Mark Albright, president of the Washington DC South mission, has been sharing missionary moments with Meridian based on letters he has received while serving. If you would like to share a missionary moment with him and with Meridian contact him by clicking on the email author button above.


Dear President Albright,

Several years ago our family prepared to send our youngest son, Matt, on a church mission. He had been called to serve in the North Carolina Spanish Speaking Mission. All the preliminary work was done, shopping for suits, preparing materials, and packing for 2 years. Just before his departure date, he took a short trip to New York to visit relatives and say goodbye. While he was there he became very ill with stomach pain. Several other family members there had experienced the intestinal flu, so we all assumed that Matt had come down with the flu. He felt some relief and regained his appetite just before returning home. When we picked him up at the airport, his coloring was not good and he had lost some weight in the short time he was away.

After Matt assured us the next morning that he felt better, we loaded up the car and left for the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah. On our way out of town we stopped by our stake president’s office to have Matt set apart.  Matt was blessed that he would be able to complete his mission successfully. We spent the night in a hotel near the MTC and treated Matt to his “last meal” with the family. He ate and slept well and was ready to begin his mission.  After dropping him off the next morning at the MTC, we began our long drive home. My apprehension grew with each passing mile. I expressed my concern to the family about Matt’s health.

Early the next morning, I knelt down in prayer about the matter and had a very strong prompting that I should call the MTC immediately. I spoke to someone on the MTC medical staff and asked that they please have my son checked out as soon as possible. They assured me that they would.

I learned later that Matt was taken out of class and given the last appointment of the day with the doctor on duty. After an examination the doctor sent Matt to the BYU clinic for some blood work. Before leaving for home at the end of the day, the doctor went by the clinic to read the test results. Matt’s white blood cell count was extremely high so he sent him to the local hospital for a CT scan. Within an hour Matt was scheduled for emergency surgery on his appendix! I received a call from Matt and left immediately for Provo. Prior to the operation, the surgeon and Matt’s companion gave him a priesthood blessing.

When I finally arrived the surgeon told me that it was a miracle that Matt was still alive. His appendix had been ruptured for several days! The poison seemed to have formed a pocket in his abdomen and could have spread at any moment. The surgeon told me there was no significant piece of an appendix to be found. Nurses and doctors came by to see the young man who had survived a ruptured appendix for so long.  They told us that Matt may have lived only a few more hours. I am so grateful to the Lord for sparing my son’s life, and thankful that I listened to His promptings.  I appreciate the staff and doctors at the MTC who immediately responded and followed through on a mother’s concern.

Matt was allowed to return home on medical leave for 5 weeks to regain his health and strength. He then returned to the MTC to resume his mission and Spanish training.  Fortunately, he was able to serve his entire two-year mission in North Carolina.  I know in my heart that the Lord prompted me to call the MTC when I did and that He guided the surgeon to use his priesthood to bless and complete the surgery successfully.  I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows us, guides us and answers our prayers.


Sue Gurlides