74: Safe and Sound

Mon Mar 08 21:43:32 EST 2021
Episode 74

12-year-old Houston and 10-year-old Hadley find themselves stranded offshore after the weather takes a turn for the worse on a paddleboarding excursion. The dropping temperatures and strong currents make their way home feel almost impossible, until the discovery of the family phone gives them a way to communicate with their mom, MeiLani, on shore, becoming a lifeline for them on their journey home.

Show Notes

Elder Uchtdorf's talk: "A Yearning for Home," October 2017.

MeiLani's younger son, AJ, was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was only two years old. She shared some of her experience with Time Out for Women, read it here: "Please Let Me Have One More Day With Him"

MeiLani, Houston and Hadley with their whole family:

Houston and family.

The view from the beach house with Houston, Hadley, and Dixie in the distance:

Beach view 1
Beach view 2

All of the adults at the house gathered to see how they would make it home:

Family at home.
Houston and Hadley with their cousin, Dixie, after making it back to shore.
Houston and Hadley with their cousin, Dixie, after making it back to shore.

Hugging their younger brother AJ after they made it back to shore.
Hugging their younger brother AJ after they made it back to shore.

AJ when he was in the hospital after being diagnosed with brain cancer when he was only two years old.
AJ when he was in the hospital after being diagnosed with brain cancer when he was only two years old.

Sunset views of the sound and dock:

Sunset views 1
Sunset views 2


Erika 0:03

Welcome to "This Is the Gospel" an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm Erika Free, one of the story producers, and I'm filling in for KaRyn today.

I'm a huge homebody. I really like seeing new places, but my favorite moment is when I walk through the door and take my coat off after a long day or long vacation away from home.

I feel like I have an unconscious meter in me that's always telling me how far I am and how long it will take me to get home. And I honestly think it started when I was a missionary in Japan. There was this rule in the missionary handbook that said we should always have enough cash on hand to get back to the mission home at anytime from anywhere in the mission. My mission was decently big, so it created this extra awareness in me of always tracking home base.

I wish I could say that I always track my progress to my Heavenly Father and my heavenly home as much as I do the place where I actually live. I don't do that. But the story that I have for you today really got me thinking that maybe that's something I should do. It's told by some of our youngest storytellers yet. Houston—who's only 12—and Hadley—who's only 10—show their experience out at sea far from home. Whil MeiLani, their mom, tells us about her experience from the shore. We start with MeiLani, Houston and Hadley will join in later. Here's MeiLani

MeiLani 1:22

So I was born in Hawaii, then I was actually raised in California. So I'm used to seeing the typical beach scene: the palm trees and the sand, like every picture you usually see of beaches is that type of beach.

But 10 years ago, we moved to the East Coast. We live about three hours away from the beach. And these coast beaches are very different. There are these beautiful, I think they're called like fox tails and reeds that come up really—and these dunes that you go over and you take a long boardwalk out to the water, whether you're on ocean side or the sound side.

The sound side doesn't have all the crashing waves. It's usually a little more peaceful, it's better for fishing, better, sometimes, for paddleboarding easy, that kind of things. Sometimes you'll see like oyster patches that they have a bunch of reeds. So very, very different than the West Coast beaches that I was raised on.

We were headed to a friend's beach house to visit their property because we run Airbnb vacation rentals and so kind of to collaborate on that, but also to hang out with friends. We ended up bringing a couple of our family members. So it ended up turning from 14 people into about 30 people at this big house and we were going to be here for seven days. All seven days had pretty much rain and a little snow. So anytime we would see the sun, we'd be like, "Okay, let's go. Let's go it take advantage of the sun."

So my sweet niece, her name is Dixie. Dixie went and took out two of my kids. Houston just turned 12 last week, and then also Hadley, who is almost about to turn 10, and then went out with one of our friends kids named Owen.

Dixie is in her early 20s, so I felt like, "Okay, Dixie can handle this. Dixie can take those guys and all will be well. She's an adventurer. She's lived years in Alaska, like she can handle any sort of adventure." I totally trust her, 100 percent, that I was like, "Oh, okay, I'm down two kids, then I can totally go and hang out and just maybe I might actually read a book." So as I went down, and I was getting my book, and I was so excited because it's so fresh. It's never been opened, but it's sat on my book stand for many months.

