Elysha's World

Elysha's World

Saturday, April 12, 2014

郭弟兄 - Guo DiXiong - Brother Guo

 I got some sad information while I was at work today. I found out a man that I taught and baptized on my LDS mission passed away from cancer. He changed my life. Seeing him change from the man he was without the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the man he became after strengthened my testimony, and changed my life. 

It’s kind of funny how we met him. Every missionary apartment has a book called an Area book. This book contains the names and numbers of people that missionaries have previously met with, and a little information about how far into the learning the gospel they got. I love this book. A lot of missionaries ignore this book and go find people on their own. This was not true about me, I LOVE area books. When I’d get to a new area I’d clean them all up and call every single person in the books, to see if they wanted to meet with us.
I had just been moved to a new area to “White Wash” it. This means that the previous missionaries are taken out of the area, and two new missionaries are put in. This area was called San Chong. They had 5 area books full of former investigators, and no real organization to them. When we got there, the previous elders who had lived there didn’t have any investigators at all, so we had to start finding people.  We’d go out and talk to every person we could find, and then for about an hour or two every day we’d make phone calls. I’d be on a pay phone outside, and my companion would be using the cell phone. My Chinese wasn’t very good, but if someone said they wanted to meet with us, I’d hand my phone to my companion, and she’d talk to them. 

One day I called a man named 郭弟 or Brother Guo. He was contacted by an elder in my mission in February 2011 at a park, but was leaving town, and asked the missionaries to call him in a few weeks. I moved into the area in June of 2011 and felt it was probably time to give this guy a call. When I got on the phone I couldn’t understand anything he said, so I handed the phone to my companion Sister Wang. They talked for a minute, and set up a time to meet. It was a huge blessing that I was with sister Wang because she was from Taiwan, and could speak Taiyu. Taiyu isn’t a written language, and many of the older generation in Taiwan speak it. Children in Taiwan are taught it when they are little by word of mouth, so that they can communicate with their grandparents

The first few times we met with him, we had our ward mission leader come teach with us, and basically he taught him the lessons, because we didn’t speak Taiyu. I thought this man Guo was probably a lost cause, because we couldn’t really talk to him. I’d just sit in the lessons and try to stay awake, because everyone was speaking a language, I knew nothing about. After a few lessons though, Brother Guo started to speak in Mandarin. I could finally start to understand him! 

As we started to teach him, he started to glow! When we first met him he looked really dark, sad and lost. He latched on to everything we taught him. If we taught him something new, he’d start living it. He started coming to church. He’d talk about the church openly with his family. He gave up all of his friends, because all they wanted to do was sit around and drink all day. He started making friends with people in the ward. 

Here is a little bit of an email that I sent home about him, “We have an investigator that I love so much. His name is Guo dx, or brother Guo, I guess. He's 47, tall, thin, speaks a lot of Taiyu, and has cancer. He's had all of the lessons, so we've been reviewing with him. He comes to church every single week, sometimes an hour early because he loves the feeling he gets when he's at church. He's really sick, and it's really sad. I don't know how much longer he'll be around, but we're hoping he'll make it to his baptism. This week we met with him twice. The first time he told us, that he wanted to move up his baptismal date because his wife wants to come. MIRACLE. We'd never met his wife, but she's seen a change in him, and wants him to get baptized as soon as possible. I've never seen anyone so happy, and laughing, and joking. We took a picture with him last week, and I gave him a copy of it. He leaves it in his scriptures, and every time we have a member help us teach, he always shows them the picture with a huge smile on his face, and laughs. He told us his wife saw the picture of us, and was flipping through the Book of Mormon that he left on the table. She said she wanted to meet us. She's a different religion, Daoist I think, but she has seen a change in Guo fu cheng, and wants to come to his baptism. Yesterday was the first time in a long time that he didn't come to church because he wasn't feeling well because of his cancer. So he called us later and we asked if we could do anything for him, and he said pray. So we asked him if we could come visit his house, and he said he'd tell his family that his church friends were coming over, (we'd never been to his house.) He looked so sick, but he was so happy to see us there. I'm amazed at how simple and small the apartments are here. We caused quite the scene, two white girls coming to visit. His wife came out and met us, with 2 of their nieces came, and his son came home in the middle of us being there too. We asked him what his favorite lesson that we taught him was, and he said the Word of Wisdom.  The only thing that's keeping him from getting baptized is the word of wisdom. He used to smoke 2 to 3 packs a day, and now he's down to 3 cigarettes a day, and he's stopped drinking beer. He has such a glow about him now. He said he'll completely quit by next Tuesday so he can have his baptismal interview this coming Saturday. He's amazing, and the ward loves him.”

