Monday, January 23, 2012

The Power of Prayer Brings the Power to Change

Well Hello,
To be honest, it feels like just yesterday that I emailed home.  Wow everything is just going by so fast right now.  I also hear that you will be hosting 2 Taiwanese students coming here soon.  That is so awesome!  You'll absolutely love them.  You'll have to tell me all about them.  I am super excited to tell about this week.  Some really strange things and some really awesome things happened, so here we go...
Monday for preparation day we just spent our hours with a few of the ward members who decided to move down to Australia.  We ate lunch together, some fried chicken (Anthony you would have loved it, its a billion times better than KFC), and some sushi that mom and dad would have absolutely loved.  After all that went on, we sat down with one of our really awesome/shy investigators, Zheng dx.  He is progressing pretty well, he just doesn't talk at all.  We taught him the Law of Chastity and Law of Tithing.  Super awesome and is super willing to keep these commandments.  We then ran into this really nice guy who wanted us to go over to his house right then so we could share a message about our church.  We got to his house and he started having us feel the temperature of the different types of floor in his house: tile, fake plasticy wood, and real wood.  Then he began showing us all the different idols he worships and how he worships them.  Without going into too much, things got pretty sketchy and he ended up just leaving.
Tuesday we began by helping the previous Branch President paint his house that he is building right now.  It was probably the most fun I've ever had painting in my life.  We then ate lunch with him and all his workers.  We tried teaching his workers a small message about the church, but they were too focused on trying to get us to drink, smoke, and eat binlang (the super nasty nut/drug everyone here eats).  Obviously as a missionary I wouldn't do those things, but I'm so glad I was taught from a young age on what is healthy and what isn't.  We then cruised on down to DTM and learned from our wonderful District Leader on the role of the Book of Mormon.  Well, today is the day that students began to not have school because of the Chinese New Year coming up.  We then headed to the courts to teach and contact all the many people playing basketball.  We had a lot of fun doing that, and then we taught one of our other investigators Emily on the Law of Tithing.  She really understood the need for this commandment and really grasps what we teach her, even though she is only 10 years old. 
Wednesday we sat down and taught one of my most favorite people I have met on my mission so far.  He is another one of our progressors, Hua dx, and he truly understands everything that we teach.  I think I may have mentioned him in last weeks letter, and so today we taught him the Plan of Salvation.  When we finished teaching I asked him what he the Plan of Salvation meant to him.  He said that he realizes that he needs to repent in order to return to live with God.  He truly understood why our life on earth is so important.  He told us that he was going to start repenting of his sins.  So awesome!  Well, from there we headed on over to English class where I taught about how 'Enlish is so confusing', the materials dad sent to me.  Haha the students absolutely hated it.  They were complaining on how English was so hard and stuff.  I'm just glad I already know it!
The best part about Thursday was that we sat down with Zheng dx, the shy one, and went over the baptismal interview questions.  You ask why?  Turns out that he wants to get baptized and is having his interview this weekend.  Prepared him for that, and is looking good for baptism.  The only problem that could cause him to not get baptized is the parents.  He is only 15 and needs parent permission, but his dad seems completely against us.  So we'll be praying that his dad softens his heart. 
Friday...Zheng dx passed his baptismal interview!!!  We are so excited for him and his growth in this gospel.  All he needs now is permission from his dad. 
Saturday was by far my favorite part of the week.  We sat down again with Hua dx and we began by giving him some talks on the church's stand on ancestral worship.  We gave him the articles and he began talking about ancestral worship.  Earlier this week we gave him some scriptures to read over, and one of them hit him really hard.  He said that last night, friday night, he read one of the scriptures and decided to pray about it.  He said after he prayed he had this really awesome feeling within him.  He said after he had that feeling, he decided to grab all his "bai bai" stuff (all the woship dolls, cups, trays, EVERTHING) and throw it all out.  He didn't want anything to do with that stuff anymore.  WOW!!!  Truly is a huge change for him in his life.  This was a huge testimony builder on prayer.  I know without a doubt that God really hears and answers each one of our prayers.  After that awesome moment we taught him about faith, repentance, and baptism.  The spirit truly was the teacher in that lesson and accepted the invitation to be baptized.  He is so ready and his testimony is already so strong. 
Sunday was Chinese New Year's Eve.  There were tons of people down in this super small town, but shops were closed and everyone was at home, making it a little harder to do anything but tract.  We were then invited to eat with two part member families to help build and strengthen their testimonies, along with helping the nonmembers. 
Well, this is has been an amazing time to work with these progressors, and has truly been a testimony builder.  A few months ago I expressed that nothing was going where I was at, no progressors or anything.  However, I shared that scripture on how we need to be patient, and the Lord will give us success.  I am now seeing that this blessing truly is coming to pass.  I am grateful for the testimony I have and I'm striving to strenghten it daily.  I'm grateful for this chance to serve and I love and miss you all. 
Love, Elder Smith