“A Miracle at the Airport,” New Era, Aug. 2014, 8–9
As a new missionary in Japan, I had a hard time understanding anyone, let alone getting to know them. It was difficult to learn to love people I didn’t even know, especially when I couldn’t understand what they were saying. But I made an effort to show my love for them, and I appreciated their efforts to reach out to me.
Each week, my companion and I received a loaf of homemade bread from a sister in the ward named Sister Senba. She showed her love for the missionaries by baking homemade bread and writing small but heartfelt notes.
I was touched that someone cared about me. I felt impressed to show my gratitude to her in some small way. I wrote her a note expressing how grateful I was for her and the sacrifices she and her family made to help the missionaries. We became friends, and I began to think of her as my “mother away from home.”
Months passed. Early one Wednesday morning I received a call from my mission president, who asked me to transfer down to Okinawa. When I hung up the phone, I was filled with the most bittersweet feeling. I dreaded having to say my good-byes. Each phone call to tell members of the ward I would be leaving on the following day made my heart hurt. Saying good-bye to the people I had come to love so much was more difficult than I had imagined it would be.
As I finished these calls, I noticed that the only one who had not answered the phone was Sister Senba. I was sad I would not be able to say good-bye to a member who had become so close to my heart.
The next morning two other missionaries and I left for the airport. When we arrived at the ticket counter and tried to buy tickets, the workers told us that our cards had been declined. We did not have any money to pay for the tickets, and the flight was leaving in 10 minutes! The three of us were in a panic. We were about to miss the flight and be stranded at the airport for the day.
But all of my panic turned to comfort when I turned around and saw Sister Senba walk into the airport. I was shocked that she was there because she hadn’t known what time our flight was. As she scrambled over to us, she smiled and gave us all bread to bring onto the plane.
As we explained to her that we were going to miss our flight, she became saddened. None of us knew what to do. Then Sister Senba began rummaging through her purse, looking for something that could help us. She jumped happily into the air when she found a small envelope in her purse in which, weeks ago, she had placed ¥50,000—the exact amount of money we needed. She gave us the money, and we were able to get our tickets in time. We thanked her with every ounce of gratitude our souls could muster, said good-bye, and rushed onto the plane.
After the plane took off, my fellow missionary turned to me and said, “Isn’t she amazing?! That was a miracle!”
I then realized how truly miraculous it really was. He then said, “What does your note say?” I saw he was reading a note that was with the bread Sister Senba had given him. As I realized I had one too, I pulled out the note and read a small piece of paper personally addressed to me, which immediately made my eyes swell with tears. It said, “I love you! Please don’t forget me! I will never forget you!”
At that moment I felt the Spirit more strongly than I ever have before. Sister Senba’s example taught me how important it is to follow the promptings of the Spirit—no matter how small or strange the prompting might seem. Through these promptings we have the power to change lives for the better. I know it was not a coincidence that she came to the airport. It was a miracle.
Truly the Lord uses small means to bring about His work. How blessed we are as members of this Church to have His influence in our lives. Let us all remain worthy to receive these promptings and bless the lives of the children of God.