99945_000_010So what if it was scrawny, dented, rusted, and dull. In my eyes, that bike was the most beautiful gift I had ever received.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked down the street to our last appointment. I was tired, and my feet were swollen and sore. It had been a particularly long day of proselyting in the sweltering heat of Bangkok, Thailand. Two days earlier, my bike had been stolen. I was trying not to be frustrated, but two days of walking had taken its toll. I took comfort in the fact that we were heading to an appointment with a newly baptized member—Kee. What a joy it had been to witness her conversion and growth in the gospel over the past two months.
The neighborhood where Kee lived was, without a doubt, the saddest place I had ever seen. The houses were makeshift shacks constructed of wood, tin siding, and cardboard built on stilts above four feet of sewer water and floating trash. Children with no shoes ran around on wooden planks suspended above the sewer. Men lay passed out in a drunken sleep while teenage boys sold drugs on the street corners. I had cried the first few times I had come to this neighborhood, being overcome by the sorrow, poverty, and awful stench. But out of this neighborhood had come two of our favorite investigators, the kind of people missionaries dream of finding.
Kee greeted us as we entered the gate leading to the group of houses we often visited. She immediately asked, “Sister, where is your bike?” We told her how my bike—a beautiful red bike with all the newest parts and gears—had been stolen. She and the neighbors listening nearby became greatly concerned over our loss and current situation. They asked, “How are you supposed to do your work? How are you going to visit all the people you need to visit?” These, of course, were our concerns also, but we told them not to worry.
After visiting with Kee, we headed home. That night we prayed, asking Heavenly Father for help, that things would work out, and that we would be able to do all we needed to do.
The next day we found ourselves heading back to Kee’s neighborhood. As we approached the gate, we noticed all the neighbors sitting out front whispering to each other. Their secret could not be held in any longer as they revealed that one of them had found an old bicycle. They had all pitched in to get it fixed up. Their smiles stretched ear to ear as they proudly presented their gift—a purple bike, scratched and dented, rusty with age. On the crossbar was a big fluorescent sticker which read “Super Bike.” The tires and gears had been lovingly washed and polished. Kee quickly wiped away the remaining smudge marks with the bottom of her shirt. Tears welled in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks as I beheld this little purple bike, given out of sacrifice and love.
I realized that these people, who had but few worldly possessions, had taught the sister missionaries a lesson about love, the pure love exemplified by our Savior. In the eyes of the world, my Super Bike was a sad-looking, beat-up, rusty bicycle. But in my eyes and, I believe, in the eyes of our Father in Heaven, it was the most beautiful bike in the world, a priceless gift from the heart.