BYU student Lauren Willardson, 19, had been serving her mission in Houston, Texas for about two months when a man entered her and her companion’s home in the middle of the night and started stabbing them.
“We fought and struggled for our lives for about 15 minutes,” Willardson said. “And after that we just begged and pleaded with him to leave and he left.”
She and her companion were sent home after spending about a week after the incident in the hospital in Houston. It was devastating for Willardson to have to go home; she loved her mission and wanted to continue serving.
Willardson felt that she had so many insights that she felt like she needed to share with more people because of this experience, so she made social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram called “The Work of His Hands.”
“I didn’t want to be selfish with the blessings that I’ve had because of this experience. I wanted to use it to share with other people,” Willardson said.
“The Work of His Hands” is intended to highlight how every single miracle in her life since the incident came from the hands of God. “It’s the healing hands of Jesus Christ that I’ve seen in my life that have enabled me to be who I am and have this opportunity to share and to even be alive today,” Willardson said.
Despite the challenges brought about by her traumatizing experience, Willardson is planning to return to the mission field as soon as she can. “I’m not going to let some guy that acted badly with his agency decide when I’m done,” Willardson said.
She’s not sure if she will be assigned to a different mission or go back to Houston, but she doesn’t care either way; she just wants to finish her service wherever God wants her to go.
“There’s unfinished business and let’s go get it done,” Willardson said. Her doctors cleared her a few weeks ago to resume missionary service, so she is hoping to go back as soon as possible.
Even with the traumatic experience she faced, she still believes there is no safer place for her than to be serving God. “When I’m serving Him I know I’m entitled to His help, and He protected me once and so I know that He’ll protect me again,” Willardson said.
“I just want everyone to know that with what I’ve been through; it may seem that it would never be able to be overcome,” Willardson said. “But I hope everyone knows that it’s possible to overcome anything with the power of Jesus Christ. I have seen that work in a very tangible way in my life. I’ve seen him remove memories, remove pain, help me return to a state of normalcy that I had before this happened, and I know that’s not unique just to me.”
After finishing her missionary service, Willardson plans to return to BYU to finish her education studying public relations.