Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unseen Success

Which one is Mr. Unseen Success?
Hello everybody,
What is going on?  How is everyone doing?  Because of moving to a new area I forgot that last week was Independence Day.  I hope it was a great day for you all, and we celebrated it as best as could.  This past week was a great big change. New area, new companion, new people—basically a new start to everything.  The change has been great and I love this area so far.  So let me tell you a little bit about what went on in GaoXiong this week...
Monday was such a sad day leaving HengChun, but was so surprised on the ride on up to GaoXiong.  So Elder Lin, the elder replacing me, called when he was near our apartment and said that they had arrived and that he had some cool news for me.  He told me that he was with a man he helped baptize a few months ago and he was my referral.  I was super surprised as he told me that.  While in HengChun we sent out a lot of referrals just because it was mainly tourists that we ran into.  Because of that we didn't really get to see a whole ton of success from there, or even hear about the people we had referred to other areas.  Well, we packed everything up and this new member and I got talking about his conversion story.  He had never run into missionaries before me and just came down to HengChun to visit his family for GuoNian and that's when he ran into us.  He said it was because of me that he decided to meet with the missionaries up in GaoXiong and get baptized.  I just had this overwhelming feeling letting me know that a lot of unseen success comes from the work that we do.  It also gave me a stronger desire to give it all I got in every aspect of the work, even if it includes talking to tourists all day long and sending them as referrals.  
Tuesday was a great day to see my new District Leader/previous companion/fellow student Elder Garey.  He led a wonderful DTM on how to more effectively use a member in lessons, and how to have an effective planning session with them before the lesson.  We were able to take what he taught us and use it in our lesson that night with a recent convert and his non-member mother.  Tonight we shared with them both about how we can make our prayers more effective, doing them with real intent.  The mother is our focus now, but she is going to be a bit rough.  She is YiGuanDao, another religion found in Taiwan, in which they basically believe in everything.  Everything comes from God, there are multiple gods, everything is good, and everything will lead you to eternal life.  I still don't know a whole lot about this religion, but their views on everything are messed up.  She has been visiting with the missionaries for a little while now and so it'll be a really slow process on helping her views line up with what is actually true.  She is an amazing lady, prays periodically through the day, and is cruising through the Book of Mormon.  It'll be rough, but anything can happen.
Wednesday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!  Today I got to know one of our solid investigators, Ke dx.  He seems pretty awesome and really has a desire to live everything we teach him.  He is in his 40's and today we taught him the Law of Chastity and Tithing to prepare him for his baptismal interview next week.  He is super solid and says, "of course I can, I have to don't I?" to everything we invite him to do.  Today I actually got to teach english and english class.  It has been a long time since I've done so, and I taught with Elder Nickell (Elder Garey's companion).  I found out that he knows and went to school with our cousin Hilary Smith, and is in their stake as well.  
Thursday we visited a guy named Yang Zhi Yao who was apparently a former investigator a while ago.  He is in his early 30s and is searching with all his heart to know whether the message we have is true.  We shared with him the Plan of Salvation and he made sure he understood it all before we left.  He feels it's true, but wants to know without a doubt before he makes any big decisions such as baptism.  He is really digging into the scriptures and praying to receive an answer.  
Saturday was a great day and had quite a few lessons.  One in particular was with a 30 year old man his younger brother.  They were practicing dancing before we asked to sit down with them, and they told us they were practicing so they could be the next Michael Jackson.  They taught us a few moves and I did the best I could to do the moonwalk, but he ended up showing me up afterwards.  He is a Christian and started off telling us the 10 commandments.  We then shared with him the Restoration and how it contains the full truth and brings the most happiness in our lives.  I love how the gospel of Jesus Christ is able to help everyone increase the knowledge of their Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  They agreed to meet again so we could get to know them more, learn a few moves, and teach them more about the gospel.
This past week has been really great getting to know my new companion Elder Christensen, getting to know the area, and getting to know the wonderful people here.  I have already learned so much here and love it so much.  I know that there is a lot unseen success that comes from us missionaries and that should give us an even bigger drive to work our hardest even in tough circumstances.  Well, that about wraps up this week.  I love you all and I love serving as a missionary in Taiwan.  Til next week...
Love the One and Only,
p.s. the guy with the glasses is Mr. Unseen Success guy