Sunday, January 20, 2013

The greatest tragedy is to suddenly realize an opportunity to grow (share) has been lost.

Hey! How's it going? How'd this week go for you all? Enjoying the cold? I hear it has been a bit colder this past week back at home. Well, it was cold here for us in PuLi as well. Even though we are in a warmer climate, the area I am in is enclosed by mountains and it brings is a humid cold, which is pretty cold. All seems to be alright for you all other than the cold, and same goes for us here in PuLi. All is going good, and can't complain about anything. Monday, was a super busy day for us. As I mentioned a few weeks ago my bike got stolen, and so my companion and I spent some time taking bits and pieces for old missionary bikes and bringing them all together. Finally decided to get rid of the girl bike I was riding. Later on in the day we went tracting and ran into a super nice man, Mr. Chen, who was willing to let us into his house. We were able to share about the blessings of the gospel and how it will bless him and his family. It's always sad to see individuals hear so much good that the gospel will bring to their families, but then not want it. Oh well, right now just isn't his time. Tuesday we held Zone Conference where we focused on Baptizing, Rescuing, and Retaining. So much was learned and I was given more drive to bring those "lost" back into the fold. I felt a bit like dad that day as well. I always hear stories how dad has been asked to play the piano and organ for meetings with very little notice beforehand. Without a lot of notice, I was invited to accompany for the musical number and then play the songs during the meeting. It's been a long while since I've played the piano and I'm so glad I had enough practice before my mission and was able to "wing it" just fine. So again, thanks mom and dad. Upon returning home we were able lift and brighten another man's day. We went tracting and ran into a Mr. Xu. He has had a lot of struggles physically lately, and he mentioned he was comforted as we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" and shared about Heavenly Father. It felt great to be reassured to know that God is our Heavenly Father and that He has prepared a plan so that we may be together with our families for eternity. Wednesday we went and visited with a less active previous branch president, Brother Zhuang. He has been welcoming these past two times as we've visited him at the caretaker home. Just like dad shared in his letter to me last week, we need to help them shovel the snow covering their pathway towards the chapel. We were able to strengthen his faith and he committed to come to church with us. Yeah! Saturday we visited with a former investigator, Mr. Yang. Upon walking up to his doorstep we were greeted with open arms and led into his home. Those first few moments made me super confused about what was going on. Mr. Yang is a kind, lonely man, who loves missionaries. All he could talk about was about previous missionaries, how they all lived in Salt Lake City, and how he wants to be like us missionaries. We're not sure how much interest he has in learning the gospel, but was more than willing to begin praying and reading from the Book of Mormon that has sat on top of his TV for several years. As I said he is super lonely, but seeing him learn about God and prayer and the smile it brought to him just made that moment that much more special, making his day. In my last package, mom sent me several envelopes with little quotes for each day to ponder. As I began writing in my new journal I decided I would expound on each one each day. The first one I came upon said, "The greatest tragedy is to suddenly realize an opportunity to grow has been lost." I really like this one and I decided to switch the word "grow" with the word "share." We all have the opportunity to share the gospel with those without. Even though the individuals I was able to visit with haven't fully accepted the gospel of Christ, I was glad that I was able to help them work towards doing so. I'm grateful for each opportunity to share the message of eternal families and glad that it won't end after two years. I'm grateful for the testimony I have gained and for the comfort this testimony brings to my soul, and I hope each day that I can help someone else be comforted by the restored gospel of Christ. I hope that each of you can too! With Tons of Love, Elder Nick Smith 司馬長老