WOW!!! I loved the package that Sister Garry sent me for Christmas!! haha I know it's not Christmas, but I opened it right when I got it! I LOVE that pillow case with all the notes from our ward members. I also loved reading the Chinese notes from Mom and Dad!! I am proud to say that I could read ALL of the characters that they wrote to me!! I love that pillow case, and I will use it this week!! ( I put it in the wash this morning so that I could put it on my pillow for tonight. )
Alright, this week in Yuanlin was amazing. Guess how many investigators we had come to church yesterday?! - SIX!!! WAAAHHH!!! Isn't that the best number ever?! - We totally hit our mission standard in basically all the key indicators with three awesome new investigators and twenty lessons. It was really humbling to see how much the Lord has blessed me especially at this time in my mission.
Honestly, right now has been the easiest and happiest time I have had on my mission so far. I have to remind myself every night to never take any of these blessings for granted. So, I've been really good at updating the area book and keeping good records. Something that one of my friends suggested me doing this Thanksgiving season is keeping a gratitude journal. I think that's a wonderful idea, and so I'm going to start one tonight.;)
Although it's already November, it doesn't really feel like Thanksgiving over here in Taiwan especially since no one over here really celebrates it. However, I still remember and am excited to celebrate it in our own way. Sister Anderson and I have like a million packets of mashed potato mix and muffins and everything. We are going to have a little celebration of our own, and I can't wait for it!! haha Also, we've been really good recently about watching our weight. I'm back down to 46 kg's instead of 51 kg's!! haha Isn't that awesome?!
We figure that when we FEEL healthy/skinny, we are both happier, so we've been really good about eating healthy foods and exercising. Sister Anderson is really awesome at motivating me to be the best I CAN be.
Alright, here are some journal entries from last week:
TUESDAY: 1 Nephi 11:17 "I know that God loveth His children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things."
It's amazing to me how much faith Nephi ha in his father Lehi and in the Lord when the only thing he really WAS sure of was that God loves His children. When we believe the words of the prophets without having to see the visions they've seen, we are like Nephi and can first have faith and believe that God DOES love us. It is definitely comforting to know that no matter what or who questions about our God, I at least know that God DOES love His children. I know that from the bottom of my heart, and if that knowledge/faith was good enough for someone as great as Nephi, it is DEFINITELY good enough for me.
Some people here think the purpose of life is to be happy, and it is, but they don't know how to obtain that fullness of joy - that HAPPINESS - that fruit of the tree of life. When we read the scriptures, we learn of the deep questions of the soul, and through analogies and comparisons, prophets of old are able to touch our hearts and enlighten our understandings. The words found in the scriptures apply to every single person here on the earth. Sometimes, all that is needed to find that most yearned for/searched for joy is an extra effort to FIND, SEARCH, and PRAY (just like Nephi and his father did.)
There are so many people that I meet here who aren't willing to make an extra/little effort and just TRY reading the Book of Mormon or TRY making it to church. They aren't willing to accept this gospel because of the fear that they allow Satan to strike in their hearts. Satan uses that same fear to hinder us from growing each day/each week. However, if we can just get past that powerless and pathetic grasp of the devil, we discover the key to unlock the door to faith. Sometimes I just want to yell at my investigators and say, "JUST TAKE THE BOOK AND READ IT!! DOES THAT REALLY HURT SO MUCH?! WILL THAT REALLY BE SO HARD?! ANYONE CAN READ A BOOK."
I definitely know that the Book of Mormon and the simple truths and revelations it contains within its pages is true. As missionaries, our purpose is to INVITE others, and their decision whether or not to accept or reject the Lord's invitation is ALL up to them and their way of using their free agency. When we are trusting God and are aware of His powers and blessings, our faith is strengthened and we know ho to overcome all fears.
Tonight's miracle: Tonight, Sister Anderson went "LA -hunting" for all the less actives that the bishop wanted us to go find. There are a bunch of less-actives who didn't have phone numbers, so we were in charge of finding them through going to their homes and leaving notes/doing anything we can to find out where they are and what they are doing.