I started to open my book and thought, "You know what, you got to take your book to go be out by the kids." I looked out and I was starting to sprinkle a little and so I was like, "Uh, no. It's gonna get my nice, clean book all wet." So I was like, "No, I'm fine." Then once again, I had the thought of, "You need to go out and be by the kids." When this prompting came to me the third time, and probably because we had just been studying Martin Harris a couple of weeks earlier, I really felt strongly of, "Okay, how many more times? Youu can't, I'm not going to give it to you again."

So I went straight and got my jacket on, left the book behind and headed out to see the kids. So I started down this long boardwalk and I can see them as I'm walking out. Each of them had their own paddleboard or kayak. So we had Dixie, we had Owen, who is 14 years old, and then we had Hadley and Houston. Just in the period of me starting this walk of what 60 yards, the rain started getting harder and harder and I swear it dropped degrees every second I walked and it was getting colder and colder with this rain.

As they were out there, I saw three of them together and I saw Owen actually had kind of left them. So it kind of seemed as if Owen was like, "Peace out, I'm going back in. It's cold. This is no longer fun." And it's his house, so he's familiar with the terrain.

I can see the other three. I'm terrible with distances, but maybe 50 yards away, we'll say. Okay, maybe maybe a little bit less, maybe like 40. But it was far enough that they couldn't hear me, especially with the pounding rain, and it was really, really windy. So if I yelled, they really couldn't hear me very well at all, if at all, and I was about to yell, "Are you guys okay?" Right at that moment, and by this time, Owen, I see, is right along the reeds on my side. So there's no sand, okay, this isn't a sand beach because we're on the sound side. So they're, he's paddling along the reeds because along the reeds, there's not very much current. So he, you could tell, was seasoned enough to know, ride it down the current, and then paddle back along the reeds.

But that's when I looked out. And I saw, as I was, like, saying, "Hey! Hey!" and they weren't responding, couldn't hear me, I saw them getting out onto one of those big reed patches. I saw them put their arms around each other. I saw him put their arms around each other, and I could tell that they were starting to get scared. They were trying to starting to get nervous.

I thought at that point, "Okay, well, hopefully, I've done something right because they're turning to prayer pretty early. So hopefully, hopefully, that will work, hopefully that we're the right direction. As they finish their prayer, I could see them hug and then release.

During that time, I realized, "Okay, I've got to get, I've got to give them support. I've got to tell them, I've got to figure out a way to get the word out of just do what Owen did, just do it." And I'm trying to yell and they can't hear me. I'm trying to call Dixie's cell phone, and it's not working. By this time, some of my other family members are coming out because it is getting serious enough. I have my other niece there and she was so sweet, another Alaskan just that thinks that she can brave everything. She's like, "I'll go out there and I'll go rescue." Her dad came out and said, "No, I don't want you to go out there right now. Like, let's just focus on getting these ones back instead of losing another one."

But that's when my brother-in-law, all of a sudden, his phone rings. He said, "I can't answer this right now. I don't recognize this phone number." I look over, and I see that that's our family phone number. That's our family phone number. And I said, "No, wait! You answer that. That's them! That's them!"

The side note on this is I had very mixed emotions at this point because I was so so glad that they had a way to communicate. I was so excited as my mama bear instincts were coming out of I just want to, I just want to talk to you, I just want to be able to communicate to you, that I was so glad that I could finally get my message through. But then I was also a little bit ticked because just two days earlier, I had had a very good heart to heart with my 12-year-old son of, "This is our family phone. This is not your thinking-that-you're-already-a-teenager phone. This is not for you to text friends all the time. This is not for you to just use whenever you want. This is the family phone and you need to ask for permission before you use this." So I definitely had this, this the polar opposites of, "Yes, you did it!" But then at the same time, "Oh my gosh, he's not supposed to do that, but I'm so glad he did it."

So I thought I had this lifeline. I thought I was gonna be able to talk to him. So I grabbed the phone, I started to talk to him. It didn't take long to realize that they couldn't hear us very well. We couldn't hear them very well. The rain was so hard. The wind was so hard when i when i was listening in the phone, all you could hear was whooshing with a little here and there. You could hear like one word of every three words.

So we tried to tell him just to ride to the current just ride the current because if you rode the current down the sound so away from the ocean side, right? But it's going to go back out. This is an island. So there's another side to the ocean, right? But to go so that you don't go too far out we could see probably just over a mile down the water down the sound that there was a marina and at this marina where there's going to be boats to dock and stuff but there's also big tall logs like buoys but long logs that maybe you could go and catch on to one of those or something, okay.

