Shining moments: Little heroes

It had been a Thursday morning much like any other. Students in the Cambridge Ward in the Kitchener Ontario Stake in Canada had gathered at the meetinghouse Jan. 16 for their early-morning seminary class. On this day, Lilianne Emerson taught how the Savior directed His disciples following His Resurrection.

But sometime during that early-morning hour, the second big snow storm of the new year began blanketing the area, and at times, created whiteout conditions. Several inches of snow had fallen by the time Sister Emerson locked up the building following class. Seven of her students had already piled into her van - as they typically did - for a ride to school.Somehow, as she walked toward her van, Sister Emerson fell, breaking her leg in three places. Luis Mendez was the first to jump out to help. Seeing her writhing in pain, he called to the others for help.

"I'm not going to lay here for half an hour waiting for paramedics," Sister Emerson said. So the students considered their options and found that only 16-year-old Sarah Watanabe had a driver's license. She had never driven in a whiteout snow storm. Still, as one who was recognized for her poise and confidence, she was willing to drive while Sister Emerson gave directions to the hospital.

Luis, a husky 15-year-old from Venezuela who plays football, and who Sister Emerson calls "her little hero," hoisted her into the front seat of the van.

Each time the van slowed or sped up, Sister Emerson's leg would swing slightly, causing excruciating pain. Sarah controlled the van over the open, winding road as it descended from the meetinghouse on Myers Road toward the Grand River, unlike the car ahead of her that was swerving from side-to-side because of slippery conditions.

Nurses at the hospital told Sister Emerson they were surprised she didn't pass out from the pain, since most would have gone unconscious, she said.

It will be weeks before Sister Emerson can walk again. "I can't wait for her to come back," Luis said. "She really makes the class fun. She teaches like Jesus probably taught the apostles."

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