Monday, December 31, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
This week was probably one of my favorite weeks since I've been in SanChong. It started out on a great note and was miracle packed and full of fun. I don't know where to begin.
How about last Monday? We went to a special night market in a really old part of Taipei last preparation day. Our purpose in going there? It's the only place in Taipei that one can legally eat SNAKE MEAT. We went and ate snake meat. Snake meat was only part of the deal. Our meal also included weird snake gall bladder which was quite disgusting. Overall it was a unique experience. Snakes have a lot of bones, as do their meat. Snake blood, surprisingly not too shabby.
The real highlight Monday night was meeting Brother Li. Brother Li has an interesting situation. He and his ex-wife were baptized in central Taiwan one year ago. They unexpectedly moved to Taipei on a whim the following day and never ended up being confirmed. Now one year later and a week off of a fresh divorce, Brother Li's wife entered the waters of baptism again, this time to be confirmed (baptized by fire) the following day. Brother Li recently moved into SanChong as did his recently baptized ex-wife, (not co-habitating) and now he wants to prepare for baptism. We met with him Monday night and he is great. The biggest obstacle is he's in a tough financial situation and is working on Sunday. Other than that he's reading and praying and I think has a lot of potential. We met with him 3 times this week and all 3 meetings were very spiritual. The 3rd of the 3 meetings he brought his ex-wife (they had just been out on a date?) and we met with them both. It went so well and we talked about how God is a God of miracles. He committed to begin praying for work off and committed to act on any promptings God gives him about his work situation. It's been a big blessing adding him to our investigator pool.
This week we also were privileged of meeting an amazing kid named Jackie Zhu. Jackie was contacted last week by an Elder in our neighboring area. He felt prompted to give Jackie a Book of Mormon and invited Jackie to English class. He came this last Wednesday and after class we sat down with him to meet for the first time. Jackie had read and prayed every day for over a week. He already read to 2 Nephi. He also already received a spiritual witness of it's truthfulness. WOW! This was all before the first official meet. At the beginning of that lesson we sang "I am a Child of God" I asked him what his favorite line in that song was. He replied "lead me, guide me, walk beside me." I asked him why. He said he really wanted to follow Jesus. We committed him to keep the Sabbath day holy on the spot and he said he would. He came to church this week for the first time and it was the primary program. He said while the kids were singing he had a really good, warm feeling. SO GOOD!!! Such an amazing miracle.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Wow. This week was exceptionally fast. It feels like a complete BLUR to me. I really don't know where to begin. I think I'll take things from the start, meaning last P-day. We went down to my favorite place in all of Taiwan! The TaoYuan 3rd ward. It was really great to get to see some old member friends and converts. I was also able to spend some time with Elder VanDenBerghe (MTC companion) before he goes home in a couple weeks. We ended up going to the Costco down there and bought a PUMPKIN PIE! I thought I'd have to go another year without my favorite Thanksgiving food, but such was not the case with the new TaoYuan Costco. Costco is cool here, because it's exactly like Costco in America. Built the exact same, stocked the same way, carrying the same items. With the exception that everyone in there is speaking Chinese and speaking mandarin, it was like a step back into America. CRAZY! It was great visiting TaoYuan again. I really loved that ward, and it was great to see so many of them. It's amazing how much I've come to love the Taiwanese people. I'm very grateful I've been called to serve in this amazing land.
Our biggest miracle from last week continues to be our biggest miracle this week. We visited a less active last Thursday named Brother Zhang who ended up being amazing! He's such a cool 13 year old kid. He ended up attending our ward activity last week, meeting with bishop, and passing the sacrament. But the miracle didn't stop last week. He's on fire!! This week we went and did a temple square tour with him, giving him the desire to get a temple recommend. We also learn in Preach My Gospel that an indicator of true conversion is a desire to share the gospel with others. In the last 10 days Brother Zhang has given us four referrals of his friends, three of which we've been able to meet with us multiple times now, attended a baptism and the Christmas choir activity, and best of all, they attended church with him this last Sunday! He's been an answer to prayers here in SanChong.
Another answer to our prayers is our recent convert Brother Huang. He's doing so well!! He actively attends all of the meetings and activities. He's still strong on his abstinence of cigarettes. He's doing and looking so great. He's feeling the influence of the Holy Ghost strongly in his life. I'm so blessed just to know him, let alone to have had the chance to teach and baptize him. Another cool thing about Brother Huang is that his work is selling fruit at the morning markets. It's a really tough job, he wakes up between 2 and 2:30 a.m. every morning. His stand he works at sells only imported fruit, and often he gives some to us when we visit him. He's been giving us the biggest, ripest, Washington apples I've ever seen lately. So juicy!! We've also got to eat some Japanese and Korean fruit while over at his house. It's pretty great. I continue to love the food and fruit here in Taiwan. I'll definitely miss it in a couple months.
