Ten Thousand Hatching Chicks

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“Ten Thousand Hatching Chicks,” Ensign, Sept. 1996, 62–64

Ten Thousand Hatching Chicks

One evening 20 years ago the Teton River in Idaho rampaged over its ice-filled bed and pounded wildly at our hatchery building and coops where 10,000 baby chicks were waiting to hatch. Water began to seep under ill-fitting doors and come up through sewer drains in the floor. My husband, Cal, was dismally putting his whole effort into keeping an incubator fan running in the room where the baby chicks were hatching.

After the power went off, Cal and I traded off turning the large fan by hand. Cal was suffering from terminal lung conditions and should not have been doing such work, but all of the hired help had gone home for the evening, and the two of us were left alone to fight the flooding water. After working long hours into the night, we were worn out, but things continued to worsen. I began to fear the floodwaters would get so high that I’d lose not only the chicks but Cal also. I knew my fears were getting out of hand.

I began praying. I told Heavenly Father how tough business was, how our hatching season was just getting a good start, how we needed hatching eggs from these particular breeders, and how we’d done everything in our power to save the business from being flooded.

Then, much to our surprise, Ray Ricks, an acquaintance from nearby Sugar City, came into the building. It was nearly 1:00 A.M. He glanced around and, without a word, cheerfully began working to combat the flooding water, which was about four inches deep and rising. He sandbagged openings with 100-pound bags of wheat and chick feed. Swiftly he poured wheat into drain openings, where the wheat began to swell and keep water from coming up. Then he began turning the fans. Throughout the night the water continued to rise slowly in the hatchery, but Ray’s strength and confidence inspired us to keep going.

Finally the water crested, and, with icy water above my knees, I moved cautiously through the hatchery and into our little apartment. Exhausted, I went upstairs and sank to my knees in grateful prayer. I wanted to cry. I was overcome with gratitude for this wonderful man who had come to our aid and helped us save our 10,000 chicks. Somewhere a cock crowed, and I realized we had worked throughout the night.

Later we learned that Ray Ricks had been driving through the flooding areas to see if anyone needed assistance. He had been impressed to stop and help us, a family he hardly knew. How grateful we were for his response. His help saved our business and possibly our lives. I know Father in Heaven hears and answers our prayers and that many times those answers come through the efforts of others.