Hymns During the Hurricane

Hymns During the Hurricane

From Chicken Soup for the Latter-day Saint Soul

Hymns During the Hurricane

And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.

2 Ne. 4:24

The Lord truly knows our individual needs and answers our prayers. We joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints years ago, and were blessed with a beautiful daughter and two handsome sons. All three of our children love the Lord, and our two sons both served missions for our Savior. Our youngest son left the comforts of home in 2003 to serve in Virginia—and shortly after he arrived there, his experience with hurricanes began.

We will never forget September of 2003, when Mark was serving in an area near the Atlantic coast. The hurricanes were threatening the area where he was serving, and we watched every development on The Weather Channel. I was getting more frantic by the hour. I had faith that he was in a safe place; there was no doubt that the mission president was busy evacuating missionaries away from areas of danger. Still, my heart was troubling me. “Where is my child?” I asked in prayer.

As the storms approached Virginia, I expressed my concern to my husband. He assured me our son was fine. I knew that—but WHERE was he fine? Praying for everyone in the hurricane’s path, I contemplated calling the mission home, but knew they were undoubtedly preoccupied with their tasks. I also thought about calling our stake president. My husband chuckled at the suggestion. “We are probably more informed than he is. Watching The Weather Channel 24/7 gives you an edge.”

Finally, I called the sister missionaries who were serving our ward. They were supportive. “Oh yes, call the mission home,” one of them told me. “People call for silly reasons, but this is a good reason.” Still, I felt my call would be a burden. The sisters called back a little while later; they still felt it was absolutely acceptable and valid to call the mission home. Again we hung up. The phone rang again immediately. I thought the missionaries were calling back to add still more comforting words to my dilemma. Instead, a sweet voice on the phone asked, “Is this Sister Hartje?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“My name is Sister McWiggins. You don’t know me, but . . .”

A wonderful sister in Virginia was calling to tell me she had just seen my son! The missionaries in the area had been evacuated to her stake building in Suffolk, and she had gone to check on them.

Did they have enough food? What about other supplies, like flashlights?

The elders were assigned shifts at the stake center and were taking turns filling sandbags in other areas. It had been my son’s shift as one of two young men at the stake center and Sister McWiggins had thoughtfully asked if she could take phone numbers and call their parents. As I talked with her that day, I sighed with relief and offered a quick prayer from my grateful heart during our conversation.

The Lord not only knew my needs that day, but He answered my prayer while the missionaries served their community and the mission president worked to keep his mission family safe. He may have been praying for parents not to call, since his work was a pressing and immediate need! I believe that Sister McWiggins was the Lord’s angel that day. She may live in Provo now, but I will always consider her my “angel” from Virginia.

About five weeks later we received a cassette tape and photographs. The missionaries were singing hymns during the hurricane; we could hear them laughing, making up silly songs and taking pictures as shingles were being torn off the roof of the stake center. One of the missionaries from Tonga climbed barefoot up a flagpole, comparing these winds to a “real” storm—one of his island typhoons!

Through this experience, my testimony of prayer grew deeper, and my prayer of gratitude became more sincere. The Lord promptly answered a mother’s prayer. He DOES hear every prayer. He knows each one of us. My prayers are more meditative and reverent. I am now at ease with hurricanes (and everything else), and I take nothing for granted. This experience has also left me eternally grateful for angels on Earth and for the profound love from our Father in Heaven.

Loralee Hartje

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