“Can I Have a Blessing?” Liahona, Jan. 2013, 40
Many years ago I accompanied a brother I home taught, Brother Schaaf, to the hospital to give his wife a priesthood blessing before her surgery. Sister Schaaf shared her hospital room with a woman named Annie Leddar, a long-term patient with terminal cancer who was not expected to live much longer.
I reached out to pull the dividing curtain between the two hospital beds before beginning the blessing, but I stopped. Not wanting to exclude Annie, I explained what we were about to do and asked if she would like to witness the blessing. She said she would like to watch. Her husband, who had passed away, had been a minister in another faith, and she was interested in what we believed. Brother Schaaf and I proceeded with the blessing while Annie listened.
A few days later, before Sister Schaaf went home from the hospital, Annie asked if she could receive a priesthood blessing as well. Brother Schaaf and I gladly returned to the hospital to give her a blessing. Annie was not cured of her cancer, but her health greatly improved.
She was interested in learning more about the gospel, so I asked the missionaries to stop by the hospital to teach her. She listened to the gospel message with an open heart and chose to be baptized. Every week after her baptism we came to the hospital to take Annie to church in her wheelchair.
Because Annie was ill, it was difficult for her to get around, but she soon found her own way to serve the Lord. We brought her a typewriter, and she spent hours every day in the hospital doing family history work. Annie lived three years longer than expected and prepared hundreds of family names for the temple before she passed away.
After Annie’s death, Sister Schaaf did proxy temple work for many of Annie’s female ancestors.
As far as I know, Annie was the only member of her family to join the Church. Her living family was never enthusiastic about her involvement with the Church, but I am sure many of her deceased family members were grateful for the vicarious work that was done for them.
We never know if people we meet are ready to receive the gospel. I am grateful that I was able to see a seed—planted in Annie’s heart after she witnessed a priesthood blessing—flourish and bless hundreds of Heavenly Father’s children.