Turbulent Waters

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“Turbulent Waters,” Ensign, Aug. 1990, 46–47

Turbulent Waters

Diving for food is a way of life for me. I learned to swim as a three-year-old and soon developed a love for diving and the beauties of the peaceful undersea world. With snorkel and flippers, I learned to stay underwater for several minutes and gather sea eggs, crayfish, and pauas, a New Zealand abalone—all of which made up a substantial part of our family’s diet.

Wellington Harbor, New Zealand, is a combination of deep inlets and craggy rocks. I often dive there with a friend, who usually rows our small boat. As I catch seafoods, I place them in bags tied to an inner tube, which also serves as a resting-place for me between dives. One day, as my friend and I followed our usual route along the current that flows toward Cook Strait, we came to a place where a small channel, about one hundred meters long, passes between two large rocks. When the boat passed through the channel, the sea was calm and there was no wind. I followed, cautiously avoiding the rocks. About halfway along the channel I began to feel uneasy as I noticed a peculiar change in the sea. Waves suddenly churned around me. At first I could ride them, but as they became larger, it was difficult for me to swim and I was forced backward. Exerting all my strength, I struggled toward the nearest rock and took shelter behind it from the waves. I looked for an opening, but there was no way of escape. Afraid of losing my goggles and flippers, I desperately hung onto my inner tube as I was suddenly engulfed by even larger waves crashing over the rock.

“This is it,” I thought. My life flashed before my eyes—along with images of my wife and children. My prayer was brief and fervent. I put my life in the Lord’s hands—if he decided that I should die then, so be it; if not, I promised to do whatever I was called to do.

Immediately a feeling of peace and relief passed over me. I opened my eyes and, to my amazement, saw a small grayish-green corridor through the channel, just wide enough for me to pass through the turbulence on either side. The channel current miraculously flowed toward the shore, and as I slid onto the inner tube I felt that a guiding hand was pushing me along that calm passage to safety in shallower waters. I knew my prayer had been answered.

Once safe, I looked back at the channel. The waves lashed the rocks, and my corridor of rescue disappeared. I have often looked for it since that day, but I have never seen it again.

Six weeks after this event, I was called to be the president of our struggling elders quorum. While I served as president, our quorum grew from three active members to forty active members, of which thirty received their temple endowments. From that group have come several bishops, two stake presidents, four counselors in stake presidencies, and many high councilors. I feel that the Lord preserved me so I could help to accomplish this reactivation.