Brief miracle we had the other day in Oaklands Park:
We received a referral from the mission office earlier this week named Xu, who the missionaries in the city had contacted on the street. We biked down in the freezing cold (it still feels like winter down here) at night to go follow up with the referral. We knocked on the door, and a chinese man in his 30s answered after the fourth knock. He looked confused as to what we were doing on his doorstep at nighttime, but we introduced ourselves and began getting to know him. His name wasn't Xu, and no one by that name lived there, but his name was Peng. He told us he had recently come over from China and was living with his wife and a couple students. I asked if he made tasty noodles and rice, and he said he did indeed. Then he invited us in.
We walked in to Peng's home and sat down, and then he brought out some Chinese dumplings. Peng lived up to his word--they were delicious. Peng had left China because of the government and other difficult circumstances in his country. He told us that he wanted to believe in God, but he did not know how. Peng shared how many people in China either did not believe in God, or they simply viewed God as a repairman, only seeking His help when they desperately needed it. Peng knew that neither of these beliefs were right, and he wanted to find the truth.
We taught Peng how to pray, sharing how our Heavenly Father wants to hear from each one of us because we are His children. We explained how we should show gratitude and appreciation for all Heavenly Father gives us, and we can ask Him for help as long as we trust that His outcome, no matter what it is, is the best one for us. Peng was very eager to learn throughout the lesson and he has a hilarious sense of humour--he could be a character in Kung Fu Panda. At the end of the lesson, we invited Peng to pray. He said a very simple prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for "these three leaders who have come to show me the way" and asking Heavenly Father to "help me and my family to be happy". After the prayer, Peng said with a smile, "Yes, I feel better now. It's true."
We left that night feeling amazing--the Spirit was so strong during that lesson as we taught and when Peng offered his sincere prayer.
The gospel is simple. 1) Faith in Jesus Christ, 2) Repentance, 3) Baptism, 4) Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and 5) Enduring to the End. We each have challenges in this life that we cannot overcome on our own, questions we cannot answer with our own understanding, and goals we cannot achieve without divine empowerment. I have come to realise that no matter who we are or what circumstances we may be in, Heavenly Father's plan is the same for all of us. There are no exceptions; no one is excluded. Eternal happiness is not a reward that comes without sacrifices, just the same as anything worth working for. But with the gospel we understand that every sacrifice we make and every challenge we endure will be for our eternal gain, and that is a goal worth working for.