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October 02, 2015
"The Dumbest Idea Ever"
by Jeff Lindsay

One of the Young Single Adults in China that I got to know through my church responsibilities here told me a story that nicely illustrates the importance of faithfully acting upon personal revelation. It reminds us that the things that might not make sense based on what we know may have surprising plot twists that suddenly broaden the landscape of our knowledge.

This young woman had become fluent in Chinese long before her Chinese-language mission. Right after her mission, she was back to school in Provo, Utah, but with very little money. In fact, her financial situation was turning into a real concern.

She had $300 rent due in a few weeks, but with the high cost of textbooks and other factors, she realized she wouldn't have enough to make ends meet. She had no job at the time and needed one, but was having no luck finding one that could meet her needs and fit her constraints.

Worried, she went to the Provo temple and took time there to pray and seek guidance on how to manage things. She had a strong impression that she needed to go to a particular Chinese restaurant in Provo and ask for a job.

She honestly felt that this was "the dumbest idea ever." It couldn't possibly work, she felt. I think it was because of her schedule and transportation issues, plus the pay at the restaurant surely wouldn't be enough. But she chose to put her objections on the back burner, hopped on her bicycle, and rode directly to the restaurant on Center Street.

She approached the owner and, speaking in Chinese, asked about working there. She quickly learned that they didn't need help since it was a hot pot place where the staff needs are very low (with hot pot cooking, you pretty much cook your own food).

"Yep, what a dumb idea!" She was disappointed and felt silly and awkward.

As she prepared to leave, a man who was sitting in the restaurant grabbed her hand. He explained that he had heard her speaking Chinese, and said that he had a daughter studying Chinese who needed a tutor. Would she be willing to come work for him?

He told her that she pretty much could pick her hours and name her salary. This ended up being the perfect job for her.

The "dumbest idea ever" became the best job tip she could hope for, after listening and acting in faith. There are lessons there for all of us.

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