The Spirit Took Over

    “The Spirit Took Over,” Liahona, Nov. 2001, 39

    “The Spirit Took Over”

    During his years in high school, one of my sons withdrew more and more from our family. He resented authority of any kind. He dutifully attended church, but he had no enthusiasm for the gospel.

    After he graduated from high school, instead of preparing for a mission, he set goals to earn money for a car and college. But one Sunday he attended Sunday School instead of leaving after sacrament meeting as he often had. The lesson that day was about serving missions.

    Our son later told us he had never felt the Holy Ghost so forcefully as during that lesson. Immediately after Sunday School, he told the bishop he wanted to serve a mission. In his farewell talk about a year later, he shared a letter his Sunday School teacher, Shelly Parcell, had written him after she learned of his decision.

    Sister Parcell described how she had struggled to prepare a lesson on Doctrine and Covenants 71–75 and 77. She decided on Saturday evening to focus on the prophecies from the book of Revelation as discussed in section 77. “I didn’t sleep well at all that night,” she wrote. “Every time I woke up, the overpowering thought was, What will I teach? What do my students need to learn?”

    On Sunday morning, Sister Parcell looked over the lesson one more time, and a lesson about missionary service took shape in her mind. “I knew the Lord had a message for somebody in our class,” she wrote. “During the lesson the Spirit was very strong, and I felt the message was getting through. I don’t remember everything I said, but I remember saying things I hadn’t planned on, and I know the Spirit took over.”

    As our son prepared for his mission, he shared his testimony with his older brother. They entered the mission field within months of each other and shared the gospel in Perú and México. I will always be grateful for Shelly Parcell and how she blessed our family by teaching by the power of the Spirit.

    Photo illustration by Steve Bunderson