Anyway, we found a lot of LA's who had moved or were not living where the ward list said they were living. Anyway, the miracle was finding this new investigator when we got lost looking for an LA. As we were looking for this LA's address and couldn't find it for a long time, we decided to knock on a door and ask for help. The woman who answered the door was shocked that we were out so late in the dark and decided to walk us to this LA's home. We found out that this woman has three young children and has had the Catholic missionaries over to her house every week. Before we left her, she told us that we could come by her house anytime and offered us her number. Of course, we were enthusiastic and took her number. We are going to go pay her a visit sometime this week. Something we learned tonight was the whenever your plans fall through, it's because God wants you to run into/do/be somewhere else. He's totally watching over all of us!!!
WEDNESDAY: (PERSONAL STUDY NOTES)
1 Nephi 9:6 "The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, He prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men, for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his works."
God DOES have all power. He prepares a way for all of us, ?His children to accomplish what He needs and desires to be done. It is so comforting to know that God will always provide a way for us to do His work even when our plans cancel or are changed.
This week, Sister Anderson and I are studying about having Charity and Love:
Expressions of love: being kind, listening, mourning with those that mourn, comforting those who need comfort, praying for others, sharing the gospel with others, and being others' friends.
"Our love for those around us increases when we remember that we are all Spirit brothers and sisters. THe love that results from this realization has the power to transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color." - True to the Faith
Something that I will always remember is the fact that "charity never faileth." Let's all work on having that kind of pure, Christlike charity!!!
Today was another crazy day - I just was really tired in the morning because all of our plans fell through, and our LA that we scheduled with totally didn't show up on purpose!!!
Good news is I've really realized how God works recently, or I think so at least... Today, Sister Anderson and I got on our knees and just pleaded with God to help us know where to go/what to do today when all of our plans fell through. We told God that we would just go and do as we planned, and we would trust that if we needed to be doing something else, He'd give us a clear, definite answer/response/request when the right time came into place.
1 Nephi 13:37 - I ran into my mission scripture again!
I can't believe it's already Saturday.
1 Ne 14:14 "And I Nephi beheld the power of the Lamb of God that it descended upon the Saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant peoples of the Lord who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory."
I love that we can be "armed" with this power of God and His "great glory". When we are on God's side and doing the right things, the things we SHOULD be doing, we need not fear because God will protect us and arm us with His glory.
We had SIX investigators at church today:
Wang Ya Li: English referral - REALLY REALLY GOLDEN. She stayed all three hours of church and wants to come/learn more in the future. She wants a copy of the Liahona and the scriptures.
Chen Shi Xuen: Comes to church all on her own. She asked for a copy of the doctrine and covenants. She always asks the greatest questions.
Iris: Stayed all three hours plus more to hear us rehearse for the Christmas program. She's the cutest. DEFINITELY getting baptized.
Wu Qi Cun: She's getting baptized in two weeks and is wonderful. We are so blessed to have such perfect investigators!!
FUN: I am teaching piano lessons to Li Jia Xuen, the bishop's daughter.
FUN: Arranging "Jingle Bells", "Silent Night", and "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" for violin/French horn/piano.
I really feel like now is the happiest, most fulfilling time I have ever had on my mission. I love all these people so much. I love my mission. I love God. He's too good to me. TOO GOOD TO ME.
During sacrament meeting, it was the primary program, and the accompanist wasn't there in the beggining, so I had to accompany the kids on the spot. It was awesome.
SO MANY THINGS, SO MANY PEOPLE, SO MANY THINGS I WISH I COULD WRITE ABOUT, BUT NOT ENOUGH TIME.
Alright, so last week our zone rode up to the temple and did initiatories and endowments together. It was really nice finally being able to go into the temple for the first time in a really long time. I loved feeling the Spirit and having that time to really ponder and pray about my mission/life/etc. Something that I notice and love about the temple is the fact that wherever you are, the temple feels the same. I felt the same way I do when I was going to the Provo temple. It's just like the gospel and the light it brings to our lives. Regardless where you live, you can take part of the wonderful blessings and covenants contained in the gospel of Christ. Isn't it wonderful?!
Anyway, Sister Anderson and I made some awesome peanut butter sandwiches for the bus. I don't know why that's important for you all to know, but I just felt like it needed to be included in the email. The point it is: the temple was so fun!! I'll include some pictures of our visit.
