When I arrived at the Madsen recital hall for my stake music fireside, I noticed Lawanna sitting alone at the end of the row. I didn't know her then, but she will always be hard to forget.
Halfway through the musical fireside, Lawanna was asked to bear her testimony. This is a summary of the experience she told.
Lawanna joined the church a couple years ago thinking that her life trials would end on her baptism day. Of course they didn't and in some ways even increased in intensity. Bitterness crept into her heart as she began to push away the very people that could help her. In one of her dark moments, she offered up the sincere feelings of her heart in prayer. She needed help with her trials and she needed them immediately.
Lawanna was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing chemo therapy. Somehow, her roommate convinced her to go to the BYU vs. U of U football game a couple weeks ago even though she didn't really want to. When she got to the game, she discovered that her seats were in the "old folks" section which apparently have just as much "Max Hall team spirit" as the young and spry college students.
At the game she began talking to the couple sitting next to her. Their conversation turned to the church (they were all members) and soon she discovered the the woman sitting next to her was diagnosed with the exact same cancer as she was. Awhile into the conversation the man pulled out of his pocket a business card showing her that he was the vice president of the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the U of U. He explained to her that if she would stick with the church, he would take care of her treatments. With financial and insurance concerns, this was a welcome deal. She now has the greatest support she could ever wish for and her prayer was answered.
This Christmastime, some of the greatest gifts we will be receiving and giving will not be found under the tree.