I'm excited to finish out strong these last couple months of the mission. The mission president sent out an e-mail talking about how December and January have a tradition in Taiwan of being the least fruitful months with regard to missionary work. That will not be the case here in SanChong. I won't allow it to happen. I'm going to give everything I have left in the tank these last two months and try to work hard for the ward and the Lord. Sometimes I feel as if I'm running on fumes, but I know I can rest a bit when I知 back home. I'm excited for the miracles still in store as we have faith and work hard here in SanChong.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support.
I love you all!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
This week was such a great week. There were some special miracles, and overall there were a lot of fun things that happened. I'll start with Thanksgiving day. A day full of proselyting, rain, proselyting and more rain. There is no celebration of Thanksgiving here. It wasn't until late afternoon I realized it was Thanksgiving, nevertheless, it was a great day to pause and reflect on the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me. Thanksgiving dinner? 3 slices of wheat toast, and a candy bar.
We might have forgotten about him, but the Lord hadn't. We knocked, he answered, and invited us in. We then met Brother Zhang, a 13 year old kid who was baptized 2 years ago in a city on Taiwan's east coast. Probably the coolest 13 year old kid I've ever met. He's a Taiwanese aborigine and he's in a big budget movie they made about his tribe. He's lived in SanChong for a year and a half and hasn't been to church since moving here. He was so happy to meet us, and talk with us, and committed to come to our Thanksgiving activity Saturday and church Sunday. At the activity Saturday, he brought a friend, who's now our new investigator. He also met a lot of members and the bishop. He was able to go up in the front and introduce himself, and while introducing himself he said he's sorry he hadn't been coming to church and he won't miss another Sunday! He met with the bishop that night who invited him to pass the sacrament that Sunday. He came, fulfilled his priesthood duty, and loved church! We met with him after church and talked about missions and invited him to start preparing now, for a future mission. He said he really wants to serve. It was an amazing miracle, this lost lamb who's coming back to the fold.
The Thanksgiving activity we put on Saturday was a big success. A great turnout and lots of food. They assigned us missionaries a missionary performance and we wrote a song about Thanksgiving. (see above) My companion and I decided to make mashed potatoes. We bought a big bag of U.S. imported potatoes at the market and then boiled and mashed them up with tiny forks. They turned out great though and were the only authentic Thanksgiving food found on the entire table. The activity was really great and lots of fun. We had 5 less active priesthood holders come!!! 4 of which came to church the following Sunday! Such a huge miracle. Our first week in SanChong there were 6 priesthood holders in Elder's quorum. I'd say the average is more like 10-12, so you can see what a big influence an extra 4 or 5 can have. 2 participated in blessing or passing the sacrament, and another one of the less actives we've helped back taught the Elder's Quorum lesson.
Another great miracle this week was helping one of our ward missionaries. Her name is Hana or Sister Tsai. She's really cool and really good to us missionaries. She is a convert of a little over a year and was baptized while backpacking in France. The missionary who baptized her was a friend I made in the MTC going to France speaking Chinese. So cool. She used to be a crazy party girl and has tattoos all over from all the different countries she's visited. Now she's a crazy good convert endowed in the temple and helps us missionaries so much. I suggested once to her to go on a mission, but she was really hesitant. Lately a member of the bishopric also encouraged her to go, but she wasn't sure. Then she lost her job and was really unsure about what to do at this stage in her life. After having ward mission meeting, we and the sister missionaries shared a little bit with her. The Spirit was really strong and we invited her to go to the temple and pray about what Heavenly Father wants her to do. She went to the temple the next day, and then decided she would go "Duanchuan" It's a common thing in our mission where if there is an odd number of missionaries then they will have try to find worthy members to serve for a few weeks or a transfer. Our mission needed a Sister DuanChuan and so right now Sister Tsai is off somewhere in our mission, being a missionary. If it goes well, she'll be a lot more likely to start papers and prepare to serve. It was a really cool miracle!
There were some really good miracles this week, and overall it was a really fun week. We also now have a guitar in our apartment so companion study just got a whole lot better as we've been writing songs for our ward mission leader as well as others!
I'm just thankful to be here in Taiwan serving my brothers and sisters and serving my Lord.