This week was especially tiring. Opening an area while training has most definitely taken it's toll on me. Some days I feel as if I'm running on fumes. My trainee has actually had a big breakthrough this week. He got chopsticks down, so it's a step in the right direction. Now we're just waiting for the day he understands something someone says to him or understands where we are in a lesson. I'm not complaining though. It has been a good experience and I've learned a lot.
This week we were contacting people in a park and I sat down with this really cool, really prepared kid. I was teaching him about prayer when this Christian woman of another faith came up and attacked us. She was in her 50's with a big crucifix around her neck. Her intentions were good, but she took over the contact and went off about the difference between praying to Heavenly Father and worshiping Buddhist gods. She talked about how with Heavenly Father it's all about praise. Praise through dance, song, movement, chants. Then she proceeded to pull out her ipad and show this kid videos of their church service involving everyone dancing and yelling and singing. It was crazy. I managed to whisper to the kid that this is not at all what our church is like and that if he'd come back in a couple days I could continue to share with him. He said he would and I left thinking that the contact had been killed by the crazy lady.
Sure enough a couple days later at the time I'd said the kid showed up. He brought his friend as well. He'd been praying everyday according to the way I'd prayed with him and was teaching him to do. He'd also taught his friend how to pray and they'd been praying together. It was a really, really cool miracle. As we continued to share with him and his friend the conversation was again interrupted by yet another middle aged woman. This time she came up and was harassing me with questions about the English class we teach and about how I should probably marry her daughter. Thankfully we were able to get her to leave after about 10 minutes, but at that time the friends I was talking to had to go. I think they may be really prepared and that's why we're getting so many distractions. We'll be meeting with them again this week, and I hope we won't get interrupted. We might want to change the location we're meeting with them at.
Brother Huang came to one of the sessions of General Conference!!! It was a big sacrifice for him to get there due to the fact that conference wasn't at our chapel here in SanChong. It was broadcast to the stake center a short distance away. He's progressing nicely and we made a specific plan to quit smoking for him.
This week we also had a ward activity for a Taiwanese holiday. It was a barbecue. There was one really good part. It was in DANSHUI!!! I had the privilege of returning to my favorite part of Taiwan. It was so nice!! I loved it. For the most part it was a decent activity with the exception that the sister missionaries didn't step up and take control of their group of 15 year old investigators that wanted to follow the white elders around all day. But it was nice to see Brother Guo, a recent convert to the SanChong ward with cancer able to make the trip out there and enjoy the activity with his wife.
This week I feel as if I learned a great lesson as I was studying the scriptures. I found myself a little impatient with the pace that things were moving here in SanChong. I found myself feeling more tired than I've ever felt on my mission. I began to ask myself why? Why so slow? What might we be doing wrong? Is it me? What more can I be doing? I then stumbled upon D&C 64:32-33 which reads:
32 But all things must come to pass in their time.
33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
I realized that in opening an area, I also am laying a foundation. Solid foundations are built slowly, with much effort. I felt as though as long as I continue in well-doing... using Preach My Gospel methods to establish the work here in SanChong, all things which the Lord has prepared for us here in SanChong will come to pass in their time. I firmly believe that all things includes baptism. Lots and lots of baptism.
I also appreciated President Monson's talk about counting our blessings. I realized I need to be more grateful for the miracles we do have. We have an amazing investigator we found in the first week here, who is likely to be baptized the end of this month. I don't think there could be a bigger blessing than one month after opening an area baptizing a potential priesthood holder. I look at things and in just these 3 short weeks we have 3 of our 4 baptismal dates who have attended at least one sacrament meeting. That's three very solid baptismal candidates, who are progressing, reading, praying, and attending church. In my impatience I was viewing these things as "not enough" or comparing myself to former times on my mission where I was in very established areas, with more proselyting time, and more experienced companions. I realized that once I change my attitude from comparing to being thankful for what we do have, I recognized how much we really do have going for us. I'm much more positive and happy as I face the privilege of spending another week serving the Lord's children in SanChong.
I love this work. I love the prophet's simple, yet pure and true counsel! I'm humbled and blessed to be a part of the Lord's kingdom on the earth, and more humbled and blessed to be serving in it as a missionary at this time.
I love you all