Testimonies of Miracles and Answered Prayers
The sacrament is very important to me. A few years ago I took a job working on a project for an oil company in Alaska. In that environment, thousands of oilfield workers and managers work on a rotating schedule- they fly up and live in dorms for weeks at a time, then go home to their families for weeks at a time, then repeat.
Before I left, I had no clue how I would find a weekly sacrament meeting in the dorm buildings of the Alaskan oil fields. I said a prayer and asked God to help me find a way to take the sacrament regularly there.
To get a dorm room assignment, you submit a form and there are a couple of staffers who put your request into a database that finds an available dorm room for the time you have requested. They do this scheduling continuously for the thousand of workers who rotate in and out of there. When I finally got to my building after a morning flight, I went inside to the front desk and they gave me my assigned dorm room. When I got to the room, the guy who stayed there before me had not fully cleared out; his luggage was on the floor. I assumed he did not yet have a place to take his luggage, and figured he would come back and remove it later in the day. I dropped my bags on the floor and laid my scriptures on a table, and went off to work. After work I went back to that dorm room, and the other guy had taken his stuff out. Next to my scriptures, he had left a note scribbled on the back of a tithing envelope, letting me know the building and room and time of the weekly sacrament meetings for Latter-Day Saints.
A few days later I went to sacrament meeting, and that guy was there. He and I were the only Latter-Day Saints out of thousands of workers up there. He told me that he had been transferred to another room but didn’t have time to move his bags that morning of my arrival, but when he went back to retrieve them he saw my scriptures on the table in the room and felt like it would be a good idea to let me know where sacrament meeting was.
On a trip to a nearby city in Estonia, I saw a man begging for money. Amazingly, I recognized him from when I served as a missionary in that city 10 years earlier. He was carrying a big bag of plastic bottles, just as before, to collect for recycling money….
I figured this might be the last time I saw him, and I felt like I should give him something. The problem was I only had a bill that was worth more than I was willing to give. I cringed at the choice I had––give him nothing or give him more than I wanted. I decided it wouldn’t really make a big difference for me and it would make his day, so I gave him the money.
Less than two days later I found myself in a similar situation, but this time I was the one begging for mercy. I had mixed up the date for an important scholarship application. I thought I had turned it in two weeks early, but I was horrified when I double-checked the date and saw that I had sent it in one day late.
The sum of the scholarship was exactly 100 times the amount I had given to the beggar, and the irony was not lost on me. I found myself begging for mercy, both in prayer to my Heavenly Father and via email to the university officials. They said they would include the application but note it was late.
My prayer was answered and I was blessed to receive the scholarship, which financially helped my wife and me a lot. But more importantly this experience taught me a valuable lesson: are we not all beggars before God?
“She doesn’t have a car seat for her baby. I could give her mine.”
And then I talked myself out of it.
“She probably doesn’t speak English. I might offend her. My car seat is awfully worn; maybe she wouldn’t want it. If she did, how would I replace it?”
So I did nothing.
She slipped into the driver’s seat and drove away.
Before I reached the library’s doors, regret engulfed me. I knew I had made the wrong choice, and there was no way to undo it.
I pulled on the doors but they didn’t budge. The library hadn’t opened yet. I spent the rest of my errand run endlessly replaying the scene, haunted by the fact that I had done nothing.
After my last errand, I decided to try the library again. I pulled into the same parking spot as before. To my surprise, I saw the same mother and son parked beside me again. An immense burden lifted from my heart.
This time I acted without hesitation. I unbuckled my child’s car seat and approached the young mother. She didn’t speak English. With gestures, I pointed to her baby and the car seat and her car. Together we buckled the car seat in the car. As I showed her how to use it, I realized I already knew the only Spanish I needed to know: “gracias.”
My heart overflowed with gratitude to a merciful Heavenly Father for giving me a second chance to help a sister in need.
I added one final errand to the list—a nearby thrift store. I buckled in my daughter and drove carefully to the store. In the back corner of the shop, sitting on the floor, was a car seat—identical to the one I had just given away and just as worn. I purchased it, awed and humbled at the morning’s sequence of events.
