Our ward mission meeting
This is a picture of the cell phone referral system. I got a referral this last week from Elder Nickell in TaiZhong!!
my nickname "Bai Shuai Shuai" it's also a brand of laundry detergent
san chong at night and some good english
Some shots of San Chong at night.
My super photogenic companion in this picture.
I've taken up watercoloring. This one is of Jesus.
My trainee is obsessed with Taiwanese ice cream. He ate these 4 gallons in 2 days.
Elder Davidson (Mr. Basketball for the state of Washington who's on scholarship to play ball at BYU after the mission) and myself (Who was the 3rd leading scorer in University of Utah Intramurals 2 years ago)
This must be where ALL that mail I'm not getting is going.
Our sweet Utah Jazz and Chicago bulls hats we've bought off of old guys on the subway.
This week was not too shabby. I began the week still afflicted with my stomach ailment and still taking a medication for it that made me drowsy, but I received a blessing for it Thursday night and have been doing much better since. Despite getting over the sickness there were still a lot of great things that took place this week.
This last preparation day we went down to the TaoYuan 3rd ward (my old area). Elder Vandenberghe, my MTC companion is currently serving there. We went down to hang out with him for one of the last times, (he goes home in 4 weeks), as well as to hang out with one of my recent converts there. It was great. I'm going to miss Elder Vandenberghe. Two years ago I never imagined that this dinosaur fanatic MTC companion would become one of my best friends. The convert we were with was Sister Zhan, a.k.a. Nami. She informed me that she is going on a mission!!! She is going to first graduate college next year and then go! It's so exciting. She had a lot of family opposition in joining the church and she didn't tell her family she was getting baptized, but she said now they know she's going on a mission and they've accepted it as well. It's so cool to see someone who receives the gospel and the blessings it brings, and then wants to turn around and share it. YEAH!
Our best investigator here in SanChong had a rough week. We'd been praying for him to find work, especially that would let him rest on the Sabbath. Heavenly Father provided a huge miracle and provided Brother Zhang with a job. His job makes it so we weren't able to meet at all Monday through Saturday, but he had Sunday off. Then as we continued to follow up with him he sounded worse and worse as the week went on. He hadn't been taking the time to read scriptures and pray and then Saturday he said he wouldn't be at church because he's too tired from work. It's really sad to see this happening. He was really close to baptism. We're going to keep praying for him. It's extremely hard to help people develop desire when we're not able to meet with them.
This week a couple of amazing finding miracles happened. We especially needed these miracles since we spent much of last week and the first half of this week dealing with sickness. While sick I decided to call a bunch of the former records we have. I called many people including some that were investigating back when there were still discussions. Many of them were numbers no longer in use. I had a moderately successful calling session but nothing too special. Then, later that night I received a call from a man. I told him we were the current missionaries in SanChong and he said he hadn't met with missionaries in years (9 to be exact). We then invited him to meet and he said he really wanted to. The first time around he only met once, yet it was a good enough experience to plant a seed in his heart that must have been slowly growing this past decade. He came and was AMAZING. We met with him Saturday. He set a baptismal date, agreed to pray and read, and came to church the next day! At church he made many friends, felt the spirit, and said he loved it! He's excited to meet again this week. If I got sick just so I'd have time to sort through some old records and make calls in order to find this prepared soul, then the strictly toast only diet and all the vomiting would be worth it. Let's hope!
This Friday we had another amazing finding miracle. The Lord really was leading people to us this week. We were in a meeting at the downtown Taipei stake center with most of the other missionaries in the mission. During a break, the missionaries were allowed to go out and get drinks and stretch. One of the missionaries in our district noticed a man on the couch and struck up a conversation. Eventually he found out this man lives in SanChong and came there that day with hopes of meeting missionaries and learning about the church. He gave the Elder his name card and we called him that night. Brother Ding is sweet!! He's done a lot of research on his own online and he's the father of a young family with 2 adorable little girls. We met with him Saturday and he had a lot of desire to learn. He said he wants to meet as often as possible and has time in the evenings almost every day. He also lives within a five minute walk of our chapel, but never knew where the chapel in SanChong was (because we're on the 7th floor of an office building). It was a great miracle.
There was another small miracle this week that helped me remember Heavenly Father answers prayers. I have a small coin purse that I keep my spare change in. Coin purse sounds feminine, it's more of a coin pouch. It was a gift from a member of the TuCheng ward, she got it while she was in Australia so it holds sentimental value. The other night I reached in my pocket to pull it out so I could buy a bottled water. The pouch wasn't there. I was scared. The pouch and the small amount of money it held would have been sad to lose as is, but the real fear came from the fact that just earlier that day I placed the memory card containing my first year of mission pictures in the pouch as well. Losing that would mean losing many, many fond memories. I was stressing. I was convinced the pouch had fallen out of my pocket while I was riding my bike. I decided to pray. While praying I had a distinct prompting to go and check a convenience store we'd been at earlier that day. Prior to praying I hadn't remembered that we'd been to that store earlier in the day. We went back and asked the clerk, who retrieved it from behind the counter. It was a great miracle. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who hears even our smallest prayers. He loves us. He cares about our lives and our goals, hopes, desires, and interests. There are so many people here in Taiwan who have no clue who Heavenly Father is and know even less about their relationship with him. It's such a privilege to share what I've been so blessed from with them. I literally have the opportunity in helping them come to know their Father in Heaven. Our living and loving God. There's nothing better to be doing!
This weekend we're in charge of a ward Thanksgiving activity. The sister missionaries in our ward also won't be there because they're in some missionary traveling choir. So it's been up to Elder Peterson, me, and our ward mission leader to throw together this activity. I'm not much for event planning, especially when I'm proselyting, but it seems to be coming together alright. Our ward mission leader wanted to learn about the origin of Thanksgiving so I've referred him to the movie Pocahontas, which he will then base an explanation of Thanksgiving off of. There will be no turkey, but a recent convert is providing a goose. Also, our 60 year old ward mission leader with be dressing up as an Indian. It will probably be the greatest Thanksgiving activity ever held on the island of Taiwan. I'm thankful to be a part of it.
Elder Peterson and I are excited to have a full week of health. This week we had President's interviews and in our closing prayer he blessed me that I'd have good health for the last 2 1/2 months of my mission so I'd be able to accomplish all I can and need to in the sunset of my mission. We want to go hit it hard this week and find people that will be baptized in the coming weeks and months.
I'm thankful for this opportunity to serve the Lord. It's gone by so fast. Thanks to all of you for your prayers and support.