Admissions Processing Coordinator
Brenda Summers was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the summer prior to her junior year of high school, she moved to Rexburg one year after the Teton Flood. She received a bachelor’s degree in university studies from BYU-Idaho and has worked at the university for a total of thirty years. She has spent twenty-one years working in the Admissions Office.
Brenda met her husband, Kent, in high school, and they were married after he returned home from his mission. They celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary this year and have a family consisting of four children and five grandchildren. Currently, they serve together in the Rexburg Temple as ordinance workers and as Sunday School teachers of the same class. Brenda has also held callings in the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society organizations.
Please respond to the question below on the devotional discussion board:
When have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life?
Each day in our office morning huddle, the question is asked, “Where have you seen the hand of the Lord?” There are usually a couple of inspiring stories such as someone was able to help a current student who needed some extra assistance or guidance; or help a prospective student who was trying to decide whether or not to go to college; or another prospective student who was trying to decide what college they want to attend, so they come for a campus visit or attend one of our firesides. Our stories don’t always involve BYU-Idaho directly, but this question helps us reflect back on experiences that we have had as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to look for other ways that the Lord has intervened in our lives or that we were the means by which the Lord answered someone’s prayer or plea for help.
There are several ways that we can look for how the Lord has had a hand in our lives. First, it can come to us through a thought. I’m reminded of the story given by President Henry B. Eyring on how he was inspired to look for the hand of the Lord each day.
When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.
He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”
I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.
I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened. 
On this week’s devotional discussion board, I posed the question: How have you seen the hand of the Lord in your life? Carol said, “The hand of the Lord is always there. When I look at past experiences when I thought he wasn’t there, I realize that I was wrong. He is always there.” Heather said, “I have seen the hand of the Lord in my life many times, very often by the kind acts of others.” I was impressed by the many examples and stories shared that show how many of you are recognizing that Heavenly Father is involved in all aspects of your life and that you are giving thanks to Him for His blessings and tender mercies.
Another way we can see the Lord’s hand is through prayer.
How can we remember what the Lord has done for us? Doctrine and Covenants 59:7 says, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” So, how do we go about doing that? We can begin by expressing our gratitude to our Heavenly Father daily through prayer. The Holy Ghost can help us by bringing back memories of what we have been blessed with. Then, if we were to write these thoughts and memories down, it would help us to see each day how the Lord has been involved in our lives.
In last week’s devotional with Elder Ulisses and Sister Rosana Soares, Sister Soares gave us this counsel: “I need to pray in the morning before I do anything else . . . this shows that Heavenly Father comes first and that He is my priority. I try to visualize our Father in Heaven looking at me and feel His embrace . . . If we pray more sincerely and with energy each morning as if we are trying to survive the day even if we don’t have any major events happen to us, we will be prepared for when they come.” 
I was looking through my journal the other day and I came across an entry that was about a time when I received an answer to my prayers. When my oldest son left on his mission, I was very concerned about his safety and that he might struggle with homesickness. I wrote:
Every time that I say my prayers, I pray that he will be safe and that he will not suffer from homesickness. One night, after praying and asking that he be protected, the following words came to my mind: “He is in my care. There is nothing that you can do. Have faith and trust that I will take care of him.” An overwhelming feeling of peace came over me and from that point on I did not fear because I knew that the Lord was aware of him where he was and was watching over him.
I continued to write that when he completed his mission and returned home, I asked him if he had ever gotten homesick because he never mentioned it in his letters. He responded that he never did experience homesickness.
The scriptures are full of stories and examples of the Lord having a hand in someone’s life, such as Nephi getting the plates from Laban or Alma the Younger having a change of heart or manna appearing each day for the children of Israel. We like to refer to these as miracles, which they are, but they also show that the Lord is aware of our circumstances and He will bless us with what we need. We can also see how the Lord prepares individuals to carry out His work. Joseph Smith was taught from the time that he was a young boy to cherish and believe in the teachings of the Bible. He was taught to pray and believed that his prayers would be answered. He was taught to be honest and kind and all of this was done in preparation for him to become the prophet and restore the gospel in these latter days.
