Monday, March 26, 2012


Hmm. What is there to say about this week? It was a lot better than last week, for sure. We found quite a few new investigators. It's interesting how the Lord has so many ways to lead us to find people to teach. We found some of these people by visiting less actives, some by tracting, some by visiting a former investigator and finding his dad at home...we've really been seeing the blessings this week; the fruits of our labors are finally coming forth.

One of our investigators is coming along really well. His name is Brother (name), and he's a referral from another member who is his co-worker. At first he was really closed off and shy around us, but over the course of meeting with him, I feel like he's grown to trust us more, and he's comfortable saying the things he's thinking or feeling. He's starting to keep commitments, like coming to church and praying, and I feel that he has a lot of potential. So we'll keep meeting with him and helping him gain a witness that the Book of Mormon is true.

Another exciting thing is happening with a member referral. We visited a recent convert, Sister (name), who said that she has a friend at her physical therapy place with whom she's been talking about the church. He told her he'd really like to come if there was somebody who could drive him, because he was injured in a car accident some time ago. He's got a wife and kids. We haven't met him yet, but it sounds like he and his whole family have a lot of potential. We do indeed have a member with a car who lives right by them, so we'll see what happens this week.

We're also trying to teach the wife of (name), President Bishop's convert. He's started coming to church regularly again, and President Bishop really wants us to baptize his wife. Problem is she's deaf-mute, can't read, and can't understand sign language. But just like President Bishop said, "Τ獺みΤ快猭!" Meaning, where there's faith there is a way. It's basically the slogan of the mission. So we'll try to think of some way to teach her...probably through heavy use of pictures and rudimentary sign language. Heh. She's been coming to church with her husband, so she basically qualifies on that regard, but I don't know if she got much out of it. The Relief Society sisters were really nice to her.

Well, that's about all I can think of to write at this time. Apparently this week is General Conference, huh? That's interesting...I thought it was on the first full weekend in April, but apparently not this year. We're getting it one week later, as always, on April 7 and 8. It'll be my last conference in Taiwan...gulp. But anyway, I sure love you all a lot.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Luck O' The Irish

No, they don't have any mention of St. Patrick's day here. I only remembered because Elder Smith's parents sent him a package with a green tie and tons of peeps and jelly beans and stuff. Heh.

Well, this week had its ups and downs. We had kind of a bitter tragedy with Brother (name). He had to have an emergency heart surgery in Taibei, so in a matter of two days we went from planning a baptism to suddenly having no investigators. It was pretty hard. He's still good; he called me after the surgery and said he can come back at the end of April, so we're going to try and get the missionaries in Taibei to baptize him. I just find the whole thing very fishy indeed. Not that I think he'd lie to me, but it might be his family. I mean, how do you only find out about a major heart surgery two days before it happens, and then how do you talk on the phone hours after coming out of the operating room? Sigh...I don't know what happened. The point is he didn't get baptized but I think he still can in the future.

We had some miracles happen with our less-actives, though. Old Man (name), President Bishop's convert, came to church yesterday! It was his first time back in years, and he paid his tithing at the start of priesthood meeting. During the week we and the Branch President visited him, and he said "I'm coming to church this Sunday. I'm going to drive myself. My daughter doesn't want to let me because of my high blood pressure, but I'm coming anyway!" And come he did. I was bursting with joy to see him there all dressed in his suit. I knew that we were at least doing something right to play a part in his return to activity. It was the Spirit that did the real work, but I was so happy to be a part of this process. We're going to see if his wife is baptizable, too.
I'm not sure what else to say this week. We've been struggling hard to find new investigators, but so far they haven't been coming. Actually, one cool miracle that did happen was that we were not looking good to have investigators at church on Sunday. We'd tried everything we knew to do, so we just prayed hard on Sunday morning that those who had agreed to come would indeed come. Then while we waited on the steps of the chapel, one of our members came and told us that his friend who we've been teaching would be coming in just a couple of minutes. He did come, and he stayed for sacrament meeting and then had to leave. It was another great testimony to me that Heavenly Father does hear our prayers. We'll have to keep working with Brother (name) to help him understand church a little better and to have the right attitude and expectations when he comes, but he's one step closer to God now.

I've learned this week that we have to be patient even when things seem hard. We have to learn to accept the Lord's timing even when we would rather have what we want right now. I still believe He will help us baptize before I leave DouLiu, but I need to remember not to get anxious or frustrated when it doesn't all come at once. It's not an easy lesson to learn, but I read a talk this morning by President Uchtdorf that reminded me that we are indeed loved by God, and He has never forgotten us. I know he loves me and fully understands that I have weaknesses, and if I endure it well He will help us to see the fruits of our labors before the end. And as Ammon says, those fruits are not few, but many!

I love you all very much. I am always happy to hear from you each week and to share with you what's been happening here in Taiwan. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. I'll need them more than ever now so I can finish off in a manner pleasing to Heavenly Father. I love you and I'll talk to you again next week!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marching Onward, ever onward...