Here's an entry from my journal last Monday:
"The mission hasn't been better! I feel great here, especially in Yuanlin. Today, we got a lot done, and I was able to contact a ton of people. :) It was absolutely wonderful!! Plus, I got time tonight to write in my journal!! It's basically the best.
Anyway, I was thinking, the best way to be is to be yourself, especially when you're teaching investigators/RCLA's in lessons. God knows me and knows what I need. All I need to do is put my complete trust in Him, forget myself, and go to work. I love this place. I've been growing stronger and stronger everyday, and I'm NOT afraid of anything.
Something that I received in a letter this week reminded me of the guidance of our leaders: 'Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.' With faith, we can do all things.
I'm pretty sure there's a law against having too much fun on a mission..."
Today we had English class. K-9 (The name of the bishop's youngest 4 year-old son) wasn't being very good, so I didn't give him a star. He started pouting and being really sad. After class, he came and found me with his older 17 year-old sister because he thought I was angry with him. hahaha (Sidenote: It's IMPOSSIBLE for me to be angry with him. He's the cutest boy in the world. I just have to be strict with him at English class because there are at least 15 other little kids running around, and there has to be some sort of order for me to get anything done!! K-9 is really smart and really loud. He likes to shout out in class and laugh at me because of my Chinese accent.) Anyway, I explained to K-9 that I wasn't mad at him at all and that I loved him very much!! haha It was just so cute seeing him trying to hide his smile after I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. :)
Personal study: 1 Nephi Chapter 3 (I have started re-reading the Book of Mormon because I finished it last week. I've been reading it in Chinese characters now so I can learn Chinese!!! :) It's been going pretty well!)
This chapter is all about Nephi and his brothers Sam, Laban, and Lemuel going to retrieve the plates. Here are some of the verses that stood out to me:
verse 5: "I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord." - Basically Nephi saying he was willing to do the Lord's will and not his own.
verse 7: "Go and do!!"
Although Nephi was chosen to go get the plates from Laban, and God has asked him to keep His commandments, completing the mission was anything BUT easy. Sometimes in life, God gives us commandments/callings, etc. and sometimes we give up after we fail once or twice. From the perseverance, endurance, and un-wavering faith found in Nephi, I have learned that sometimes, even the things we do right in life take effort, pain, and endurance. We are being constantly tested, warned, and shaped to become more and more into what God wants us to be.
I've realized that sometimes, life is as simple as being determined to do and follow God's will and His plan for us. God is merciful and allows for us to be constantly repenting and trying again and again. Just like Nephi and his brothers tried twice before finally seeing success in retrieving the plates, we may run into trials and hardship before obtaining the right results.
1 Nephi 4:6 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing before the things which I should do."
At this time, Nephi had NO IDEA what he was going to do when he went alone for the third time to retrieve the plates from Laban. NHe only knew that he needed to go back and get them, so he put His trust in the Lord and acted without doubting.
Can we be like Nephi? When we know something is right - when we know that God wants us to accomplish something, will we be strong enough to act immediately without doubt, relying on nothing but the Spirit? Are we faithful enough to be led by that Spirit that led Nephi?! - I HOPE SO!
Today, we had the stake fireside for helping the members have the desire to go to missionary work. The Yuanlin missionaries were in charge of 1 hour of the fireside, so Sister Anderson and I had been preparing for the fireside with the elders all week. It ended up being really great!
For our porting of the fireside, we split the 100 members into two groups of 50 and held separate discussions with them. There were about 10 people to each missionary, and I was in charge of helping the members know how to add to their faith/help their faith grow. For my section, I shared Alma 37:6-7, the scripture about how through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. The members caught on quickly and realized that by doing small and simple things, we can be truly converted, and our faith will grow.
Sometimes, members are afraid when they hear the need for them to go out and do mission work. The purpose of the fireside was to help them realize that doing mission work may just mean being firstly converted to the gospel yourself. How can we help others come to Christ is we ourselves haven't been truly converted in the first place?! Through small and simple things like prayer, scripture study, and church attendance, our faith grows, and we develop those natural desires to share the gospel first with our loved ones/family, and then our friends.
