God answers prayer and guides His church
Jesus' Work Today
This is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal
life of Man. -- Moses 1:39
The light of Christ is given to every man that he may know good from evil.
- Moroni 7:16
Grabbing the Strong Roots
Melsida Hakobyan, Armenia
When I was a schoolgirl in Russia, I read a scary story about two boys who encountered a bear in a
forest. Years later, after I had become a teacher, some friends asked me to join them on a trip to collect mushrooms. The forest still scared me, but I agreed to go with them.
Entering the forest, I grabbed a wooden stick so I could defend myself
in case I ran into a bear. My friends soon found the brown mushrooms they were looking for. I, on the other hand, was looking for mushrooms with bright red tops, so I started off in a different direction. Before I knew it, I was alone.
I was searching, I slipped and fell. My mushroom basket flew into the air, but I held tight to my stick. When I tried to get up, I noticed that the ground was muddy and sticky. To my horror, I realized that I had wandered into a swamp! My rubber boots quickly
filled with water, and I began to sink. I tried to move my legs, but instead of freeing myself, I was pulled deeper. When the mud reached my waist, deep fear engulfed me.
I cried out to my friends, but the only answer I heard
came from buzzing dragonflies and croaking frogs. As I began to weep, I suddenly remembered my mother. Whenever she was in a bad situation, she prayed. She often invited me to pray, but I always refused, answering, “There is no God.”
in my watery soon-to-be grave, there was nothing else I could do but pray and call upon God for help. “If You live, please help me!” I cried.
Almost immediately I heard a kind voice tell me, “Believe and be not afraid. Grab
the strong tree root.”
As I looked around, I saw a big tree root behind me. Using my stick, I was able to latch onto it. Something then gave me the power to pull myself out of the swamp.
Covered with mud, I fell to the
ground and thanked God for answering my prayer. I now believed that He lived. I had felt His presence and heard His voice, and He had given me power to pull myself free.
A short time later, when the full-time missionaries taught me that the
Prophet Joseph Smith had received an answer to his prayer in the Sacred Grove, I believed them. After all, God had answered my prayer in a
forest. I latched onto the strong roots of the gospel, was baptized soon thereafter, and serve today in the Gyumri Branch in Armenia.
I know Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and I’m grateful to be a member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m also grateful for the many other blessings I have received from Heavenly Father, especially for His answer to an atheist’s
prayer in the forest many years ago. -- Ensign, Oct. 2009, page 72.
Prayer for rain on the South Pacific
Prayer caused a miracle that saved their lives. -------------------------------
On Oct. 21, 1942, Capt. William Cherry, Jr., Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Col. Hans Adamson and Sgt. Alexander Kaczmarczyk, looking for Canton Island, an atoll about 1,600 miles southwest of
Hawaii lost the target and, low on fuel, had to crash land in the ocean. During the 21 days adrift they had no water and only 4 oranges and what fish or fowl they could catch to eat for the three of them (Kaczmrczyk had died and was buried at sea). On one occasion they saw a small cloud drifting downwind away them. Something came into Eddie, who was a professed atheist, that God could give them water out of that cloud. He volunteered to ask for his intervention. After
the prayer the cloud moving against the wind came directly over the raft and began to deliver rain to them. They filled their shirts and other implements with the rain water which aided their survival. --- God does answer prayer!
See: Rickenbacker, Edward V. Rickenbacker: An Autobiography. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., Oct. 1967
Adrift for 21 days on the Pacific ocean without water.
Prayer guided the Captain and ship to their coordinates after capsizing on Cook Inlet.
Michael Johnson, his two boys ages 7 & 9 and a Friend, Frank had launched a 19 foot boat into
Cook Inlet at Kenai, Alaska about 4:30 A.M on a day long fishing trip.
“By 9:00 the waters were rough and getting worse rapidly so we decided to head for
Chizick island only 15 minutes before the motor died and could not be started.
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.
The water was barely above freezing and with the waves pounding matters became
serious quickly. 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. An airplane flew over and I rose to wave but the searchers did not see
us and flew 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.
Cook Inlet, Alaska
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. Later, 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
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 and my wife.
--- “Capsized!” Ensign, Mar. 2001, p. 30. ---- God does answer prayer!
Prayer for Rain on the Desert
(-1-) Young Robert Hemphill Gillespie (Bob) was 16 in 1870 and had gained a reputation as
a good hand with horses and cattle and as a hard worker in the Salt Lake valley.
Bob already had a fine horse and the necessary gear for it. This was quite an
accomplishment for such a young man, especially one who had been on his
own with no home or parents since he was nine. He had proven himself to
be trustworthy and dependable, and people liked to hire him.
One a June day that year, Bob accepted a job that required him to cross a hundred
miles of the Great Salt Lake Desert. Today, one can cross this desert in a
comfortable, air-conditioned car on a fine paved highway in less than two
hours. But on that day 130 years ago, it was just Bob and his horse with the
sand, heat, lizards, snakes, and only the water he carried with him. Friends
had told him to “be sure and take along some water,” so he filled a three-
quart canteen and set off.
Bob had never crossed a desert before and didn’t realize the danger
of needing water and having no place to get it. He used up all that he had
before even half the distance was covered. When he and his horse began to
really suffer, Bob figured they still had about sixty miles to go.
(-2-) He thought, Oh, if only I had saved some of the water! It was warm, but it
was wet! If only I hadn’t hung the canteen strap over my shoulder, where it
was so handy, I might have just a little left now!
He became very aware of how hot it was that June. He thought of all those
swallows of water he had kept taking, not in real need as he was now! In
desperate hope, he turned the canteen upside down above his mouth once
more. The water really was all gone! Fear made him urge his horse to go
faster——for a while. Then he noticed that his horse was sweating, so he
slowed it down.
Soon his tongue had swelled so much that he couldn’t close his mouth. His
fine horse was suffering, too. Strings of saliva hung from its mouth. We
have to have water! Bob said to himself.
(-3-) He remembered his mother teaching him to pray many years ago when he
was a small child. He had not prayed for quite some time but decided to do
it then. Looking around for a suitable place, he left the trail and found
a large, low place that must have been either a wash made by runoff water
long ago or a buffalo wallow. He dismounted, knelt, and began to pray,
pleading for water: “For a drink, Lord. Yes, and a drink for my poor horse,
too! My fine, good horse! Please, Lord!”
Bob thought of rain. “God, canst thou send rain, please?” he prayed. “Please
forgive me, Lord, but we need a drink. Please make it rain. Thank thee,
Having finished his prayer, Bob felt a little better. He climbed back up on
his horse and
(-4-) rode off again, still filled with thoughts of the heat, his thirst,
and his horse’’s thirst. Oh, my poor horse! ? He agonized. I love my horse.
I love my horse!
(-5-) Recalling that he had asked for rain, Bob began to scan the sky for clouds.
All he could find was one small cloud, far over on the southwest edge of
the horizon. It seemed only about as big as a saddle blanket. He watched
that cloud closely, wondering and thinking. After a bit, he noticed a little
wind coming toward him from the direction of that little cloud. Could it be
that it was drifting their way? It did seem a bit larger now, too. “Yes, Lord,”
he said aloud, “I prayed for rain.”
Soon a drop of water hit his hand, another hit the saddle horn, another hit
the horse, and another hit his hand. Suddenly there came a cloudburst from
that little puff of a cloud! Within a few minutes, water was coursing down
the trail and in the little ravine beside the trail, reaching almost to the
horse’’s knees! The horse bowed his head and drank. Bob dismounted, lay
on his belly, and drank his fill of the muddy water. Then he refilled his
(-6-) Refreshed, he and his mount continued on their way.
After riding just a short distance, the trail and the ground all around were
hot, dry, and dusty again. It was then that Bob fully realized what had
happened. Halting his horse, he again dismounted and knelt on the dusty
trail. Again he prayed with a full heart: “Thank Thee, Lord, for making the
rain from a small cloud in the desert, so my horse and I could get a
---- The Friend, June, 2000, p. 20. -------- God does answer prayer!
Faith to obey the prophet
Faith to obey the prophet brought a miracle during Sierra Leon civil war.
"A miracle came through obedience,"
Two years after the first convert baptisms in Sierra Leone in June 1988,
members 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.
Five months 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.
June 1988 saw the first convert baptisms in Sierra Leone. By end of 1990, three branches were meeting in rented buildings.
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
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.
March 23, 1991 civil war broke out in Sierra Leone
In the midst of war, churches were frequently targeted by rebels; thousands lost
their lives while worshiping God.
But Latter-day Saints in the country were safe from harm, obediently
worshiping 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
"None of us (the Latter-day Saints) had any problem during the war. We
worshiped through the whole war no matter how grave the situation was.
Because we were obedient, our members received this great blessing" ("A
miracle came through obedience, Deseret News - Church News, Jan. 1, 2011
& Choose to Obey 2 Sep 2012 p. 16. ----- The Lord guides His church through living prophets today.
Churches were frequently targeted by rebels in Bo. Thousands lost their lives while worshiping in Bo
One Hundred Pounds of Potatoes with Prayer
By Horst Scharffs, as told to Sandra Dawn Brimhall - Ensign July 1989 p. 52
Our family lived in Hamburg, Germany, during World War I when food was rationed.
City-dwellers often tried to purchase food from farmers, who sometimes
had a little surplus.
When I was fourteen years old, my mother gave me money for a railroad ticket and sent me to the country to try to buy food.
