them a ride into town. The reason was either that they wereout of gas or their car had broken down. Aunt Isabel liked to help people so she said, “Yes, we’ll pick you upon the way out.” We drove to the other side of the rest stop by the exit, got out of the car, and walked to thefar end of the rest stop, next to the desert, to admire the cacti in bloom. We then walked back to the car. As we got to the car, a big yellow bus with a lone driver stopped on the road directly across from us. Hewas about eight to ten feet away from us. I could see his face well. He was short and stocky and coarse-look-ing. He reminded me of what I imagine a New York “cabbie” would look like. He looked at us and shook hishead “No”. Aunt Isabel and I looked at each other without saying anything. We got in the car and Aunt Isabelstarted it and headed toward the exit. We looked back at the couple on the other side of the rest area. Theywere waving their arms frantically as we were leaving. We looked for the bus when we got on the highway. Now, this was a desert area and you could see formiles — the highway was long and straight with no turn-offs or side roads. There was not one vehicle insight. The big yellow bus and its driver just vanished. I feel that we had been warned of danger by a guard-ian angel.Kim Molyneux During the last several months of my mission I grew anxious of going home – not because I wanted togo home but I didn’t want to forget the value of my mission and the lessons I had learned. I learned dedica-tion, courage, faith, sacrifice and love. I did not want to lose those skills and return home not being able tocontinue those acquired traits. Every day as a missionary you are constantly striving to acquire Christ-likeattributes through service and compassion for everyone. Opportunities are always there and present as areturned missionary but often get rejected through our own selfishness and as our lives get busy. One night I had a dream: I was with a group of people whom I did not recognize except for a teacherfrom my high school who is a faithful Catholic. We were in a cave and dressed like Nephites. In my mind,Nephites were warriors striving for courage, strength, and loyalty, just as Nephi of old endured hard trialsand tribulations. We were gathered around to commit ourselves to being strong, loyal, and obedient likeNephi. We were not going to be like his older brothers, Laman and Lemuel, and complain, fall away, and losetheir testimonies despite their many encounters with angels and the Holy Ghost. We all got into a circle andstuck out our hands to commit ourselves. I stuck my hand out in my actual sleep and woke myself up. It wasso vivid to me. I was so fully committed to serving the Lord 100 percent. It gave me a calm assurance that Iwould continue faithful throughout my life. The Lord wanted to show me I would be strong like Nephi andfulfill a strong mission. I shared the story with my teacher over an e-mail years later to let her know what a strong and braveperson she was. I told her I admired her and saw her as a faithful member to her church. She wept andthanked me for sharing the story. As I draw from this experience, I imagine who those people could havebeen and how we can commit and not fall away. The Lord wants us to be a part of His army of valiant war-riors in these latter days. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 63
    • Carolyn Robinson When I was dating age, I lived in the Southern California area where there were not always enough Church members in the 1960s to pick from for dating. I liked to have fun as most young women . I dated nice non-members, which was risky. I realize now that I was tempting fate and could have easily married out of the Church even though I had set my goal to marry in the temple. I decided to begin steadily attending the Young Adult activities which were called M Men and Glean- ers then. At one event, a new young man entered the scene. I looked up and saw a halo-type light reflect on his face. I had to take a double take, and the light was still there. My curiosity was certainly aroused. It was startling, but he did take an interest in me and began talking to me. I found out he was a returned mission- ary and very nice. His mother had a young woman picked out for him (I found out later) – fortunately he did not feel the same way. He had a broken foot so was not able to go to work for a month. We were able to spend some time getting acquainted. We found we liked the same outdoor activities, music, and had the same goals. We even wanted to have four children – which we later were able to have. After a six-month courtship, we were married in the Los Angeles Temple. He has always honored his priesthood and he is my best friend. We have been married almost 50 years and will always be together forever. I shiver when I think what could have been if I had kept dating non-members. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father’s tender mercy to me and for all His special helps throughout my life. I love my husband very much, my four children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Words cannot express the love I feel for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and all the help They have given me during my life. Chelsea Anderson After graduating from college my husband, son, and I moved to Rock Springs, Wyoming. We both had prayed and agreed that is where we were supposed to be. It was an amazing experience in so many differ- ent ways. The ward there was a family away from family. They depended on each other for almost every- thing. The city, in and of itself, is very dirty and not very accepting of people of the LDS faith. The people though made it an amazing experience. We moved into a one bedroom basement apartment because that’s all we could afford. There wasn’t a lot of parking in front of our house and I had a five month old so I tried to park as close to the house as possible. We had a neighbor lady who would yell at me when I’d park in front of her house and make me move my car. She lived right next door so it made it easier instead of having to park across the street. I just thought she was a mean old lady and didn’t really give her much attention. As winter hit though, I noticed that her sidewalks were never shoveled. My husband and I decided to shovel her walks to try to show some kindness to her even though she had been quite rude. We’d always try to do it in secret when we knew she was still in bed. She got curious after a couple of months and decided to get up early to catch whoever it was. She caught me one morning and invited me into her home. She told me about how much she appreci- ated us and how she had no family around. She’d try to shovel her walks but the snow was too heavy and she would end up leaving it. Bear in mind, we got two feet of snow overnight while living there. She apolo- gized for how rudely she had treated us. She then told me how her husband had suddenly died from an aneurism five years earlier. She was so lonely. Some of her friends would come by but if a car was parked in front of her house they wouldn’t stop. I really felt sympathy for her and God’s love. We became good friends over time and had fun getting to know each other. It helped me to remember to see people in God’s light. I always remember her and try to remember not to judge people so quickly because you never know who they really are until you give them time.64 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Brenda Macbeth Our first son was 5½ months old when he was diagnosed with infantile spinal muscular atrophy. Wewere told his life expectancy was less than two years, that every child we conceived would have a one-in-four chance of having the disease, and we shouldn’t have more children. We were heartbroken and in shock. After Daniel died at 10 months, I received a priesthood blessing that said I would have many morechildren and some would survive. When our branch president took his hands from my head, he said thathe saw some of the children jumping and running – an impossible feat with SMA. We decided to have eachfuture child based on prayer and impressions of the Spirit. Our second son also had SMA and died at 5½ months. I knew in my heart that if our third child had thedisease, I didn’t have the strength to have more children … and God blessed me with a healthy son. Therefollowed two healthy daughters only 13 months apart. Our sixth child, a son, had SMA and died at 5½months. After his death, I felt barren – having another child seemed an impossibility. Father in Heaven tookit into His own hands though and, after Michael’s death, I found I was already pregnant. Our last child, ahealthy son, was born. We needed Benjamin. In fact, our nickname for him is “the healer.” I learned that we can trust God with every detail of our lives. He knew when I had the strength to beara child who would die; and He knew when I needed a healthy child. Out of seven children, only two weregirls; they were born close together and both lived, giving each other strength in future years. When I wasexpecting our seventh child, I was fearful and it took about six months to squeeze my Father’s hand a littletighter. He taught me and then gave me a healthy son whom I needed in order to be whole. He knows eachone of us and what we truly need! The blessings that have been gained because of our three choice sonstouch not only my husband and me, but our living children as well. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we read: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own under-standing. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” I have a firm testimony that this istrue! “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalms 27:1Katie Marsh I sat up in my bed after getting off the phone with my mother. She has been taking one day at a timewith her journey through the merciless desert of cancer. I had continually focused on being strong in thisdire circumstance. But building up in my eyes were tears waiting to overflow. I couldn’t bear the thoughtthat I might lose my mother and best friend. I knelt on my bed and bowed down to Heavenly Father inprayer. I understood that His will would take precedence over my desires but I had to let Him know thatI wasn’t ready to lose the single most sturdy rock in my foundation. Tears wet my bedside. My hands duginto each other. And my face was in utter agony. In this moment of despair He gave me the greatest gift. Hedidn’t send an angel down to me and cure my mother right then and there. He listened. In listening He gaveme the space to vent. Venting to the point of exhaustion, I settled down. He didn’t reign down judgment orstrike me for being overly dramatic. He sat there with me, patting my back, and being my comforter. I expe-rienced peace that night as I slowly fell asleep. I knew that whatever happened I would never be alone. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 65
    • Anonymous It was 1954. I was a young mother and a brand-new member of the Church. We were moving to a two bedroom house in remote La Cresta, California and needed four beds: one for each of our three children and one for mom. Two sets of bunk beds would work well but how would we pay for them? I found a listing in the phone book for used beds at Triangle Warehouse in San Diego, and called. I told Mr. Jacobs our dilemma and explained that all we could pay was $5.00 every two weeks. To my surprise, he said he had two matching sets of bunk beds, that he would deliver them, and the terms were just fine. He would even come by to pick up the payments. True to his word, Mr. Jacobs would show up at our home every two weeks. We were a long way up a mountain above El Cajon in the middle of nowhere. My husband worked swing shift. I was very nervous being so isolated and alone during those very black nights – there were lots of strange noises. I was afraid to go to sleep until he got home at 12:30 a.m. One night I dropped to my knees in prayer. As a new member I was uncertain if asking for a television set would be wrong. I’d reasoned that one would block out the scary sounds and fill my lonely nights with company. I was so lonely after the children retired. I said to the Lord, “If my prayer is wrong, please ignore it. If it isn’t wrong, may we please find a way to get one?” When my husband came home, to my astonishment, he came in carrying a television. He said that as he was leaving work a stranger asked him if he knew anyone who needed a television. He was giving it away! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my prayer had been answered. I was so excited! But when we plugged it in, all we got was snow. We went to bed very disappointed. The next afternoon Mr. Jacobs came to collect his last payment. He noticed the television so I told him what had happened and asked if he knew where I could buy an antenna. He answered that he just hap- pened to have one on his truck. Someone had traded it in on a new one and we were welcome to it. No charge. NOW COMES THE BIG PUNCH LINE TO THIS STORY!! Months later, a friend was interested in buying bunk beds like ours. I told her of Mr. Jacobs and the Triangle Warehouse. She asked for the phone number. I still had the same directory that I had gotten the number from originally. We looked and looked. There was no Triangle Warehouse listed anywhere. LaVon Hinton Have you ever felt like your world was perfect and you had the most wonderful life ever? I felt like this in 2000 and could not imagine any problems coming up. Little did I know, my life as it was, was not to be. My husband had a massive heart attack – no warnings, no symptoms. After three days in Salt Lake City, we had to remove his life support. It was such a hard thing to do, and a sad, sad day. I was so lucky to have the support of my family, friends, acquaintances, and my Heavenly Father. I know Heavenly Father was by my side during all the preparations for the funeral, and especially in the months and years to follow, showing tender mercies to me and my family. I’m so thankful for the power of prayer and how it has helped me to still have a wonderful life.66 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Hella Smith My husband and I were planning a visit to North Dakota to garner family history in the summer of2011. At that time a very strange message was given to me by the Holy Ghost – that I was to be called asthe new Relief Society president. The message was so strong but I kept silent about it. I asked why Fatherin Heaven would want me to have such an important calling, especially knowing there were almost 170sisters in the ward. I love people and being of service to others. My husband and I served as missionaries onTemple Square, in Germany, and many more as ward and stake missionaries. But Relief Society president? The trip was scheduled. So was a visit to our home by our bishop. The Holy Ghost had given me a mes-sage. Was it really true? When the bishop said he was not on a personal visit but rather on an errand forthe Lord, calmness blanketed me. Brother Smith and I have had wonderful visits from God, telling us to goto Minnesota and Germany to find ancestors. Miracles happened there. Why not in Hurricane? The bishopasked if I was ready for a new calling. I told him about my conversations with the Holy Ghost and that I hadknown for weeks I would have a visit from him. That’s the last calling that my husband thought I’d everaccept. But how can one not accept a call from the Lord Jesus Christ? With the Lord’s trust and blessingsI knew I could do the work He would want done. The thought of working with our bishop, the calling ofcounselors, visits to sisters, and whatever service I could render had me so very excited. Our outgoing Relief Society president had been such a successful president that I felt intimidated butshe assured me that the Lord would be with me and I’d do a great job. The calls for counselors were accept-ed and the work began. In less than 60 days we visited every single sister (who wasn’t away at her otherhome) on the roster and made our report to the ward leaders. What a humbling way to get started. I’m homebound for the moment. A bit of cancer removal has had me in two hospitals in the last twomonths. That’s put a lot on the shoulders of my counselors but they are well trained and love their callings.My husband is a good nurse and cook. We love the food that was furnished by my sisters, the blessings, thehealings, and especially the prayers. I love personal revelations, visits from the Holy Ghost, and visits andcalls from “My Sisters”. That I can be in His service humbles me greatly.Kathy Meeks I was living in Elko, Nevada when my husband was told he was in stage 4 of lung cancer. He had to quithis job and I could not go to work because I had to drive him back and forth to Salt Lake City every week forchemotherapy. I was really concerned about our car. It was not in very good shape to be driving to Salt LakeCity every week. I prayed and prayed, asking God to help our car make the trips. Well, it did for about twoweeks. I prayed again. There was a place in Elko where you could buy really cheap cars. I drove over there andas I drove into the parking lot, a man pulled up beside me and asked if I was looking for a car. I told him,“Yes,” and he said, “Here, you can have my car. It is not the greatest but it will last for awhile.” This man hadno idea why I needed a car or about my situation. I thanked him and took the car. I drove my husband inthat car to Salt Lake City and back for three months and it ran great. I was so thankful. The sisters in the Church were so great. They took care of my dogs and every Friday when I got homethere was a hot meal waiting. One Friday when I came home there was a card on the table with a $100 billin it. I still don’t know who left that but it sure helped. I prayed and prayed for my husband to get better. Then one day he told me, “Stop praying for me to live;I really don’t want to live like this.” The first time I prayed for him to stop suffering, he died. I will alwaysremember and be grateful for the people who helped me get through my time of need. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 67
    • Cheri V. Olds I remember one time when it seemed everything was going wrong and I felt like I was barely keeping it together. I prayed to my Heavenly Father to help me through this very trying time in my life. Then it seemed that the clouds parted and I could see a light, and I knew it was my Heavenly Father letting me know that all would be well. I later wrote this poem: The Light Sometimes as I travel over life’s path, And the pathway starts to get rough. When it seems that all is not going well; Where nothing I do is enough. When it seems I’m sinking into a black hole, Where the light seems to be oh so dim. And no matter how high I try to reach, I can’t quite reach the rim. But Wait, as I am reaching, I see a light, And I get such a feeling of love. As I wait the light gets brighter, And a hand reaches down from above. ‘The hand pulls me out of the depths of despair, And puts me back on solid ground. Back to where life is good and bright, Where the sweet spirit of love abounds. I realize it was my Heavenly Father’s hand, All I had to do was reach for the light. And ask for his help when things looked dim, And he will take me to new heights. And though at times the light may fade, And I ask the question why? I will make it because ...Together We Walk My Heavenly Father and I. The important lesson I learned from this time in my life is that Heavenly Father will always be there if we will only ask for His help. He loves us and wants us to succeed and will do all in His power to help us. We just need to have faith. So many times I have reached for that hand and it has been there for me. He cares, He loves us, and He will be there for us.68 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Joan Shoemaker After joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and being sealed in the temple as a family,I became very anxious to do family research. My husband and I were the first in our family to join the LDSChurch. Our parents on both sides of our family thought we were lost by joining what they considered acult. My husband’s father and stepmother, Mary Lou, came to visit us in San Diego from Pennsylvania. MaryLou saw the work I had compiled on my side of the family. She became excited about family research andwanted to start compiling records on the Shoemaker line. After returning home, they made plans to starttraveling around the United States to gather information from court houses, cemeteries, and to visit broth-ers, sisters, cousins, etc. They spent two or three months on the road. A few months later we received a phone call from Mary Lou who wanted to organize a cousins’ reunionbecause of divorces and being separated from family for most of their lives. Bob’s dad had a large familywith nine brothers and sisters. He was raised with his mother and stepfather and had little or no contactwith his father and sister and did not know his aunts, uncles, and cousins. About six months later we held our first cousins’ reunion in Portland, Oregon. Many tears of joy wereshed as the family was reunited. Bob was told to bring an extra suitcase, not knowing why. “JUST BRING IT,”she said. At the end of the reunion, Mary Lou brought everyone together. She said she had gathered records(piled in one big box) and wanted me (Joan) to take them home in our empty suitcase and organize thefamily records. She being a strong Catholic, and knowing we were Mormons (cult), is no less than a miracle. We have had a cousins’ reunion every two years for ten years. This year the reunion was turned over tothe second cousins to carry on the great work that families can be together forever. It will be in San Diegoand our children will host the reunion. They will pass the torch to another second cousin for the reunion in2014. I know the Church is true and Heavenly Father wants His families to be gathered together and be sealedin His holy temple. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and restored the gospel of Jesus Christin these latter days. I know President Thomas S. Monson is a true and living prophet to guide and direct theChurch upon the earth today.Joyce Passmore One of my “tender mercies” came when my husband only had a short time to live. He was in the hospi-tal – very confused and agitated. My loving bishop’s wife came to the hospital one day and said to me, “Let’stake him home. He will be more comfortable. The ward and Relief Society will help you – we can do this.”She had noticed when I was there that my husband was much calmer and he would not let anyone but mehelp and feed him. Years earlier, I had made a promise that I would make sure he could die at home. She and I went shopping for sheets, etc., while the hospital arranged for a hospital bed and transporta-tion. My husband came home to a hospital bed in the sunroom of our home that was filled with everythingfamiliar and everything he loved. He was calm from that time until his death a few days later. I will alwaysbe grateful for a perceptive bishop’s wife. Also, the day before my husband passed from this life, the priesthood came to our house to give us thesacrament. I took the bread after it was blessed (my husband couldn’t eat at that point) and also the wa-ter. I dipped my fingers in another cup and touched my husband’s lips so he could feel the water and takethe sacrament. What a great blessing that was. Even though my dear husband couldn’t talk, I know he wasgrateful for this simple act of love. He was able to pass from this life surrounded by all that he loved, andwelcomed on the other side for a life well-lived. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 69
    • Anonymous Nothing about my final pregnancy was easy. I was advised several times to have surgery to remove a kidney stone: barbed and too large to pass on its own. I refused. I was afraid I would lose my baby. They re- luctantly agreed to wait as long as it wasn’t threatening my life. This was our only chance for this daughter. My husband kept having dreams of a little blond-haired girl reaching pleadingly for him. He finally told me and we proceeded to bring her into our family; then it seemed as if everything conspired to keep her from being born. Finally, through a priesthood blessing, I was promised that all would be well with both of us. When I entered the hospital for delivery I was told that the doctor (my doctor was out of town) was the top in the west for trauma deliveries. This turned out to be a great blessing. At one point the doctor stopped my delivery, working diligently until it was safe to proceed. Then as the baby presented, he had me hold back again as he unwound the cord, wrapped three and a half times around the baby’s neck. He brought her to me with tears streaming down his face as he showed me the last 10 inches of umbilical cord which had been stretched to the breaking point – brittle with no fluid inside. He said, “This baby is a miracle. She should never have been born alive, let alone perfect.” Shortly after arriving home there was a knock at my door. The lady who stood there was someone I didn’t know. She identified herself as my Relief Society president and told me that a number of sisters would be bringing meals or checking with me to see if they could do a batch of clothes or dishes. I was ter- ribly embarrassed. I had not been to church often enough to recognize any of these sisters and proceeded to tell the president that we could manage on our own, thank you very much!! This dear sister proceeded to give me a scotch blessing and, in the process, taught me a great lesson. Who was I to deny these sisters blessings by denying them the opportunity to serve? Didn’t I realize that in order for service to be offered it was necessary for someone to accept the offered service? Even our Savior tenderly accepted service offered! Chastened, I relented. Because of one sister who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer, I came to the understanding that service is a blessing, and to see more clearly how our Savior blesses each of our lives. And the greatest blessing of all: being led back into the fellowship of the Church. “We may read the history of … many great and good men and wom- en, but that of the noble women and fair daughters of Zion, whose faith in the promises of Israel’s God enabled them to triumph over self and obey His higher law, and assist His servants to establish it upon the earth, … I feel sure there was kept by the angels an account of their works which will yet be found in the records of eternity, written in letters of gold.” (Helen Mar Whitney, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 49.)70 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Kristine Bertoch In August 2005 I married Nathan Bertoch in the St. George Temple. We knew we were meant to have ason. On September 13, 2006, Alexander Richard Bertoch was born. When Alex was four years old, we feltvery strongly that we were meant to have a daughter. On May 19, 2010, I found out I was pregnant. Every-thing looked normal. On June 16, 2010, the ultrasound showed the heart beating and things looked greatand wonderful. We had another ultrasound on September 22, 2010, at five months and that’s when we gotthe news that our sweet baby girl might have Treseme syndrome which is like Down syndrome. Thingswere not normal. A specialist came to the hospital from Primary Children’s Hospital and told us that oursweet little girl had 69 chromosomes and would not be able to survive. The doctor did an amniocentesis todouble check the results. Our baby girl would be alive and kicking as long as she was inside. The doctors gotback to us with the news that she had half a heart and half of a lung, no kidneys, no bladder, and just a brainstem. I should have miscarried her. They couldn’t believe that she had made it that long. We knew she wasmeant to have a body. I came down with placenta previa and on October 13, 2010, I had an emergency C-section and NatalieAnne Bertoch was born. Natalie lived and breathed on her own for one and a half hours and passed awayin her daddy’s arms. She was too perfect for this world and went back to live with our Heavenly Father. Weknow that we will see her and be back with her someday. We are grateful for our testimonies of the gospeland that Nathan holds the priesthood. Through trials we become stronger. We know that our family will betogether forever. We have been very blessed through promptings of the Spirit and we know that we will beguided to know what we need to know and do in this life. We’re thankful for our family, relatives, friends,and Angel Watch from Salt Lake City, Utah.Jane Reed When I received my patriarchal blessing, I was told to search for truth wherever it may be found. Un-known to the inspired patriarch, I had sought at an early age for truth and light, accepting it regardless ofthe consequences. As a child I was taught by my righteous, loving mother that “Jesus loves me”. I loved Himtoo. He became my treasure of light for He is The Light and my very best friend. Unexpectedly, a recurring dream caused me to pursue a clearer, more definitive path to truth. I begandeveloping a closer relationship with my Savior and simultaneously began learning more about the Churchof Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion I had previously opposed. I read the Book of Mormon to proveit wrong but instead gained a testimony of light that penetrated my soul with knowledge that filled my be-ing and I could not … would not … deny it. I desired to keep this fresh new light with me always. Patient, devoted missionaries lead my family to baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. I continue to beblessed with increased light and truth. I am grateful to be progressing each day toward returning worthilyto dwell with the Lord eternally. In a recent priesthood blessing, I was counseled to seek the path to health that the Lord would have mefollow. Through faith, study, and prayer, I knew the answers would come. I knew that I was also expected todo my part. Though sick and weak, I began this quest for truth one step at a time. At first it seemed impos-sible … a long, arduous, and difficult task, but I began to see that the Lord was helping me and that I wouldeventually become well again. My new affirmation of “I am taking back my life” gives me the power to faceeach day. Healthy habits are replacing bad habits and I search for guidance daily. I haven’t “arrived” — dowe ever? But I am grateful for positive steps forward and know that I am becoming a better person, moreable to serve the Lord. I thank God for my treasures of truth and light received through priesthood blessings and personalinspiration. I pray we may we all come to know the pure love of Christ through His Atonement. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 71