How about the story of the two thousand stripling warriors? Two thousand young men, with Helaman as their leader, joined Captain Moroni’s army. These young men were taught in their youth to trust in the Lord. They were also taught what a covenant was and how important it is to keep it. That is why they volunteered to go to battle, so that their fathers could keep their sacred covenants with the Lord. These young men fought with great faith in the Lord. They knew that no matter the outcome of their battles, the Lord would be beside them giving them strength to face what would come before them. “For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth.”  I’m sure that at the end of each day they gave thanks to God for protecting them and assisting them through their day. At the end of the story, we learn that not one of those two thousand warriors died in battle. Some of them were wounded but survived. “But behold, they have received many wounds; nevertheless they stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made them free; and they are strict to remember the Lord their God from day to day; yea, they do observe to keep his statutes, and his judgements, and his commandments continually; and their faith is strong in the prophecies concerning that which is to come.” 
Finally, we can have experiences through service that show us the hand of the Lord. Here is one example:
I grew up in a big city, in Los Angeles, which gave me the opportunity to meet early on people from different walks of life. I had interactions and connections with people that helped me learn about their lives as they learned about my life.
I had an experience at a bus stop where I was running late to work. And, in my frustration, I turned around and I noticed an older lady who was going about digging in the trash. Her hair was very damp; she was missing a lot of teeth, but she smiled at me. It made me forget that I was running late.
Who is going to help her? Who is willing to give her something to make her have a better day? I don’t know. But in that moment, it made me realize that’s me. I know I’ve been in different phases of my life where I’ve needed help and I’ve prayed for someone to offer something in my life, mostly love or a sense of belonging. And that made me think about Jesus Christ and how He loves me and how He does give me a sense of belonging. That motivated me to offer her my apple.
We started interacting, and I couldn’t help but want to offer her my whole lunch. I would have offered her everything if I had even more. I’ll never have everything that I wish I could have to offer someone. But that is why Jesus Christ is the great Mediator, because He can. He can offer and duplicate what I can’t by infinity. When I think about Jesus Christ and how He fed the five thousand or the four thousand, it wasn’t about loaves and bread. Of course, feeding them provided a very temporary nourishment. But when you read carefully behind that, it really is about His mercy. It really is about His grace. It really is about His love.
Those people, those individuals that He would help that were considered the outcasts, the people who were marginalized—which in today’s world might be the refugee, the immigrant—sometimes we see people different because of their skin color, because they’re from a different religion. Because of these experiences that I’ve had and as I realized what God has done for me, how could I not want to help someone out of the love and the mercy and the grace that God has for me? 
A few weeks ago, our family experienced the hand of the Lord several times over, but first I want to back up and show how the hand of the Lord played a significant role in preparing for my family’s situation. Years ago, individuals made decisions to pursue a degree in medicine. Some became cardiologists, some nurses, some paramedics, and some lab technicians. I did not know the cardiologists, some of the nurses, or the lab technicians personally, but I have since met them. I do know, however, the paramedics personally. One is my brother-in-law and one is my husband. They have both retired from their careers as paramedics but not from all their years of training and experience. Each of these individuals chose their professions for various reasons, but one reason is common among all of them and that is to help others.
Fast forward now to a few weeks ago. My father who is 86, soon to be 87 in a couple of months, is in very good health. He keeps himself busy everyday with some sort of physical activity and he has never had any heart problems. On this particular day, he had been working on a project outside the house and he became extremely tired and decided to go in the house and rest. While sitting in his chair, he started to have chest pains that radiated into his jaw. About that time my sister and her husband arrived. They deliver meals on wheels every Wednesday and their last stop is always at my parents’ home where they join them for lunch. My father told my brother-in-law that he was not feeling well and described to him his symptoms. Being an experienced former paramedic, he recognized these symptoms as heart-related and knew that he needed to act quickly. So, he loaded my father into his pickup and headed for the hospital in Rexburg. After arriving at the hospital and after a variety of tests were performed, it was determined that my father’s heart was fine, no signs of a heart attack or abnormalities, but there was concern with the fact that his heart rate continued to drop to an alarming low rate.