The next week we had a really cool and spiritual experience with him. Here is an excerpt from my email home, “So, Then the biggest miracle happened. It was quiet and bitter sweet, but changed my life, and helped me know that people really are changed by reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church. This story is about Guo dx, the man I told you about last week. We went to visit him again this week. When we got into his house, he was laying down on the couch again. We came in, and he sat up and said a prayer. He loves praying. Then he laid back down and we sang him "God is love" - his favorite song. Then we sang a few more songs to him. He said he wants to go to church, because that's the only time he feels peace, but he's been to sick the last few weeks to go. So he sent his wife to go grab something, and as soon as she walked away, he sat up, pulled out his Book of Mormon, and opened to Mosiah 4:9, that's not even where he's reading right now. He started reading, "Believe in God, believe that he is...." I burst into tears, knowing this is the testimony that he has. He is so faithful, and he believes, and I don't know how much longer he'll be here, but I know he'll go straight to heaven.  So then he laid back down and we asked him about the word of wisdom. He said he smoked 3 cigarettes the day before. We told him he couldn't do that. Right now, he doesn't have medication, and he has mouth cancer, so for the last 4 days its hurt so bad that he couldn't even eat food, all he could do is drink milk. So he smokes so that he won't be in pain. He was convulsing on the couch and spitting up all sorts of things. It was really sad. He's so close to baptism, and he's so ready, he wants it so badly, but we don't know if he'll make it. So we asked about smoking, and he pulled up his pillow and showed us one more pack, unopened. He tells us this is his last pack, and he's told God after he finishes this one, he's done forever. So we call our district leader to see if he can still have his baptismal interview. While she's on the phone, he opens the pack, and starts to light up. He kept touching his neck and mouth, and kept spitting things up, it was awful, but that's the only medication he has, is smoking. So I sat there, kind of in disbelief, not knowing what to do, because I'm looking at a dying man, not knowing whether to grab his cigarette, or let him have it. So he starts smoking, and my companion came back, and says if you give us you last pack of cigarettes, you can still have your baptismal interview, and get baptized next week. So he didn't even have to think about it, he handed us the pack of cigarettes!!! Then he put the one he was smoking out, and said he didn't need it. We were all in awe, even his wife. Then we decided to pray to help him, and he somehow got himself off the couch, onto the hard cold tile floor, so we could all have a kneeling prayer, his idea. After his wife reads him some parts of "Mountains To Climb" by President Eyering. We sang a closing prayer and left. It was an experience never to forget.”

That following week he was baptized! It was such a sweet experience. His wife and her sister came to church for all 3 hours with him. After church he was baptized and most of the ward was there to watch and support him. After he was baptized he told us about his conversion story. He told us how he was an angry man who would drink bottles of beer a day and smoke nonstop. He wasn’t happy and his family wasn’t happy. Now, after all of the things we taught him, he couldn’t stop smiling. Whenever we’d meet with him or see him, he’d always have a smile and a joke. His family was the most important thing to him. 

It was a really sad day when I left the area. I knew that I’d probably never see Brother Guo again in this life, but I knew he was in good hands, and that he found something to make him happy. I would often ask members about how he was doing. He ended up going to the Temple and was always at church early setting up chairs, no matter how sick he was. Toward the end he had his whole family coming to church with him. They haven’t joined the church, but I know they saw the difference in him! 

I’m so glad that the Lord gave me the opportunity to meet and have a hand in teaching this man the gospel of Jesus Christ! I'm blessed to know about the Plan of Salvation and that I can see him again! 

 I love this song by Mercy Me! They're one of my favorite Christian band's, and I have a number of their albums.

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