Examples of faith
1. Faith to obey the prophet brought the miracle in Sierra Leone
"A miracle came through obedience," Peter Evans, Deseret News - Church News, Jan. 1, 2011 & Choose to Obey 2 Sep. 2012 p. 16. -------
Two years after the first convert baptisms in Sierra Leone in June 1988, members of the Church of Jesus Chrilst of Latter-day Saints, began meeting in their homes in the country's second-largest city. In August of
1990, a branch was organized in Bo. Soon, three congregations were meeting in rented buildings in the city. Uniformly, members shared a great enthusiasm for the growth of the Church in their country.
later, in January 1991, the mission president in the city received a letter from Church President Ezra Taft Benson.
The prophet asked the Latter-day Saints in Bo to abandon their
meetinghouses and to gather again in their homes to worship. The news was very discouraging for the local Latter-day Saint leaders, who felt that the rented buildings were an important milestone for the Church in Sierra Leone. Members were also disappointed
and unhappy about the request. Some wondered why a prophet in Utah cared about where they met. Others questioned whether or not the prophet understood their circumstances.
But a core group of strong members made the
decision to obey. They closed their chapel doors and began holding worship services in their homes.
In March 1991 — just months after President Benson asked them to leave their rented meetinghouses — civil war erupted in Sierra Leone. In the midst of war, churches were frequently targeted by rebels; thousands lost their lives while worshipping God.
Latter-day Saints in the country were safe from harm, obediently worshipping in their homes. Mustafa Touray, the first branch president in the country, spoke of the miracle that came through obedience. "No member of the Church died in Bo during
the war ———— not one. The LDS Church was the only church that continued operating during the war in Bo ———— the only one. Every other church closed its doors. It was too dangerous for the people to walk to church
and too dangerous to sit and worship.
"None of us (the Latter-day Saints) had any problem during the war. We worshipped through the whole war no matter how grave the situation was. Because we were obedient, our members
received this great blessing".
Prayer brought a miracle on Cook inlet that saved our lives.
"As I looked out over the expanse of white-capped waves, I knew our lives were out of our hands. Only the Master of the seas could save us now". --Michael R. Johnson, "Capsized!"Ensign, Mar. 2001, 30
When Frank, an elderly friend in our ward, invited me and my two young sons on a day-long fishing trip on his 19-foot boat, I jumped at
the chance. I’’d been itching to take seven-year-old Trevor and nine-year-old Darion on a fishing adventure for halibut and salmon, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
We left the boat dock in Kenai, Alaska, at 4:30 A.M. for a 100-mile trip across the pristine, frigid waters of Cook Inlet. The previous two days had been warm and beautiful, but the water of Cook Inlet remained just above freezing.
Around 8:45 A.M. the waters started to get a little rough, with four- to five-foot swells. We had covered about half the trip when the waves became even larger, so Frank and I decided to head west for shelter toward Chizick
Island. We had gone west only 15 minutes when the engine suddenly sputtered and died. Seeing the oil light on, Frank filled the oil reservoir. The engine started but died again after 20 seconds. By now we were aware of the excessive water gathering on the
deck of the boat. Frank tried the motor again, but now there was no response.
I knew then that we were in serious trouble. I gave Darion a bucket and told him to start bailing water. The boys were already wearing
life preservers; I put mine on and threw another to Frank. Both boys started to cry for their mother. Frank called a mayday on the radio several times before he got a response. He said our location was five miles south of Chizick Island.
"Five miles to the east of the island!" I yelled, but it was too late. I saw Frank grab Trevor’s hand as the boat flipped over. In an instant, everything was cold and dark. I looked up through
turquoise water and saw the silhouette of the boat as heavy gear entangled in my life jacket pulled me downward. As I continued to sink, the pressure in my ears was painful and I became desperate for air. Somehow I managed to pull myself free and swim
to the surface. I was only 20 feet from the boat, but it took me two minutes to swim back against the current. I found Darion clinging to a trailing rope from the boat, screaming for me and Trevor as the waves pounded him. Frank had managed to climb the railing
on the bow of the boat to the surface, but he had been hit on the head when the boat flipped and had lost hold of Trevor. I felt a horrid sinking feeling when he looked at me and said, "Trevor’s not up yet."
Desperate to find my son, I swam over to the hull and yelled for him, hoping he had come up on the other side. There was no answer.
I was reaching beneath the surface for the boat’s railing, trying to
pull myself under the boat to look for Trevor, when I felt a small hand against mine. I pulled my son’s small body deeper to clear the railing, then pulled him up to the surface. I expected to see him lifeless, but to my amazement his eyes looked into
mine and he didn’’t even gasp for air. I felt an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness; I knew Trevor had been protected. He’d been sucked into the cabin as the boat capsized, then pulled the doors open and swam out. Unable to pull himself
deep enough to clear the railing, he’’’’d been trapped against the deck until I freed him.
