I know angels have watched over and protected me many times.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland testified in October 2008 general conference “that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world himself.”
What beautiful, comforting truth this is, and what is lovely, in my case anyway, is that we don’t have to be “rocket scientists” — always making brilliant decisions — to be safeguarded by God. Because he is merciful and gracious, he does answer prayers and provide protection — often in amazing ways.
The world was different — perhaps not as wicked or quite as dangerous — when I headed off with my sister to work at the Olympics in Munich. Afterward, we planned to take the money we earned, backpack around Europe until it ran out, and then fly home.
We settled into the job, and after work we always found a way to get into the Olympic Village and go to the dances for the athletes. I didn’t think of myself as naive, but looking back I was.
One night my sister and I made a foolish decision.
At the disco we met an Eastern European track star and his team doctor. They were very polite and invited us to a party in town.
“Stupid” might be a good word to interject here, but we thought it sounded fun and blithely agreed. The team doctor had a car. We drove and drove — at least 45 minutes— before finally arriving at a house on the edge of the Black Forest.
We had no real idea where we were. We exited the car and walked about 20 yards along a path to a door located in the back. When we entered, the house was quiet, dark and empty. We asked where everyone was: the crowd of happy-go-lucky party attendees? They explained the four of us were the party, and it quickly became apparent to me that my sister and I were to be the entertainment.
We refused drinks and their proposals, and demanded they take us back to the press village. They refused.
We asked for a ride to the train station. They refused again, explaining no trains were running at that time of night.
We were at a stalemate. My sister and I announced we would go upstairs, sleep for the night, and they could drive us back in the morning.
We got into the big double bed fully clothed, feeling nervous and idiotic, and tried to relax and get some sleep. Suddenly, the two men bounded into the room and forcefully renewed their requests for favors. We told them to get out of our room and stay out. They left, but we didn’t have much confidence they would leave us alone.
We knew we couldn’t stay, but there were just a few problems: It was the middle of the night; we didn’t know where we were; we didn’t speak German; we were far from the city and had no idea where to go; we had no phone to use to call for help; and nor did we know where a public phone was. Even if we got to a phone, we probably wouldn’t be able to communicate with the operator.
So how does the rest of the story go? We pulled on our shoes, gathered our belongings, crept downstairs and exited onto the recessed porch. I will never forget how black, scary and bleak our prospects seemed. There were no streetlights, and the few murky houses in the distance were dark and threatening.
We looked at one another, and I said, “We need to say a prayer.”
Some sense had finally descended upon us. I’ve never prayed harder and with more sincerity. We pleaded for help. When the prayer ended, we looked at one another then turned and began to trudge the path toward the street.
Halfway there, a car turned the corner onto the street toward which we were headed. We arrived at the street with the taxi about 10 yards away. It came to a halt right in front of us. The back door opened and an affable Englishman asked us what we were doing this far out of town and if we needed a ride back. We climbed in, the taxi driver was re-directed, and we were dropped off at the front door of our apartment complex.
I know it was not a coincidence. I know the prayer of well-intentioned but silly girls was answered.
I know we were watched over and protected. I learned that night, far from home, that God hears and answers prayers. It is knowledge that has served me well throughout my life.