In 1884 Melvin J. Ballard was ordained to the priesthood. How did he spend a part of each Christmas Day after his ordination?
a. Giving blessings
b. Home teaching
c. Collecting Fast Offerings
d. Taking gifts to those in need
A His ship caught fire
From the life of Ira T. Williams: Brother Williams relates the following experience: Together with another Elder, I sailed from New York Dec. 13, 1891, on board the steamship “Abyssiniiia,” to fill a mission to England. On the morning of the 18th, about one o’ clock, the alarm of fire was sounded, as the steamer was found to be on fire. I shall never forget the scene. People were wild with excitement, and reason and judgment seemed to have fled from everyone. All on board had apparently lost hope, and my companion Elder remarked that we were lost. But I remembered my Patriarchal blessing given a few days prior to my departure, which said that I should go in peace and return in safety; and I felt confident that we would be saved. Just at the moment when the outlook was most dark and gloomy, at least two thirds of the ship being enveloped in flames, and no relief at hand, the good ship “Spree” hove in sight. We hailed her and after several hours of hard work our entire company, passenger and crew, were rescued from the burning ship and quartered safely on board the “Spree”. In due course of time we landed safely at Southampton, England, Dec. 23, 1891. I look upon this as an actual fulfillment of the promise given me in my Patriarchal blessing.”
Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1914), 106-107.