Miracles from Heaven
Elder M. Russell Ballard
Photo Courtesy of Elder M. Russell Ballard
In 1985, a special fast for the famine victims of Ethiopia sparked a flood of donations that far exceeded the Church’s expectations. This act of generosity by Latter-day Saints marked the beginning of what would become LDS Charities—the Church’s humanitarian organization—which has been spreading hope and healing throughout the world ever since.
Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Glenn L. Pace traveled to Ethiopia to determine how the sacred funds should be allocated for the relief of the people there. During their visit, the two of them along with one bishop from the area held a little sacrament meeting in which they bore their testimonies and partook of the sacrament. To conclude the meeting, Elder Ballard offered a prayer that brought a powerful blessing to the land that had been stricken with drought.
“In his prayer, Elder Ballard stated that we were the only Melchizedek Priesthood holders residing in the country and that we were there on assignment from the First Presidency of the Church,” Elder Pace shares.
“He expressed gratitude to the members of the Church who had contributed their means during the special fast and who had offered up individual and family prayers on behalf of the people of Ethiopia. Then, with as much power and boldness as I had ever witnessed, calling upon the power and authority of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood, he commanded the elements to gather together, which would cause rain to come upon the land and begin to relieve those who had been suffering for so many years.”
After the sacrament meeting concluded, Elder Ballard and Elder Pace left for a luncheon with representatives of Catholic Relief Services and Africare. They enjoyed their meal outside, and Elder Pace took note of the pleasant, sunny weather.
“We returned to the hotel in the afternoon to rest up for the coming week, and I was sitting at a little desk writing in my journal when I heard a clap of thunder,” he recalls.
“I went to the patio just in time to see a torrential downpour. People came running out of their little huts and public buildings looking up in the sky and reaching their arms toward the heavens. They were shouting and crying. Children and adults alike began to frolic and splash on each other. They grabbed buckets and barrels to collect rain from the roofs.”
He continues, “I began to weep. I knew there were only two other people in the whole country who understood what had happened.”
Elder Pace left his hotel room and knocked on Elder Ballard’s door. The two men then knelt together and offered a prayer of gratitude.
“The land was burning up—it hadn’t rained for a year, and no crops had grown in three years,” Elder Ballard explains. “I knew that if we called upon the Lord to bless the land, the elements would be tempered.”
For the rest of their time in Ethiopia, it rained wherever the two men traveled.
► Find the full story at Elder Ballard's Miraculous Trip to Ethiopia & the Beginning of LDS Charities