“Breakdown,” New Era, Feb. 2005, 12


Our car was stalled on a mountain road, and the only tool we had to repair it was prayer.

When I was 14, I lived with my family on a small island off the coast of Malaysia. Weather on the island was always warm, so my family enjoyed an occasional escape to the cool highlands on the mainland. During one such escape, we decided to visit a small mountain village accessible only by a narrow road. For safety reasons, this road was closed after dark. During the day, it operated on an alternating hourly schedule with one-way traffic flow directed either up or down the mountain.

After spending the afternoon on the mountain, we decided to return to our hotel. We waited patiently for the traffic direction to change and began our descent. When we were about halfway down the mountain, the engine of our car stopped. With great effort, my father steered the stalled car into a clearing along the side of the road. He inspected the engine but couldn’t find the cause of our problem. Everything appeared to be fine, but the engine would not start.

We quickly realized how difficult our situation was. Even if we could find the cause of our engine trouble, we did not have the tools needed to make major repairs. We could not walk to find help because the only towns with services were miles away. We had little hope for help from other motorists because traffic was light and the road would soon be closed for the night.

Knowing that we could not solve the problem ourselves, my father called us together and led us in a family prayer. He explained the situation to Heavenly Father and asked for guidance and help in getting the engine started. As we said amen at the end of the prayer, the clearing was filled with a strong breeze that moved the surrounding trees and bushes. The air had been unusually still up to that point, and we all felt that the breeze was Heavenly Father’s way of telling us not to worry, that our prayers had been heard.

About a half hour after our family prayer, we heard the sound of a vehicle making its way up the mountain. When it came into view, we could see from the telephones painted on the doors that it was a government telecommunications vehicle. As it rounded the corner, it came to a halt, and three men walked over to our car. My father explained the trouble we were having, and the leader of the group assured us they would fix our car.

The men unloaded an array of specialized tools and began a systematic check of the engine. It was clear that the men were highly skilled and, after 30 minutes of work, they found and repaired a problem in the car’s electrical system.

As they packed up their tools, my father thanked them for their help and asked what had brought them up the mountain. The leader of the group explained that a television transmission tower on the mountaintop had gone dead. They had been sent to repair the tower but had felt compelled to help our family, even before restoring television service to a large part of the country. When we inquired further, we learned that the television transmissions had ended about the same time our engine had failed.

As we started down the mountain again, my heart was filled with gratitude for an earthly father who could call down the blessings of heaven and for a Heavenly Father who sent people to help us.

This experience taught me that Heavenly Father takes a keen interest in us. When we face challenges that we cannot overcome by ourselves, we can call on a loving Heavenly Father. He usually answers our prayers through someone who has resources and talents we lack. I have learned to call on Him for help, and I try to be ready to serve others with my talents as He directs.

Extra! Extra!

To learn more about prayer, read these scriptures: James 1:5–6; 3 Ne. 14:7–11; and “Prayer” (Bible Dictionary, 752).

And read these articles in the Gospel Library at “Questions & Answers” (New Era, July 2002) and “Be Prayerful” (New Era, Apr. 2002) by Caroline H. Benzley.

Photo illustration by Cary Henrie, posed by models