I want to share a couple of experiences that I had this week. The first happened Monday night, I posted my video footage on Monday, so having visitors come Monday night to have family home evening with us was such a gift!  During the lesson the sweet woman that came shared a personal experience about her daughter.  She said,

“For years my daughter struggled with a very challenging illness.  It was devastating, as her Mother, to watch her suffer and not be able to help her.  After years of suffering my daughter called today and said Mom for so many years I asked God why? Why wouldn’t he heal me? I believed in miracles and I knew he was an all powerful God, where was my miracle?”

She continued,

“When my daughter called today she told me Mom the struggle was the miracle, I wouldn’t change a thing. I found God in a very personal way through my struggle.”

I thought what she said was so beautiful, it gave me a great deal of comfort.

On Tuesday a sweet woman approached me and said,

“Portia my family reads your blog out there, I am so sorry for all you have been through.  My family wants to know how that could happen in this country, and is it legal?”

I told her no it wasn’t legal, in fact, now that I’ve been to Federal prison and know how serious the BOP is about our safety as well as the PREA act. (PREA is the prison rape elimination act), there are strict guidelines officers must follow when dealing with inmates and certainly male officers are not allowed to see females naked.

The abuse I suffered was certainly illegal on so many levels.

She said,

“Well my family said they are amazed that you are still standing and doing okay. God is with you Portia.”

I thanked my sweet friend for her kind words and she said,

“It’s easy to be kind but it’s hard to be brave.”

I felt very loved.

We live in a community of diversity here and we share everything!  There is one chapel and until recently we had one chaplain.  Today there was a ceremony to welcome a new chaplain and all the different religions were invited to welcome him.  I wanted to go to the ceremony but it was scheduled at the same time as our church service.  We have volunteers that come with a lesson for us each week and I didn’t want to miss them.

Three women from our little group of sisters went to the new chaplain ceremony and I stayed with our visitors.  About halfway through our service one of the women came in and asked me if I would come help them, they wanted to get up and sing I am a child of God. I told her I felt very strongly that I needed to stay in the church meeting with our visitors.  After she left one of our visitors could see how emotional I was and offered to give me a priesthood blessing.  He promised me strength and courage and told me everything will be okay and that my family is protected and they know how much I love them.

After the blessing I got up and told them that I would be right back. I walked into the chapel and it was completely full.  The 3 LDS girls said,

“Oh thank goodness you came in we are so nervous.”

The chaplain called for the LDS women so we went to the front of the chapel.  I had a picture of the Salt Lake Temple that I gave to the Chaplain as a gift.

I said,

“This is a temple where we perform sacred ordinances like marriages.”

I welcomed him and told the audience,

“we believe that we are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father so we will be singing a song called “I Am A Child Of God.”  We are weak in musical talent but strong in spirit so please bear with us.”

I told them that many people recognize the song as part of our religion and asked them that if they knew it to please sing it with us. We sounded terrible but everyone clapped and there was a sweet spirit in the room.  Afterward I went back to the meeting with our volunteers and the other LDS girls followed, they thanked me for coming in and my friend Orianna said,

“You came at the perfect time, I know it was the spirit that brought you in there.”

After church I went to the chow hall for dinner and sat with a woman that I taught in one of my classes.  She said,

“Portia I didn’t know that you were a Mormon, It makes so much sense now”.

I asked what she meant by that and she responded,

“Why you are so special. Every Mormon I have ever met has that special thing about them.  They have a unity and faith in God that is so strong. Mormons are different, they support each other, they are happy, they are just really good people.”

I thanked her and she said,

“Hey Portia I’ve heard about all that you are going through from some people on the compound, and I think you are such an inspiring person. You are a great teacher, I really enjoyed your classes and I pray that you will get out of here and get home to your family.”

I was so touched by this sweet woman and thank my Father in Heaven for the little things.  On my way back to the unit 2 other woman came up to me and said they loved our musical number.  I laughed and told them that it wasn’t our musical talent that touched them because we are terrible and acappella to boot.  They said,

“No it was the spirit of God that we felt.”

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass, I think maybe the struggle is the miracle