“For God alone can illumine our souls and only that light is real light,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi enjoyed a special closeness to God! He said, “If Christians would live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today”.
I would like to share my story of how my family found the True Light of the Gospel, the Light of God. My family’s testimony is powerful. My prayer is that every soul that reads our story and witnesses God's hand in our lives, will draw on the powers of Heaven and come to know and love our Father and Savior as I do. My heart burns as I write these words! And it burned again as I read what I wrote. I love my God and my Savior! They are so real! My Father in Heaven and also my Savior Jesus Christ are very aware of us individually and intervene in our lives to ensure not only eternal happiness but joy and hope each day.
JULIET JYOTIKA SINGH! The “Light” that illuminated our family! Jyoti means “light”. Jyotika is “One who shows Light”. My beloved sister Julie was the one who recognized “The Light” when it came to our home. It was Easter of 1966. My Dad, Michael Dalbhag Singh, had come home drunk on Friday night. The usual commotion had ensued in the home. My Mum, Alice Abraham, was raised as a Methodist. Her father, Ibrahim, who came to Fiji in 1911 as an indentured laborer from India, was a Muslim converted to Christianity in Fiji. When my Mum’s mother died in childbirth, her dad left her and her three siblings in Dilkusha Methodist Orphanage and returned to India. He promised to return with another “mother” but never did. Mum and her siblings were raised by Methodist missionaries.
My Mum cried all weekend that Easter of 1966, pleading with the Lord to understand why she had to suffer this “abuse” at the hand of her husband. Then dawned that momentous morning of Easter. Two young men in white shirts with badges claiming they were from “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” approached my Mum as she sat weeping on the front doorstep of our home on Riley St, Suva. They spoke of angels and God speaking to a boy in America. Even though Mum believed everything in the Bible, she did not believe that God spoke to anyone today. She was also taught that Heavens were closed and everything that God had revealed was in the Bible. These young men also introduced a book, claiming it was the word of God. My Mum had heard of “The Book of Mormon”. My dad had found one in his bus which he drove for work. However, someone had told Mum that the book was “of the devil”.
These missionaries did not give up. On that first Easter encounter, they refused to talk to Mum alone. They insisted on having dad be part of their meeting with our family. Dad was impressed when he received the honour as the head of the home. He chose to be present to meet with the missionaries as a family. The lessons continued week after week, month after month. The Elders did not give up. My Mum, feeling deep loyalty to the Methodist church for her upbringing, refused to change or be baptized again. Dad was impressed and even gave up his drinking which was a miracle. Mum acknowledged the hand of God, an answer to her cries that last Easter weekend. However, baptism was out of the question.
Then came the FIRST life-changing Miracle! My sister Julie had a liver problem from birth. She had even had surgery when just a baby, but her condition continued. She would get very sick and Mum and Dad would have to rush her to the hospital, (CWM, Colonial War Memorial Hospital), in Suva, Fiji. They would treat her and she would return home. This had become a normal routine for our family. However, on this miraculous day, the Elders happened to be in our home when Julie had her attack. The Elders offered a strange blessing, like the one we had read about in the Bible, but certainly did not believe it existed in our day.1 They offered to give a “priesthood blessing”. Desperate for any help at all, Mum agreed. The blessing was pronounced with “the laying of hands” and the “sacred oil” on Julie’s head. Julie immediately recovered. 2 I was a witness to this Miracle. I remember coming home from school. Everyone was in a solemn mood, gathered in the bedroom. Julie lay in bed; she looked dead - pale and still. Everyone was in the room and the Elders were present. As soon as the blessing was over, I saw Julie sit up in bed. She asked for food.