So we saw just get down there and we were trying to communicate this but this was really not getting through and we're like, "Even if you get to the marina, that's okay, we'll come pick you up." But then we were like trying to point and so we finally just said, "Just go to the dock," which was about 10 docks down there. Had a green roof. So as we were trying to kind of say this is the plan, this is what you should do.

So they all get back in their boats and Dixie, poor Dixie, is walking back and forth on this reed patch that is full of those oysters. She's just walking back and forth like nothing and trying to move the boats in a different way. But also trying to decide at this point. I can see that she's questioning if all of them are functioning, you could tell that Hadley wasn't functioning so great. And she was stashing it so that, because Hadley couldn't function, she couldn't paddle on her own. So she was putting her Hadley into a boat that Dixie would be in charge of paddling. So Dixie could paddle Hadley's boat for her because she wasn't able to do it on her own. They just had to abandon it. That was actually still while we were on the phone. We could see Dixie tried to do that. To the point that Wayne and some of the other adults were like, "No, don't leave that over there. Like, this isn't our house. We don't want to pay for paddleboard, we don't want to lose it. So this is crazy weather. No, you have to take it."

And bless Dixie's heart. I think that's when she on purpose hung up on us. As if to say, "You do not understand what I'm going through. I'm just trying to get me and these kids back safe, like that paddle board does not matter anymore."

Hadley 11:20

l started getting scared when it started, actually like pouring. And we went into the like weeds.

Houston 11:31

Dixie was like, "Okay, see that marsh area over there?" There's a, there's these two that are like 10 yards apart. And then there's this other huge one. And we're like, since that huge one's over there, Dixie is like, "The current is going to be a lot softer and easier to paddle." So we tried to trust her. And then we get pushed in. We were so slow because of the choppiness. We just couldn't get there in time, and then we were just stuck there and couldn't really do anything going upwards. We had to go down.

Hadley 11:59

That's when I started panicking, when like we just got pushed towards the marsh. I just started panicking. But I was like, "Stay calm, Hadley." Then I couldn't stay calm because then I started really panicking, and I was crying and I was sobbing and I was horrified on what next is going to happen.

And I was scared that we weren't going to be able to get back to the dock, even though it was only like 20 yards away. But like we couldn't like just go. And I was also scared that if we weren't trying to go, I would tip over because I it was really cold water.

Houston 12:42

I agree. My two problems were we don't have a way to contact the—my three problems, I guess—we don't have a way to contact people. It's very cold. I'm not wearing shoes. I feel very cold, and it's hard for my muscles just to move because I'm so cold. Then if we tip over, that could make it a lot worse and a lot harder. So that's when we got out of our boats and we're kind of like just standing there thinking of a new plan.

MeiLani 13:15

I almost had this self-evaluation of is this, "Should I be getting nervous?" And having this little silent prayer with Heavenly Father in this silent conversation of, "Should I be like calling authorities at this point?" Like is this, but I don't want to overreact. But I also wanted to give it the proper respect of however serious it was. So I had this conversation or the silent conversation of, "Okay, this is starting to get scary. I just wish I could talk to my kids." I just wish that they could hear me because if I was right there, I could, I could touch them. And I could look in their eyes and I could hold their little cute faces in my hands and be able to explain to them that it's going to be okay.

But at this point, I couldn't do that. But I still have this peace of everything's gonna be okay. Which was great for me, but I could tell that they were not okay. I couldn't comfort them, which was really hard. It's really hard as a parent to be so close, but still not be able to do anything to help and to see them struggle and just to have to sit and watch them struggle.

But then it was a few minutes later, I would say you know, as we were waiting and worrying and trying to decide what to do, that we did get another phone call from them. This time it was Dixie. At that point, they were starting to push off and starting to look like they were going in the right way. Dixie said, "Lani, I just don't know what to do. They're just not listening to me anymore. Hadley is not functioning, she's not going to be able to paddle. I'm having a hard time even pushing off because she's so nervous and scared." And I thought, "How can I help? I'm not there. I'm not going to be able to hold their face in my hands. I'm not going to be able to hug them and say you got this."

So I thought, "What could they do? And I said, "Dixie," and, mind you, it's still super windy, super rainy. We can barely hear any words. And I said, "Dixie, I just need you to say to her 'Hocks do.'" Our last name is Hock, and I said, "Just say 'Hocks do.'" And I said it over and over again, "Just say 'Hocks do.'"

And she said, "Wait, what? Just say, 'Hocks do what? Hocks do what?'" I said, "No, just say 'Hocks do.'" And Dixie said to her in the rain, in the rain, and the wind. 'Hocks do, Hadley. I'm supposed to say Hocks do."

