Sunday, May 07, 2006

Elena's Fireside Talk

Copyright © 2006 Barry G. Moses.

My family attended a fireside talk this evening at the Brentwood Ward to hear Elena speak about her conversion to the LDS Church. She's an exchange student from Beijing, China and has been living this last year with my brother-in-law's family. During that time, she became acquainted with the LDS Church and received baptism.

Tonight she spoke powerfully about her conversion and the implications of returning to China with a new religion. She said, "No one in China knows Jesus." Many people hold serious misconceptions about Christianity in general and Mormonism in particular. She was taught to regard Mormons with suspicion, but when she arrived, she attended worship services at an LDS ward in Spokane and said the church seemed to her "like a big family." She was deeply moved by her experience and began to study this new faith in depth.

She joined the LDS Church with great enthusiasm and shared her new-found beliefs freely; however, not everyone received her testimony gracefully. Some of her classmates at University High School told her she was joining a cult and she would go to hell for not accepting their version of Christianity.

In spite of opposition, she spoke about simple Christ-centered lessons, such as kindness and love. For example, she said, "People make wrong choices in life because they have no hope. That is why Jesus Christ came; to give people hope. Let us bring hope to them."

Perhaps without realizing, she also gave one of the greatest keys to peace and understanding in the world: "When we look without prejudice, we can see the spirit in others."

In the midst of spiritual discovery, she also commented regarding the political situation in China. She said, "We are not prepared for democracy in China, the same as Iraq." She is aware of religious restriction in China, but seems optimistic for her return.

At the end, she played "I am a child of God" on the Chinese fiddle, as well as a traditional Chinese piece about horses. I closed my eyes as I listened, and I could almost see wild horses running on the plains of Mongolia. It was enchanting. Elena is a talented, eloquent, enthusiastic, and wonderful human being. I feel fortunate to know her.

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