Here in Taiwan, I see a lot of converts who are the only members of the church in their families. They are strong and come to church every week. Sometimes, when we invite them to do missionary work, they immediately think of talking to their co-workers or their friends/classmates. The thing they fail to recognize or look-over is the importance and convenience of their families. We must always remember to change ourselves first before changing others.
I know that great change can come through small and simple efforts.
Something that President Blickenstaff shared at the fireside yesterday night was how his favorite missionary in the Book of Mormon was not Alma. It wasn't Ammon, and it wasn't even King Mosiah. It was ABINIDI. Why?! - Abinidi the courageous and lifted his voice amidst a crowd of kings and priests who he knew were destined/determined to take his life away. Abinidi died a painful/agonizing death without seeing even a sliver of hope/success from preaching the gospel and doing God's will.
Because of his courage and his faith, however, Abinidi spoke to the young heart of Alma the older, and from then on, we know what happened next!!
Isn't it amazing to see the effects one person can have on a whole nation?! - It just makes me be more and more determined to do my own part and stay true not only to myself but to the Lord. Whenever I get confused or don't know what to do/say/act/etc, I always have to remind myself that God will take care of me if I stay faithful to Him and do His will. All we need to do is to place our whole lives in His trust, and everything will be okay, regardless if we can see results now or in the after-life.
Alright, here are some small events that happened last week that I thought would be fun to include:
- One night after getting home from a really busy day, the elevator was taking forever to get to the 1st floor (we live on the 7th floor, and the elevator is SO SLOW) so, Sister Anderson just started running up the stairs. haha I couldn't believe it!!! She just started running/dashing for the stairs, and I just had to follow. It was really hilarious because we were like panting so hard by the time we got to the 7th floor. HOWEVER, when we DID get to the 7th floor, Sister Anderson kept running all the way up to the roof. haha Earlier that week, we had been talking about how we both wanted to go to the roof and see the view of Yuanlin from up there. We thought it would have been really beautiful. haha It surprised us when we opened a rusty door to the ugliest roof in the world. hahha We had run up 7 floors of stairs and were excited to run up one more set of stairs to see a beautiful view of Yuanlin when the roof wasn't even that beautiful at all. haha BORING.
Anyway, we got a good laugh out of it. haha
-We pass the fruit market every day when we go to the church for lessons, and it's especially busy in the mornings when all the mothers are buying groceries and food for their children/families that day. Anyway, it's really fun getting through all the scooters/cars/bikes/pedestrians at the fruit market every day. To say the least, Sister Anderson and I are seriously skilled.
- For the fireside, I was asked to play the piano, and it was really embarrassing because when I started to play the first hymn, no one started to sing... Turns out, I was playing the WRONG HYMN. It was really awkward and hilarious because I just kind of stopped and said, "woops... Just kidding!" I then turned to the right page and started playing again. hahaha Everyone now knows that I did NOT practice before I played that day, but at least I can sight-read any hymn on the spot...
- Sister Anderson, Elder Feigelson, Elder Barr, and I are singing in the mission tour conference this upcoming month. It's funny because I have NO SINGING training whatsoever, but Sister Blickenstaff was like, "Yeah! Let's have Sister Chen sing soprano..." Yeah... I know. I'll tell you all about it after we perform.
-For the Christmas activity, the 1st ward assigned me to be the musical coordinator and put together some Christmas arrangements for flute, violin, and french horn. They are performing at the train station on Christmas and then handing out fliers for free English. Anyway, I spent a lot of time arranging the music yesterday during our practice, and transposing to French horn was NOT my favorite. Anyway, the bishop wants me to play the violin as well, so I have to find time to figure something out. haha.... yeah. I wish they could lug a piano to the train station. That would have been easier for me. Oh well.
Alright, I hope everyone over there is doing well and super healthy/happy!!
I love you all! Remember your worth is great, be kind, and don't get too stressed!!! KEEP PRAYING!
Today is 11/13/13, Wednesday!! Do you know why I am emailing you at 3:20 a.m. on aWednesday morning?! - That can only mean ONE thing, and that is... DRUMROLL PLEASE - JUST KIDDING. Don't drumroll. EVERYBODY drum rolls. haha
WE ARE GOING TO THE TAIPEI TEMPLE TODAY!!!!