    • Donna Daley Adopting a child is such a powerful, emotional experience that it’s hard to put it into words. When we began our adoption journey we really did not know what to expect. Our children were so excited about add- ing a brother or sister to our family. We all felt like there were more children that should be a part of our family. It wasn’t long after we made the decision to adopt that we received a phone call from a doctor asking us if we were interested in adopting a baby boy. Without hesitation, our family jumped in the car and headed for San Diego to pick up our new baby boy. We were overjoyed to bring this sweet little one into our family. He was loved and adored every minute. Sadly, his birth mother changed her mind when he was four months old and we had to return him. Then she had him for a month and wanted to give him back to us. As you can imagine, we were elated. We headed for San Diego again and brought our sweet little boy home. At this point we felt like everything would be fine, but when our little one was seven months old, the birth mother wanted him back again. We went to court and the judge awarded her custody. We were heartbroken as we complied with the judge’s orders. Just six weeks after we lost our precious little boy the doctor called with a sweet baby girl. We prayed about it and felt like this sweet little girl should be part of our family. So once again we loaded the family in the car and headed for San Diego. This sweet baby girl brought joy and healing to our family after the loss of our sweet boy. But believe it or not, when she was four months old her birth mother changed her mind and we had to return her. From the beginning to the end of this agonizing and painful experience we turned to the Lord through prayer and temple attendance and were promised that the Lord had two special spirits who were meant to be in our family. The day before we lost our little girl we were blessed with our son Ron and two years later our family was blessed with our youngest son Jon. We truly felt the Lord’s hand in our adoption journey and His tender mercies have been evident throughout our lives. We have a firm testimony that our greatest trials can become our ultimate blessing if we put our faith and trust in Him. Karen Lichfield Esther’s status as a queen made possible an opportunity for her to save her people. We too have unique opportunities available to us. We can, through our deeds, help the work of salvation in the lives of those we come in contact with. “Who knowest but thou art come to befriend and fellowship, to strengthen testimony, and remind of our Father’s love.” My Esther was actually named Vickie. Let me tell you about her simple act and how it affected me then and continues to affect me today. Many years ago my doorbell rang and I had an unexpected visitor. She brought with her a short note and a kind countenance. The note read: “Dear Karen, My thoughts have been drawn to you so much lately. I just feel I need to let you know what an amazing woman you are. You have been such a strong example to me since we moved here – I appreciate your quiet strength and pure testimony. I don’t know if you’re going through something difficult right now, but I do know I feel compelled to let you know of my love for you and of my appreciation for your friend- ship. I know how true the statement in the song is: ‘In the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can’t see.’ If that’s the case, I pray you will be strengthened and find peace. Thank you for your encouragement and support. Your words have lifted my spirits more than once. Love, Vickie” Vickie, through her close association with the Spirit, had developed the skill of noticing “sorrows that the eye can’t see.” Through her inspired visit, I held the reassurance that heaven had always been near, and that God’s love had never been far. Ours is not to determine the cause of such trials but to provide the necessary support to overcome.72 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Patricia Murie Carlson In 1991 I served in the Young Women organization in San Manuel, Arizona. It was ward conference andthe stake leaders had the program that day. Our Young Women president, who was supposed to talk dur-ing the meeting, was called away on a family emergency. As first counselor, I was asked to fill her place withjust one hour to prepare. The theme for the program was that Jesus is the director of our lives. I was really scared to talk but wasdetermined to do my best. I found a quiet corner of the church, said a very humble prayer, and contemplat-ed the things I would say. The time went all too quickly. I felt so very inadequate. But I listened as the stakeYoung Women presidency gave their talks and got a few more ideas of things to say. When it was my turn, Igot up on shaky legs with not even a written note and gave my talk. The thing that surprised me at the timewas that I didn’t hesitate and I was able to say the things that I had wanted to say. There were no “What do Isay now” gaps. It went so smoothly that I could never have done it as flawlessly even with weeks to prepare.I knew my prayers had been answered and that the Lord was directing and helping me. Although I can’t do the talk justice now, one thing I remember talking about was that Christ is theConductor. The only one with the entire score, or story of our lives, is our Savior. A violin player only hasthe violin part. When we pray for something that is not given to us, we sometimes get upset, thinking thatthe Lord hasn’t heard our pleas. In truth, we are just waiting with violin in hand for our part to be played.Sometimes we play a solo and, at times, with the entire orchestra. So we watch the Director for our times toplay and the things we should do. The Lord directs us and has a plan for each of us, so when we are temptedto question WHY, we must realize that we may not know why until the page is turned. But the Lord sees theentire plan and loves us very much. After the meeting, the stake leaders complimented me and said they had given talks to many otherwards but that I had brought out ideas that had not been given before. They asked for a copy of my talkbut I told them I didn’t have one and had only learned one hour before that I was going to talk; that I hadprayed about it and turned the rest over to the Lord. I do know that the things I said that day were put inmy mind by the Lord, and it was a great honor to be that tool in His hand. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy.” D&C 11:13 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 73
    • Jessica Hammett When my older son was 13 he complained of pain in his left calf. We didn’t think much of it until there was swelling. I took him to his pediatrician who sent us for a blood test and MRI. A couple of hours after the tests, as I was sitting quietly in my room feeding my two month old, the doctor called. There were two of them on the line. They called to tell me that they were certain my son had a cancerous tumor in his leg, and that they had made appointments for us in Salt Lake City for the next morning so we needed to prepare ourselves. I was terrified. I fell apart for about five minutes, overwhelmed with the responsibility ahead of me – possibly losing a child and having to break the news to my husband. I knelt in prayer, asking Heavenly Father for help. I felt immediate assurance that my son would be all right and that as a mother I would have the strength to endure the coming challenges. I clung to that feeling over the next 11 months as my son endured intense chemotherapy. This was also the first time I’d felt the prayers of others strengthening me. We had hundreds of people praying for us and we could feel their prayers. This experience showed me the reality of prayer – that when we pray for others it can literally give them strength. There were times when we were unsure of our son’s future, but my fear was always chased away because of that simple prayer offered in the beginning and the assurance I felt from Heavenly Father. Eluned (Lyn) Stanton My heart is full to think that I may be considered “A Sister in the Kingdom”. I pray that I may be now, and that I will be forever. I remember when we were in the military and living on a military base. We had four young children and our lives were busy trying to live the gospel and fulfill responsibilities in our ward. We lived in a duplex next to a couple with two children. We lived our lives as Latter-day Saints do: having family home evening, missionaries coming over, and so on. I could tell that my neighbor was fascinated by our lifestyle. She was a very good person and taught Sunday School in the Methodist Sunday School. This was during the time that the questions were being asked, “What do you know about the Mormon Church? Would you like to know more?” I wanted to ask her these questions but the time never seemed right. One day she called me on the phone crying. She said that her father had just died and she had to go home to Wisconsin. I said, “Just a minute, Gerry. I’ll be right over.” I hurried to her front door, turned into the living room, and said, “Gerry, I know where your father is right now. It is just as if he has gone on vaca- tion and I know you will see him again.” She stopped crying, looked at me, and said, “Lyn, as soon as I get home again I want to know more about your Church.” Of course, we introduced the missionaries to her. The whole family joined the Church and have been wonderful, active, contributing members ever since. The two children are also very active. The son served a mission, and both were married in the temple. My heart is filled with joy in my membership in God’s kingdom here on earth. I know with all my heart that the gospel is truly the word of the Lord. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His Church on the earth today. I know that the Lord blesses me every day, loving me and protecting me from things that may have caused me harm. I know God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the gospel to the earth in our time. I know President Monson is God’s prophet on earth today. I know that if I obey all the laws of the gospel and stay close to the Lord that it is easier for Him to take care of me.74 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Flowers for Stake Conference Told with permission from Carolyn Reed and the Vick family Sister Carolyn Reed has been creating beautiful floral arrangements for our stake conferences Submitted by the Stake Relief Society Presidency since August 2010. She plans well in advance for each stake conference, making her floral selec- tions a matter of prayer so souls can be fed visually as well as spiritually. Just one week before stake conference convened in March 2012, Sister Reed had a heart at- tack. Even before the doctors could identify the problem, her first thoughts centered around the flowers and she insisted that one of the first calls her husband made was to the stake Relief Soci- ety president. As the day wore on, the doctors diagnosed a complete blockage. Carolyn received a stent and knew she would recover but it was definite she would be unable to arrange the flowers for conference. The president reassured her it would be all right and that the most important thing she could do was to concentrate on getting well. On Thursday afternoon, just two days before stake conference began, a funeral was held for Arthur Stanley Vick, the beloved patriarch in the Vick family. The family’s hearts reached out to the stake and without knowing about our need for flowers, they offered to let us use three of the flower arrangements from the funeral for stake conference. We were filled with wonder that the one time when we needed flowers was the one time when they were offered as a sudden blessing. Stan Vick was known for the beautiful flower beds that he planted and maintained for his sweetheart, Rita Helsdon Vick, when she was alive. The gardens were a gift to his wife who loved beautiful flowers. She loved to look out at her roses and was known for sending bunches of flow- ers to those in the neighborhood. The Vick family felt that the flowers they had donated for use at the stake conference were like a benediction on their father’s life and also a tribute to their mother as his life (and death) provided flowers one last time.Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 75
    • Jana Cumming I have always had a testimony of the gospel for as long as I can remember. At some points in my life my testimony has been stronger than others, but these past few years have helped strengthen my testimony to the point that it is stronger than it ever has been before. These past few years I have gone through more trials and heartache than I would have chosen, but if I had not had those experiences I would not have as strong a testimony as I do now. I have had direct and personal answers to my prayers and heard the Spirit literally speak to me on one such occasion. I will always remember the night. I was crying and not sure what I should do or who to turn to, when I fell down onto my knees and cried aloud toward the ceiling, “God, what do I do?” The answer was immediate and as loud as someone saying it while sitting next to me. I went forth with what my Heavenly Father told me to do and even though I had a lot more of the trial to go through, it was the start of finishing my trial. I know that if we continue to live as our Heavenly Father has planned and follow His commandments that we will be able to faithfully endure to the end. We will meet our Savior face to face and be able to hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Our Savior lives and loves us. The Book of Mormon will help us through our individual lives. May we always have the faith and courage to do what is right. Megan Simkins When I was 12, my family went to an extended family reunion. I didn’t know anyone. Nick, a boy my age, asked if I wanted to go on a four-wheeler ride. I told him I would love to. A woman and a man were on each four-wheeler. A nice lady said we could ride hers but when I caught the man’s eyes I got the worse feeling inside. As we drove away, he yelled, “I’m coming with you! Wait!” I told Nick the man seemed scary but he said it was his brother-in-law and not to worry. As he met up with us, he looked at me and again I felt sick to my stomach. He told us to follow him but our four-wheeler got stuck in some mud. Nick’s brother-in-law told me to hop onto his four-wheeler while he helped get ours unstuck. They finally got it out and he looked at me and glared, “You’re coming with me!” Nick told him no – that he had invited me. His brother-in-law told him he just wanted to drive up the street to make sure we wouldn’t get stuck again. I looked back at Nick as we drove off and shook my head, thinking, “No, please help me!” Nick followed but could not keep up. I started to get very scared and didn’t know what to do. I said a little prayer. He turned off the main road and went into some big thick trees. I was getting even more scared and praying harder that I would be protected and for someone to come find me. He finally stopped in a small open area surrounded by trees. He hopped off and walked through the trees. I couldn’t see or hear anything. The man came back and sat on the handle bars facing me. My heart started to race. I knew this wasn’t a good situation. A thought came to my mind about my mom telling me a story when she was younger. A man tried to take advantage of her but didn’t; she kept praying that she would be protected and to help her get out of the bad situation. I knew that if the Lord could help her, then He could help me. I started pleading to the Lord to help me. The man interrupted me and asked if I was still a virgin. I told him yes and that I wanted to go back to my parents. He didn’t move. I kept pleading with the Lord to help me know what to do. A thought came and I immediately changed the subject, asking him about his little girl. His whole appearance changed. He sat back down and started heading back. I was able to go back safely to my parents and was very grateful that Heavenly Father protected me. That night I gave a “thankful prayer” to Heavenly Father, thanking Him for protecting me and bringing me safely home.76 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Shelley Goodfellow When I was 26 years old I came home for a visit. My friend and I had several fun activities planned.After a day out, we returned to the house to get ready for the evening and found that my niece Sierra whowas about 20 months old, had gotten into our makeup. It was smeared all over the walls, floor, carpet, andher face. I gathered up what was left of our makeup and got ready for the night. Meanwhile, my friend tookher makeup, sat down with my niece, and put more makeup on her face. I was a little upset that she wasmaking us late because she had stopped to play with Sierra. But I waited patiently and we eventually left toour planned activity. I returned to Salt Lake and later that week had a feeling to call home. When I did, I learned that mo-ments before my niece was in a drowning accident and had just been rushed to the hospital to be life-flight-ed to Primary Children’s Medical Center. I lived in downtown Salt Lake City, so the next morning I went tosee her. I’ll never forget her swollen and lifeless body lying in that bed with all the life support hooked up toher. I spent some sacred time with my niece before other family members arrived. I realized my last experi-ence with her alive was when I took my makeup from her. Standing by her side I pleaded that if she wouldcome back to us I would give her ALL my makeup. When I told her that, I felt her hand lightly squeeze mine.I knew she would be excited about that! Little did I know Sierra made a promise that would have signifi-cant impact on me for the rest of my life. Sierra remained another 10 days on life support until her parentsdecided it was time to take her off. She died on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005. The morning of her funeral, I got up and was ready an hour early, which never happens. While I wassitting at home waiting, my sister called and needed someone to go into the church to do Sierra’s hair andmakeup before the viewing. For some reason it had not been done! I happily volunteered, grabbed mymakeup and curling iron, and spent some of the most precious and tender moments of my life curling Sier-ra’s hair and doing her makeup as her little body lay in the casket. I realized this was a tender mercy givento me of the Lord and Sierra had fulfilled a promise to me in a way I could not fully understand. I know thatthe Lord truly shows His love for us through His tender mercies.Linda C. Marcroft Because I married outside of the Church and also was a divorced woman, I felt in my heart that I wouldnever be sealed to my parents and the rest of my family. I would pray that someday my prayers would cometrue but I got discouraged by never seeing any progress. Well, from February 1962 to March 1994 I prayed real hard and told my parents all the time that Iwould be sealed to them. I am the eldest of four children and the only one still active in the Church. I finallygot to go to the temple in July of 1989. But I still had more to do as the sealing did not take place then. Istill wanted to be sealed to my family. Mom and Dad lived in Florida and I lived in Arizona. I was not able totravel then and they could not come out here either. I met my new husband Robert in Lake Havasu, Arizona, in September 1993 while going to the templepreparation class together in our ward. We dated for six months and got married in March 1994 in the LasVegas Temple. That day I was sealed to my mom and dad who came from Florida just for that special day.On March 5, 1994, I was sealed not only to my parents but I was married and sealed with my husband Rob-ert. And that is not all. My infant son who died when he was four months old was sealed to Robert and me.So it was a day well worth waiting for. The temple president that day was amazed that he was doing a triplesealing. So don’t think your prayers are never heard. Just remember prayers are answered in His time. Just bepatient, and you will see your prayers answered. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 77
    • Angela Ashcraft A few years ago my husband and I felt that we were to have another child but I wasn’t getting pregnant. We found that my body wasn’t ovulating most of the time. Also, there were some very trying things going on in my personal life that made we wonder if I could even handle taking care of a fifth child, when taking care of the four we had was taking everything I had to give. Mentally, physically, and, especially, emotionally, I was stretched to my limit. So my prayers to my Heavenly Father began to change as I asked him IF I really should get pregnant. During that process of trying to decide — weighing everything out logically, praying about it, getting no answer, then changing my decision, praying about that, and still getting no answer — I became VERY overwhelmed. So one day in prayer, I turned it all over to the Lord. I knew He knew my heart, my limits, my concerns with the stuff in my personal life, my capabilities in raising another child, and that we DID want another child. So I told Heavenly Father that I knew He knew it all and I KNEW that He would not send another child to us if I couldn’t handle everything that would require of me. So, since “figuring it all out” wasn’t working and only making me miserable, I told Him that He could make the decision for me, and if it was right for me to have a baby, then help my body work correctly so I could get pregnant; but if not, don’t let me get pregnant. I had complete faith that He would choose the right thing for me and my family. A wonderful wave of peace came over me after that prayer and has stayed with me from then on. We did our part to conceive a child and I let go of the rest of the worry and had peace. It still took awhile before it was the “right time” but eventually I got pregnant. Our family was so excited. Our little boy was born to our family at just the right time for us. Once, during my pregnancy, I became overwhelmed again with my inadequate feelings and the Holy Ghost whispered to my mind, “Where is your faith?” and I thought, “Yeah, He’s right. I’m not trusting in Him,” and ever since then I have not doubted my Heavenly Father’s decision. I know He’ll help me through anything. Best of all, our little Jordan is such a blessing to our whole family in so many ways. “I rejoice in putting my testimony before the daughters of Zion, that their faith may be strengthened, and that the good work may roll on. Seek for a testimony, as you would, my dear sisters, for a diamond concealed. … If you will dig in the depths of your own hearts you will find, with the aid of the Spirit of the Lord, the pearl of great price, the testimony of the truth of this work.” (Zina D. H. Young, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 56.)78 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Susan Voyles The Sacred Grove is like no other place I had ever been before. As I followed the trail into the grove,I immediately realized that something amazing happened there. Once I entered the grove, words wereimpossible and my thoughts whirled around until I was in wonder and awe at my surroundings. You couldalmost touch the peaceful essence of the grove and I was completely calm and at peace. I came to a lonelybench and sat down to pray and soak up the reverence of the moment. While I was sitting on the bench, thecaretaker came by and asked me if I had been to see the old witness trees that were there when Joseph hadhis first vision. He told me where to find the trees and went on his way. Soon after he left, I continued mywalk through the grove until I found those amazing trees. I marveled that they were still there and wishedthat they could converse with me. I wanted them to tell me what they saw and heard during the miraculousevent of Joseph’s first vision. And yet I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Joseph saw God the Fatherand His Son Jesus Christ in that very grove. The Spirit bore witness to me of the truthfulness of the restoredgospel of Jesus Christ and that the Book of Mormon is a true book and the cornerstone of our religion. Now, when I am sad or feeling oh so alone, I remember my secret place and I go there to ponder andpray. I transport myself back to that amazing grove of trees. As I meditate and remember the quiet calm ofthe beautiful grove of lush green trees, I can find the peace and comfort that I am seeking. I can find an-swers to my prayers as I quietly listen and learn.Jeri Lawrence Music has always been one of my first loves. My family, as I was growing up, was very musical. WhenI was grown and married, we formed a family band. My father played trumpet, guitar, base, and sang. Mymom played the drums. My brother played base and sang. My sister played trumpet and sang. And I playedthe piano. We were the Gifford Family Band. We played for many functions. What fun we had. I tried toinstill in my children that love when they were young. Four of them could sing pretty well. One day as I was driving up to Zion, I had such a warm sweet feeling come upon me and the words toa song would come to me. I was impressed to write them down line by line. As I was driving, I would stopand write down a line. I felt so full of love for my Heavenly Father at that time. I was feeling so happy whenI came home that I sat down and wrote the music to it on the piano. Later my children were asked to singin sacrament meeting. We sang in several wards. What a wonderful thing to happen to my family. It wasn’tthat it was a great song – and it was short – but we know where it came from. Our Heavenly Father blessesus in many ways and music has been one of the special ways He blessed my family and I thank Him with allof my heart. Our Song As a seed does grow, so does a child; Please help me grow tall in the gospel. As we grow tall we will learn many things. My Father in Heaven loves me. (Chorus) Though we are small, we can be strong. Faith can move mountains, you know. I’ll pray to my Father in Heaven above; With love from my family I’ll grow. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 79
    • Marla Excell Some years ago I was diagnosed with a serious illness. It was not a good time. However, my husband and my son gave me a priesthood blessing and when they were finished, I knew that I would be okay. My definition of “okay” was limited. To me, it meant that my illness would go into remission and never bother me again or someone would discover a cure. A few months ago, I was listening to someone teach about priesthood blessings and I began to wonder. “My illness is not in remission and there is still no cure. How could I possibly be okay?” I began to question what had happened and I began to doubt. Then a prompting came: “Count your blessings.” I didn’t under- stand. How could I count what hadn’t happened yet? Again the prompting came: “Count your blessings.” I thought long and hard and a bit rebelliously. I thought I would count the blessings that made my illness better. I started counting and I’m still counting. I cannot believe how many ways I have been helped to deal with my illness. I noticed that I’m counting other people’s blessings too. So many people have shared their blessings with me to make my life easier. Not only am I okay but the life I have is the one I always wanted except for the illness … or maybe because of the illness. I do have a testimony that our Heavenly Father is mindful of us and that our steps are directed and if we heed the promptings that we are given, we will be lead to the place where we need to be. Katherine Bentley A few years ago I’d wanted a better relationship with God so I prayed many times asking my Heavenly Father to bring me closer to Him. About a year later I had an amazing thing happen. One Sunday I was sit- ting in Relief Society and the teacher wrote this phrase on the board: “Ask and ye shall receive”. She wasn’t a minute into the lesson when the most amazing thing hit me like a ton of bricks. The Spirit was so strong that I had to share with everyone what was happening. I raised my hand and the teacher stopped mid-sentence, asking me to share what was so important. I apologized for interrupting her and told everyone that I had seen the phrase on the board many times before but today it had tremendous meaning to me. I was so filled with the Holy Ghost that I was crying and even shaking! I was so overwhelmed I could barely speak. Here is what I said: “I have been praying for the last year asking Heavenly Father to bring me closer to Him … and I just realized He’s been doing this all along! As some of you know, we have been struggling financially for some time. Well, I just realized that I had ASKED for this trial and that our financial struggles are an answer to my prayers! Because of our lack of income, we are praying more and more to our Heavenly Father. We are searching the scriptures to help us get through these struggles. I now realize that I have a closer relationship with God – probably the closest I’ve ever been to Him throughout this trial. So He has brought me closer to Him. He has humbled me so that I would turn to Him!” The Spirit was so strong in that Relief Society room and I will never forget that experience. What a humbling moment for me. I am so grateful to receive answers in the form of personal revelation. I testify that Heavenly Father is there for us, even if we don’t realize it. I testify of the Holy Ghost and His influence in our lives. All we have to do is ask and we shall receive. I love being able to look back and see that He was helping me all along to bring me closer to Him. I will never forget this very profound personal revelation I was blessed with.80 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Patricia Ruth Major Miller I spent most of my youth in Northern California near Redding. I met my husband Andy when he was inthe Air Force and home on leave. He was a fine young man with great principles that I admired. Before wewere married, Andy attended the Baptist Church and I the Methodist. When I was expecting our first child I really began to have the desire to choose a church for our family.My mother always said that if she went to church it would be the Mormon Church. She remembered attend-ing Primary as a child in Aztec, New Mexico, with her grandparents. Mother was not a member but remem-bered many LDS songs she had sung as a child while attending her grandparent’s church. I prayed to know which church would be the right one for us to join. In answer to my prayer, a coupleof days later two Mormon missionaries came to my door. I welcomed them in. From the first discussion, Iknew the Church was true. Andy missed out on the first few discussions as he was in the Air Force and had a part-time job in theevenings. I left the Book of Mormon on our bedside table and he began reading it. One evening he said tome, “You know this Book of Mormon is true. If those missionaries are teaching from this book then whatthey are telling you must be true too.” So we began listening to the missionary discussions together. Wewere both baptized March 15, 1958. When I started researching my family history, I found that most of my ancestors on my maternal sidewere Latter-day Saints. My great-grandfather, George Babcock, came across the plains with the pioneers in1847. The “Tennessee Massacre” of 1884 occurred at the home of my great-uncle, James Conder, in CaneCreek, Tennessee. It was here that Elder John H. Gibbs of Paradise, Utah; Elder William S. Berry of Kanar-raville, Utah; and the two Conder boys, J. Riley and Martin Conder, were killed by a masked mob because oftheir Mormon faith. My great-grandfather, George Henderson Conder, and his wife, Harriet Lendora Brake-field, also joined the Church in Tennessee. Fifty-four years ago I prayed to know which church was true and my prayer was answered. I believe mygreat-grandmother’s prayers were answered at the same time. I am sure she must have prayed that her old-est son, my great-grandfather’s family, would return to the Church. I know that our Heavenly Father hearsand answers our prayers and grants us the righteous desires of our hearts.Loretta Peterson As young newlyweds, we were excited to learn I was with child. Just six months later our precious littleboy was born prematurely and died a few hours later. We were shocked and disappointed but told to notworry as we were young and had lots of time for a family. Ten months later we again had a beautiful little girl born prematurely who only lived for a few hours.This time we were devastatingly disappointed, losing hope. D&C 90:24 tells us: “All things shall work to-gether for your good … if you search diligently, are believing and walk uprightly before the Lord.” Decadeslater, I can testify that this is true. We now have six children, two of whom have juvenile diabetes. Our young married son with his preg-nant wife was driving a moving truck across the country. After several hours, my husband (who was fol-lowing them) was impressed to pull in front and get them to stop. When the truck stopped, our son wasunresponsive at the wheel in a diabetic reaction. His wife was also asleep. Who but our own angels weredriving that truck? I testify that our Father in Heaven is in charge and knows how best to bless us and whatwe need, even in our trials. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 81
