April 26, 2011

Helpful Korean Kim Tae-Hwan

By Geoffrey Johnson

I wanted to talk to you about a Korean kid named Tae-Hwan Kim, who helped a poor boy stay in school. Tae-Hwan used newspapers to save the poor boy! Here is the story:
One day, Tae-Hwan was sitting next to the poor boy when he noticed that the kid had no lunch. He was just sitting there, trying to smile.
“You ate your lunch already?” Tae-Hwan asked. Lunch had just started!
“No,” the boy said slightly, “I don’t have one.”

            That evening, Tae-Hwan and his friends gathered at his house. They were forming Unit A of an organization that did what they could to help kids in their community.
            “I met a poor kid at school today. Sometimes he doesn’t have enough money to buy lunch,” Tae Hwan said.
            The unit leader asked, “So, what are we going to do about that?”
“Ooo, Ooo! I know, I know!” his friend Kostas shouted as he raised his hand high in the air.
            “Yes?” the leader asked, annoyed.
            “We buy newspapers and sell them in the streets of Seoul!” Kostas said.
            “Then, we gather up our earnings and pay the boy’s expenses!” His friend Gifford piped up.
            Turning to Tae-Hwan, he added, “By the way, what is the poor boy’s name?”
            “I don’t know,” Tae-Hwan replied.
            The leader said, “Well, it’s settled then!”
Later in the evening, the assembly leader, Herter, divided the organization into Unit A and B. Unit A composed of Tae-Hwan, Gifford, Kostas, and Ty-Huber. Unit B was made of other residents of the assembly.

The next day, Tae-Hwan asked his mom if he could have a bigger lunch to eat at school.
            ‘Well, he is a growing boy,’ his mother thought.
            Therefore, his mother packed him an extra lunch. Then, at lunch, Tae-Hwan strolled over to the poor boy and sat down next to him.
            “Here,” said Tae-Hwan as he handed him the extra lunch.
            “What is it?”
            “A lunch. It is for you,” said Tae-Hwan.
            “A lunch? I don’t need one,” the boy scoffed.
Tae-Hwan stared him in the eye. It never fails. You go try it at home.
            “Okay, I need a lunch,” the boy said.
            See? See?
            The boy grabbed the lunch and started eating.
            Later that afternoon, Unit A started to work. They went to a newspaper shop and bought newspapers with the money they had. Then, as Kostas had said, they sold them in the streets of Seoul. After that, as Gifford had said, they gathered up their money and waited.

            Dr. Kim arrived at home as a tired man. When he got to the bed the phone rang……..
Finally, Dr. Kim picked it up. It was his business partner.
“Hey, Dr. Kim! I have something to tell you,” he said.
“Yes, what is it?”Dr. Kim replied.
“Are you having any trouble with money?”
                        “No, Why?” the doctor said.
            “Because today I saw your son, Tae-Hwan, outside selling newspapers,” the business partner said.
            “Hmmm, Well, Bye! I’ll have a word with Tae-Hwan,” Dr. Kim said.
            Dr. Kim walked to Tae-Hwan’s room and opened the door. Tae-Hwan was reading a book.
            “Selling Newspapers?” Dr. Kim said.
            Tae-Hwan jumped. “How did you know?” he said.
            “Why are you selling them?” said Dr. Kim.
                 “There is a poor boy at school,” Tae-Hwan said, “We sold newspapers to get money to give to the boy.”
The End
By Geoffrey age 8
NOTE: This story was changed a lot so it’s more interesting, but Tae-Hwan did sell newspapers to help a poor boy stay in school. Dr. Kim did receive that phone call.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dad told me this story.
MORALE: You can do hard things to help other people and you can go through hard times for you and others.
 (Note from Melanie—you can also find this story in a talk that was given by Elder Victor L. Brown printed in the March 1985 New Era called, “Do it.  Be Ye Doers of the Word” and in an article in June 1979 New Era called, “Profiting for Others.”
And, Scott knows this story because he met Kim Tae-Hwan when he was serving on a mission in Korea.  He and Tae-Hwan served together.  Scott read the stories in the New Era magazines when they first were published and was happy that the story was published to inspire others.  Scott said Tae-Hwan was an excellent missionary.)

April 19, 2011

Justin Osmond Conquers Hearing Loss

I read about Justin Osmond in a recent Mormon Times article.  It was so good, I wanted to tell you his story.  Justin was born with only 10% of the hearing most of us have.  He could hear so little that he struggled to learn to talk.  What was even harder is that his dad was a famous singer and musician—Merrill Osmond.  Justin could barely hear his Dad sing!  Justin’s siblings and cousins all were musicians, and he wanted to carry on the family tradition.
Justin spent hours with his mom learning how to talk.  He said, “My mother would wake me up every morning at 6 a.m. and work with me for countless hours on my speech therapy," Osmond said. “After many years of intense speech, listening and comprehension therapy I am able to speak with passion and hear with conviction.”
He also learned to play the violin.  He explained, “With the violin, I learned to use it as a bone conductor and instead of listening with my ears, I would hear the music through the vibrations of the violin as it creates a musical reaction through my cheek bone and all the way to my brain where it interprets the sounds of music. Where an ordinary man finds an excuse, a courageous man finds a way.”
Justin grew up wanting to help other hearing impaired children.  He works with a group that gives away free hearing aids to children.  He said, “A world void of sound can be quite lonely and difficult.  But when you fit a child who hears their mom’s voice for their very first time, it’s like a light switch comes on. I usually play my violin to help others see that they may have a hearing loss, but dreams can become reality with a lot of hard work, patience, perseverance and faith.”  Recently he earned an MBA, and was honored to speak at the Graduation ceremony.  
Because Justin is hearing impaired, he’s uniquely suited to help other children with the same disabilities.  He’s worked hard to minimize the problems he faces and lead a normal, productive life by learning how to talk.  And he hasn’t let this stop him from pursuing his dream of playing musical instruments with his family.

