Mary Phelps never forgot that message, conveyed to her by her mission president in Taiwan back in 1977, as he quoted Proverbs 29:18.
"You are a missionary to the Chinese until the millennium, so don't forget your Chinese," he had said.
With that message in mind, Phelps returned home from her mission determined not to forget the billions of people in Mainland China who did not have the gospel yet.
That message also helped Phelps decide that she was going to major in Chinese at BYU.
It was also the beginning of another kind of mission for Phelps — a mission to teach the Chinese language to young people, with a hope that they would be able to help bring the gospel to China someday.
In her senior year at BYU, Phelps married, and she and her husband began traveling and living in Asia. Eventually, she and her husband moved back to Fruit Heights, Utah — a hard transition because she loved being in Asia so much. At that time, Phelps had a second and fourth grader and had gone to their teachers asking if she could teach Chinese culture once a week for an hour. For four years, Phelps taught elementary children about China.
"That whole time I kept getting the feeling, 'you should teach this,'" said Phelps.