A Living Testimony
October 2002

“A Living Testimony,” Ensign, Oct. 2002, 70–71

A Living Testimony

It would be an understatement to say that my husband and I were surprised to learn that, at age 40, I was expecting a baby. Complications in the pregnancy soon prompted the doctors to order complete bed rest for me. My husband gave me a priesthood blessing in which I was promised that if I would do as I was instructed by the doctors, all would be well.

But bed rest proved to be a difficult challenge as I tried to meet the needs of our two young children and keep myself occupied while being so confined.

When the ward members realized I would be “confined for the duration,” dinners began arriving with regularity. My three-year-old son was often picked up to spend the day with friends, and when my six-year-old son got home from school, someone always seemed to drop in to check on him. Sisters came frequently to clean the house and do the laundry, often ending up sitting on my bed to visit.

More than two months before the baby was due, I went into early labor and our tiny, frail son was born. He was so ill that the doctors told us we should set our affairs in order and prepare for a funeral. We went in to see our tiny son, covered with wires and IV tubes, in his warming crib. With tears flowing freely, my husband and two other brethren anointed and blessed our little baby, John. John responded by beginning to fight for his life.

While my husband and I spent many days and nights at the hospital, our ward members continued their many acts of service and love for our family. More than once during the pregnancy and at least twice after the baby was born, the entire ward fasted and prayed for us.

On one occasion when we were permitted to take John to church even though he was still on oxygen, a mother approached us with her eight-year-old son. She quietly, almost reverently, asked if her son could see the baby. She explained that her son had caught the vision of service and love through fasting and prayer. He wanted to see how his faith and prayers had been answered. He looked at the baby and wept. He told his mother he was glad he could fast and pray. “After all,” he said, “look what Heavenly Father did.”

Today our son John is a vibrant, energetic, loving 17-year-old. He is a living testimony to the members of that generous ward and their commitment to faith and charity. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel toward them and our Heavenly Father.

  • Helen Sturdevant is a member of the Parkwood Ward, Austin Texas Oak Hills Stake.

Illustrated by Brian Call