April 5, 2020

An Answered Prayer

This afternoon we watched the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was at the end of the broadcast that President Russell M. Nelson announced the locations of 8 new temples. I sat silently praying that he would say, "Eugene, Oregon, USA" but what he said was even better. He announced that a temple is going to be built in "Shanghai, China." I instantly started to cry. A temple is going to be built in mainland China, I can't even believe it. This is something I have prayed for for a long time, that the good people of China would have the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Flash back to January/February of 2006. I knew that I wanted to go to college but I didn't know how to even begin to apply for school. Things were really challenging for our family at this time and I didn't want to bother my parents. So I didn't ask for help and I didn't apply for college.

One Sunday, a sister in our ward name Ann was sitting on the stand at church. She played the organ for our services each week. On this particular Sunday God prompted her to ask me if I had applied to college. She didn't feel like it was her place to ask me that, but the feeling wouldn't go away. So, Ann acted on the prompting and asked me if I had applied to college. She was surprised when I told her that I hadn't. She had me come over to her home that evening and we began the process as the application deadlines were quickly approaching.

Ann asked me where I wanted to go to school and I told her, "BYU-Idaho." She asked where else I wanted to go to school and I said, "BYU-Idaho." She said, "I know you want to go to BYU-Idaho but you need to apply to BYU. That doesn't mean you have to go there, but you need to apply." So I applied to two colleges, BYU and BYU-Idaho.

A few weeks later I received a letter from BYU and I had been accepted. Some time passed and I heard back from BYU-Idaho and I had also been accepted there. Now I had a decision to make. Most of my really good friends had been accepted to BYU-Idaho and not BYU. I had family in Rexburg and had spent time there, it was naturally where I wanted to go. I knew one other person who had been accepted to BYU. I didn't have any family in Utah and had only briefly visited Utah a few times growing up. BYU-Idaho is where my heart and mind were set to go. God has other plans for me He told me strongly and very clearly that I needed to be in Provo at BYU.

In the weeks leading up to moving to Utah, I bawled (ugly cried) nearly every night. I did not want to step outside of my comfort zone and do something that I thought of as scary.

My step mom and I road tripped to Spokane. We met up with my cousin Brittany and then we drove to Dillon, Montana. We had a great time on our drive. When we arrived in Dillon it was late and the only place open to eat was the saloon. One side served food and other side was the bar. That night we ate in the saloon-- I felt a little bit like a rebel but we had to eat.

The next day we stopped in the small town of Dell, Montana. We had a blast looking for little gifts to send to a special boy back home. Then we continued on our way down to Rexburg. We dropped Brittany off in Rexburg, Idaho and then continued our drive down to Provo, Utah.

We found my apartment, nobody else was home at the time and a few beds had been claimed. I picked out a bed and we unpacked my things. That evening one of my new roommates came in and she informed me that she would not be sharing a room with me and that I needed to move all of my things. She was really mean and I cried. This was not at all how I anticipated my first night in a new place going. I moved to another apartment in the complex the next day.

My new apartment had only two other girls. Within a few weeks two other girls moved in, they too had had some roommate struggles.

Christmas came and one of our roommates put her contract up for sale-- she was getting married. I flew home for the holidays. Upon arriving back in Utah one of my roommates informed me that the contract had been sold and we had a new roommate.

When I arrived at our apartment I was greeted by the cutest little Chinese girl and her mother. This girl's American name was Nancy. She told us that she got to pick out her own American name. Her English wasn't very good when we first met at the beginning of January but improved very quickly.

This is Nancy's story as it was shared with me back in 2006.

Nancy had moved from mainland China to the United States with her mother. Her father and grandfather were still in China. Her and her mom had lived in Texas and most recently California. Nancy was not mixing with the American kids as her mother had hoped. Nancy only spent time with other kids who spoke Mandarin. Some other Chinese women told Nancy's mom that if she wanted to learn English that she needed to take her to Utah.

