Monday, November 9, 2009

Grapefruit and Beetle Nut

I have a new companion. He just moved into the office to take Elder Li’s place. His name is Elder Chou. Great guy! His whole family has been member since before he was born. Most of my native companions were not that lucky. Some of their parents were opposed to them coming on missions. I don’t know why though, making a 19 year old kid, spend 24 hours a day thinking about others is so good for them. Now that I am 20 I am not like those 19 year olds hahaha…
I heard a weird noise outside of our house 2 nights ago so I ran out to look and see what was going on. Since we live above the office we are always on alert to make sure no one breaks in and steals all our computers and passports. Anyways, I went outside to inspect what was going on and there was this poor old man with his head against our gate making a whimpering noise. It was late at night, and we often have drunks that walk by and make weird noises, but I could tell that this old man was different. I went and got my companion and we went down to talk to him to see what was wrong. I asked him, “Hey mister? Are you okay?” He was a little startled at first but once he saw that we were missionaries, I don’t think he was scared. He humbly asked if we had anything to eat. I thought about it for a second that we had some fruits that someone had given us the day before. We gave him 3 of these giant grapefruit like fruits and he was so excited. He kept thanking us and thanking us. I wanted to go get more, but we can’t leave that late at night to go buy more. People ask us for “food” all the time, but what they really want is money. Of course if someone needs food we are more than willing to buy some for them, but as missionaries we have a rule that we can’t give out money. Anyways, I thought about it for a second, said a little prayer asking Heavenly Father for us to find a way to help him more. After thinking for a moment I realized that there was an entire box of food I had for prepared for the next couple Sundays (since we can’t go buy food on Sunday). We ran back upstairs, grabbed the box of food and took it downstairs to give it to this man. Since the box wouldn’t fit through the slits of the gate we had to hand it to him piece by piece until he got it all on the other side. He began to quiver with excitement and even though it was dark he looked at us with a face that radiate with a sense of gratitude. Once again he thanked us and began to gather his new treasure together. My companion and I went back upstairs. My companion went back to bed immediately, but I couldn’t sleep. I stood up against the window and watched this old man as he inspected every package of crackers and noodles as if he was inspecting a diamond. I felt guilty for how ungrateful I am. I few tears fell as I pondered the poor journey that this old man still had ahead of him. As I sat there for the next hour or so, I reflected on the sacrifice that the Savior made as he suffered in the Garden of Gesthamene so that He may understand every pain and temptation that each of us will feel during our life here on this earth. As I continued to ponder, the words of a hymn came to mind,
A poor wayfaring Man of grief,
Hath often crossed me on my way,
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer nay.
I had not power to ask his name,
Whereto he went, or whence he came;
Yet there was something in his eye
That won my love; I knew not why.
He that can lift should lift. All of us are in a position that we may lift. “Lift up the hands that hang down… strengthen feeble knees.” As we find opportunities to serve those around us we will feel the love of our Heavenly Father. We will find more peace in our lives and we will become closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “Faith without works is dead.” You can read and pray all you want, but until you go do something about it, it doesn’t do any good. The knowledge of the Gospel is not enough, living the Gospel and applying it is the only way that we may find true happiness and peace in this life. Anything else that we think brings us happiness, is most likely only temporary.
I hope I didn’t rattle on too long there. I just wanted to share this special experience with you.
On a much lighter note, I thought I would tell you about my good friend Huang. He is a great guy who does all the shipping for our office. We do a lot of shipping, we ship Books and Bikes and Luggage and all sorts of stuff, hundreds of packages every month. I work a lot with this man. Well Mr. Huang is a very nice guy, he is what we might consider a Taiwanese Redneck. He comes into our office and smells so strongly of beetle nut (the stuff that is like tobacco) that it makes it hard for me to breath when I am around him. When I am working with him I often have to take a couple steps back and breathe and then start again. This Mr. Huang is such a nice man, I wish we could just get him to quit all his bad habits. He loves us so we are always encouraging him to quit smoking and chewing. He is very respectful to us and I think he loves the feeling he gets when he is in our office. I am sure all his friends are like him, so when he come an office that is filled with well-dressed clean cut people, you would think he would feel out of place. But it is the opposite, we treat him like he should be treated and he completely changes. He works everyday but we are trying to get him to come to church. We often run into him outside, and he will wave us over and talk with us for a little while.
I have another friend here that is a lot like Mr. Huang. He is always hanging out with his drunk friends, he has got tattoos over his whole body and is usually chewing beetle nut. 2 nights ago, we were in his neighborhood so when I drove by his house I waved and he got so excited he chased after us. I stopped and started talking with him. Since buildings here are all 5 or 6 stories usually the bottom floors are businesses and then the top floors is where the owners live. So here we were on this busy street. My friend is not wearing a shirt, he’s teeth are red from the beetle nut and he is smoking at the same time. I shared a little bit with him, asked how his prayers were going, and then I noticed that about half the street was just staring at the 2 of us in amazement. Hahahaha… I guess it would be a pretty funny site to see. Me standing next to this half naked man, with his drunk friends in the background hooting and hollering. I like this guy though, he is young, he has already come to church once and he loved it. We have just got to get him out of where he is living and working!
Well, love you all.

Elder Anderson

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