On December 25, 2008 we were having Christmas with our extended family. Our daughter Kylie was 3 ½ at that time. As she played with her little cousins she became thirsty and was given a drink from a jug in the refrigerator, which was thought to be drinking water. It was not. It was actually 30% hydrogen peroxide. Normal over the counter hydrogen peroxide is 3%. As she ingested the peroxide it immediately began to react with her system and she started having foam come out of her mouth which was causing her not to be able to breathe adequately. The peroxide was robbing her body of oxygen. Her breathing became shallow and she became limp and lifeless. She was immediately administered to and 911 was called. The ambulance came and took her to Centerpoint Hospital. On the away to the hospital she had a seizure, and another once she arrived at the hospital. The ER staff told us of the severity of her condition and ran several tests. It was decided she must be transported to Children’s Mercy Hospital in downtown Kansas City. She was administered to once more in the ER before heading downtown. Upon arrival she was placed in the PICU where she remained stable through the night. Tests showed that the lining of her stomach was red and swollen, both lungs partially collapsed and very high oxygen levels in the blood stream. Pneumonia had also started to settle in from her aspirating the peroxide. The doctors worked through the night to research the effects that this type of peroxide can have on the body when ingested. All of the complications Kylie was having seemed to be expected, but it was the unknown that was disconcerting as there was very little information recorded about similar cases. Our faith was strong as we went through the night and we were hopeful and optimistic.
The next day, Friday, at around 5 a.m. Kylie took a turn for the worst. She suddenly started vomiting blood and became non-responsive. Her oxygen levels dropped suddenly and she had to be put on a ventilator. Tests were now showing that she had developed swelling in the brain and the doctors put her in an induced coma to stop the swelling. These events caused our faith to be tested. She spent roughly the next 24 hours in a relatively dark and quiet room with around the clock medical staff monitoring her condition.
Kylie’s grandfather shared a testimony of an experience he had early Friday morning regarding Kylie’s condition and through his sharing of this experience our faith began to be increased in strength once again. The Colbern Road Congregation held a special prayer service Friday afternoon on her behalf and his spirit was there with those in attendance as they prayed for Kylie. Many shared with us the power that was in that service as the saints came together in common purpose and united their faith for their little sister. The efforts of the saints on Kylie’s behalf became a congregational-wide testimony, bringing us closer together as a people. We learned that other restoration branches, other denominations, radio stations, and even other countries were praying for her also. She was literally being prayed for around the world.
Her condition remained the same through Friday night. The nurse regularly asked Kylie to squeeze her hand, Kylie would not respond. We didn’t know what to expect as we had been informed that due to the swelling she could have lasting neurological problems. Throughout her being administered to several times we knew that the situation was in God’s hands.
On Saturday morning Eldon Anderson came to visit Kylie. The doctors made their rounds while he was there. One doctor asked Kylie in a very loud and harsh voice to squeeze his hand, and she did not. After they left Eldon leaned down to her and in a quiet, gentle, and familiar voice asked her to squeeze his hand, and she did. This happened around 10 a.m. and by 1 p.m. the ventilator was removed. Shortly after, she began to say a few words and started drinking liquids. She improved by the hour and was moved to a regular room Sunday afternoon.
The following week she was unable to eat or drink anything. The doctors wanted her esophagus and stomach to have time to heal because of the damage that occurred. This should have been a very frustrating and difficult time for Kylie, but it was not. Again, she was blessed and did not become frustrated.
As the week went by, she had several tests. Each time we would pray beforehand and receive peace and comfort. The results for each different test all came back normal. The following Monday she had her final test which was a scope, and the results came back normal. We were able to all go home together the next day after almost two weeks.
Kylie being healed was a testimony for our family and all those who were involved, including the medical staff that took care of her. It was a testimony showing that God still performs miracles today. It was very humbling to see his hand at work. May we continue to be united in prayer and faith that he will bless us as a people and that we may experience these blessings often.
