It's hard to believe that another week has gone by already! It seems like I just got here in Donggang and now I'm starting the third week. As usual, I love reading your letters to me and hearing that everything is going well. It sounds like you're doing all kinds of fun stuff.
Yes, President Uchtdorf's grandsons just finished their missions here in Taiwan. See what I mean about it running in families? I'd imagine he had to get special permission from a member of the First Presidency to come pick them up, though. From the little they told us in the orientation, he gave a really cool fireside to all the missionaries in Taiwan, as well as a special thing for all the members in Taiwan. Aaaaawesome.
The weather report really said we were having a lot of rain? Really? Weird. By my estimation it only rained constantly for the last eight or so days. :D Yes, it was soaking down here. I bought me a set of raingear--pants and jacket--and wore it pretty much all day every day last week. The next purchase will be a pair of boots to go over my shoes. By the time I got home some days, every step was a little squelchy sound. But it's fun to try contacting in the rain. Sometimes people will come under an awning and listen to me just so we can get out of the rain.
Now I want to talk real quick about some of our investigators. The Lord has been truly blessing us this week to find and teach a lot of people. We had seven investigators at church, which is probably more than this little branch has seen in awhile. And guess what? We're planning to baptize on the 14th of this month! (name) is his name, and he's just amazing. He's excited to be baptized, he's living the commandments, and at church yesterday he was introducing himself to people as "Brother Lin". It's his second time at church. We're planning to get his interview set up this weekend and he can be baptized next Saturday. I'm so excited. He's such a nice guy, loves church, reads his Book of Mormon every day.
Another tender mercy--this week's English class. We had 13 people show up! It was a huge improvement over last week's 3. Several of them are really nice and were interested in our Gospel share about the Plan of Salvation. One, (name), was taking notes, actively answering questions, and volunteered to say the closing prayer--he's never prayed before, either.
I'll get back to answering some more questions in a minute, but I feel like my last few letters haven't been as spiritual. Probably mainly because at the MTC, that was the only thing I could think of, and now I'm here on the other side of the world eating pig feet and biking all over southern Taiwan. But I want you all to know my testimony that the Lord loves us and is mindful of us grows every day. When you keep his commandments, including those in, say, Preach My Gospel (if you're a missionary), He blesses you in abundance. In D&C it says He calls upon the weak things of the world to go and "thrash the nations with the power of my Spirit." I am a weak thing, but with the Lord I have been able to do things way beyond my own ability.
Think of Alma's counsel to his sons Shiblon and Helaman. Read it together, if you would. I believe it's Alma 36:3--the part about whosover will put their trust in the Lord will be supported in all their trials and troubles and afflictions. I know it's true. I was having a hard time at first talking to everyone I saw. Everyone. Like literally, if you're biking to visit a member and there's some old guy sitting on his porch smoking, you hit the brakes and you talk to him. That was hard for me, initially. But the Lord answered my prayers and now I truly want to share with everyone, because He's blessed me to feel a little of His true love for them.
Finally, I'd invite my brother and sisters to read Elder Bednar's talk in the June Ensign--"Things as they Really Are." I'm not implying anything here, I just really loved it and think we can all evaluate ourselves according to the standards he discusses. Can you all do that for me? I'll be following up next week. Preach My Gospel says if you don't follow up, there's no point in asking someone to commit.
Well, I have eight minutes left, so I'll talk a little more about some humorous things that happened this week. Well, there was the time we were looking for the address of a former investigator, biking around some decrepit old streets. We hear a dog start barking, then three, then like six. Around the corner comes the freaking Bumpus Hound pack, all running at us. I believe I broke my landspeed record that day. Elder Bickmore says his last companion kept a wooden bat on his bike, called it his "bludger beater," and saved it for just such occasions. I might have to start doing so myself.
What else?...I'm always careful around traffic, so no worry there. Also no need to worry about peanut butter. My companion knows where to buy a can of peanut butter the size of those cans of rice and instant potatoes in our storage room. I'll keep thinking though.
Well, that's going to be it for this week. I love you all so much, and I'm always excited to read your letters and tell you how the Lord's work is going here. By the way, our mission clarifies family as parents and siblings, with regard to emailing me at this address. Sorry! Maybe they can email you, and you can paraphrase to me what they said.
Love you all!!!