So what does Chinese New Year entail you may ask? From a missionary perspective there are some major differences. 1. Members feeding us. In Taiwan it's really rare to be fed by members, but during GuoNian we were eating every day with the members, sometimes lunch and dinner. It was fantastic, and they just force you to eat and eat and eat some more. There is not a missionary who doesn't gain a couple pounds during GuoNian. 2. People seem happier, there is a happier feeling on the island, because it's like their Christmas. 3. Fireworks, Fireworks, Fireworks. Everywhere, all day and night. Sleepless nights because of fireworks and firecrackers going off every minute. Overall it was such a great experience. It's their new year because they don't really use our calendar, so Happy 101. We're in the 101 year of their calendar, the year of the dragon.
This week the work was great. I'm loving working with and learning from Elder Workman. We saw some great things and miracles this week. I don't know where to begin. My favorite might be contacting the guy on the bike next to me at a stoplight while waiting for the light to change. Found out he was an inactive member that was baptized in another part of the Island and had never been to church here, hadn't attended church in several years. I invited him to follow me to the church on his bike right at that moment. He came. Then he came to English class the next day. Then came to meet with us and review some doctrine on Friday, then to church on Sunday in a full suit, where he made friends and met the bishop. It was such a great miracle. I'm thankful to have been able to be in the right place at the right time and help a lost sheep who wanted to come back.
Another great miracle was Brother Tsai. He is a YuanZhuMin, a.k.a. Taiwanese Aborigine, a.k.a. Lamanatie blood. He is so great. He met with us only once last transfer and was struggling, but something happened and he had a desire to come back and continue to prepare for baptism. He's changing jobs right now, and he finally had time to meet. He's doing great and wants it so bad. We had the oppurtunity to take him up to Taipei to tour the temple square there and we did a tour focused on the priesthood and eternal families. He loved it. This man is amazing. He is a bodyguard and super strong and tough. He hears the gospel or gets into church and he is just like a little child with the biggest grin on his face the whole time. It is the best.
Now we have kind of a crazy situation as well. A few weeks ago a Brother Zhong and Sister Chen, a young unmarried couple came into the church wanting to learn more. Huge miracle! We met with them and they were great, had a great desire. Then I met with them one more time with one of the Elders in our neighboring area to pass them over because they live in that area. But since then they have not been in contact with the missionaries. However, they were still coming to church every week to our morning ward. They were reading The Book of Mormon, and then they went by themselves to Taipei to set up their own temple tour to learn more about becoming an eternal family. They were amazing. They came to church to our ward yesterday, and I got talking to them. Brother Zhong is leaving to go to Africa this week or next week. That raised a red flag, and I couldn't shake a thought/feeling that kept coming back to me. It was a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland in Preach My Gospel and it mentions "Eternal Life hangs in the balance.... take control of the situation." So I set Brother Zhong and Sister Chen up to meet with us last night. We didn't really know what we were going to teach or how the situation was going to play out but we prayed that the spirit would give us the words to speak. We asked why they had been willing to do all this stuff on their own without being invited and they said because they want an eternal family and an eternal marriage. They said they've felt these things are true!!! So now we're on the clock.
We invited him to postpone returning to work in West Africa 1 full week so he'll go back in 9 days. It's a huge act of faith. We then talked about how to be baptized we have to repent and keep commandments. Then we found out she was a former investigator who before had taken all the lessons and wasn't able to be baptized because of family opposition. So she knew them. We're teaching them all tonight and laying out the plan of salvation in the most amazing young couple in our ward's house. If he's willing to live them and committed, we'll get him an interview for baptism and get them baptized before he heads to Africa. Then when he returns in a year they can get sealed and have an eternal marriage. It's quite a miracle, it's something that will take a lot of miracles and things falling in place just right. But the spirit gave to us last night what to say and how to handle the situation, as well as what blessings to promise. It was a really edifying lesson. So please pray for them. I have faith that if they have the desire, the Lord will provide someway for them to make this covenant even though we're against the clock. Just need to pray hard.
Overall it was a great week. great miracles with finding and teaching, as well as getting people to church. I'm as tired as you can imagine at all times, but I'm happy as can be.
Really quick about last week's bike crash. We were coming home after our baptism last week, and I had my wet baptism clothes on the front handlebar of my bike in a bag. The bag swung into the spokes and my tire just stopped. I flipped over the front of the bike. My head (thank goodness for helmets) rubbed on the asphalt and when I opened my eyes I just saw Elder Workman's shoe on the ground, but no foot in it. He kind of wiped out on top of me. But I got up and I'm fine. I talked to the mission nurse, had my bike repaired and all is great right now. I had some cuts on my hands, and was really sore. I also chipped a little bit of my tooth as well as had a concussion, but that's not important. I'm fine now. I forgot my first transfer for a little bit and forgot what day it was, but all is well now.
Love you all