    • Irene Prisbrey Slack James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. “ Moroni 7:26: “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.” In 1963 my 14-year-old son, Ross William Slack, received a bad compound fracture when he broke his arm. After an hour in the operating room, the doctor came out and said he couldn’t set Ross’s arm. He didn’t want to use pins to stabilize the arm as it would stop the growth and affect Ross’s development. A specialist from Las Vegas was called. While we waited for the doctor, Ross said he wanted the elders to administer to him. They were contacted and gave him a priesthood blessing. When the specialist arrived, Ross was taken into the operating room again. They were in surgery a long time. The doctor finally came out and said, “A miracle happened in there.” He told me that he had worked a long time to set the arm and couldn’t do it. As he picked up the instruments to try one more time, the bones suddenly went back into place perfectly. As they took Ross back to his room, he started to choke. A suction pump was rushed in but didn’t work, and the hospital staff hurried to get another one. He was in a serious way. The nurses tried to pull me out of the room. I said, “No, he will be all right!” And he was. When things settled down, the doctor told Ross what had happened during surgery and afterwards. Ross said, “I know what happened. I had the elders administer to me. That’s why I’m all right.” The doctor, who wasn’t a member of the Church, said, “I wish I had the faith you and your mother have, young man. It was a scary time there with you.” The nurse expressed the same feelings. We have had other experiences in our lives when the Lord has been there for us. He has blessed us in many ways. Ross has always had faith as elders have administered to him – and so have I. Karen Summerhays I have always known the importance of prayer and, even when not active, have always prayed with my children. In my life I have had many trials. There were times when I felt I had nowhere to turn. At those times I turned to my Heavenly Father. I knew that no matter what, He was there and that He loved me and did not judge me. I completely surrendered to Him and turned my trials and worries over to Him, letting go of what, at the time, was too much to bear on my own, knowing I was never truly alone. I just needed to be willing to allow for His help. I have a strong testimony. I know the true happiness that can be found when living the gospel. I also know the strong evil that tries even harder to overcome us when we are choosing to live right. I know that we are not given things we cannot handle. I know that before I came to this earth I agreed to all that has been given to me and all I have been through. I know that I have purpose and meaning. I know that He has a plan for me. And good and bad, I will walk through all that is, with His help. I am grateful every day for what I have been through. I know that these trials have made me who I am: a better wife, mother, friend, and daughter. I am so blessed because of these trials. I now have my own per- sonal relationship with my Heavenly Father. As different trials come into my life, my faith grows stronger that He will take care of me. My trials have turned into my biggest blessings.82 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Melissa Stewart One time in sacrament meeting the gentleman speaking said he was given a challenge to focus histhoughts more on the Savior during sacrament meeting by asking Heavenly Father what three things hecould work on this week. Then he would spend time during the sacrament pondering and listening for theanswer. He probably listed other ways to focus our thoughts on the Savior, but that one stood out to me.When he encouraged us to try it for ourselves I did it right then. Immediately the answer came to my mind.It was an answer I never would have thought of. “There is only one thing I want you to work on,” I was told;and the answer was clear what that was. I was a young mother with my own little kids and also others that I babysat every day. I was over-whelmed a lot of the time. My husband was in school and working. I needed help! I came home from churchand prayed that Heavenly Father would help me do what I had been told. He did. Thoughts would come tomy mind throughout my day. As I was doing laundry the thought came to close the lid on the laundry deter-gent all the way so the kids wouldn’t get into it. They had done this before and would dump the detergentall over. Then I would spend time cleaning it up and would get mad that I had rushed and not closed it com-pletely. Pictures would come to my mind of me doing small things around the house that prevented prob-lems later — things I normally might forget or put off because I was tired or rushing. These promptingsmade my days easier and I knew my Savior cared about me. He knew my struggles. He wanted to help me.Those impressions still come to me, but not as strongly and as often as they did then. That was an amazingexperience for me.Sandy Aleman I have had lots of prayers answered and seen many tender mercies of the Lord. I would like to sharea significant moment in my life that was a special witness to me of the power of the Atonement and God’slove for me. It took place almost 10 yrs ago. My youngest son was 17 and a senior in high school. He seemedunfocused and was struggling in school. Shortly after his 18th birthday he quit school even though it wasonly a few months before graduation. Shortly after this, he called home to inform me he had just gotten atattoo. (It broke my heart.) He was also getting a bit of an attitude. I asked my husband to please talk withhim. My husband talked to him all right and told him he had two weeks to find another place to live. Thisbroke my heart too but I knew this was probably the right thing to do. I, of course, told our son we lovedhim and he was still welcome to visit us. The problem was — I had a lot of hurt and disappointment stillin my heart and when he did come, he felt it; therefore, he felt uncomfortable in my presence. I was go-ing through the motions of life throughout the day and crying my eyes out at night. My husband told me Ineeded to let it go but I couldn’t seem to shake it. I finally realized I couldn’t do it alone. I called upon God to take away the pain I felt in my heart so thatI could go on and be happy again; that I could not be what He wanted me to be or do what He wanted meto do. I noticed within the next few days that my pain was totally gone! I knew in my heart that everythingwould be all right. Our son was now in God’s hands. In just six to eight months, he got his high school di-ploma and was back home preparing to go on a mission like he had always wanted when growing up. Thiswas my first experience with the power of the Atonement and God’s great love for His children. My husband and I recently returned from a mission in Siberia, Russia. Although it was hard at times,it was the best experience of our lives. We both witnessed God’s hand and tender mercies while serving inRussia. I know God lives. I know He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. I know God will answerall the righteous desires of our heart when it is right for us. I know these things to be true. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 83
    • The Story of Emily Hill Woodmansee Emily Hill was a gregarious 12-year-old girl who readily accepted the gospel when her cousin Author of “As Sisters in Zion” Miriam invited her to hear the Mormon missionaries. Prior to the missionaries’ departure in 1848, Emily received a priesthood blessing. She was told in her blessing that if she remained faithful to her testimony of Jesus Christ throughout her life, she “would write in prose and in verse and thereby comfort the hearts of thousands.” On August 2, 1856, residents of a small Iowa town approached two young women who were traveling with the Willie Handcart Company. The two young women were the Hill sisters, ages 20 and 23. The younger of the two was Emily. The townspeople attempted to entice these attrac- tive young women away from the company, using written messages that they delivered to the two sisters. Their messages promised all of the comforts and conveniences that life had to offer if they would simply abandon their trek to Zion. Notwithstanding they were worn and weary from their 4,000 miles of travel over the past three months, which began in Liverpool, England, they resisted. On October 19, 1856, Joseph A. Young was the first rescuer to reach the Willie Handcart Com- pany. Young had been a missionary in England and had known Emily there. Eventually recognizing that the starved figure with a gaunt face standing before him was Emily, Young burst into tears. He gave Emily an onion from his pocket and told her to eat it. Instead, she saved it and unselfishly gave it to a man, near death, lying on the ground by a fire. This man credited Emily’s act of kindness with saving his life. Emily Hill later authored a poem which became the words to the beloved LDS hymn “As Sis- ters In Zion.” Her poem remained in the LDS Church archives until the 1980s when those putting together the new hymnbook searched for a song for the Relief Society women. They found Emily’s poem and had Janice Kapp Perry write music to accompany the poem, making “As Sisters in Zion” the theme song for women worldwide.84 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Original Words to the Poem “As Sisters In Zion” As sisters in Zion, we’ll all pull together, The blessings of God on our labors we’ll seek: We’ll build up His kingdom with earnest endeavor; We’ll comfort the weary, and strengthen the weak. We’ll turn from our follies, our pride and our weakness, The vain, foolish fashions of Babel despise; We’ll seek for the garments of truth and of meekness, And learn to be useful and happy and wise. We’ll wear what is sensible, neat and becoming The daughters of Zion—the angels of light; We’ll work with a will, while the angels are scanning Our aims and our actions from morning till night. We’ll bring up our children to be self-sustaining; To love and to do what is noble and right; When we rest from our labors, these dear ones remaining, Will bear off the kingdom and “fight the good fight.” Nor shall our attention be wholly restricted To training our children or shaping our dress; The aged, the feeble, the poor and afflicted, Our labors shall comfort, our efforts shall bless. “The Lord hath established the cities of Zion, The poor of His people are trusting in Him,” He makes us a source for His poor to rely on; Oh! shall we not brighten the eyes that are dim. Oh! shall we not hasten to soothe the condition Of the humble, the needy, the honest and pure? Oh! let us remember, whate’er our ambition— ‘Tis our duty, our mission, to comfort the poor. ‘Tis the office of angels, conferred upon woman; And this is a right that, as women, we claim; To do whatsoever is gentle and human; To cheer and to bless in humanity’s name. How vast are our labors; how broad is our mission, If we only fulfill it in spirit and deed; Oh! naught but the Spirit’s divinest tuition— Can give us the wisdom to truly succeed. Then, as sisters in Zion, we’ll all pull together; The blessing of God on our labors we’ll seek; We’ll build up the kingdom with earnest endeavor; We’ll comfort the weary and strengthen the weak. ~Emily H. Woodmansee, 1836–1906Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 85
    • Virginia (Jinny) Jorgensen We had taken my father to the hospital with pneumonia. He was placed in a room with a young man that had been on the news earlier in the day. The young Mexican had been shot in a drug deal gone wrong. The next day, as we entered the floor, an agitated nurse complained that the boy did not have insurance or family to pay his bill and was being cared for at taxpayers’ expense. The drape was closed between the two beds but I couldn’t help being aware of that boy. He did not speak English so his communication was extremely limited. He was in a great deal of pain, having been shot in the stomach. He kept bleeding inter- nally and had to go back into surgery a second time. The bullet had gone through his spine and he was left quadriplegic. He could move his head a little. That evening family and friends met at the hospital to have family prayer for dad. As we surrounded father, I deliberately stepped back out of that prayer circle and prayed I would be allowed to feel what the young man was feeling. He was alone, in pain, had no family, and most of the help was not kind to him. I will never forget the feelings I was allowed to perceive. The first thing was his extreme anger, then his loneli- ness and helplessness. He was in pain and he either missed having family or knew he would never have the family help as seen in the bed next to him. I was then allowed to feel the love the Lord had for his young son and it was warm, sweet, and wonderful. I found out later he was there trying to get money for his starving family in Mexico. He was with others who disappeared after the shooting. His spine was permanently injured; he would never have more than a little neck movement. He supposedly had a family coming from Mexico to take him home – but in that week, there were no visitors. Each hospital visit I brought him little gifts, refilled his water, and smiled at him. The day my father was moved, I stopped to see him. he nurse had helped him prop my cup of goodies next to his ear and his clenched hand propped the cup steady – letting me know he loved his gifts. I learned a lot of things from this experience, but mainly, “DO NOT JUDGE OTHERS”; leave that to the Lord. I have prayed since that this boy could find happiness in life and that his family is taking care of him. Kathryn Yoder Nine days before Christmas, my sister who was living with me passed away from cancer. We took her body back to Illinois to be buried and arrived back in Hurricane in the evening on the 23rd of December. On the afternoon of the 24th, Christmas Eve, there was a knock on the door. My neighbor, a mother of four, was standing there with a bag full of dandelions. At first I thought, “They eat dandelion greens and she thinks I know how to cook them and is giving them to me for a meal! Oh my gosh!” Then I realized she dug them out of my yard to help me out. With my sister sick I hadn’t worked outside and the yard was in need of help and she saw that and got busy on Christmas Eve day. What a beautiful act of service – to spend her precious time on the day before Christmas when we all have last minute preparations, especially with three sons, a daughter, and a son to be thinking of. So many times we think our service must be a large and notable thing and often we don’t do it because we just don’t have the time. But small acts of service can be done on the spur of the moment under the influence of the Holy Ghost. With gratitude I have reflected many times on her act of tender mercy given freely at a time of sadness and need in my life.86 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hear- keneth to the voice of the Spirit.” D&C 84:46L. Louise Thomas When I was eight years old my grandpa came to my bed, got me up, and took me to the bed he wassleeping in. He tried to pull me into his bed and I just stood there wondering what he was trying to do. Allof a sudden I heard a voice say, “Drop to your knees; drop to your knees.” I looked all around to see who wassaying that to me but I just couldn’t see him. I dropped to my knees and grandpa let go of my hand so I wentback to my bed. He did touch me everywhere he shouldn’t have. I hated him for years. My aunt asked me why I wouldn’t stay at grandma and grandpa’s house so I toldher and she said, “Oh, Louise, he wouldn’t do that.” After I was married and started having kids, I was gladwe didn’t live around him and when we visited my parents’ house I made sure our kids were never aroundhim. I was glad when he died. I still hated him. When I was a 50-year-old Relief Society president, the bishop called me about getting some womeninto counseling for sexual abuse. I said, “Let me know when you find something and I’ll go too.” He looked atme and said, “You too?” He then asked, “Did you ever forgive him?” I said, “Why should I forgive the...!” (onlyI said the words) He said, “Louise!” He then asked me if I had read “ The Miracle of Forgiveness” and I said,“Yes.” He said, “Please read it again.” While on vacation at my mom’s house, we went to church. The Sunday School teacher was giving thelesson “The Atonement of Christ”. He said, “If any of you needs to forgive someone and doesn’t, then Christdied in vain where you are concerned.” I sat there for a couple of minutes and all of a sudden got goosebumps from the ends of my toes clear up through my body. I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted from myshoulders. After 42 years of hate, I felt that I had finally forgiven my grandpa. I learned a lot. The first thing I realized was that the voice I heard when grandpa was trying to dragme into bed was the Holy Ghost and that Heavenly Father sent Him to help me. I also learned that all thoseyears of hate didn’t hurt grandpa, but me. Also, since I have forgiven him, I have been able to help in severalwomen’s causes. I know how they feel and I don’t mind talking about it. I want victims to know it’s not theirfault. Over the years the Holy Ghost has helped me in so many ways. We are all children of God. We may not understand why things happen; however, we are loved verymuch by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the love of Heavenly Father and that He sentthe Holy Ghost to help me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 87
    • Pamela H. Webster On November 25, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving, my six-year-old granddaughter, McKenzie, was killed through gross behavior of a trusted babysitter. Her then nine-year-old sister, Shaelyn witnessed her sister being given five to six adult doses of albuterol throughout the day until “Kenzie” had a massive heart attack. Kenzie was flown to the Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, and Shaelyn rode with me from Rifle, Colorado, to the hospital. Several hours later Kenzie was taken off life support as we all said our good- byes. As my daughter Faith had funeral arrangements to make and as the criminal investigation was being conducted, we thought it best to have Shaelyn go back with me to my home in Utah for a few days. On the way there, as we had been doing for the past two days, we spoke of Kenzie, or “Zee” as Shaelyn called her. We talked of how much we already missed her, of the scary parts of “that day”, of how life was forever going to be different. We talked about the “fact” that neither Faith nor Shaelyn “believed in God” and what that meant to Shaelyn. We talked about the fact that I DID believe in God, and what that meant. Then Shaelyn turned toward me and with all seriousness and urgency she asked, “Meme, do you REALLY believe there IS a God, and that there IS a heaven, and that Zee is with God now?” With every conviction of my being and with an overwhelming burning stamp of truth in my soul, I said, “Oh YES, Shaelyn! I ABSOLUTELY believe! I have NO doubt.” She said, “Good.” And she was at peace – at least for that moment. And I was SO grateful to know of the true gospel of Jesus Christ and to have given my dear granddaughter a precious gift that meant everything to her AND to me. Sadie Humphries “It’s nothing. It’s just a mole.” Four doctors said it; one doctor removed it; so why, three years later, was I having to have a biopsy of that same area of my arm for not looking exactly as it should? It was only two days later that he said it was malignant and that I would need to return for surgery. I was terrified. My boys were 14, 12, and 6 years old. I had another son on a mission and two brand-new granddaughters. I couldn’t be anywhere but home – home and healthy. But three days later I was in surgery. My panic-stricken hus- band asked the temple president to give me a blessing; it would be one of several along the way. I had been scared before the surgery, but hearing the words “stage 4 cancer and more surgery” petrified me. My entire world shifted when he stated, “If it is in your lymph nodes there will be nothing I can do for you.” I had never been this afraid in my life. I was so distraught the doctor recommended that I return home for three days before the surgery. Every day I would awake, forgetting for a second what was happening, only to have the daunting real- ity settle over me, paralyzing me again. I did the only thing I knew to do. I had a daily blessing from my husband and I prayed with all my heart. Facing death is so much more frightening with small children who depend on you. I hope to never have to do something so hard again. I felt as though my Father in Heaven had stretched me to the limits of my ability and I was making it only due to my faith in Him, good doctors who cared, and a loving husband. As I look back, I realize the Lord walked with me every minute. I had wonderful doctors, my husband was given paid time off to be with me, the continued use of my arm, and many other blessings. It was a horrific experience but just as the Lord designed, it gave me something – a new perspective. Even simple things like grass look amazing to me now. I know Heavenly Father gives us trials so that we can become as He is. One of the most difficult times in my life was also what strengthened my testimony of the love of our Savior.88 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Kathleen McAllister I was the idealistic Mormon mother who believed all of my six children would be married in the templeand “live happily ever after”. Our youngest daughter was looked up to in the stake as the perfect “MollyMormon”. When she was 19, she completely changed and left the Church. I knew that the only way we couldkeep her in the family was by loving her as Jesus would have us do. Many, many tearful nights followed. I remembered the promise made to members of the Church by the prophets and leaders: if we weresealed in the temple and remained faithful, our children would return to us. We prayed constantly and at-tended the temple regularly, along with keeping a close relationship with her. She knew that even thoughshe had strayed, we loved her with all our heart. Her husband was not a member for the first four years, and then through a series of circumstances,he was baptized but became inactive because she didn’t support him. Two years ago he was sent to jail fordoing drugs while driving a semi-truck. He started to read the Book of Mormon and other church books.When he was released from jail after three months, he went home and they decided that their lives neededto change. They both had to work for about a year to stop smoking and drinking coffee. All these many years we prayed constantly that someone would come into their lives that would touchtheir hearts and bring them back. I called their ward bishop and told him their story. He took them underhis wing and the whole ward was outstanding in fellowshipping them. To watch the change has been a veryspiritual experience for all of us. I testify that it can really happen! On Valentine’s Day in 2012 they received their endowments in the city they live in, and then cameto Salt Lake City the following Saturday to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple and have their 10-year-oldson sealed to them. Our whole family was there to witness and share in the experience. My joy is beyondwords. The tender mercies of the Lord have again been extended to me as I try each day to live His teachingsand follow His council. He hears my pleas and has answered me.Megan Johnson When we pray, or at least for me, we want to get “our” answer. The answer I was praying for all be-gan with being pregnant with my second child. After having the routine ultrasound they found somethingwasn’t quite right. They scheduled me for another ultrasound in Salt Lake City. After having that one done,it confirmed something was wrong. We ended up going to Salt Lake City every weekend until she was born.In each ultrasound we found the problem was progressing from her hand down to her feet. They were be-coming stiff, along with other problems. Then they told us that if she lived, she would probably have prob-lems walking and using her hands. I prayed that our little baby girl would not have to suffer. In my heart, the kind of suffering I didn’t wanther to go through was from the mean people in this world. I didn’t want her to be teased for being different.I was up for the challenge of raising a child with disabilities. But Heavenly Father had a different answerfor me; it was not my answer, but the right answer. Our little girl didn’t have to suffer; she was made pure.Heavenly Father needed her with Him more then we needed her here on earth. We may not like the answer we receive at that time, but we need to remember that Heavenly Fatherknows the big picture and we have to trust in Him. I bear testimony to you that if we have faith and prayoften to our Heavenly Father, He will answer our prayers. Even though it may not be “my answer”, it is theanswer we need. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 89
    • Arla Cochran In August 2003 I took a terrible fall in the Las Vegas airport and damaged my knee that had been replaced in 2001. I thought I had just bruised it but after a year and a half I was still having problems with pain and decided to go to the orthopedic surgeon. After running several tests it was determined that I had broken the prosthetic and it needed to be replaced. I was scheduled for surgery right after Thanksgiv- ing and was actually excited about getting it done so that I could get back to a “normal” life. The day after surgery I started physical therapy. As I walked to physical therapy I told the therapist that something was wrong – that my foot was feeling numb and I was having an extreme amount of pain. My surgeon called in a vascular specialist who felt that my problem was just due to swelling and there really was nothing that needed to be done. After spending a week in the hospital I was sent home where I still was in such extreme pain that it was intolerable. I had priesthood blessings but was never told in those blessings that all would be well. I was told, however, that the Lord’s will would be done. After a week at home, a home care nurse came to the house and after looking at my leg, advised me to see the doctor soon. That afternoon I was taken to the ER by my husband. My doctor was there and immediately made arrangements to have me medevaced to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. The surgeon who treated me there found that I had a torn artery and would prob- ably lose my leg. After being in the hospital for six weeks I developed gangrene and had to have my leg amputated above the knee. I went through a lot of anger and a lot of asking, “Why me?” I couldn’t understand why the Lord let this happen to me. After a lot of prayer and visits from sisters in the ward, I was finally able to realize that it wasn’t that the Lord let it happen but it was up to me to understand that I had to learn to accept what had happened. I had to find a new normal in my life. I have received much love from my ward sisters and I have found a new normal. I have been able to help other amputees deal with some of the trials that they are going through. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and has given me strength to carry on. “This is what we desire to instill into the hearts of sisters—to be use- ful in their sphere and not be discouraged because of difficulties in the way, but trust in God and look to Him, and His marvelous bless- ings, I will promise you, will be poured out upon you.” (Lorenzo Snow, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 43.) Mary Jane Manzione I graduated from high school in 1951 where I was a student at Beaver High. My girl friend and I decided we would go to Salt Lake City and get a job at the telephone company. In those days we were interviewed by our bishop. He then got us an appointment with Spencer W. Kimball. We had no idea he would one day become the President of our Church. We were taken to Salt Lake City by my friend’s uncle. We showed up for our appointment and he asked us where we were from. We said we were from the little town of Beaver, Utah. He questioned us for more information. He finally said, “Go home. You have no business in this big city.” He was very sincere. He scared us both. We went home. Many, many years later, after I told my grand- daughters the story, they said, “Did you look in the eyes of God?”90 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Leslie Mildenhall When you feel like a ship being tossed on the sea of life, finding an anchor in the storm seems next toimpossible. My faith is frequently stretched almost to the breaking point, mainly because of my willful-ness and my “I can do this on my own” attitude. But my hope, well, that’s a different story. My hope neverfails me – never. My hope has too often had to throw out the lifeline to my faith. Many times, on the vergeof sinking far below the roiling waves, I have been pulled up, sputtering, and tossed onto the deck – leftshaken, utterly vulnerable and nearly dead. When will I learn? I wish I knew. What I do know is that these“near death” experiences have brought more clarity and perspective to my life than I may probably deserve.And without being laid low first, I may never have had so many opportunities to have my eyes opened tosee just how tenderly the Master and Commander has had steerage of my course. More than 27 years ago I gave birth to my son Stephen. More than 8 years ago, not knowing the reasonswhy, he walked out of my life. Year after year, as I prayed for this immense hurt to subside, my hope sur-vived. Year after year, as I prayed for his safety in the U.S. Navy, my hope survived. Year after year, as we losttime and missed events in each others’ lives, my hope survived. On June 20th of 2012 the anchor of my abiding hope handed over to my faith a most precious and beau-tiful gift – my son. Late that night, after a long day at work, my phone rang. “Hello,” I said. Nothing. “Hello,” Isaid again. “Who is this?” came the reply. “This is Leslie. Who is this?” “It’s your son ……..…” My hard-won faith bears the scars of a lifetime of being a stubborn, prideful child. But ahhhh, my hopebears no such scars; it bears instead, the shining brightness of a celestial daughter and sister. My faith willbe tried and tested and I will continually pray that Heavenly Father, through Christ, will always be there tobuoy me up. One day, the seas WILL calm and I WILL reach the shore.Gerda Whitaker There have been many times in the 50 years of our marriage when my husband and I have experiencedthe tender mercies of our Father in Heaven. Each time they came we marveled at the goodness of a lovingHeavenly Father who has an interest in us and is eager to answer our prayers if we are in tune with HisSpirit. One such time was when we lived in Houston, Texas. We had a lovely home there, yet we had a desire tobuild a new home. We prayed about this decision and felt that this was a good thing for us. As we sat in thebuilder’s office to sign the papers, I suddenly felt uncomfortable to the point that I became physically ill tomy stomach and told my husband that we had to leave. We felt this was a direct answer to our prayers. Itturned out that building a new home at this time would have been a very big mistake. We made the deci-sion to go ahead and sell our existing home and purchase a new one in Hurricane, Utah. This felt right eventhough it meant having to rent for a while. Not too long after that my husband was able to retire early andwe looked forward with anticipation to move back to Utah. This is not the end of the story though. About two weeks before his retirement he received a call fromthe Human Resource Director of the Church who asked us to serve a mission to the Nauvoo Temple. Wewere ecstatic. It had been a dream and desire of ours for quite some time – we just didn’t know that itwould come to realization so soon. We were able to leave Houston without any financial obligations orpressure and serve our mission with great joy. We know that through inspiration and the power of the Holy Ghost, our Father in Heaven guided us inthe direction we should go. We are forever grateful for His unwavering love for us. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 91
    • Connie Crapo Faucette On my dresser, where I can see it the first thing every morning and the last thing before I sleep, is an antique pocket watch under a small glass dome. It’s not a valuable piece; it’s not even real gold. It doesn’t keep time, and the crystal was broken out long before I was born. But it’s precious to me. When I was a child, I had a “secret” grandmother. My paternal grandmother had died when my father was born, and talking about her made grandpa very sad, so no one talked about her or asked questions. But we all knew that he still kept her things in a trunk in the barn. I decided I would learn about her in my own way. So one day when no one was watching, I slipped into the barn and quietly opened the dusty old trunk. It was filled to the brim with time-worn clothing, letters, and journals – all of the things a young woman of 27 might leave behind if she died in 1919. I read the letters and looked at everything, and was so tempted to simply take the small ladies pocket watch I found there. I knew that by leaving it where it was, I risked losing it forever because countless others had access to it. But I carefully put everything back where I had found it. I prayed for a long time that Heavenly Father would prompt someone to decide that I should have the watch. I grew up, married, and had children. Twenty-two years had passed. I never forgot the watch, and when my sister phoned one day and said, “Connie, granddad just gave me the trunk,” I was so overwhelmed I had to sit down. My prayers had finally been answered! When I had the watch, we began at last to hear stories about my grandmother, who had died so young. From letters, journals, and things in the trunk, we began to feel we knew her. My father, who had never known his mother, was able to feel what she had been like, and how she had looked forward to his birth … though she predicted it would mean her death. So I keep the little watch where I can see it. It reminds me of the courage of my grandmother, and it re- minds me to keep waiting. In spite of all my blessings, there are two righteous desires still in my heart. One of those desires is more than 50 years in the waiting – the other, nearly that. The little watch reminds me that our time is not the Lord’s time, and that we must continue valiant for however long it takes. Lora Olson The following experience happened to me on January 25, 1967: My husband and I were about to have a baby. I was 10 months pregnant with my third child. I went to the doctor and he felt that I should wait another week. If I was not ready to deliver by then he would start labor. Another week went by and still no baby so I went back to the doctor. He said, “Let’s get you ready.” He gave me an epidural, and one hour later my eight and a half pound baby boy came. I delivered him without any problems. The baby was healthy and strong and the doctor said, “Let’s close her up”. Then, as they were closing, I started to bleed. The doctors couldn’t control the bleeding. A surgeon was called in. He said that the bleeding had to be stopped or I would die. At that point, it was decided to perform a hysterectomy. The last thing I remember the nurses saying was “50 over 70”, then I felt my spirit leave my body and I was looking down seeing myself on the hospital operating table. I asked Heavenly Father if I could come back into my body and raise my children. If He would grant me this, I promised Him that I would be His servant for the rest of my life. The Lord granted me this time. I was in the basement of the hospital for a week in what was called the Death Ward. At the end of the week I had improved so they moved me upstairs. Now I knew that the Lord had granted me my wish. I know that the callings I have had in the Primary are what the Lord wants me to do. I love the Lord with all my heart, I know He lives, and I will serve Him for the rest of my life.92 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous A number of years ago, a history of child abuse was uncovered in my family. The abuse had been goingon and kept secret for generations. It literally tore my family apart. There were accusations, confronta-tions, denials, anger, confessions, and, eventually, repentance. While it was possible to say, “I forgive you,” Icouldn’t understand how someone could abuse a child that way and there was still a lot of pain. I’ve always thought it was all right to use “righteous judgment” to protect my family, so I chose not tohave contact with the perpetrator of the abuse. I wasn’t unkind; I simply avoided contact and refused anyefforts on their part for reconciliation. This went on for over two years. One day I was pleading with theLord to help me feel better about myself. I specifically wanted to know if I had been forgiven for earliertransgressions that I had repented of. I saw myself standing in judgment before the Savior. He said, “I seethat you have repented and I forgive you. However, I don’t understand how you could do such a thing, soyou sit over there until I decide you have suffered enough.” I was heartbroken. I felt such love emanatingfrom the Savior and wanted nothing more than to be near Him, and yet I was being sent away. I realized that I had been punishing the people I said I had forgiven. Not only was it not my responsibil-ity; it wasn’t my right. We can’t heal until we let go. The Atonement doesn’t just make repentance work forthe sinner; it also makes it possible for the one sinned against to receive into their heart the sweet peace offorgiving.Traquel Dayley I thought the day would never come! I had returned home from my mission 12 years earlier and hadwaited ever since to be able to go back, and even better … to take my husband and kids. The occasion was foreign to me ...”Okay, I would love to go. Tell me again, what is Philmont?” My hus-band’s new calling in the stake presidency was proving to be quite an adventure. You see, Philmont (forthose of you who are like I was and don’t know) is the Scouting mecca of our country. It is the national BoyScout Ranch, and our family was invited to attend the LDS/BSA relations “family week” in Cimarron, NewMexico. We were packed tight in the minivan for a road trip to heaven, complete with hiking boots, sunscreen,and a homemade family flag. Who knew what the next ten days would hold for us? Since it was such a longdrive, we decided to leave a couple of days early to stop in my mission, the Navajo Reservation just outsideGallup, New Mexico. Finally, my chance to prove to my children that my stories were true! Hard to explain how it felt inside to have my children see the hogans circled by the dirt roads I usedto bike and walk daily. Even harder to explain how elated I was to take a picture with my husband at thetrading post where I used to receive mail from him as a missionary serving in New Jersey at the same time.Even more, there are simply no words to explain the overwhelming emotions associated with walking intoa dirt-floored shack/home, recognizing a once nine-year-old girl who embraced the gospel and chose tobe baptized, who is now a mother of three. As I reintroduced myself as Sister Jones, the tears welled up inher eyes and mine. I showed her the pictures I brought with me of her, her parents, grandparents, cousins,aunts and uncles who I was well acquainted with and also taught. Her sweet newborn baby was wrappedtight and securely in a traditional cradle board, a picture my heart will never erase. We reminisced of ourtime together and all that had happened in the years since. The reunion was priceless ... a true “treasure of light” in my life. I anticipate many great reunions on theother side, just like the one I had with Felicia in the Navajo desert. Philmont was amazing; the entire tripwas a delight. I felt as though the miles traveled were indeed on our own Highway to Heaven and I was anewborn child, wrapped tightly in the cradling arms of a loving Heavenly Father. The day I waited for wasmore than I had ever dreamed! Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 93