Did I just hear a scream for joy all the way from Utah?! - I know Mom and Dad must be very excited for me to be going to Taipei, and VICKY must be ecstatic as well! ;) haha OF COURSE she would!! I hope you all weren't worried about me not emailing on Monday. Monday was just another prosetyting day, so Sister Anderson and I were super diligent and had 5 lessons that day with our cutest recent converts and less-actives. It was an awesome day. Anyway, about this past week:
Last Monday, one of our less-active members wasn't at home when we went to visit them, so, Sister Anderson and I decided to go tracting for about half-an-hour, since we haven't gone tracting in a long time. Anyway, we said a prayer before we began and everything. 25 minutes passed, and all the doors that we had tracted into had either not answered or just rejected us. Anyway, time was running thin, and we decided to knock on one last door. OF COURSE, it was the last door that we knocked that actually opened. The person who opened the door was a 14-year-old boy who was at home alone. Anyway, he was really willing to listen to Sister Anderson and I share a message about prayer and the gospel while we were standing on his doorstep. It was so wonderful because Sister Anderson was able to use her AWESOME Chinese and help us say a prayer. He ended up giving us his information, and we referred him to the elders. Isn't that such a tender, small miracle sent to us from the Lord?! - That's basically the types of miracles God has blessed with here in Yuanlin. Aren't they precious?! hehe
Okay, for last week's zone training meeting, the zone leaders were teaching us all about contacting on the streets. So, we actually practiced contacting other missionaries in the gym. We did this activity where we had to find the two golden investigators as a companionship amidst 20 other missionaries who were acting like investigators on the street. The point of this activity was to help us missionaries know how to find those golden investigators when we are out on the roads every day. Sister Anderson and I were super smart and went strait to the source of knowledge - our zone leader!!! - When the timer started, we went to him and asked him where our golden investigator was. The next missionary we contacted was our "golden investigator"!! haha The point is, when you have a doubt or a question in mind, you just need to ask GOD. He knows everything, and He will always lead you to the right places. Also, wherever we go, we must be diligent and use time effectively by contacting all those who we come in contact with.
Last week, one of my favorite moments was when we visited Chu A-gon and A-ma. They are the cutest old couple in the world. When we went to their farm, Chu A-ma was on her way back to the house with her walker. It was basically the cutest, most hilarious thing ever. As she was walking her way back to the house, she had this scorning-look on her face and just kept speaking in loud Taiwanese to us. Whenever I would say something back to her or repeat what she was saying in Taiwanese back to her, her scorn would just change into a laugh. This week, we visited her again, but this time, she started singing Japanese songs to us as she was walking back. You'd just have to meet her to know what I'm talking about, but while we were walking back, there was this dog that randomly walked by, and she just shouted at it like it was some kind of fiend. haha Anyway, we eventually made it back to her house, and she just kept speaking to us in Japanese, Taiwanese, "Ke-jia hua", and anything BUT Mandarin Chinese. It was really fun just trying to communicate with her. She's so cute, she always laughs, and her relationship with Chu A-gon is so good!! I gave them two cranes, and it was really funny because the wholetime, Chu A-gon was trying to help Chu A-ma learn how to pull the tail of the crane in just the right way to make it move. AH!! I JUST LOVE OLD PEOPLE SO MUCH!!! Plus, whenever we ask them if they are happy, they always say they are because we visit them. Chu A-ma is kind of like the grandma in Mulan who asks Mulan's boyfriend if he could stay forever! haha Whenever we leave, Chu A-ma is like, "You can sleep here!" Last time, when Sister Cole went home, she was like, "Take me to America!" It's the funniest thing beacuse she's like this frail, old lady who knows better. haha
Can you believe it?! - We have 7 recent converts that we visit every week, and three of them are older people like Chu A-ma and A-gon. They all live in far off places next to rice fields. It's one of my favorite things to ride out for 30 minutes and pass rice fields on the way. Rice fields are in harvest right now, and they smell the greatest!! Also, there have been some red lanterns that have been put up recently. They are beautiful, especially at night when we are riding back home!
