Recently, two sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in Houston, Texas were attacked in their apartment by a knife-wielding intruder.
At the time, Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff released the following statement regarding the break-in.
Early this morning, two sister missionaries in the Texas Houston Mission were injured in their apartment during a home invasion. The young women were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover. We sincerely pray for them and their families as they deal with and heal from this ordeal. We are grateful for the medical workers and first responders who have been caring for the missionaries since this occurred. Since local authorities are continuing to investigate, we will defer to them for specific details of this incident.
Just this past week, one of the sister missionaries, Sister Lauren Willardson, made a post online and shared her story in hopes of showing the world the miracles that the Lord still does today.
We share Sister Willardson’s story below. You can continue to follow her story that she will continue to share on a special missionary Instagram account.
Hello! My name is Lauren Willardson. I am a daughter of God, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and I am one of the missionaries who was stabbed in Houston about a month ago.
Because this week marks one month since I returned home from the hospital, I wanted to share the story of what happened in my own words, and more importantly share the path paved with miracles that I have walked with my Savior during this past month!
It is my hope and prayer that by doing so I may bear witness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and confirm to each of you that God TRULY IS our loving Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is the Master Healer and Savior of the World, that He gave His life because He loves you more than you can comprehend, and that through Him ALL THINGS truly can be overcome!
As many of you know, on August 16th around 4 am a man broke into the apartment where my companion and I lived and started attacking us in our sleep. We fought and prayed, struggling for our lives for about fifteen minutes.
After the struggle, through the power and mercy of God, the man left. My companion and I called 911 and were then rushed to the hospital.
We found in the ambulance that I had sustained nine stab wounds. At the hospital, I had a life-saving surgery and then received treatment for many days.
Thanks to your many prayers on my behalf and the infinite Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I am so pleased to report that I am now at home recovering nicely. I plan to return to missionary service as soon as my doctors will allow.
While this time at home is definitely different than my original mission plan, I have learned more about Heavenly Father’s love during this time than I ever could have in 18 months!
As I look back on these experiences, I testify that His plan is perfect and that it is with perfect love that every part of His plan is prescribed!
I can see His loving hand through this experience because Heavenly Father prepared me my whole life with a great support system from my friends and family so I could have a wonderful recovery.
He prepared me with a confidence in my life purpose and faith in Christ, that sustained me during the ordeal, during those critical life or death moments in the hospital, and in all of the pain that would follow.
He made sure we would survive the incident by placing my companion and me together in that apartment because we are convinced that if either of us had been there with any other missionary, we would not have survived.
Even though we were stabbed, He kept His promise that “thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:9) by sending angels to protect our vitals and main arteries.
The surgeon who saved my life said that if the knife in my shoulder had been turned even a degree to the left or the right, it would have sliced a main artery and vein and I would have bled out before the ambulance ever arrived.
What a miracle that we were protected and the knife glided in so perfectly!
From all of this to having such experienced trauma surgeons, to having the president of the particular hospital I was taken to be a Latter-day Saint, to having my mission president and his wife led by the Spirit to the hospital in time to give me a life-saving blessing, the evidence of God’s hand throughout this ordeal is overwhelming!!
If these miracles do not convince you of the great and miraculous love of our Heavenly Father, then I beg you to consider the Greatest Miracle of All, even the gift and life of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
He loved YOU – you reading this right now – Heavenly Father loved you enough to sacrifice His ONLY Son. He sent Him to die because He loves YOU and because He knew you were worth it.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ saved my life so many times that I cannot do anything for the rest of my life but witness of the INFINITE and INTIMATE love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I will bear Their Names with every breath They give me, so long as I live.
It is with this opportunity that I would like to conclude: by bearing testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
On that dreadful morning of August 16th, after the man had gone, I remember waiting for the ambulance to arrive while my companion was on the phone with 911.
I remember noticing for the first time all the places I was cut because we had been fighting with too much adrenaline to notice the wounds previously.
As I sat there with my limbs tensing up to the point I could not move, not knowing if I was going to bleed to death, I remember looking down at my hand and seeing that it had been stabbed through the middle.
While you may think that this would be an alarming sight to behold, I remember feeling the greatest peace as my mind instantly thought of a similar wound in the hands of One much greater than I.
As more wounds were discovered on me in the ambulance and procedures following, I soon learned that my intestines had been pierced near my side, and my ankle pierced through as well right above my foot.
