It is written that not one sparrow shall fall without our Heavenly Father taking notice. Oh, what joy and comfort it brings to know this is the kind of God that rules the Universe. A few of our sparrows have fallen into those loving hands to return to heaven. When they fell God was there to help carry us through our sorrow. Our trust in Him never wavered and His grace never failed us. Although the road was dark and the valley filled with the shadows of death, Christ was beside us leading us daily, step by step, minute by minute, sometimes, until the light of the dawn came when the clouds parted. I’ve always heard that Jesus is closest to us when we are in the greatest danger and sorrow. It’s true. I’ve never felt closer to Him than during those days.

An inspirational TV evangelist, Jack Taylor, bore testimony of his greatest trial—open heart surgery twice— wherein he became totally incapacitated.

The experience prepared him for his work by teaching him that where God intends to do a work and bring His glory, first He must smite all that is ungodly in that place. He will bring us down until we know He is the One Almighty and Strong and we’re totally dependent upon Him—then our eyes become single to the glory of God.

Jesus said: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev. 3:19)  We found out He loves us! We were smitten shortly after our marriage. Satan sent his whirlwinds trying to destroy our baby girl, Melissa Gayle, and everything that brought us joy. God allowed the trials, because we needed to grow in Him. I had prayed, “Lord, make me clean because I want to be with you.” I knew that cleansing could cause me pain, but I knew He loved me and would not put me through any trials that were not for my benefit. I wanted to live with Him in Zion. This book tells how He answered that prayer.

“You will have to go through what other mothers do to make you a good mother,” He said.
I didn’t comprehend the message but I knew it was the Spirit of Inspiration which had been guiding me recently. Gene and I were at church with our second child when the impression was received. Our first sparrow had fallen in death on Christmas eve three years before, and now the second one was in danger.

As Melissa began to cry I sensed something more serious than a wet diaper or hungry tummy. I exited to the cry-room trying to comfort her. In pleading trust, a desire for her comfort and for quietness for the service, I petitioned my Lord for a blessing. It was then the counsel came, “You will have to go through what other mothers do to make you a good mother.”

James said, “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” (James 5:14)

I believed that with all my heart, so when we got home we called the elders, and as they leaned over her crib, I felt a calm assurance that my little sparrow was being watched over. “Oh, God, in the name of Jesus Christ, we pray that if anything is amiss in this little body, it shall be made whole,” I heard them pray. I thought it was strange wording, and never forgot it. I wondered what was amiss and could it be serious? I was soon to learn how God honors that passage of scripture to call the elders.1

Two weeks passed and one afternoon my mother was visiting. “Janice, she’s blind.” I watched as Mother tested Melissa by putting objects in front of her face. “Watch her eyes,” she said, “she does not follow anything—she can’t see!”

Those words shot through me like a searing iron. God wouldn’t do that to me! My efforts and faith had been centered on Him and His work from the time I had learned about Zion. “No, Mother, you’re wrong,” I thought, yet Mother had raised seven and knew what to look for. I didn’t want to accept it.

From the time of the administration 2 she had been improving steadily. I reflected back to when we had taken her to church for a blessing before the elders, like when Jesus was taken before Simeon.3 I remembered the words spoken over her that day, “She has been blessed with many talents and has been given the gift of health.” She was two months old at that time, and now four months later, blind? Something was wrong. Had I misunderstood what the elders said, or did they misunderstand what God was telling them? This wasn’t health! I was stunned. Instead of standing still, or even going back for clarification, I took my eyes off of God and listened to my mother. In panic I turned to the world for help. It was a mistake.

The hospital stay of three days for tests was pure agony. Gene had to go to work and Melissa and I were alone. There is no place so lonely as when one is outside of God’s counsel and by themselves. That is hell on earth.