    • Loretta Winder Stubblefield Many times I have had faith-promoting experiences. I know that I have been guided by the Lord and theHoly Ghost all through my life. My son Brad had a football accident. It broke his inner ear and caused spinal meningitis. On the Medi-vac plane to Salt Lake City, I was crying and praying when I suddenly felt calm and a voice said to me, “Hewill be okay.” He was in a coma and was really bad. The doctors didn’t give us good news. That next Sundaymany people in our town of Hurricane fasted and prayed for him. That afternoon he woke up and said, “I’mhungry.” He quickly recovered, except for the hearing in one ear. Later, when he was 19 and on his missionin Georgia, he fell off a trampoline and broke his neck. Again, through prayers and good members and bless-ings, his life was spared. He was healed and finished his mission. My daughter LeAnn, when she was three, burned the bottoms of both feet on a furnace vent. Our hometeacher, Joe Judd, came and gave her a blessing. She fell asleep immediately in my arms after previouslycrying for at least an hour. Later she woke up and said, “Owie,” then walked on big white blisters with noapparent pain. At the time, my teenage brother Kenneth was living with us and said it was the first time hehad seen someone healed with a priesthood blessing. My daughter Kristi, at age five, began complaining and hurting. We took her to the doctor and foundout she had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She got worse and would stiffen up and not be able to get out ofbed in the morning. One day, after suffering for nearly two years and missing more school than attending,Grandfather LaFell Iverson called and said he wanted to give Kristi a priesthood blessing. When he wasgiving the blessing, it was as if the Savior was talking to her. He told her that Heavenly Father didn’t wanther to hurt anymore and the illness would leave. Four days later, Kristi jumped out of bed and said, “I feel sogood today!” The illness has never returned and she is married now and has 3 of my 31 wonderful grand-children. We are all so grateful for the blessings the Lord has given us. We truly have learned to trust in Him.Michele Coats A few years ago when our son-in-law worked for Sky West, they gave us buddy passes for Christmas,so we decided to use them for a Valentine’s Day/my birthday/Presidents Day get-away to Catalina Island.Randy got sick just before it was time to leave but we figured he would be okay – after all, we were goingto sunny California – not realizing we were really going to breezy-island California. The places we stayed atwere cheap – “no heat” cheap. We had not packed enough warm clothes and Randy continued to get sickerbut, considering, we had a relatively good time. When it was time to come home and use our wonderful buddy passes, apparently everyone else whoworked for Sky West decided to use their passes for Presidents Day weekend and there was not a seat avail-able for days. We had to get back to work so all we could do was rent a car and drive home. The first car wegot wouldn’t start and the second car had a flat tire, so we got an upgrade for no extra money. Randy alwaysdrives unless he is super-tired and needs a quick catnap, but since it was going to be a late night and he wassick, I decided I had better take a good nap so I could drive when needed. I can sleep really well, as a gen-eral rule, while riding in a car but this was really important so I climbed in the back seat to really get into adeep sleep, but could not even doze off so decided I just had to be awake to help Randy. As I recall, we gothome around midnight and tucked Randy into bed. The next morning he realized he didn’t remember anyof it, and we realized truly an angel had been driving all the way. He finally went to the doctor and found outhe had pneumonia. We recognized the hand of God in upgrading the car and driving us safely home. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 95
    • Susan Hansen I have been living the life of a single mom of seven children for 29 years, and now have a posterity that includes fifteen grandchildren. They are wonderful and I love them all very much. Out of all those years, there is one that stands out as a year of great tribulation. Prayer, the scriptures, and our loving Savior car- ried me through that year. He carried me through the process of extreme sadness, grief, pain, and suffering. In February 2002 my dad was taken to the hospital in serious condition. He seemed to be getting better but that belied his condition, which was worsening, and he was taken back to the nursing home. There was no more the hospital could do for him – with my permission he was taken off life support. Two days later was his 82nd birthday and two days after that he passed away. In June of that year my home was broken into and I was assaulted, my children were threatened, and a granddaughter was almost kidnapped by a psychotic woman before the police arrived. The physical scars healed; it took time and prayer to heal the fear. July arrived and so did another difficult adversity. My youngest daughter had an accident and was in a coma for about three weeks. When I first saw her, she was on life support. Several specialists hinted that she could be a possible organ donor but I made the decision that they should take all necessary steps to ensure her survival. I fasted and prayed often, went to sacrament meeting in the hospital, and asked the missionaries to give her a blessing. In October of that year I brought her home. A miracle! The next month brought more sadness. After a lot of counseling, one of my sons was divorced and couldn’t see his seven- month-old daughter as often. Again I depended on the Lord to carry me through this crisis. Early in Febru- ary 2003 my oldest daughter and son-in-law bought me an airplane ticket so I could be in Hawaii when their third son was born. Then I received a late night telephone call. Their new son was going to be still- born. Again I turned to my Savior for comfort. He was there for my family and me. A year that I will never forget. It taught me that life is very precious and that I should depend more on my Savior. Adversity has humbled me and increased my testimony a hundred fold. There is a much greater feeling of love encompassing my life that extends to every one of Heavenly Father’s children and will extend through eternity. Mary L. Thompson Being inactive for twenty some years and just back in the Church for 10 or 11 months, I would say a lot has come to pass in such a short time. I have felt that the Lord has blessed me immeasurably. I’ve felt that since I’ve wasted so much time, how can I ever accomplish all that I need to do here now. My children, my grandchildren, my sister, my father, my husband – there is so much to do. And then there are my neighbors. I love them all and I need to be a good example of what I believe in. I believe in the plan of salvation, and that our Lord and Savior loves and suffered for us; that if we will believe in Him and follow His example, and live the commandments and a righteous life, we can serve Him and our fellow man and have joy in this life in spite of the world and what may be around us. About three years ago I started reading the Ensign when I was visiting my son. And I don’t remember what it was but I felt that I couldn’t get enough reading in while I was there. So my son and his wife got me the Ensign for my birthday and I’ve been reading them ever since. And that also sparked a desire for read- ing the scriptures and prayer. The Spirit was wonderfully teaching me and reminding me of what I’ve been missing since I was away. I tried to fix things on my own but came to realize that during those three years of reading and learning I couldn’t do it on my own. So, when I came home after being gone for the summer, I came back to church, and the Thursday following, I visited with the bishop. When the bishop said, “Are you ready to come back?” – with a broken heart and from deep within my soul, I said, “Yes!”96 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened.” Mosiah 16:9Leah Meng Our family went camping in the desert preserve. We ate dinner then went for a short hike to see thesunset. The children played and laughed as the sun went down over the wilderness. When we returned tocamp, we noticed that our son Aaron was not with us. Nobody could remember having seen him since din-ner and we started to worry. He was not asleep in one of the tents and did not respond when we called tohim. Our search broadened as we went in different directions to look for him. The sun went down and hewas nowhere to be seen. We called 911 to report our missing child. I gathered everyone for a prayer. Worry and fear started to send my mind spinning to all the horriblepossibilities of what could happen to such a small four year old in the desert at night or what some kidnap-per would be doing to him if I did not find him. As I prayed for help, guidance, protection, and peace, the un-mistakable calm of the Holy Spirit descended on our camp. I did not know what would happen but I knewthat from that moment on we were in His hands. We continued searching, and members of the ward arrived to help, as well as police, community volun-teers, and a K-9 unit. Our search had been broadened farther than I thought my little one would go on footby himself at night and I started thinking he must have been kidnapped. Messages were sent to other policeunits with a description of the only other vehicle we had seen in the desert that day. The search continuedin the moonless night as the temperature dropped lower. I continued to pray. Family and friends near andfar joined their prayers with ours as we searched, called, and listened. About 10:30 p.m. we got a call that he had been found! Even if he were unconscious, broken, or dead, hehad been found! I cried out in thanks to Heavenly Father that this one tender mercy had been given to me,and rejoiced that the uncertainty would end. A few minutes later he was brought to me, whole and alive!The searchers who found him had been miraculously led to where he was huddled next to a bush tryingto stay warm. He had walked in the dark more than two and a half miles. From Aaron’s account, he wasblessed with “night vision” and a voice told him not to touch the water. We continue to rejoice in all the ten-der mercies of a loving Heavenly Father who spared our wandering little one and remember that, whateverthe outcome, we were in good hands. Luke 15:24 “For this my son was dead and is alive again; He was lost and is found. “ Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 97
    • Pam Mason I have a very strong belief that priesthood blessings really work. When I was living in southern New Jersey I discovered, or was warned, that they have some really nasty bugs. One Saturday a friend, her teen- age daughter, and I were garage sale shopping. I never knew what got me but by Sunday morning the whole right side of my body hurt so badly from the waist down that I could hardly walk. But I was determined I was going to church. Nothing was going to keep me away. Before sacrament meeting I asked my branch president if he could give me a blessing after church and he said yes. Afterward, I walked out of the church with no pain whatsoever. I had another experience with the wonder of priesthood blessings. I had a friend who I thought was in remission from cancer. One Saturday she called me to come over and when I got there she told me she did not feel like she was going to beat the cancer. She was not a member but I had talked about the Church to her quite a bit. I asked her if she wanted a priesthood blessing and she said yes, so that Sunday I asked the branch mission leader and one of the missionaries to come over after church and give her a blessing. Sadly, the blessing was not one of healing but more of comfort and to let her know she would go quickly and qui- etly. Almost immediately she fell into a coma and was gone by that Friday morning very early. Mandy Bell I married outside of the Church. The following events began to unfold approximately six months after I returned from about a decade of inactivity. My non-member husband would often come to sacrament meeting but rarely stay for other meetings. During one of those sacrament meetings, a talk was given on tithing. Afterward my husband had a few questions which we discussed, culminating at the conclusion that he would never pay tithing. The principle fascinated him but appeared counterintuitive and was, therefore, absurd. How could you give one apple of your ten and be better off? Miraculously, we would learn through experience that God really does make at least apple pie with that one meager apple offered. Two weeks later I met with the bishop inquiring about receiving my patriarchal blessing. He took the opportunity to suggest that I ought to prepare to go to the temple. As we discussed this, tithing came up. Seeing how I was a stay-at-home mom of four young children and considering my recent discussion with my husband about tithing, the flickering vision of the temple was easily extinguished. I received my patriarchal blessing recommend two weeks after the talk about tithing in which the con- clusion was “Never”. Two weeks following this, on my way to receive my patriarchal blessing, my husband, in the car, out of the blue, says, “You know, we can start paying tithing if you would like.” I had never spoken to him about the conversation the bishop and I had. What a tender mercy!!! It was even a tender mercy that he was allowed to experience, and share with me, the receiving of my patriarchal blessing. Generally, non- members are discouraged being present, as patriarchal blessings are sacred. Yet my bishop suggested it and the patriarch prayerfully presented it to the Lord with an affirmation that it would be okay. Had we not been headed there together, who knows if the even greater tender mercy would have occurred! And, while I am at it, let me mention just a few of the miraculous blessings that soon flowed from the windows of heaven: Ten months later my husband and eight-year-old son were baptized. Two months after that, I received my endowment. A year after that, my husband received his endowment. And a few days later – the crowning blessing of being sealed as a family to our four beautiful children! Those, in and of themselves, are beyond merciful but there have been many more – for, indeed, God is Love and He desires to pour out blessings upon us!!98 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Randie Beatty Haws My youngest son Robby was killed in a vehicle accident on June 9, 2011, in Escalante, Utah. My sister-in-law Lori and nephew Landon drove up to Kolob to tell me of my son’s death. I can’t put into words how Ifelt. Robby was buried in the Toquerville Cemetery near his Grandpa and Grandma Beatty. My son Korycame from Iraq and my son Klyn was already here. Family, ward members, and friends came by to consoleus and help in many ways. I would feel like I was losing my breath and couldn’t get it back when I would cry. I felt comfort forRobby but I missed him so badly. I had a strong feeling that my mom and dad were there to meet my sonand they were there to help him with his needs. I had that same confirmation from my Uncle Corrin (mymom’s brother) and my niece Erienne (Brad and Lori’s daughter). This was the hardest situation I have ever dealt with in my life. I feel like part of me is gone. I kept won-dering what he was doing, how he was feeling, and so forth. I was on my knees to my Heavenly Father sooften. My Heavenly Father was my way to go on each day and I needed to feel His love and strength. Heav-enly Father helped me to go to my meetings and the places I needed to go. The temple was a comfort for meand I looked forward to a year when we could have Robby’s temple endowment completed. One Sunday I was on my way to church and when I pulled into the parking lot and stopped after park-ing, I saw a room with big windows on the front. I saw Robby walk across the room and then he stoppedand looked at me. I saw the most peaceful look on his face that I have ever seen. Through the tender mercyof the Lord, He had granted me this opportunity to see that my son was at peace.Irene Hannemann Ah Quin In 1990 in California, I had just turned 40 and was diagnosed with a slowly growing brain stem tumorthe size of a walnut. I had seven children, ages 4 to 20. We moved to Utah in 1995 with tumor and all. Ichanged to a healthy diet, took herbs, exercised, and felt great. In January 2001 I slipped on the ice, fell onthe back of my head, and shook the tumor. This left my body limp and I couldn’t stand up straight. Miracles starting happening right away. I’ll begin one month after the fall on February 14. I waited 15years to have the surgery (in 1990 the surgery had a 50/50 chance of success); the tumor was benign so Idecided to wait. I was blessed at this time because miracles started happening: 1. I fell on the front porchin LaVerkin and didn’t crack my head open or was paralyzed. 2. Surgeon said the surgery was now oper-able and curable. 3. Surgery was a success. Stayed at our son’s home in Provo to celebrate my 51st birthdayon February 21. 4. Passed out in Provo at son’s home the day of my birthday; flown by helicopter back toLDS Hospital. Pulled through. 5. Passed out again in hospital room; wheeled to ICU the second time. Pulledthrough. 6. Met President Gordon B. Hinckley; greeted me with Talofa and said I’d be all right. 7. Fourmonths at home on oxygen; getting ready for church one Sunday; prayed to the Lord to let me breathe Hisair; I knew I could with His help. From that Sunday on I was breathing on my own. 8. Home for six monthsand walking, exercising, daily chores, cooking meals, dressing myself, putting on make-up, and showering,all without assistance. All these are tender mercies from the Lord. This experience taught me that the Lord is in control of my life and there was nothing I could do with-out Him to make my tumor go away. I knew the Savior had done this for me. I needed to show my HeavenlyFather that I trust in Him and His Son to pull me through … and They did. “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good … if thou endure it well, God shallexalt thee on high.” Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 99
    • Moya Ludtke (Written for our baby son – with a prospective baptism date of April 6, 2019) His Four White Shirts Our son wore his first suit April sixth, two-thousand eleven Dressed all in white When he received his blessing. Family was there to witness This brand new baby When on that day he was Given a name: Larz Cain Ludtke. Larz has since been taught the gospel Reaching goals Jesus desires most Being found worthy, as today he is Baptized and receives the Holy Ghost. As an eight year old in Primary He is learning to choose the right Now symbolizing purity Dressed in his second suit of white. His third white suit he will wear As he becomes a missionary And a special suit as his fourth The day that he will marry. But before he earns and Makes his temple ordinance Larz begins today with the First of his sacred covenants.100 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous I arrived at the Church welfare orchard and found an apricot tree that looked perfect for harvest. Itoiled and slowly my bucket filled. I carefully descended the ladder, making my way to the tractor to emptymy bucket. There I received instructions on how I could better my picking skills. I returned to my tree foranother bout of picking. Again, my bucket gradually filled. I emptied my load and received more pointerson how to improve. Feeling a bit sheepish, I moved my ladder and found some apricots that looked, to me,just right. I’m embarrassed to admit I thought, “What am I really accomplishing here? The small amount I’mcontributing is barely noticeable and I’m not doing it that well anyway.” Once I filled my bucket a third time,the brother at the tractor said, “Now those are perfect.” I climbed my ladder again. The trees blocked my view of many serving around me. In the quiet of thatbeautiful morning, up in my tree, the thought clearly came to my mind that even though I couldn’t see thoseworking in the orchard I could still see evidence of their labors when I emptied my bucket into the largecrates. The fruit was growing steadily. Quietly, a voice seemed to say that this orchard could be likened tothe work of the Lord the whole world over. Saints toiling in countries so distant that my thoughts rarelystray to them are daily serving their fellowmen and, by extension, the Lord. My heart filled with gratitudeand wonder. Then my thoughts turned closer to home. So often we don’t see those working in our wardsin their respective auxiliaries, but they are there, striving to magnify the callings the Lord has called themto. We see evidence of their labors when youth bear their testimonies, Primary children sing, missionariesgo into the mission field, couples and families are sealed in the temple, or when families are fellowshippedthrough home teaching and find a home among the members. Even if we don’t feel that our meager offering makes much difference, if we give it with full purpose ofheart it is always acceptable to the Lord. With these inspired thoughts in my mind I felt rejuvenated andlike I understood better the work the Lord has asked us to be part of, whether in His welfare orchard or inour respective callings. We just need to give our best, learn from those who are there to help us, and thendo even better. I testify that I know this is the Lord’s work. He needs willing hearts and hands to accomplish it. He loveseach of us and desires us all to serve to the fullest of our capacities so that when the harvest is broughtin there will be more fruit present because of the labors we performed, more of our brothers and sistersreturning home to Him, and how great shall be our joy.Helana Jo Cahoon I always have a hard time when I pray for something I feel my family needs and then don’t get an an-swer (at least that’s the way it sometimes feels). My husband and I had been praying for years for a hometo fit our family. I, admittedly, felt ignored or that maybe I just didn’t deserve this blessing. And then amiracle happened! Out of the blue, we found a home that was perfect! Everything fell perfectly into place.It was hard work and we still had to do our part to make it happen, but I know the Lord was answering myprayers. One day I was working alone on the home and the Spirit whispered to me very distinctly, “I was lis-tening.” Even now as I think about it I feel the truthfulness of that statement. I know Heavenly Father hearsmy prayers and answers them. I know He loves me and wants me to be happy! Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 101
    • Tonya Barrow Riddle As I pondered and prayed about what to write about, several things came to mind: I could write aboutwhen I first began to build my relationship with my Heavenly Father at 13 after my parents divorced. HowHe comforted me when I prayed. How I could count on Him to always be there. I thought about a priest-hood blessing I received from my stake president as a young adult who had made some wrong choices. Thatblessing changed the course of my life. How I felt the Spirit so strongly that it brought both of us to tearsand we understood we had been in the company of angels that night. I recalled how fasting and prayerresulted in miracles as I watched my daughter fight for her life at Primary Children’s Hospital. I can’t help but think of the guidance I am receiving from my Heavenly Father at this very time in mylife as I find myself a single mother. How I am learning things about myself that I never knew. How I havefinally succumbed to the idea that I am not the one in control. As many decisions that I have made in my lifehave not involved my Heavenly Father, it seems He will allow me to travel that road for a time before I getknocked down and have to find my way back to where He wants me to be. I have received answers to my prayers when I have prayed most intently during times of adversity. Theyhave shaped my testimony and made me who I am today. I often wondered why I have had so much adver-sity in my life, then realized that I am the kind of person that learns and gains a stronger testimony duringtimes of struggle and pain. After coming to this conclusion, I realized that there is another way. I do notalways need to learn life’s lessons through pain and struggle. I am now on my journey in the second half of my life to learn a lesson every day – to look for the Lord’stender mercies in everyday living. Not only to pray during times of need but to pray daily and keep a prayerin my heart. To find the gifts that I am given each day by my Father in Heaven and to give thanks for thesimple things I have overlooked: the giggle of my children, the sunrise over Zion, the chirping of birds, flow-ers that bloom, that I enjoy good health along with my children. I know this doesn’t mean that I will neverhave adversity but I pray that I can learn the lessons my Heavenly Father has for me differently in the yearsto come and that I can follow the plan He has for me. Whatever path He leads me down I know for sure thatI will be grateful and have joy in the journey. “This great circle of sisters will be a protection for each of you and for your families. The Relief Society might be likened to a refuge— the place of safety and protection—the sanctuary of ancient times. You will be safe within it. It encircles each sister like a protecting wall.” (Boyd K. Packer, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 86.)102 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Shawna Borrowman About eight years ago I was driving to St. George to meet with my sister for an activity. As I was ap-proaching Quail Lake Estates, I noticed an ambulance coming up behind me. So, like we are supposed to do,I pulled over to let the ambulance go by and noticed that it pulled into the Quail Lake Estates. I started backon my way but I felt like I should see where the ambulance had gone since I also had another sister who justhappened to live in the Quail Lake Estates. I turned into the second turnoff and proceeded to turn down thestreet that my sister lived on. As I turned on to her street, I noticed that the ambulance had stopped nearher home. As I got closer, I realized that it was at her house. I, of course, quickly jumped out of my car to see what was going on. I walked in and my sister was hold-ing her infant boy and crying hysterically. Her baby was running a very high fever and was having seizures.She looked up to see me there and was wondering why or how I was there. I didn’t have a for sure reasonwhy I was there other than that I was directed to go there. I now know that I was used as the Lord’s tool tobe there at the right time so that I could give comfort and assistance to my sister in her time of need. Thisexperience touched both mine and my sisters’ hearts. It has helped me to further realize the awareness thatour Heavenly Father has for each one of us. It is through other people being in the right place at the righttime that our Heavenly Father indeed answers a lot of our prayers. I have a much firmer testimony of thisbecause of this experience.Leanne Kuhlmann November 21, 2010: Brandon, Kassi, two-year-old Branson, and Brandon’s sister Megan were travelingto Hurricane after attending the state championship football game between Hurricane and Juan Diego. Theymade it south of Cedar City to mile marker 44 when Brandon decided to take a Sunday afternoon nap. Thetruck rolled several times, landing on its side on the other side of the guardrail. Brandon was ejected fromthe vehicle. Kassi was partially ejected with the vehicle landing on top of her. Branson remained in his carseat for the most exciting ride of his life. Megan emerged unscathed except for her hand, which sustained afew broken bones and several scratches. Megan was able to stop two bystanders who were able to lift the vehicle enough to pull Kassi out. Kassiwent unconscious for a brief period, unable to breath. She remembers seeing shadowy figures against awhite backdrop. The next thing she knew, a large man was kneeling over her giving her mouth-to-mouth.Her exam showed broken ribs, a punctured lung, a fractured femur, and multiple soft tissue injuries. Shewas admitted to Valley View Hospital with surgery scheduled to repair her femur. Brandon was determinedto have a brain injury and a fractured sacrum. He was flown by Life-Flight to the Shock Trauma ICU at In-termountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. He was admitted with a coma score of 5. Branson was deter-mined to be uninjured and was released. After a week, Brandon started showing signs of coming out of hiscoma. First, he would move a finger and then open an eye. By day 9, he was off his respirator and talking. On day 19, Kassi’s blog entry reads: “Brandon and I spent some time by ourselves this afternoon andtalked about the accident and I couldn’t believe my ears. Brandon told me today that he talked to God andthat he told Brandon he needed to marry me in the temple so we could go to the Celestial Kingdom. I can-not express how hard that hit home. I cannot wait for that day when we will be able to take our son to thetemple and be a family that is forever.” By day 26, Brandon was begging to go home. He was home in time for Christmas. Today he is as “goodas new!” Brandon and Kassi were sealed to three-year-old Branson in the Manti Temple on May 19, 2012,and baby Oakleigh is due July 14, 2012. “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even untothe end of thy days.” (D&C 24:8) What comforting words from a loving Savior to reassure us that He is thereand everything will work out as it should. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 103
