“Get the Children Out of the Water!” Ensign, July 2007, 71–72
It was a pleasant day in June 2003. I drove my five children from our home in Logan, Utah, to Bear Lake to visit my sister’s family. Their home lies a few minutes’ walk from the water, and after visiting for a while I decided to take my children and their two cousins, Kami and Erin, to the beach to play.
The water near the edge was warm, and a gentle breeze stirred the air as I sat on a chair, reading and relaxing. I looked out toward the lake and noticed that Kami was about 50 yards (46 m) from shore, floating on a high-density foam pad. Because the lake became very deep not far from shore, I waved to her and called for her to come closer, but she couldn’t hear my voice from that distance.
About that time I began to feel very uneasy and heard the Spirit whisper that the children needed to get out of the water. I called to them to come closer to shore, and reluctantly they wandered toward me. Suddenly the Spirit spoke loud and clear, “Get the children out of the water!” I turned toward the mountains behind us and saw dark clouds gathering. A bolt of lightning flashed brilliantly in the sky.
“Get out of the water,” I screamed. “There’s lightning coming!” I raced for Kami, who by now was floating about 75 yards (68 m) from shore. At that moment a blast of wind hit us. My eight-year-old son, Dallin, tried to carry another foam pad out of the water, but the wind hit it like a sail and threw him to the ground.
I tried to get to Kami as fast as I could, but the wind was driving her farther out on the water. I am not a strong swimmer, and with the waves rising around me, I continued to wade. I could see her kicking her feet as hard as she could while leaning over the side of the pad, but this did little to combat the fierce wind. She was still being swept out to open water.
The water became deeper and deeper as I waded out, until it reached my shoulders. Then my feet came to a sharp drop-off in the lake bottom. I had to stop, but I was still 20 yards (18 m) from Kami. I opened my mouth to call her, but to my horror no sound came out. When it finally did, it was only choking gasps. It was then I realized how very cold the water was out this far. I realized that hypothermia was setting in. I wasn’t going to make it back either. We were both going to drown.
At that moment, using all the strength left in me, I called out so that Kami would hear my words and know I was praying. “Heavenly Father, please help us to have the strength to do this.” In an instant a warmth flooded my body, and my energy returned. My voice became clear and strong, and I called to her, “Kami, paddle with your hands!” Her little 10-year-old arms dog-paddled on the water in front of the pad. She was hardly strong enough to make a difference in the terrible wind, but it was as though a giant hand were behind her, gently propelling her toward my outstretched hand. I continued to call encouraging words to her until our fingers touched, and at that moment I knew that because Heavenly Father had brought her to me, we would make it.
On shore Dallin cried as wind and sand beat him cruelly. It took all my strength to get him, the other children, and the pads and toys into the car. In the distance the mournful wail of a loud siren filled the air, signaling a fire started by the lightning on the hills. It seemed to add to the trauma of the moment, yet we knew we had been preserved by divine assistance.
I told the children what had happened out on the water, and the instant we reached the house we gave thanks in prayer for His saving our lives. As we did so, I felt the overwhelming love of our Father in Heaven. I know that He is aware of His children, and I am very grateful that He was with us that day.