Rescued from the Darkness
October 2001

“Rescued from the Darkness,” Ensign, Oct. 2001, 67

Rescued from the Darkness

The accident happened while I was riding home following a soccer game in a town south of Santiago, Chile. My younger brother had played for one of the teams, and while my parents waited for him I went ahead on my bicycle. My eight-year-old cousin asked if he could go with me, so I sat him on the bar of my bike and took off.

As I pedaled, I felt a twinge of guilt. The night before, after celebrating the triumph of my own team in another local game, I had ended up intoxicated. At 18 years of age, I wasn’t doing much with my life.

While the wind buffeted our faces, my cousin shifted uncomfortably. As he did so, he caught one of his feet between the tire and the front of the bike. The bike flipped forward, and I hit the rough asphalt face first. When I touched my face, I thought my nose was damaged beyond saving. Fortunately, my cousin was fine. My parents arrived shortly, then a police officer, and finally an ambulance. I was taken into surgery, where they stitched up part of my nose and grafted some tissue onto my forehead. After a few hours in the hospital under observation, I was sent home. That night I experienced an intense pain that kept me from sleep.

The following night the pain was even worse. Finally, exhausted from the intensity of the pain, I fell asleep. In a frightening dream, I seemed to see myself lying on the bed with my arms folded over my chest—the only position I found comfortable. Then I saw a dense vapor of darkness and felt a hand pulling me toward it. Terrified, I struggled to get free.

Suddenly I saw my younger brother on my other side, pulling me away from the darkness and into the light. But his help was not enough; I became desperate and cried out. As I did, I woke up. My father came in to calm me. The pain came back, and for the first time in my life, I saw my father cry.

I was moved into my parents’ room, next to Mama. Mama and my brother had been baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a few months before, and I had seen how much she loved the Book of Mormon. She read to me from it as I fell asleep again.

Almost immediately, I had the same dream. This time when my brother started to pull on my arm, I understood the significance of it. The darkness represented the world in its fallen state, and my brother represented the gospel and a life of hope—the life he wanted for me. I knew I had fallen into bad habits. I had not opened my heart to what the missionaries taught us, and I had never prayed to find out if what they taught was true. At that moment, I promised my Father in Heaven I would be baptized.

I woke up crying. Mama cried too and prayed for me.

The pain continued the following day, and Mama asked the missionaries to give me a priesthood blessing. After that, I began to get better. Throughout my recovery, my desire to be baptized grew stronger.

I began to receive the missionary discussions again, and this time I opened my heart. I did not yet have a great deal of knowledge of the gospel—but the dream, combined with Mama’s faith and the priesthood blessing, helped me know God loved me and had provided a way for me to obtain eternal life. I took an important step toward that goal on the day I was baptized.

I used to think I had plenty of time to worry about finding the true Church, if it existed. But the accident helped me understand that we must not postpone making good choices.

  • Heri Castro Veliz is a member of the Puente Alto First Ward, Santiago Chile Puente Alto Stake.

Illustrated by Brian Call