Friday, January 20, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

Hello Everybody,
Hope you all had a wonderful Chinese New Year, cause I sure did!  This week couldn't have gone any better!  I not only learned so much about the chinese culture during the new Chinese year, but I also had the chance to see so much improvement from our wonderful investigator, Hua dx.  Before I jump into what happened this week, I just want to wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year!
Monday we had a member from Taipei come down and invited us to eat dinner with her and her family.  This is the only time her entire family is together, because of the Chinese New Year, and she has been working super hard to give them a chance to hear the gospel.  We ate dinner, chatted for a while with the family, and then shared a message with those who didn't run off.  The best thing we could do was plant the gospel seed inside of them, because they live all over Taiwan for work and school.
Tuesday was such an amazing day!  We headed up to MuDan, where all the Taiwanese aborigines live, to help our super awesome investigator, Hua dx, out.  He brought us up to his house so that we could help him throw out all of his Buddhist worshipping stuff.  On the way up he introduced us to his friends who he one day wants to share the gospel with.  We then got to his home and he had us pray so that he could clean/throw out the Buddhist stuff ok.  After all that happened he took us back to HengChun where we proselyted and visited a few of the recent converts here.  Not long after, a family from the ward took us to KenDing where they took us to go eat.  During the Chinese New Year, everyone wants to give us food and take us out to eat.  Its crazy!  Sad news, our investigator who we had planned to be baptized gave us a call and told us some news.  He had asked his dad for permission to be baptized, and his dad told him no.  We were sad, but we know that as we/he continues to show faith in Christ, the Lord will provide a way for him to be baptized. 
Wednesday was the busiest day down in our area.  It was the day where everyone decided to come tour the area of HengChun.  Tons of people to talk to which meant tons of referrals.  We did get to sit down with Hua dx to teach him a few more of the commandments.  He absolutely has no problem keeping the commandments.  He has told us if he is breaking one, he will immediately change and begin living that commandment.  I absolutely love this man!  After we visited him, we went tracting and found a pretty good family.  They are also Presbyterian, but as they read and pray about the Book of Mormon, they can come to know more about the Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. 
Thursday found us up in GaoXiong for Zone Conference.  The focus was on promised blessings and exact obedience.  The biggest thing I learned from the conference is that it is super important to give promised blessings in contacting, teaching, in every situation we get.  If we don't, then it won't give these people a reason to change there lives, a reason to meet with us again.  We then came home with one of the Assistants, Elder Petterson, for Assistant Exchanges.
Friday, we sat down with our Hua dx and taught him the law of tithing.  I would just like to share his quote with you.  Its not word for word, but its pretty close.  He said, "Yeah I can definately keep it.  In Buddhism we pay money to buy "bai bai" things: the incense, the paper money, etc... but we end up burning it all in the end.  Paying our tithing to God makes a lot more sense.  For example, it goes to build churches, temples, to make Books of Mormon.  All these things we can actually use for our benefit."  He is so awesome, so awesome that we decided to put him through an interview for baptism right then and there.  Turns out he passed with flying colors!  He will be getting baptized here on February 11th, and we're so looking forward to it.  We then sat down with our Zheng dx and shared with him 1 Nephi 7:12.  We told him that as he continues to exercise his faith, the Lord will provide a way for him to be baptized.  He encouraged him to share his testimony and a few other things to help persuade his dad.  We're praying that his dad will soften his heart. 
Saturday we began by sitting down with another really good investigator named Alice.  It was the first time we had met with her, but she came to church last week and really seemed to like it.  She is the only Christian in her family, about Spencer's age.  She really knows a lot about Christ, and seemed pretty fascinated by the Book of Mormon.  She seems pretty golden to me... We asked her about baptism and she said, "when and what do I need to bring."  My companion responded by saying February 25th and all you need to bring is yourself, a towel, and some clean underwear haha.  We then traveled to a super far area, GangKou, where a member took us out to dinner and introduced us to some of her friends. 
Wow, I am absolutely loving life right now.  I'm grateful for the wonderful privilege I have to work in this beautiful area of HengChun.  I absolutely love the people here, and love those I have had the opportunity to serve with and introduce the gospel to.  Serving a mission isn't the easiest thing in life, but as we push forward "with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men" the Lord will be there to lead and guide us to success.  I absolutely love you all and wish you all a Happy Chinese New Year!
Love, Elder Smith