When I was in college, one summer I decided I wanted to do all of my home teaching and not miss a single monthly appointment. I prayed and asked God for help. I did great until the end of the summer, when I called the apartment of a girl I home taught, and her roommate told me she was gone for the rest of that month, on tour with a choir group. My heart sank, because I couldn’t see how my prayer for help to serve with full home teaching that summer could be answered.
A couple of weeks later I flew home from Utah to Los Angeles for a visit. Walking through the airport in LA packed with tens of thousands of people, I happened to see the girl who I home taught. Flying around the US in her choir travels, she had a quick layover in LA, right at the same time I was also passing through the airport. I asked her if we could have a quick home teaching visit and she laughed and agreed, and said she thought it was a “home teaching miracle.”
Much to my dismay and astonishment, negativity crept into my life. I felt ignored, useless, and invisible to family, friends, and ward members. I indulged in self-pity and felt resentful toward others.
One Sunday, I sat in the back of the chapel. I watched a friendly and outgoing sister meet with other ward members. She was kind and generous to everyone.
“But,” I thought, “she has never asked how I am doing, she has never offered her condolences, she has never validated how hard my husband’s passing has been for me!”
These negative thoughts continued as the sacrament hymn began. I felt I could not partake of the sacrament with such resentful feelings in my heart.
“You must ask for help to get rid of these feelings now!” I thought.
I prayed for the darkness to be removed. This sister did not deserve my resentment in the slightest. I prayed for forgiveness and for help to let go of my resentment. By the time a deacon stood in front of me with the sacrament tray, I felt I could partake of the sacrament. Throughout the next week, I continued to pray for guidance.
The next Sunday, I walked into the foyer and saw the woman I had focused on the week before.
“Oh, Carol!” she said. “I have been thinking so much about you! I can only imagine how difficult things have been for you. You were your husband’s caregiver for so long. This must be a difficult adjustment for you. How are you doing?”
We talked for a few minutes, and she gave me a wonderful hug. I was speechless! I sat down on my usual bench in the chapel with a big smile. Immediately I thanked my Father in Heaven. He had sent this good sister a memo to say the words I needed to hear.
Upon arrival at the mission home, we realized that all of our property had indeed been stolen. The loss of the clothing and a large amount of cash created an immediate but only temporary problem. What was more disheartening was that my scriptures were in the stolen briefcase along with the inspired ideas I had just received in Cochabamba. I was overwhelmed with discouragement, anger, and feelings of helplessness.
A few days later I returned to Bolivia and discovered that a lady had been in a marketplace—one of hundreds in La Paz—and saw a drunken man waving around a black book. She was a member of a protestant church and had a strong spiritual impression that something holy was being desecrated. She approached the man and asked him what it was. He did not know but showed her the book. She asked if he had anything else. He pulled out another black book. She asked if there was more. He removed a folder full of papers that he said he was going to burn. She then asked to purchase those things from him, to which he agreed, for the price of 50 pesos (about U.S. $2.50).
Afterward, she felt unsure why she had purchased the books. They were in English, but she didn’t even know English. And they had been expensive—nearly 10 percent of her monthly income. She had no reason to buy the books except for her spiritual impression. She immediately began a search for the church that was named on the front of the books: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After approaching a number of churches, she finally arrived at the mission office of the Church in La Paz. She hadn’t heard about the reward or seen the ad in the newspaper, which was to appear that day. She did not ask for any money, not even to reclaim the 50 pesos she had paid. The elders received the books with joy and paid her the reward anyway.
She told the missionaries that she was associated with a Pentecostal sect but listened intently as they told her about the gospel. She recalled reading something about Joseph Smith from a pamphlet she had picked up in the street two or three years previously. She accepted the missionary lessons, and after the second lesson, she committed to baptism. Two weeks later, on September 11, 1977, on a Sunday afternoon at a branch in La Paz, Bolivia, Maria Cloefe Cardenas Terrazas and her son Marco Fernando Miranda Cardenas, age 12, were baptized by Elder Douglas Reeder.