I could hear my sweet little 10-year-old voice in the background, who was so nervous, and couldn't even function at this point. I could hear her yell back, "Hard things! Hocks do hard things!"

We had taken on this model of Hocks do hard things seven years ago, when my other son, AJ, was diagnosed with brain cancer. He was actually diagnosed on his second birthday, he was actually the day before his second birthday. Then he was rushed into brain surgery on his second birthday. It just happened to be when my fourth child was six weeks old.

As we were rushed into brain surgery, and we were doing radiation treatments, and we were separated for months while we were doing treatments and going through a bunch of different things, we came up with this model that "Hocks do hard things." Because I think if that's, I hope, that that's one of the greatest lessons that my my kids will always take with them. That this it's not about if hard things come. It's about when they come. So I wanted them to understand that it's not that they will come and to know that they can do this.

Houston 16:59

It was very muffled. So it's kinda like, we really want to hear what you're saying. We're having a hard time like, over listening. We don't know if you're really there. Like we just didn't know fully like, "Is she there? Is she talking to us?" We kind of were just like, more stuck. I can't hear her. I'm getting one out of three or four words. And then we were able to make out, "Hocks do," and then that changed our whole perspective.

Hadley 17:34

We've been through like, more hard challenges, like when AJ had brain cancer. That was probably a ton harder than being stuck on, like weeds. I knew that my mom said it because I knew my dad wasn't there. I didn't think anyone else there on the dock knew. But I knew my mom said it and I was like, "Mom, you totally knew what like what totally change my feelings." So like when she said it, I was totally like, "How did mom come up with that? To like, make me completely change my feelings?"

Houston 18:17

We knew that we had two people supporting us, the people on the dock–or two groups of people–the two people on the dock, and then Heavenly Father and Dixie.

I was like, "Dixie, my feet are getting cold and I can feel the cuts in my feet and it's not feeling great." So she's like, "Okay, when you're ready, you just go. So I went." And then . . .

Hadley 18:42

We just kept rowing. And I was like, "We're going so fast!" And I was still crying. Houston was . . . were you still crying?

Houston 18:50


Hadley 18:51

Houston wasn't crying, but I was still crying. But cause. . . but then I kept saying "Hocks do hard things! Hocks do hard things!" And we heard my mom, she was like on a dock close to us. And I heard her say once, "Hocks do hard things." But it was still super hard to hear her because of all the wind and stuff.

Houston 19:13

And Dixie is like, "Alright, you're our leader." So I was the one . . . I felt more pressure, and I was like, "Okay, so I'm here, I'm the leader now! I'm the line leader. I got to do this." So I passed by three or four docks, and I'm like, no, that's not the one that they want us to go to.

Even though those ones would have been easier for them and easier for us, I kept thinking, no, those aren't the ones they want–they want us to go to. So then once Dixie caught up to me, she's like, "We're going to go to that green dock." They had said that, we hadn't heard that. Because like I said, we were only picking up 25% of the words they were saying so we didn't hear that. And I just felt a prompting like, we need to get to that dock and once Dixie said it was like, alright, I'm not the only one thinking this. Let's get to that dock.

MeiLani 20:09

So as soon as I heard Dixie say "Hocks do" and Hadley shout back, "Hard things!" I was like, okay, please, please let this family motto actually mean something and have an effect in this moment. And Dixie, I couldn't hear her very well, there was static, there was wind, and she said, "Oh, okay . . I . I think we're good now."

We hung up the phone and they got in the boat. It took them quite a few tries, and off they went. And they started going. So, so they're heading out and they seem like "We've got this" and I start cheering and cheering an they are just–a Houston is just "Whoo," he's a machine. And, and so I was like, "Just down to the green one! Just down to the green one. Or if you get somewhere sooner than great." And Dixie is having a little bit harder time, a little bit harder time because she's also pushing Hadley and Hadley's not paddling.

But she's paddling, paddling, she's left the other boat, the other paddleboard behind, and Houston is so aggressive that I was like, okay, somebody needs to be there, somebody needs to . . . in that moment, I just wanted to be there to welcome him as soon as he got there. So I wanted to be there, I wanted to be there, wherever he landed, I wanted to be there. So I could hug him.

I start huffing it, and I'm wearing my flip flops and just huffing it. And I run up five houses and I'm running out the dock, the boardwalk area, and but again, at the beginning of the boardwalk, because you have to kind of go up and over the dunes just a little bit you can't see it from the house. So I have to go halfway out the boardwalk before I see, oh, nope, they've already passed me, okay. So I run back boardwalk and go down and by the way, I'm totally just trespassing into these people's backyards at this moment.

