What an amazing week here in Taiwan. The Lord loves Taiwan. He loves Taipei. He loves TuCheng. So many miracles are happening on a daily basis here. It's great.
I don't know where to begin but I've got a ton of people I want to talk about.
Tom Xu. He's a 17 year old student. Super nice, super shy, loves the church. He passed his baptismal interview this week! We're waiting for his parents' permission. I pray he'll get it. He wants to be baptized so bad. This was the priority of my fast yesterday. Please pray so he can go through with his baptism this Saturday.
Grandpa Guo. He is 80 years old, he comes to church every Sunday without fail and the first time we visited him my companion warned me that he's a very slow learner. We left there after the first meet and I sincerely doubted he'd be able to be baptized in this life. I prayed about him and got revelation to start making little papers that simply teach the doctrine of the lessons and the baptismal interview questions. A few week ago, I made one about how we return to Heavenly Father. On it there was Brother Guo at the bottom of some stairs, and there was Heavenly Father at the top. There were 5 steps. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of Holy Ghost, and Endure to the End. The following Sunday he began telling members he wanted to be baptized. We started to see that he was understanding. It's been amazing how much more he's able to understand now. The spirit is teaching him. 2 weeks ago I taught the Word of Wisdom to him. I knew he'd have some problems. He basically rejected me right to my face that day. I said Brother Guo, regardless if you are living this commandment or not I hope that you'll still come to church every week. He said "Elder White,it doesn't matter if you're there or if you're not there, I'm going to church every Sunday," in a very sassy, I don't need you tone of voice. That's why I love Grandpa Guo. Then we went and visited him earlier this week and he's completely changed. He said he was going to start living it. He said he'd quit everything immediately and was slowly quitting smoking but that he will have quit before his baptism. We were shocked. We then went back Saturday and his wife told us he'd stopped drinking coffee and tea, and is smoking less. We were astonished. When I first taught him the Word of Wisdom just a week before he had got up and grabbed a whole bunch of tea packets and told me about all the health benefits. Just one week later he quit! Yesterday in Sunday school the lesson was on the Word of Wisdom. He was eager to share all he learned!
This Tuesday my companion contacted a man named Mister Shi. He's in his 50's and is usually in mainland China, but will be in Taiwan for the next short amount of time and currently has a lot of free time. He first met because he took a wrong bus and met Elder Su and thought it was destiny. He came the next day, Wednesday, and sat down with us. He had a lot of "ideas" and came off a bit prideful, but agreed to meet Thursday. We were on splits and Elder Su met with him, said he was pretty much the same, but agreed to meet Friday. On Friday we were on exchanges so I was to meet with him. At the beginning of the lesson he started going off on his ideas. The Spirit told me to sing "I stand all amazed" with him. We did, the Spirit in the lesson was a bit better. We bore testimony of the Savior, and our member shared some really good stuff about being converted because of answers to his prayer and leaving the more traditional Asian religions behind, however brother Shi was pretty much the same. Then we opened scripture. Read Alma 7:10-13 about what Jesus did for us, then 14-16 about what we need to do to use the atonement. The Spirit was so strong. He whole mood changed. I was overcome by the Spirit and Brother Shi began asking questions about how to be baptized and what it means to enter into a covenant with God. It was amazing. He met yet again the next day, and was a completely different person. Humble, and willing to learn, said one of the most amazing prayers I've heard an investigator say. Then he came to church yesterday. I testify that the Lord has prepared people. Even if they don't know that they're prepared. Even if we don't know they're prepared. The Lord knows. We met with Brother Shi every day last week, and he's willing and wanting to meet daily this week as well. What a miracle!!
Another remarkable miracle this week took place as we went to the chapel Wednesday morning to meet with a set up. As we rode up to the chapel we were met by a Filipina named Mary. She was an older woman who informed us that she only has 1-2 days off a month, just like most Filipinos in Taiwan, and that every time she has a day off she comes to the church looking for missionaries. She usually waits an hour or two and then leaves without luck. She is a member of the English ward here in Taiwan. She'd been looking for missionaries because she had some friends from the Philippines who wanted to learn more, and one in particular needed a blessing. We were there! We were able to meet her. She called us 2 days later and we went out that night to visit Mary's friends. What followed was one of the most spiritual experiences of my mission and one of the most humbling experiences of my life. We followed Mary to were these Filipinos lived. We were led to a sad living situation in which probably about 100 Filipinos live on 3 floors of this little building. Cockroaches everywhere, they work 12 hour days in factories and only have 1 or 2 days off a month. They do it for their families. They love their families and can provide better for them working in Taiwan and sending the money home. Many of these people have college degrees and would be working white collar jobs in the Philippines, but the pay here is still better. Mary led us to a back kitchen were we met with 4 of her friends. We gave one sister a priesthood blessing and it was such an amazing spirit there with us. We then explained about the restoration of the priesthood through Joseph Smith and shared a little bit about the restoration. We'll be going back next week to share more. It was an amazing miracle and experience.
