A fantastic week here in the TaoYuan 3rd ward. I want to start by expressing my gratitude for being given the opportunity to work in this ward. This is by far the most established ward I've served in thus far. It's full of solid members and solid leaders, and it is a real blessing to serve with them and contribute to the ward. I was really pleased at church this Sunday when they gave brother Chi and Brother Chen their certificates for being ordained to the priesthood, and we were able to have Sister Chen's confirmation. I feel like I've been so blessed here in TaoYuan. When I got here just a transfer and a half ago my companion told me we had no real baptismal candidates and I feel like the Lord has really blessed us with miracles with these 3 precious souls and with some amazing investigators who are progressing currently. It's truly a blessing to work here. I'm loving it. Brother Chen is so great! I walked into Sacrament meeting yesterday and he was paying his tithing. He shares his testimony and insights in Sunday School and Elder's Quorum. It's so fantastic.
The biggest highlight this week was Sister Chen's baptism. It was so great, and so spiritual. Her boyfriend returned to Africa, and wasn't able to fully prepare for baptism before he went back and he called her after her baptism to see how it went. She set a great example for him and I hope that when he comes back next year he'll get baptized. He's on a little tiny island with no missionaries. I don't know if it has the church, but his best friend there is LDS, so I pray that he can be a good influence. A big thanks to the Zhao Family in fellowshipping these 2 investigators. They are the greatest family ever. They are amazing member missionaries, and they were pivotal in helping Sister Chen get baptized. Brother Zhao is still emailing and contacting Brother Zhong in Africa, and he sent him pictures of the baptism. What a great family. They have the cutest little son as well. His English name is DYNOMITE. Pretty cool.
This week we were blessed with many other miracles and many of our investigators are progressing. We have Vincent Deng and his girlfriend Rebecca Lin who are living together with no intention of marriage. We need to teach the Law of Chastity. We haven't yet because we've wanted to teach it when Elder Workman and I are together but we haven't had the opportunity because we're on exchanges about 4 days out of the week. I think we'll just have to move forward with it. I hope all goes well.
Our investigator, Brother Tsai, has such strong faith but he can't get Sundays off at his new job. He fasted for it this week. He's the first investigator where I feel like he just deserves these blessings and Heavenly Father hasn't given them to him. I know God probably want's him to learn some more lessons through this or something. But I feel like we've done all we can and he's doing his part. We're just waiting on the promised blessing. We had just finished a lesson with him Saturday night. It was 8 p.m. I felt like my investigator was being shorted blessings. We had only half of our finding goal for the week. I feel like we had worked hard and the miracles just weren't there this week. I was a little upset. We were getting stood up by another really good investigator. We prayed to find someone outside the church while we waited. Then I went and contacted the first 2 people I saw. A couple of Vietnamese, who said they were going somewhere and that they were always busy with work. I testified. They moved on. And I kept contacting. After 40 minutes of straight rejection from everyone I saw, it was 8:40. We only had 20 minutes on the night. My companion and I were getting ready to leave and slowly contact on the way home, feeling a little down, when through the gate of the church came the 2 Vietnamese guys. They wanted to see the church and learn more. We were able to share a small message about prayer from the Vietnamese Book of Mormon. We prayed with them. They committed to coming back, and they did. It was a real miracle. I felt really ungrateful and I repented. It was a tiny miracle, but it came at just the right time.
We have another investigator Tsai Duo An. He wants to be baptized. He's 17, but has opposition from his mom. She won't let him and won't sign the permission slip. I think this week we're going to try to fax a permission slip to his Dad in Mainland China, and then see if he can fax it back. I've never done anything like this on my mission. But I pray that it will all work out.
I continue to enjoy working with Elder Workman. He's a great example.
This week we've had a little bit of drama with the sister missionaries in our ward. We asked about the progress of some of their investigators and they got really offended. There is just a little bad blood there because of some disobedience on their part and it festered and it's really unfortunate. Elder Workman handled most of their complaints and rude comments because I was on exchanges or in lessons, but it did put a little bit of a damper on the week. We'll get through it but I feel like we've tried our best to care for the zone and love them. It's just unfortunate we had to deal with something like this.
The zone is doing spectacular. Overall it's doing better than any time in the last year and a half. It's really great. The Lord is blessing TaoYuan and I just feel blessed to be here.
My goal this week is to think about our investigators, baptism, and their progression at all times. Control my thoughts and focus them on only the most worthwhile things. It's been great this last week as I've been 100 percent focused on nothing but missionary work. I also am trying to study the Savior's example of leadership. I've learned a lot. The Savior is so amazing. Perfect in every aspect, and it's amazing He'll allow me to do this work with Him. We've invited our zone to read Jacob 5:72 (And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.) this month before going out the door to work each day. It's been great to recognize the Lord's help in this work.
I love being a missionary. I love this work. It's an honor to be able to do this. I'm blessed for the opportunity and I'm thankful for a patient and forgiving Heavenly Father who, despite all my weaknesses and shortcomings, still allows me to serve him and represent his son. What an honor and privilege. I think Heavenly Father teaches me a new lesson every day out here. I appreciate this opportunity so much, and I'm happy that Grandma and Grandpa Higginson are now serving him again on their second mission together. I'm thankful for their examples of service and for those that served before me.
I love you all.
P.S. The internet cafe I'm in just had an awful pop version of someone covering tears for fears' "shout"
that's almost offensive.