Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hermana (Sister) Haley Knight and Bike Mike...

The story of "Bike Mike"....

(from Haley's dad)

I have been sending Haley some "Mission Adventure" letters during the past couple of months.  This is the introduction letter I sent to her:

Dear Haley,
I hope that your day is going great!  I am so proud of you and your accomplishments in life.  I am so happy that you are on your mission and that you love where you’ve been assigned.  I hope that you love the people or learn to love them. 
I have thought up something fun, adventurous, and hopefully spiritual for you to do.  I think this “game,” if you will, could help you to see your mission in a little different light every day.  I have enclosed the 1st of 7 “magic” letters in this envelope and want you to read each one in sequence and to NOT open the next one (if I send it to you) until you’ve completed the challenge or task listed in the 1st letter, and so on.  So, please let me know when you’ve completed this letter and I’ll send the next one.  Are you up for this?  I’m just trying to add a little fun to your day.  
I thought this up from things that happened to me when I was in pretty much your same situation and in a “foreign” land.  Also, some of these thoughts come from everyone’s everyday life experiences.  I hope you’ll see some fun and inspiration in this.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.  Go and have fun…
Love always,  

The 4th of this series was the last letter where I sent to her with 5 - $10 bills.  Here's a portion of that challenge:

"Is Your Hut Burning?

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me!" he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

The weary man asked his rescuers:   "How did you know I was here?"

They replied:   "We saw your smoke signal."

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, the next time your little hut is burning to the ground -- it just may be the smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Haley, I know that you’ve already had your fair share of challenges and reasons to be discouraged on your mission.  For some reason you’ve been sent companions who don’t want to follow the mission rules, who don’t want to work hard like you do, or who are difficult to get along with.  You’ve had and will have many investigators who have accepted the baptismal challenge but it seems like forever to get them into the water.  I’m sure there's lots of other things that have happened to you that you haven’t even shared with us.  No problem.  I know how easy it is to get discouraged.

Here in letter #4 you’ll find some money.  I then want you to hold onto this money and keep it with you every day.  Here’s your challenge: to find someone or some family who is really discouraged and down on their luck.  You might already know of someone or it could be a complete stranger that you meet on the street.  I want you to distribute this money to those in need.  It can be several people.  It can be to kids.  It can be to someone who looks homeless or very hungry.  You just need to give it away.  Please say a quick prayer first though.  That’s the catch.  Pray and listen to see if this person is really having a bad day or bad week and then help them.  Just a little bit of cash for a meal or for some clothes might make their whole day (or week).  You never know and might not know.  Please just pray, then give the money away.

 “Not only by precept did Jesus teach, but also by example. . . He stretched forth his hand that others might be lifted. . . Unaltered is the divine command to succor the weak and lift up the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Each of us has the charge to be. . . a doer. . . lifter. . . There are those within the sphere of our own influence who, with outstretched hands, cry out: ‘Is there no balm in Gilead…?’ Each of us must answer” (Thomas S. Monson, “With Hand and Heart,” Ensign, Jan 1995, 2)

Here's a portion of a personal hand written letter that Haley wrote to me in response to this last challenge and it's about "BIKE MIKE."

Dear Dad,

Here's the cool story about the last $10 I had to give away.  First of all, that was a hard challenge Dad! Anyways, I had $10 left and we were driving to the church on a main road called Lone Oak- we see this man on a bike with all of his belongings in little grocery bags and they were somehow strapped all over the front and back of his bike.  Well, we passed by and and I had an impression that he was the person I needed to give the last $10 to so we drove off the road and took a back road towards where we say him- as we pull back onto Lone Oak we see him, he's resting right where we were going to stop- perfect!

I quickly grab the money and place it in a Book of Mormon.  I run out of the car towards him planning on just giving him the book and running back to my companion- but that is not what happened!  I approached him and asked if he would have interest in reading a book about Jesus Christ.  He took a look at the book and said he already had one and he like it.  Then he said something like "John Smith- right?"  I told him it was "Joseph Smith" and that we were talking about the same book alright.  He then told me he had heard his story and believed it to be true!  

He shared an experience of when he almost died about 20 years ago- he had liver failure and said he felt his spirit leave his body and he went down a long tunnel, when he had reached the end of it there was a giant fiery furnace.  (he is talking in almost a whisper now...) There was a gate with a man guarding it who told him that it wasn't his time to enter yet.  Well of course he was terrified so he fought his way back into his body.  He said he woke up in the hospital and had a sense of panic and told himself that he never ever wanted to return to that place.  Later that evening he got on his knees and prayed with all his might and after a while he said he heard a voice say "Glory to God" and it repeated itself two more times. 

He stopped in the middle of his story and asked me what I would have done and I just stared at him and he finally said "Well, wouldn't you repeat it back?"  And I replied "Well, yes I guess so!"  He then continued to say that he repeated "Glory to God" out loud and it's something he's told himself ever since.  (He is talking with a soft voice again) He says he knows that it was somehow God and so he knows that experiences like that happen to people sometimes and that he believes that what happened to Joseph Smith is true.

He was very sincere and I know that in that moment that he had a firm belief in these things.  He mentioned that people seem to think that members of the church are a bit out of touch (but that people thought strange things of him as well- like he was "koo koo" or something).  We began to have a discussion right then and there.  I shared that it's the compete opposite  because we believe in modern day revelation through a living Prophet of God, so if anyone is in touch with God and what's going on in the world- it's us in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

He looked around his home- his bike and told me he had no idea where his Book of Mormon was and hadn't seen it for a really long time.  I took my Book of Mormon and marked Enos for him to read with the $10 bill and explained that my father had given me birthday money that I did not need.  I told him that Enos had a similar experience to his and invited him to read from it.  He happily accepted both.  I shared that I had been set apart to teach others about Jesus Christ and how He has restored His true church on this Earth.  I invited him to look up other missionaries in the next town he was headed to.  His name was Mike.  Mike just wanders from town to town. He told us that he was just passing through Paducah.  He said he thought something good was going to happen in Paducah and told me that it had been our meeting and getting a Book of Mormon again.  (what a compliment!)

Dad, I know that my prayers were answered that day.  I was able to be inspired to meet and talk with "Bike Mike" :-)  I know that it really was the hand of the Lord and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost guiding me.

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