With these three wounds, I have learned more about the Atonement of Jesus Christ than I had ever understood previously. As I thought of His pierced hands, and feet, and side, and felt the pain of my own wounds in similar spots, I finally understood a microscopic proportion of just what Christ went through to save us.
There are no words that can describe the amount of agony Christ chose to endure to save us. I do not possess the ability to describe what it feels like to have your hand stabbed through, the searing pain that follows wounds like these, or what it feels like to almost bleed to death, but because I have experienced these things I now can say to all the world: NEVER DOUBT HOW MUCH HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST LOVE YOU!!
I went through this because it just happened to me, but to think that Christ CHOSE willingly to feel everything I felt, an eternity more, and eventually die just so He could be there for us even when we sometimes choose to turn our back on Him…..I cannot help but exclaim like Pontius Pilate, “Behold, the Man!”
I testify that He suffered excruciatingly so that when you go through your own Gethsemane, you do not have to suffer. He will carry you when you cannot walk. He will take away the pain when you cannot bear it. He will bring you peace when hope seems lost. He will do this for you because this is what He has done for me.
None of this is unique to me. He does it for all of us. I just had to have a little tougher experience to finally learn it, but I hope and pray that each of you will not have to do the same. That you will use my experience instead and learn it now. Please learn and never forget JUST HOW MUCH YOUR SAVIOR LOVES YOU!!!
I know with all of my heart that I am only here today because of God’s power and I am sustained every day through your many prayers! I am touched to see all the good in the world that comes from a community of universal faith!
I just want to express my deepest and most heartfelt gratitude to every single one of you reading this story. I have read tons of posts from people who are praying for my companion, for me, and for our families. We are truly humbled and honored.
I wish I could look every single one of you in the eyes and say how GRATEFUL I am for your love and support. Your prayers enabled me through every step of this journey and I hope you each know that they have quite literally caused modern-day miracles in my healing process. THANK YOU!!
I love you all! I would not be where I am today without you, and I am honored to be your sister in the family of God.
If you would like to hear more about the miracles during this ordeal and how Christ enabled me through, I have started a Facebook/Instagram account (account info below) where I will post more details and spiritual insights throughout my recovery, until the day I return to the mission field!
The account is called “The Work of His Hands” to highlight how every miracle worked in my life came from the hands of my Savior. I hope that through this endeavor many of you may come to know as I do that Heavenly Father’s hand is working miracles in your life through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Please feel free to share this post to promote faith in Jesus Christ! However, we ask that you please also be sensitive to what is shared by word of mouth to prevent the creation of any more rumors.
I love you all! God speed! And please remember this story and never EVER forget how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you
Monday 27th of September 2021
Wo Sr Willardson!. Words can't express how much I admire your eternal persoective and articulate faith-filled testimony of the parallel of our Lord's physical suffering with your own. You are serving on your mission right now, even if not out there and may not be, with that ankle wound, teaching and testifying in a way that alerts people's interest, unfortunately. Heal well. All of my best from an old RM in NZ. PS: my x-hubby was born in Texas too xxooo.
Sunday 21st of February 2021
Sisters, After reading your story, tears began to fall from my eyes. I've read countless stories if missionaries being attacked around the world and I've found that the missionaries who were involved, like yourself, never had any malous in their hearts, which in my opinion is a true representative of Heavenly Father. I can only leave this with you...in the name of Heavenly Father's only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ, amen Elder Michael Fellman, Glendale Arizona
Friday 5th of February 2021
I want to follow your amazing recovery story please.
Saturday 26th of December 2020
I’m happy for her and her companion that their injuries were not life-threatening. Her powerful testimony about the love and protection she received from the Saviour is an inspiration for us all. I hope she not only returns to the mission field in Houston soon, but can be teamed again with her former companion who went through this ordeal with her. On another note however, I’m disappointed with all of the “Black Lives Matter” ads. I certainly agree that they do indeed matter, as “all” of our lives matter to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But let’s not forget the fact that the people who founded that movement are Marxist in nature, and their “anti-family” manifesto does not square with the “family proclamation.” After all the riots, lootings, burnings, violence, and “stabbings” done in the name of “Black Lives Matter,” should “controversial” groups like this be promoted on this website?
Thursday 12th of November 2020
How is your companion doing?