 From:  Sheahan, Nicole. "Justin Osmond finds a way despite his hearing loss." Mormon Times 5 March 2011: 10.

April 12, 2011

Bethany Qualifies for God's Help

Today I wanted to tell you a piano story.  It’s about Bethany, who is serving a mission in San Diego, California. 

When Bethany was a girl, she took a few piano lessons from her piano-teacher Mom.  She loved learning how to play the music, so practicing the piano was fun.  Bethany would hog the piano and practice.  Her Mom would just leave music on the piano that was just a bit challenging and Bethany would start learning it.  She became skilled enough that when she was about 15, she served as ward choir pianist, which she did until she left for college.  Now that she’s serving a mission, she has opportunities to play for church and firesides often.  Most of her letters mention playing the piano for different meetings.

Recently Bethany wrote this to her family:  
Last week, I was given two more songs to play for the fireside on Sunday.  Well, it always stresses me out but I usually can whip them out well enough.  Well, Thursday came and I started to practice the music.  Oh my goodness, one was a ‘gospel’ jazzy song and it was so cool but so hard!!  I had to practice for two other songs and so I was freaking out.  Saturday for the practice, I still couldn't play it because I don't have a ton of time to practice and by Sunday night, I was really freaking out.  All day, I prayed and prayed and prayed that I would be able to play it for the fireside.  Finally Sunday night came and ahhhhhhh!!!!  We practiced with the missionaries before and it was rough and then it came time to play for the fireside and I was so nervous.  Then the song started and I played it almost perfectly!! 

Oh my goodness, I was not even the one moving my fingers and at the end, I just sat in my seat and thanked God with all my heart that He helped me play the song!  I also had to play the last song for a group of elders and my fingers and hands were dead so it was rough because they just ached but it sounded good and wow!  What an experience!!  But I am starting to realize what a gift from God it is that I can play the piano.  It isn't me at all!!  

I have been really strongly seeing the hand of God, and have seen how much He really cares about those little things that are so important to us.  We have been having incredible lessons and guidance as we have listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  

Bethany’s practice paid off!  Not only can she play in her church service, but she has proven God.  When she is confronted with something harder than she is able to perform, when she’s practiced as much as she could, and prayed for help, Heavenly Father has shown that He will make up the difference. 
She’s learned how to get Heavenly Fathers help in doing really hard things.  Isn’t this cool?

April 1, 2011

Kyle Maynard No Excuses for an Amputee

By Jeremy Johnson

I wanted to tell you a story that should help encourage you to keep fighting. The story is of Kyle Maynard, an adult who was born without any arms or legs. Kyle spoke at my school a week ago about his life and it is incredible. He has done many amazing things. The key to being able to go on and work to be what he is now, he had to keep from making excuses.
For example, in High School he was in sports all the time. He joined the football team and he was the defensive lineman. His method of tackling was somewhat weird, it was where he would crawl as fast as he could and smash his helmet into the teenager’s shins. He also joined the wrestling team, won 32 games, and lost 16 games. In both situations, Kyle wanted to give up but his family never let him until he got good enough to win. He is glad that his family did this. Because of them, he can eat, write with his elbows and type 50 words a minute. Having a ‘no excuses’ attitude has changed his life for the better.
Later, Kyle joined a cage-fighting group and he said that everyone underestimated him. Everyone told him he would be harmed for life, killed and, lastly, punted out of the stadium. However, Kyle thought this was ridiculous because he reasoned that no one could punt 130 or so pounds. Despite all the negativity, Kyle went on to win the tournament.
In addition, he won the unofficial title of World’s Strongest Teen in 2003(23 repetitions of 230 pounds) and broke the world record for the modified bench press (360 pounds which is 3 times his body weight). He got this award because of his attitude toward life. When he was 11 years old, Kyle tied ropes to his elbows and attached 2.5 pounds to each arm. He performed the modified bench press and that was all he could lift. Whenever Kyle went to gyms, there were three types of people in there. Those who looked down on him and what he was doing, those who supported him, and of course the people who didn't care. He worked hard enough to get to the point when the ropes broke from the weight so he used chains. Later, the chains broke so he went flying across the room from the whiplash. He uses stronger chains now. 
Throughout his life, people have doubted Kyle’s ability, although he is always able to surprise the competition. Repeatedly he proves the impossible is possible. You can do it too. 
To learn more about Kyle, look for his book, No Excuses: The True Story of a Congenital Amputee Who Became a Champion in Wrestling and in Life, Regnery Publishers, 2005.