Guess who is on-date for baptism?!?! - CHEN JIAN RU and GAO JIEMEI!!! Chen Jian Ru is on date for her birthday - January 18th, and Gao Jiemei is on date for January 11th. Plus, we still have the cute granddaughter Wu Qi Cun who is still planing on getting baptized on December 12th. Isn't it wonderful?! God really been blessing this area.
One of our new investigators is the daughter of a less-active family (Ye family). She is only 9, but everytime we go visit with her, she has written-down questions and is so eager to learn more about our church. She's basically an adult in a nine year-old girl's body. It's really a blessing to teach her. We are going over to give her a Book of Mormon this next week. Isn't it wonderful?!?
Sister Anderson and I have been really great together. Every night, we tell one another why we are grateful for them that day. Sister Anderson is SOOO wonderful!! She's so clean, so tidy, so efficient, so optimistic, and so grateful. I love learning from her everyday! What a blessing she is in my life!
Yesterday while we were English powerboarding, our district decided to have a competition and see which companionship could get the most adds within the hour. Guess who totally added the most people?!!?! - WE DID!!! whoooo!!! Sister Anderson is just so beautiful, so all the people on the street were like self-contacting, and we got two awesome potential investigators and then a referral for the elders.
We also had sister exchanges yesterday with the sisters from Zhanghua. Sister Mack came to Yuanlin, and Sister Anderson went to Zhanghua with Sister Chord. It was wonderful learning and just spending time with these wonderful sister training leaders!! They set such great examples for me, and I taught Sister Mack how to make paper cranes to hand out to little kids on the street. She loved the idea of giving out paper cranes to all the people we contacted into on the streets.
One of the simple joys that we missionaries have is a freshly, pumped bike wheel!!! The other day, I got my tires filled, and I hadn't realized, but for the past couple of weeks, I had been biking on a semi-flat wheel. haha It was so awesome because after my wheels were filled again, I felt like I was flying!! I guess that's kind of like the Spirit. Sometimes, we run and run and run so much doing this and that that we don't realize that we need moments to re-fill - to read those scriptures, to pray, and to go to church. We all need Spiritual and physical boosts every day. :) Don't wait for it to be too late for you to realize you don't have that Spirit in your life.
OH - I forgot - Remember Jane from Zuoying?! - SHE IS ON DATE NOW!!! Sister Liu, my previous companion emailed me the other week and told me that she is getting baptized!!!! WHAT A MIRACLE!!! I am so happy for her. God really has prepared her for this wonderful event!! She's getting baptized on the 23 of this month!
Well, I love you all and I'm so excited to hear from all of you!
This week in Yuanlin was wonderful. Sister Anderson and I have been getting along so well together, and we laugh/talk about everything. I especially love her because of her wonderful optimism and desire to be a successful, obedient missionary. One of the things that stood out to me was her OPTIMISM this week. She has expressed to me that her biggest concern out here in the mission field is learning/speaking the language. We have made a language study plan, and I have allowed her to lead in some of the lessons this week. Her Chinese is getting better and better every day! I know that it's hard for her to not be able to understand everyone, but she doesn't show it. She's always willing to try new things and just SMILE. I've been doing my best to be sensitive to her needs this week, and although I might not be able to be the best companion, I can try!!
One of the ideas that Sister Anderson suggested that we do every night before going to bed is to express our gratitude for one another. We also decided to work on one Christlike attribute every week, like our family is doing!! Last week's attibute was faith. We set goals and made plans to help develop our faith last week, and we saw the blessings come from hitting our mission goal standards. Sister Anderson and I were able to have 8 lessons with members present, 5 others, and 12 RCLA's. It was wonderful!!
Although I was really nervous about leading the area, I know that Lord blessed me with sufficient capabilities to make it to all of our appointments on time without getting lost!! Sister Anderson and I have both fallen in love with this area. We love the people, the opportunities, the wards, and our CLEAN apartment!
We also saw a lot of miracles this week. I love that when there are two people working hard together, more and more blessings just start to come! We even have the same obsession over being very clean with the apartment, and we have set some goals to make our environment cleaner, organized, and more efficient.