And so I get out and I go to the, I see, okay, this is the one with the green hut, with the green roof, that's, that's us! Here I come. And I get out there about halfway out and I can see that they've made it. And at this point, sweet Dixie comes into me, and she is just struggling to walk. And I feel terrible. I don't even know if I gave her a hug and I feel really guilty about that. But I said, "Are you okay?" And she said "Yes." And she lifts up her feet and there's blood just running down her feet from all the cuts from walking back and forth in that oyster patch.

And I said, "Are you okay? I'm gonna go check on the kids." And she's smiling. And she said, "Are you okay?" I was like, "I'm good." You know, at this point, to be honest, I hadn't even cried. But all of a sudden then, I passed Dixie. And I see my two kids that are just barely getting out of their kayak and their paddleboard.

And they look at me with these eyes of, "We made it! We made it!" And they both came running. And they both started crying and I started crying and I just held them. And enjoy that moment of, "You did it. I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of you."

At that point, it didn't matter. It didn't matter that my son had taken the phone when he was not supposed to. It didn't matter. What mattered is that he endured to the end, and then he got there. And that even when it was hard, he knew that "Hocks do hard things." And both of them, just holding them, there was such an overwhelming joy that my heart felt like it was gonna explode. Then we just held each other for maybe the longest hug we've ever had in our life.

Houston 23:44

We're like taking off our life jackets, and then our cousin Denim and my mom are both running towards us. And I had–we had both stopped crying I feel like, but as soon as we just had like, as soon as we touched her, we both just broke into tears. And we were like, "We're gonna be okay. Mom's here, we're fine."

Hadley 24:12

It made me think of the story of Mary Magdalene and her like, sister or friend and then there's this Bible video of them crying with like, they were crying, I think like their brother, Lazarus, like died or something and then they went crying to Jesus. And then He started crying with them, it just made me totally think of that Bible video and I was like, everything's going to be fine, cause it was like, mommy was Jesus and me and Houston were Mary Magdalene and the other girl.

Houston 24:54

What I was feeling was I could see her, I knew that she was watching us, she was there by far the longest, watching us, looking out for us, but once I got to touch her again, it was like, she really is there. It's not just, it's not something I can see, it's something I can feel and I can know. And that was when I felt probably the Spirit the most, because I knew two things. One, we were okay, which was kind of my priority at the time, and then two, or B my mom was there. So we're gonna be fine. I mean, mom is here, what else could go wrong?

MeiLani 25:41

I just can't help but relate, as a parent that feels like, I just wanted to make sure that they knew that they were loved. And even though they couldn't hear me as clearly as I wanted them to, I just wanted them to know that they were going to be okay if they just held with it, if they just held in there, if they just endured to the end, they just did the path that we had told them to follow, that it was gonna be okay.

And when I held them in that moment, when we were hugging, I think that's why I finally just broke down crying, because I felt as if there was, there was another hugger in there. And we could feel that spirit, so close.

And I could feel my Heavenly Father saying, "This is how I feel about you. Is that I want you to know that even if sometimes our lines of communication aren't perfectly clear, that I'm here, and I'm proud of you. And if you just stay on the path that I've told you to, if you just endure more than you think you can, then you will have this joyous reward just like this minute right here, but it's gonna be even more glorious than you can imagine."

Houston 26:58

I knew that she was really proud of us cause she–and also, I was really proud of her because she would have much rather–and I know she would have–I knew if she could have she would have, she would have just grabbed a paddleboard and just paddled on out in her sweatshirt and her pants and just not even cared.

She was probably wearing sandals, and she would have just come out and tried to save us. But she just left us there. And I was kind of like, "Is she coming there help us? . . ." But she never did and I'm really glad she didn't. Because I feel like we wouldn't have learned nearly as much if we didn't do it by ourselves, because I feel like after that happened, I was like, okay, I can do things by myself. I don't need my mom holding my hand all the way. She's there to help when we need her help, but she still knows when to realize "They have to do this on their own." And I feel like if she just helped us every step of the way, I feel like I wouldn't be as independent as I am. And I really appreciate that she does that.

Hadley 28:07

And like, when we were like 1/4 of the way, the waves just stopped and it stopped raining. And I was like, and then I was like, and then I said a prayer of thanks. I was like, "Thank you, Heavenly Father, so much. Thank you for helping us." And it was just, I was like, so happy and I knew that Heavenly Father will answer my prayers.