Even as a twelve-year-old I recognized a Miracle. I had witnessed a miracle right before my eyes. Julie was seven years old when the missionaries first came to our home. When she turned eight, she wanted to be baptized. She insisted! Every time after that first healing miracle, Julie would ask for the Elders when she got sick. She refused to go to the hospital. And every time she would recover. Julie and my Dad and Mum were baptized in March 1967 and I followed a month later, on April 15. After we joined the Church, the mission president in Fiji at the time was President Blaine Anderson. He told our family about the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. With Mum and Dad’s permission, he initiated the process to get Julie to the hospital for treatment. She went twice. On the second trip, she was accompanied by Dad. The doctors were hoping to do a liver transplant. However, they concluded that her condition was too advanced and the transplant wouldn’t work. Instead, they did surgery to help prolong her life until the liver completely gave way. I remember my Mum always telling us the story that President Nelson, (then, Dr Nelson), actually did the surgery on Julie.
Despite her lifelong illness, Julie was a happy soul and was always a shining light to us. She was full of love and joy. Julie lived until she was about fourteen. However, her condition had deteriorated over time. Eventually, she was admitted into the hospital and went into a coma. The branch president, President Manueli, called for a united branch fast for Julie that Sunday. After church on the day of the fast President Manueli approached my Mom and Dad. He suggested that Julie be released from life by the Priesthood. My parents had no clue what that meant, but they trusted their Priesthood leader’s counsel and allowed him to proceed as he saw fit. President Manueli went to the hospital with my parents and gave Julie a Priesthood blessing to release her from this life and her great trial. In a couple of days, Julie passed away peacefully. “And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die, they shall die unto me, and if they live, they shall live unto me…And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.” 3
Julie had fulfilled her mission on Earth and returned to her Father in Heaven. She had helped to bring our family into “The Light”. Even her death was a miracle. The SECOND Miracle! Julie’s final days bore a powerful witness to us of the Power of God manifested in her life through the Priesthood. Our family was finally able to be sealed in the Hawaii temple in 1981. Julie and my brother Michael and I were sealed to our parents. What a glorious day it was, a dream come true! Fourteen years we waited and prayed for this day. Unbeknownst to us, however, Julie’s work on Earth was still not finished. I had moved to Salt Lake City, Utah to further my education. One day this thought came to my mind: “Who did the Initiatory work for Julie?”. The Barbers, the senior couple I was living with, advised me to go to the Church Temple office in Salt Lake City to find out.
The lady in the Salt Lake office looked up the records and read my name as the proxy for Julie's Initiatory. But I was not a proxy for Julie’s ordinance. While the rest of my family did their initiatory work that day we were sealed, I did not join them because I had already received my endowment. The sister told me that Julie’s temple work would have to be redone including her sealing to my parents. I told the lady there was no temple in Fiji where my parents were, and it would be very difficult for them to get to one. She said she would get back to me after consulting with priesthood leaders. Time flew by and we got busy with life. Then, one night I had a dream. Julie came to me. I saw her lying in her coffin, but she was alive! She turned to me and smiled this beautiful smile. I KNEW SHE WAS ALIVE! I ran upstairs and told the Barbers. They told me to check with the Salt Lake Temple office to see what was happening about Julie’s initiatory work. What I found was that the sister who had helped me the last time had gone on a mission. No one was aware of Julie’s case. Another sister found Julie’s file and told me that they would follow through immediately. Soon after we got a letter stating that the First presidency had ratified the work we had done in the Hawaii Temple and all I had to do was to go to the temple and do her initiatory work.
I performed the required proxy ordinance in the Provo Temple. Finally, Julie could rest in peace and move on in life in the hereafter. Julie’s mission on earth was complete! It took a THIRD Miracle, but the Lord’s will for our Family was finally accomplished. Our beloved Julie who brought “The Light” to our Family was the angel sent on a heavenly assignment. Her mission was to bring us to the true Christ. How grateful I am for the miracles that defined her life: The Miracle of her healings and baptism of our Family in the True Church of Christ. The Miracle of the Power of the Priesthood as revealed in her short life and death. The Miracle of Life after death is evidenced by her appearance in a dream to make sure God’s holy ordinances were performed according to His plan.
These miracles and many others declare to me that there is a God in Heaven, that He is a loving and caring Father, and through His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, we can be healed and blessed with all the joys of the Eternities. Our human frailties cannot stop us from enjoying these blessings. Despite challenges and opposition each day we can rejoice because of the assurance and hope that comes through the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, manifested in the Miracles of our lives.