Walker to Romania

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President Thomas S. Monson

In faraway Bucharest, Romania, Dr. Lynn Oborn, volunteering at an orphanage, was attempting to teach little Raymond, who had never walked, how to use his legs. Raymond had been born with severe clubfeet and was completely blind. Recent orthopedic surgery performed by Dr. Oborn had corrected the clubfeet, but Raymond was still unable to use his legs. Dr. Oborn knew that a child-size walker would enable Raymond to get on his feet, but such a walker was not available anywhere in Romania. I'm sure fervent prayers were offered by this doctor who had done all he could without a walking aid for the boy. Blindness can hamper a child, but inability to walk, to run, to play can injure his precious spirit.

Let us turn now to Provo, Utah. The Richard Headlee family, learning of the suffering and pitiful conditions in Romania, joined with others to assemble a 40-foot container filled with 40,000 pounds of needed supplies, including food, clothing, medicine, blankets, and toys. The project deadline arrived, and the container had to be shipped that day. No one involved with the project knew of the particular need for a child-size walker. However, at the last possible moment, a family brought forth a child's walker and placed it in the container.

When the anxiously awaited container arrived at the orphanage in Bucharest, Dr. Oborn was present as it was opened. Every item it contained would be put to immediate use at the orphanage. As the Headlee family introduced themselves to Dr. Oborn, he said, "Oh, I hope you brought me a child's walker for Raymond!"

One of the Headlee family members responded, "I can vaguely remember something like a walker, but I don't know its size." Another family member was dispatched back into the container, crawling among all the bales of clothes and boxes of food, searching for the walker. When he found it, he lifted it up and cried out, "It's a little one!" Cheers erupted—which quickly turned to tears, for they all knew they had been part of a modern-day miracle.

There may be some who say, "We don't have miracles today." But the doctor whose prayers were answered would respond, "Oh, yes we do, and Raymond is walking!" She who was inspired to give the walker was a willing vessel and surely would agree.

Who was the angel of mercy touched by the Lord to play a vital role in this human drama? Her name is Kristin. She is the daughter of Kurt and Melodie Bestor. Kristin was born with spina bifida, as was her younger sister, Erika. The two children have spent long days and worrisome nights in the hospital. Modern medicine, lovingly practiced, along with help from our Heavenly Father have brought a measure of mobility to each. Neither is downhearted. Both inspire others to carry on. Last month Kristin and Erika entertained guests celebrating the 75th anniversary of Primary Children's Medical Center. They sang with their father and mother, and then the girls movingly sang a duet. Each person in the audience had red-rimmed eyes; handkerchiefs were everywhere displayed. These girls, this family, had overcome sorrow and brought joy to the lives of others. Kristin's father said to me that evening, "President Monson, meet Kristin. She is the one who felt impressed to send her walker to Romania, hoping that some child there would be benefited."

I spoke to Kristin as she sat in her wheelchair. "Thank you for listening to the Spirit of the Lord. You have been the instrument in the Lord's hands to answer a doctor's prayer, a child's wish."

Later, as I walked out of that celebration held for the benefit of children, I looked upward toward the heavens and offered my own "Thank you" to God for children, for families, for miracles in our time.

"Teach the Children" - Thomas S. Monson - Oct. 1997 Gen. Conf.