Our Promises and God's Protection
Today's military-related Miracle Monday is taken from the pages of the Detroit Branch 1 history. We want to thank Sister Rosanne Champine for directing us to this testimony of Brother Frank DiDonato. We also want to wish all the veterans out there a happy Memorial Day! Thank you for serving our country.
In December 1944, I was drafted into the service, just three months following my marriage, being placed into the infantry, which was very rough, indeed.
Twelve years prior, in 1932, my parents had found and accepted the Gospel. A year later, as a 9-year-old boy, I was blessed in The Church. Our lives changed radically, constantly busy with church services of one kind or another. During this time, I learned to love and trust the Lord.
When I was 15 years old, I was called by the Lord to be baptized, but I refused because I was afraid I would lose all of my friends, and I wanted to be "someone big" in the world.
Now, as I faced the realities of war, I relied upon the blessing I had received as a child and the prayers of the saints for encouragement and strength. I wrote letters to my wife, Rose, and also my friend, Brother Nicholas Pietrangelo, saying that if the Lord spared my life, I would join The Church.
In 1944, just following the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, I was captured by the Germans. My lost dog tags were picked up by my quartermaster and sent back home to the U.S. This practice was usually done for G.I.s killed in action.
My grief stricken family and the saints rejoiced at a Ladies' Circle meeting, where Sister Fina Pontillo related a dream, which she had the night before, assuring my safety and well-being. I eventually escaped from capture and rejoined my unit.
On January 23, 1945, we were about to take the city of Cologne, Germany near Berlin. I was walking around a house on one side, and a German SS trooper was coming around the house on the other side. We both met at the same time, and oh — the shock and terror!
He had a burp gun, which fires 36 rounds, and I had a rifle. Before I could bring it in a shooting position, he hit my ammunition belt, which was strapped on my chest and shoulders. The bullet hit my arm and ripped it wide open. I fell to the ground. The trooper was firing all 35 rounds around my body, missing me with every shot, showing that the Lord did not forget me!
Before he could reload the weapon, I got up off the ground and even beat Jesse Owens' mark for speed! I ran about 100 yards when he fired one single shot and hit me in the ninth rib. The bullet is still there.
I lost consciousness. The medic came and gave me a shot of morphine, and I heard him say to "cut the arm off at the shoulder."
Struggling for awareness, I fought off the medic, insisting that they were not cutting my arm off because God was in the matter! The Lord was indeed in the matter. I would keep my arm through a muscle graft from a dead soldier. Although my wounds would render me about 40 percent disabled — granting me a good arm but with a weak grip and little feeling — I would praise the Lord for His mercy and grace in sparing my arm and my life.
My wound earned me the privilege of returning home. God had spared my life, but I would struggle to keep the promise I had made to Him.
I came home and was then, during a church service, called again to repentance. But instead, I left to attend a football game. I was still afraid of losing my friends.
Angel Testimonies for June
May's Miracle Monday theme was very popular, so if you have not seen your story on the blog yet, do not fear. We're keeping all the submissions in our archive so we can share them in the coming months. But next month, we're asking for miracles related to angels or other heavenly messengers. Share your story here!
SUMMER READING CHALLENGE!
Today is the first day of the Summer Reading Challenge! Thank you to the dozens who signed up to participate! We'll post the daily reading assignment at the bottom of every blog post, but download the full calendar here. Today's assignment:
Preface (Title Page), Introduction, Testimony of 3 Witnesses, Testimony of 8 Witnesses, Testimony of Joseph Smith, Brief Explanation