After a two-hour train ride, I arrived at a village where I disembarked and began walking door
to door. Though I visited more than forty houses, no one would sell me anything.
I was determined not to return home empty-handed and decided to walk the 4.5 kilometers to the next village where the train did not go. After walking about forty-five
minutes and visiting all the houses along the way, I found a farmer who sold me one hundred pounds of potatoes. I could not believe my luck! The most I had hoped for was a pound of butter or a few pounds of bacon.
The farmer lifted the sack of potatoes
crosswise onto my shoulders, and I started back the way I had come. Before long, I realized the difficulty of my task—the potatoes weighed at least as much as I did. If I dropped my load onto the roadside and rested, I feared that I might not be able
to lift it back onto my shoulders.
In the midst of this dilemma, I recalled my mother, who had taught me the scriptures and the
power of prayer. I remembered an episode in the Book of Mormon where the Nephites, who were in bondage to the Lamanites,
asked the Lord to lighten their burdens. The Lord had answered their prayers, and it occurred to me that the Lord might also lighten the weight of my burden. (See Mosiah 24:15.)
I began to pray. Instantly, I felt as if the load had been taken
off my shoulders. I was able to walk with ease all of the way to the train station without resting.
At the station, another miracle occurred. Village police had the authority to confiscate any food found on passengers. Many people tried to hide
their food, but there was no way I could hide the undred-pound sack of potatoes. However, as I boarded the train, nothing was said, and I was allowed to take the potatoes home to my mother.
My search for food brought my family the physical nourishment
we needed during a difficult
time and developed in me an unshakable testimony that the Lord hears and answers prayers.
------ Ensign July 1989 p. 52
Horst Scharffs is a high priest in the Grant Eighth Ward, Salt
Lake Grant Stake.
Sandra Dawn Brimhall is also a member of the Grant Eighth Ward.
God does answer prayer
God does Answer Prayer
-----Who Turned My Head? -----
During a sacrament meeting in Piura, Peru, in 1972, a speaker who was
discussing the importance of family history work kept looking at me. At the
end of his talk, he surprised me when he announced,
“I know that Brother
Rosillo is going to do this work.”
I had been a member of the Church for less than a year, but I set a goal to
get started on my family history—not because of what he said but because I
felt a desire
to do so. I obtained a four-generation pedigree chart and started
by interviewing my parents and relatives to find out what they knew. Each
time I worked on my family history, I prayed and asked the Lord for help.
To find the death dates of
my maternal great-grandparents, I traveled to the
town of Zorritos, in northern Peru, where they had been buried. The
cemetery was on the outskirts of town, and most of the dead had been laid
to rest in vaulted compartments.
I entered the
cemetery and started looking, but I didn’t find anything. I then
decided to go to town to ask a cousin if she was sure that our great-
grandparents had been buried there. When she said yes, I told her, “Then
I’m not leaving
until I have those dates.”
I returned to the cemetery and began a methodical search, walking down
every vault aisle and reading every inscription. I still couldn’t find their
vaults, so I knelt and asked the Lord to help me. Then
I searched again—but
with the same results. I was tired, it was getting late, and I needed to leave
so I could do other research I had planned.
“Well, I did my part,” I thought to myself. I would have to leave without
Ready to leave, I turned toward the front gate. But just as I took my first
step, I felt two hands take hold of my head from behind and turn it toward a
certain spot. My eyes rested on a small, dirty headstone that was level with
the ground. I looked behind me to see who had grabbed my head, but no
one was there.
I walked to the headstone, lay on the ground, and cleaned off the
inscription. With great gratitude, I read the information I was looking for:
Garcia Rosillo, died August 1, 1934. Francisca Espinoza Berrú, died
January 31, 1954.
My ancestors’ long wait to receive their saving ordinances ended in 1980.
That was when my wife and I went to the São Paulo Brazil Temple
receive our endowments. At the temple I was sealed to my wife and
baptized for my deceased loved ones.
As I entered the baptismal font, I remembered the small headstone at the
cemetery. I went down into the calm waters knowing the Lord
my steps as I searched for my ancestors. --------------------------
By Hildo Rosillo Flores October 2007 Ensign, Latter-day Saint Voices----------
--------- God does answer prayer
Jesus is Active Today in Guiding His Church
Thanks to a Single act. ------ He heard “get in the truck and head
toward town.” --------------------------------------
When I was a boy of nine, our family moved to a small community in
northern Arizona. The town had
a large Latter-day Saint population, so we
found ourselves surrounded by people interested in sharing the gospel.
Within a short time we were taking the missionary discussions, and we
eventually received the gospel and joined the Church. It
was a joyous time
for us, but along with the joy of conversion, my parents also faced trials not
uncommon to new members.
During their first year of Church membership, my parents braved stark
criticism from family members and former friends.
