We interrupt the Hawaii series to bring you a fun story from last night. For the past three years my mom has hosted a monthly "Grandladies" dinner in her home. The target audience includes the women who no longer have kids at home in our stake, but I'm allowed to attend because it is at my mom's house. Actually, anyone is allowed to attend, and I just love it because older women are hilarious and polished and I learn more from them than I generally do women my age. They are experienced, man.
About six months ago a cute couple from Pakistan moved into our ward. He is working for the LDS Church and she was pregnant with their first baby. She had the baby a few weeks ago, and his parents flew over from Pakistan to stay for a few months and help out. The first Sunday they arrived, the mom, Nasreen, sat next to me in Relief Society. She was such a sweet and warm person! She introduced herself and asked me how many children I have, etc. And considering English isn't her primary language, she did quite well. I introduced her to my mom, who immediately invited her to Grandladies, and then set up a time where she could take them to Church HQ to meet some people.
Last night, Malcolm and Nasreen spoke to us at Grandladies and if there was a dry eye in the place I didn't see it. Malcolm was the first Pakistani member of the Church. There are 3000 members and 10 branches there now. The missionary program comes from within Pakistan, along with heavy member referral. Pakistan is 98% Muslim and 2% Christian, and they are only allowed to teach other Christians about the Gospel. There are two armed guards outside of the church every week to keep them safe. People take the bus to get there, which is very expensive. But Malcolm and Nasreen have a solid testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They bore passionate testimony of the Plan of Salvation, the restoration of the Gospel, and that President Monson is God's prophet on the earth today. It was powerful and the Spirit was overpowering. I went home feeling very blessed to live in a nation that allows freedom of religion.
I don't realize on a daily basis just how great I have it. It takes hundreds of dollars (people are very poor there) for anyone who is temple worthy to get a flight to Hong Kong or Manilla so that they can do their own temple work. It takes only $40 a month for women to go to school to become nurses, but no one can afford it. There is so much abundance in the world, and yet people have so little. I think God is hoping that we will realize that and do something about it. I feel compelled now to do my part.