Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Plan B for the Farmer's Son

I will keep updates on the story of the farmer boy from rural China on my story of Zhiwei on my blog at Jeff Lindsay.com. But here's the latest. As I mentioned, when I finally looked at the leg under the blankets, to my horror I saw that the surgery was on the hip, not the knee. WHAT? I was outraged. The doctor was supposed to be in the next day at 6 pm, so I came then, but he didn't show up. During all my visits, I've never seen a doctor come in and do anything with the patients and their families in the crowded little room, and only once saw a nurse come in to drain a catheter or something on another teenage boy, a procedure that involved exposing his genitals to everybody in the room and the hallway. No sense of privacy at all. Ugh. Anyway, the father called the hospital staff and arranged for us to see the surgeon the next morning when he came in at 7:45. I was there, with a translator to help, and the doctor came in--boy, did he look wealthy and important!--and just walked by us, apparently with no time to discuss his work with peons like us. We were told he needed to change and would be with us in a minute. Then he escaped out of his office and went into another office down the hall, and then we were told he'd be just a few minutes and we'd have to wait until 8:00 a.m. That time came and went. It was clear he wasn't interested in meeting or talking. What was he worried about? I had to leave at 8:15 to get back to work. Had a presentation I was giving, and a big order of CinnaSwirl cinnamon rolls waiting for me, one of the best things in Shanghai. It's a way to turn an ordinary presentation into a stunning success. Wish medical success were that easy.

The father then showed me the x-rays. Major hip surgery, with pins and rods. Will it help? I don't know. The surgeon, the head of the department here, told the family that the hip was where the real problem was and now that surgery will let the knee heal naturally. I'm not sure about that. A US doctor who has seen the x-rays before and after has raised serious questions about this procedure. There have been many red flags, including the fact that the surgeon told the family that something was wrong with the placement of things in the hip and that a second expensive surgery was needed next week. When the family said they didn't have the money for that, the doctor said it was time to back up and leave because the bed was needed for the next patient. And now he's saying no problem, it will all heal naturally. Wait, if there's a problem in what he did with the hip that required expensive surgery, how can he send them away and say he can heal naturally? How can he send them away at all? China leaves many questions unanswered.

Plan B: I want to raise $13,000 to pay for the next surgery (estimated cost: $10,000) and help them pay down a major part of the debt they have from this apparently failed surgery. Thank you to all who have donated, and I hope you can keep the donations coming. All the donations I've received so far and then some have gone to the family to help them with their expenses here, and now I want to build a reserve to help for another surgery in a few months, if that is the right timing. I'm not giving up. Not yet. Wish us luck, and keep Zhiwei in your prayers (and donations). PayPal button is on the right side of the this blog.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Failed Mission: Painful News from the Hospital

I'm in shock after my visit to Xinhua Hospital tonight. Disaster. Heart break.

As I explained earlier in my posts on the case of the poor Chinese family who came to the big city of Shanghai to finally get surgery for their son's deformed leg, I felt that my primary mission in being involved was to help them get the second and third opinions that were needed to dissuade them from unnecessary hip surgery and instead focus on the knee surgery that they boy really needed. So I was relieved when I got the text message saying that they had decided to get the knee surgery only. Whew, I thought, I made a difference. I was sad to see that they were going with the first hospital they had gone to instead of the high-quality one I had taken them to for their second opinion, but I couldn't make all the decisions for them and didn't want to challenge the father on everything. Maybe I should have. Why? Because my mission looks like a complete failure. I should have been a little more aggressive, a little more paranoid, a little more helpful in guiding the family toward different options.

Surgery was last Friday night. It took several hours and was more complicated than expected, but I was relieved that it seemed to have gone well. But what I didn't understand until tonight is that the surgeon didn't touch the knee at all. He operated on the hip. A hip operation--the unnecessary, costly thing that was my mission to prevent. The hip, not the knee. Contrary to what he told the father, contrary to what three difference doctors had recommended, it appears he decided that the hip was where he needed to operate. It makes no sense. I'm in shock. Maybe there were good reasons for that, and I'll give him a chance to explain it to me tomorrow morning when I see him at last (I've seen almost no trace of doctors or nurses in the crowded room with 6 beds and a couple dozen people where the boy is recuperating). For now, though, I'm thinking it's a huge mistake. Perhaps the knee surgery suddenly seemed way out of the surgeon's league. I don't know. The father was as surprised as I was to learn that it was hip surgery, not knee surgery given to his son.

