“My Child Is Drowning!” Ensign, July 2004, 62–63
Our Sunday School teacher once asked if any of the returned missionaries in the class would like to share a story about hardships we experienced on our missions. I had not experienced any particular hardships on my mission, but I decided to share the following story about one of my senior companions, a hard-working zone leader.
My companion’s shoes had worn out, and as a result of our street contacting, his foot had developed many blisters. One day we had to return to the house early for lunch to change his shoes. When we left our house after lunch that day, I expected that we would walk to an area nearby because of his blistered foot. But instead my companion felt impressed to tract in a distant area.
As we were walking along a riverbank, a woman and several children ran toward us. The woman screamed, “Please help! My child is drowning!” He had fallen into the river, and they were not able to find him because the water was so muddy. We watched the river for a few minutes and finally saw something floating on the water. My companion dived into the dirty water and was able to catch the child and pull him out. The child’s lips had lost their color, he wasn’t breathing, and he appeared dead.
Our attempts to revive him had no effect. When at last the paramedics arrived and tried resuscitating him, the child finally threw up some water and started breathing again. By then many people surrounded us, and when they saw him breathing, they were moved to tears.
This experience was a great lesson for me. The Lord taught me that missionaries do for people’s spirits the same thing my companion had done for this boy physically. It was our calling to save people spiritually.
When I finished telling this story in the Sunday School class, a member who had recently returned from his mission asked me where I had served.
“In the Japan Sapporo Mission,” I answered.
“Was it in Asahikawa that you helped this child?” he asked.
“Yes,” I answered.
Then he said, “The child in your story was baptized by my companion. One week after the baptism, I was transferred to Asahikawa and I met him. He mentioned that a missionary had saved him from drowning in a river.”
The Lord guides us in miraculous ways. It was not mere chance that my companion felt inspired to work in a distant area that afternoon despite his difficulty with walking or that we walked along the river at just the right moment.
Now the young man who was saved wants to be a missionary, just like the one who saved him. I thought I had completed my mission 14 years ago, but when this young man goes on a mission, in a sense my mission will continue.