I enjoyed the stories that Elder Ellis shared with us this weekend. This first one was told by Elder Russell M. Nelson during the April 2003 General Conference...
"Many of us have had experiences with the sweet power of prayer. One of mine was shared with a stake patriarch from southern Utah. I first met him in my medical office more than 40 years ago, during the early pioneering days of surgery of the heart. This saintly soul suffered much because of a failing heart. He pleaded for help, thinking that his condition resulted from a damaged but repairable valve in his heart.
Extensive evaluation revealed that he had two faulty valves. While one could be helped surgically, the other could not. Thus, an operation was not advised. He received this news with deep disappointment.
Subsequent visits ended with the same advice. Finally, in desperation, he spoke to me with considerable emotion: “Dr. Nelson, I have prayed for help and have been directed to you. The Lord will not reveal to me how to repair that second valve, but He can reveal it to you. Your mind is so prepared. If you will operate upon me, the Lord will make it known to you what to do. Please perform the operation that I need, and pray for the help that you need.” 21
His great faith had a profound effect upon me. How could I turn him away again? Following a fervent prayer together, I agreed to try. In preparing for that fateful day, I prayed over and over again, but still did not know what to do for his leaking tricuspid valve. Even as the operation commenced, 22 my assistant asked, “What are you going to do for that?”
I said, “I do not know.”
We began the operation. After relieving the obstruction of the first valve, 23 we exposed the second valve. We found it to be intact but so badly dilated that it could no longer function as it should. While examining this valve, a message was distinctly impressed upon my mind: Reduce the circumference of the ring. I announced that message to my assistant. “The valve tissue will be sufficient if we can effectively reduce the ring toward its normal size.”
But how? We could not apply a belt as one would use to tighten the waist of oversized trousers. We could not squeeze with a strap as one would cinch a saddle on a horse. Then a picture came vividly to my mind, showing how stitches could be placed—to make a pleat here and a tuck there—to accomplish the desired objective. I still remember that mental image—complete with dotted lines where sutures should be placed. The repair was completed as diagrammed in my mind. We tested the valve and found the leak to be reduced remarkably. My assistant said, “It’s a miracle.”
I responded, “It’s an answer to prayer.”
The patient’s recovery was rapid and his relief gratifying. Not only was he helped in a marvelous way, but surgical help for other people with similar problems had become a possibility. I take no credit. Praise goes to this faithful patriarch and to God, who answered our prayers. This faithful man lived for many more years and has since gone to his eternal glory."
Elder Ellis shared this story with us today...
Samaritan with a Screwdriver
By Heidi Bartle
I was busy gathering my things after teaching a Mia Maid lesson, and my husband, Garry, stood in the back of the room holding our one-year-old boy. Our three-year-old son, Zach, slipped past us into the crowded hall and followed someone toward the meetinghouse doors. Because my husband and I each thought the other had Zach, it took us a few minutes to realize he was missing.
Just as we realized he was gone, Zach appeared at the end of the hall. But something was wrong. His cheeks were red, he had tears streaming down his face, and he was clutching his right hand. Our bishop, who was ushering him toward us, looked concerned. A pit of guilt settled in my stomach. My son had gotten hurt, and I hadn’t been there to help him.
The bishop had heard Zach’s urgent cries and had hurried to his aid. Zach’s predicament was immediately clear, but the solution was not. His fingers had become wedged between the heavy outer door and its frame. Opening or closing the door only exacerbated the injury; the swing of the door further pinched his fingers and pulled his hand, causing significant pain.
As the bishop and a couple in the ward frantically tried to figure out how they could release Zach’s fingers, a brother from another ward that met in our building saw what was happening. He took a screwdriver from his pocket and inserted it into the space between the door and its frame. Then, using the screwdriver as a lever, he widened the gap enough to release Zach.
Amid sighs of relief, the brother explained that as he prepared for Sunday services that morning, he experienced what seemed like an odd prompting to bring a screwdriver to church. The impression was so strong and clear that he slipped the tool into the pocket of his dress pants.
This kind act of service resulting from heavenly inspiration touched me deeply and filled my heart with gratitude. Heavenly Father was watching over my three-year-old boy and prompted a good brother to respond.
God knows us and He loves us. He knows the answers to our problems and He can lead us through our trials. We need to ask Him for help. He is waiting for us to ask.