    • Kaye Whiting For nearly 16 years we lived in Fruit Heights, Utah, where most of our eight children spent their grow- ing up years. Larry and I made a decision to list our home with a realtor and sell it, as our youngest child was the only one living at home. Two months after our decision, my husband Larry was called to preside over the Texas Fort Worth Mission. Five months had passed since listing our home and no one had been interested in purchasing it. The house sale was weighing heavily on our minds as the time drew closer to leave, so our realtor scheduled an open house for the following Saturday afternoon. I attended a few meetings in preparation for our upcoming mission calling. As time went on, I became more aware of the many responsibilities of a “mission mom” to over 236 missionaries, hosting visiting General Authorities, meals for missionaries and others, many speaking engagements, and numerous other assignments. More and more, we began to pray to the Lord to send someone to purchase our home, and I worried that we could not concentrate on mission responsibilities while stressing about renting our home if it did not sell. The night prior to the scheduled open house, I knelt down to pray before climbing into bed and began pleading with the Lord to answer our prayers concerning the house. After a very lengthy prayer I got into bed but sleep eluded me, so I knelt down again and began “visiting” with the Lord. For the majority of the night I knelt beside my bed in prayer. While I did not bargain with the Lord, I spoke with Him both humbly and candidly. The day of the open house, a man walked up the driveway and asked Larry if he could walk through the house early as it was 10:30 a.m. and he was not available that afternoon. As we walked through the rooms, Mr. Lee’s comments were increasingly positive; and as we concluded the tour, he made an offer at the price we were asking. We phoned our realtor and signed papers that very day! Heavenly Father had sent this man to our home! I know Heavenly Father watches over us and if we earnestly ask for His help, He will grant us our righ- teous desires. This is especially true when we are called into His service. If we immerse ourselves in His glorious work, we need not worry. Rhonda Rhodes One often hears phrases like “Keep your head up” or “Keep your eyes on the prize” from family and friends when one is going through a tough patch of obstacles. It’s generally good advice but, lately, I’ve come to appreciate another mode of endurance. When my schedule permits, I like to go walking in the mornings. Lately my route has taken me up a steep hill, well, steep for someone not in very good condition. I’ve found that if I look at the top of the hill as I walk, the top almost seems to get further away with each step, not to mention the kink it puts in my neck. The best way for me to make progress on this hill is to put my head down and concentrate on each step. I know if my feet keep moving, I’ll get to the top even if I may not be looking directly at it. As I look at the ‘ideal’ LDS woman — happily married with successful children, a spotless home, healthy food in the fridge, etc. — the goal seems to get further away with each passing year. I know if I remain faithful, I have been promised by living prophets that blessings of eternal progression will not be denied me, but on the days when I have a ‘kink in my neck’ from looking up, my best mode of progression is to just look down and make sure my ‘feet’ are moving in the right direction. Each step of Church and community service, scripture study, temple attendance and prayer takes me closer to the eternal goal, even if I may not be looking directly at it. Keep your feet moving.104 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “As we seek answers from God, we feel the still, small voice whisper to our spirits. These feelings—these impressions—are so natural and so subtle that we may overlook them or attribute them to reason or intuition. These individualized messages testify of God’s personal love and concern for each of His children and their personal mortal missions. Daily reflecting upon and recording the impressions that come from the Spirit serve the dual purposes of helping us (1) to rec- ognize our personal encounters with the divine and (2) to preserve them for ourselves and our posterity.” (Paul B. Pieper, “To Hold Sacred,” Ensign, May 2012, 109)Suzanne Cashin As I ponder this project, I realize that the blessings of our Heavenly Father have always been part of mylife. These remembrances are precious and have helped build my faith and meet the challenges of today. When my family was very young my husband was away from home due to work most of the week. Iwas always very concerned during the nights he was gone because of a physical challenge I had that madeit very difficult for me to wake up during the night. I would kneel and ask for Heavenly Father’s help inprotecting my young children and ask Him to help me be able to wake to meet their needs since I had thatentire responsibility and young children with health challenges. I had questioned whether I was just sleep-ing through problems or whether I would be alert enough to deal with a situation if needed. I will never forget the night that I awoke suddenly with a jolt and realized that my infant daughter waschoking and had started turning blue. I had the clarity to deal with the situation and revive her. My mindwas alert, calm, and clear (normally an impossibility when I wake up suddenly). I was able to handle theproblem without any further need for medical intervention. My prayer was answered directly and helped me overcome the physical limitations I had. I realized thatHe had indeed heard my plea to allow me to take care of my family. I am thankful for Heavenly Father’s loveand that He has blessed me in spite of the frailties of my flesh. This blessing of protection has been repeated many times and in many ways as I have continued toplead for help in knowing how to bless my family who are now grown and live away from home. HeavenlyFather blesses me with the knowledge I need to help my children who are no longer directly in my care. Iam grateful for the guidance He gives to bless each of us and for helping me fulfill my responsibility as amother. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 105
    • Lonni Graham I had developed a feeling of longing, mingled with resentment, for not having been born into the Church or at least not having found it in my youth. I truly felt cheated! It wasn’t that I hadn’t searched for the truth. I did! I had a drive that took me to 14 different denominations before finding the true Church. Had I found it earlier, I would have been able to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I would have been able to go on a mission. My heart ached to have been able to do those things. By now I was long married with three teenagers who were able to participate in temple baptisms. One day I was asked to drive a group of young ladies to the Los Angeles Temple. Two other sisters also took carloads. This was to be a new experience. Once in the baptistery, the other sisters took observer seats and sat and talked while I happily worked mopping up water, assisting with towels, etc. I was watching these sacred ordinances being done with such longing in my heart to be, once again, a teenager and part of this spiritual feast at a tender age, when suddenly the elder in charge turned around and said, “You! Go get ready. You are going to do baptisms for the dead.” I looked behind me to see who he was talking to. He looked directly at me and said, “Sister, I mean you!” He then turned to the two who were talking and said, “You two come down here and do the work this sister has been doing!” I was baptized and confirmed 29 times. I felt completely fulfilled. What joy!! Shortly after this amazing event, I received a phone call from the mission president. One of the full-time lady missionaries had to be sent home because of serious illness. They needed a substitute for a few weeks until a full-time replacement could be arranged. My bishop had already cleared me. I WAS CALLED!!! My companion’s name was (Phoebe) Orlyn Wachter. We made a good team and remained friends long after her mission was completed. I had true, full-time missionary experiences. I even got to experience eat- ing burnt popcorn and gummy spaghetti for dinner. It was great! I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough for fulfilling my longing heart. I no longer felt cheated. Those feelings left me completely. I greatly value Heavenly Father’s compassion and love. I bear witness that our Lord knows the righteous desires of our hearts and grants them to us whenever He deems it expe- dient. “I am convinced there is no other organization anywhere to match the Relief Society of this Church. … If they will be united and speak with one voice, their strength will be incalculable.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 160.)106 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Jola Holler This is a poem I wrote when the fact of getting old was really bothering me. As I contemplated the situ-ation, the words came flowing into my mind. This how the Lord helped me realize the blessings in my lifethrough poetry: Image in the Mirror Who is that image in the mirror I see Who is that looking back at me What happened to that youthful glow Where did all the children go Now here they are all big and grown Oh my! How the years have flown So who is that image looking back at me It’s a mother who raised a special family When did those gray hairs and wrinkles come They came as I loved my children, everyone Character and wisdom replaced that youthful glow Trials and tribulation I have come to know Blessings have flowed from up above My life has been filled with an abundance of love The memories are etched deep within my heart My loved ones are near though we are apart So who is that image I see in the mirror It’s a child of God, so I do not fear My children come and my children go But the joy I get from watching them grow I see another image in the mirror next to me It is my eternal companion that I see He too has lost that youthful glow But we will be together, this we know My seasons of life have gone from Spring to Summer to Fall But filled with blessings, I can’t count them all So who is this image looking back at me It’s a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandma and a wife Who has found blessings, joy and purpose in life So I have earned that image in the mirror I see AND I THANK GOD THAT IMAGE IS ME Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 107
    • Marti Brueck Our oldest daughter Sara, a senior in high school, was scheduled to undergo sinus surgery at the Surgi- cal Center. We knew it would be painful and that there would be a recovery period, but we never realized that it also would be such a terrifying experience for all of us. After the surgery was completed, the doctor asked us to come to his office where he proceeded to tell us that the surgery was successful but Sara was totally paralyzed and on life support, and they didn’t know why. Our hearts dropped to the floor and a moment of panic set in. We were not allowed to see Sara; she was still in the surgical room where the equipment to keep her alive was located. In our helplessness, we paced, prayed, and hoped. We had the strong impression that Sara needed a priesthood blessing and needed it now. We were able to locate someone who could help Eric administer to her. When Mark got there, although permission had already been given, they were not allowed in the surgical room to give the blessing – a very frustrating mo- ment in time. The surgical nurse was listening to this exchange. He spoke up and said that he was an elder in such and such ward and named his bishop. It took us a moment to realize what he was referring to but, once we did, we asked him to please give Sara a blessing. After the blessing was given, Sara started to slowly show signs of recovering. By this time, they had de- cided the problem was caused by the drug they had given her to relax her body so the breathing tube could be inserted down her throat. They use the drug because it reacts and dissipates quickly. After doing blood work, they found that Sara’s body does not produce enough of the enzyme needed to break down the drug. It still took days, if not weeks, for her to recover, but we felt the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father that day. When there was nothing else we could do as parents, we turned to prayer. A friend was willing to help administer to Sara and when that plan had to be changed, a worthy young man who honored his priesthood was ready and willing to step in. Our Heavenly Father provided a way. To this day, we have no idea what was said in that blessing. As Sara shared with us later, she remembers everything that was going on, even though she could not respond or open her eyes, up until the time hands were laid upon her head, and then she just felt peace. Pam Kelsey I had been caring for my mom who was in the last stages of leukemia. We had just arrived home from an appointment with her doctor when she asked me to help her to the bathroom. With help, she had been able to walk from the car into the house, but it seemed at that moment her strength was gone. Suddenly she was unable to use her legs and began to fall. I told her if she could, to hold on to me and slowly slide down my body to the floor. Somehow I was able to turn to face her and help her to the floor without mishap. I tried to help her up so that she could use the bathroom but she had no strength in her legs and I was unable to lift her. While we were struggling, in my heart I said a prayer to help me find a way to help her to the bathroom. Just then the doorbell rang. I made mom as comfortable as I could and prayed while I ran to answer the door that it would be someone who could help her. I was surprised to see her bishop standing there. He asked, “Is there anything you need?” I told him I needed help getting mom to the bathroom. He came in and helped me get her up from the floor. After I helped her use the bathroom and with her clothes, the bishop came back and helped me get her into bed. He said he had been in a hurry to get home to his duties as “Mr. Mom” while his wife was out of town. As he passed my mom’s house, he made a mental note to “check on Sister Williamson tomorrow.” He drove a short way down the street but automatically turned around, drove back, and stopped at mom’s house. His intention was not to stop by that day but the Spirit directed him to check on mom right then. We were very thankful for an immediate answer to my prayer and for a bishop who was in tune with the Spirit.108 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Anonymous Our Father in Heaven is ever present and He waits for us to turn to Him so that we might know Hislove. When I was a child, I knew to say my prayers but did not have the opportunity to attend any type ofChristian services. My grandmother taught me about God and His Son Jesus. As I entered high school andattended seminary, I studied the Book of Mormon and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.However, even then, I did not realize how great my Father in Heaven’s love is. I still did not understand thesignificance of Christ’s Atonement. It has taken me nearly 50 years to totally understand. As a child of approximately 12 years old, I experienced several episodes of abuse that left me emotion-ally confused, afraid, and angry. I turned to my mother but found her angry and in denial. She insisted that Inot relate this happening to anyone – ever. I longed for my mother’s love so I honored her request. In 2011 I obtained my temple recommend but found that the heavy angst in my heart from my child-hood experiences was suddenly very much in my mind. I finally released my secret to a very spiritual fam-ily. My spiritual brother directed me to the bishop of our ward for counsel. Even though I loved my bishopdearly, I found I was not ready to talk to anyone else. I wondered how I could enter my Father’s most sacredhouse when I held such anger toward the perpetrator of my childhood experiences as well as anger towardmy mother. I had not realized how heavy the stones of confusion and anger had been in my heart for all these years.I knew I had no other choice but to turn to my Father in Heaven. I prayed many times with great fervor andI fasted. The date for me to enter the temple arrived and I went, still with uncertainty and much prayer inmy heart. While there, I received understanding and found I was able to forgive both the abuser and mymother – truly forgive. I can now only rejoice in wonder of the power of the Atonement and my Father inHeaven’s amazing grace and love. I am at peace and my heart knows only joy and gratitude.Rebecca Marie Grabil I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father to pray to and seek guidance from. I am also thankful for myweaknesses and the opportunity to repent. Had it not been for my weakness I would not have had a re-cent experience that strengthened my testimony greatly. I have been a smoker for half of my life. Before Iwas baptized five and a half years ago, I quit smoking. I had so much love and support from my family, themissionaries, and from the 17th Ward Relief Society presidency. Even with all of this support I still found itvery difficult to quit. I realize now that I didn’t rely on my Heavenly Father as I could or should have. I didn’thave the knowledge that I now have. Sometime later we moved to the 7th Ward, became less-active, and I started smoking again. My fam-ily was devastated. I felt ashamed and guilty all the time. When I was called to serve in the Relief Societypresidency, my daughter Rachel said, “Mom, you can’t be half-active anymore.” I took her comment to heartand made the commitment to serve in a way that was pleasing to Heavenly Father. I knew that I had to quitsmoking! I felt like a hypocrite! I also knew that I needed to be available to the promptings of the Spirit tobe able to best serve the sisters, but every time I thought about quitting smoking I had anxiety. One day my husband Glenn set my quit date for me. In March Glenn said, “Quit in April or else I’m mov-ing downstairs.” He was only half joking. I started praying about it. One evening I got down on my kneesto pray and felt overwhelmed with the feeling of being nothing without my Heavenly Father. The only wayI was going to quit smoking was through Him. I started praying for strength and comfort, but most of all, Iprayed for it to be easy. I smoked my last cigarette the day before the April General Conference. I prayed allweekend and gained an unimaginable amount of strength from the conference talks. To my surprise, it waseasy to quit – thanks to the power of prayer and my Heavenly Father. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 109
    • Kathryn Matthews All of us have been recipients of great miracles but none have been greater for me than when I was a single mother and relied on Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ perhaps more than at any other time in my life. My two teenage boys had three morning newspaper routes each so they could help me with the house- hold expenses. At the time, we were living in California. The flash floods could not be contained except by curbs and gutters that were designed to take on sudden large volumes of water. The intersections were sunken to contain water until it could be absorbed into the ground. The water in the intersections came up to one’s knees and often higher. One morning there was a particularly vicious storm. I got the boys up at the usual 4 a.m. time and helped them fold all the newspapers. I helped the boys cover their bikes and newspapers and themselves with several layers of plastic and sent them off into the storm. My mother’s heart was breaking for these faithful sons who were such a great help to me. I dropped to my knees in despair and prayed, “O Father in Heaven, please stop the rain.” Instantly the rain stopped. I remember everything was so quiet. I went from window to window. Could the rain have stopped because of my prayer? I waited and paced the floor until the boys came back home. As soon as their bikes touched the front porch, the rain continued with a vengeance. It seemed as if angels had held back the deluge until the boys were safely home. When they released the waters, it was as if a heavenly bucket was poured onto the city all at once. Then I knew. Heavenly Father had heard and answered my mother’s prayer. Maxine J. Quinn-Gubler Early in my youth I knew that Heavenly Father listened to and answered prayers. I had numerous expe- riences that confirmed that testimony to me throughout the years. The experience that I would like to share here is one that happened in January 2009. My husband whom I had been married to for 32 years, and who had medically suffered much, was in a state of decline. We were at home. He was lying upon the couch and had been in much pain. It came time for our evening prayer. Michael asked me if I would be the voice for our prayer. I answered, “Sure.” I felt it important that I ask Heavenly Father to allow Michael a peaceful night. As I did so, a male voice spoke very clearly and distinctly directly into my right ear. I felt that someone with priesthood power was next to me. The voice said, “You know you have released him.” I was surprised, but my brain answered, “Yes.” It was an answer to my prayer for my husband; it was the right time and the right event. I was also aware of two other personages (although I could not see them) who were there to receive Michael’s spirit. The rest of the prayer was given and I closed with my, “Amen.” Michael also said his, “Amen.” Five seconds later, Michael’s spirit crossed through the veil into a narrow flash of light. People have wondered how I have been able to move onward in my life without going into a state of sadness and grief. But with the knowledge I do carry there is only a brightness of hope and joy. I know God hears and answers every prayer. He lives. He loves us. And we have many angels who watch over us and protect us. My testimony is firmly planted. It is a testimony that I cannot deny.110 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Monica Iglesias While serving as a Young Women president I had the opportunity to do the Personal Progress programagain. I remembered how it had assisted me with strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Fatherwhen I was a youth. The first value experience was faith: “Exercise your own faith by establishing a habit of prayer in yourlife. Begin by regularly saying your morning and evening prayers.” So each time I prayed I expressed grati-tude for the things in my life that made it beautiful and petitioned for the many things that I needed anddesired. I found myself asking for a lot. So I began to ask at the end of each prayer, “What would you haveme do?” Then I would listen to every impression that came to my heart and mind in that moment. Often, Iwould write them down. They felt like little “callings” or “assignments” for lack of a better term. The assign-ments started off simple and became more complex as I tuned in: call or visit so and so, spend some timewith your children, do your visiting teaching, or write a thank you letter. Each time I acted on the prompt-ings and impressions I received, no matter how strange or unimportant they may have seemed to my lim-ited understanding at the time, I would witness little miracles which in turn increased my faith. After about a year of little miracles, I was asked to participate in a miracle of significant magnitudebut of a personal nature. This was not so simple a task this time, but I knew Father had prepared me andwouldn’t ask me to do something without providing the way. During this experience I felt Father’s immenselove for all of us and how He provides miracles for us through other people – or for other people throughus. I had the opportunity and felt honored to be part of His miracle for another family. I have learned thatas I act on the impressions of the Spirit, I am being the hands of heaven on earth and I feel the capacity forFather’s unconditional love grow in my heart every time I do. “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” D&C 84:45Sandy Barrett The power of prayer and the power of the priesthood are wonderful gifts from our Heavenly Father.During a recent trip a young man had need of medical attention. We were 60 miles from the nearest phoneservice and another 54 miles to the nearest hospital. After a priesthood blessing was administered, the young man was loaded into the vehicle and the groupembarked on the drive for medical help. Many prayers were said on his behalf from the leaders, otheryoung men, the bishop, and me. About 30 minutes later, after several more prayers, another prayer wasbeing offered by my husband and me when a sweet calming answer came to both us. The Spirit of the Lordspoke to our hearts: “The young man would be fine; he is out of danger.” What great blessings to have prayer and receive answers; in addition, the great healing power of thepriesthood. What was a dangerous situation could have turned tragic, but the Lord blessed each of us – onewith healing, and many others with the testimony that God lives and knows each of us individually, answersour prayers, and blesses us with His loving Spirit. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 111
    • Maria Egan I always wanted to have several children but worried about not being able to have any, so when I was 27, John and I were excited to find out we were expecting a baby – due December 1. On August 28, at 26 weeks along, I went to work and was having trouble with my back all day and into the evening. I went to the hospital about 10:00 p.m. At midnight they sent me home, told me to take it easy, and not go to work the next day. About 6:00 a.m. my water broke and we rushed back to the hospital. John’s sister came to be with us – she had lost a baby at about six months along due to Strep B – and asked if they had checked me for it. They weren’t going to at first and were trying to figure out what to do. They finally decided to check and I tested positive for Strep B. If they had done any of the things they had talked about, the baby would have died. An airplane from Salt Lake City picked me up in St. George and took me back north. The next morning our 2 lb 2 oz baby was born, then immediately handed to the NICU doctor through the window of the deliv- ery room. I had seen the baby just long enough to notice I had a son. For the next two and a half months he stayed in the hospital, having several surgeries and procedures, even having to change hospitals for some of them. Early during his stay, my father gave our son a blessing. In it he was told that he would have to go through a lot – but was also promised that he would come out of it all right. The children who are this premature have a lot of physical and/or mental problems. They are followed up on until they are at least 5 years old. John and I took him to a follow-up appointment when he was about 2 years old – they told us then that they had never seen a child as premature as he was do so well. He is now a teenager and has “come out of it all right.” The Lord promised and delivered. I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for His mercy and love. Kathy Perkes Last week when I was returning to Logan for the season, a true miracle happened that spared my life and perhaps the lives of several others. I know for certainty that the Lord was in charge that day and heard my prayer for a safe journey home. I was pulling an ATV trailer with two ATVs and rushing the entire way in order to make it to a grandson’s high school choir concert at 7:00 p.m. in Bountiful, Utah, driving at speeds of 70-80 mph where permissible. My husband had hooked up the trailer as he had many times before and thought for sure that he had run the pin in at the end of the trailer hitch and secured it with the clip. He had left 90 minutes earlier and so we weren’t together. Logically, if a trailer hitch is not secured and you’re pulling an 800 pound load, the receptacle should have slipped out of the receiver and the trailer lost, especially if traveling basically uphill for 300 miles. The weight and angle of the trailer and the receptacle had held it onto the car’s receiver, but when I hit a rut in Nephi while getting gas, the trailer lurched and slipped several inches out of the receiver. So I’m in rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City, traveling in the middle lane at 70 mph when an angel of a man, in tune with the Lord, traveling alongside me noticed my trailer hitch barely hanging on by a “thread”. He honked at me and motioned me over. (On top of everything, my right blinker wasn’t even working!) I was luckily able to pull over close to an on-ramp which got me safely back into the stream of fast moving cars after this near tragedy was averted. When I saw that trailer hitch barely hanging on, I knew I was witnessing a sure tender mercy. He couldn’t believe I’d traveled from St. George in this predicament. He said that if the trailer had come off I would have surely flipped my car since it would have fishtailed out of control, being held by chains. Had I rolled in rush hour traffic, surely several other cars would have been involved in a massive pile up. I know for sure my prayers for a safe trip were answered that day and my life spared.112 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • LaRue S. Heaton Life has a way of teaching us many things our hearts may not really want to learn, but God, in His wis-dom, while gently guiding us through, lets us learn them anyway. In May 2003 we sent our third son Bran-don on a mission to Boston Massachusetts. He was a handsome young man with a brilliant mind; he hadthe world at his feet. Two years later he came home, having served a faithful mission and having literallygiven his all in the service of the Lord. As a mother, I knew as soon as he was in my arms again that something was different. As the days wentby, he was diagnosed with a mental illness that was so devastating to our whole family, but especially toBrandon who had such dreams and goals of what he would accomplish in his life. Praying continually, we allmade adjustments on what his life would become and struggled together for the next two years. He seemedresigned to being all he could be even through the limitations caused by this illness. In April 2007 he left. The search for Brandon lasted almost a month. During this time our extendedfamily, friends, ward, stake, and community pulled together for us. Your prayers, love, and support were aphysical power that held us up. We felt of that power and strength as our hearts, minds, and bodies failedus. You helped us through our darkest hours. God was with us as many of you accompanied our family onMay 12 when we searched on Kolob Mountain and found his body. As the longest month in our lives endedwith this bittersweet answer to our prayers, we returned to our home knowing Brandon was whole andwith a loving eternal Father in Heaven. I have always known that families are forever, but now our family hangs on to that promise with all ourmight. I am so thankful for the gospel. Prayer changes things. I know that our Heavenly Father hears andanswers our prayers – just not always how we might have them be answered. I know God loves each of usand is mindful of our hurts and our happiness. I know that our service to each other, our love, prayers, andsupport for each other strengthens and upholds us in times of trial. I know I need you in my life.Anonymous Many years ago a group of families connected with the United States military went camping near theBlack Sea in the country of Turkey. One afternoon two teenage daughters of a friend and I went swimming.We had a good time splashing and cavorting even though we were all weak swimmers. When we grew tiredand wanted to head in to the beach, we found that our feet would touch the sand, only to feel it crumbleunder us, and we were swept out farther and farther into the sea. The girls began to panic and splash franti-cally. I stayed away from them knowing that if they grabbed me we would all likely perish. My husband and the girls’ father, who were strong swimmers, noticed that we were in trouble andstarted out to rescue us. I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me know what to do. A voice came intomy mind that said to swim parallel to the shore. I tried to persuade the girls to come but they would notlisten. I started out, calling to my husband to get them because I was okay. I kept swimming parallel to theshore. Every so often I would try to put my feet down. I kept doing this until the sand felt solid. By the timemy husband came to rescue me I was walking out of the water up the beach. I know that this knowledgedid not come from anything I had known before. I had never been around the ocean and had not learned toswim until I was more than 30 years old. I testify that I was saved through sincere prayer and listening tothe voice of the Holy Ghost. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 113