I'm sitting here in another internet cafe, a cold rain drizzling outside. It's good to be alive.

This was a really great week. I think I completely forgot to tell you last week, but the chapel in Douliu is newly remodeled and has a big, beautiful sacrament meeting chapel added on to it. It's been under renovation for over a year. This last weekend was the dedication and open house of the new chapel, and we were blessed to play a part in this very historical event. All the auxiliary organizations, including us missionaries, set up a little stand in one of the rooms that exhibited that organization, what it's about, and so forth. On Friday morning some reporters came to tour around and film some displays. Elder Wong and I also went to help out, and they ended up asking me a couple questions about why I came here as a missionary and such, and apparently I ended up on TV! I'm a Taiwanese TV star! No, just kidding. I am, however, an authorized representative of Jesus Christ. Hopefully the publicity will increase some community interest in the Church. Then on Saturday we attended the dedication and the ribbon cutting. Several community leaders, like the county commissioner, the mayor of Douliu, and some of the county legislators showed up to the ribbon cutting and said some very nice things about the church. A traditional Chinese symphony provided the music. It was a really neat experience.

One of the really great miracles this week was that on Wednesday President Bishop, who served here in Douliu many years ago as a young missionary (he white-wash trained in Douliu, actually), asked us to visit one of the men he baptized and invite him to the dedication. We prayed really hard the whole next day that Brother Wang would let us in his house and let us deliver this message. Our prayers were answered; Brother (name) was home, he let us in, and we invited him to come. He was a little reluctant at first--he hasn't been to church in a long time--but he did indeed remember Elder Bishop. The next day we visited again and brought a member with us. This member befriended him and offered to drive him to the ceremony, and he eventually accepted. So on Saturday, 90-year-old Brother (name) and his wife came to the service and President Bishop was able to see him and talk to him. We were so blessed and humbled to be able to play a part in helping this Brother start back on the path to activity in the church.

We have also been extremely blessed to find Brother (name), who is going to be baptized this week. He's started to make a few more friends in the ward, which was my main concern for him, so I'm glad to see that. He really is a very humble and sweet man. On Sunday during our lesson after church, he started to cry and said that he'd finally found his home in our church. Those are the moments when you feel like you've really done something right. The Lord has been answering our prayers in so many ways.

I don't know what else to write. Those were the highlights of the week. Other than that it's been just working hard to find people who will be baptized. The time is ticking, so we've got to do our best to find them.

Well, that's about it for me this week. Keep me in your prayers. I'll keep you in mine. Also, give missionaries referrals! Invite nonmember friends to learn about the gospel. :)


Monday, March 5, 2012

Hi there again

Hello everyone! Long time no write. It's great to talk to you all again and see how you're all doing.

This week was a lot of hard work. We're still trying to build this area up from nothing, but all throughout the week we've been seeing little tender mercies of the Lord. I have been praying all week and fasted yesterday that we would be able to find a family to teach and baptize, and this morning we received a referral through the phone from a member in Gaoxiong. She already talked to her family members (four of them) and they agreed to have the missionaries come visit them. It's too early to tell just yet, but this could very well be the answer to my prayers and fasting.

It's pretty interesting; I've never white washed an area before. I think I was expecting all these things to start happening all at once, but I just needed to take a step back and realize that I must have faith and patience. It will take some time to get this area rolling, so I can't get impatient or frustrated when we end the week with low numbers. We're improving, which is the important part. Just like all spiritual things, I need to help foster steady growth. That was something the Lord revealed to me during personal study a few days ago. Sometimes He has to remind me not to be too hard on myself or expect too much. Instead, I started to look at what He has given us. We have an investigator who is going to be baptized on March 17, and he was found on our second day in the area. That's a huge blessing! Some people go weeks without a single progressing investigator, but we were blessed to have someone who is very desirous to be baptized right from the start.

The members here in DouLiu are just awesome. The Branch President, President Li, is especially great. He's very supportive of missionaries, he's very friendly and loving toward everyone, and he has a "get it done" type of attitude that really influences the whole branch. Every member we've visited this week has offered to help in any way they can, including showing us which members live on our side of the city, where some good places to eat are, etc.

I'm not sure what else to write. We worked hard all week, but there weren't a whole lot of stories to tell. We did meet this less active member who was really nice and seemed to still have a testimony of the gospel. The only things keeping her from activity in the church were 1. Her daoist mother and 2. Somebody offended her at church. These two things are, tragically, big causes of inactivity in Taiwan. I still can't understand why somebody who is an adult with kids of her own would stop going to church just because her 70-year-old mother makes a fuss about it. And leaving church because you're offended...that's just like punishing yourself even more for someone else's sin. That's why in D&C the Lord says that He will forgive whom He will forgive, but of us it is required to forgive all men.

Well, that's about it for this week. I'll talk to you again next week!