The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

A major test of faith for Elder Patrick Kearon and his wife, Sister Jennifer Kearon, came early in their marriage when the couple’s oldest child, a son, was born with a complex congenital heart defect.

The baby boy died during heart surgery 19 days later, leaving the couple to wrestle with some difficult questions.

“I’ve always had a solid testimony of the Church and the plan of our Heavenly Father. But that was a time when I was backed up against the wall and under tremendous pressure had to face the questions — ‘Do I really believe this? Do I really believe in a Savior and a resurrection? Is his tiny grave really going to open again?’ — all those questions were put to the test,” Sister Kearon said. “And I discovered that yes, I do believe this. The gospel of Jesus Christ is real. It is my life. It IS life.”

For Elder Kearon, the feeling at the time was “Can I survive this?” He remembers finding comfort and understanding in a November 2002 general conference talk titled “But if Not” by Elder Lance B. Wickman, now an emeritus general authority, who spoke about losing a son to an illness.

“He was a beautiful instrument in the hands of a loving Father in Heaven in terms of helping us come to terms with those times when we don’t get what we had pled for, what we fasted for, what we had yearned for, and that was beautiful. Of course, we had wonderful ministry from many others in that time, but for me, [Elder Wickman’s talk] was a golden expression from someone who knew.”

Elder Kearon didn’t know it at the time, but that soul-stretching experience would become one of many that helped prepare him for future Church service as a General Authority Seventy and now a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“Our extremity and our most exultant times seem to be the best preparations,” Elder Kearon said. “I attest to the fact that our Savior will come back and we will be healed of everything that has been a burden to us. We just have to do our part.”

Elder and Sister Kearon reflected in an interview with the Church News on some of the meaningful experiences that helped prepare him for his call on Dec. 7 as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE