The City Branch will open on February 19th. The building (comprised of office spaces) is on one of the busiest streets in the City. In our new place we'll have church on Sunday, a new Teaching Center, YSA FHE, English Class, Institute, Games Night, etc. We'll have classes in both Mandarin Chinese and English at Church, and the branch members will mostly be Chinese/Asian students. Part of the building will be a place where the YSA can study outside of school throughout the week. Our branch president served a mission in Taiwan, so he's a great help to us and the members. We're extremely excited for the upcoming events.
One day last week we came home at night to find 3 out of our 4 bikes were stolen. (Our front yard has a fence around it, but my bike was the only one locked up.) The same night our two most solid Chinese investigators who had come to church 4 times and were planning to be baptized that weekend sent us a message and said they didn't want to learn anymore. We were all so frustrated with the series of disappointments, and we felt like we didn't have much going for us. My companion and I prayed that night, asking Heavenly Father to help us make up for what had happened. We didn't know why we were experiencing so many letdowns that week, but we knew we had to humble ourselves and work harder to help those Heavenly Father had prepared for us.
The next day, we taught our new investigator, Lanhao. The first time we taught him, he didn't have a belief in God, but he was willing to learn. 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 18th, the week the City Branch will open. 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.
6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.
7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.
-Jacob 4: 6-7
I know Heavenly Father watches over His children and does what is best for them. I know He is merciful and hears our prayers. Not one day goes by that He does not feel your needs, your worries, your happiness, your desires, and your hopes for the future. Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are filled with a perfect love, a love so powerful that if we could all emulate just a spark of their feelings for us toward each other, the whole world would be full of light. Always remember who you are and where you came from. That simple understanding wipes away doubt from our decisions and uncertainty from our future. I know Jesus Christ lives, and the power of His Atonement is real. I have experienced it myself and I have seen His loving light transform others.