Actually, the hip surgery didn't go well, the doctor has told the family, and the son will need another operation next week, and another 40,000 or 50,000 RMB to pay for that one, and it still won't address the real problem, in my opinion. And if they don't want to pay up front for that surgery now, then it's time to pack up and leave this weekend because other patients need the hospital bed being occupied by the boy. The family, out of money and hope, is planning to pack up and leave. The son's knee is the same disaster, and I fear that the leg will be in worse shape because of the incomplete hip surgery which may take a long time to recover, just to get him back to his normal painful, partially crippled state of abnormality.

Also to my horror, I learned tonight that the father has already paid in full for the surgery by going heavily into debt with relatives who had put money on a card for him to borrow, if needed. The cousin who translated told me that only 10,000 had been paid as a down payment, and I expected to still have some bargaining power with the hospital. I'm not sure when that changed--maybe today? Instead of waiting to make sure the hospital has done their part, he apparently had to pay already. The money I've been collecting for him will reduce his debt, but it's gone for the wrong operation. A disaster, I'm afraid. I'll try to see if he has any legal recourse, but recourse for the peasants from distant provinces is often a challenge here. I fear he's been taken advantage of. Maybe unintentionally, maybe in good faith, but the result looks ugly and unfair. But I need to give the surgeon and the hospital a chance. Maybe there's a good reason for the change in plans and the apparent complete waste of a poor farmer's money and the slicing up of a young boy's hip for nothing, it seems.

I'm offering refunds to everyone who donated because I don't want people paying for disaster, and I can't ask for more because it's such a lost cause right now. Is this the right approach? Your feedback is welcome. They still need help--they just took on hopeless debt to help their son and have used all their funds. But it seems like it's a cause that loses its appeal given what has happened. We'll try to understand their options and their needs and figure out what to do, but ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

What is the future for this boy? I don't want to give up, though part of me does when I hit these kind of frustrations, these ugly surprises that this beautiful country sometimes offers. Eventually, I'd like to help the family come back to a good surgeon in a good hospital and reconstruct the knee. It's not happening this week, though. Wish it were. Your advice is welcome. They are determined to leave this weekend. I think we're going to have to take the long trip to Jiangxi Province and help prepare them to come back later and do things the right way. We may need your donations and prayers even more then. Please keep Zhiwei and his family in your prayers now as well.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can a Secular Relief Society Work?

For those of you following the story of the young teenage boy, Zhiwei, who has come to Shanghai from a distant province to get long-overdue surgery for a deformed leg (keep those donations coming!), I'm happy to report that he's doing much better now that Mom has made it to town. Dad has been doing a great job, but what a difference a mother makes when it comes to comforting someone in pain. With Mom there, he's now eating, smiling, and appears to be on the road to recovery. Even though Zhiwei is in a room packed with six hospital beds and lots of other parents and relatives caring for recovering children, I think his mother feels rather alone. She is away from her friends and relatives, away from the small farming community she knows, and is a stranger with a strange accent here for the first time in big Shanghai, sitting quietly in her corner of the hospital room.

When I brought my wife there to meet her last night, you would think that Mom had just found her long-lost sister or best friend. She threw her arms around Kendra and gave her such a hug, and just held her hands so warmly and so long, and then cried on her shoulder again when it was time to part. The display of appreciation got a bit overly dramatic by Western standards, but it was good honest rural Chinese warmth and gratitude. I had the feeling that this good woman really needs some fellow sisters from the Relief Society to be here supporting her.She needed another woman to help share her burden, even briefly. China needs the Relief Society. Not just for us foreign passport holders, but for everybody. My opinion.

In LDS culture, if a family was coming to a distant city for surgery, it would not be uncommon for a few calls to be made to reach local church leaders and explain the situation, and then local members might show up to help out or provide a little comfort. When a sister in Nanjing brought her non-Mormon husband to a hospital in Shanghai, her branch president called my branch president, and later that night my wife and I were at their hospital to help. My wife is currently Relief Society President in the Shanghai Branch and she and other sisters are involved in various efforts to lift those in times of trouble. And it's remarkably affordable, being free volunteer service. I wish that woman from Jiangxi Province had a Relief Society network ready to help. She will have relatives and neighbors that will help when she returns, I'm sure, but I love the LDS network that can stretch across the miles (or the 1.609 kilometers).

