a story about a mother who crashed with her baby strapped in a car
seat into a river in Utah hit the media. The baby with her head
suspended a few inches from the icy water filling the overturned car
was found alive by rescuers. That was just one of the miracles.
other was that those who chanced on the accident scene heard a voice
shouting, “Help me!” When two highway troopers arrived,
they too heard the cry for help. Braving the raging freezing water,
they found the mother long dead.
mystery of who called for help set off a media frenzy. The troopers
who snatched the baby from the maws of a watery death were swarmed by
newsmen. Like those who called them in, the officers were just as
baffled but unflinching about what they heard.
was a military flight engineer during World War 11. While on a combat
mission his plane was knocked out of the skies over Germany.
Plummeting four miles down, he heard the voice of Afton, his wife.
Incredibly, Afton was thousands of miles away from the war theater.
recalls his futile efforts to get off his badly damaged plane. At the
peak of his horror, he audibly prayed for help and below is the
response he got. Banks recalls:
Suddenly, as clear and as
calm as she if was standing right next to me in the sitting room of our
home, I heard the voice of my wife Afton say, "Joe, look down at
your legs and you'll see that there's cable holding them. Pull the
cable!" That's all she said.
I looked around, but
couldn't see anyone. Even though I was stunned, I looked down and
sure enough there was a cable lying across my legs. I reached down
and pulled it with all my might.
At first nothing
happened, but then I was suddenly sucked out of the fuselage and
started freefalling. I later learned that the cable was attached to
two pins that held an escape hatch door. When I pulled them loose,
the door separated from the fuselage.
who survives the crash, is captured by hostile German guards and
after many more bitter experiences, lives on to tell his story.
another war theater far away in the jungle of eastern Nigeria, I was
a ringside witness to another mystery voice. As a three-year civil
war ravaged my country, privation forced my family to eke out a
meager life by growing vegetables, tubers, and fruits from an
unwilling land into which we had been hustled.
protein and salt many children and adults died from poor nutrition as
from bombs and bullets. Two of my gravely ill siblings were expected
to die at any moment.
specter of untimely and violent deaths drove us to fast and pray that
our kid brothers might live. Although wearying starvation was driving
us crazy and made us so skinny our rib bones visibly stood out, we
had faith the Lord would send help, give us strength enough to tend
the overspent land, and patience to endure the poverty and distress.
Father shielded us from a marauding physical danger, Mother put her
unique homemaking skills to work. She insisted on provident living,
which to us at the time seemed mean and flawed instead of admirable
model quality. Through their force of character, we were saved the
irreparable splits so common during the crisis.
addition to planting, Mother raised goats, which soldiers on both
sides of the war, however, commandeered. Mother made us keep our home
clean like a sanctuary, for there was no love lost between her and
germs. She made us wash often without soap whatever rags hung on us.
a climate of disorder, this knocked order, unity, cleanliness, work,
faith, and courage into us. Each time I recall her stewardship, I
feel grateful for President Heber J. Grant’s remark that,
“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest
service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy
calling and service next to angels.”
Mother may have heard voices that saved my brothers’ lives.
inspired us never to give in to the surging tide of evil all about
us. She offered encouragement by sharing her family stories to shore
up our sagging resolve. She recalled tribal hostilities in her
childhood that claimed the lives of many. Consequently, she noted,
she was mired in grief seeing her friends and relatives killed.
her heartbreak, her mother promised that if there was any form of
consciousness after death, she would prevent her daughter’s
children from dying young. Because Mother so impressed this story our
young minds, we later came to know how much she desired to preserve
us from the fury of the storm and strife of the war.
These two sisters of mine are now grandmothers.
work-driven woman, once bent over with her hoe digging, sowing, or weeding,
Mother rarely stood up even though the rest of us often stretched up
before bending back to the exhausting task. One day at the farm, she
day, Mother dropped her hoe and stood as if listening to a
conversation in the rustling wind. After a while she beckoned to our
eldest sister to follow her into the surrounding jungle. That was odd,
for she hardly ever left us alone at work. Glancing back and seeing that
curiosity was getting the better of us, she shouted for us to get on
with the work at hand.
later, she returned with a bundle of herbs and tree barks and ordered
us home. With these she made a concoction for my edema-bloated
brothers. My brothers survived. One of them later joined the U.S.
military, serving missions in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
assumed we survived because not long after the incident at the farm
the military blockade which prevented medication and essential food
stuff from reaching us in Biafra was lifted, but my mother thought
otherwise. She insisted that on that day at the farm, she had heard
the voice of her long-deceased mother directing her to the herbs and
barks to use in treating our brothers.
back, I feel like the sons of Helaman, who learned great faith from
a parent now and reflecting over time on her evocative experience, I
appreciate there is something divine in the heart of righteous
mothers that draws them nearer to God for inspiration to act in the
best interest of their children. With age and hindsight, I believe
Mother was truly in tune with a presence that endowed her with
knowledge to heal her afflicted sons.
the Lord could make a dumb ass speak with a human voice to restrain
an insane prophet, surely he could channel revelations through the
heart and soul of every family, through faithful wives eager to save
their husbands from intractable problems or through any guardian of
the hearth and home, living or dead.
Imo Ben Eshiet was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Raised in his village, Uruk Enung, and at
several cities in his country including Nsukka, Enugu, Umuahia, Eket and Calabar, Eshiet is a
detribalized Nigerian. Although he was extensively exposed to Western education right from
childhood in his country where he obtained a PhD in English and Literary Studies from the
University of Calabar, he is well nurtured in African history, politics, culture and traditions.
Imo is currently a teacher in the high priests group in the Summit Ward of the Greensboro North