“I Needed a Blessing,” Ensign, Feb. 2008, 72–73
In February 2005 I was going through the final phase of my army officer candidate school in the wintry woods of Alabama. We spent days and nights perfecting small-infantry tactics in freezing temperatures. One particular evening a hard, freezing rain poured incessantly on us as my fellow officer candidates and I struggled to set up camp to bunk down for the night.
I felt miserable. My hands and feet were frostbitten, and every movement was painful. I was soaked from head to toe. Every part of my body was shaking. To make matters worse, I feared that I was developing pneumonia, which I had had several times in the past.
The thought of quitting crossed my mind, but I then recalled the example of the handcart pioneers who never gave up despite seemingly insurmountable odds. I resolved that I would finish my training. My family and I had sacrificed too much for me to give up on my goal of becoming an officer. I prayed to Heavenly Father for strength to keep going.
I did not sleep at all that night, and the next day found me in worse shape. I was exhausted. Hours of training in the cold did nothing to alleviate my pain and coughing. One of the instructors noticed my condition and ordered me to spend a couple of hours in the warm-up tent.
While standing barefoot in the mud and hanging up my soaked clothes, I yearned for a priesthood blessing. One of the tent flaps suddenly opened, and in walked two officer candidates. I began chatting with one of them, Scott Lundell. Somehow the conversation steered toward international travel. Scott told me he had spent a couple years in the Philippines before joining the service. The Spirit immediately told me that Scott was a returned missionary.
“What did you do over there?” I asked.
“Oh, just a church thing,” he replied.
“Are you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I asked.
“Yes, I am,” he said.
“I am too,” I added.
As we shook hands, I asked Scott if he would give me a blessing. He unhesitatingly said yes, and I knelt in the mud. He pronounced the blessing, and I was healed immediately! Strength returned to me, and I stopped coughing. My illness was gone. I finished my training, and a month later I was commissioned an officer.
Heavenly Father truly is mindful of each of us and in His own way will bless us as we exercise faith in Him. In our most difficult moments, He will bear us up.
Scott Lundell was killed in action in Afghanistan on November 25, 2006. I didn’t know him well, yet his death deeply affected me. Heavenly Father sent him to me at a critical point in my life. I will never forget him, and I will always remember that special blessing given to me by a worthy priesthood holder.