    • Trina Allred In January 2011 I lost my fifth baby. My heart shattered from the loss, and it brought back all the heart- ache and grief of the other miscarriages. I turned to the Lord to heal my heart through priesthood bless- ings and prayer and I was comforted, but healing a heart takes time and mine was very broken. I wanted my Heavenly Father to take it away, to make it all better, and I wanted it soon. I prayed every day for the strength to move on and be a better mother to the children I had been blessed to keep. But it still hurt so much. I continued to pray and I felt like I was trying to give my burden to my Savior so He could help me bear it, but I couldn’t let go of it completely. A part of me wouldn’t let go. I was afraid those sweet little spir- its who didn’t get to stay here would think I didn’t love them or that I didn’t want them. Then one day a dear friend helped me understand that the Savior suffered not only for our sins, but also for the pain and grief we experience. If we want the Savior to take our burdens and make them light, we have to trust Him and we have to let go with both hands. That night, on my knees, I placed all the pieces of my broken heart into my Savior’s hands – Because I trusted Him – With all of it. Shortly thereafter, we had a Relief Society lesson on “Celestial Marriage”. During the lesson I felt the Holy Ghost whisper to me, “Look what I have promised you. Look what I have made possible for you. You have every opportunity to be with your children for eternity. You have been sealed to your children for- ever!” The very next Sunday the Relief Society lesson was on “Not Letting Road Blocks Stop Our Progress.” One of those road blocks was dwelling on tragedy and grief. As I was contemplating those two lessons, right in a row, and seemingly speaking directly to me, the thought came to me so clearly, “I am promised an eternal family so I can’t let this stop my progress anymore.” As I put that thought together I was so overcome by the Spirit that I tingled from the top of my head to my toes. I finally felt as if I could move forward and not let my loss hold me back. I felt so much love from my Father in Heaven. I knew He was mindful of me. Anonymous Life contains many trials, but when I think back, one of my saddest experiences was when my daughter, a returned missionary, told me that she was a lesbian. My heart broke as I listened to her explain her new lifestyle. I grieved as she assured me that she would never leave the Church because she had a testimony and knew it was true. I knew that would be impossible. I felt I had lost my precious girl. As I contemplated her destructive choices and reviewed my parenting, I felt shocked and numb. During this time I remember feeling the constant companionship of the Spirit. The comfort I received is hard to explain but much like a close friend holding your hand when you are sad. This experience continued for a few days. It gave me strength and great hope. I knew that the Lord was very aware of my daughter and myself and that He loved us both. My love, faith, and gratitude for God and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, was renewed. I feel blessed.114 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • When the Holy Spirit Speaks I cannot speak the smallest part Of what I deeply feel. Though tongue may fail my eager heart, God’s Spirit will reveal. His light illuminates the weak— When the Holy Spirit speaks. When I feel more than I can tell Or mere words can convey, The Spirit can express it well If shared in God’s own way. The simplest words become replete— When the Holy Spirit speaks. One truth is sure and compensates For things not understood: God strengthens those who consecrate Their weakness to His good. His love will magnify the meek— When the Holy Spirit speaks. -Neal A. MaxwellSisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 115
    • Cathie Fowler Our family was gathered at the hospital in Salt Lake City awaiting the results of a brain surgery that my father was having. We waited for several hours, so I had time to pull away and think for myself. I went into a restroom and prayed with all my heart that they could cure the cancer my father had. As I pleaded with the Lord, I made a promise that I would change my life and do whatever was needed so that he wouldn’t die. The results came back: my dad had a cancer growing in his head that looked like a round orange slice or a spider’s web. It was the fastest-growing cancer the doctor had ever seen. The doctor’s prognosis was that he had from three weeks to three months to live. Three months later my father took his last breath in my arms and I could feel his spirit leave him. His tortured face had turned into a serene smile. It wasn’t until years later that I realized many fervent prayers had been answered. You see, because of his death, my spouse and I were sealed in the Atlanta Temple. My mother was sealed to my father as my husband Ray stood in as proxy for my father. My grandmother was also sealed to her son. My prayers were answered in knowing that we would be together in another life if we live righteously here on earth. We will be an eternal family, living together once again for the eternities! “Has not God endowed you with the gift of speech? … If you are en- dowed with the Spirit of God, no matter how simple your thoughts may be, they will be edifying to those who hear you.” (Eliza R. Snow, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 49.) Heidi Wright When I was 15, I lost my 11-year-old brother to an accident at home. I remember as we were driving to the hospital that my mom said a prayer. What stood out to me was when she said the words, “Thy will be done.” I knew in that moment what the outcome was going to be. It was a very difficult trial to go through. As years passed, I’ve always remembered my mom’s prayer. In other trial moments in my life I have come to understand that it is not our time, but the Lord’s timing, in all things. Situations work out – maybe not the way we thought they would or in the time we would have liked them to – but they do. I am remind- ed of that by the Spirit each time I sing a hymn or hear in someone’s prayer the words, “Thy will be done.” As hard as it was, and still is, to have lost my brother at a young age, I am grateful for the way that earthly trial helped me build my testimony. I had to learn to rely on the Lord. What a comfort the Holy Ghost is to me in my life. I developed a strong testimony of the power of prayer. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and truly watches over me each day and night. I know that I will be with my brother again someday. How blessed I am to have an eternal family and to know of that truth.116 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Dolores C. Welch While living in Oklahoma and working in Arkansas, we often had snow and ice on the highways in thewinter. One year was particularly bad. School was out because the buses couldn’t travel the country roads.One morning as I warmed the car up, I asked Heavenly Father to watch over my children while I was atwork. I also asked Him to watch over me as I traveled to and from work. On my way there, the car in front of me was going very slow so I decided to go around her. It was adivided highway. I put my foot on the gas and tried to pass the car, but my car would not go any faster eventhough it should easily have done so. As we came up to a bridge there was a car in the ditch, and anothercar farther down the highway was in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. I felt sure that if my car hadbeen going faster, I would probably have gone into the ditch too. I am sure Father in Heaven protected meby making my car go slow. While I was at work my children played in the snow and we had lots of wet clothes to wash. They didn’teven get colds from all the playing in the snow. I know Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers.Terra Wade I come from “pioneer stock” as my grandmother would say. I have been a member all my life. I grewup in a huge ward in Southern California. I graduated from seminary. I went to girls camp every year. I wasBeehive, Mia Maid and Laurel president; I went to my Tuesday night activities; and played on all my Churchsports teams. The day I graduated from high school my family moved across the state and my older brotherwent on a mission. I was two months shy of my 18th birthday and my family was gone. I was at that pointin my life between Young Women and Relief Society, an awkward transition in any girl’s life. Within a year Iwas pregnant, married, and making bad decisions. After a couple of years I finally straightened out myself, my marriage, and we had another baby. I wasputting my daughters to bed one evening and they asked me to sing them a song. I had always made upsongs for them but tonight I sang a song that was second nature for me to sing. I started to sing “I Am aChild of God”. The girls listened and when I was finished they asked where I learned that song and to teachit to them. It was that moment the Spirit overwhelmed me and I knew that I needed to change the directionI was leading my family. I had taken for granted that I knew this song – I knew it because my parents hadtaken me to church and raised me in the way I should go. Why would I not raise my children the same? Ihad never lost my testimony, I knew the Church was true and, thankfully, I was married to a man who wassupportive of my beliefs. From that day forward I have been raising my children in the way they should go. My husband waseventually baptized several years later. We had three more children and we were sealed as a family twoyears after that in the Redlands California Temple. That song has very special meaning to me and I cannotsing it without tearing up. The hymns of our Church are so powerful they can heal, comfort, and uplift asoul at whatever point in their life they might find themselves. I’m thankful for those teachers in Primaryand Young Women who gave me a foundation so that I had a testimony strong enough to know that throughthe Atonement I would be able to change my direction; I would not be weighed down by my bad decisions;and my children would have the opportunity to have that same gift. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 117
    • Rebecca Stover I was married for about four years when I had my baby and things started to get really bad between my husband and me. My husband desperately tried to control me and was very manipulative. He was also abusive, sometimes physically, but mostly emotionally and mentally. My daughter was only four months old when I told my husband to leave after he was physically abusive to me (because I didn’t do what he wanted me to do). We went through counseling but that didn’t help. In fact, all it did was bring to my view all the lies my husband had told me throughout our married life. I was shocked, but because I had been married in the temple, I felt I should make things work. Many months went by and I thought I received my answer to divorce him but I wasn’t entirely sure. My husband begged me to give him one more chance, yet the infor- mational pamphlets the bishop and counselor let me read indicated that any change one made for another never lasted. My husband promised me that he would change his ways, yet I knew he had promised me this many times before without really changing. Every time I would tell my husband that I felt we should get a divorce, he would cry or tell me I got the wrong answer. Then he would get angry with me and then plead with me to give him another chance. One morning after reading the scriptures, I paused to pray. I asked Heavenly Father to please not let me feel any- thing for my husband because my feelings would always want to give him another chance. It was maybe 30 seconds after I finished my prayer when my husband called me to ask me for another chance. He was crying and told me he was so sorry. I listened to him but I didn’t feel ANYTHING!!! I told him I received my answer and it was to get a divorce. He was sad and angry but I didn’t feel his pain. My prayer was answered! After I got off the phone with him, I bowed my head and said, “Thank you, Heavenly Father. That was so fast!!!” To this day, I know I received the right answer from my Father in Heaven. Phyllis Hunt Twice in March 2010 my life was preserved. The first occurred in Upstate New York where I had gone to celebrate mom’s 93rd birthday. On March 5, I was sitting at the breakfast table when my eyes started watering and burning. I went into my mom’s bedroom to turn down her radio and discovered that mother’s bedding was smoldering. I quickly grabbed the bedding and headed outside in spite of mother protesting that I was throwing her bedding in the snowbank. I proceeded back to the bedroom to discover that the foam mattress was now smoldering. I quickly grabbed it and threw it outside into the snowbank. Upon returning to the bedroom, I discovered smoldering blankets under the mattress and the room had filled with dense smoke. I folded the blankets, coughing and wheezing, as I took them outside to complete the pile on the snowbank! By this time my brother had awakened and had fans running to clear out the smoke. I cleaned up the charred marks on the walls and floor, thankful that the Lord had preserved our lives. The fire was started by a corn bag that my mother had microwaved at 4 a.m. so she could put it in bed with her for warmth. The bag was smoking when she took it out of the microwave but she had let it cool a bit, then took it to bed with her. It was still, apparently, burning inside and had nearly burned the house down! On March 25 we traveled to Hurricane in joyful anticipation of “camping out” at our new home. Since our bed was not going to be delivered until the next day, our good neighbors loaned us an air mattress for the night. I spent a restless night, hearing the furnace every time it turned on all night long. In the morning we had repairmen coming – one to fix the new microwave and one to see why the new electric range wasn’t working. We are very thankful they came! Upon entering our home, the microwave repairman said he smelled gas. When the second repairman came and said he smelled gas too, we called the gas company. The gas man came and said there was a gas leak. It had filled the attic and could now be detected in the walls of our new home! If someone had lit a match or made a spark, we easily could have gone to meet our Maker. Thankfully, Heavenly Father was watching over us. He had preserved my life a second time. How thankful I am for Heavenly Father’s love and protecting care.118 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Cathy Meik For the past year I have had the privilege of living in Nanjing, China. My husband and I wanted an ad-venture and an opportunity to serve in a foreign country. This would not be possible with a Church missionbecause my husband has Parkinson’s disease and wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rigors of missionlife. So my son who lives in Nanjing encouraged us to come there. As we prayed about going, the Spirit borewitness to us that it was exactly what the Lord wanted us to do. I was concerned, however, since I am sensi-tive to chemicals. The air pollution there is extreme because they burn coal for electricity. I didn’t know ifI would be able to tolerate it without becoming ill. Medically, there is nothing that can be done to cure oralleviate this problem. But I had faith that if the Lord wanted me to go, He would provide a way or give meinspiration on what I could do to make it tolerable. Spring, summer, and most of fall were great because it rained a lot. I even forgot about my concerns.When it started to get cold, electrical usage increased and the air pollution worsened. I realized as the dayswent by that I was demonstrating signs of intolerance and toxicity. I knew that if I were to remain in China,and I also knew that I was supposed to remain and finish the mission the Lord had given me to do, that Ineeded help from the Lord. I started earnestly praying about my challenge and was reminded of an alterna-tive technique that I knew of but hadn’t used for a few years. When I started to implement the technique, Isaw a great improvement in my health and was able to finish my work without severe illness until I couldreturn to the States. I want to say that I was not healed of this infirmity. I have prayed for years to have it removed. But theLord has made it known to me that it is one of my trials and will help in my sanctification. I can testify thatit is. However, He has blessed me with knowledge on how to manage the sensitivity so that I can carry onmy many roles here and continue to serve and help build His kingdom. I am very grateful to my Savior forthe great love He has for me, and for His Atonement which makes my burdens easier and increases my faithto carry on despite life’s challenges.Vikki Hall My testimony was strengthened by all of the support of the members when my son passed away. OnJuly 3, 2001, my son Jimmy asked if he could go out to Quail Lake with a friend of his. They were going toswim out to the buoy, which they had done several times before. It was really hot that day and instead ofcooling down they just jumped right in and started swimming. After swimming just a short ways Jimmy gotcramps in his stomach and when his friend tried to help him back to shore he kept getting pulled under. Hehad his mom call 911. They were able to recover his body within 45 minutes. They tried to resuscitate himwhile driving to the dock. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Because Chief of Police Lynn Excell was inour ward at the time, we were all notified of the accident and were all at the lake when they pulled him out.I was devastated at the loss of my youngest son, especially at the age of 15. It wasn’t fair that he was takenaway from me at such a young age. His funeral had over 300 people there and two-thirds of them were his peers. The love and generos-ity of the community was overwhelming. The Scouts in our ward had a spaghetti dinner and cake auctionto help raise money for his head stone. My faith in the kindness of others and the Atonement of Christ wasreally tested through this trying time, but was renewed and made stronger through this experience. I knowwithout a doubt that my son was needed to be a missionary in heaven and was called home to do just that.A week before he died he said, “Mom, I decided to go on a mission. I’m going to go to Italy and convert thepope.” So I believe he is doing just that. My faith in the gospel is very strong and I know that through theAtonement I will be with my son for eternity. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 119
    • A ‘Musical Miracle’ for the Stake Relief Society Fireside on August 26, 2012 Oh, how I want to shout! I have been working on getting the songs together for the stake As told by Abby Armstrong, 2nd counselor in the Stake Relief Society Presidency Relief Society fireside and have NOT been able to find “Stronger than the Storm” (which we all feel is perfect for our fireside) anywhere!! I have spent three days on the internet and in music stores trying to find it. I knew that it was sung by Katherine Nelson but I didn’t know if she had written and composed it. I mean, I have searched and searched and prayed and prayed! I asked my Heavenly Father, that if I couldn’t find “Stronger than the Storm”, to help me have an open mind about another song He might want for our “Sisters in the Kingdom: Trea- sures of Light” fireside. I prayed and prayed! I have been on the computer for the last hour again, searching, and went back to my iTunes songs and listened again to several others. There was one that I thought, “Oh, that might be a good one,” so I looked that one up and it was sung and written by Jenny Phillips, who is quite a popular LDS singer. I could only find the “other song” in one big album called “Parables”, so I went to her website and the songbook was there. YEAH!! Well, it was only a downloadable songbook, but once paid for and downloaded, you have permission to print as many copies as you want. I went ahead and did just that, AND LO AND BEHOLD, “Stronger than the Storm” was and IS in this book that I just downloaded by Jenny Phillips! She wrote it! Can you even believe it? I just got off my knees thanking my Heavenly Father for such a sweet miracle! Now I just need to know for sure who is supposed to sing this song. Obviously, the Lord has approved it. WOW!!!!!120 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Patti Lichfield As I contemplated what I should write that would be inspiring, the event that popped into my mindseemed so small and simple I continued to look into my life for great earth-shattering experiences that haveshaped my life. However, this same small event continues to come to mind so I decided to share it with you. A few years ago when I was in great turmoil – my marriage was quickly disintegrating, along with all ofthe turmoil that comes with the breakdown of a family – I was at a very low point. Sorrow, pain, and confu-sion were my main emotions. I was truly in the depths of despair. Well, I had started running a couple ofyears earlier, and I decided I needed to get some fresh air, so I went for a run and, if my memory serves me,it was a very cold and windy day. Running is not necessarily easy for me physically and when I added myfeelings of depression, well, I just could hardly move. My destination seemed impossible to attain. I ran alone this day listening to an iPod of different music, churning over in my mind my life – the greatfailure I felt, the inevitable end of my life as I knew it. Disappointment enveloped me. I felt so alone. I feltforgotten, even by God. I remember crying out – whether in my mind, or actually, I don’t know. I cried outto see if anyone heard me or even cared – when on my iPod a song came on, a song my daughter had playedover and over again and again on the piano – a beautiful song called “Watermark” by Enya. At that pointmy heart caught hold to that familiar tune; I repeated the song over and over again. For some reason I wascomforted and I knew that God had heard me – that He loved me. It seemed like He took me by the handfrom that moment on and I have never really questioned His love for me since. I did get divorced. I still feltgreat sorrow and depression. I still felt lost at times – but I could not deny that God had touched my heartand hand.Penny Peterson I began my nursing career as a nurse’s aide in 1962 at a small privately owned hospital. I had justgraduated from high school and had been a Latter-day Saint for just three years. I had studied the Book ofMormon and knew it to be truth. I knew that Father in Heaven was very real and that His Son Jesus was ourCreator and Savior. However, my faith was soon to be strengthened even more as it was uplifted by a smallboy and a patient of similar circumstance who became his “Aunt”. For purposes of privacy, the names I useto tell this story are fictitious but the story is true and the wonder of this experience remains strongly fixedin my memory. The title should be “and a small child shall lead”. A young patient of five years who we will call Tony was frequently admitted to the hospital sufferingwith an incurable (at that time) form of leukemia. His single, working mother was unable to spend a lot oftime with him so I often stayed after my shift to keep him company. I was not the only friend for Tony then.We also cared for the wife of one of our favorite doctors who also suffered with leukemia. We will call herCarol. She was the mother of two teenage children. Both the children and Doctor “K” struggled with break-ing hearts as they knew Carol would leave them soon. In this small hospital, and I think by God’s design,Tony came to know about Carol (“because she is sick like me”) and they became fast friends. Tony began tocall her “Aunt Carol”. I was caring for Tony one morning when his mother came to see him. He was very animated and in-sisted I stop what I was doing so he could tell his mother about his dream. “Jesus came to see me last night,mom. He said I was going to go with Him tomorrow. He said Aunt Carol will be there already and so willRusty” (his dog that had died the year before). I recorded these words in my journal so as never to forgetthem. Aunt Carol passed away that evening. Tony passed away the next afternoon. Doctor “K” and Carol’schildren, as well as Tony’s mother, were comforted with the thought that two dear friends were together. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 121
    • LaRee Hall I have had many tender mercies from our Father in Heaven during my life – the first one being that I was born of goodly, righteous parents who taught me in the ways of our Heavenly Father. When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with lupus. Many changes came into my life as I dealt with the disease. The doctors told me I would never be able to carry a baby to full term; it just wasn’t medically possible. When I married a choice young man in the Salt Lake Temple we decided if it were the will of the Lord, we would have our own children. Well, eight children – two girls and six boys – were born to us, thus another tender mercy. After seven children were born, Heavenly Father again showed another tender mercy and blessed our family with another girl, Charisse, who has Down syndrome. What a blessing! Heavenly Father knew she was necessary to help teach me patience. After one girl and six boys, my patience was worn pretty thin. Charisse was such a loving sweet little angel that this patience lesson wasn’t hard at all. She helped me get my priorities straightened around and dwell on the things that really mattered in this life – families and their eternal growth. About 17 years later, Heavenly Father took our youngest boy Byron back home to serve his mission with Him. Many blessings and tender mercies were experienced at this time. Heavenly Father never leaves us alone to get through life’s experiences but is always near and gives us strength and guidance to do as we need to do. By serving in our callings and serving others, tender mercies enter our lives. The most recent tender mercy happened May 6, 2012. I had taken something to a friend. Upon leaving her home, I walked sideways down her steps, missing the bottom step and falling, causing a torn rotator cuff. Again, another tender mercy was given me: I can still walk, my right side was not affected, and I have very little pain. Thanks to the progress of medical science and blessings from our Heavenly Father, I will again have the use of my left arm. Our Heavenly Father loves each of us and shows His love everyday by the tender mercies He gives to us. May we continue to serve Him diligently in all our endeavors. Ruth Jones Sometimes tender mercies come in simple, almost silly, ways. A couple of years ago as I ran around in daily life, I started wanting a blue skirt. I don’t know why I wanted a blue skirt; it wasn’t that I needed a skirt – it was just a want. For several months I thought about ways to get a blue skirt; even, perhaps, turning my blue dress into a blue skirt but I really liked the dress too and didn’t want to give it up either. One Friday, after thinking about it, I decided that I had had enough of thinking about it; I would just go to Deseret In- dustries on Saturday and see if I could find one. Later that day my neighbor came to me and said, “You sew, don’t you? I have this skirt that doesn’t fit me anymore and I think if you fixed it, it would fit you.” And she gave me a blue skirt that was easily fixed. I was deeply touched that I was known and loved, for my unsaid want was given to me.122 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Valerie Scott I arrived at the hospital late at night on the 28th of March, 2005, filled with excitement and anticipationfor the arrival of my third child. What was typically a miraculous and special time of welcoming a child intoour family turned into a time of sorrow and pain. My daughter Natalie was stillborn at 40 weeks on March29, 2005. There was not an obvious reason as to why she was not allowed to live with us on this earth. I wasleft with many unanswered questions. I chose to accept that I would not have those answers in this lifetime. As some time passed and I considered the possibility of trying to have another child, I was overcomewith worry and panic. I had irrational thoughts about what might happen to me or to another unborn childif I were to try to have another baby. I decided to attend the temple and bring my worries to the Lord inprayer. I wanted to know if I should try to have another child. It is no coincidence that when I attended anendowment session, I ended up sitting in between two pregnant women! I felt the Lord screaming at methat all would be well! I experienced the longest nine months of my life, to that point, as I awaited the ar-rival of my fourth daughter, Lauren Faith, who arrived healthy and happy on June 14, 2007. I feel I have been blessed to recognize many answers to prayers and have experienced tender merciesfrom the Lord continuously during my life. He knows our worries and our desires. When I am open to ac-cepting His will, I believe His comfort and guidance will sustain me through any challenge that I might face.Wendy Smart There is no need to identify my trial or yours. A trial is a trial with the same purpose in mind: to helpus learn and grow. Our trials are different. The world may view yours harder than mine or vice versa butonly the Lord knows our limits and what burdens we can bear to help us grow spiritually stronger. “Life is ajourney” – but what does that and similar quotes really mean? One is only going to gain a true understand-ing when they go through a trial. I recently decided to get physically fit and have found many parallels in life with being physically fit andfinding spiritual strength. We’re told we should exercise a minimum of three times a week for 30 minutes.(Compare this to reading scriptures occasionally.) I started exercising five to six days a week because Iwanted to lose weight. (Perhaps my motivation to read scriptures is because I am supposed to?) But thenthe journey lead me to wanting to be healthy, to have energy and strength to play with my children. (Themotivation changes to wanting to be spiritually stronger.) I could see my progress as I played with my kidsat the park instead of sitting on the bench or when I really put myself to the test and started running 5K and10K races and a half marathon. It is the same with spirituality: We might make a minimum effort to study our scriptures, pray, andother activities that draw us closer to the Lord; or we can commit to spiritually exercise every day. Wewill have moments when we see growth, such as when we bear testimony or share things learned in class.Heavenly Father can see how strong we are but He wants US to know how strong we are so He gives us atrial. This trial is our marathon, as grueling, painful, and hard as it may be, but in the end we are the victor –for now we know our true spiritual strength. Right now I don’t know if I could run a marathon but I do know that I can overcome any trial the Lordgives me because I have come out victorious and stronger from trials in the past. I have never felt as closeas I do now to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Through my trials I came to know, understand, and usethe Atonement in my life. I truly feel the Savior’s love. All those quotes I grew up hearing? I now understandtheir meaning. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 123
