Do you know anything about your living grandmother’s life? Has anyone taken the time to record or write some of her memories? Can her stories help you understand her and yourself better?
For Sister Joan Francis the answers to the above questions are all affirmative. In fact, her children and grandchildren have told her that she tells “President Thomas S. Monson quality stories.” They often encourage her to write a book of her stories.
On Easter Sunday 2019, Sister Francis related one of her experiences while teaching the adult Sunday School class. This story also relates to the June 3-9 Come, Follow Me idea for personal study: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things” (John 14:26).
Heeding a Spiritual Prompting
Sister Francis shared the following experience:
“While sitting in sacrament meeting one Sunday, I noticed that a dear sister named Frankie was not present. Then, I felt a very distinct impression: the Spirit said, ‘Frankie needs you!’
“She was a single sister and member of our ward who no longer had any family living nearby. For many years she had served as the Sunday School secretary. In fulfilling this calling, Frankie dutifully collected attendance sheets, ensuring that all who came to Sunday School—both youth and adults—had their names and the dates of their attendance recorded. She made special efforts to ensure that the ward’s quarterly reports were accurate and that they were submitted on time. She was also a full tithe payer. She frequently sent family names that she had researched to the temple. Frankie had a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been restored upon the earth. She served faithfully to the best of her abilities.
“At the time that I received this prompting of the Spirit, Frankie resided at a seniors’ centre, which was located across the street from the stake centre. After the meeting, I walked over to the Lodge and knocked on the door of her room. It was locked. Immediately, I thought that Frankie must be in the hospital. So, I went there. When I checked with the receptionist, she confirmed that Frankie was indeed a patient, and I was given her room number. As soon as I walked into her room, Frankie exclaimed, ‘I have been praying all morning that someone would come!’
“She proceeded to tell me that she desperately needed her walker, which was locked in her room at the Lodge. She gave me her room key, and I drove back to fetch it for her. In doing so, I knew why she needed her walker: Frankie was a smoker. Even though she faithfully attended her Church meetings, Frankie had never been able to give up her addiction to cigarettes.”
“I learned three things that day:
God had heard Frankie’s prayers.
He knew her name.
God understands addictions.
“I needed to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I knew I was doing what my Savior wanted me to do—I was helping one of His dearly beloved sisters.”
Jesus Understands Addictions
The lessons Sister Francis learned are confirmed in scripture. As Matthew 8:17 explains, Jesus, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”
In the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Alma reiterates this same infinite virtue of Christ’s great atoning sacrifice: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people” (Alma 7:11).
The Old Testament Prophet Isaiah explains how Jesus atones for our sins, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Sharing Christ’s Power to Save
President Thomas S. Monson explained how he felt as a twelve or thirteen year-old boy when he was tubing down the river in Provo Canyon. He heard a family desperately calling for him to help rescue their drowning daughter. He shared: “Heavenly Father had heard the cries, ‘Save her! Save her,’ and permitted me, a deacon, to float by at precisely the time I was needed.
That day I learned that the sweetest feeling in mortality is to realize that God, our Heavenly Father, knows each one of us and generously permits us to see and to share His divine power to save” (“Conference Moment: President Monson Shares Lesson on God’s Divine Power to Save,” Church News, Jan. 12, 2018).
How to Record Your Grandma’s Stories
- Write down your grandma’s memories as you hear them.
- Use a recording device or smart phone to capture stories and important memories.
- Use the free FamilySearch Memories app to make and store audio recordings on your smart phone.
- Brainstorm what you would like to know (see https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/20-questions-capture-grandmas-story/)
- On FamilySearch, go to the Memories site or download the mobile app: Click on the Green Plus Sign to add your grandma’s stories, and be sure to tag your grandma if she is in your FamilySearch tree!