The nurses took her down the hall into a room nearby for spinal taps. I could hear her screams as they held her down trying to stick the needle in her spine. I was not allowed to be with her and she was terrified. She fought them so desperately they had to put the needle in three times before they could get the fluid they wanted. The nurse told me what a terrible battle it had been—that Melissa was sweating so badly, they could not keep hold of her because she kept slipping out of their hands. It made me sick in the pit of my stomach. There are no words to describe the hell Melissa and I lived through that day. I, too, was screaming, only on the inside. I wanted to grab my baby and run away from those who were hurting her. I still feel that pain of almost complete desperation after 35 years. It’s a wound that may never heal. It is good that the young can forget events in their childhood. I don’t want Melissa to remember anything about it.

My mind was racked with torment. Had I done wrong in bringing her here? She was improving at home. Through God’s elders I had heard the words, “What you are doing is pleasing to your Heavenly Father. Continue doing this and you shall be blessed.” And what were we doing to help her besides calling the elders? She received carrot juice, prayer and loving care—food and rest. We felt she needed time to heal.

God didn’t tell me to turn to my mother’s counsel nor the world’s physicians for help. Guilt, fear and confusion filled my brain. I had learned to trust God, I thought, yet when a real crisis came, I frantically ran before Him. I hadn’t learned that the entire Universe is in His hands, and nothing can happen unless He permits it. That understanding would come later as I walked with Him one step at a time, sometimes one second at a time.

For three days I was on my knees, either literally or in my heart. My soul cried out to God for deliverance. I was broken in spirit. On the third day, His Still Small Voice spoke again, plain to understand, gentle, yet firm.

“You have disobeyed that which you were told to do. You have feared man more than your God. You will have to suffer the consequences of what you have done.”

I knew that was true. I had trusted God up to a point. Then when I saw how serious the condition was I ran to the Medical Profession for help, which was in direct conflict with what the Spirit had counseled me to do through His elders. This is not saying that to go to the Medics is wrong, but in that situation, for us, it was wrong. I had been taught, as most were back in the 1950s, to trust the arm of flesh—that none were wiser for our own good than the Medical Profession. My mother had swallowed that line and put me also under this pressure. God was trying to teach me to have no other gods before him—not even my mother or the AMA. I was turning to the God of Israel because I am an Israelite, yet still holding onto Egypt as did my forefathers. I had turned from God, back to man’s wisdom out of fear like Israel did at the foot of Mt. Sinai. And I repented.

Not knowing what consequences would follow, and not caring now, I vowed, “Lord, forgive me. I’ll walk through fire if I have to to obey You now. Tell me what to do.” And I shall never forget it; an impression came immediately, “Then you are free to go.” Free to go, yes, but what He had originally promised (we would have to suffer the consequences of our choice) fulfilled. We did suffer, not only in mind, but temporally. We walked through fire but it was worth it, for we now have reason to believe that our obedience in leaving the hospital kept her from further damage, and possibly saved her life.4

Rest and Food

Within minutes from this communication from the Lord, the supervising nurse came into our room and told me the test result and the neurologist’s counsel.  His diagnosis was that she had spinal meningitis, but it was dead.  Something had killed the germ.  All she needed, he said, was food and rest.

My heart leapt for joy. Praise God! He had heard our prayers and answered them. She had been blessed in the “prayer over the sick!” God’s power through His elders had caused the Meningitis germ to become dormant. We could take her home—the hospital was not needed. Our sparrow wouldn’t leave us, for God was holding this one in His hands. She wouldn’t fall in death.

Kneeling in constant prayer, suffering in my soul for her during those first days of her illness, trying to understand why this terrible thing was happening, I read my Patriarchal Blessing. It stated that although I had suffered with many trials and afflictions, my suffering was nothing compared to what Jesus went through. I didn’t think I could have taken any more—but there was more coming, and I had to endure.

Life gives no promise of being easy; but God promises us His grace is sufficient. I read that time and again but never understood what “His grace” meant until I received it many times. Then it sunk in—if you trust God, He has the power and love to handle anything that will come up in a person’s life—one day at a time—and the final outcome (eternity) is what matters.

