“Please Save My Father,” Liahona, April 2009, 46–47
It was my father who searched for the truth and found the missionaries. They taught us the gospel, and not long afterward, we—my parents and five brothers and sisters—were baptized. Our testimonies grew stronger. We learned so many things, especially about the Savior and about families.
In 1992, while serving as bishop of our ward in the Philippines, my father had a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital from his office. When news came that he was in intensive care, my family was in great shock. Fear gripped our hearts. My father’s chances of survival were only marginal. My mother wept and asked all of us to pray.
I lost track of time after that—so many memories came flashing back. With tears on my face, I knelt to pray. My heart was so heavy, and my chest was ready to burst. I wanted to shout to ease the pain and remove the fear gripping me that day. Instead I simply prayed, “Please save my father.” It was a sincere prayer, meant to be heard.
That night I was allowed into the intensive-care unit. My father had slipped into a coma, and my mother and my siblings and I had to brace ourselves for the worst. It was a painful experience for our family. The future looked bleak and uncertain. As I silently bade him good-bye, I remembered our first family home evening. We had watched a Church film, Families Are Forever.
Before I went to bed that night, my earthly father silently returned to his Heavenly Father.
My father’s death, when I was 22, marked the beginning of hundreds of changes in my life. In his absence I learned that I had strengths I was unaware of. I’ve done more with my life than I otherwise might have because change and growth were thrust upon me.
When Heavenly Father didn’t grant my prayer, it never occurred to me that He hadn’t heard me. I know He was listening. He knew exactly what I was going through. He knew exactly what our family needed at the time, and that was what He gave us—strength to overcome the challenges of life, strength to face reality. He taught us how to face our trials with faith.
More than 15 years have passed since that painful day. I am still learning, and I am still growing in the gospel. I now have my own family, and I am so happy that we are sealed in the temple. I never take my eyes off the road my father marked for us.
Through the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I know that someday our family will be together again. I still have a long journey to go, but I’m happy to think that I will see my father at the end of that journey.