As I pondered this woman and her son, I wondered what would happen if China tried to borrow from the LDS Relief Society and get similar results in a secular way. Red Brigade Sisters or something. Could it work? I don't think so. The magic of Relief Society is the firm belief and understanding that we are all sisters and brothers, and that our love for the Savior needs to be expressed and cultivated in serving others. Indeed, growing in service and Christlike charity is a central purpose of our lives, and these lives of ours have purpose and value far beyond this mortal realm. All those principles that inspire service, sacrifice, and love are fueled by the religious aspects of the organization, by doctrine and faith and love for God, which doesn't always easily fit within the framework of Marxism. But the heavily marketed ideals of Marxism, sharing to build a stronger, healthier society, are much more fully and practically achieved through living Christianity than through the institutions established by political theorists. China needs a Relief Society. Everybody does.

Could a secular version of the Relief Society work? I don't think so. But I welcome any efforts any institution or government can make to duplicate the magic of the LDS Relief Society, one of the coolest and most needed organizations on earth. May we all learn from it.

I will say, though, that the love and service of Relief Society is not unique to Christianity. Buddhism, for example, has a strong service orientation, and a selfless Buddhist woman in particular has been one of my most important allies in advancing the cause of Zhiwei's surgery. Her love and desire to serve other is not based on Christian religion, but inspired religion of a different variety. Thank you! And yes, of course, there are atheists who love and serve with remarkable compassion. It's just hard to organize and channel selfless service Relief-Society style without the benefits of religious structure and teachings, in my opinion. Or could a secular Relief Society work? Let me know.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Raising Funds for Surgery for an Impoverished Teenage Boy in China

A young 13-year-old boy named Zhiwei (sounds like "Jurway") is about to begin surgery today. I met him and his father on the streets of Shanghai and became friends a few weeks ago when they came to town from the countryside for some big-city medical help. As you can see in the photos below, shared with permission of the family, his leg is badly curved with a severe joint problem. It apparently arose from a serious infection he had as a baby. When he walks, he has to stoop way down with each step on that leg and it looks like it's going to snap. Painful. He had one surgery years ago but it didn't do much. He's getting real help this time. The family, though, has very little money, being poor farmers from Jiangxi province. The surgery will cost about $8,000 (50,000 RMB). I'll be getting details from the hospital today on how people can help if you'd like to donate and help out.

Many thanks to a couple of kind US doctors who gave some free analysis that helped the father decide to avoid a dangerous additional but unnecessary hip surgery that a questionable doctor here had been pushing in addition to the knee surgery. I think the most important part of my role in connecting with these strangers was to help them get vitally needed second opinions here and from kind doctors in the US that helped the father changed his mind and make what I think is the correct decision: knee surgery (only) right now.




Sunday, March 17, 2013

About That Hong Kong Trip: Another Surprise Encounter

As I mentioned in my last post, even getting to Hong Kong yesterday was a huge blessing. After the small but gratefully received blessing during a moment of prayer that resulted in averting disaster in our trip to Shenzhen and Hong Kong, we were able to cross the border together into Hong Kong and take a train toward the temple before I spent some time visiting some special people at one of Hong Kong's great universities (and my journey would eventually include a new connection with one of the coolest professors in Hong Kong--such a privilege to have met him). We left before breakfast was available at the hotel to ensure we had plenty of time to get to our early session (sometimes border crossings can have long lines and surprising delays). We just missed one train but caught another after a short wait. Had it been just me, I would have simply stepped into the train and stood in the first cabin I encountered, but with my wife along, I wanted to find a place for her to sit, so we walked down the length of the train looking for a seat. It looked hopeless with no sign of vacant seats, but I kept walking and just as I was about to give up, I saw a space on the left where my wife could sit, and as she sat down, I saw someone across from her with some space next to him. The man looked up at me and smiled as if her knew me and invited me to sit. Wait a second--we did know each other. "Hello, Brother Lindsay," the Asian man said in his perfect English. In a city of 7 million people, the one space for me on that very long train puts me next to someone I know? And no, it wasn't someone else also going to the Temple--he was going somewhere else. This surprise encounter reminds me of the last time I came to Hong Kong and accidentally ran into a lost single adult we knew who really needed our help (see the story "Finding Selina" at the Nauvoo Times and also here at Mormanity).

