Wow... let the last transfer of my mission begin. It's surreal that it's coming to end. This experience has gone by so fast. I really can't believe it.
The Lord has blessed me with an amazing last companion to finish out my mission. His name is Elder Davidson. He's from Syracuse, Utah. He's a younger missionary; he's been in Taiwan a few months. We've both prayed that he and I would have the chance to be companions... and it happened!!! Elder Davidson is a super Christ-like missionary. He always writes investigators, members, and other missionaries little notes of encouragement. He's a super positive person and it will be great to be around him and work with him these last 6 weeks of my mission.
This last week was really amazing. I'm 21 years old!!!! WOW!!! It's hard to believe that the world keeps going on while we're out here being missionaries. I feel like I should just be going home as the 19 year old that entered the MTC a couple years ago. It was a great birthday though. Last Monday some converts from TaoYuan took me and my companion, as well as Elder Vandenberghe (my MTC companion) and his companion to a really beautiful part of Taiwan in order to celebrate my birthday and Elder Vandenberghe's last P-Day. It was a lot of fun to see some beautiful parts of this island that missionaries don't get to see too often due to the fact that they are only accessible by car.
Then that night we went to a family in our ward's house to have a birthday celebration. The father of the Wang family, a Sister missionary serving in our ward, and I all have the same birthday. The 3 of us were all born on December 13. We celebrated with pizza and cake. It was very nice and thoughtful of them. My favorite birthday surprise however, took place Wednesday night. Every Wednesday night we teach our free English class. I work the reception desk here in SanChong while the other missionaries teach the class. The class begins at 7 and goes til 8:30. At 7:15 I was sitting bored at my desk with no one to talk to when all of a sudden Andy Huang, one of my favorite converts, from TuCheng walks in. I was so surprised to see him. He asked where everyone was? I didn't know what he meant. And then he said "They were all supposed to get here at 7. A few minutes later 5 other TuCheng members came in with a big birthday cake to surprise me, but Andy had ruined the surprise. It was really funny. But it was also so much fun.
While the other missionaries taught English I was able to celebrate my birthday with 3 of my converts from TuCheng as well as some of my closest member friends from that ward. It was a great surprise and super thoughtful of them. I'm so thankful for all the wonderful areas I've been able to serve in and all the amazing friends I've been able to make. It was a great birthday!
This week was also filled with some great miracles. On Thursday night we had a lesson with one of our really good investigators. It went smoothly and concluded at 8 p.m. We had nothing else scheduled so we'd normally go out and contact people or knock doors on our way home. I was overcome with a feeling that we needed to stay in the chapel a little bit longer. Our chapel here is on the 7th floor of a big building. We sat down and I made a couple phone calls when the elevator doors opened. In walked Jackie Zhu, my favorite investigator right now. He came by total surprise and in his hand was a bag. He walked in and said he had brought us coffee for my birthday. Hahaha. He was confused by the laughter from Elder Peterson and me. We thanked in for the thoughtful gift and then informed him we don't drink coffee. He seemed confused and so we asked if we could sit down and have a lesson with him. We taught the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. We invited him to live them both. HE IMMEDIATELY ACCEPTED. He's truly GOLDEN. He's such a great kid and it was so cool to have him come out of the blue and meet with us. It was super thoughtful of him.
I'm thankful for the spirit that helps us do this work. If we'd have immediately left the chapel after our lesson Jackie would have come up to an empty chapel, and we would have missed that opportunity to teach him more about God's will for us. Jackie is so awesome! He came down with a bit of a cold this weekend, but he still came to Sacrament meeting. It was easy to see that he wasn't feeling too good, and after he left sacrament his mom took him to the doctor. It was really cool to have him come to church even while feeling a bit under the weather. He's really dedicated to doing what God wants us to do.
Another great miracle this week happened on Saturday night. We invited our investigator. Brother Li, to attend a live nativity activity being held at the temple square in Taipei. We also got his recently baptized ex-wife (they still act like a married couple around each other) to attend with him. After the activity we took them on a temple square tour. These tours are set up through the mission and involve Sister missionaries taking investigators around the neighboring chapel and showing them gospel artwork while teaching gospel principles. Our tour took the theme of eternal marriage, and both Brother Li and his ex-wife Sister Hong's faces lit up as we stopped at a window that looks out onto the temple and talked about temple marriage. Brother Li is really good and would get baptized except that he has Sunday work and isn't willing to do anything about it at this point. Hopefully the tour will have given him more motivation.
I'm sorry this letter is a little bit all over the place. I know my English is getting worse, and I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors.
I'm thankful I have 6 more weeks to do this work. I still have a little gas left in the tank and I look forward to giving everything I've got left these last 6 weeks. It was sad seeing the other Elders in my MTC group go home and know they will be with their families for Christmas this year, and they'll be getting right back into school, but I had a wonderful spiritual confirmation at this weeks move call meeting that I made the right choice in taking an extra transfer. I know there is more the Lord needs me to do here. I know there are more miracles to be seen, lives to change, and souls to save. I'm looking forward to doing work with Elder Davidson. He's a great person and a great missionary. It's going to be a great transfer.
I love you all!