What person doesn’t think he has it hard during times of trials? That’s what they’re for—to strengthen us. If it isn’t hard, then it’s not a trial because we have become strong. As the wind blows ever stronger, so we grow stronger with it if we take the Lord’s hand. For His grace truly is sufficient! That’s how Jesus was able to make it too, grace for grace from above!

We strove continually to do “His will” as best we understood. But it just didn’t make sense. Even the elders through whom the inspiration came to “continue as we were doing,” and the promise “Melissa would be made whole,” denied any such inspiration had come through them. Whether they didn’t remember it, or it was removed from their memory was unimportant. And what we were doing was giving her carrot juice, basically an unaccepted method of healing then.

The concept that nutrition played a part in healing the body was ridiculed. People were mentally imprisoned by the propaganda of the AMA and the drug companies’ greed. Man’s health came second to economic prosperity. But we knew what God had promised, and we learned we had to stick to our guns in spite of what others said or did. Our world had suddenly turned upside down.

We didn’t become bitter because we couldn’t understand; however, it brought us swiftly to our knees. Now we knew only One Power held the reins and to Him we turned, completely shutting out any other voices that spoke contrary to His instructions and there were many. We believed the scripturefaith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 5 Friends and relatives couldn’t understand this is what we were doing and their nonsupport brought pain. We were beginning to suffer the consequences of our actions as God had told me we would. Some said we were being humbled. True! There is nothing more humbling than to see your own human nothingness and inability to help a loved one in desperate need. Others have said that where God intends to do a work, first, He must cleanse that place or person and to expect a great trial. The fire burns it clean. Then God can start a work there. We were being burned.

Many “Whys?” ascended in prayer. Through faith and trust I heard Him say, “Be not weary in well doing, for you are helping to lay the foundation of Zion.” 6 I didn’t understand anything that was happening to us. It was an unending nightmare. “How can this illness help build a city?” I questioned. Nevertheless, in trust we walked on.

Melissa was a tiny wounded sparrow on the mend in the hands of Jesus, but when I took her out of His hands and put her in the hands of men, she came out of the hospital in much worse shape than when I took her in. She contracted chickenpox from a sick nurse in the isolation ward, couldn’t hold her head up any more, and began having respiratory arrest. We learned right then and there whom we could trust, and it wasn’t the arm of flesh.   

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my Friend.
But then instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,“How can You be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
Author Unknown

We brought her home to recover and she began having respiratory arrest. The nerves that controlled her breathing would short circuit, and at any time she would just stop breathing. There were no warning signals. To start her breathing again we had to massage her spine between her shoulder blades. After two or three of these, I was such a nervous wreck, I was afraid to be alone with her. Gene had to go to work, so he took Melissa and me to stay with my Uncle Joe, a Chiropractor in Springfield, Missouri, until these spells stopped.

I’ll never forget that day we drove to Springfield. There was a deafening silence in the car as we headed south. Melissa lay on a blanket between her father and me. We had to watch her constantly—talk about intensive care, that was it, double duty. It’s difficult to describe the near panic I lived under. I can’t speak for Gene. He always appears calm, but he had to be churning inside.

And then it happened again. “Gene,” I cried out, “she’s quit breathing!” I was so petrified I couldn’t massage her properly. Her father reached over and calmly rubbed her spine with his right hand while driving with his left. There was no time to stop the car—no time to call the elders. Every second determined life or death for her. It was Melissa, us, and God alone. She caught a breath and normal breathing began again. The tension hung heavily upon us.

When we arrived in Springfield we were greeted and got settled. Early the next morning Gene left for the long two hour drive to Kansas City. The day dragged—no spells—continued prayer with the question, “Why me, why my baby?” I watched the clock for evening to come, day after day, when I could see Gene again. He was a great source of strength to me during those days. His quiet nature gave me the courage to hold up under the pressure, and God held him up. Everyday Melissa’s devoted father drove between Springfield, Missouri and Kansas City—two hours to work—two hours home, just to be with us. It brought us together as one. For days we lived under this pressure—my being afraid to go to sleep, and her father so weary from driving it seemed that time was one long day.