From then on, Marco suffered seizures off and on for the next five years. When we took him to bed each evening, we wondered if in the middle of the night, we would again have to rush him to the hospital. We had a difficult time sleeping during those stressful years, and we relied on prayer, faith, fasting, and priesthood blessings.
When Marco was about six, Marianela called me at work and told me to hurry to the hospital. Marco had suffered a serious seizure and was in a coma. When she called, I was working on the renovation of the Argentina Missionary Training Center, located adjacent to the Buenos Aires Argentina Temple.
Before I left for the hospital, a friend and fellow worker said, “Since we’re so close to the house of the Lord, why don’t we pray together first?” The temple was closed for renovation and expansion, but we approached the Lord’s house, where I prayed for Marco.
Despite everything we had gone through with Marco, I felt gratitude to God for the time Marianela and I had been able to share with him. As I prayed, I told Heavenly Father that we had tried to be good parents and had taken care of Marco the best we could. I also told Him that we would accept His will if He called Marco home.
When I arrived at the hospital, I didn’t know if Marco would survive the coma or, if he came out of it, whether he would be able to walk or talk again. After a grueling two hours, he awoke. He was exhausted, but he was all right. From then on, miraculously, he improved. Eventually, Marco was weaned off his medication and released for good from the hospital.
Marianela and I look back on that difficult time grateful that we still have Marco and grateful for the things we learned. Our trial united us and made us stronger spiritually. Without it, we might not have learned to recognize the many ways the Lord shows His hand in our lives.
When I was about 15 years old and our ward scout troop went on a 45-mile hike over Glen Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. At the end of the hike we were dirty and sweaty, and next to the parking area where our cars were, we found a path leading to a clear, cool river. We unlocked the SUV and van we had brought, put our packs into those vehicles, and jumped in the river.
After we were done cooling off, we went back to the cars and got ready to leave, but the adult leader who had brought the van could not find its keys. We searched everywhere to no avail, then gathered around for a prayer. We prayed that the Lord would show us where the keys were, then went back out to search…again, to no avail. We repeated that process with the same dispiriting outcome, and then decided that we would go to a lodge up the road and call for a locksmith to drive into the mountains to where we were, to get the van started for the 4-hour drive home.
I went with our YM leader in the SUV and we drove up to the lodge. He went in and after a minute or two, he came walking back out with a stranger. Our leader related that he had gone in to the front counter of the lodge and told them he needed help getting a locksmith to start the van, and there was a man at the counter who overheard the conversation. He inserted himself into the conversation and asked what the make and model of the van was, and when our YM leader told him, the man said that in his job, he had helped to develop the ignition system for that specific model of Dodge van. We drove him back to our van and opened the hood, and within a minute or two he had started the van. He was someone with very specific resources to offer us, and had been placed exactly where he was needed to answer our prayer for revelation.
Elaine Cannon and Liz Price:
…someone called the elders. When they arrived and preparations were under way to anoint and bless her husband, Liz was stunned as she sensed something different in the room. Her heart began to pound and tears flowed freely from her eyes. When the prayer was finished and the attendants continued their emergency measures, the tube slipped right into place down the man’s throat. Liz describes what followed:
Prayers were immediately answered! That had never happened to me before. My husband did not live, but I was comforted. Imagine! I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt Jesus Christ lived. My whole understanding of the meaning of life and the place of the Savior in it opened up. A few years later our eighteen-year-old son was killed on his birthday. Next week, a good friend will do the temple work for our son, and then our family will be sealed. How can I express my feelings about the Lord? He lives and my loved ones live, wherever they are in heaven. I feel closer to my husband now than when I was a loveblind newlywed. I saw through a glass darkly before. Timing is everything, isn’t it? Oh, I know the Lord lives and answers prayers. I have a way to go, but I know that and my joy is overflowing.
I sat there and I listened and I thought “There’s no way in hell I’m going to be baptized tomorrow.”…
“This is the restored gospel, and you are to join.”
