A Blessing for a Stranger
June 2017

“A Blessing for a Stranger,” Ensign, June 2017

Latter-day Saint Voices

A Blessing for a Stranger

missionaries looking over fence

Illustration by Allen Garns

Years after my family and I joined the Church, I received a call to serve in the Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission. On a sunny day shortly after I arrived in my first area, my companion and I set out for our usual proselyting and contacting.

As we passed through a populated street, we heard a faint voice calling to us from a low-fenced compound. We looked over the fence and saw a middle-aged man lying flat on his stomach by the gate.

He bade us come in, but there was no way we could enter the compound. The gate was locked and we thought that scaling over the fence would be unethical. I was prompted to check the padlock on the gate again. After a few minutes we managed to remove the padlock from the outside and open the gate. We could see that the man had been sick and unattended to. He explained that he had been ill and felt intense pain that prevented him from standing up.

After talking with him, we followed him as he crept back into his house. He asked that we pray for him, and we offered to give him a blessing. When we laid our hands upon his head, I felt a lump in my throat and couldn’t utter a word. Fear came over me, I began to shake and sweat, and tears flowed down my cheeks. I struggled to pray aloud, so I began to pray in my heart that Heavenly Father would loosen my tongue according to His will.

Suddenly, my tongue gained utterance. I knew I was speaking, but I wasn’t in control of the words. I just heard my own voice asking Heavenly Father to heal this suffering man. Before we said amen, the man had fallen asleep. We left him and went to our other appointments but planned to come back on our way to our apartment to check on him.

We returned and to my great astonishment, the man came running toward us, shouting, “It worked! It worked!” We were so overwhelmed with joy I couldn’t hold back my tears.

In sacrament meeting the following Sunday, the bishop suddenly paused at the pulpit and looked straight at the chapel door. We looked back and saw the man we had blessed. The bishop knew him and was surprised at his entering a church. From then on, the man attended sacrament meetings and other classes regularly. I was eventually transferred out of the area.

It is amazing to me how God provided a miracle that day, and I am humbled that Heavenly Father found me worthy. I know we were instruments in God’s hands. The blessing of healing belonged to that man, but the blessing of testimony and joy belonged to me.