Good morning from Formosa.
This week was full of great news and events. I'll try to take it one day at time.
Monday- I usually don't talk about p-day, but this p-day was just too good! We went to TaoYuan! We got together with all of the missionaries I was down there with a couple transfers ago. Elder Sheng's new zone leader companion down there is Elder Vandenberghe, my MTC companion, so it's even that much more fun! I love those guys. We played some football. It was a much needed p-day down there with some really good friends. If you'd have told me the first day in the MTC that my 135 pound, dinosuar loving companion would end up being one of my best friends, I'd have thought no way. I missed all of those missionaries down in the TaoYuan zone. I was there for five transfers and exchanged with all of them. Really great P-day.
That evening we also got a referral from the TaiChung mission. It told of a Lin Hong Jie, who had been taking the discussions down south and was attending church. He just moved into our area. I gave him a call and he was super excited to hear from missionaries and said he wanted to be baptized. We set him up.
Tuesday- I get a call from the assistants informing me that my companion and I, in the following day's zone conference would be doing a 30 minute training. This is nothing new, but it was super late notice. What really caught me off guard was the topic "How to teach 9 year old Children." Super specific, no section of Preach My Gospel with this heading. It surprised me a bit.
Wednesday- We went to zone conference. During our training we pretty much just told them to use candy. 2 days later was zone leader council. The assistants used candy in their training. Which means our training was a SUCCESS!! Another cool thing happened Wednesday. We were at zone conference right by the temple, and the TaiChung missionaries were up for their temple day. I was able to see my favorite TaiChung missionary from the MTC. Wow it made it seem like time flies. It felt like last month he and I were on the plane just talking to everyone that would listen. Now we're on the back ends of our missions. He informed me that none of the missionaries that came on with us from TaiChung will be extending. They are all going home before Christmas.... ah man. I literally have no one on the plane home with me... well actually I have 3 sister missionaries as my travel companions......
Thursday- Did missionary things.
Friday- Friday was zone leader council. Prior to zone leader council my companion and I went to the mission office so I could do my interview with President Day, which had been postponed by a couple weeks. This interview was great. He informed me that I'd been a zone leader longer than he'd ever heard of. 7 transfers. He then extended the call for me to finish the last 3 transfers of my mission as a trainer. I was thrilled! He told me that I will be training a brand new missionary next transfer, as well as opening an area. It's going to be a huge challenge opening an area with a brand new missionary but I'm super excited! It's going to be a great adventure and an opportunity to see a ton of miracles. In interviews I also asked him about my decision to extend and said it's been on my mind a bit as of late just because I don't know what I'll be doing right as I get home. He gave me some good advice and told me I should start setting personal goals right now for things I want to do in those first few months home. In the last part of the interview he invited me to read all of D&C in 12 weeks. YIKES!!
It was a good interview. I'm super excited for the challenge that lies ahead in opening an area and training!
Also at the lunch following Zone Leader Council the TaoYuan zone leaders kept giving me their phone as a bunch of my recent converts there were calling. They informed some of them that they'd see me at that time. It was so great to talk to Brother Tsai and Nami!!
Saturday- I read the first 10 sections of D&C. Haha. Saturday morning Lin Hong Jie, after meeting with us a couple times during the week passed his baptismal interview. I'm super excited for this man. He is full of faith and I'm so excited for TuCheng to get this strong of a future priesthood holder. He met the church through his girlfriend, who was baptized last week. He moved up here and found new work because they were living together and he needed to obey the law of chastity. He's amazing. I can't wait for his baptism this coming Saturday!
Saturday evening was our ward's musical fireside. I played Love One Another and sang in English, then the second verse I played while a member sang in Chinese, then we came together for the last part with some harmony. I can't wait to show you the video.... the very last line I tapped into my super falsetto and hit some really high notes. I don't think it sounded very good, but I know the entire ward thought it was funny and awesome. It was a really fun fireside. My good pal, (and last companion) Brother Su, formerly Elder Su came up and performed his bamboo flute. It was pretty cool. His whole family came up so I got to meet them all. That was really great. He stayed for the weekend because one of our converts was speaking at the Taipei new member fireside Sunday, and today (Monday) he's driving us out to JiuFen and JiLong, some cool parts of Taiwan that you need a car to get to. Good times.
Sunday- Met with Andy Huang after church. My first day in TuCheng we went to a family home evening and Andy was actually the first person I met. He said "I'm Andy, I'm your investigator." I had a strong feeling from that point. After FHE I asked Elder Su if we had a time set to meet with him. Then I found out Andy had been an investigator for over a year, and missionaries had met with him twice in the last 8 months because he wasn't progressing. I called Andy that night and set up a time. The first time I sat down with Andy I looked him in the eye and quoted the first vision. The spirit was strong and I asked him if he believes it's true? He said he knows it's true. I asked him why he hadn't been baptized and he had gave several excuses. I told him the spirit that we were feeling was from God, and then I told him he would be baptized while I was in TuCheng. Bold, yes. Overbearing, I think not, because it was the spirit prompting me to say it. He kind of laughed but said he was willing to give it a shot. In these last 9 weeks I've been working closely with, and praying fervently for Andy. He's a great guy. Although these last 9 weeks with him have felt like an uphill battle, he's progressed so much. I didn't stop at the beginning when he wasn't progressing much, the spirit was saying to keep working with him. In our meeting yesterday I asked him how he feels about baptism. He said he knows he needs it and now he wants it. He's living the commandments now. We scheduled a baptismal interview this week!!!! I'm so thrilled. I really can't wait for him to make it, the ward has been waiting so long for this. He's come to church every week for over a year, and he attends a majority of church activities. In ward council a couple weeks ago I informed bishop that Andy's baptism was coming up. Bishop was shocked and thrilled!
Sunday night we had the privilege of attending a New member/ Investigator fireside in Taipei. Our recent convert Brother Jian spoke. He's a genius! Taiwan National University graduate (it's like the Harvard of Taiwan) He gave a talk that sounded more like general conference than fireside. I felt bad for the poor missionary that got stuck on translation duty that night. Haha.. Brother Jian is awesome!
It was another great week here in TuCheng. The Lord is continuing to bless us with SO MANY miracles!!
I love you all,