The emergency room doctor knew that something more needed to be done for my father to regain his health. Through his training and experience he knew that he needed someone who was specialized in heart issues, so he called a cardiologist in Idaho Falls. It was determined that he needed to be transferred to Idaho Falls for further assessment. My mother and I were able to ride with my dad in the ambulance and were greeted by more professionals at the EIRMC hospital, and there it was determined that my father would need to have a pacemaker implanted. Before being admitted to his room, he was given a priesthood blessing by my husband and another brother-in-law. The pacemaker implant procedure went well and the attending nurses, physicians, and lab technicians performed their duties very well, and my father was able to return home after a couple of days.
So, where was the hand of the Lord in all of this? First, He was a part of all of those involved with their schooling and training. They may or may not recognize it, but He was there every step of the way. My sister and her husband’s desire to serve within the community created a habit of going to my parents each week on the same day, at the same time, which then allowed them to be there when my father needed them. My brother-in-law’s training and experiences as a paramedic allowed him to recognize the signs of heart trouble and the ability to act quickly. The ER doctor recognized that there was a need for a specialist to take over his case. And then all the other personnel who performed the implant procedure and those who performed patient care that helped my father get on the road to recovery. My father could easily have passed away that day, but the Lord still needs him on this earth a little while longer. And so He put all these things in motion so that everyone was prepared to do their part and keep my father with us.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminds us that God is among us.
I thought about our young American missionaries who served among us during those years. They had left the safety of their homes half a world away and traveled to Germany—land of their recent enemies—to offer divine hope to our people. They came not to blame, lecture, or shame. They willingly gave of their young lives without thought of earthly gain, wanting only to help others find the joy and peace they had experienced.
To me, these young men and women were perfect. I am sure they had flaws, but not to me. I will always think of them as being bigger than life—angels of light and glory, ministers of compassion, goodness, and truth.
While the world was drowning in cynicism, bitterness, hatred, and fear, the example and teachings of these young people filled me with hope. The gospel message they offered transcended politics, history, grudges, grievances, and personal agendas. It gave divine answers to important questions we had during these difficult times.
The message was that God lived and cared about us, even in these hours of turmoil, confusion, and chaos. That He actually appeared in our time to restore truth and light—His gospel and His Church. That He speaks to prophets again; that God is among us—and is personally involved in our lives and actively guiding His children. 
I am sure that if each one of you took a moment to reflect on how it came to be that you came to BYU-Idaho, you would be able to see how the Lord was involved in you choosing and coming to BYU-Idaho. Some of you may have had an experience where you could not decide where to attend college and then things began leading you to here. Some of you ran into roadblocks that appeared that you would not be able to attend college, let alone BYU-Idaho. And then miracles happened, and you now find yourself here. And then perhaps some of you just decided that you wanted to attend here and nothing miraculous seemed to happen, but the Lord was still involved in you getting admitted. I know that Heavenly Father has a hand in our daily lives. We may have to look for it because some days it may not be obvious, but as President Eyring stated, as we look for His hand each day it will become easier to become aware of His help, His guidance, and know that He is there. I encourage each one of you at the end of your day to reflect on your day and find how the Lord has been involved and then write it down. It will not always be a dramatic event; in fact, it will probably be small and simple. But nevertheless, He is there.
In closing, Elder Neil L. Anderson reminds us to look for the Lord’s hand, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. 
I leave you with my testimony that I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live. They know us personally and are involved in every aspect of our lives. They love us and They want us to see and recognize Their love and concern for us.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” Ensign, Nov. 2007.
 Ulisses Soares and Rosana Soares, “Finding the Savior in Our Life,” BYUI devotional, May 16, 2021.
 Alma 56:46.
 Alma 59:40.
 “Realizing What God Has Done, How Could I Not Help?,” His Hands, https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2021-01-0040-realizing-what-god-has-done-how-could-i-not-help-his-hands?lang=eng.
 Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “God Among Us,” Ensign, May 2021.
 “Look for the Lord’s Hand,” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2015-04-0017-look-for-the-lords-hand-veme?lang+eng=undefined&lang=eng.