One afternoon I got a phone call, “Honey, I won’t be down tonight. I just can’t drive it again.” Poor Gene was exhausted. “I’ll see you this weekend; I love you,” he said. I knew it was wisdom, yet I was apprehensive and felt so alone. And it was that night, when Gene was not there to hold me up, that my heart nearly stopped in the early morning hours. Melissa lay beside me as always, as close as possible so I could feel her breathing, when I realized she no longer moved. Oh, how I cried out to God, grabbed her up in my arms and ran upstairs to my uncle’s bedroom. He sat up quickly as I lay her breathless body beside him. “Oh, God, please dear Lord, help her,” I pleaded. My uncle massaged her spine and she slowly began to breathe. There are no words to covey the feelings in my heart as tears streamed down my face. Again God had answered.

This was agony, hell. Without the faith Jesus had instilled in me that there is a God who does hear us and loves us beyond comprehension, I would have been in total despair. The fear was bad enough knowing He is there, but without the testimony and knowledge of Jesus Christ as an advocate, there would be no hope. I can’t imagine how people can survive without knowing about Him. Where is their comfort? And the angels in heaven must be saying, “Amen.”

During our stay at my uncle’s place Melissa’s right eye began bulging outward and to the right. Pressure of some kind had built up, from what we never knew, nor did we allow any doctor to have the opportunity to experiment on her. I simply began giving her carrot juice again, and whether this was what started her improvement or just God’s mercy, I don’t know, but her eye began to recede back to a normal position.

The condition of eyes turning out is called “moon-eyed.” This causes a very unpleasant appearance, and my beautiful baby would have had a very hard thing to bear.

As her eyes returned to their normal positioning 7 and improvement became evident, we went home. She never had another spell, and life settled down for us for a few weeks, but it was never the same again. Peace was gone.

1. ELDER is an office in the Melchisedec Priesthood. The 12 Apostles were elders. Elders have authority to do all things that Jesus did. (St. John 14:12, D&C 17:8-9)
Administration: one or more elders laying hands on the faithful after anointing them with olive oil to heal the sick, physically and spiritually. There are several uses for administration without the oil
Ordaining men to priesthood (St. John 15:16; Deut. 34:9, Acts 6:6);
Blessing little children (Luke 2:25-35, 18:15-17);
Patriarchal Blessings come from the days of the Patriarchs in the Bible.  Jacob blessed Joseph of Egypt’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 48:9-22)
Bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost to baptized members of Christ’s church (Acts 8:14-17, 19:1-6)

3. BLESSING OF BABIES - Little children are innocent (Luke 18:15, (BM) Moroni 8:9-20); Original sin forgiven in Garden of Eden - all men answer for their own sins (Genesis 6:56, HSIV only; See also Jer. 31:30, II Chron. 25:4, Eze 18:20, 4)

4. TV NEWS--CNN, 3-14-95 Interview by Donna Kelly: Medics amputated the wrong leg of a diabetic. In the same hospital, the same week, the respirator plug was pulled on a patient killing him. CNN interview with Dr. Richard Podell - Patient Advocate, internist, author of “When Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Best” recited statistics: 3% of patients entering hospitals yearly are severely injured or killed. That is 120,000, or the equivalent of one jumbo jet crashing every day. Dr. Jonathan Lord, representative of the American Hospital Association, was also a guest and didn’t refute these statistics. He said that about 2 million people enter hospitals daily and 250,000 go to emergency rooms. The counsel was to never go alone—take someone with you for protection—to ask questions—etc.—demand answers—trust no one.

5. (I Cor. 2:5)
ZION - Zion is the kingdom of God on earth. It is a literal city built by the power of God through people who love Him and want to obey all His laws. Abraham knew about the city whose foundation is the law of God. (Heb. 11:10) Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesied about Zion. There will be two Zions—one in America, the “chief of nations,” Mt. Ephraim (Jer. 31:6), and the second city for the Jews in Jerusalem, Israel. (Isa. 4:3-4, Joel 2:32)

7. Melissa's eye began to turn outward again when she was a teenager. See Healings: Carrot Juice