It’s been hard with all the traveling I’ve been doing on weekends to try to get caught up with General Conference. And every time I have time to watch some of it, the internet won’t cooperate-- it’s really annoying. But my favorite talk so far has been Elder L. Whitney Clayton’s talk during the Saturday morning conference. It’s beautiful. I think I loved it so much because the promises that he talk about in this talk are things that have suddenly become part of my life living in China. It’s been very different living in a country that doesn’t have the church. It takes a lot of work and a lot of travel to be able to go to a branch here and the branches are only for foreigners. I’ve thought a lot about what it’s like to live somewhere where there are rules against attending churches and there’s barriers against beliefs. I know that China will open up one day, even if it seems impossible right now. There are thousands of good people here who are ready. I think this talk was so powerful to me because I listened to it while sitting in a country that isn’t open to the gospel yet—there are thousands of miles of country with millions of people who are barred from having the fulness of the gospel right now. People who can’t get married in the temple or have the blessings of the priesthood in their home yet. To think that one day EVERY “nation, kindred, and tongue” will have these blessings in their lives is an incredible promise. I love that President Whitney says “Every year the Church spreads farther and farther across the globe. . . This work of the Lord is indeed great and marvelous, but it moves forward essentially unnoticed by many of mankind’s political, cultural, and academic leaders. It progresses one heart and one family at a time, silently and unobtrusively, its sacred message blessing people everywhere.”
Someone told me once that they didn’t think that the church was ready yet for China to open up. Our entire missionary force would be swallowed up in China alone and it probably wouldn’t even cover the whole country. I believe there’s some truth to that. There is a field ready to harvest in China. The church will spread like wildfire here. The Chinese people have taken care of me the entire time I’ve been here, everywhere I go. They stop to point directions and write addresses for me in Chinese characters, they ask me why I’m here and how I like China. Our tour guide of for the Great Wall told us, “You picked the right country” when we were telling her about why we are here. They are kind and respectful and loyal. Two girls on a train to Nanjing tried to give Dayna and me bracelets they had just bought from their weekend trip. One couple in Suzhou stopped us when we were walking down the street just to see if we needed help finding somewhere to eat. One boy ignored the bus he needed to get on so that we could use his cell phone to get directions. There are good, good people here.
I loved how President Clayton ended the talk, “I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior, and with you, I stand in awe as this work moves forward miraculously, marvelously, and irresistibly. Indeed, “the time [has] come when the knowledge of a Savior … spread[s] throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” I bear testimony of Him, the Savior of all mankind, and of this work.”
I hope I will have the chance to see China open up in my lifetime. It seems impossible now but I will “stand in awe” like President Clayton if I get to see the blessings of the gospel come to the people of China.
President Gordon B. Hinckley observed:
“It was said that at one time the sun never set on the British Empire. That empire has now been diminished. But it is true that the sun never sets on this work of the Lord as it is touching the lives of people across the earth.
“And this is only the beginning. We have scarcely scratched the surface. … Our work knows no boundaries. … Those nations now closed to us will someday be open.”