Touring choir members share spiritual vignettes
Mike Foley | University Advancement | 14 May 2007
XI'AN, Shaanxi, China — "I've never been on a tour where I've felt so much love," said Napua Baker, BYU-Hawaii Vice President of University Advancement, as she asked several members of the BYU-Hawaii Concert Choir touring China and Mongolia from May 7-29, 2007, to briefly share examples of "charity or pure love" they have experienced while on the road during a morning devotional service. One of them is rather amazing:
Buying an umbrella
Janette Manzano, a senior TESOL education major from the Philippines, told how a little boy tried to sell her an umbrella as she was preparing to leave the Grand Bazaar in Urumqi, Xinjiang province.
"I suddenly thought that, even though I didn't need the umbrella, I felt a great love for this kid, so I bought it. As I gave him the money, he was so happy. To see that smile on his face made me realize that this is love I felt for him. I hope every one of you will share charity — the pure love of Christ — with all the kids that we will meet at the orphanage later today. It's not the amount of gifts that we will give them, but how and if we give it in love."
Long-distance mission call
Six weeks ago Keli'i Wesley, a freshman from Laie, turned in his Latter-day Saint missionary application, and his parents emailed him May 13 in China that "the envelope" had arrived in the mail back home.
Wesley invited about 20 of his fellow choir members into his hotel room this morning to listen in on speakerphone as his mother read the "call": "Dear Elder Wesley, you are hereby called to serve in the California Arcadia Mission" . . . and the room erupted in cheering, while Wesley's eyes began to tear. It took a few more moments to realize that she that added it was a Spanish-speaking mission, and there were more cheers and tears.
"I report to the Provo MTC on August 1st, and I just wanted to thank all you guys for the great support you've been to me in helping me prepare for my mission," he said, getting emotional again. The choir's been such a strong part of my life, and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. I wanted to say I love you guys, and I'm so excited to share the gospel."
Looking for one in 1.3 billion
When the grandparents of Melody Meyer, a BYUH freshman from Utah, heard she was going to China, they asked her to look for a young Chinese woman they had worked with as missionaries in Germany a few years ago, and helped get baptized before she returned home; but they didn't know where she lived in this country of 1.3 billion population.
"They loved her so much, and basically took her in as their daughter," Meyer said, "but she went back to China and they lost contact with her. When they found out I was coming to China, they were so excited, and they wanted me to find her."
"Last night [at the alumni musical social] I started talking to this lady. I asked her how she had heard about the Church and become a member, and she told me when she was in Germany some people taught her."
"I told her my grandparents served in Germany. Do you know Elder and Sister Meyer? And when I said the name, her eyes just lit up [see top-left photo] and she gave me a big hug. It was her. I found her. Out of a billion people she was here."
"I couldn't believe it," Meyer continued. "She had so much love for my grandparents. She said she had lost contact with them and wanted so much to be able to talk to them and thank them for baptizing her."
"When I called my grandparents and told them, they were so excited. To me, this proves that God is involved in each of our lives and He will never forget us."
—Upper left photo by Monique Saenz; portrait photos by Mike Foley