“Rafting Disaster,” Friend, Nov. 2014, 44–45
Emma looked at the bright yellow rubber raft on top of the van and felt a little shiver run down her back. She’d never been rafting before, and she didn’t know what to expect.
“You’ll like the Big Eddy,” Dad was saying. He pulled their lifejackets out of the van and handed one to Emma. “It’s beautiful and exciting. Someone takes your picture right when your raft crashes through the Big Eddy.”
Emma didn’t like that word—crash.
“Let’s hurry, Dad,” her little brother Zachary said. He didn’t look nervous at all, but Emma’s stomach churned.
A raft passed them going down the river, and Emma could hear one of the men yelling over the rushing water.
“The guide in the back tells them when to paddle forward or backward, and when to stop so they won’t tip over,” Dad said.
Dad was going to be the guide in their family’s raft. She hoped he knew the right directions to tell them.
Mom and Dad put the raft into a calm place in the river and they all jumped in. The water was moving slowly for now, and Emma started to relax.
The raft bobbed around and up and down through the current. Everyone paddled when Dad said to paddle. A little water splashed up on them. Emma and Zachary laughed. Maybe this would be fun after all.
Suddenly the raft started going faster, and the sound of the water got louder. They were getting close to the Big Eddy!
Dad shouted instructions for them to go through the next rapid sideways. They paddled on the right side of the raft, but something went wrong. When the river curved, the current washed them to the other side. They tried to go back, but instead, the raft banged into a log on the riverbank.
Emma, Zachary, and Mom yelled as the water pushed against the raft. At first the water pushed them back into the river, but then another wave crashed them back against the log.
Dad tried so hard to get them out of the whirlpool that he fell overboard and the river swept him downstream toward the Big Eddy. The next surge of water tossed Mom out. Emma was terrified, but she felt prompted to grab Zachary and point to the log. Somehow they both scrambled onto it just before the raft flipped upside down and slipped out into the rapids again.
Another raft came down the river, and the guide had the people in the raft steer over until they were next to the log.
“Get in!” yelled the guide.
Zachary held back, his eyes wide. Emma was frozen in place. They both clung to the log, unable to move.
Then she remembered President Packer’s words from a conference talk she had taped to her closet door at home. He said that the Spirit will show us what to do so we don’t have to be afraid.
As she thought about those words, Emma felt less afraid. She thought that she should hold Zachary’s hand and they would make it to the raft safely. She gripped Zachary’s hand, and with the help of the guide, they scrambled into the bouncing raft. They huddled together until the guide got the raft to a calm pool of water where Mom and Dad were anxiously waiting. Dad’s arm had a cut on it, and both of Mom’s knees were scraped up, but they were OK.
They all hugged. “I’m so glad you’re safe,” Dad said.
“I was really scared, but the Spirit helped me feel brave,” Emma said. “He told me what to do.”