Sunday, November 18, 2012

Almost hit my nose in the face...Happy Thanksgiving!

Visiting Brother Hua in the hospital
Dear everybody!
Stuffing, potatoes, and turkey, OH MY!  It's Thanksgiving time!  The holiday season has begun so you better start to bundle on up cause "baby it's cold outside."  This week was amazing, a bit chilly for me, but all in all, all is well.  I'm glad to hear that things have "chilled" down a bit with you all and it was so good to hear from you.  I hope you are all doing well, if not, then I hope things start going will for you here in the next little while.  As I think I said a few weeks ago there is a lot to be thankful for at this time of year, and hopefully I can share a few things today.  
This week started out super good by going to Lotus Pond up in downtown GaoXiong to do some looking around and then to go visit Brother Hua in the hospital.  It was so good to see his face again and just talk and catch up with him.  He already had a date scheduled to get surgery to get his knee replaced and he also found out he had an irregular heartbeat, so I'm not sure what they do with that.  Other than that he is doing great and I'm glad I had the chance to see him again.  
We have been blessed to be working with Brother Chen, these past few weeks and in just a short time we have seen a "new creature" within him.  He has a huge desire to change himself and come unto Christ.  We have taught all he needs to be prepared for his interview, except law of tithing and fasting, and he is willing to live and accept it all.  He has realized he has weaknesses and that he isn't perfect, but he is trying his best.  This week he shared with us a story which truly reflected his desire to change and become better.  He had gone a few days without smoking and was doing really well, until finally he just had this strong urge to smoke.  He fell in, relapsed, and just felt super bad awful afterwards.  He couldn't take it anymore and finally went over to his member friend's home and said he needed help.  His member friend talked about priesthood blessings and then offered one to him.  There is already a strong relationship between those two which I think has made all the difference in Brother Chen's progress.  If all goes well this next week he will be good for an interview and then his baptism next week.  We're really excited for him!  He has truly progressed so much in such a short amount of time.  
I love the scripture Ether 12:27, "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me;  for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will i make weak things become strong unto them."  Weaknesses, everybody has them.  We are promised that if we humble ourselves, have faith in Christ, our weaknesses will become our strengths.  I truly love this principle and know that it is true.  I have seen it applied in my own life, and especially in the life of Brother Chen.  
There is so much to be grateful for at this time of season.  Reflecting back on this past year and a half as a missionary, I have learned so much as a representative of Jesus Christ and as a fellow student of the gospel that I am grateful for.  I'm grateful for my wonderful family and the examples they are to me, especially my mom and dad.  I truly have been "born of goodly parents" and I'm grateful for the love they have expressed towards me throughout my life.  I'm grateful for my siblings and for the support and love they show to me.  In addition, I'm grateful for my loving Father in Heaven who has provided a wonderful plan for me in this life.  I'm grateful for His Son, Jesus Christ, and for the sacrifice He made for me.  I'm grateful that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be forgiven, making it possible to return to live with my Heavenly Father again.  I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the peace, joy, and freedom it has given me in my life.  I'm grateful for the scriptures.  They truly have guided me down a happy road and helped me find true peace and happiness in this life.  I'm grateful for each and everyone of you and for the impact you have had on my life.  I love you all! Enjoy this holiday season for me!  
With Tons of Love,
Elder Nick Smith