Hello Friends and Family,
This was a great week from DanShui Taiwan. It did include some heartbreak and some people I care about unwisely losing their agency, but what week in missionary work doesn't? I'm excited as can be for tonight. The Zhang family from ZhuDong are coming up to DanShui to visit me. All except for Yan Rou. She's busy being a six week missionary!! What an amazing family, I feel so blessed to have met them and been able to share this gospel with their family. I feel so blessed just to be a missionary. I love this work so much. I'm so thankful to the Lord for this opportunity and the success and miracles he allows me to see.
A great part this week was Brother Zhuang (the one we baptized at the beginning of October) passed the sacrament this week in sacrament meeting. He's doing great! I wish I could send pictures but this e-mail place in DanShui doesn't allow my card reader to work. We'll have to find a different way.
The heart breaker was Brother Zhao, the one who had broken the Word of Wisdom between his baptismal interviews. He says he has no faith when I call him. We finally got him to come down to the church to meet with us and he wouldn't come in. I was on exchanges with our Zone Leader at the time, and we both did everything we possible could to encourage, invite, and help him. He just wasn't having any of it. He has given up, and he was so close. It's sad to see, but for the time being we're too busy in DanShui to keep spending a lot of time with him. As sad as that is, we need to continue to press forward with those who the Lord wants to give a chance to now, and the Lord is providing us with plenty of those people.
This week I had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Phelps, a member of my district. He is from Alpine and also went to Lone Peak. He's a hard worker so I was looking forward to the exchange for quite sometime and the exchange did not disappoint. It was absolutely amazing. Thursday night on the exchange we had set up a lady named Mary. Someone that toured the temple in Taibei had given us this referral. I called Mary and told her we'd meet her and her friend Tom in the local college's library. When we got there Mary and Tom asked us if we wanted to go to their house. Normally I would have said the library would be fine but Elder Phelps and I had the feeling we should go to their house. Mary is from Tuvalu islands and Tom is from Kirabiti Islands. When at their house we also met Lafita, found out Mary was a member in Tuvalu, and wanted us to share this message with her friends, Lafita and Tom. Elder Phelps and I were a little thrown off because we had originally made a lesson plan for Mary and now were going to be teaching Lafita and Tom with Mary as our member present. And Elder Phelps and I aren't companions so we didn't know how we'd teach together.
What happened in the next 30 minutes was purely led by the spirit. The spirit was so strong in that lesson. Elder Phelps and I taught really well together and Lafita and Tom set baptismal dates. I'm so excited for them, and they have an awesome member friend that can accompany them to the English ward in Taibei each week!! It was a great miracle.
The Miraculous exchange continued when the following morning, in personal study, I had a feeling to go to San Zhi, the small town north of Danshui. I really didn't want to go there so I kept trying to talk myself out of it, and ignore the feeling, but I couldn't. I knew it was the spirit, and I knew I could not ignore it. So we hopped on a bus to go to SanZhi and the miracles followed. On the bus ride, I sat next to a college student and taught her all about the Savior and prayer and baptism. She is now a new investigator. As we walked around the small town of SanZhi we walked down an alley. I felt like we needed to turn around and go back the way we'd just came on that alley. As we turned around we saw an old guy squeeze in between two houses down this tiny little walkway so I decided to follow him having no idea where I'd end up. We ended up in this small oil factory. It was so weird. A small little factory making oil that the family would then sell at the street market. We ended up in there where I used my tiny arsenal of awful Taiwanese to explain to the older people who don't speak Chinese that we're missionaries. Then the old guys went and got a younger guy. He didn't want to talk to us, so he went and got his brother. His brother was nice and was willing to sit and listen to the message. It was a really interesting experience--two kids from Alpine sitting in the back of some family run oil press, in San Zhi Taiwan. I would be willing to guarantee we are the first white guys to step foot in there.
The coolest experience of the transfer was hands down the ride back to DanShui. I set a transfer goal to hitchhike. So as we waited for the bus from SanZhi to DanShui I had my thumb out looking for a ride. A few minutes later a blue car passed with 2 young guys in the front, I could see they thought about picking us up, but then they drove by. 2 minutes later that same blue car came around the corner, and we found it, our ride home. We met Andy a Taiwanese surfer who actually can speak a little English just from listening to American music and having surfing buddies. He and his friend drove us home. While on the drive we taught Andy and his friend how to pray, and got Andy to say the first prayer of his life. Somehow after teaching them the conversation turned to how Andy had learned English through American music and so we asked him who he liked. He named a few artists and then mentioned he loved Bon Jovi. What unfolded after that was pure Magic. For the last 15 minutes of the ride the Taiwanese surfer Andy was drumming on the dashboard and singing Bon Jovi songs at the top of his lungs with the rest of us singing along on the chorus. It was so funny, a lot of fun, all started with a thumb pointed toward DanShui. After Andy and his friend dropped us off in DanShui, we said our goodbyes and they headed across the river to their home in BaLi (the other DanShui ward elder's area). Then Andy called me and asked if I had Facebook. He called me which was actually a small miracle because I didn't have his number. 10 minutes later I realized I had left my Book of Mormon in his car. So I was then able to call him back and I set up a time I could go get it.
So Friday I went over to BaLi with one of the BaLi missionaries to get my book. At that point I found out Andy had been reading it, and wanted to learn more. He was able to set up a time with the BaLi Elders to continue to share and give him a Book of Mormon. It's amazing the different ways the Lord leads you to the prepared.
This week was amazing. It was a week I really needed after last week. I'm so absolutely exhausted, I'm going to have a relaxing P-Day. Try to recover so I can do the same thing next week.
Love you all,