Nancy and her mom drove to Utah. Her mother told her she had one day to find and apartment and then left her and went back to California. As luck would have it, Nancy became my roommate. It was a humbling experience to live with Nancy and something I will never forget.

I remember seeing Nancy washing her laundry in our bathroom sink. We quickly taught her what a washer and dryer were. One evening I told her I was going to make cookies. She was shocked. She said, "You know how to make cookies?!?" I replied, "Yeah." She told me that in China you could only buy cookies in the store. I showed her how to make cookies. She took pictures and called home to China to tell her family that I made cookies.

On another occasion Nancy cooked Chinese food for me and Breann (another roommate). She made us chicken heart (a delicacy in China) and chicken gizzards.

One night all of us girls went to eat a Chiles. While we were eating Nancy asked me why I went to BYU. My answer was "It's owned by the church I go to." I asked her if she wanted to go to church with me on Sunday and she said yes.

It was a cold winter day and my roommates and I all put on our dresses. Nancy opted for pants. We told her she should wear a dress and she thought we were crazy. It wasn't until we were at church and all the other women were wearing dresses that she realized that's what we wear to church.

Nancy's first time to church.

I asked her if she wanted to meet with the missionaries and she said no. Later I found out she had been meeting with a set of elders and I began going to the lessons with her.

Nancy told the elders that she did not want them to challenge her to baptism. At some point in time Nancy had met a pastor in Price, Utah. He had helped her and her mother. This pastor was not fond of the Church and asked Nancy to promise him that she would never join it. Nancy made that promise. In China promises are a very big deal and you don't break them. Nancy shared this story with the elders and a few discussions later they challenged her to baptism-- she was not pleased. Nancy asked to elders to stop coming.

During this time Nancy kept coming to church. My roommates and I bought her scriptures in both Mandarin and English (she was taking English classes at the English Language Center in Provo). We watched all of the church movies we could find with Mandarin subtitles and watched them with her. We often stayed up until the wee hours of the morning answering her questions and having gospel discussions. One of my favorite nights was explaining to her who Jesus Christ is.

We took her to Salt Lake to watch General Conference in the Conference Center. We took her to see the Joseph Smith movie that we being shown on Temple Square. As we walked out of that theater she told us that she knew it was true and she "wanted to be baptized more than ever."


We got permission to have some other elders teach her. Nancy was baptized the day before all of us roommates moved away for the summer. Her mom came to her baptism. I was so incredibly happy for her.

Nancy's mom later moved to Alaska. Her mother began taking discussions from the missionaries. Nancy would Skype with them and translate for her mom. Her mom was later baptized.

Nancy attempted to mail three Book of Mormons to China. One made it's way to her grandfather. Her grandfather was a scholar. He had a Bible and he had read it. When he read The Book of Mormon he said he knew it was true and he desired to be baptized. I don't believe he had the opportunity to be baptized in this life.

Nancy was later sealed in the temple to her husband Brendon. And they now have three boys and one daughter.

I can't tell you how much love I have in my heart not only for Nancy and her family but the people of China.

My Dad travels often for work. Just over a year ago he spent some time in Shanghai. While there he was able to attend a branch. Those who attend the branch have to have a foreign passport to get in. He met a man at the branch who has visited the branch several times, also while on business trips. He told my Dad that President Nelson had been in Shanghai quite a bit and that he had visited that very branch many times.

When I first heard this story my heart shouted for joy. I knew something was coming and I anticipated the doors to China being open for missionary work. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a temple would be there.

As I have said before, God is aware of us. He knows each and everyone of us. We are his sons and daughters. He loves us and he knows what we are going through. This announcement is a testament to that. God loves the good people of China and he is preparing the way through his prophet for them to hear the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

"The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done" (History of the Church, 4:540).

I text Nancy this evening. She is in shock and so thrilled by this wonderful news. What a blessing!