She Brought Light

“She Brought Light,” Ensign, Dec. 2002, 55

She Brought Light

It has been many years since my husband, Ken, was released from the Air Force and we moved to Provo, Utah, so he could attend Brigham Young University. Prior to our move, Ken had traveled to Provo, purchased a mobile home, and arranged to have it set up on a lot and the utilities turned on when we moved in.

We arrived in Provo on a cold December night. All our belongings were packed in the back of a rental truck. Our nerves were on edge from the tiring trip. Six months pregnant, I was feeling the effects of cleaning, packing, and traveling; and our 15-month-old daughter, Shawna, was tired and crying.

A blast of cold air greeted us as we opened the door to our home. The electricity and water had been turned on, but for some reason the natural gas had not. Too exhausted to do anything else, we put a mattress on the floor with an electric blanket to keep us warm and tried to sleep with our daughter between us. She ended up crying most of the night, so when morning came we were almost as tired as when we had gone to bed.

After we unloaded the truck, Ken left to return it, check with the gas company, and arrange for a phone to be installed. I dressed Shawna in her snowsuit and placed her in her high chair with a few toys while I started to unpack the boxes.

When I unpacked our electric frying pan, I decided to heat water in it to wash out the cupboards. As I turned on the faucet of the kitchen sink, the faucet came off and water shot up into the air. I tried to turn off the water valve under the sink but could not get it to turn. Frantically, I searched for the water shutoff valve for the house. By the time I found it, the kitchen and living room were flooded.

As I desperately started moving boxes out of the water, Shawna sensed my panic and began to scream. Carrying her with one arm, I continued to try to lift boxes with the other.

It was then that I started into premature labor. Now I was truly panicked. I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood, and I didn’t even have a phone to call for help. Desperately I prayed, “Heavenly Father, please help me!”

I’ll never forget answering a knock that soon came at the door. The woman standing there was shivering, with soap suds up to her elbows. She introduced herself as Amalia Van Tassel, the branch Relief Society president, and told me the Spirit had sent her.

I would later learn that Amalia had been standing at her sink washing dishes when she felt prompted to check on the new family who had just moved in. Sensing an urgency, she called to her oldest daughter to watch her other children and, without even stopping to dry her hands or grab her coat, ran to my door.

Amalia made me lie down, comforted Shawna, cleaned up all she could, and invited our family to dinner. She brought light, safety, and comfort into that dark December day. Rest stopped my premature labor, Ken returned with the gas man and fixed the sink, and portable electric heaters dried the soaked carpet.

I have always been grateful to Heavenly Father for answering my prayer that day and for the loving sister who quickly followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

  • Muriel Robinson is a member of the Sunset Heights Third Ward, Orem Utah Sunset Heights Stake.

Illustrated by Brian Call