I learned that I need to believe in myself, and I need to learn to like, I need to have more faith in times like that, because I didn't completely realize that I still had Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And I need to have faith that they're there, because our faith totally grew when that happened.

Houston 28:57

The thing that I learned was that Heavenly Father–I not only have faith in Him, but He has faith in me. And that we can both rely on each other to be able to do hard things and that we'll be able to be a great team.

MeiLani 29:18

He sees me, even when I don't recognize He's there. In those moments when I was yelling, and I was screaming, and my kids couldn't hear me . . . How many times has my Heavenly Father been screaming to say "You, you've got this! You've got this! Even though you can't hear me, you've got this."

And that was a new level for me. That was a new level of parenting as my own, but also seeing the way my Heavenly Father parents of–that desperation. Not just, "I love you because I'm your parent, I love you because you're my child," but this desperation . . . to feel that desperatation of how much He loves me and how much He's rooting for me, even if I can't hear it, and how excited He is to have me back in His arms.

I'm ashamed to admit that we did get back to the house, and then I did tell them how much I love them, and I did tell Houston, "You're not supposed to take the phone, but it's okay that you took it this one moment." And he slightly said, "Does this mean I should have a phone always?" And I said, "No, no, it doesn't."

Houston 30:34

I looked at her and I was like, I can't tell if he's glad I have it, or disappointed because I'm gonna quote Mufasa, "I deliberately disobeyed her."


Erika 30:52

That was MeiLani, Houston, and Hadley. There are so many different things to take from this story, but one thing I kept thinking of was a talk Elder Uchtdorf gave in 2017, called "A Yearning for Home." In the talk, he mentions all these different animals and their instinct to find their way home.

He said, quote, "I can't help but wonder, is it possible that human beings have a similar yearning–an inner guidance system, if you will–that draws them to their heavenly home? I believe that every man, woman and child has felt the call of heaven at some point in his or her life. Deep within us as a longing to somehow reach past the veil and embrace Heavenly Parents we once knew and cherished," end quote.

He describes that yearning for home so perfectly, and it made me think about Hadley's despair when she was stuck in the reeds. Her mom was on the shore, calling to her to come home, but the winds and storm were too loud. Just like Hadley, there may be times where we don't hear Him, where we don't hear our Heavenly Father. But that does not mean that He's not there calling out to us. I wonder if in those moments, He feels some of those same feelings that MeiLani had, that desperate love for us, and a longing for us to find the inner strength to make it home.

The second thing I learned is that it's hard. This journey back home to our Heavenly Parents is hard. It's rarely smooth sailing. I love that what helped Hadley and Houston when they felt they couldn't move ahead was that reminder from their mom, that "Hocks do hard things." Just the suggestion of that phrase, that their family had rallied around for years was enough to show them that she was there rooting for them, and they could do it. I think we all have those "Hocks do" moments from heaven too, like when we take the sacrament, or listen to a story like this one. These are little points along the road that remind us that God is present even if we can't hear His voice directly.

And yet, even with all those little touch points, there will still be times when we feel stuck in the reeds, or like we're walking barefoot on a bed of oysters. Elder Holland reminded us that, quote, "If for a while the harder you try, the harder it gets, take heart. So it has been with the best people who ever lived," end quote. In those moments we can trust in our Savior and His ability to comfort and strengthen us until we have the strength ourselves to paddle home.

That's it for this episode of "This Is the Gospel." Thank you to our storytellers, Meilani Houston and Hadley for sharing their story with us. I loved working with and hearing from our youngest–but possibly wise-est–storytellers yet. We will have pictures of Houston and Hadley and their kayaking excursion in our show notes at LDS living.com/Thisisthegospel. You can also find us on Instagram or Facebook @thisisthegospel_podcast.

We love reading reviews. We send all this stuff we care about out there into the world and reviews are one way that we can see what's actually happening with the stuff that we make. So thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You can leave a review of the podcast on Apple, Stitcher, or whatever platform you listen on. Reviews help other people find us.

All the stories in this episode are true and accurate as affirmed by our storytellers and we find lots of our stories through our pitch line. We're wrapping up season three soon and we will start gathering stories for season four, call and leave us a pitch about your experience of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. The best pitches will be short and sweet and have a clear sense of the focus of your story. You'll have three minutes to pitch your story when you call 515-519-6179 This episode was produced and edited by me Erika Free, it was scored, mixed and mastered by Mix that Six studios. Our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and other LDS Living podcasts, LDS living.com/podcasts.

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