“She Lifts You,” Ensign, June 1997, 69
“I understood the frustration of not being able to do all the things other children are able to do,” says Nancy Erb about her years of teaching children with disabilities in hospitals and schools. Sister Erb suffers from a rare disease that prevents her body from properly metabolizing calcium, resulting in brittle bones that are easily broken.
She grew up and still lives in a little town called Hollidaysburg tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania. By the time she was a young woman, Sister Erb had broken bones so many times that she had to continually walk on crutches. But the limitations caused by her disabilities didn’t stop her from leaving the immediate support of her family and moving away for a time to attend college and fill teaching positions in New York and Florida.
One cold Pennsylvania day in 1971 before she joined the Church, missionaries knocked on Sister Erb’s door. She invited them in to warm themselves with a cup of coffee. They didn’t accept the hot drink, of course, but she accepted their invitation to hear the message of the restored gospel, which in time she accepted. Years after she joined, her brother Bill was baptized. The two siblings shared a home until Bill passed away in 1995 due to complications from the same disease his sister has. Sister Erb’s nephew, Bruce Erb, serves as a counselor in the Altoona Ward bishopric.
Sister Erb is now confined to a wheelchair. She serves as visiting teaching supervisor in the Altoona Ward, and periodically she is asked to teach Young Women classes in her home. Each week a group of sisters from the ward meets in her home. One ward member described the experience of visiting her: “You go to lift her, but she lifts you.” She enjoys the company of a white cat named Cricket, and she reads, watches uplifting television shows, and follows the Penn State football team.—Ted R. and Carol W. Schofield, Salt Lake City, Utah