Have you ever wondered if God listens to you? I’ve been stuck lately. I love writing, and I love the Lord. But sometimes finding inspiration in my life is harder than it seems. I didn’t have anything new to share, so I prayed for help. I knew God listens and would answer my prayer.
Then this morning I woke up to six-plus inches of snow. It was so pretty! But it was heavy snow, and I wasn’t looking forward to shoveling. When I opened my garage door to start the process, there was Brother Sione Niu (pronounced See-O-nay New). He was shoveling my next-door neighbor’s driveway. And he stopped over to help me too.
God listens and He sent help
As we shoveled and talked, Brother Niu shared his testimony. And I knew my prayers had been answered. He has led a miraculous life. And with his permission, I am going to share the beautiful experience he had when his wife died, and he learned that God does listen.
Brother Niu and his wife lived in Hawaii at the time. She had been sick for a while and had recently discovered her illness was because of a brain tumor. Surgery was scheduled and she was given many blessings, all of which promised that all would be well.
But when the nurse was putting the catheter into her leg, just before surgery, she accidentally made a hole straight through her femoral artery. With the catheter in, nobody could tell because the hole was blocked by the plastic.
But when the nurse pulled it out, both holes started bleeding. So despite successful surgery, and all the priesthood blessings, Sister Niu went into shock and passed away.
Brother Niu was so upset! He was angry with the hospital, and with the Lord.
He had been assured so many times that his wife would live. So he went to the Lord, with great faith, and told God that he wanted to bless his wife that she would come back to life.
God listens, and He granted his request and gave him permission to bless his wife. So right there in the funeral home, he gave his wife a blessing that she would live.
She was laying on the table with her hands clasped on her abdomen. As he finished the blessing, he looked down at his wife and saw her smile. He took that as a good sign! Then Brother Niu told her “Ok, I’ve blessed you that you will live. I am going to take your hand and help you sit up.”
As he took his wife’s hand, a cone of light descended from the ceiling. It continued till it touched the floor, with Brother Niu inside. He looked down and saw that the hand that was holding his wife’s hand was outside the light, so he let go of her hand and pulled it in so his whole being was inside this heavenly light.
Then the light began to close in to fit his body, starting at his feet. When it reached his heart, he felt a warm jolt and said, “What is happening?” Then he heard his wife’s voice in his ear, she said: “This light is me. I was allowed to come back. But I didn’t want to be back in my body, I wanted to be with you. So, Father has granted me permission to be with you for a time.”
When his grown children were allowed back into the room to see their mother, they marveled that she was smiling. Because she hadn’t been smiling before.
Their next task was to choose the casket in the room next door. Brother Niu saw a gorgeous one that was fancy and claimed to be airtight for 50 years. He wanted to bring his wife back to the mainland to bury her, so that seal was appealing to him.
He asked his wife what she thought, and she said “No, that is way too expensive! They are asking for three thousand dollars! I like that one in the corner.” So, he asked how much that one in the corner cost.
And the funeral director said it was only seven hundred dollars because it was just plywood that they made look fancy. “There! That’s a much better price. I don’t want anything fancy.” His wife said.
His daughter had listened to him talking to his wife, and she thought he was talking to himself. When he told her about the conversation that was happening, she laughed.
She said “I’ve shopped with mom hundreds of times. And that is exactly the casket she would have chosen. She was always so cheap!”
Her new assignment
Brother Niu told me that his wife stayed with him until her funeral two weeks later. That he got to feel her warmth in his heart and have many conversations with her. After her burial, it was just the flowers and Brother Niu at the gravesite.
His wife told him she needed to go. “When will you be back?” he asked. ‘Tomorrow’ was her reply.
She said she knew he had a speaking assignment for the Stake the next day and that she had also been asked to speak before she died in the same ward. So, she would come and accompany him to that meeting. Then he felt the warmth leave, and his wife’s spirit departed.
True to her word, she was back the next morning, with the warmth in his heart. She came with him when he spoke. And afterward, he asked her where she went that night.
She explained, “Father in Heaven had assigned me to be a proselyting missionary in the next world. But I was uncomfortable with the assignment. And when you prayed and begged Him to let me come back to you, God listened and He changed my assignment. Now my job is to go to the temples every night.”
“I go in and turn on the lights and collect the records of the ladies who have had their work done that day. Then I take the records back to heaven. Other men are assigned to pick up the records for the men. I just take care of the women. But I will get to visit you often this way.”
Keep remembering God listens
Brother Sione Niu no longer has faith, he has knowledge. His beautiful wife gets to travel between worlds and keep him company from time to time.
I gained a greater testimony that God cares, and listens to our desires, as I heard his story. And I learned that our feelings matter enough to God that He is willing to adjust our assignments when needed. That’s eye-opening to me!
I’ll be sharing more of his beautiful stories in the coming weeks. And I’m so grateful for his willingness to share that we may all be lifted.