Smart family celebrates return of missing girl

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    By Casi Herbst

    Miracles still exist. Elizabeth Smart is reunited with her family as tears of sorrow turn to tears of joy.

    “With the darkness that surrounds us, in these times of the possibility of war that could be coming upon us, a miracle has been brought to us,” said David Smart, Elizabeth Smart”s uncle. “An incredible miracle has been brought to our family. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the prayers around the world. Do miracles still exist? The answer is yes and we have Elizabeth back.”

    The Elizabeth Smart story is one laced with faith, hope, heroes and gratitude.

    “It”s important to never give up. You never know until you are proven otherwise. Don”t give up,” said Tom Smart, Elizabeth”s uncle.

    Tom Smart said he had conversations with Elizabeth”s father about the girl. They both believed she was still alive.

    “I want to thank Ed Smart and Lois Smart in particular for their courage for coming out day after day, week after week, never giving up,” said Salt Lake City”s Mayor Rocky Anderson.

    “It has been a very spiritual experience and prayers are answered,” said Cynthia Smart-Owens, Elizabeth”s aunt. “God answers prayers. It”s a miracle; it”s nothing less than a miracle.”

    Mary Katherine, Elizabeth”s 9-year-old sister, was able to remember Brian David Mitchell, now going by the name of Emmanuel. Mary Katherine was the only witness and had told her parents Emmanuel was the person who kidnapped her sister. Her uncle, David Smart, deems her a hero.

    “If you want to talk about heroes in this story, Mary Katherine is our hero,” David Smart said. “Mary Katherine was steadfast in what she knew and what she didn”t know. And when she did remember she came forward and had the courage to go forward to her parents and tell them that it might be Emmanuel. For a 9-year-old girl to go through the trauma that she has gone through and held fast. That is extraordinary.”

    “She had known all along that there was something familiar about this person,” Cynthia Owens said “It”s just remarkable as unfamiliar as he was to her, that she could put it together. I think that is a miracle.”

    Gratitude poured from the family”s lips as they thanked the community, the media, and most of all, their God.

    “Thank God. Thank God,” said Tom Smart, Elizabeth”s Uncle.

    “Thank the Lord God almighty,” Cynthia Smart said.

    The family was trying to look for the good in people. They have no bitterness about this tragic experience.

    “It makes us more cautious, but we can have nothing except gratitude to have her back, it is such a miracle,” Cynthia Smart said. Cynthia also related what she thought would give Elizabeth normality throughout her life.

    “Through the atonement of Christ, frankly, and faith in that he has overcome all,” said Cynthia Smart. “I think having faith in that will be what will carry her through life – and lots of love.”

    The family wants to use their experience to help others. They urged congressmen to vote for the Amber alert system.

    “From the beginning of this ordeal we have been through. We have felt very strongly that this was not about wealth, race, it was about a missing little girl. There are missing children throughout America that have been benefited because of the awareness of this. We pray for those families. We knelt as a family in prayer in gratefulness praying for them and we pray for you,” Tom Smart said.

    Tears of joy streamed from the faces of family members as they were once again reunited.

    “What a wonderful reunion for them to just hug. He (Elizabeth”s brother) would hug her and look at her, and hug her and look at her. And couldn”t believe that is sister was home,” said Missy Larsen, a Smart family spokeswoman.

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