“A Blessing in My Mother’s Handwriting,” Ensign, October 2018
One evening I was pondering what message to give at an upcoming ward conference. I had been studying the scriptures throughout the week, and although I had received great instruction and insights, I still had no clear direction of what the Lord wanted me, as stake president, to share with members of the ward.
In heartfelt prayer, I asked for guidance from the Spirit to direct my thoughts. Then I opened the scriptures and began reading again. My mind immediately turned to the ward’s goals that the bishop and I had recently discussed. One of those goals was to utilize Preach My Gospel in sharing the gospel with friends and neighbors.
I felt impressed to include Preach My Gospel in my own study that evening. I pulled out a copy and opened it to no page in particular. On that page, I found two handwritten scripture references—1 Nephi 8:8–11 and 1 Nephi 11:21–22. As I looked closer, I realized those references were written in my mother’s handwriting. My sweet mother had passed away several years earlier, two months after her 80th birthday. She was an example of courage and selflessness who always saw the good in people. And she loved the scriptures.
I opened the scriptures to those verses to see what prompted her to write them down. As I read them, my mind immediately opened to the message that I should give. It was a simple message that members of the Church who have tasted the delicious fruit of the gospel may sometimes forget that many others are seeking that same fruit. We need to reach out and tell them where to find it.
I thought of my sweet mother as I looked through the rest of Preach My Gospel. There was no name, no other notes, or anything to indicate that the book had ever belonged to her. I sat in awe as I reflected on the chain of spiritual promptings that led to this moment. The Spirit confirmed to me that I had been directed in my thoughts, just as I had been praying for. Little did my mother know, however many years ago she wrote those references, that the Lord would use them to be the answer to her son’s humble prayer.