“The Lord’s Prophet,” Liahona, Aug. 2002, 42–44
It was 3:00 P.M. on 30 May 1996 when my friend Lorna and I began our journey to Cebu—an island in the Philippines. President Gordon B. Hinckley would be speaking at a fireside there the next evening. A tricycle—a motorcycle with an attached sidecar—took us to the port where we and many other members of the Iloilo Philippines Stake would board a vessel bound for Cebu. My friend and I both knew that seeing the prophet would be worth any difficulties we might encounter on our trip.
As we reached the port, heavy rains began to fall. Would a typhoon spoil our voyage and ruin our opportunity to see the prophet? “First trial,” Lorna whispered to me. But later that day we forgot the cloudy skies. The other members’ excitement was contagious, and it seemed almost unbelievable that we would soon hear the mouthpiece of the Lord.
But our journey was not without inconvenience. Lorna and I were dismayed to discover there was no water for bathing aboard the ship. “Second trial,” I thought. Later we received more bad news: Because of the crowded conditions, our luggage would have to be left piled in the hall. Still, we remained positive.
After our boat came into dock the next day, we got in line to board one of the buses that was to take us to the coliseum where President Hinckley would speak. We watched in disbelief as we saw that the last bus was completely full. Lorna looked at me with a look that said, “Another trial?” But we did not give up. We hailed a taxi and were soon on our way.
By the time we arrived at the coliseum, its entrance was overflowing with people. “Will we ever get in?” I wondered. Discouragement set in. “Maybe we should just go back to the ship and wait for the others,” Lorna suggested.
Despite my doubts, I answered her in a determined voice: “Unless we get in now, we may never see the prophet.” With that, we moved resolutely through the crowd. The air in the large hall was so hot and oppressive I felt I would choke. But finally we found two seats together in the upper box of the coliseum, and we sat down to wait in the terrible heat.
Then at last I saw President and Sister Hinckley walking into the hall with Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Elisa. Suddenly, my worries and frustrations—even my awareness of the heat—vanished. The entire congregation stood and began to sing, “We thank thee, O God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days” (Hymns, number 19). Tears rolled down my cheeks. Until this moment I had only read the prophet’s words in Church magazines and books. Now I was seeing him with my own eyes.
As I looked around I could tell that everyone was touched by the same spirit. All around me, men and women were wiping tear-filled eyes.
As I heard President Hinckley speak, a warm assurance touched my whole being that he is indeed the Lord’s prophet today. A scripture came into my mind: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38).
At that moment my testimony of the Church, of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of His prophet was strengthened by the Spirit. I am grateful I was given the chance to see the Lord’s prophet and to feel the power of his testimony. Indeed, it was the greatest opportunity and the most priceless experience of my life.