“The Open Grave”
"The Open Grave", a story of faith, by Mrs. Leon F. Liddell
Eti Te'o, a chief from the
"When I was about 18, I was in the
"A friend of mine named George came to
our village to work as a carpenter.
After about 3 months he became very sick and was taken to the
"The next morning, I was passing the hospital on my way to work when the nurse called to me. She was crying when she told me what had happened. I immediately took the news to Brother Lopati at the mission home and he asked me to go behind the home and start digging a grave for George. I had dug to a depth of about 3 feet when he came to me and said, 'Put back the shovel - we are going to the hospital to see George.'
"It was now in the morning. I could not understand why he wanted to go to the hospital, but I put the shovel back and went with him.
"George was lying in an outer room where the dead were kept and as we passed the room, I could see 'lagomea' (flies that cover dead bodies) all over the windows and I was angry with Brother Lopati. 'Don't you think we will disgrace the Church by doing this?’, I questioned. But he went right on into the hospital. We were not allowed to enter the room where George lay - both the nurse and doctor told us that if we entered the room we would be sent to jail.
"Brother Lopati sent for his wife and two other elders and after kneeling in prayer they signed a paper, one by one, signifying that they would willingly go to jail after entering George's room.
"I could not bring myself to sign the paper. I did not want to go to jail. Brother Lopati then came by my side and told me that he had been given a patriarchal blessing that if he lived right he would have power to raise the dead. He also said that they must wait for me - that it was urgent for me to witness this event.
"It was when I finally signed the paper and we all went in beside George's bed. Brother Lopati unwrapped the gauze from his face and we all knelt by his bedside.
"I remember only three words he spoke as he laid his hands on the boy's head. They were, ‘George, come back.' He added a few more sentences and when he said, 'Amen', George sneezed and began to breathe. His first words were, 'I would like a cup of rice.' Then he sat up and began talking. 'I heard your voice from a long distance,' he said to Brother Lopati.
"I ran from the room, shaking all over. Running down the halls I kept saying, almost hysterically, 'George wants a cup of rice!’ over and over again. I rushed into Dr. Lane's office without knocking and could only say, 'George wants a cup of rice!'. Dr. Lane hurried back with me and when he saw George sitting up talking, he was speechless. He could not say a word for a long time, then he slowly walked over to the bedside to examine George and in a few minutes he stated that the boy was normal and his heart action perfect.
"Turning to Brother Lopati he said, 'No one but God could have done that'. He asked us to come to his house later and we stayed there all the rest of the day answering his questions. He joined the Church in due time, as did several other hospital workers.
"Now, 23 years later, George is in
good health and lives in the
The Church News,
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