Dearest friends and family,
You'd be hard pressed to find a happier Elder in the world than me right now. This week was fantastic. Today is going to be great too, seeing as I will be attending the Taipei Taiwan temple and doing an endowment session in Mandarin Chinese. I'm really excited. Where to begin on this fantastic week?
This week in our own area was fantastic. Things just keep getting better and better and the work keeps progressing on. We're always so busy with all our lessons, and then exchanging all the time. For example, today I'm beginning my P-day still an hour away from my own area as we finish up an exchange. But I love it all. The biggest highlight of my week was our long time investigator Tsai Duo An passing a baptismal interview! He will be baptized this Saturday by... Chen Hao Yun, my recent convert of just last month!!! I'm super excited. Duo An is great, but because of family opposition from his mom he couldn't get baptized. He's a little bit of a rebel in school, fights, sarcastic, etc, which carried over to teaching him the gospel. He was always willing to meet but some days he'd show up a good 45 minutes late after we'd left the church or some days he'd be really sarcastic while teaching him. I always thought he was really funny, but sometimes he was a little frustrating. That was until a week and half ago, when my view toward him changed. He had always attended the gospel principles class with us, but we decided to take him to young men's class. In that class I saw 6 young men, all of whom had no desire to be there. They were there because their parents dragged them. They were just as sarcastic to their gospel teacher as Duo An was to us foreign missionaries. It really opened up my eyes to Duo An, and how amazing he is. He does all these things (attend church, read scriptures, pray) on his own, not because his parents force him to, and as a matter of fact, his mom opposed him doing it. I really gained a new love and respect for him and we initiated our "get Duo An baptized at all costs" project. The next time we met I gave him a permission slip. I said I know your dad is in mainland China right now, and I know your mom opposes, but I want you to come back in 2 days with this slip signed by one of your parents. He brought it back signed. By his dad. I really hope that his dad came home for a few days from China, but I'm not going to ask too many questions there. He is being baptized Saturday.
This week we also had Zone Conference. It was great. So many good things learned. It was all about my favorite thing as well... FINDING. President also reported on how well the Zhang family from ZhuDong did in speaking at the fireside. He said it was the best fireside he's been to in his almost 3 years as a mission president, he said it was amazing and they helped so many investigators get over their problems and progress toward baptism. I was thrilled, News like that makes me so happy. But I was even more thrilled when Saturday, while on exchanged in a neighboring area, my companion, Elder Workman calls and says "your beloved Zhang family is at the church to see you." They took Saturday to come all the way up from ZhuDong to take me out to lunch. It was so unexpected and exactly what I needed. They are so great!! It was nice to see them all. It gave me so much fire just knowing that there are other Zhang families out there waiting to receive the gospel. We went out to a teppanyaki restaurant, and it was so good to catch up with them.
Other great news from Zone Conference came as my former companion Elder Chen shared his testimony. He is serving as a zone leader down in ZhuBei, where I was born. He talked about how he served in Xin An for a long time without baptism and felt a little bit down and unsuccessful, and then in moving down here he ran into a kid me and him had contacted up there, taught a lesson, then referred down to other missionaries to never see again. This kid went a while without continuing to investigate but then out of the blue came back, and is now a super golden investigator getting baptized in a couple weeks. Preach My Gospel says no effort is wasted, and that is so true.
I also had the privilege of doing a training in Zone Conference. It went all right. It was my first time doing a training for a big group in front of everyone, but at the end of the training, I had a feeling to give our zone an invitation to all see a miracle on the train ride home from Zone Conference. It was beautiful to hear the miracles that followed. Everyone in our zone was talking to someone on the train ride home, testifying of Christ and his restored gospel, helping people have a desire to use it in their lives. It was amazing. Our Zone found 8 new investigators just in that hour. I personally sat next to and taught a soon to be father who wanted more direction on how to raise a family. It was amazing. The Lord really sent angels with us on that train ride back and the whole zone saw miracles.
The work is continuing to be great here in TaoYuan. It's move calls in 2 days, I hope I stay where I'm at, but I'll also go where the Lord wants me to go if that is the case. I'm really excited Lin Shu Hao, or Jeremy Lin as Americans call him is doing so well in the NBA. Why? Because people in Taiwan are crazy about him, that's all they talk about lately, and he's Christian. I will not lie, him being Christian has helped our work. People are more interested, as shallow as that sounds. I wish I would have figured this out earlier on my mission, instead of referring people to lds.org or mormon.org, I should have been telling them to google famous Christians. Go Lin Shu Hao and the Knicks, unless the knicks still have Carmello Anthony, then go Lin Shu Hao only.
One last cool miracle. I might have mentioned last week. We were rushing to an appointment and in a big hurry. A young man was waving to us on the side of the road. We smiled, waved back, and rode by. Just then my name tag crawled off my suit coat--jumped off of it. I don't know how, but it just popped off onto the ground. I turned around to grab it when this young man said "Elder, are you TaoYuan 3rd ward or TaoYuan 1st." I was shocked. We don't get asked this kind of question... ever. I went over to talk to him to find out he is a current member's less active son we'd been wanting to meet. So I got his number and bolted to the next lesson. Now we're working with him on mission prep and becoming active again. It was a really big miracle. Obviously Heavenly Father knew Brother Ru needed us, and when we weren't good enough servants to stop and talk to the waving young man for a minute, Heavenly Father provided a way for us to. My name tag got hit by a car, now it is a little bent. But it's a great reminder always to be listening for the spirit and observing your current environment, no matter what the scenario.
My new president has been called. A President Day. I have mixed feelings. I will miss President Grimley. I can't express how thankful I am to him and the way he has led this mission. But I also know that President Day has been called of God and I will look forward to meeting him.
It was another wonderful week here in the paradise that is Taiwan. Read your Scriptures.