In the letter, written in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sister Nelson encourages the women to pray for and believe in miracles.
The letter highlighted the historical account of swarms of crickets that descended on the fields of the Salt Lake Valley in late May 1848 — less than a year after early pioneers first settled the area. For at least a month, the settlers battled the crickets with brooms, brushes, sticks and ropes in what some called “the Cricket War of 1848.” Then, in answer to the prayers of the settlers, large flocks of California gulls arrived in the valley in early June and ate the crickets.
In her recent book, “The Heavens Are Open,” Sister Nelson testified that the Lord sends miracles. “I believe in miracles,” she wrote. “Actually, I count on them” (pg. 2).
Following is the full text of the letter, titled “A MESSAGE FROM SISTER WENDY W. NELSON” and sent via email on Thursday, April 2. In the days since then, the letter has been shared digitally and on social media by thousands in numerous countries.
My Dear Sisters,
I woke up this morning NOT to the shaking of our home from yet another aftershock from the earthquakes we have recently experienced here in SLC, nor to an updated internet view of the mapping of the devastation of the Coronavirus.
The first image that came to my mind even before I got out of bed was Minerva Teichert’s painting of the woman praying in fields which have been ravaged by crickets. It is called, The Miracle of the Gulls.
You know that true account. Believers, like you and me, know that the Lord sent numberless seagulls — in the very moment of deepest distress by some, and of deepening faith by others — to devour the crickets and then regurgitate them in the Great Salt Lake. What was the outcome? The lives of some 4,000 pioneers were saved.
My dear sisters, whom I love more than you would ever believe, you and I are Latter-day women of God, disciples of Jesus Christ, who believe in miracles. Why? Because we know the Source of those miracles. We are perfectly poised to participate in bringing forth the miracle the Lord has in store for the world. (See Bible Dictionary on “prayer.”)
As you and I continue to pray — and fast as we are able — the Lord WILL send ”seagulls” to devour OUR “crickets” (aka presently, the Coronavirus).
The politicians and the scientists will do their best to make projections about the days ahead. But — they will not know to factor in “The Miracle of the Gulls.”
Although at this April 2020 General Conference, we will not be able wrap our arms around you, or hear the feelings of your heart, we will be thinking of you — and always praying for you — as you do your work for the Lord that you pre-mortally covenanted you would do.
A work that makes ALL the difference, helping to gather scattered Israel and to prepare a people ready to receive the Savior when He comes again.
I pray that each of us will hear exactly the message from April 2020 General Conference the Lord has prepared for us.
Thank you for your prayers for this unique, “memorable and unforgettable” Conference — because the fight with “the opposition” is real and relentless.
I leave you with greetings and gratitude from President Russell M. Nelson who loves and honors you, your husband, and your family members.
With love and faith,
Wendy W. Nelson
PS: THE SEAGULLS ARE ON THEIR WAY AS WE CONTINUE TO PRAY!