One of our first missionary assignments was to teach a weekly seminary class to youth in Port Dunford, a rural area where the Church had a small branch. To get there, we had to drive through eSikhawini, then return home at about 8pm. On the right side of the road was an area considered to be unsafe as we drove out of eSikhawini toward our boarding in Richards Bay. One evening we were late leaving seminary and it was near dark as we passed through eSikhawini. As we left the last homes, I didn’t see a deep pothole in the road, and we hit it VERY HARD. The loud bang on impact shook the car so badly that I was afraid the axle had broken. But, miraculously, we kept going and nothing seemed wrong.
As usual, there were many people walking along the narrow, two-lane road. I was relieved all was well, as it may not have been safe if we had to stop to change a tyre on that particular dark stretch of the road. About 30 kilometres later, we arrived at a well-lit petrol station in Richards Bay, and I pulled in to fill up with petrol. As I shut off the engine, I heard the shisssssh of air escaping the front tyre, which had hit the pothole. As I got out, the sound ceased. The tyre was totally flat! The young attendant who had rushed up to wash our windshield quickly changed the tyre. I thought at the time how lucky we were it had waited to deflate till we reached the lit, safe station.
The next morning I took the tyre to be repaired. It was not damaged, but there was a huge dent in the rim, which had to be replaced. With a shock, I realized just what had occurred the previous night. There is no way that tyre should have stayed inflated all the way to Richards Bay, given the deep dent in the rim. Since then I have often reflected on that event. I am so grateful for the covenants Sandra and I made with the Lord in 1961 when we were sealed in the temple. That day, we were promised that if we kept those covenants and the commandments, we would be endowed with power from on high to guide and protect us. We have not been perfect (far from it), but have earnestly tried to keep the promises we made then.
That night, in Kwa-Zulu Natal, we were on the Lord’s errand. Just as promised, Heavenly Father kept His word. In the lives of us all there are times when we need the Lord’s guidance and protection. Through the 78 years of my life, I have learned that His promises are sure. He will not fail us if we earnestly strive to do our best. Indeed, I know for sure that the protecting hand of the Lord was with us that night in Africa, when we were far from home and loved ones, and in need.