A bumper sticker on Robert and Susan Soderholm's van says "Families R4ever."
Thanks to a 7-year-old boy's cool composure, help from many dozens of people and, above all, a fervent prayer, the Soderholms are grateful that their family is still together.The Soderholms, members of the Chesterfield Ward in suburban Richmond, Va., are parents of four boys, ages 3 to 11. Sister Soderholm had taken the two oldest boys to a late afternoon baseball practice at a school. The two youngest, Timothy, 7, and Patrick, 3, weere at an adjoining playground. But, suddenly, they disappeared.
After a fruitless hour-long combing of the school and its surrounding grounds, Sister Soderholm called her husband, who was at work, and the police.
As it turned out, Timothy had decided to take Patrick on a search for aluminum cans to aid older brother Robert's Boy Scout project. They walked into some nearby woods and, after a while, realized they were lost.
Meanwhile, search efforts began. Word quickly spread through the Chesterfield and surrounding wards, and before long nearly 100 Church members had gathered to assist police and rescue agencies.
Soderholm is the ward's Scoutmaster, and though Timothy was not yet even a Cub Scout, he remembered some of his father's lessons. One was to stay put when lost. The 7-year-old boy obeyed this advice, made a bed from a coat and leaves for his younger brother, occasionally called out for help and kept an alert watch through the night as temperatures dipped into the 40s.
Hours passed and several search parties went and returned without success. Finally, Soderholm went to a secluded spot and knelt in prayer with three others; Ed Marsh, a former home teacher; Paul Fairholm, the ward's elder's quorum president; and Marvin Starns, a former bishop and lieutenant in a local police department.
Fairholm prayed for the group and asked that the boys be found by the next search party, which was about to leave. This was 4:30 a.m.
Less than 30 minutes later, that next group found the two about one mile away. They were cold, but other than a little frostbite and a few minor scratches, no harm had come to them.
"It was a real testimony of the power of prayer," said Sister Soderholm, who added the boys were not afraid, because, as they reported to their Primary classes the next day, "we prayed a lot."