This friend was probably the first Latter-day Saint I met in when I came to Shanghai in 2011, and one of the nicest. I had lost contact with him when he suddenly moved to Australia about a year ago, and I was delighted to see him again. He had just been in southern China, having crossed the border I think from a different location, and was soon returning to Australia, but we were able to meet while he was on my train. Now I've got his contact information. I also learned some important things about Australia, where I'll be for a while in May, and learned about the Shenzhen Branch where he attended recently. In fact, he gave me the Branch President's contact info which spared me from the disappointment of showing up for meetings in Shenzhen today, only to find out that there were no meetings today since it was District Conference in Guangzhou, over an hour away by train plus taxi, etc.

I had planned on going to Shenzhen but, thanks to meeting him and texting the Branch President, learned of the change in time to alter my plans and go to the Victoria First Branch in Hong Kong, where I teamed up with some good friends and made some other friends. And then had a beautiful walk along the harbor for some photography and enjoying the rich heritage of that marvelous nation--or Special Administrative Region, to be more technically and politically correct.  My wife, though, caught an early plane from Shenzhen so she could be in Shanghai to begin her work as the newly called Relief Society President in the newly organized Shanghai International Branch, now one of three branches in Shanghai (there were two until last week). She's got a lot of work ahead of her and a lot she's been doing already. 

Visits to Hong Kong have resulted in such interesting and valuable encounters, sometimes against all odds. We're so grateful that we got there on a wing and prayer, and were blessed in several more ways during our brief journey there. I don't know what to make of it all, but I learned a lot, experienced a lot, was blessed a lot, took a lot of photos, and didn't eat a lot. Not bad.

By the way, those interested in the Church and China should know about the Church's newly released website, MormonsandChina.org. This site is designed for people from the People's Republic of China who joined the Church while overseas and want to understand how they can worship and be Latter-day Saints and good law-abiding citizens, whether in China or elsewhere. It clarifies the rules we have in China and provides other helpful information and resources.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On a Wing and Prayer: How We Got to Hong Kong

I'm in Shenzhen, China as I write, about to walk over to the border crossing where we will go to the Hong Kong Temple this morning and then visit some great friends. We got here on a wing and prayer, literally. Here's the story. 
My wife and I had flights last night to Shenzhen. The airport (one of two in Shanghai) was close to the school where she teaches math, so she would go there directly after work and so would I for our evening flight. I normally bring my bag to work and go from work directly to the airport, but this time decided to leave my packed bag home and pick it up on the way to the airport since it was just a brief detour to the apartment. When I went home, grabbed my bag and a bite of food or two, I was about to leave when I remembered that I hadn't really taken time for meaningful prayer that day. I'd left in a rush and now felt like I should take a moment for real prayer. I knelt, and among other things, expressed gratitude for this opportunity to travel and asked if there was anything else I needed to do in preparing for the trip. As I did that, I had the unusual impression to go check the place where my wife keeps her passport when she doesn't need it. I got up and opened a drawer, discovering the passport that she had inadvertently left in her own rush that morning. Without the passport, she would not have boarded the plane and we would not have had time to go home and come back in time for the flight. What an amazing gift. 

We've had all sorts of little disasters in travel over the years, but are so grateful that this big disaster was averted. A relevant LDS hymn really is worth mentioning here, "Did You Think To Pray?" 'Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray? It really can make a difference in helping us to face the day better, to do more good, and to avoid not only temptation, but also occasional disaster. So grateful. 

After I put the passport in my pocket, I got on my knees again and expressed gratitude. I also asked, in my ongoing curiosity about the things of God, just how these kind of things are done. The geek in me is also deeply curious about how the physics and mechanics of "promptings" in which God somehow can help us think of something or remember something or feel we need to do something.   I'm so curious to understand how communication to our minds or spirits works, what our spirits are, and so forth. There's a world of detail about who we are and how the universe works that we haven't even began to explore. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day

It's pi day here in China, where schools, teachers, and math geeks celebrate the mysteries of the transcendental number pi, the number related to the circumference of a circle, the behavior of light, an occasional Egyptian hypocephalus, and, well, pretty much everything. Pi crops up in all manner of formulas, equations, and solutions to the problems of life. To plumb pi and its mysteries is to encounter endlessness and beauty within seeming chaos. There are many lessons of life one can draw from pi. 
By the way, did you know that your social security number, you phone number, and even the digital representation of your favorite hymn can be found within the endless digits of pi? You can find search for specific strings in the first 2 million digits of pi here. Longer strings may require much longer searches.

