“Trust in the Lord,” Friend, Sept. 1998, 40
Do you see her yet, Okorie?” The eight-year-old boy strained to see as far down the road as he could, hoping for the telltale cloud of dust that would signal the approach of their mother’s car. No sound of a motor could be heard over the rustling of palm trees and the calls of birds in the Nigerian rain forest.
“No, Bernice. Nothing yet.” Okorie sat next to his little sister in the shade of the school compound. “I’m sure everything is all right. Maybe she is just busy with baby Ikechi.”
Bernice nodded, unconcerned. “Or maybe she went to the market to buy food. I hope she brings home lots of yams again. They’re my favorite.”
Okorie’s stomach growled at the thought of the orange-colored sweet potatoes. He did hope Mum would hurry—it wasn’t like her to be this late picking them up after school. Everyone else had gone home long ago. The school was many kilometers from Owerri, the nearest village, and Okorie was starting to feel a little scared.
“Okorie! Look what I found!” Bernice held up a worn leather soccer ball that had rolled under a nearby bush.
Okorie grinned broadly. Here was one way to make the minutes fly by! Eagerly he joined his sister in kicking the ball around the yard.
They were having so much fun that they didn’t notice the box-shaped car until Mum pulled up in it. She parked it and turned off the engine.
“Okorie! Bernice! I am sorry that you had to wait for me such a long time!” Mum hugged them. “I was trying to do too many things in one day, and the time slipped away from me. Hurry now! I’ve left Ikechi with Sister Anya’s daughter much longer than I planned. Ijeoma is only eleven. It probably is hard for her to watch a baby so long by herself.”
The brother and sister jumped into the backseat of the old car. “Look at all those yams!” Bernice squealed, peering into Mum’s shopping basket.
Mum smiled. “If we hurry, we can have dinner ready before your father comes home.” She turned the key to start the engine.
Mum’s smile turned upside down. She tried turning the key again. Once more, there was only a click instead of the familiar noisy roar of the engine. Mum tried for several minutes to get the car to start, but it didn’t.
“What’s wrong with it, Mum?” Bernice asked. “Are we out of fuel?”
“No, no—I filled the tank only an hour ago.” There was concern in Mum’s voice. “But I did drive many kilometers today. Perhaps the engine just needs to rest a few minutes.”
Okorie and Bernice looked at each other and giggled. They had never heard of a car needing a nap before!
“What should we do while we’re waiting, Mum?” Okorie asked.
“Well, I have my Book of Mormon. Should we read our scriptures now instead of after dinner?”
The children agreed. Okorie loved listening to Mum’s voice as she read the scriptures. If he listened very carefully and tried to understand what the words meant, he always felt warm and happy inside. Sometimes the words puzzled him, but he still had that happy feeling. Mum said that that feeling was the Holy Ghost and that if he always tried to do what Jesus Christ would have him do, he could have that feeling all the time.
They started reading in the book of Ether, chapter twelve. It talked about several different prophets who were able to do wonderful things because of their faith in Jesus Christ. It talked about Alma and Amulek, Nephi and Lehi, and Ammon and his brothers. Okorie remembered most of those names from his Primary class. One story—about the brother of Jared—especially caught his attention.
“Mum, did the brother of Jared really make a mountain move?” Okorie asked curiously.
“It was not the brother of Jared who moved the mountain, my son, but Heavenly Father. I am certain that the brother of Jared had a good reason to move the mountain. He knew he couldn’t do it himself, so he prayed to Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father knew that what the brother of Jared was asking was good and that he truly believed Heavenly Father would help him. So Heavenly Father answered his prayer and moved the mountain for him.” Okorie thought about that as Mum finished reading the chapter.
“It’s been a really long time,” Bernice said then. “Should we try the engine again?”
Everyone held their breath while Mum again turned the key. When the engine failed to start, she put her head in her hands.
“What are we going to do?” Bernice asked quietly.
Mum shook her head. “I don’t want to leave you two here alone, but there is no one to help us for many kilometers, and it’s too far for you children to walk. It would take hours to walk there and return with help. Poor little Ijeoma—I have left her so long by herself with the baby!” Tears began to trickle down Mum’s cheeks.
Bernice and Okorie glanced at each other with wide eyes. They had not realized the seriousness of their situation before. What could they do?
“Mum,” Okorie said quietly, “I know what we should do.”
“Let us say a prayer! I am sure Heavenly Father will make the car start—just like when He moved a mountain for the brother of Jared!”
“Prayers aren’t always answered right away, Okorie,” Mum sighed. “Someone will still need to look at the engine and fix what is wrong before it will work again.”
“No, no, Mum! If Heavenly Father can move something as big as a mountain, don’t you think He can make our little car work?”
Mum looked at Okorie’s shining eyes. She could see that he was very serious. “All right, my son, we will pray. Which of you wants to offer the prayer?”
While Okorie and Bernice decided which of them would say the prayer, Okorie saw his mother bow her head and close her eyes, as if she were saying her own private prayer. When Mum opened her eyes, the two children told her that they had decided to both say a prayer.
Bernice went first. “Heavenly Father, we are stuck out here all alone because of our broken car. Please bless Ikechi to be safe until we get back. And please help Ijeoma know how to take care of her. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Now it was Okorie’s turn. “Heavenly Father,” he began, “please bless the car to start. We know that Thou canst do it. Everybody else has gone home—there is no one else to help us. Please, Heavenly Father, help us start the car and get home safely so that Mum can take care of us and the baby. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
“Amen,” Mama said. She put her hand on the key one more time. “Here is the big test.”
Rrrruuuummmm! The engine sprang to life and hummed happily, as if nothing had ever been wrong with it. Bernice and Okorie jumped up and down for joy.
“Okorie! You did it!” Bernice exclaimed.
Okorie stopped jumping long enough to solemnly shake his head. “No, I didn’t do it. Heavenly Father did it.”
Mum hugged both of her children tightly. “Yes, Heavenly Father did it. But I think it was your faith that really pulled us through, Okorie. You never doubted for a second. You are an example to me. Both of you children have made me a very happy mother.”
They all said a quick prayer of thanks, then drove home, singing all the way.