It was going to be a very busy day. I had tons of work to finish at the ranch, and I’d have to get on with it to finish in time to make it down to my doctor’s visit in the afternoon. I was just walking out the door when my phone made the familiar pinging sound indicating I had a text. It was from the sister missionaries. They had found an older lady, presumably a member, staying at the Motel 6 in our city. She needed a blessing. They included her name, Emiko, and a phone number. Because I work with missionaries, they often ask me to make these kinds of visits and I try to follow up. But not today. I’d never get the ranch work done if I went. I’ll call somebody, I thought. I need to “delegate” this opportunity to someone else. I was about to call someone when the thought came, no, they asked you. Go. I decided to put aside my personal work. I called my home teaching companion, David Barthel, and he was willing and ready to go with me.
David arrived and I began calling Emiko’s phone number. The line was busy. I called repeatedly but the line continued to be busy. After numerous attempts I was ready to say, “We tried. Since we can’t get her, let’s just forget it.” But as David and I talked it over we decided that, despite not making a connection, we’d drive over to the motel anyway.
The desk clerk informed us that without a last name he could not give us her room number. We had no idea where the missionaries were and felt concerned that we might interrupt them in a discussion, but we couldn’t help the lady if we didn’t have her full name. David sent a text to the missionaries and they responded with: Emiko Hertado. She was in room 136.
We knocked, a small voice responded, and we went in. It was obvious that the elderly woman wasn’t well. I took her frail little hand in mine. “I’m Brother Roy Atkin,” I explained. “And this is Brother David Barthel. We’ve come to give you a blessing.”
“Don Atkin?” she asked.
“No, Roy Atkin.” I answered, somewhat surprised. “I’m Don Atkin’s son.”
Her face lit up with a lovely smile. She reached for her purse and pulled out a folded paper and handed it to me. “This is my patriarchal blessing. Your father gave it to me when I was 24. You must read it.”
I was unable to speak for a few minutes. My father had been deceased for 17 years. He would have given this sister her patriarchal blessing about 40 years earlier.
“I hadn’t made an appointment, I just went. Your mother answered the door. Your father was outside in the back. I remember how he greeted me. He was so kind. He wasn’t upset that I had come without calling. He asked me to sit down and he listened while I talked. Then he told me he didn’t want me to have to come back another day, he would give me a blessing right then.”
She didn’t say so, but I could picture the scene very well. My father would have excused himself and gone in to change his clothes. He would never have approached the Lord a white shirt, tie, and suit pants. I could see him arranging the recorder on the table, being very silent for a few minutes, then placing his hands on her head. I had a hard time chocking back a tear as I thought of him.
“I’d like you to read the blessing.” She insisted.
I wanted to read it, but that would have to wait. Emiko needed our help. “I will be happy to read your blessing, Sister Hertado, but let’s see what we can do for you first.”
We asked about her circumstances. Emiko is destitute, she has Addison’s disease and has had several operations. She moved to our town in California from Kingman, and when life became more challenging than she was capable of handling she had called a Bishop in our area for help, but so many people who are not members call Bishops for help, he had been skeptical. And, as we talked, we discovered that on top of everything else, she hadn’t had anything to eat for two days.
We would do first things first. We would call upon the Lord. I felt very humble as we placed our hands on her head. I pronounced a blessing according to the words the Lord directed in her behalf, which was a sweet assurance of His love, and comfort, and help.
Then we asked what she was able to eat, and we left to buy food and some bottles of water. While we were waiting for the food to be prepared, I read her blessing quietly to David.
I was acquainted with only a few of my Father’s blessings, but of those few, none were ever this long. And none sounded like what was said to Emiko. Forty years earlier the Lord had revealed almost a blueprint of what her life would be, and that life would be filled with challenge after challenge. But as every challenge was mentioned the Lord followed with encouragement, told her never to give up, and promised He would always be with her. At almost the end of the blessing were these words: There will come a time when you think there is no help and no hope. But I will send two angels to bless you, and help make your circumstances better.
I put the paper down. Brother Barthel said, “Roy, your Father wanted you to be one of those angels today, and he is helping you to do so.” I couldn’t hold back the tears then.
The food was ready. I dried my eyes and we drove back to the Motel. I assured Emiko that I would immediately contact the agent Bishop and there would be assistance coming that very day. I handed her back her Patriarchal Blessing. She smiled and thanked us. We took her hand once more and said goodbye.
As we walked back to the car I thought about what had happened. I cannot doubt the power of Our Father in Heaven. Amidst all the trials and tribulations in this world He sees to it that miracles will come. I almost didn’t come to be part of this miracle. How grateful I am to be one of the angels my dear father foresaw 40 years ago that would help this sweet sister.