Seeing Dad Sing
    Footnotes

    “Seeing Dad Sing,” Liahona, April 2019

    Seeing Dad Sing

    By Maria Oka

    California, USA

    watching choir singing

    Illustration by Allen Garns

    I had been on my mission in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, for only four and a half months when I had a major seizure and was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy. The ensuing months brought hospital visits, countless tests, and a new medication with frustrating side effects.

    Until then, I had been so focused on missionary work that I hadn’t experienced much homesickness, but from the moment of my seizure, my heart ached. I missed my parents and felt alone even while surrounded by wonderful, caring people. I didn’t want to go home, but I wanted to feel peace.

    With my mission president’s permission, I spoke with my parents on the phone about my medication. My father, who had just fulfilled his lifelong dream of joining the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, assured me that he would be singing his heart out for me in general conference, which began the next day.

    The next morning, I prayed fervently for the peace I so desperately needed. I had received answers to specific questions during general conference before, and I trusted that I could receive guidance again. As conference opened, the choir sang “Dearest Children, God Is Near You” (Hymns, no. 96). Within the first minute, I saw my dad on the TV screen. The camera zoomed in on his face for quite some time.

    Tears came to my eyes as a tremendous feeling of peace enveloped me. I knew that God loved me. He knew exactly what I needed that day—a simple assurance that He was near and was aware of me. I felt God’s love, and by extension, the love of my family, my companions, and my mission president. Instead of feeling burdened, I now saw an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord.

    My health challenges didn’t disappear. I had to leave my mission early after all, but I knew that God was there and that He loved me. That assurance has followed me through many more heartaches and has given me hope in my darkest hours. Others may call it a coincidence, but I know that seeing my dad sing about God’s love was a small miracle in my time of need.