    • Sol Estelle Jordan My daughter was born prematurely at 26 weeks gestation. My husband and I were informed that my beautiful baby girl might not make it. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It all felt surreal. The first three days would determine her mortality or immortality. I prayed to my Father in Heaven to take this jewel, my baby girl, back to live with Him. I asked my husband to give her a blessing to help dismiss her from this life. But the Lord had other plans for my sweet baby and for my family. I felt alone. I felt sad. I felt as though I had lost hope. And in her blessing, we were told Heavenly Father was not ready to take her from this earth life where she was meant to bless the lives of those around her but, most of all, to enrich our lives for the good. During her stay in the ICU she had her ups and downs. I remember one specific day when I felt my heavenly parents’ love and mercy for me and for my angel. I laid my head down next to my baby and could feel her labored breathing. Was it going to be her last breath? As I began to pray, I could feel myself trans- ported to another dimension. I began to plead with my Father in Heaven. My thoughts were filled with an- ger, sorrow, and grief; and just as I began to lose hope, I felt tenderness like no other. It was as though I had been lifted up and held. I was reassured and comforted and loved by my heavenly parents. They knew what I was going through as a mom and a daughter of God. I truly felt my Heavenly Mother’s presence. I have nev- er felt love in that degree before and will never forget the sacredness of that moment. My heart was full and I knew at that moment that I was given the strength to endure when I felt despair the most. I felt the tender mercy of my heavenly parents and am grateful to know that I was loved at that moment beyond measure. When I raised my head I became aware that I had been conversing with my heavenly parents for almost two hours. My family is truly blessed because of my daughter and I will forever know that my heavenly parents’ love for me is real. Nelda Wylie I cannot begin to count my blessings for there have been so many throughout my life. Among the great- est of these is my Heavenly Father’s care for me and four wonderful children. As I think back through my family history I realize that the strength that has carried us during many times of struggle has been the knowledge that God is real and that through repentance and His Son’s Atonement we can be forgiven and return to our heavenly home. I experienced a brief glimpse of what returning to my heavenly home might be like when my heart stopped after the delivery of my first child. My faithful mother, who had passed away when I was 15 years of age, came for me. It was such a wonderful feeling and I wanted to go with her. I could see everything people were doing while fighting to get me to come back. I also knew that I now had a daughter that needed me and I made the choice to return. As I stated earlier, I have four wonderful loving children. However, since this event pertains to the birth of my firstborn Patsy, I wish to tell of the many faith-driven works of this child of God. She and her eternal partner David have visited most of the temples we now have. Both Patsy and Dave have answered many Church callings and have been responsible for bringing many to the gospel. She is the mother of five beauti- ful children. Although my family history relates mighty struggles as far back as I can remember, the Lord’s bless- ings have always been there. My grandfather went to a New Mexico mission bringing many into the Church and there he remained for 25 years. Brigham Young sent my great-grandfather back east to help the Saints organize there. My father had been severely injured due to an accident that disabled his left side. He tried and tried to get a job and finally wrote a letter to President Roosevelt. The President got him on at Hill Air- field and they were told they could never let him go. How do these prove blessings to me? They remind me constantly of the love of my Father in Heaven and the strong faith that permeates my family history.124 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and con- tinueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” D&C 50:24Nancy Hinton In 2006 our 14-year-old son was diagnosed with a bone infection. He had surgery to remove the de-cayed bone. For the next six weeks we gave him antibiotics four times a day through his central pic line,then we had three weeks of wait time. The doctor at Primary Children’s Hospital said three weeks would beenough time to see if there was still infection in the marrow in his right tibia. A second surgery was planned in order to do a bone graft. I was extremely nervous the night before thesecond surgery so asked my dad for a father’s blessing. The next day the doctor cut open the window of hisbone again and saw a streamlet of pus in the marrow. So they cleaned it out again. The doctor said we hadto put Tyler on another six weeks of stronger antibiotics, then wait three weeks again. This bad news hit us so hard. Tyler was especially discouraged. He had to wear a 24/7 antibiotic pumpwith a bag of antibiotics in a fanny pack to school, etc. The whole first week after the failed surgery I wasa nervous wreck. I had so many fears and doubts and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t able to functionwell around the house or in our family, etc. The sadness and worry were consuming me. I kept thinking,“What if the infection doesn’t go away this time either; then they would have to remove his leg.” One of those bad days I read the blessing that my dad had given me a week earlier and then read theQuestion and Answers section in the Ensign. It quoted 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spiritof fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” This hit me hard and I knew it was my answer! Iwas letting the fear of possibly losing Tyler’s leg overcome my faith in Tyler’s healing and the blessings weboth had received. I knew that Heavenly Father had blessed me with a “sound mind” and that I had faith inHim and the Savior knowing They could make the bacteria leave Tyler’s leg. I knew on the morning of the third surgery that he would get the bone graft and the leg would be saved.We all were so grateful there was no more infection. Tyler went on to heal completely, to enjoy running onhis leg after eight months, and he loved playing sports again. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 125
    • Joyce Stowe-St.Clair After 18 years in a toxic marriage, I found myself the single mother of five, ranging in age from 3 years to 17. I was suffering from a deep depression, but with the support of a loving and supportive community, as well as an excellent therapist, found myself moving forward. I was blessed to be surrounded by loving and supportive friends and neighbors. I was active in an amazing ward, attending college, and gradually beginning to heal. My oldest son went into the service and I transferred to BYU to complete my degree and, hopefully, make a better life for my family. It was a total cultural shock for me. I was rejected by the sisters in the ward because I was divorced. The students at the “Y” ignored me and the teachers addressed me as Sister Stowe. No one called me by my first name any more. One night, shortly after moving into a new place, I was on my knees pleading with the Lord for help. I was so full of despair, so desperate, and so alone. As I was pouring out my pain, I felt a dark presence enter my room – and then the whispers began: “The gun is on the shelf in your closet; it is loaded. All you have to do is hold it to your temple, pull the trigger, and it will all be over.” At first I was dazed, and then the same whisper came again and again. The tears were streaming down my face. As I broke through the daze I began to feel the anger. How dare Satan enter when I was pleading with my Father in Heaven for help. In that mo- ment I raised my arm to the square and demanded he leave. I was not alone and, as the darkness faded, the light entered. I could feel the lightening in my soul and I knew, as never before, the love of my Savior. I will never be so alone again because I have an overwhelming conviction of His love and presence in my life. The children still needed me, school was still demanding, finances were still tight, but I knew that Christ would always be there when I needed Him most, and He knows my name. Linda Bush In the 1980s my husband was laid off from work and had a difficult time finding employment. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 16 years, but after fasting and praying over our financial situation, it became necessary for me to find a full time job. I had been an executive secretary before my marriage and was determined to try and find a position where I could use those skills. As I interviewed at various offices, however, I found technology had changed a lot in 16 years. Finally, I interviewed for a position as an executive secretary with an engineering firm. I remember the silent prayer I offered as I took both typing and shorthand tests. When I passed the shorthand test, I knew that I had indeed been blessed. I wanted this job desperately because it was a four day work week, which meant that I would have Fridays home with my children. I was offered the job. My boss, a vice president, was a busy man with little patience. By the end of two months, I knew that I was in over my head. Each day as I dressed for work I was sick to my stomach, worrying how I was going to get through the day. I was so afraid that I would be fired. One night before leaving work, I made an appointment to see my boss early the next morning. That night as I said my prayers, I found myself crying as I pleaded with the Lord to help me know what I could do to keep my job. I knew with all my heart that I could not do it alone and that I needed His help. The next morning as I met with my boss, I felt calm and found myself expressing new ideas on how we could stay organized and work better together. At the end of our meeting, I felt renewed with confidence that with the Lord’s help I would be able to do the work. As I walked to my desk I had a hard time keeping tears back as I realized that my prayers had been answered by a loving Heavenly Father who knew me personally, loved me, and would always help me meet the challenges that life would offer.126 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Melody McNamee In January of 1978 we were living in Southern California. We had three little children: Heather- 5,David- 3, Nathan-10 months, and Laura- a 15-year-old foster daughter. One day my husband Duane camehome from work and said, “I think we need to fast and pray about moving to Utah.” This was totally out ofthe blue. I had no desire to move to Utah. I loved my little house, my calling, my friends, and the fact that myfamily was close by. Duane had received a personal witness that we should move to Utah and he wanted meto know for myself. We fasted and prayed. I felt the Spirit’s witness that we should indeed move to Utah. I was discouraged. There was so much to do and Laura’s social worker said she couldn’t go with us.Journal entry for January 6: “…we need to follow the promptings we receive from the Lord. I know He givesno commandment save He prepares a way for it to be accomplished.” As if to prove it, the Lord showered uswith blessings. • A good friend offered to take Laura into her home. • While Duane was in Utah, Nathan, our 10 month old, became very ill. He was congested and misera- ble and did nothing but cry. In the middle of the night I called my home teacher who came with his companion and gave Nathan a blessing. Journal entry February 10: “After three nights of restless crying and tossing Nathan is finally sleeping.” • Duane stayed with our friend in Orem while he looked for work. John introduced Duane to a company in Springville and he was hired. He started immediately and once he found us a house his new employer flew him to California to move us to Utah. • On the day we were to leave for Utah our house still hadn’t sold. But as we were pulling away in the U-Haul our real estate agent drove up with a prospective buyer. She showed the house and sold it on the spot. On February 28, less than two months after Duane’s initial impression, we pulled into the driveway ofour Utah home. I don’t know why Heavenly Father wanted us in Utah but I know He cleared the way so thatwe could accomplish the move. He comes to the rescue when we follow His promptings.Zolene Jepson My father is a convert to the Church. No one in his family is a member. My grandmother passed awaywhile I was young and her temple work was done a short time later. My grandpa passed away about tenyears ago and his temple work was done about six years ago. Sometime shortly after that, during familyscripture reading one evening, we were finishing the Doctrine & Covenants and someone read section 138.As verses 57-59 were read, an incredibly overwhelming warm and peaceful feeling swept over my wholebody, from head to toe. The Spirit gave me instant knowledge that my grandpa had accepted the gospel.I immediately began to weep with tears of joy and exclaimed to my family that I know my grandpa hasaccepted the gospel! How this strengthened my testimony that I can receive personal revelation and myFather in Heaven cared enough about me to let me know this bit of information. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 127
    • Veannetta Harris I am 87 years old and have many experiences I could share. One that comes to mind is when I was living in a place where there was no LDS church to attend. I felt it was better to go to another church rather than none at all so started attending another church. While I was there, they asked who wanted to buy one of their old hymn books so they could purchase new ones. I raised my hand and they said, “You’re not one of us. You can’t have one.” So I just decided, “This isn’t the right church anyway. I need to go home and get into my own church.” I needed my Heavenly Father but He wasn’t in that church. Oh sure, I could feel that there was good there but there was something missing. I knew it was the priesthood. Even though I was born in the Church, this experience is one of the things that let me know which church is true and strengthened my testimony. Now that I am older I have a tendency to fall, especially if I’m walking on ground that’s not even. I have a cane but even with a walker I sometimes fall. I was walking outside recently and started to fall. I felt Heavenly Father’s arms around me to keep me from getting hurt. I know He protects me. I’m not afraid to be alone anymore. Every little noise I heard after my last husband Rex died made me feel as if someone was trying to get in. I was really afraid. I kept praying to the Lord to protect me and He does. I know Heavenly Father loves me and takes care of me even though my life is difficult. I feel the Lord has given me all these challenges to keep me humble. Lindsay Humphries As a young child, I was raised by parents who had faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and a great desire for their children to share that same testimony and to have a great love of the scriptures. I have been so thankful for their loving teachings towards me at such a tender age. Time brought many challenges to our family, including divorce. Fifteen years ago my dad left the Church and also lost his faith in God. Although he is a wonderful man, he has wholeheartedly embraced an atheis- tic, skeptical perspective towards life. His wife, a previous convert to the Church, also renounced the faith and is an agnostic. About seven years ago my younger sister began a revolution of her own: leaving the Church, leaving her belief in God, choosing to have an open relationship with her husband, experimenting with her sexuality, leaving her husband and, finally, embracing the homosexual lifestyle and living monogamously with an- other woman. In an effort to continue to show love toward my sister, my mom and stepdad slowly became involved in different community organizations meant to support those with gay loved ones. They also sought out online community forums for support and have become really involved with the “open Mormon” community. It has greatly altered their thinking, their faith, and their testimony. A year ago my stepdad officially withdrew his membership from the Church and since the beginning of this year my mom has not been attending Church. She is going through an intense emotional battle of whether or not to leave the Church herself. Needless to say, throughout this journey my family has taken, I have had my own faith challenged. I have asked myself very difficult questions and have realized that there are many things that I have to be okay with not having an answer to right now. I have decidedly made the choice to choose to believe in God, to choose to believe in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and to choose to keep my covenants sacred. I am having my faith tempered and refined. I have been reading the scriptures every day for the past few years and have been recording my thoughts in my journal. This experience has helped me to truly come to love the gospel and to want to follow the example of Jesus in all that I do.128 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Shirley Storrs My husband and I had been married for six years and had not been able to conceive. Two months afterour wedding he had been inducted into the army and was stationed at Ft. Ord, California. The service-men’s branch there in Pacific Grove consisted of about 35 women in Relief Society and over 50 babies! Ifelt frustrated, and we eventually went to a specialist in San Francisco to have tests done. It didn’t result inanything. After living and working for a few years in San Francisco after his service was over, we decided to moveto Germany to see if he could get employment singing in opera, as he had studied for many years and wewere told they hired many American singers there. An American couple working for the CIA in Munich toldus they had adopted two German children and explained to us that you had to search for a child on yourown, then go to an agency to get the paperwork. We then obtained employment and moved to another city. A soldier and his wife that we met when they asked us directions in the square at our new city hap-pened to mention that they noticed an orphanage nearby. We were immediately interested and thought toourselves that we were ready to try adoption. When we went to the orphanage we were told they had justbeen given a baby girl. The mother of the baby was married to a gentleman 30 years older than her; theyhad three children and no room for another. We went to look at the baby. She had reddish hair and wasborn on my husband’s birthday! We immediately felt it was right and told them we wanted to adopt her. Wecontacted the international Red Cross. They were very helpful and gave us papers of clearance. Because myhusband was a city employee at the opera theater, they were thrilled to give us a layette when we pickedour new baby girl up on Christmas Eve. We are told that prayers are answered usually through another, and we believe we were guided (wherewe went and who we met) through the ministrations of the Holy Ghost. Through prayer and following theSpirit we were able to adopt four more children – one more in Germany and three in California.Arla Sanders Approximately three years ago I experienced one of the most discouraging days of my life. It seemedthat all of my children were having a variety of difficulties and to make matters worse, things were notgoing well for us at home: We were fighting with and worrying constantly about a son who had become ad-dicted to prescription drugs: we learned that our youngest, disabled son David Jr. had been diagnosed withadditional negative problems related to his condition: and my husband’s employer of many years reducedhis wages and laid off 44 of 52 employees. My husband’s employment difficulties caused serious financialproblems for us in turn; and we were on the verge of losing our home. I truly was very discouraged and, in my frustration, I lashed out at the Lord in prayer. I accused theLord of being the meanest person I had ever known, and that He was sitting up in heaven trying to hurteveryone I knew and loved. I asked Him to leave my children alone and to focus His cruelty on me instead. Isaid many other things to Him that I know were wrong to say. After approximately 30 minutes of accusingHim in prayer, I suddenly felt an intensely strong spiritual presence and my mind was literally “stopped” orprevented from continuing my tirade. My anger and frustration were replaced with a very peaceful feeling.I could not continue in my accusations and verbal assault on the Lord even though I tried. To this day, if Ieven start with frustration or anger or think of that day, my mind continues to be “blocked” or “stopped.” I am grateful for the peaceful presence that came to me that day in spite of the spiritually destruc-tive and angry things I was saying to the Lord. It is embarrassing to admit to others that I engaged in suchbehavior but I suppose that others have either felt similarly before or, at least, might feel this way in thefuture. It is my hope that they will have the comforting peace of the Spirit to comfort them as it did for me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 129
    • Buffy Nelson When my daughter Anna was four years old, we found out she had PDA—Patent Ductus Arteriosus— and needed heart surgery to correct it. PDA means the connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery didn’t close after birth as it’s supposed to. Let me share just a few of the Lord’s tender mercies dur- ing that time: 1. Anna’s heart murmur was new and sounded innocent, but our pediatrician kept listening, again and again, with a feeling that something just wasn’t right. It took three different doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital listening to Anna’s heart before they decided to order the echocardiogram that revealed the PDA. When the results came in, the doctors said that her heart did not sound like PDA, and they would have never guessed that was the problem. If her heart hadn’t been fixed, it would have led to permanent heart damage, infections of the heart, and/or congestive heart failure. Anna’s heart murmur was almost dismissed. The Lord made sure it was found. 2. The usual symptoms of PDA include cyanosis (blue skin due to lack of oxygen), breathlessness, and fatigue. Anna had none of the symptoms. Her body was, and always had been, strong and healthy. 3. Fixing PDA had always been a major open heart surgery. A short time before Anna’s diagnosis, a technology was introduced that reduced the surgery to a heart catheter going in and up the femoral artery to the heart, through the heart chambers, and through the catheter, placing a coil into the unwanted connection, closing it off. Almost all PDA problems are heard and found at infant age. If Anna’s PDA had been found as an infant, she would have had to undergo open heart surgery. 4. Right before Anna went into surgery, an IV needed to be placed into her arm. At first she was scared, but almost immediately, and without medicine, she calmed and sat perfectly still while the nurses inserted the needle. She did not move a muscle or make a sound. I had prayed that angels would be with her, and I knew at that moment that my prayers had been answered. It took two coils to close the connection instead of one, and she had a fever the next day in the hospital, but she recovered quickly and will have no further heart problems. The Lord’s mercies are tender indeed and I will be forever grateful. “We must cherish one another, watch over one another, comfort one another and gain instruction, that we may all sit down in heaven together.” (Lucy Mack Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 25.)130 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Sharron Parker Holy Land tour caught my attention — felt I had to go. No money; severe health problems; neuropathy;nerve damage in feet; herniated back discs pinching nerves, legs, buttocks; walking, standing, sitting pain-ful. Loan from son and friend; she suggesting to seek a special priesthood blessing and if I have faith theLord would bless me. Having faith, the blessing was obtained. Flying to Israel entailed 19 hours sitting, then eight full days in and around the Holy Land. Much uphillwalking while visiting historical places: Jericho — one of oldest cities, lowest place on earth, first camelride; beauty bath in Dead Sea’s black mud; Masada — Israeli soldiers take oath of allegiance; Bethany —Lazarus was raised; Dothan — Joseph sold into Egypt; Shechem — Joseph’s bones are buried; Hezekiah’sTunnel dug to bring water to city; Hebron — Patriarch’s Building burial site; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; Beth-lehem — Jesus born; Nazareth — grew up; around Galilee, Jesus spent much time teaching, performingmiracles; feeling Spirit of Christ and Apostles in quiet stillness on boat in middle of Sea of Galilee; Caper-naum — few ruins remain; Cana — water to wine; Beit Saida — multiplication of loaves and fishes; Mountof Beatitudes — Sermon on the Mount; Gergesa — unclean spirits out of man into pigs; Jerusalem — hometo three religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam; walked Jerusalem’s streets, market, places, seeing her beautythrough windows of BYU Jerusalem Center; Herod’s Temple Model of ancient temple; tucking prayer notesin Wailing Wall; Gethsemane, Golgotha, in Tomb; pondering wonders of Christ’s Atonement and Resurrec-tion. My special priesthood blessing brought untold miracles: keeping up; free of pain; falling on back frombathtub; falling again on back onto rocky red mud, covered in mud except white jacket I was wearing. Lastthree nights in hotel room overlooking Jerusalem City, felt Spirit of the Lord so strongly I’d cry over Jerusa-lem, feeling God’s love for her, over the Atonement, and receiving a greater testimony. Think of our Saviorin Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross; cannot comprehend the pain and anguish Christ suffered forus. Grateful I had faith so God through prayers and a special priesthood blessing was able to bless me withmiracles of healing, humbling testimony of the Atonement, and knowledge of God’s love and His promisethat if we do all we possibly can, He will do the rest. Seems a dream. Visited wonders of the Holy Land where God blessed me so miraculously.Anonymous She was a total con artist: this single, middle-aged foreigner with two teenagers who had moved intomy lovely, fully-furnished home with nothing down – only lies and false promises to pay cash for my homeas soon as her supposed mansion sold in California. I, too, was a single middle-aged mother of teens andunder great emotional and financial stress during this difficult time. I found out after four months of norent and being ordered off “her” porch repeatedly that she was ripping off several others as well. The Spiritprompted me to check with her former neighbors and I learned she’d gotten off with a “free” engine in hercar from a Church member when she feigned interest in the Church. She had also removed cabinets fromher previous rental. I was prompted to tell a new neighbor in our rural community to keep watch on her and to call me ifsomething seemed awry. Then my new friend’s call came in the middle of my teaching day. She was mov-ing out, having sold my whole household of furniture to a resale dealer who had his large truck full andwas about to leave. My neighbor grabbed the keys to his truck and called me and the police. I was able toinstantly recall the name of the former neighbor who had put the engine in her car and he was able to dropeverything and get to the scene to reclaim his engine and her car which was packed to leave the state. I leftmy class with the vice principal and was able to get there in time to save my furniture. She had done a lotof damage to my home and had removed all the curtains to take with her, but had I not listened to thosepromptings, I would have come back to an empty house. This lady con artist lost all her meager belongingsand had to con a good-hearted former neighbor to take her and the kids to California for a fresh start. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 131
    • “To be a righteous woman is a glorious thing in any age. To be a righteous woman during the winding up scenes on this earth, before the second coming of our Savior, is an especially noble calling. The righteous woman’s strength and influence today can be tenfold what it might be in more tranquil times.” (Spencer W. Kimball, in Daugh- ters in My Kingdom, 165.) Beth Shumway Moore In 1928, when I was three months old, I was stricken with polio which left my legs paralyzed. Polio was a terrifying disease at the time an epidemic hit our Wyoming town in 1928. My mother, a registered nurse, was familiar with polio and knew doctors would put my legs into cement casts – the worst treatment pos- sible. Knowing this, Mother prayed. The Lord guided her with the knowledge to exercise and massage my legs daily and my father gave me priesthood blessings. At last, at thirteen months, I walked. This oft-told story of my miracle was the cornerstone of my faith, especially when my daughter Marcie was born with a potentially fatal disease. Doctors are alert to the RH negative factor but less known is that A versus O blood can be deadly also. This is what happened with Marcie. The pediatrician explained that only four blood exchanges could be given and that if they didn’t work she would die or be severely retarded. Immediately I thought, “She must have a priesthood blessing at once.” I knew my Heavenly Father would heal her. Unfortunately, most of the priesthood leaders from our small ward had gone to Salt Lake City to conference. Before I was able to locate two priesthood brethren the doctor had given two exchanges – with no improvement. Marcie was in intensive care in a Catholic hospital. The Mother Superior had to givepermission for the men to bless Marcie. I prayed for words to explain the importance of allowing this blessing. Without her permission, it would have been impossible. This spiritual lady said, “They shouldn’t enter her room. We believe prayers pass through glass, don’t you?” I replied, “Certainly, but we also believe in the laying on of hands. Please allow these representatives of my Church to bless her in that way.” As I pleaded, tears flowed. Mother Superior scrutinized me before she said, “I’ll allow the men to scrub and bless her.” The entire hos- pital buzzed about the critically sick yellow baby whose two blood exchanges hadn’t worked – then, as two Latter-day Saint elders finished their blessing, she turned pink before they left the isolation unit. Small miracles, if there is such a thing, continue to happen. I thank my Heavenly Father constantly for the never ending blessings that exist for everyone. We only have to ask.132 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Marie Miller Being a mother is a very special gift. After I had my first baby we looked forward to a large family. How-ever, this was not God’s plan for me. I had birth complications that left me unable to have more children.I had blessings and numerous doctor visits, but all with the same results – no possibility of another child.Being from a large family, my heart ached for my son who would never have a sibling. After many years anda very special apostolic blessing, we were blessed with one more child. Though she was born with severalphysical imperfections, she was perfect for us. God hears and answers our prayers. He knows and loveseach of us.Gail Jackson As our stake president set us apart before we left for a Church Education Service mission on a remoteatoll in the Central Pacific, he assured us all would be well with all of our family members during our ab-sence. Six months into the mission we received word that our youngest son had suffered a traumatic braininjury. The prognosis: he would be in intensive care for 30 days and “if he lived, he would be a vegetable.” Tarawa is so remote that a plane arrives, at the most, twice a week. During the waiting time we weretotally carried by our Savior. There is no other way to describe it. We were at peace and were able to writeour lesson plans and make arrangements for substitutes for all our responsibilities. It took us four days toget off the atoll and another two days (by way of three countries) to arrive in the United States – with minorand not-so-minor miracles taking place every step of the way. When our oldest son picked us up at the airport, he said Brin had just been released from ICU but therewere many recovery miles ahead. He was very rarely conscious and could not execute even the basics likewalking, talking, or swallowing. As the saying goes “the lights were on but nobody was home.” Actually, I amnot sure if the lights were even on. A few days later I was sitting by his bed watching him sleep. Suddenly, even though his eyes wereclosed, I physically saw Brin return. Words cannot describe it! His progress was rapid after that and he wasreleased as an inpatient three weeks later. Heavenly Father was with every individual caring for Brin. TheComforter never left his room. I know we were blessed beyond comprehension. And continue to be blessedin all aspects of our lives. My testimony is strong but simple. Without a doubt I know the gospel is true although I cannot graspthe marvelous works and wonders of how it all happened/happens. A poem by LDS author Carol Lyn Pear-son says it best: Of the Mysteries I know only as much of God and the world As a creature with two eyes must; But what I do understand I love, And what I don’t understand, I trust. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 133