No mention of the priesthood restriction, whether it was of God or of man, whatever- just “This is the restored gospel.”So based on that, and based on my Christian upbringing…when you hear that voice, that voice of deity…you have a very clear choice. And so the next day I was baptized.
One night when Pedrito was almost ten months old, Nancy dreamed that she saw through her kitchen window—instead of the usual array of crowded buildings—a beautiful, spacious lawn extending as far as she could see. In the distance a man was digging in the earth. She approached him and asked,
“What are you doing?”
Then Nancy saw an unusual tree nearby. “What is the purpose of that tree?” she asked.
“The tree holds the cure for Pedrito’s illness,” replied the stranger.
Before the stranger could answer, Nancy saw a man in the distance, standing at the window of a house, looking at her. Immediately he and another man, both dressed in white, left the house and approached her.Frightened, Nancy ran trembling into her own house and bolted the door. They came to her barred window, looked in at her, and asked, “Why are you afraid?”
“Because—because I’m here alone with my sick child.”
“But do you not know that bolted doors and barred windows cannot keep us out?” they asked kindly. “We were sent by God to help you because of your faith and your diligence in studying the Bible and seeking the word of God.”
As we passed through a populated street, we heard a faint voice calling to us from a low-fenced compound. We looked over the fence and saw a middle-aged man lying flat on his stomach by the gate.
He bade us come in, but there was no way we could enter the compound. The gate was locked and we thought that scaling over the fence would be unethical. I was prompted to check the padlock on the gate again. After a few minutes we managed to remove the padlock from the outside and open the gate. We could see that the man had been sick and unattended to. He explained that he had been ill and felt intense pain that prevented him from standing up.
After talking with him, we followed him as he crept back into his house. He asked that we pray for him, and we offered to give him a blessing. When we laid our hands upon his head, I felt a lump in my throat and couldn’t utter a word. Fear came over me, I began to shake and sweat, and tears flowed down my cheeks. I struggled to pray aloud, so I began to pray in my heart that Heavenly Father would loosen my tongue according to His will.
Suddenly, my tongue gained utterance. I knew I was speaking, but I wasn’t in control of the words. I just heard my own voice asking Heavenly Father to heal this suffering man. Before we said amen, the man had fallen asleep. We left him and went to our other appointments but planned to come back on our way to our apartment to check on him.
We returned and to my great astonishment, the man came running toward us, shouting, “It worked! It worked!” We were so overwhelmed with joy I couldn’t hold back my tears.
In sacrament meeting the following Sunday, the bishop suddenly paused at the pulpit and looked straight at the chapel door. We looked back and saw the man we had blessed. The bishop knew him and was surprised at his entering a church. From then on, the man attended sacrament meetings and other classes regularly. I was eventually transferred out of the area.
There was a knock at the door. We dried our eyes, and I answered it. It was one of the ward members with two missionaries. He apologized for stopping by without an appointment but said they were in the neighborhood and had a feeling they should stop by. He asked if there was anything they could do for us. I said, “Yes, could you please give my son a blessing?” They proceeded to anoint Forrest with consecrated oil and give him a blessing of health. I thanked them, and they excused themselves.
One experience stands out in my mind. We prepared and prayed before going to visit one of our sisters. As we approached her house, we realized we had actually driven to a different sister’s house! We were assigned to visit this sister, a less-active mother of two young children, but had not planned to visit her that day. Because we were there, we knocked, but nobody answered.
We decided to be persistent and wait. The sister, Monica, eventually came and told us she was busy. We noticed she was tired and almost in tears. When we said we were there to help, she allowed us to enter. Her baby was crying, so we told her to take care of her baby and we would wait. When Monica went upstairs with the baby, we got to work, cleaning several rooms and folding all the clothes we could see.
When Monica saw how nice her house looked, she started crying, opened her heart to us, and shared some of her challenges. We promised to help her, and we talked to the Relief Society president about her challenges. The following Sunday, Monica was in church.
