This is my son "trainee"
his first stinky tofu
His first planning session (sleep)
With our investigator Brother Yang (grandpa)
These are some shots of downtown SanChong from the roof of our apartment. In the area that looks the most "downtownish" there is a big WHITE building taller than the rest. The 7th floor of that building is our chapel
his first scooter contact
Some shots of SanChong at night
This week flew by. I can't recall much of what happened. I feel like I was just emailing home yesterday. It's amazing how quickly time goes by out here in the field. We're really working hard in this new area to try to help this ward out. The ward is amazing. Microscopic, but amazing. They want growth so badly. The members all fasted for it yesterday. I'm often really moved by the SanChong ward and their desire for growth and their love for missionary work. I've been in a lot of areas where the wards were big, and comfortable, and established. They'd be happy over convert baptisms, but not too excited. This little, needy, SanChong ward is full of fire. I know that the Lord has been hearing their prayers and he's ready to take SanChong to new levels. I really hope that before I leave here (anticipating this as my last area) I can help establish SanChong as a strong, successful area of the mission, as well as help the ward grow. I love working with them. Our bishop and his family are amazing. The lack of priesthood in the ward is astonishing, and to top it off the Elders quorum president is moving next month. He was a good guy with a testimony, wears Vans to church and doesn't wear a tie, but we really can't afford to lose him.
This week we met multiple times with a man we found last Sunday. He's 31 years old, recently married, in between work (so he has time), and exactly what we need to get things started in the area. He came to church this Sunday and is progressing quite nicely toward the baptismal date we set. We'll probably end up moving the date earlier a bit. He's a really big miracle. A nice, humble guy, seeking the truth.
Our other great investigator is Brother Huang. He's the one I gave a blessing to the first day here in SanChong. He's a great guy. So nice. He's the last member of his family to be baptized and we're trying to help him quit smoking. Every time we go out there to visit he's always so excited to share with us an experience he had turning down cigarettes, or coffee, or alcohol at work. It's really funny. He's smoking a lot less than before. I really want this family to have the chance to be eternal.
There is a recent convert here who was baptized a little bit before we got here. I heard that he was anticipated to die the week after his baptism due to his cancer, but after his baptism he's improved a lot. His body is still not great though, and yesterday it was apparent he wasn't super comfortable in church. He asked for a priesthood blessing. The ward mission leader and I gave it to him. I anticipated the ward mission leader, a member of 20 years, would give the blessing and I'd just anoint the oil (I prefer members to give blessings, because they can develop that relationship, whereas us missionaries will be gone in a matter of months). However, the ward mission leader had never given a blessing before and asked that I do the blessing. I agreed and it was a very special experience. I've never given a blessing to someone that close to death before. The spirit told me to tell him that he needs to cherish his time with his family and spend as much time with them as possible right now. He was also told to help them prepare to receive the gospel. It was a very humbling experience to give a blessing to someone who is in the final stages of their mortal existence.
I'm really enjoying my trainee. He's a good missionary, but more importantly, his attitude is great and we get along really well. I think it'd be super hard to open a brand new area with someone that I wasn't good friends with, and I'm very thankful for that. It makes things that much smoother.
In the training program of the church we have a lot more studies as a trainer/trainee and so we study until 12:00 noon. This causes us to just be at home all morning. We've developed a habit of eating/snacking throughout studies to stay awake/and then we're not really hungry for lunch. The problem is we've adopted a weird diet consisting pretty much of bread, hazelnut spread, and soy milk. It's pretty great.
We've been blessed to work with a family the bishop asked us to visit. It's a Sister Cai. She is a single mother with three sons. 2 sons are less active, the other is a non member. It's sad. The oldest 2 sons, 18 and 17 in age, have left home, dropped out and are out living on their own. The youngest son is 13 and is following the same path. They don't listen to the mother at all. I've never met someone with a situation so hard. There is no visiting teaching system set up in the ward, and her home teacher didn't even know he was her home teacher until I sought out the list this Sunday. It's super sad. There is so much work to do here. SanChong is moving in the right direction, but we've got to get it moving there faster.
One other cool thing that happened is that last week our bishop's wife and kids went down to the southern part of the Island to visit her family down there. While there they attended church. During church they met Elder Harrison Nickel! The bishop's little girls were so excited to tell me at church yesterday that they met my friend and that he was nice. Haha. They took pictures with them and Elder Nickel, it was cool to see them together.
That's about it for this week. Keep praying for SanChong. I can't wait for General Conference next week!! I know you've all already seen it, but we have to wait until next week. I love General Conference. My 3 favorite times of the year are Christmas, April General Conference, and October General Conference. Living Prophets!!!