Joshua in the hospital. The Power and Light Rescue team gave him this hard hat. 

Our trials don’t have to define us, but they are part of our story. We can take things from each of our own trials and grow from them. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” ~CS Lewis I’ve talked about my brother Josh before, (click HERE to read what I wrote last year.) and I will probably talk about him again. The experience my brother had shaped his life, and our family’s. I learned about faith at such a young age and it influenced how I react now to trials.

Joshua immediately after being rescued.

Twenty-eight years ago, my ten-year-old brother Josh, was on a Scout trip near Tooele, Utah and they were going to explore an old abandoned mine, called The Hidden Treasure Mine. It was getting darker as they began to enter the mine. Josh wasn’t feeling great, but didn’t want to miss out on this exciting experience. Shortly after entering the mine one of the boys was uncomfortable with how dark it was. My dad decided to take him and his friends back Throughout the discussion the boys ran ahead and didn’t realize that Josh was going to stay. out of the mine. Josh wanted to stay with the other group of boys. After the discussion, the boys ran ahead and didn’t realize that Josh was going to stay. My dad had already turned to leave with the other boys. He ran ahead following a flashlight in the distance, but eventually it disappeared the farther away they got. Josh was alone in the dark.

Joshua after his rescue

As boys began to exit the mine my dad and the other leaders realized that Josh was not with anyone. Almost immediately they were panicked. The night of Friday September 22nd was spent searching the grounds and mine. Two leaders repelled down a few mine shafts, but they soon realized that if he had fallen, it would not be a rescue mission, but a body recovery. It became obvious that they needed help and they notified the Sherriff’s office. Meanwhile my mom, me, my sister, and my younger brother spent the night at our grandparent’s house without any knowledge of his disappearance.

“Whatever our direction or distance to
Heavenly Father
And Jesus Christ
We can choose to turn toward Them
And to draw closer to Them.
~ Dale G. Renlund

Inside the mine Joshua was scared. He turned back to walk toward the direction of the mine entrance. In the heavy blackness, he felt his way along the wall of the mine. Josh knew that they hadn’t come that far in. Minutes passed, and still he saw no light. As he followed the wall he came to steep rocks. He knew that he had climbed down to enter and he began to work his way up the rocks. As time passed he realized that it was not the way to the outside. Josh sat thinking about what he should do. He remembered something my mom had taught us. “If you are ever lost hug a tree—stay where you are. Josh decided that his only chance was to sit and wait for someone to come to him. Time passed slow and Josh spent his time praying, singing and sleeping.

Me (Dani), Terra, Jake (my younger siblings) at the mine site a year later.

Outside the mine hours turned to days and the search continued. Joshua’s disappearance became Nation-wide news. We were staying with our grandparents and my grandma always said that I didn’t smile once until he was found. As a mother now with my kids the same ages as me and my siblings were, I can’t imagine what my mom was going through. The one thing was that she continued to have faith.

“Acting on even a twig of faith,
Allows God to grow it.”
~Henry B. Eyring

Wednesday September 27, 1989, we woke to a rainbow over the Oquirrh mountains. I remember laughing with my siblings and feeling guilty. Was our new normal without my brother? Miles away in a motel room my mom and dad participated in a prayer like no other. We all wanted Josh back, and we were told they were only hours away from ending the search.

Josh after coming home from the hospital. He had frostbite on his feet and 
barely came away without any amputations. 

One man, John Skinner saved my brother that day, when he told the search and rescue team that he thought he knew where my brother may be. They had faith and gave him that chance. John, and two search and rescuers Gary and Ray entered the mine. Heavenly Father guided them and he gave them perfect senses at that moment. Ray had some hearing loss and heard what sounded like someone stepping on a piece of metal. He turned, but found no one was there. Quietly as if someone whispered it in his ear he heard, “You must learn to pay attention.” Ray turned to the other two men, “Quiet, listen.” Just moments later they heard a faint cry.

John Skinner with Josh at a BYU game after his rescue

After five days and five nights, Josh was found alive. As a seven-year-old and saw my brother for the first time I remember I cried and couldn’t stop. I witnessed a miracle. As I think about my own life and faith, I love what I wrote last year on this day.

As hard as times can be I am grateful for my own hardships and trials. I break down at times and at times I want to give up. I wonder, "What is the purpose of this?" I know I have had many trials in my life and I have learned something from each one. I have been blessed after my trials and I have seen the silver lining. We will feel darkness at different times in our lives. When Josh was found the searchers put a hard hat on his head, they had a flashlight to lead them back out, and they warmed him with blankets. We too can feel protection from our Heavenly Father, we will see His light and feel the warmth from His love. 

I’m thankful for this experience that my family went through and how we’ve grown as individuals. We have learned to have faith, pray, and grow from our own trials. To learn more about Faith during trials click HERE. To learn more about Prayer click HERE