This week was TYPHOON WEEK!!! There was a pretty big storm that came in Wednesday and lasted until Friday morning. We were asked Wednesday evening to go home and not proselyte. We were then told Thursday afternoon that we could go out if we first called president, and if we had set up lessons at the chapel, and immediately returned home at the end of the lessons. We immediately set up 2 lessons so we could get out!!! In between those 2 lessons we began setting up others for that night. We were blessed to have people willing, in that weather, to come over so we could set up lessons for every half an hour. When it was all said and done we didn't get home until 9 o'clock, just like any regular day! It was great!! In a recent General Conference address, our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson said "No cause, no force in the entire world can stop the work of God." When he said that I'm pretty sure he was talking about typhoons.
My recent convert Brother Huang is cool. His English name is Shaggy, I gave it to him. He is the one that was baptized in 3 weeks. He now calls us whenever he doesn't have work asking if he can come be our member present in lessons!! It's awesome. He has a great testimony, and most people are reluctant or shy about teaching lessons with us at first. But before he had ever even done it he was asking if he could. He is currently preparing to go to the temple, and wants to start doing his family history.... WOW!
Last P-Day was amazing... I don't usually talk about P-day, but we went up to a place called Jiu-Fen with one of our investigators and 2 members. What a beautiful place, as the pictures I will send will indicate. I'm so blessed to be in Taiwan. This little island is so great! I love it so much!
This week Elder Workman came down on exchanges. He goes home next week, so it was my last time proselyting with my former companion and good friend Elder Workman. It's kind of crazy, because almost all my companions are in that group. Elder Bogle goes home next week as well. I'm going to miss them all. I'm still astonished with how many amazing companions the Lord has given me. I feel really blessed.
Speaking of Elder Bogle, he and I will be at the temple tomorrow! With the ZHANG FAMILY!!! THEY'RE GETTING SEALED FOR TIME AND ETERNITY!!! They have asked that Elder Bogle and I be their witnesses!!!! I couldn't be more excited!!! I can't wait. I love them so much. They are such an amazing family. I've been too blessed as a missionary. I cannot wait to see this family I love so much be sealed and become an eternal family. It's so cool too because when Elder Bogle and I taught them we were both young missionaries, so we both are still here 1 year later to see them sealed. I couldn't think of a better way to end my mission if I were Elder Bogle.
That's another great thing that's happened this transfer. Seeing some of the missionaries that chose to extend see big miracles. I'd been wondering lately if extending was the right choice, especially since I'd miss Christmas and school. One thing that's helped is an Elder in our district. He originally didn't plan on extending but he prayed about it and chose to. And he's seen huge miracles this last transfer. The coolest was a family that he was teaching. He really wanted to see them baptized, before he left but they went on vacation for 3 weeks and upon returning they had to learn all the commandments and have absolutely no problems and be willing to live them without any hesitation in order to make it. He and I started praying for this as soon as they left on vacation. They came back and it really happened. They were amazing. I did the mother's baptismal interview yesterday. What an amazing family! It's helped me feel better about my choice to extend.
I want to tell you about my English class gospel lesson this week. It went really well. We started by playing the thimble game with a sacrament cup. It's where someone picks a topic like colors, then fills the small cup with water, and goes around one by one to everyone and they have to say a color. If it's the same as the person with the cup chose and wrote down on their hand, they then throw the water on them, and it's their turn. This game was super fun because these Taiwanese people did not want to get splashed. It was like torture if they were the one to get splashed. Lots of moaning and what not. Really fun. After playing a couple times we continued and someone guessed the same as the person with the cup. Before they splashed that person I said stop, and I asked if anyone was willing to take the splash instead, at first no one was, finally someone said they were willing. So I let that person take the splash. Everyone thought that wasn't fair. Then I asked them what if we were playing with a gun. And if you guessed wrong instead of getting splashed you got shot. Would you be willing to take that on for someone else? We then opened to some scriptures about the atonement and how Christ died, and suffered for us. It was really cool. I felt the Spirit really strongly as I reflected on what Christ has done for me and then testified of Him.
I'm so thankful for the opportunity to represent him, and be a part of this work.
I love Him.