    • Verree’ McCleve Our niece Lynda was traveling north from Arizona when the car missed a curve and slid sideways into a large tree, causing major damage to her eye and cheek. She was life-flighted to Salt Lake City. It was early the next morning before were able to administer to her. As we walked into the room we saw a very serious- ly injured girl in a coma, her right eye nearly destroyed, and no sign of movement anywhere. As the blessing was given, she was promised that she would live and be made well, would become a mother and wife in Zion, her eye would be made whole, and many other wonderful blessings. The neurologist told her mother that the impact from the crash had severed the brain stem and it would never grow back. He said Kathy should not expect anything more than she saw then. Kathy said, “Oh, she is going to get better; she has had a blessing.” It was very troubling for my husband Duane to hear what had been promised in the blessing so he began to pray for an answer. After a couple of days of fasting, we went to the hospital to approach Heavenly Father once more about her recovery. Another blessing regarding the brain stem issue was given and we all continued the process of exercising our faith in her behalf. She remained in the hospital for several weeks before arrangements were made to fly Lynda and her mom home to Mesa. Her condition had hardly changed; she was still in a deep coma with almost no move- ment in her body. We were there when they strapped her to a slant board and prepared to put her on the plane. About a month after she was home, I received a call from her mom Kathy who said, “I came home to get some money. Rehab is taking Lynda to the mall.” I said, “Do you mean that Lynda is walking?” She said, “Yes, but she is still not out of the coma completely.” At that point, she was about the same as a 2-year-old child although she was 17. She continued to improve but had to be potty trained, taught how to walk and talk, and learn everything all over again. It was four years after the accident when she called and said, “I’m engaged to be married!” I said, “Wow, Lynda.” She then said, “I was so surprised, and so excited, and all I could say was, ‘Oh my gosh.’” Then I said, “Do you realize what a miracle you are, Lynda?” and she said “Yes, I really do.” We were able to be with her at her wedding in the Mesa Temple in 2006. She is now a beautiful mother in Zion raising a wonderful son. We continue to marvel at the wondrous power of the priesthood as miracles are still happening in our life. “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you.” D&C 88:67134 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Stake Relief Society Humanitarian Project (August – September, 2011) A letter written by the Stake Relief Society Presidency to the women of the Hurricane Utah West Stake following completion of the humanitarian project and General Relief Society Meeting on September 24, 2011: We don’t want to let another Sunday pass without letting you know how successful our humanitarianproject was and how blessed our stake has been as we reached out in service to our sisters and brothersthroughout the world. When we met on September 24 to put our hygiene kits together, we were all amazedthat we had collected enough items to reach the lofty goal of making 1600 complete kits. Throughout thatafternoon though, donations kept coming in, and as we finished putting the hygiene kits together, we stillhad enough items left to almost complete 30 more kits (although there were no combs and hand towelsleft). Once again, the remarkable women of our stake mobilized and hand towels were purchased, bathtowels were made into hand towels, stores were scoured for combs, and sisters met privately to completeyet more hygiene kits. By the time the whirlwind of activity settled, the sisters of the Hurricane West StakeRelief Society had completed 1765 hygiene kits. That is a total of 1765 tubes of toothpaste, 3530 combs,3530 bars of soap, 3530 hand towels, and 7,060 toothbrushes. Truly, as we are told in Alma, “...by small andsimple things are great things brought to pass.” (Alma 37:6) Ending the day with inspired words from our Relief Society general presidency and President Uchtdorfsurely brought heaven closer to this little corner of the world. Truly we are “Daughters in His Kingdom” andthis is our Father’s work. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 135
    • Sharon Pearl Horton Moses It seems impossible that it has been five years since my stroke. I am so thankful for my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized in the baptismal font in the basement of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. It is a strong memory for me, but I was not really active until I found the Church again as a teenager. I have stayed actively engaged since then. I have felt the power of the Holy Ghost and espe- cially the power of the authority of the priesthood in my life – especially while I served in Primary where I learned so much, then into the Young Women program, and next in the Relief Society. In 2007 an MRI showed that I had an aneurism in the middle of the back of my head. I was told that the surgery to stop the aneurism from bursting was 98 percent safe but that if I didn’t have the surgery, the aneurism could kill me before they could help me. We fasted and prayed, discussed it with our family, and decided I should have the surgery. So, armed with a priesthood blessing, I went to the hospital on June 28, 2007. I came through the surgery fine but, while in the recovery room, the nurse noticed I was not respond- ing the right way. They found that I had thrown three blood clots. One clot had hit my optical nerve, making me completely blind; one to the right side of my head weakened the left side of my body (my left hand will not do what I want it to); and the third clot affected my balance. They rushed me back into surgery and gave me clot busting drugs. During the dark days when I was blind and close to death, I could feel the blessing I had received and prayers in my behalf and I had some special spiritual experiences. For five days I was totally blind but I could recognize the voices of those who came to visit and could talk to them. My husband DeVon spent twenty-two days in the hospital with me. My three daughters were constantly with me. After five days, my vision improved when I gained 25 percent of my sight back. My vision is pretty clear in the right eye but I lose vision on the left side. I have not driven a car but I am a visiting teacher with a special sister as my partner and I have taken religious classes in Bountiful and Hurricane. Sherry Auger I underwent surgery at the University of Utah Hospital to “cut away” the cancer from the end of my nose. The result was removal of the end of my nose. The doctor wanted me to look at my nose so I would appreciate the plastic surgery results but as I looked at my husband who was looking at me with tears run- ning down his face, I knew I could not do it. I was immediately sent to the plastic surgeon for repair. The plastic surgeon explained that he could create a new nose made from scalp tissue, which required 21 days of healing followed by a second surgery and more healing. Looking in the mirror after surgery, I almost died from the shock of the results. Raw tissue extended from my eyebrow to the tip of my nose, which bled continually on both sides – medical term “Forehead Flap”. I knew I could NOT appear in public. How could I live for the next 21 days looking like a creature from a “Star Wars” movie? When I came home from the hospital, my husband delivered an explanation to our children followed by a pep talk. After one week I returned to the hospital for a follow-up visit. We left ear- lier than usual as my husband wanted to eat in the hospital cafeteria. I pleaded with him that I only wanted to go to the office visit. He insisted on eating. To my great surprise, no one in the cafeteria was shocked. I felt my confidence growing. After returning home, the decision was made to continue with life and appear in public regardless of my looks. As a result of both surgeries, I received a new nose and the ability to ap- pear anywhere “shock free”. My first blessing: I felt my Heavenly Father’s love at this time more than ever before. With several daily prayers, I was able to endure impolite comments from adults each time I ventured out of my home. Sec- ond blessing: my son was able to get surgery from the same doctor, who repaired his birth defect perfectly. Third blessing: my family learned not to judge someone from just their appearance. Fourth blessing: looking forward to the resurrection and receiving my original nose again – it matches my daughter’s. Very tender mercies were received from my Heavenly Father while overcoming this hardship.136 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Michele L. Wilcox Tisdale Years ago after marrying my husband, due to finances, I dropped out of college. Through the years I hadalways had a desire, a hope, or silent prayer that someday I would be able to return to college and finishwhat I had started so many years before. After being told “no” to a job opportunity due to a lack of educa-tion, the time had finally come for me to return to college. I honestly didn’t know how we were going tomake it work out financially; with only one income and four growing children it seemed impossible. Butthen I was reminded of a quote by Brigham Young: “Fear is the opposite of faith, and if you have faith, youdo not have fear. Those two things do not – cannot – exist simultaneously.” At first, it was to take a few class-es. Then after much praying and pondering I knew I needed to continue with my education, and that I waswhere Heavenly Father wanted me to be. Even after the death of my sweet mother, and finding out withinthe same week of her death that my husband had a tumor in his thyroid, Heavenly Father made it clear tome (by smacking me upside the head) to continue with my education. It was His grace, guidance, love, andthe quote that gave me the strength I needed to continue, that “even the rain shall pass.” Even when lifethrew curve balls my way I never doubted where I needed to be. Even during my darkest hour, He made itknown to me what I should be doing. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. Psalm 56:4Shirley Baker It was the first day of high school for my 14-year-old daughter. She was born with a serious birth defectthat required her to undergo several serious surgeries by the time she was 12. We were also told she wouldnever walk, but through prayer and determination she took her first steps at 2½ years. Her school yearswere filled with torment and teasing to the point that by fourth grade we had to take her out of publicschool and enroll her in a small private Christian school. Over those years I shed many tears for my daugh-ter, always praying for her peace and happiness. The year before she started high school, the doctors gave her the option of having an urostomy. She wasrequired to make the decision without our intervention as the surgery would affect her for the rest of herlife. Again we prayed she would make the correct choice. She chose to have the urostomy. As the first day ofschool approached, she was excited but also very apprehensive to be going back to school with those whohad tormented her and made fun of her. As I let her out of the car, she told me she was to see her counselorfirst thing before going to classes. I went home with a worried heart. I went to my room, knelt down by mybed, and began to pray for my girl. I appealed to my Father in Heaven that she could have a good experienceat school. I wept when I recalled her trials and the agonizing mental and physical pain she had experiencedin her young life. Without realizing the time, I continued to plead with my Father in Heaven for almost threehours. I arose from my prayerful experience feeling drained and exhausted. I then realized she would soonbe home. When she came in the door her face shone and she was smiling. “You will never guess what happenedtoday, Mom. My counselor told me she knew about my problems and understood my concerns.” My daugh-ter told me that the counselor had an urostomy too so understood what she was going through and wouldbe there for her if she needed to talk or needed help. A flood of relief and peace filled me. I knew my prayershad been answered. I know that our Father in Heaven hears us pray. He loves each of us and answers ourprayers. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 137
    • Sonja Freeman Well into the sixth year of being almost non-functional and doctors not knowing what was causing my health problem, I finally accepted the fact that if Heavenly Father wanted me to live that way for the rest of my life, I would be okay with it. I studied the scriptures every morning (that was my work and it was very fatiguing) and then after lunch I would take the Ensign or the Priesthood/Relief Society manual to bed with me to read and rest. On one particular day I was so tired I quickly fell asleep without reading. While slowly waking, I heard a melody running through my mind with the same numbers being repeated. I thought, “What does that mean?” I looked at what I had taken to bed with me and went to the page number which had been im- pressed upon my mind. It was a lesson about the healing power of Jesus Christ given to us through the priesthood. Our daughter-in-law listened as I told her of my experience and then replied, “Sonja, don’t you remem- ber Richard’s patriarchal blessing speaking of those powers and his particular use of them?” I talked to our son Richard about my experience and he said, “Mom, would you like me to give you a healing blessing?” He said he would prepare himself and give it to me in a few days. As hands were placed upon my head, I felt the presence of the Savior. I was pronounced “whole” and told that I would be healed through my service to others. I would also know what my body needed. Dur- ing the next few days I completely wore myself out serving and realized that giving a smile to someone was also service. I gradually gained strength and learned that I needed food every two hours or so and an afternoon rest. A short time later we felt a need to serve a mission. The stake president was concerned about letting me go but I was firm in feeling we were to do this for the Savior. He let us go and the first question upon our arrival home was, “How was your health?” We were able to set our own hours and as long as I got proper food and rest I was fine. The Lord healed me that I might serve Him. “I will go forward. I will smile at the rage of the tempest, and ride fearlessly and triumphantly across the boisterous ocean of circum- stance … and the ‘testimony of Jesus’ will light up a lamp that will guide my vision through the portals of immortality.” (Eliza R. Snow, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 59.)138 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Lorina J. Harper It was the 19th of March, two days after my birthday. It had been a fun day with my sons, Duane, andmy parents. The first bouquet of daffodils still brightened the room. Every year I looked forward to Mama’shome-cooked dinner for “my day”. I remember well the evening the folks left; Daddy was “cutting up” withStan and Mike. He was showing them how to dance the Danish jig. He was so agile and quick on his legs andI loved his mischievous smile and twinkling eyes. I will always recall the picture of him as he danced out ourfront door. Later on the morning of the 19th, I learned that my daddy, Lorin Jessen, had been in a terrible accidentat the plant where he worked. When Mama and I got to the hospital, Dr. Worley met us and needed her con-sent to amputate his left leg. The doctor also said there was very little chance Dad would pull through thisfor now he also had a blood clot in his lungs. I saw our bishop, Ronald Jensen, coming in and asked him to pray with me for Daddy’s life. We wentinto a vacant room and prayed. I made a covenant with Heavenly Father that day to let us keep Daddy for alittle longer and I would serve in His Church for the rest of my life. Later Daddy was able to come home andlived to be 78 years old. He died on August 19, 1982, after enduring a life caused by the terrible phantompains which occur when a limb is amputated. My dear sweet mother, Olga Tanner Jessen, was a loving wife and had told me many times that we couldstand the sufferings for the short time it lasts because we have so much time together when things are okay.All of us – Duane, Mike, Stan and Elizabeth, Darrel (my brother) with his family, and Garth and his family,plus all my dad’s family and Mama’s family have been cheered and blessed by this beautiful “Child of God”– my daddy, Lorin John Jessen. I thank Heavenly Father for my parents and my wonderful husband, family,children, and grandchildren. They all are such special spirits from God.Carol Segler I was baking cookies for my Cub Scouts who were going to be arriving in just a few minutes. I took apan out of the oven, put a new one back in, and I felt something go terribly wrong inside my head. I fell tothe floor and started to throw up. After several months of doctors, neurologists, ENT specialists, and chiro-practors, there was not a diagnosis that helped me. I was confused, getting weaker by the day, and discour-aged. Then in October 2009 it suddenly worsened. I would spend my days not knowing from one minute tothe next if I was going to be feeling on top of the world or if my head would go crazy. I would be down andout, throwing up for hours, and then it would click and it was just like I had nothing wrong. It had gotten sobad that I would only have a few good hours a day before I would get sick again. It was a few days before Halloween and my aunt and uncle were coming for a visit. I am always soexcited to see them but when they came I was so sick I had to go to bed. I was so devastated and upset that Istarted to cry. I soon found myself on my knees (as I had done many times before) pleading with my Heav-enly Father. I prayed with all my might that He would help me. This time I told Him that if it was my timeto go, please take me, because I could not live like this. I was turning it over to Him. I climbed back into bedand fell into a deep sleep. When I woke up several hours later, my head was clear; it was as though nothing was ever wrong. Myhead stayed clear through the next several days and we had a wonderful time together. I have gotten pro-gressively better the last couple of years, never again returning to that state. I know that when we put our total faith in our very loving Heavenly Father He can work miracles; Hedid for me. I love Him very much. I am so very grateful for all He has done for me. Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 139
    • Anonymous It was a very hard decision knowing what would be most helpful and inspirational to those sisters that I have grown to love and care for. I spent many hours and days praying. As a young child and into my teenage years, I grew up in a very abusive home. I did not have the gospel in my life. Even though I was baptized at the age of eight, that is about as much as I had as far as the gospel was concerned. The only time I ever went to church was when I would spend the night at my grandmoth- er’s. She was my inspiration. She did her best to see that I was taught gospel principles. At the age of sixteen I was removed from my home through the court system and placed in a foster home. It was so traumatic for me that I was not able to come to terms that the Lord would allow this to happen to me. Even though I was dealing with abuse I felt that being in my home was better than being in a home filled with strangers. It took me several weeks to adjust to a family that had four small children, a family that had family prayer twice a day, and a family that went to church every week. It was so foreign to me that I rebelled. I was able to form a bond with my foster mother but not with my foster father. I was so afraid of him that I would do my hardest to avoid him. After several weeks I was able to finally accept the fact that the Lord had placed me in this home so that I could grow and be taught the gospel. I was able to accept the love that these wonderful people were will- ing to give me unconditionally. They treated me as one of their own and accepted me for who I was. I was finally able to accept my foster father for the wonderful man he was. When I realized that he would not hurt me, my heart softened and allowed me to love him as a father. During the two and a half years that I lived with them they were able to prepare me to gain a testimony of the gospel. Because of their love and devo- tion to me, I was able to marry in the temple. I have a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. I truly believe that He was watching over me at the time of my life that I needed Him most. April Wilburn My Heavenly Father loves me so much that He is constantly inspiring me through other people. So, in return, I want to share this story. A few plus years ago I had major depression and was put on, not one, but two medicines – one for each side of my brain. It was needed because it got to the point where small simple things like doing dishes and showering took huge effort. And one day I was like, “Okay, I just can’t get up off the couch.” So, long story short, the medicine got me back to normal but I didn’t want to rely on it for the rest of my life. Over the last few years I’ve worked super hard to never go back to where I once was. I’m never alone; Heavenly Father is always mindful of me. But I have to do my part. After getting over the withdrawals, which felt like death itself, I knew it was this: run or take medicine. I hated both! So, I ran. I’d wake up and go from my bed to running. I’d listen to music as I ran and cried. Yes, I would cry because I hated to run, but God would talk to me and still does when I run. I don’t feel the need to run anymore unless God just needs to talk to me. I’ve overcome depression from the grace of God and by doing my part. I eat lots of whole foods, plant-based foods, green smoothies, etc., and I’m very positive. Anybody can overcome anything with the right team captain (our Father in Heaven) and by doing our part.140 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Mary Jo Pennington My husband and I were expecting our second child in June 1967. It was not going to be easy for us as hehad received orders for a six months tour of duty in Vietnam. I would be six months pregnant when he leftand the baby would be three months old on his return. Being apart was hard for our young family. I struggled with him being gone and prayed he would returnhome safely. He was concerned about his family he left behind and wanted to be home with us. It was veryhard to be separated but we found strength in knowing our Heavenly Father would watch over our family. On June 12, 1967, our little one decided to be born. I was concerned about not having my husband atmy side but that was not possible. I was so grateful my mother could be with me. I was blessed with an easylabor and a beautiful baby daughter. The military handled notifying my husband of our daughter’s birth. I was notified by the doctors that our daughter had a blood problem and we could not be released. Theysaid it was necessary for her to have a transfusion. This was very upsetting to me. I asked my brother andbrother-in-law if they would please give her a blessing. I am grateful for their willingness, worthiness, andpriesthood power to be able to bless her life. Normally, after a transfusion, the blood count stays down butit went higher. The doctors didn’t understand why it didn’t stay down. I was very upset and felt alone. I needed my Heavenly Father’s comfort. Thoughts ran through my head.Did she just come to earth to receive a body? Was she perfect and didn’t need to spend time in mortality? Ipleaded with Heavenly Father not to take her from us. I made a promise to Him that I would do everythingin my power to guide and direct her life so she would return to Him. After a total of four blood transfusions,her blood count dropped to normal. The doctors stated they didn’t know why it finally stayed down. I said,“Well, what’s important is that it is down.” The doctor replied, “Yes, but I would like to know why.” I am so grateful for the healing power of the priesthood. I know Heavenly Father hears and answersour prayers. I was really hesitant to ask Him to leave our daughter on earth. If she was worthy to return toHim, was this something I should even ask? I testify that many lives have been touched and blessed by ourwonderful daughter. She is truly an angel. I am so grateful Heavenly Father was willing to share her sweetspirit here on earth. “The tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” 1 Nephi 1:20 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 141
    • Judy Olsen The fall of 2007 was a very difficult time for our family. Our daughter Melanie was undergoing chemo and radiation for cancer and was spending much time in and out of the hospital for treatments. Fourteen years before this she had been treated for cancer during her first pregnancy. She had been spared and lived to have three more children. I recall a very tender experience at the hospital on October 8, 2007, when her three sisters came to visit her. Melanie was sitting on the edge of the bed. Cancer had spread to her lungs and bones. One sister was brushing Melanie’s hair which was starting to grow back, one was rubbing her feet, and one was holding her hand and talking to her. What a picture of love. Before they left, they had a four-way hug. On Sunday morning, October 14, Melanie’s husband left her side to attend the Primary program in which their children were participating. A sister from the ward sat with Melanie and talked softly to her, saying things such as, “Your kids are going to the Primary program,” and, “Your kids are probably saying their parts now,” and, “Natalie and Julie are singing their duet” (which was the first verse of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”). Although she continued to talk to Melanie she said she felt Melanie wasn’t really there. Later, her husband said he felt Melanie’s spirit with them as the children performed in their Primary program. We feel that she was allowed to see her children just before she left this earth. Melanie passed away that Sunday morning and returned to Heavenly Father shortly after her girls sang these words: “I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives; He lives, he lives, who once was dead. He lives, my ever living head. He lives to bless me with his love. He lives to plead for me above. He lives my hungry soul to feed. He lives to bless in time of need.” A few days after the funeral I was still trying to cope with what we had experienced and the loss we felt. One night I had a dream in which Melanie was home in our kitchen. When I saw her, I felt so relieved that she was home. She looked so happy and her complexion was beautiful like it was when she was healthy. I told others around me, “I thought Melanie had died, but she didn’t die: she is here!” I woke up and realized that I had seen Melanie in a dream. I felt sad that she was gone but I realized that she didn’t really die … she had just gone back home and we will be with her again. I am so thankful I know that my Redeemer lives! “He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives all blessings to impart.” “You are now placed in a situation where you can act according to those sympathies which God has planted in your bosoms. If you live up to these principles how great and glorious!—if you live up to your privilege, the angels cannot be restrained from being your as- sociates.” (Joseph Smith, in Daughters in My Kingdom, 169.)142 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • Treasures of Light These are my hands that serve and feel; These are my knees that bend and kneel; These are my eyes that give me sight; And this is my heart filled with treasures of light. These are my ears that hear Thy will; These are my feet that serve Thee still; These are my arms that work with might; And this is my heart filled with treasures of light. This is my mind that knows You’re there; These are my legs that serve with care; This is my soul that knows what’s right; And this is my heart filled with treasures of light. ~David M. MacbethSisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 143
    • When President Gordon B. Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” as part of his mes- sage at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah, he concluded his address with a blessing upon the women of the Church: “May the Lord bless you, my beloved sisters. … May you be strengthened for the challenges of the day. May you be en- dowed with wisdom beyond your own in dealing with the problems you constantly face. May your prayers and your pleadings be answered with blessings upon your heads and upon the heads of your loved ones. We leave with you our love and our blessing, that your lives may be filled with peace and gladness. It can be so. Many of you can testify that it has been so. The Lord bless you now and through the years to come, I humbly pray.”144 Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light
    • “We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Hol- land, Ensign, Jan. 2010, 24)Sisters in the Kingdom: Treasures of Light 145
    • Index A Ah Quin, Irene Hannemann, 2 Ward, 99 Blad, Danna, 17 Ward, 53 Aleman, Angela Jean, 1 Ward, 25 Bolton, Annette, 14 Ward, 55 Aleman, Sandy, 1 Ward, 83 Borrowman, Shawna, 14 Ward, 103 Allred, Trina, 14 Ward, 114 Brueck, Marti, 17 Ward, 108 Anderson, Carol, 1 Ward, 46 Bush, Linda, 12 Ward, 126 Anderson, Chelsea, 13 Ward, 64 C Anderson, Jan, 20 Ward, 60 Cahoon, Helana Jo, 14 Ward, 101 Anderson, Renee Linge, 12 Ward, 60 Campbell, Jamie, 20 Ward, 1 Carlson, Patricia Murie, 7 Ward, 73 Anonymous, 7, 13, 14, 21, 29, 30, 45, 66, 70, 93, 101, 109, 113, 114, 131, 140 Cashin, Suzanne, 20 Ward, 105 Ashcraft, Angela, 8 Ward, 78 Christ, Shanna, 13 Ward, 17 Auger, Sherry, 11 Ward, 136 Cleverly, Karen M., 11 Ward, 31 Cline, Bette Jo, 11 Ward, 3 B Cluff, Mandy, 20 Ward, 5 Baker, Shirley, 11 Ward, 137 Coats, Michele, 11 Ward, 95 Barrett, Sandy, 21 Ward, 111 Cochran, Arla, 20 Ward, 90 Beer, Arnetta, 11 Ward, 48 Colbert, Jeannene, 11 Ward, 16 Bell, Mandy, 8 Ward, 98 Coleman, Diana, 11 Ward, 55 Bentley, Katherine, 20 Ward, 80 Colledge, Terri, 8 Ward, 2 Berquist-Armstrong, Abby, 20 Ward, 11 Covington, Jo, 21 Ward, 35 Bertoch, Kristine, 11 Ward, 71 Cox, Dowanna, 17 Ward, 27 Black, Rebecca, 20 Ward, 28 Cumming, Jana, 11 Ward, 76146
    • DDaley, Donna, 21 Ward, 72 Harris, Veannetta, 7 Ward, 128Dayley, Traquel, 11 Ward, 93 Haws, Randie Beatty, 1 Ward, 99DeCampos, Gloria, 12 Ward, 38 Heaton, LaRue S., 14 Ward, 113Dunn, Morgan, 20 Ward, 41 Henderson, Lisa, 13 Ward, 40 Hepworth, Glenna, 14 Ward, 59E Hicken, Elaine L., 14 Ward, 51Easton, Cheryl, 20 Ward 54 Hinton, LaVon, 14 Ward, 66Egan, Maria, 13 Ward, 112 Hinton, Nancy, 7 Ward, 125Evans, Jolene, 14 Ward, 39 Hirschi, Julie, 17 Ward, 57Excell, Marla, 12 Ward, 80 Holler, Jola, 7 Ward, 107F Hullinger, JeNee, 11 Ward, 58Faucette, Connie Crapo, 20 Ward, 92 Humphries, Lindsay, 11 Ward, 128Flater, Lorna, 2 Ward, 21 Humphries, Sadie, 11 Ward, 88Fowler, Cathie, 7 Ward, 116 Hunt, Phyllis, 17 Ward, 118Freeman, Sonja, 20 Ward, 138 Hunter, Janet, 11 Ward, 34G IGoodfellow, Shelley, 12 Ward, 106 Iglesias, Monica, 17 Ward, 111Grabil, Rebecca Marie, 7 Ward, 109 JGraham, Lonni, 12 Ward, 106 Jackson, Gail, 21 Ward, 133H Jarrett, Lorine, 8 Ward, 18Hall, LaRee, 14 Ward, 122 Jaynes, Linda, 7 Ward, 23Hall, Vikki, 2 Ward, 119 Jensen, Collette, 13 Ward, 43Hammett, Jessica, 14 Ward, 74 Jensen, Lareesa, 12 Ward, 8Hansen, Susan, 17 Ward, 96 Jepson, Jean, 7 Ward, 14Harper, Lorina J., 21 Ward, 139 147
    • Jepson, Zolene, 7 Ward, 127 Marcroft, Linda C., 7 Ward, 77 Johnson, Megan, 13 Ward, 89 Marsh, Dilleen, 20 Ward, 48 Jones, Ruth, 8 Ward, 122 Marsh, Katie, 20 Ward, 65 Jordan, Jazmin, 14 Ward, 13 Martin, Connie, 21 Ward, 9 Jordan, Sol Estelle, 14 Ward, 124 Martin, Heloise, 21 Ward, 19 Jorgensen, Virginia ( Jinny), 20 Ward, 86 Mason, Pam, 21 Ward, 98 Matthews, Kathryn, 11 Ward, 110 K McAllister, Kathleen, 12 Ward, 89 Kelsey, Pam, 20 Ward, 108 McCleve, Verree’, 11 Ward, 134 Kennedy, Bonnie, 20 Ward, 42 McNamee, Melody, 11 Ward, 127 Knoch, Karin, 20 Ward, 35 McNamee, Tasha, 13 Ward, 50 Kuhlmann, Leanne, 11 Ward, 103 Meeks, Kathy, 21 Ward, 67 L Meik, Cathy, 1 Ward, 119 Lawrence, Jeri, 8 Ward, 79 Meng, Leah, 8 Ward, 97 Leavitt, Danielle, 21 Ward, 37 Mildenhall, Leslie, 14 Ward, 91 LeFevre, Kate, 20 Ward, 47 Miller, Marie, 17 Ward, 133 Lenz, Helen, 21 Ward, 27 Miller, Patricia Ruth Major, 21 Ward, 81 Lichfield, Karen, 11 Ward, 72 Molyneux, Kim, 14 Ward, 63 Lichfield, Patti, 12 Ward, 121 Moore, Beth Shumway, 21 Ward, 132 Lockhart, LaRue, 2 Ward, 41 Morgan, Bobbie, 13 Ward, 19 Ludtke, Moya, 11 Ward, 100 Moses, Sharon Pearl Horton, 21 Ward, 136 Lybyer, Jody, 20 Ward, 18 Mott, Anita, 2 Ward, 51 M Myers, Barbara, 20 Ward, 50 Macbeth, Brenda, 20 Ward, 65 N Mangelson, Donna, 20 Ward, 10 Nelson, Buffy, 13 Ward, 130 Manzione, Mary Jane, 21 Ward, 90148
    • OOlds, Cheri V., 12 Ward, 68 Riddle, Tonya Barrow, 20 Ward, 102Olsen, Judy, 14 Ward, 142 Rix, Kristine, 20 Ward, 40Olson, Lora, 21 Ward, 92 Robinson, Carolyn, 11 Ward, 64 Rowzee, Saundra L., 12 Ward, 20P Ruesch, Amanda, 13 Ward, 22Park, Donna M., 20 Ward, 29Parker, Carrie, 20 Ward, 23 SParker, Sharron, 2 Ward, 131 Sanders, Arla, 2 Ward, 129Passmore, Joyce, 17 Ward, 69 Sauers, Carol, 1 Ward, 46Peck, Stephanie, 14 Ward, 1 Scott, Valerie, 20 Ward, 123Pemberton, Leah, 13 Ward, 5 Segler, Carol, 2 Ward, 139Pennington, Mary Jo, 1 Ward, 141 Shaw, Darian, 11 Ward, 4Perkes, Kathy, 11 Ward, 112 Shaw, Rachael, 14 Ward, 44Perkins, Janet, 13 Ward, 63 Shoemaker, Joan, 11 Ward, 69Peterson, Loretta, 11 Ward, 81 Simkins, Megan, 1 Ward, 76Peterson, Penny, 20 Ward, 121 Sip, Elna, 2 Ward, 62Pollock, Alisha, 14 Ward, 26 Slack, Irene Prisbrey, 21 Ward, 82Puffer, Connie, 13 Ward, 58 Smart, Lyndy, 17 Ward, 43 Smart, Wendy, 14 Ward, 123Q Smith, Barbara G., 21 Ward, 38Quinn-Gubler, Maxine J., 7 Ward, 110 Smith, Helen, 21 Ward, 57R Smith, Hella, 21 Ward, 67Ramsay, Tabitha, 13 Ward, 16 Smith, Megan, 20 Ward, 2Reed, Carolyn, 2 Ward, 44 Sorensen, Margaret, 11 Ward, 60Reed, Jane, 1 Ward, 71 Spackman, Valerie, 20 Ward, 30Rhodes, Rhonda, 13 Ward, 104 149
    • Spendlove, Dolores W., 8 Ward, 34 Vick, Janice L., 7 Ward, 4 Stake Submission, viii, ix, 36, 49, 52, 75, 120, 135 Voyles, Susan, 11 Ward, 79 Stanton, Eluned (Lyn), 21 Ward, 74 W Stewart, Jodi, 14 Ward, 10 Wade, Terra, 7 Ward, 117 Stewart, Melissa, 17 Ward, 83 Watterson, Diann, 21 Ward, 24 Stokes, Peggy, 7 Ward, 15 Webster, Pamela H., 14 Ward, 88 Storrs, Shirley, 12 Ward, 129 Welch, Dolores C., 13 Ward, 117 Stover, Rebecca, 14 Ward, 118 Wheeler, Connie, 20 Ward, 56 Stowe-St.Clair, Joyce, 20 Ward, 126 Wheeler, Donna (Ned), 20 Ward, 22 Stubblefield, Loretta Winder, 20 Ward, 95 Whitaker, Gerda, 12 Ward, 91 Summerhays, Karen, 20 Ward, 82 White, Carol, 11 Ward, 42 Supplements, vi, 6, 33, 84, 85, 115, 143, 144, 145 Whiting, Kaye, 11 Ward, 104 T Wiese, Susan, 13 Ward, 9 Tait, Debra, 21 Ward, 14 Wilburn, April, 17 Ward, 140 Taylor, Heidi, 17 Ward, 59 Wilburn, Colleen, 17 Ward, 62 Taylor, Leslie, 14 Ward, 24 Wolsleger, Shawna, 14 Ward, 3 Thomas, L. Louise, 2 Ward, 87 Wright, Heidi, 17 Ward, 116 Thompson, Cherie Lee, 12 Ward, 28 Wright, Jessica, 12 Ward, 12 Thompson, Elaine, 21 Ward, 47 Wylie, Nelda, 20 Ward, 124 Thompson, Mary L., 21 Ward, 96 Y Tisdale, Michele L. Wilcox, 2 Ward, 137 Yoder, Kathryn, 8 Ward, 86 Turley, Chauncey, 13 Ward, 26 Tuttle, Holly, 11 Ward, 11 V Vanderhorst, Harmony, 1 Ward, 8150