My eyes begin to sting as I ride my bicycle through smoke drifting from the barbecue on the side of the street. I close them just long enough to hit a hole in the road, nearly knocking me from my bike. I again focus my attention forward, as we keep riding amid the glare of neon lights and the headlights of the oncoming traffic. Everything seems a little hazy on this hot, muggy December night in Bangkok, Thailand.
Sister Jones and I park our bikes in front of an apartment complex. As we head toward the stairs, I ask, “Who are we going to see?”
“Her name is Nóg,” Sister Jones answers. “She is a 12-year-old girl who was baptized last month.”
I remember hearing about Nóg. She had been referred to the missionaries by her mother, who was not interested in the Church but thought Nóg might like Christianity.
The missionaries had been hesitant to teach a 12-year-old, but as they began to tell Nóg of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, she was captivated. Her eyes never left their faces.
I am touched by the image of this little girl, who works in her family’s flower stand on the side of a busy street, learning about the Savior. I wonder how a little girl could accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is so foreign to her Buddhist culture.
We knock on the pale green door and are invited in by Nóg’s mother. Removing our shoes, we enter the one-room apartment. Before we can ask where Nóg is, we hear her voice calling from the balcony, “Sisters, come quickly.”
We step onto the small balcony overlooking the busy street. Nóg grabs me by the hand, points to the sky, and asks, “Can you see them? Can you see the special stars?”
I look up and see a few breaks in the clouds through which stars shine faintly. “Which ones?” I ask.
“The five baby ones, right over there. You can see them only on certain nights,” she answers.
I look again and see a cluster of five tiny stars through the pollution and lights of the enormous city. I ask how she was able to see them twinkling so dimly.
Nóg answers simply, “I look for them every night, and tonight I found them.”
I glance at Nóg, who is gazing intently at the night sky. Her face is peaceful; her countenance shines. They are simple, childlike words, yet I think how similar they are to those spoken by wise, learned men—the Wise Men of old (see Matt. 2:2). How long those Wise Men must have searched the heavens looking for the star. How excited they must have been to see it.
Nóg, a 12-year-old flower girl, learned of Jesus Christ amid the chaos of downtown Bangkok, above the smoke, lights, glitter, and pollution of the world. Nóg had looked for and recognized the words of Christ and eagerly followed, just as the Wise Men did. She is among those who “look forward unto the Messiah, and believe in him” (Jarom 1:11).
How could a little girl so readily accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, so foreign to her family and culture? My question is answered as I stand on a small fourth-floor balcony above the pollution and noise and, with Nóg, look to the heavens.