I told Trevor to hold onto my life preserver and not let go. I tried to hang on to the hull, but larger
waves kept washing us away from the boat. Fearing we’’d be lost at sea, I desperately struggled to get back to the boat each time a wave swept us away. I knew I could not keep this up for long.
myself beginning to suffer from hypothermia. The boys were shivering uncontrollably.
Frank suggested we put them up on the hull. He helped me pull the boys up. I realized I was losing
muscle coordination when it took me four attempts to get my foot on the railing to pull myself up. The boys lay down on their stomachs and I lay on top of them, trying to keep them warm. Every third or fourth wave would splash over us, nearly knocking us off.
This was the first chance we’’d had to speak and rest. We prayed and asked Father in Heaven for help. As I looked out over the ocean and saw the endless expanse of
white-capped waves and gray skies, I knew our lives were out of our hands. Only the Master of the seas could save us now; we could only wait.
Soon we heard the sound
of an airplane coming from the west. Filled with hope, I rose to wave.
But the searchers did not see us and passed by. I felt some comfort knowing they were looking for us, but the rescuers would be looking in the
wrong place since we had given the wrong location during our may day call.
I continued to pray in my heart, but the hull was slowly getting lower in the water. My sons
had stopped crying and shivering now and were lying limply against the boat. I lifted Trevor’s face. His lips were blue, his eyes glassy, and his skin colorless. He said he wanted to go to sleep. He seemed to be dying. Darion was in only slightly
better condition. I saw that Frank’s lips were also turning blue. I, too, had stopped shivering and felt completely numb. I hugged my boys close, savoring my last moments with them. I pictured my wife and tried through my thoughts to send her a message
that I loved her.
The next little while was all a blur, but somehow I slowly became conscious of a small black speck on the horizon. The speck continued to grow larger, and within
minutes I saw a ship near our boat launch a small inflatable raft. Soon there were two men next to the hull helping us into the raft. Once again I felt an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness; the Lord had saved our lives.
The ship’’s crew pulled us on board and placed us in warm beds while they treated us for hypothermia. Within two hours we were all nearly recovered.
I spoke with the captain of the vessel in the pilot room. He informed me that quite a number of boats had responded to the mayday call, but everyone
had gone south of the island to look for us. He said he was also heading south when he felt something tell him to head east.
He even felt impressed to go to certain
I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who hears our prayers. I am thankful for a God who inspires through a still, small voice and for a sea captain who listened. And I am grateful for the lives of my children and for every day I have to spend with them
3. The Phone
Switched Off, My mother-in-law told me that baptism for the dead was not Christ’s doctrine but rather something the Mormons had made up. But faith and prayer brought a miracle. ----Seda Meliksetyan,
In March 1997, while living in the Russian city of Rostovon, Don, my husband and I were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I studied the doctrines of the Church, many of my questions
were answered. It was interesting to learn about the plan of salvation, including the practice of baptism for the dead. I was surprised to learn that we could be baptized for our deceased ancestors.
A year after our
baptism, the mission president invited us to prepare to go to the temple. As part of our preparation, we started doing family history research. One day as I was thinking about doing this work, the phone rang. It was my mother-in-law. I asked her
if she would send me a list of the deceased ancestors on my husband’’s side of the family. She was amazed and told me that baptism for the dead was not Christ’’s doctrine but rather something the Mormons had made up.
I wasn’’t sure how to answer her because I wasn’’t familiar with scriptural references that supported the doctrine. As I was thinking about how to respond, the phone
switched off. I was unsure for a minute what had happened, but I hung up the phone and went to my bedroom. I took the New Testament into my hands, knelt to pray, and asked Heavenly Father to show me where I could find the answer.
At the end of my prayer, I opened the Bible. I felt as if someone had told me to read the 29th verse on the very page I had opened. I was in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, which talks about the doctrine of baptism for the dead.
I was touched and surprised that Heavenly Father had answered my prayer at that very moment. It was a wonderful feeling.
I was thinking deeply about this
experience when suddenly the phone rang again. It was my mother-in-law, asking me why the phone had switched off. I told her I didn’’t know but then asked her to open her Bible and read 1 Corinthians 15:29.
A few days later a list of deceased relatives was on my table. My mother-in-law had read the scripture and now believed that the Savior, through the Apostle Paul, had taught the doctrine
of baptism for the dead. God has promised great blessings to those who do this redemptive work. I know this to be true. ( See also Hebrews 11:37-40 and I Peter3:18-19; 4:6).