Blessed with Peace

“Blessed with Peace,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 56–57

Blessed with Peace

The woman standing outside the door had a small bundle in her arms and anguish on her face. My companion, Elder Wilson, recognized her as one of the members of the small Bolivian branch to which we were assigned as full-time missionaries.

Elder Wilson and the woman talked for a few moments, and then he invited her in. He quietly explained to me that the woman had come to receive a blessing for her two-year-old child, who was ill.

I looked at the little girl, wrapped in a heavy black wool blanket. The mother explained that the day before, her other children had been playing with a large dog and had placed the toddler on the animal’s back. But her grip was not strong, and she had slipped off the dog, hitting her head on a rock. Unable to afford a doctor’s fee, the woman worried all night as her daughter moaned with pain and a high fever until she was too exhausted to cry. Even now, the baby’s eyes were rolled back into her head and her whimpers were weak.

Elder Wilson and I had given a number of blessings that particular week, and it was my turn to seal the anointing and pronounce the blessing.

As my companion anointed the child’s head, I silently pleaded with our Father in Heaven to inspire me with the words and promises I should offer this baby and her grieved mother. Yet my mind remained blank.

I placed my hands on the child’s head, stating the authority I possessed and repeating a few common phrases. Still my mind was empty. The child’s moaning seemed to grow stronger and echoed in my head. I have never prayed so hard as I did at that moment, silently pleading to know the will of the Lord concerning this tiny girl.

Suddenly all my tension was replaced with a peaceful sensation, and the words seemed clear to me. I opened my mouth to speak, and in an authoritative voice I commanded the child to be relieved of her afflictions and to rest with no further pain. The blessing continued for almost twenty minutes.

I closed the prayer in the usual manner and opened my eyes. I couldn’t remember exactly what I had just said, but I did realize that the girl had stopped moaning the moment I said amen. I saw my companion and the mother weeping. I assured the woman that everything would be fine. I felt certain that the Lord had helped me in bringing to pass his will concerning this baby.

The woman covered her baby and then hugged me, thanking me for saving the child. I took the bundle from her arms, wanting to witness a miracle face to face. As I uncovered the baby’s head and looked into her eyes, I realized she had died.

Tears filled my eyes as I felt my heart break for the very first time in my life. That mother knew her baby was dead, but she thanked me again as she took her lifeless child and left our apartment.

After she left I dropped to my knees, sobbing in total confusion. Had I abused my authority? Had I said things I shouldn’t have?

But then, for the second time that day, I felt the peace of the Holy Ghost as he testified to me that I had been an instrument in the Lord’s hands and had said only that which I was prompted to say.

To a young missionary living in a modern world in which many attempt to explain everything by attributing all to science and luck, this experience made a lasting impression. From a grieving Latin mother clutching a lifeless baby, I learned about priesthood power and accepting God’s will.

  • Bradley J. Dickerson is ward mission leader in the Newhall First Ward, Los Angeles California Santa Clarita Stake

Illustrated by Robert McKay