How Does God See You
In October 2004, my husband Randy and I moved our family from Pensacola, Florida to Blue Springs, Missouri. We both felt strongly that it was time to move to the Centerplace. After spending the coldest winter I had ever experienced indoors, I was so glad to see spring finally come around. I truly understood the term “spring fever” like never before. Most Sunday evenings in the summer of 2005, I attended the Summer Series preaching services at the Waldo Restoration Branch in Independence. One evening, Patriarch Verle Cornish preached on repentance. He advised the congregation to asked God to show us ourselves, as He sees us, both the good and the bad. I took that advice to heart and embarked on a journey that changed my life. I began to spend time in prayer each morning asking God to show me how He sees me. I wanted to be clean and wanted God to show me where I needed to start. The first thing He made me aware of was how I didn’t speak positive things to my family. Not that I was always saying negative things, but I failed to acknowledge the good things they did. I started working on that little project and soon went back for more. After a couple of small and manageable issues, God gave me quite a blow. He said I needed to repent for participating in the priesthood while attending the RLDS Church. I was confused. I had repented and was truly sorry for what I had done. I couldn’t understand why God would bring this up. Thus my journey began. One morning in the late 80’s, I was praying and suddenly the Lord let me know someone very close to me was going to die. I had been praying about my parents and thought one of them was going to pass away. I assumed God told me this so I could be prepared. Foolishly, I didn’t ask God any questions or request further explanation. I learned a huge lesson. For days I had a feeling of grief and talked to my pastor about it. He had no answer for me. Then, he said that I had a call to the priesthood. I thought that was an odd time to tell me that, and I didn’t have a good feeling about it. I thought my feelings were because of my concern over my parents. Time passed; there was no death in the family, and I was eventually ordained a priest in the RLDS Church in Pensacola. I never felt good about it and questioned the calling, but everyone I spoke with told me I’d get used to the change. I didn’t. I was married and stayed home with my two small children. Unbeknownst to me, my husband, who traveled during the week with his work, was living a double life. He was converted to the RLDS Church in college, ordained a priest, and was active in church. Although he was not the ideal husband and father, our church friends saw him as a good family man. He displayed some symptoms of bipolar disorder, but I had no idea the issues he actually had. When he left home on Monday mornings, he lived a very worldly life. In a series of events, the truth came out. I eventually filed for divorce. My attorney (and good friend) assured me it would be a simple and quick divorce. My husband was so furious that he did everything to control the situation which made the proceedings last over a year. I was an emotional mess. I was trying to hold things together for my children, look for a job, and deal with the reality of the results of my husband’s lies on our family. In the meantime, my pastor told me that my ministry would be “suspended” until after the divorce. Even though I was heavily burdened, couldn’t eat or sleep, and was having problems with stomach ulcers due to the stress of the divorce, I suddenly felt a weight lift off of me when I was relieved of priesthood duties. I really couldn’t explain it but I did realize I felt a freedom from that responsibility. A year later, after the divorce was final, my pastor asked me if I was ready to be active in the priesthood again. I said no. I decided to permanently give up my priesthood. I soon came to the understanding that the person God told me was going to die was me. I was going to die a spiritual death and lose my salvation. Had I asked Him questions and asked for further enlightenment at the time of my experience, I could have avoided a lot of pain. I was truly ashamed that I had been deceived and of what I had done, and I went before God and repented for the mistake I had made. Now, fast forward back to the summer of 2005. God was telling me to repent of something I had already repented of. So I asked Him why I needed to repent again. Through prayer, study, and His words being pressed upon my heart and mind, I learned that even though my first repentance was sincere, it was not deep enough. My sin, which was an abomination before God, was much deeper than my repentance. I was stunned when the word “abomination” came into my mind. I had never considered myself as a horrible person. And only horrible people do things that are an abomination before God. I was almost offended but learned through my study that indeed God was right. And I was humbled like never before. I was more ashamed and grieved over what I had done. It reminds me of pulling up a dandelion. The root goes deep and pulling it up one time does not remove the entire plant, even though you can’t see it at the time. But eventually it will show up again, somewhere, somehow. I’d rather deal with it now than when I walk up to the judgment bar. Philippians 2:12 says to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I never fully understood that. I had thought Jesus had done the work. Salvation is free. But my reward will not be the best unless I am totally clean through repentance. And repentance can sometimes be hard work. My experience was not a pleasant one, but the outcome was so uplifting and enabled my relationship with God to be strengthened. I encourage everyone to ask God to let you see yourself as He sees you.
- Sue Manning, 10/11/2010
The Loving Arms of Jesus
One day I stopped by Subway with my 3-year-old granddaughter to get lunch. Waiting in line, I became rather nervous because of the young man standing in front of us. He had on dirty torn Levi’s and an old tee shirt. His long blonde hair was pulled low in a ponytail and both arms were covered with bright tattoos. I worked to keep from staring at him, and tried to busy my granddaughter with small talk and the Subway menu. Finally we ordered our sandwiches, paid the cashier, and prepared to make a quick exit.
The young man blocked our path to the door. Keeping my eyes to the floor, I maneuvered my granddaughter to skirt around him. Suddenly he called me by name! I looked up into the smiling eyes of Lonnie*, a former student of mine. Immediately, the predisposed notions and the uncomfortable feelings for this stranger melted away. I threw my arms around this young man who stole my heart about 15 years earlier.
I’m a retired teacher. Lonnie was one of my 4th grade students. He was outgoing, well-liked, well-behaved. He was a high achiever and had been accepted into our school’s gifted and talented program. He also had a broken heart. His mother had left him when he was about five years old and he yearned for her to be part of his life. I remember him enthusiastically sharing with me that one day she would come back to him. One day. I couldn’t tell him my doubts that he would ever see her again. Instead I continued to build a strong relationship with this easy-to-love little boy who so desperately wanted a mother’s love.
I was mistaken. Lonnie’s mother did come back. . .several years later. And his life changed. His mother was still involved with drugs and had a new man and more children. I don’t know all the details that affected Lonnie, but I know his life spiraled downward. At the time I saw him in Subway, his appearance was completely changed, he had a daughter, he’d fought his own battle with drug addiction, and he had been in and out of prison.
