(This was written as a portion of a long-form essay which is now a book in progress.)
Sunday, September 11, 2017 was the first time I was to drive the car the trip from Port Orchard to Yelm after replacing the alternator while visiting Washington state. I had struggled with a variety of electrical issues throughout August. The Volvo and I had been separated for a week while that repair was performed, and I was happy to have it back on a Friday.
I anxiously prepared for church. The drive from my friends Renae & Sue’s home to the granddaughter’s church was almost 2 hours. I allowed two and a half to be safe. When I went out to start the car, it wouldn’t even TRY to crank. When I turned the key: Nothing. No sound at all. Just nothing.
My hair wet from the shower and twisted on top of my head held with bobby pins, my skirt and blouse fresh from the dryer; I tried not to cry. I didn’t feel as anxious as I expected to. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I took my foot off of the gas and folded my arms to pray.
Immediately I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to wait for Renae to wake and ask her to take me to the local Ward building for services instead of traveling to my granddaughter’s Ward.
I went back inside the house and messaged Mary with the disappointing news: I wouldn’t be able to see her or the girls that day, we would have to wait until I knew what was up with the car this time. She understood but was disappointed. She liked having support keeping all three girls somewhat in control during the Sacrament service.
When my friend Renae awoke about an hour before the Sacrament service was to begin, I asked her for a ride. Her multiple sclerosis was acting up and she didn’t feel comfortable driving but experienced a feeling she needed to allow me to borrow her father’s truck. Her dead father’s truck that NO ONE else EVER drove. By the look on her face, I could tell she was shocked by her own words. I had never driven the truck and had never seen her allow anyone else to do so. But I took the keys she handed me and headed over to the address indicated on the app from my church for the local Ward building.
When I arrived at the building about a mile away, there were absolutely no cars in the lot. Not a one. If there are ZERO cars in the local meetinghouse parking lot on a Sunday morning, that suggests there may be a meeting called a “Stake Conference” at a larger building in what is called a “Stake” where several “Wards” meet together. Sometimes, during Stake Conferences, officials from the head of the church visit and give special messages to those areas. I decided to drive over to the Stake Center to see who might be visiting.
When I got close to the Stake Center, I witnessed cars parked up and down the main road. Wow, I wondered who might be here. A small still voice inside of me impressed me to proceed to the back parking lot; there was a parking spot for me.
Ignoring a packed front parking lot and cars parked up and down the main and side roads, I drove to the back lot. There, indeed, was an open space right in front. I parked and got out with my notebook and pen ready.
As I walked in the door of the Stake Center I asked a mom walking a fussy toddler, tilting my head to the side, questioning, “general authority?”
She answered with a smile that lit up her face, “President Nelson!!”
President Nelson was set apart as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and is the “next in command” in respect to the leadership of The Church. I was VERY anxious to hear what he had to say! The fact that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear him at all if the Volvo had started, was not lost on me. I sat down in back, notebook in hand, and anxiously awaited his talk
President Nelson left his notes and scriptures at his seat and stated that he was speaking from the Spirit–the Holy Spirit. His words were full of suggestions about teaching our children the scriptures and keeping our homes Holy.
His words burned truth in my heart as I struggled to write them all down. “Help your children keep their minds pure. Help them understand they are in charge of what they see and hear.”
“Teach them what it really means to be a ‘child of God’.”
“We don’t desecrate these bodies, we treat them as a Temple.”
“Teach them how important education is. Education is a RELIGIOUS responsibility.”
“Help them be good citizens.”
I was anxious to share all President Nelson had said with Mary and the girls. Then I remembered that there was something wrong with the car again.
I returned Renae’s truck to her and excitedly messaged Mary with the information about President Nelson’s visit. We exchanged frustration about the car but I shared with her that I, oddly, didn’t feel panicked about it.
Two days later, I prayed again to know what to do about the Volvo. Immediately I was impressed to rotate the weird round fuses in the European car. I rolled them each with my finger while they stayed in place, rotating them. I put the key in and turned it. The Volvo started right up.
I was so happy to be a part of the audience that watched The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s landmark broadcast announcing the new First Presidency. I had never had an opportunity to meet President Monson or hear him speak in person, but I DID have an opportunity to listen to President Nelson’s words in person before he was called to the position of Prophet and President of The Church. I feel so blessed to have experienced that. All because I trusted God with my car!