“There are no coincidences. Just miracles by the boatload.” – Clare Vanderpool
My daughter, Tiffany, had just completed her missionary training and was scheduled to fly from Salt Lake City to California on Jan. 3, 2018. I was working in my law office on that day and found it quite difficult to concentrate. My thoughts kept drifting toward my baby girl and my hope that she would thrive as a missionary.
It was about 3 p.m., at which time Tiffany was waiting to board her flight, when I received a phone call from a fellow named Cameron Doyle. In 1977, I taught Cameron about the Gospel of Jesus Christ when I was a serving as a missionary in Sacramento, California. Prior to receiving this phone call, I had not seen or spoken to Cameron in more than 40 years. My last communication from Cameron came in the form of a kind letter that he sent to me in 1988.
The conversation with Cameron began with his reintroduction of himself, after which he asked me how my life had been. I told him that I was doing well and that my daughter was about to enter the mission field. He then asked me where Tiffany was going to be serving. When I told Cameron the name of the community to which she was assigned, there was a pause in the conversation.
Cameron then told me that he was born and raised in that very same community. He reassured me that Tiffany would have a wonderful missionary experience in that part of California. My mind and spirit were greatly comforted by Cameron’s words. Coincidence or miracle?
While serving as a missionary in Carmichael, California, in 1977, my assigned companion, Blake Van Leeuwen, and I were riding our bikes back to our apartment. It was late at night and very dark outside. Blake was in front of me when I heard, but could not see, the bicycle collision. I immediately hit the brakes and came to a stop.
Blake and another young man, whom I shall call Ralph, peddled their bicycles into each other. Remarkably, no one was hurt, and there was only minor damage to the bikes. We chatted with Ralph for a few minutes, and then the three of us got back on our respective bicycles and departed.
A few weeks later, we were attending church when a member of the congregation to which we were assigned introduced us to Ralph. Ralph had expressed a desire to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The three of us laughed when I acknowledged that we had already met. Coincidence or miracle?
In the winter of 1968, my family was living in Cheyenne, and my mom, sister and I were driving home from church. Our car ran out of gas on Interstate 25, and we were a long way from home. Mom handed me all of the cash from her purse and told me to walk to the nearest gas station to get help. I was 11 years old at the time.
I had been walking north on I-25 for just a few minutes when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper stopped to help me. His name was Dee Cameron. He was a family friend who, like both of my parents, grew up in Green River. He drove me to and from the gas station, and we safely made it home after about a 30-minute delay. Coincidence or miracle?
On Nov. 17, 2018, I was attending my daughter Nicole’s wedding in the Payson, Utah Temple. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, I decided to sit down next to an elderly gentleman. He introduced himself, and I promptly recognized his voice. His name was Stan, and we were friends when I was serving as a missionary in Northern California. It had been more than 40 years since I had seen or spoken to Stan.
Stan was a fantastic person who possessed a strong testimony of Jesus Christ. He was always ready, willing and able to welcome our investigators and new members into the congregation that he attended. I have previously written about a man named Sam Higgins (i.e. “My reflective tribute to my friend Sam Higgins.” WTE, May 20, 2017). Stan was one who made sure that Sam was properly supported, nurtured and fellowshipped by the members of our church.
During our discussion, I learned that Stan had come to the Temple to witness the marriage of his grandson, Sean. Nicole was marrying a wonderful fellow who was named Sean. So ... my daughter is now married to Stan’s grandson. Coincidence or miracle?
Many will quickly categorize all of the above events as mere coincidences. Jon Bon Jovi wrote, “Miracles happen every day, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.”