When he called my name and I recognized those eyes, the walls of prejudice I’d put up in that Subway store were torn down. (I’m not real proud to be admitting I had those prejudices in the first place!) All the scars of this life, the physical alterations, the knowledge of his past choices; none of that mattered. I welcomed him into my arms in a sincere embrace and enjoyed catching up on his life; how he was working hard to get his life together so he could spend time with his daughter.
About a year later, I was driving along a section of road that had memorial highway markers from a couple of other past students in my small community. It brought a sadness over me. I had been experiencing quite a bit of melancholy recently. It seemed like Satan, that author of discouragement, was causing me to see all the things in my life that I wished I would have done differently. Everything! Things from college days; things from the last month; words left unsaid; words I should have held back. All my sins of this life were constantly being paraded in my mind and I couldn’t seem to shake them from my memory. Discouragement was turning to depression. It’s not like I had not prayed for forgiveness. I had implored my Heavenly Father many times for his loving forgiveness. The problem was I wouldn’t leave my problems at his feet; I’d pick them up and take them with me. This of course required me to offer the same prayer again and again.
Then I passed Lonnie’s childhood home and my thoughts turned to him: the energetic ten-year-old full of hope and promise . . . the worn and weary young man, full of scars from a troubled life.
That’s when God opened my mind to see an example of his love. He caused me to see the connection between my recent Subway experience and his love for his children. Just as I welcomed Lonnie into my arms, I could picture Jesus opening his arms and embracing me, despite the scars of this world and the sins in my life. His arms are always open, ready to take us in; always ready for us to accept his embrace and his love. I was flooded with the power of his love in my car that day! I know without a doubt that God showed me this example of his love for us . . . for me. He loves us so much and desires for us to come into his presence.
- Beth Spencer
God Does Provide
The year of 2010 was an interesting one for my husband and I. Danny lost his surveying job in December of 2009 so we lived on unemployment for most of the year. In October, Danny started working at the Lees Summit transportation department as a bus driver. Needless to say, the pay is still about half of what he use to make. However, we feel blessed that he has a job in this economy. We would receive anonomous gifts here and there during the year (for which we were very thankful) but didn't always pay tithe on them. After our last gift, I felt so impressed to tithe, that I did. I have learned that the lord will provide, no matter what. After the Sunday we paid titihing, we received a gift which was ten fold of our tithing. It certainly taught me that we should always tithe and not worry about not having the money for our bills if we do. God always provides.
- Terri, 1/25/2011
Beginning around 2014 I had been praying for enlightenment on Zion. It wasn’t something I did daily but more at different times throughout the year I would pray over this desire. I was searching for a clearer vision on how daily life would be and how it would differ from what I have always known. Mainly I prayed my vision and understanding on all aspects of Zion would be greatly expanded.
I didn’t seem to make any real progress on this until the fall of 2016. I was picking up some books I had used in my study of The Book of Mormon to put away. As I picked up Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol 2, I randomly flipped it open and as it fell to the Testimonies section, I saw a testimony by Ray Zinser. As I love testimonies, I decided to read it (I recommend it to you). Toward the end of the testimony, Ray stated he was working on a book entitled The Word of Christ. I wondered if I might find that book in our library of mostly inherited church books hoping if we did, there might be more testimonies recorded in it. Searching, I found that it was there!
As I randomly opened the book a bit more than halfway through, what I found was not a book of testimonies but an answer to my prayer to expand my vision of Zion. This book is filled with chapters on all aspects of Zion and the Kingdom. It was such an unexpected blessing in that moment, and I thanked God for this answer. The enlightenment I had been seeking had been patiently sitting on my book shelf for over ten years. I am so thankful He literally stuck it under my nose and said, READ THIS! I am so grateful for this gift.
In October of 2016, I experienced something I had never experienced before. On three different days I was filled with a powerful joy that I didn’t understand. It was not a feeling of being happy but a joy that brightened the whole day with the desire to praise and thank God for His continual goodness. I wanted so much to experience this joy every day and to share it with others. It was so wonderful and hard to describe. There was nothing special about what I was doing on those days, just regular household duties. I asked God what it meant. I wondered if it was a gift I had been given to give me strength for some trial or valley ahead.
Even though I wasn’t sure what it all meant, I wanted to share what I had experienced at the next prayer service and felt ready to stand but the right moment didn’t seem to come. I soon realized the time to share had not been right because the testimony was not yet complete. On the drive home, I was again talking with God about this experience, thanking him again for it and asking for understanding when a thought like an arrow abruptly stopped me: You asked me about Zion. The tears began to flow down my face as I realized he had given me a gift to know something of the joy we will experience as being residents of Zion. He answered my prayer for understanding in a way I had never considered but it meant everything. This joy is priceless! It is worth everything we are and everything we can do to have this gift of joy!
Truly, Zion the beautiful beckons us on.