More gondola pictures.
I know I've sent some before but some of these are pretty.
For the Halloween party, we went as mustached missionaries.
It was a great week here in SanChong. Due to the fact that last week's p-day was moved from Monday to Wednesday, I feel as if I emailed just yesterday. I don't know where to begin. How about we start 5 weeks ago when Elder Peterson and I left the move call meeting to come to our new apartment and new area and start this new phase of our service to the Lord as his missionaries.
We had only one investigator left by the sisters who had previously been working the larger area. Brother Huang. A husband and a father to a wonderful wife and four amazing kids who are all members. Brother Huang's Taiwanese is better than his Mandarin. He had a serious smoking addiction, and was still not praying daily. When he did pray he usually had to rely on his wife to help him. I don't mention these things as to complain about the state of our area as we opened it up, but to emphasize the change Brother Huang has made. The one thing Brother Huang did have going for him was a humble, sincere heart. That day, in the humble Huang home I cried as I the spirit prompted me to promise Brother Huang and his family that they would be an eternal family. Given the circumstances around Brother Huang's current state at that time, that seemed like a bold promise to this family I had just met. Why the tears? Because I knew without a single doubt that those words were given to me by the Spirit and that they were as true as a the doctrine we teach in a lesson. As the spirit prompted me to do, I ended that lesson by giving Brother Huang a priesthood blessing. I was prompted to talk about how much Heavenly Father loves him and his family, how he's been hearing Brother Huang's families' prayers ,and how it's his will for them as a whole family to return to him. He was blessed that as he prayed continually he would have the strength to overcome his smoking addiction and prepare for baptism. I also told him that baptism wasn't the end of his journey, that it would continue to the gates of the temple with his family. It was a really strong spiritual experience. We left the Huang home that day with a swelling desire to help Brother Huang and that family.
During one of our earlier meetings with Brother Huang we shared the story of Alma and his people in Mosiah 24. HE LOVED IT! He thought it was so cool how they just prayed in their hearts and the Lord still heard them and delivered them. That day Brother Huang began praying in his heart whenever he was tempted to smoke. He thought it was the greatest thing in the world, because most of his smoking temptation was from his friends at work, and it wasn't the most convenient thing to fold his arms, bow his head, and pray in those situations. Once he started praying in his heart, he really started progressing, and the number of cigarettes began dropping. This continued until this last week. Monday he had smoked 1 cigarette. We were so proud of him. The cigarette he smoked on Monday was his last. He passed his baptismal interview this weekend and he, along with the ward are so happy about his baptism next week. I know the power of priesthood blessings is real, and I know that the power of prayer is real. The most happy of all may be his wife, who was assigned with their four children to speak in sacrament meeting this week. She talked about how she'd been praying for this to happen for years. I was so moved by her faith and patience. I'm so happy for them. In the puzzle that is an eternal Huang family, the final piece will be put into place this Saturday evening. Then one year from this time the Huang family can be sealed together for eternity. It is such a huge miracle and it was an edifying and educational experience teaching Brother Huang, but ever more important, is it continued to solidify my testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ as I saw this man change by the power thereof.
I've asked our ward mission leader if we can do the whole baptism meeting in Taiwanese, since Brother Huang is more comfortable with Taiwanese. He said he'll try. That would be SWEET!!! I hope it can happen.
I feel like I need to talk a little bit about our Ward mission leader here. He is the MAN!! He is so funny. Brother Hong is his name. He's forgetful, unorganized and irresponsible... and we love him!!! Our ward mission meetings are usually more about the food than the work. Words cannot describe this man and do him justice, you just have to meet him. He's 60 years old, I always joke with him and tell him he looks like he's 40. He laughs so hard. and his laugh is hilarious. He's such a great guy. His conversion story is funny. He met missionaries when he was 26, they taught him everything, then told him he needed to pray for 10 minutes sincerely and see if gets an answer. He did... no answer. they told him to pray for 30 minutes... no answer. They told him to pray for 1 hour... he did... no answer. That was the end, for a while. 5 years later missionaries called the number off of his old record and invited him to a Christmas activity. He walked in late and the choir was singing. He felt the Spirit and got his answer. He was baptized 2 weeks later. Brother Hong is probably mine and Elder Peterson's favorite part of working in SanChong. He's the best Ward Mission Leader in the world. As a gift for all of his hard work I painted Brother Hong a watercolor of him, but he had a mane and a lions tail. Then in quotations "Brother Hong, as brave as a lion" It was really great.
I've actually been watercoloring a lot lately in my 15 minutes of free time each night. My investigators are really enjoying the watercoloring's of Jesus I've been doing for them. An Elder in a neighboring area even paid me about 15 cents U.S. for one of my paintings. So I've become a professional painter on my mission.
This week was our ward's Halloween party for the kids. It was really good because we have a 13 year old investigator. We also had Brother Huang's family there. It was a lot of fun but the best part was at one point they sat the kids down and did a slide show on "where ghosts come from" They then went into detail about the pre-earth life and how 1/3 of the hosts of heaven followed Satan and were denied bodies. They came down to earth and sometimes even possess people. It was so funny, for any little kid it would have been the most terrifying thing in the world. It was so blunt. haha. They don't celebrate Halloween in Taiwan so they were doing their best to throw something together, but they terrified all the little children.
Speaking of possessed people my companion and I were coming home after lunch last week for our Thursday afternoon "weekly planning session" when we began getting chased by this CRAZY guy on his bike. He was screaming at us in the filthiest language the Taiwanese language is capable of making. Then we came to a light and he came up and kicked my bike. It was crazy. So we rode off as fast as we could and thought we had lost him, then all of a sudden we heard him yelling at us from behind again. He chased us as we ducked through alley ways and down back streets for about 5 minutes before we eventually lost him. It was such a weird thing. We did nothing to instigate it. I feel really bad for Elder Peterson though. He meets genuinely mean people all the time. Hahahaha, I've gone almost 2 years of contacting everyone and I haven't ran into people as mean as we seem to run into on a daily basis.
None of that can keep us down though. Our area is really taking off. It doesn't seem anyhing like an area that was opened one month ago. It's now one of the most successful in the whole zone. We're so excited for the future of SanChong. We went from almost nothing, to a lot of great people willing to learn about the gospel and progress toward baptism! It's great.
The church is True. Jesus Christ is our leader and Savior. I love him.
You are all good people.