“A Collision with Compassionate Service,” Ensign, Oct. 1999, 64–65
In late May one year, my husband and I loaded up our car for a long-planned trip up the coast from Los Angeles, California, to Seattle, Washington. We had set aside three weeks for a leisurely trip. On the fourth day of our vacation, we proceeded up Route 101 into Oregon. Then, in a moment, our lives changed when a car ran a stop sign and collided with our car.
Though conscious, we were both severely injured. As we waited in the wreckage, a crowd gathered. Soon police arrived, then an ambulance. As they placed me in the ambulance, I saw another ambulance arrive that would take my husband to the same hospital. Without my knowledge, my husband, who was not a member, asked the attendant if it would be possible to call someone from the Church to come to the hospital and give me a blessing. My operation took a number of hours, but when I became conscious, two elders were waiting to administer to me.
My husband and I had extensive injuries and were confined to the hospital for two weeks. As soon as we were moved from the intensive care unit to a regular room, the bishop of the Coos Bay Oregon Ward and other ward members began making daily visits to us, two complete strangers.
Two weeks later our insurance benefits were exhausted, and the hospital relocated us to a motel where a therapist, nurse, and doctor would make regular daily visits. This was fine, except we had no way to eat. We called a nearby fast-food restaurant and had them deliver a meal. When my husband painfully got up to answer their knock, one of the ward members happened by to visit. From that moment on, our lunch and dinner were supplied by the people of the Coos Bay Ward. Never have our blessings over meals been more heartfelt.
After another week of rehabilitation, the doctor decided we could be moved to our home and continue healing there. However, we were a thousand miles from home and confined to wheelchairs, with only a demolished car for transportation. Again, the members of the Coos Bay Ward extended needed help.
At the appointed time, a ward member arrived at our doorstep with a van especially equipped for wheelchairs and assured us that it would be no problem to transport us to the airport, located two hours away. The outpouring of goodwill and compassion from the people of that ward will always stay with us.
When we arrived in Long Beach, California, the members of our own ward were waiting to take us home. Upon arrival we saw that our house had been cleaned by the Young Women of the ward, and meals had been prepared. From that day until we were able to take care of ourselves, meals were brought to our home and transportation to doctor appointments was furnished by ward members. This unselfish service continued for months until we were able to once again walk and take care of ourselves.
The love and compassionate service rendered so freely by the members of the Coos Bay Oregon Ward and the Long Beach Third Ward will forever live in our hearts. We are grateful for the concepts of compassionate service the gospel teaches, and we have learned firsthand how meaningful it can be in the lives of people.