Here's a confession: when I was a teenager, about 14, a friend and I memorized the first couple hundred or so digits of pi. One day in science class my friend and I did a memory trick where he pretended to rattle off random digits, around 75 of them, as someone recorded the numbers, and then I rattled them back perfectly. Just digits from pi, starting a few after the famous 3.14159 opening. Was quite fun, actually. A mental magic trick, sort of, from a geeky amateur magician goofing around in a class that didn't have much of an adult presence at times. This little achievement naturally leads to a reasonable question you may have: why am I not still single??

Fortunately, I grew past that stage and moved on to more important things in life. You know, things like the number e: 2.718281828459045.... already a cool pattern in the random digits of another transcendental number 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Was It Something I Said?


As this Maori carving at Rotorua, New Zealand (North Island) reminds us, sometimes we can have a big mouth. Spreading gossip, sharing confidential information inappropriately, or saying hurtful things can start fires we cannot put out. The tongue is a flame of fire, as James put it (James 3:6). 



Inflation: It Can Be a Killer



A little lesson from a dried blowfish photographed on from my last trip to Hong Kong. By the way, I'll be there again Saturday, partly to visit one of Asia's greatest universities there,  and I might be there Sunday, too. If you're in town, let me know. Will mostly be hanging out in Shenzhen early next week at a conference on intellectual property. Fun!

Hey, I managed to mention inflation without ranting about US monetary policy and the erosion of the dollar. Not a single word! I proud to say that my self-control is gradually improving, just enough to give me an even more inflated sense of .  . . oops.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Newly Revised LDS Scriptures Released with a Few Important Updates

"Subtle . . . and Significant! Our New 2013 Edition of the Scriptures Addresses Controversies" is a must-read survey of the new update to the published scriptures just announced and released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While details of the adjustments are offered on a page at LDS.org, Brother Lynch reviews some of the most noteworthy changes, especially in things like introductory comments and chapter headings (99% of the changes are in such study aids, not in the sacred text itself). The changes reflect careful scholarship coupled with a thoughtful awareness of some of the controversies that come in up defending the Church, and in several cases make life a little simpler for some of us members. Bruce R. McConkie's inaccurate mention of "coins" in the chapter heading of Alma 11 has been removed. The diversity of Native American origins is also more properly reflected in the introduction to the Book of Mormon (for those of you troubled by issues of DNA, science, and the Book of Mormon), where the old "principal ancestors" statement has been replaced with a much more nuanced statement indicating that the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon "are among the ancestors of the American Indians." This is even more nuanced than the mild 2007 change to "among the principal ancestors"--now it's just "among the ancestors." That's a fair way to describe what we know now about what the Book of Mormon really requires.

One of the most interesting changes involves setting the stage for the 1978 revelation on the priesthood. Here is how Brother Lynch puts it:
Official Declaration 2 – Blacks and the Priesthood

In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation on the priesthood that extended the right to every worthy male in the Church to receive all the blessings of the priesthood without regard to race, including those pertaining to the temple. Prior to that time, individuals of African descent were often denied the blessings of the priesthood. Many well-meaning members and leaders sought to explain the practice, arguing that there was a doctrinal basis for such a restriction. Many such explanations assumed a revelatory basis for the practice, and produced justifications that were damaging to the sensitivities of our black members. Critics have argued that many Mormons cling to such beliefs. The following new introduction to Official Declaration 2 dispels many of these notions. It reads:

“The Book of Mormon teaches that “all are alike unto God,” including “black and white, bond and free, male and female” (2 Nephi 26:33). Throughout the history of the Church, people of every race and ethnicity in many countries have been baptized and have lived as faithful members of the Church. During Joseph Smith’s lifetime, a few black male members of the Church were ordained to the priesthood. Early in its history, Church leaders stopped conferring the priesthood on black males of African descent. Church records offer no clear insights into the origins of this practice. Church leaders believed that a revelation from God was needed to alter this practice and prayerfully sought guidance. The revelation came to Church President Spencer W. Kimball and was affirmed to other Church leaders in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978. The revelation removed all restrictions with regard to race that once applied to the priesthood.”

