Me and a man named "Underground Frank" He helps missionaries buy stuff for way cheap
A couple pics of our ward activity
Brother Xu Juan Jie teaching a bunch of recent converts and investigators how to tie a tie
Our church on the subway map... notice the cross
Elder Honeycutt on exchanges.
My view from my desk.
What a wonderful week here in the outskirts of west Taipei. The highlight of the week was most definitely 2 people entering into the waters of baptism. However it wasn't as simple as originally planned. Brother Guo (80 years old) and Brother Yang were both scheduled to be baptized Saturday night. Saturday afternoon we went to a concert put on by the mission and we were a little bit behind schedule as we returned. Let the stress involved when holding a baptism begin!! Luckily one of the other missionary companionships in our ward didn't go so they were there to begin setting up for the baptism, filling the font, etc. However when we got to the 7 o'clock baptism at 6:58, only one investigator was there.
Brother Yang had changed clothes and was all ready for his baptism, but Grandpa Guo was nowhere to be found. We immediately rushed over to his house, only to find his wife and grandson, but no Brother Guo. They informed us that he had been at the church at 6:30 in the morning, because he thought his baptism was at 7 a.m. not 7 p.m. He also wasn't home that evening. I was devastated but determined not to let Brother Guo's absence influence my attitude for Brother Yang's baptism. Brother Yang's baptism was an amazing spiritual experience. Following his baptism the bishop heard of Brother Guo's situation and said that he could be baptized the next day following church meetings. We were so thrilled!!!
Brother Guo's baptism was outstanding!! Everyone in the ward was there because it was right after church. He was so funny. He's a super sarcastic 80 year old man. Everyone in the ward loves him. All the little children loved watching him get baptized. I was very nervous baptizing an 80 year old man, but it only took one time, and it was very smooth. After the baptism, while he and I were changing into dry clothes, I informed him that he would be asked to share his testimony, and I went over with him about 4 or 5 times that when he wants to end, he needs to say "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Grandpa Guo is definitely a slower learner, but I thought he got it. Then when the time came for him to share his testimony he got up and read a part of the missionary lesson pamphlet we gave him about baptism. He finished, and looked right at me as if to say "I forgot what I'm supposed to say.'' He then went on to say what would be the Chinese equivalent of "whatever!'' and walked off the stand. It was really,really, really funny. I love him. He's a true miracle.
The first time I met with Brother Guo, my companion, Elder Su, informed me he comes to church weekly, but he can't really understand the missionary lessons, so he hadn't been able to progress and they don't really meet with him, they just stop by to say hi on occasion. I felt bad, knowing that Brother Guo loved church. However after my first visit I felt like I knew what my companion meant. I then prayed for Brother Guo the following day and had a feeling we should go back and visit him again. I drew on a paper Heavenly Father and said "That's God." I drew Jesus and wrote he's the Son of God, and I drew the Holy Ghost with dotted lines and said he doesn't have a body. The following day at church he shared what he learned with some people in Sunday School! I thought this could work so the next visit I wrote on a paper in Chinese "How to get back to Heavenly Father'' and I drew 5 stairs labeled ''Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to the End." It seemed like it was hard for him to understand, but the following Sunday at church he started telling people he wanted to be baptized. We were astonished, so we began this teaching method of writing things very simply on paper and drawing pictures to help him learn. He started getting it. Then came the Word of Wisdom. He laughed at me. Told me I was crazy, and grabbed a big box full of tea. I told him he couldn't be baptized unless he kept the Word of Wisdom, thinking he wouldn't accept. I told him even if he's not willing to live it we still want him to come to church every week. Then he said "Elder White, I don't care if you're there or not, I'll be at church every week." I laughed and we left. The following visit he informed me that he was living all of the Word of Wisdom with the exception of still smoking. I was shocked. He said he would quit smoking, but that he still had time because his baptismal date was still a month away. Then the following Sunday the lesson in Sunday School was the Word of Wisdom. After that day he quit smoking!!! It was a miracle as the Lord helped us find a way to communicate and teach Brother Guo so that he could learn and prepare for baptism! The Spirit speaks all languages, including bad Chinese handwriting with little pictures. The Spirit did its part and Brother Guo is now baptized!
This week our mission had a concert done by Michael Mclean, an LDS songwriter. The good part was pretty much all of the mission was invited. I got to see Elder Sheng, my last companion in TaoYuan and his new zone leader companion Elder Vandenberghe, my MTC companion! They're having a blast and it's good to know that my old area is in such good hands. The best part though was that they brought up an investigator name Brother Huang. Brother Huang was someone I found just before I left TaoYuan, and they informed me that now he is close to baptism!!! It was such a nice surprise. I'm super happy to see that seeds I planted right before leaving an area have grown and are almost ready to harvest! I also was able to see Brother Zhuang, a convert of mine in DanShui who then moved after his baptism, I was able to get his new address so I can stay in contact!!! I also saw a woman I began teaching on my 3rd transfer who we had to refer to another area. I found out that she is now a member!! It was a wonderful day!
In other news the TuCheng ward lacks piano players. I've had to play the piano in priesthood and at baptisms lately. Needless to say I'm a little rusty. It's been a rocky ride.
This Saturday our ward has a musical fireside. I will be playing the Ukele. I'm debating between performing Radiohead's "Creep" or "Love One Another" I'll let you know next week what I decide on.
I love you all, CTR