Tuesday, May 23, 2017

February 26, 2017

I'd like to share with you the events of the past few weeks as well as my testimony of the reality of miracles. Four weeks ago we were walking along King William St., a main street in the middle of the city. A young Chinese man walked off a bus in our direction, busy looking at his phone, but he made quick eye contact with us and gave a little head nod, as if to say hello to a friend he already knew. He kept walking quickly in the opposite direction and we didn't get a chance to stop him. We reached the street intersection and stopped to wait for the light. After waiting for a minute, I looked around and saw the same man walking back towards us. It seemed he had lost his way but realized where he was going now. I nudged my companion and said, "Hey, let's go talk to that guy." The light went green and we crossed the street with him, and only had the chance to have a 30-second conversation. We invited him to our Teaching Center down the street and asked if we could keep in contact with him. He took my planner and pen out of my hands and wrote down his phone number and his name, "Lanhao". 
A couple days later we were walking around North Adelaide with about 10 minutes before 9pm, the time we go back to the flat. Street contacting at that time of night is pretty useless, so I pulled out my planner and saw Lanhao's name. I remembered he seemed like a pretty cool guy who would be keen to meet us again so we gave him a call and set up an appointment. Lei and Chris (two of our recent converts) came along with us to our first lesson with Lanhao. We asked Lanhao why he wanted to meet with us, and he said, "I don't really know, I just thought you seemed like cool guys and I wanted to make some new friends." In my mind I immediately thought, Great, we'll see how useful this turns out to be. 
Lanhao had no belief in God to begin with, but he was willing to learn. We taught him who Heavenly Father was, who he was as a son of God, his relationship with his older brother Jesus Christ, and how he could receive answers to his prayers through the Holy Ghost. The next time we met, we asked him what he remembered from the last lesson, and he said, "Everything." He then went on to give us the clearest, simplest, most powerful explanation of how he knows he is a son of God, a child of a loving Father in Heaven who loves him so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to set an example and take away our guilt if we ask forgiveness. He shared how when we pray to Heavenly Father, He will give us an answer through the Holy Ghost, who gives us thoughts in our minds and feelings in our heart to teach us what is true. Lanhao decided to be baptized on February 19th. After the lesson was over and we had said goodbye, my companion and I immediately dropped to our knees and said a prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for sending Lanhao to us and for answering his prayers.
We continued to meet with Lanhao over the course of the next 3 weeks and taught him all the remaining lessons. Over the course of teaching him, we marveled at the incredible answers he would give us to the questions we asked--it was as if he learned things before we even taught them. I distinctly remember him saying in one of his prayers, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending me to meet my brothers Ruppe and Koch. Thank you for teaching me your commandments. I will keep them so I can follow your Son, Jesus Christ and become a better person. I know the Church is true. I am excited to do my baptism and  make the right choices so I can have eternal life and live in the Celestial Kingdom. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
Three weeks after we found him, Lanhao was baptized by another one of our recent converts, Chris. I felt the Spirit stronger at Lanhao's baptism than any baptism before--I felt incredible joy seeing Chris, a man who had gone through the same journey and was baptized and received the priesthood just one month ago, baptize one of his brothers. 
At the end of the baptismal service Lanhao shared his testimony. He shared how he had lived in Adelaide for the past 2 years and had never felt so alone--he hadn't ever been back to visit his family in China during that time. But when he found his family in the Church and learned the gospel, he finally found what a true family is. He feels excited for his future and wants to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of his life so he can receive all the blessings Heavenly Father has in store for him.

I want you to know that I have seen miracles. I have witnessed people change and grow more in three weeks than they ever have in the last 20 years of their lives because of the gospel. I have seen the light in their eyes shine brighter and brighter as they use the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is no other path to greater happiness than the one Heavenly Father has laid out for us. I know Jesus Christ loves you and me; I know He lived and died, then lived again. I know He lives now. You are more special than you think you are: don't ever forget who you are or where you came from and what Heavenly Father has in store for you. His blessings are worth more than anything else this world has to offer. Not everything here lasts forever, but eternal joy always will. 

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