Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

Hello everybody! A very happy Easter to you all. Just like last year, we missionaries seemed to be just about the only ones who even remembered or cared about Easter. But it was a happy one, nonetheless, because we got to watch General Conference!

… That's a big problem in Taiwan, you know. Most people are of the opinion that churches are exactly like hammers--there's no need to go telling people yours is better than theirs, because they all accomplish exactly the same purpose. But we know it's not the same, and anyone who really takes a look will know it too. I just wish more people would honestly consider the message we bring them instead of turning up their noses and saying it's exactly like Buddhism, Daoism, Catholicism, Islam, and every other religion because they all tell people to do good things. If that's the defining characteristic of a religion, you can count the girl scouts and the NRA as well. I too am so happy to be blessed to be a part of this church where I know who I am, why I'm here, and where I go when I die. I know that salvation can only come through the Holy Messiah, who gave His life to save us from our fallen state.

Yep, it was move call this week. Elder Wong and I are still here, but Elder Van Noy left (obviously--he's headed home) and Elder Smith moved up to Taizhong. They put the two of us in charge of all of DouLiu, which I'll admit is a bit of a relief. It was getting tough to proselyte in the northern third of DouLiu while they took the more populous two thirds. I'll have to get to know the other half of the area now, but Elder Van Noy took me on exchanges to his area last Friday to help show me around and introduce me to a few investigators. Actually, all three of the investigators we met with kind of broke up with him. They each expressed their thanks for him coming to teach them, but that they'd like for us to stop coming over because they don't intend to change their religion. Sad. I hope it wasn't my fault for being there.

Well, this week was good but very busy. A lot of things took up our time, so it felt like our numbers were pretty low. But all these things were important and necessary, so it's not like we did anything we ought not. On Wednesday we went to JiaYi for the annual grave-sweeping service activity. I can't remember if I told you this last year, but every year on or around April 5, people go clean off the graves of their ancestors and do a little baibai (ancestor worship) as well. We go and help clean the graves of people who don't have living descendants cleaning them. So that was fun to provide this service and let people see the love of the Savior in action. The not-so-fun part was having my skin attacked by thorny vines.

Then of course we had General Conference. I loved it so much. I felt like many of the messages shared were spoken directly to me in answer to my questions and needs. I loved President Uchtdorf's priesthood session message about remembering the "why" of our callings. That helped me a lot. I also loved the several messages about teaching children (or investigators) according to their needs and helping them internalize the doctrine. It was an amazing conference, made better by the fact that five of our investigators were able to come and listen to the prophets.

Some of the people we've been working with lately all of a sudden started to avoid us or say that we were giving them too much pressure. I don't know what happened, because I thought we were taking it pretty slow with these people. So that was a little unsettling. But we have many other promising investigators. One man came to conference on Sunday morning and then brought his wife and kids to the fireside we held that night. They actually seem very promising. He told us that as he heard the prophets speak, it was as though he was hearing the voice of God. Pretty cool, huh? He's of another Christian faith.

Another investigator who came to church was (name), the member referral who is partly paralyzed due to a car accident. On Tuesday when we met with him, Elder Wong asked him to invite his family to sit with us, and as a result we ended up teaching not just one person, but four. His brother, cousin, and 6-year-old son all came and sat with us, and they all seem like very humble and open people. They were listening very closely to what we were sharing with them. So I have a lot of hope for the upcoming move call. Hopefully we'll be able to baptize a couple of families. There's nothing I want more than to serve the Lord to the best of my ability right up to the end, and I'm going to need His help to be able to do so. Please continue to pray for me; I'm definitely going to need it.

Choose the right!


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