Monica became an active, happy sister, and we continued to minister to her with love and care. She still had the same challenges, but she was able to deal with them with more faith and courage because of her activity in the Church.
I’m so grateful for Graça’s example as we served together. We had prayed for guidance, and God had led us to Monica.
I was reminded of the counsel I heard Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles give at the missionary training center in Lima, Peru, while I was a teacher there: “Follow the first impression.” I immediately called my home teaching companion, but he did not answer. I decided to go anyway.
I left the house and noticed a young priest in my ward walking down the street. I approached him and asked if he would accompany me. He agreed. At the first home, the brother opened the door. I told him I felt I needed to see him. He smiled and told us he was having an operation the next day and would appreciate a blessing. I gave him a blessing, and we left for our next visit.
It was 8:40 p.m. when we arrived at the next family’s house. They were surprised to see us because it was so late. We entered their home and noticed that the father was sick. I offered to give him a blessing.
As we returned home, I shared Moroni 7:13 with my young companion: “Every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”
I told him that what had just happened was no accident because I had received a prompting. He said he believed it because before I approached him, he had prayed to know how to recognize the Spirit.
Candace Pert (non-LDS, professor at Georgetown University):
As I admire the new addition to my collection, my eye is caught by the colorful rug hanging on the adjacent wall. My mystical rug, I call it, because the design has mystical overtones: a dawning sun surrounded by yellow sunflowers and large black birds. But its real significance is that it first appeared to me in a dream the night before I left for a gathering sponsored by Brigham Young University—The Psychobiology of Health and Wellness, a Conference on Healing and the Mind—which was held in 1995 in Provo, Utah. I dreamt I was on my way to some very important place, to make a presentation perhaps, when suddenly I realized I was completely naked. I was feeling very frightened and dejected, as if I'd been cast out into the wilderness with no protection, when, magically, as if from thin air, a rug appeared and wrapped itself around me.
She remembers, “I went and stood where her car would have been parked and I just said, ‘God, where did she go? Where did she go from here? Lead me.’ And I started walking.”
Hiking through waist-high ferns, over moss-covered boulders, and around trees that grew leaves as big as her head, McGranahan eventually reached the top of Munra Point. Looking down from the slim peak, McGranahan could see why someone would brave the off-trail hike: the view was magnificent and overlooked much of the lush river gorge.
“As I was up there, I really felt strongly in my spirit that [Annie was] going to be found somewhere on Munra,” she remembers.
But McGranahan didn’t have much time to look around that day. It was getting late, and by the time she made it back to base camp, almost everyone had left for the evening. That night, however, she had a dream.
“In the dream, I was falling [from a cliff], and as I’m falling, I’m seeing Annie’s face. But I’m feeling my body falling. In my dream I remember questioning, ‘Well, is it Annie, or is it me who’s falling?’ . . . But before either of us even hit the ground, I woke up.” She woke to the name “Munra” resounding in her mind and on her lips.
Without a doubt, McGranahan knew where to find Annie.
...Not long after the fast, McGranahan was picking up her daughter from her church’s youth worship activity when she had another unusual experience.
McGranahan’s daughter asked her if she had found Annie that day. When she said no, McGranahan’s daughter said, “I heard God say you’re going to be the one who finds Annie.”
McGranahan didn’t know whether or not she believed this. With so many volunteers searching the Columbia River Gorge, it was likely she would not be the one to discover Annie.
...While hiking the tough, off-trail terrain of Munra yet again, one of the search dogs put his nose in the air and took off.
“At this point, I’m crying because I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re going to find her today,’” McGranahan shares. “In that moment, I just heard Annie’s voice, and I didn’t even know her voice at the time. . . . She was singing ‘Amazing Grace.’”
But as McGranahan and the search and rescue dog and its handler reached the bottom of a cliff ledge, it became apparent that the scent had been lost. She and the handler called in the location, but it was soon time to head back to base camp for the day.
“After days of constant rain, the day we found Annie had an unbelievably colorful sunrise,” Harding says. “And as I look back on that, the heavens did open for us that day.”