Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Dear Family and Friends,
These past weeks have been so wonderful!  Being able to celebrate Christmas and reflecting on the birth of our Savior.  Not only His birth, but His life and Atonement.  It is also a new year!  Such a great time to look back and make goals on where and how I can grow and improve.  I am so glad I was able to skype you all.  It was good to see all of your faces, especially Anthony's cause I haven't seen him in forever.  I'm glad to have you all a part of my family (hope that makes sense).  Speaking of family...Mom and Dad....HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!  I love you two and I am so grateful to have you as my parents.  I'm grateful for all you two have taught me, and I'm so grateful to have been brought him in this church.  Thank you two for your diligence, hard work, and patience with working and dealing with me.  Love you!  Well now on to this past week.
Tuesday we had such a powerful first lesson.  We sat down with a 15 year old boy, Zheng, that we ran into last week.  When we got there he was playing on his computer, like everyone else here in Taiwan.  As he sat down with us his older brother came out and just yelled at him and tore him down.  Telling him he is worthless, wasting time playing computer and then meeting with missionaries and not spending time on school.  This brother gave him so much crap that this boy started crying.  We settled things down and were able to teach him about God and how he is our Loving Heavenly Father.  It was so powerful and I know without a doubt that God knows each one of us.  He knows our struggles and our pains and is always there to help and lift us up. 
Wednesday, (Happy Anniversary) we taught one of our eternal investigators, Sister Pan.  We actually ended up using Anthony's demonstration with the spoons and cups.  This really helped her realize the importance of those three things.  We focused on faith with her and how pretty much everything we do is because of faith.  We read because we have faith we will learn new things and become closer to Christ.  We pray because we have faith that God listens and that he will answer our prayers.  She really saw the importacne of faith today, especially with keeping the commandments.  It all has to do with faith and expressing our love towards God.
Thursday I ended having to take an emergency trip to the dentist.  Super sketchy!  Anyway, even though I have weird pains in my mouth, I have no problems.  He then did something weird to my mouth and I ended up leaving the dentist in more pain then when I came (don't worry I'm fine now).  But today was mainly spent trying to rescue those less-actives and find the many people who were put through baptismal interviews and past, but never got baptized. 
Friday we had two awesome Plan of Salvation lessons.  One was with an investigator that I don't think I have mentioned before, Chen.  She has been super awesome and has read every day since we first met with here.  We taught half of the Plan of Salvation and emphazied why this life is so important.  Tried to give her a baptismal goal, but she will think about it because she doesn't want to give up "bai bai-ing", which is what they do here for the Buddhist/Daoist stuff.  The other lesson was with the 15 year old Zheng.  He has been wonderfing if God really exists, and so this lesson really helped him know that there is a purpose to his life and that God really does exist.
Well its a new year and I'm grateful to, in a sense, start all over.  Like my friend Elder Garlick said, its like the Atonement.  We can take what we have accomplished this past year to set goals and make plans for the year 2012.  I'm grateful for the Savior, for His life and His Atonement.  For the chance I have to continually change and become more like Him.  Serving a mission has definately helped me start to do that.  Love this opportunity to serve Him.  I love you all and wish you all a Happy New Year!
Love, Elder Smith