One of the miracles that Sister Anderson and I were blessed to have this week was this past Sunday. On Sunday, one of our "eternal investigators" came to church for the first time in YEARS. Her name is Lin Cuen Hua, and she is about 76 years old. The missionaries have been meeting with her all these years, and she hasn't progressed in a long time. This week, Sister Anderson taught lesson three as simply and clearly as possible. We saw the blessings of "half-and-half" teaching that came when our investigator came to church on Sunday. Every week, Sister Anderson and I have decided to work on one Christlike attribute. We saw the results of our faith in our key indicators this week. Isn't it wonderful?! We hit all of our goals AND the mission standards. We are working hard to help our investigators progress and prepare for baptism. :)
On Sunday, Sister Anderson was awesome and totally attended the 1st ward correlation meeting while I taught our investigator Wu Qi Cun the plan of salvation. Wu Jiemei is 11 years old, and she is getting baptized on December 8th, the last day of this transfer!! :) Can you believe it's already November?! Time is going by too fast, and I just want to stay here forever just serving the Lord.
This last week, Sister Anderson and I found a beautiful, young family who owns a restaurant. Some events happened, allowing us to go to their restaurant for a quick bite to eat. (We've been so busy, and our schedules have been filled with member referrals... It's amazing!) Anyway, when we ordered our food, I got talking to this couple who were preparing our food. They noticed that we were missionaries. Apparently, they have come to the free English class in the past, and they have an interest in our church. They aren't able to come to church on Sundays because of their work, but they are more than willing for us to come and visit them at their restaurant whenever we have time. They have two cute girls, one age 10, one age 6. Last time, we were able to sit down with them and give them "The Family Proclamation" pamphlet. Although we weren't able to go too much into the content of the pamphlet, we hope that they will read and study it sometime this week.
Isn't it wonderful, the way the Lord prepares people and then places you in their paths?! I know that being worthy of His guidance is VITAL to our salvation and our success as children of God.
One of my favorite scriptures that I ran into this week during personal study is in Moroni7:45 - "And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things."
After I read this scripture, I took a step back to analyze myself and ask myself if I was doing these things. I can definitely say that I have many parts to work on. If you know me, you know that I can be a little of a perfectionist, and I am very self-critical. I've realized the importance of balance in our lives. If we are constantly telling ourselves that we aren't ever good enough, then we will actually end up limiting ourselves. When we tear ourselves down too much, we end up being unable to reach out to others. I know that when we have charity, we must treat ourselves with charity. Every person is precious in the sight of God. Life is not to be mis-managed. We must respect and love everyone else as much as God loves us. - MUCH easier said than done.
To say the least, I have made it a goal for myself to develop charity. Last week, Sister Anderson and I were able to visit many less active families. One of these less actives is the Ye family. They have one daughter who is 11 years old and hasn't been baptized yet. What a miracle it was to finally be able to meet this wonderful family. I am so grateful to God for allowing us to catch this family right before they were heading out to dinner. I didn't mention this in the past few weeks, but Sister Cole and I had gone over to their house a couple of times, and they were never home. Last week, however, we were able to catch them and sit down with them. This family seems to love the missionaries, and they are willing to meet with us everyweek now!! :) What a tender mercy of the Lord! I love these miracles!
Sister Cole went home this past Monday and wrote me an email today. She expressed how much she loves/misses Taiwan already. It just made me realize how valuable and precious the time I have here to serve is. I know that my mission was shaped and planned specifically for me. I know that I have so much to learn and grow. I never want to stop learning or allow myself to become too prideful or selfish to stop my growth. I know that God loves all of us individually. He loves us regardless of our weaknesses and our mistakes. His Atonement is the most powerful event that allows us to repent and start over everyday.
One night after planning, Sister Anderson and I started talking about how much we feel we have changed from being on the mission. I don't know if you can see my change when you read these emails, but I really do feel like I have changed a lot - and I'd like to say I've changed for the better. - At least, I hope so!! All I know is that this mission is wonderful. I have learned to trust more and more in the Lord. He is always there, and that is why I need to be constantly worthy. When we are worthy, the Lord is able to work through us to bless our own lives and the lives of others. I have to constantly remind myself that when it comes to this work, it's ALL about the Lord. It's not about me. It's not about my companion. It's not about anything BUT God and HIS glory. I think you could say that about everything in life.
I love this work. I love my companion, and I love the Lord.