This official introduction validates an argument long made by defenders of the Church that there is no known source for the initiation of what has become termed the “priesthood ban”. It confirms that Joseph himself ordained black male members to the priesthood, indicating that the “ban” was likely not founded on scripture. It further explains that, despite the unknown source for the ban, it was believed that the lifting of the ban required revelation from God which came on June 1, 1978 and was then adopted unanimously by the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the full contingency of General Authorities.

This introduction can serve to provide some comfort to members bothered by statements from other well-meaning individuals and leaders who said many things in the past that are seen today as hurtful. It upholds the current belief that only worthiness determines the right of a man to receive the blessings of the priesthood, and helps to dispel the notion that Mormons are racist in their intent.
I am pleased with this noteworthy but subtle progress in our scriptures and hope the changes will be welcomes and studied by our members. However, I was just a tad disappointed to see that the book of Alma still refers to the Amalekites when the outstanding scholarship of Royal Skousen shows that the term most likely should be Amlicites, correcting a scribal error and thereby adding a deeper level of unity to the text than Joseph Smith himself recognized (because, of course, he was not the author). Maybe next time! ;)

Speaking of gradual progress, I finally added a Facebook "like" button to Mormanity. Is that annoying or helpful? Any other social media features I should add? Yeah, I'm always a bit behind here. Help and guidance is welcome!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Stop the Crazy Rumors about China: NO, Missionaries Are Not Being Sent There

I've had several people tell me that they heard of someone or even knew someone who had received a "secret" mission call from the Church to go on a mission in mainland China. The main version of this rumor has the missionary receiving a mission call letter that doesn't say what the mission is, but just gives a phone number to call. The missionary calls it and soon is speaking with President Monson himself. Wow! President Monson then asks the missionary if he or she is willing to serve for three years, with one year in Taiwan and then the last two years in Mainland China. It's all very TOP SECRET, the faithful missionary is told, which is why it's quickly shared with numerous acquaintances and strangers around the world.

I've heard this from a few people myself. For those who "know" someone who had this secret call, when I press for details, they don't exactly know the person, but maybe "know of" it from a second-hand source. They don't even have a photoshopped mission call letter to substantiate the claim. Not a very sophisticated hoax. How do these things get started? A malicious lie, or was someone confused about a nephew's call to Hong Kong and conflated that with a some other story? Is a stupid mistake coupled with unintentional exaggeration by other parties the cause, or is there some malicious soul out there with nothing better to do?

The China missionary rumor has become annoying enough that Elder Russell M. Nelson asked missionaries to help stomp it out. He also explained very clearly why it is ridiculous. See "Elder Russell M. Nelson Urges Missionaries to Refute Rumors" at LDS.org. Also see a related blog post, "Debunking Mormon Myths: Mainland China Opening for Missionary Work" at LDS Church Growth.

This silly rumor resonates with the arguably excessive interest that a lot of Mormons place on China (OK, it's OK for me to be interested because I live here and love China). China is important, yes, but when it comes to getting excited about the future of missionary work, why not be excited about the billions of untaught people all over the world that we can legally teach but aren't reaching? India has a billion people--why doesn't India get its fair share of interest and wild rumors? Why aren't we hearing about, say, the secret Mormon temple deep inside the Taj Mahal--oops, that was TOP SECRET. Please don't put this on the Internet.

From the Nauvoo Times: My Cell Phone Story

Over at the Nauvoo Times (Orson Scott Card's LDS project with a team of LDS bloggers), I just shared an unusual experience I had with a newly repaired cell phone in an era when cell phones were not really part of my daily life. But this cell phone experience changed my life a little, and someone else's a lot. One thing I didn't mention is that not long before this experience, I had received some training in dealing with suicidal people that was essential for helping me to stay calm and do what was needed. I count that little miracle as one of the most treasured ones in my life. I'm still just in awe at the kindness of the Lord in that moment. How I wish I could have been there for more people, more often.

So many of my favorite little miracles involves unusual timing, allowing natural means to come together "naturally" but at just the right time to achieve something good. A gentle divine nudge or two is still often needed. Care to share your favorite stories of this nature?

P.S.--If you visit the Nauvoo Times, check out the sobering post about life in Nigeria by Dr. and Bro. Imo Eshiet in "Not Without Laughter." Now there's a land to pray for and to find new ways of lifting. We need some big miracles for Nigeria.