In the midst of these
unexpected challenges, they faced another difficulty——isolation. The warm
feeling from ward members that existed when our family was investigating
the truth seemed to dwindle after our conversion, even though
more support than ever. As a result of these and other trials, my parents
grew weary of the “good fight” (see 1 Tim. 6:12) and decided to leave their
I remember well the evening my father was preparing
to talk to our bishop
about formally leaving the fold. As he dressed in his Sunday best, the house
was somber. Even though I was only 10, I could feel the tension weighing
heavily on our family.
As my father was putting on his shoes, a
knock came at the door. He
opened the door to find our home teacher and the home teacher’’s nephew
standing on the porch. The overalls and heavy boots worn by our home
teacher, a cattle rancher, were covered in dirt and grime. In
his hands was a
copy of the standard works.
Surprised, my father greeted our two visitors and invited them in. After
preliminary greetings, our home teacher came right to the point.
“Chuck, what’’s going
on?” he asked my father.
Reluctantly and ever so carefully, my father rehearsed the difficulties of the
last few months and his intention to leave the Church.
Our home teacher responded, “I thought it might be something like that.”
He then related to us what had transpired earlier that evening.
He had been finishing his work in the field when he heard a voice tell
him to get in his truck and head toward town. Without hesitation, he
called to his nephew, who
was working nearby, and they started driving
down the road.
When his nephew asked, “Where are we going? What’’s the rush?” our
home teacher had no answer, for he had no idea where the Spirit was
home was on the way to town, and when he came to the small dirt road
that led to our home, he felt prompted to turn onto it.
Now, with a full understanding of why he had been summoned from his
work, he did what a faithful home teacher is called
to do and began to
teach. Sharing a few key scriptures, he brought the Spirit into our home and
hearts. My parents decided to stay with the Church.
Years later, my father told me what he had done after our home teacher left that night. He went outside alone and looked up at the stars. Silently, my father offered a prayer of thanksgiving. He realized that despite the vastness of the universe, God
knew him and cared enough to send a messenger to keep him from making a serious mistake.
I, too, am thankful for a fine home teacher who recognized the promptings of the Spirit and put aside the concerns of the world for a moment to nurture and strengthen
my family. Now generations of our family have been blessed, and through our missionary service many others have converted to the gospel, all because of this single act of a home teacher. ( and revelation from God ) ---- Ensign Feb. 2003 P. 69 by Brad Osgood,
currently a member of the Petaluma First Ward, San Rafael California Stake.
Jesus is active today in guiding His Church
God is guiding His Church today.
Joaquim Stopped Coming to Church, until the Spirit Spoke
was the proverbial golden convert. Freshly baptized, he couldn’t seem to get enough of the Church and its activities. If he happened to see us missionaries during the day, he would stop what he was doing and spend several hours street-contacting with
us. He would even arrive early for church just in case there was something he could do to help. Joaquim Pinto Dias and his family quickly became pillars of the Meier Branch in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Called to teach Sunday School, Joaquim plunged into his calling with exacting zeal. If the manual called for the lessons to be forty minutes long, that is exactly how long he taught.
And then, abruptly, he became inactive. As is sometimes
the case with new members, the crisis was precipitated by a seemingly trivial event. The Sunday School president, in trying to fulfill his assignment, had shortened the prescribed class time to solve a scheduling problem. When Joaquim had objected, the president
had given him a tactless reply.
Shortly thereafter the Sunday School president was called to be the new branch president. When this happened, a still deeply offended Joaquim completely stopped coming to church, and no amount of reasoning from members
or missionaries could change his mind.
I was one of those missionaries. After a month of persuading, my companion and I decided to visit Joaquim one more time. The usual arguments once again got us nowhere. Suddenly I heard myself say, “But Brother
Joaquim, have you forgiven him?”
This question came to him as a thunderbolt. He had been offended, and logic told him that the new branch president should come to him and apologize.
He thought about what I had said, then he turned to his
wife and asked if she thought it was possible that he had not forgiven his fellowman, as the Savior had commanded.
She answered in the affirmative, and the situation was resolved. He would be returning to church. We said “Good night” and
We had walked about a block before the impact of my question to Joaquim jolted me as it had him. I realized that I had not asked the question; it was the Holy Ghost who had spoken through me.
The words had simply tumbled from my mouth as the Spirit moved me.
The Spirit of the Lord had intervened after we had exhausted all our efforts. As the significance of the event flooded my soul with joy, I felt as though I had been lifted toward heaven
and I fairly floated over the cobblestone streets on the way home. --------Ensign Feb. 1989 p.62
Keith Nielson teaches Sunday School in his
Sandy, Utah, ward. He is president of a real estate development company and assistant tennis coach of Brigham Young University’s women’s tennis team.
God is guiding his church today
Jesus is Active Today in Guiding His Church
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