Sunday, August 26, 2012

Typhoons here are NUTS!

Dear Family and Friends,
Well, I gotta admit, this week was rough, but it was definitely worth it and we had some fun as we went along.  It was so great to hear from all of you and know how you all are doing.  All your stories, long and short, just give me an extra fire to go out each week and work even harder.  So thank you all!  Well, I don't know if you have heard about the typhoon that hit Taiwan this last week or not, but it completely flooded out HengChun and turns out the same typhoon turned around and is headed back to Taiwan.  I'm doing just fine, all is well, and hope to have the chance to head back down to that amazing place to do some service cleaning in the next few days here.  Well, now that that's said and done, let's get on with this week.
Monday not a whole lot happened besides visiting with a less active, Brother Hong.  We didn't have a whole lot of time to sit down with him, but had enough time to get to know the basics about him.  He is super busy with work, raising and taking care of fish, and so we look forward to strengthening his faith and testimony from here on out.
Tuesday began with our District Training Meeting and it was on sharing the blessings of the Book of Mormon.  What I have come to realize as I have been on my mission is that the Book of Mormon is just full and full of promised blessings.  Blessings were given to the righteous as they heeded the counsel from on high, and blessings were given to those who had a change of heart began to do so. In addition to to that, blessings will shed forth as we go and act on the principles and teachings from within.  One thing I would just invite all of you to do right now is to stop and think of the blessings that you have received from the Book of Mormon.  I then went on exchanges with Elder Garey's new missionary, Elder Robison, and we just had a great time together.  He is such a hard working missionary and focused on his purpose.  I just remember that exactly 1 year ago I was in his same shoes, fresh on the island of Taiwan.  We had a few great first lessons and they went great because we took what we learned from DTM and applied it into the lesson.  
Wednesday we visited with one of our progressing investigators, Brother Hong.  He is doing really awesome.  I'm sure I've talked about him before, he is in his 50s/60s.  Anyway, we focused the lesson on prophets with him, how they are called, their role, the benefits of listening to the words of the prophets, and then talked on how God through his prophets have testified of Christ.  Might sound like it was a super complex lesson, but the scriptures teach these truths plainly for all to understand.  We then talked about Christ's ministry and Him establishing his church in the America's, focusing on the power and authority.  He understood it all, but declined the invitation to be baptized saying that his time just wasn't up.  We're gonna still be working with him and strengthening his testimony on the Book of Mormon and prayer.  From what he has already gone through, he knows the importance of the Book of Mormon and that the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon was a miracle in and of itself.  Love this man!
Thursday was a long rough day (mainly due to the typhoon).  Let's just put it at that haha.  I had a another taste of the days I spent in HengChun, but it was only 1 day out of the week this time.
Friday was another long day, just because of the typhoon.  We spent a lot of time at a 7-11 making phone calls and then had some nice home grilled burgers done by our good ol' friend Ray (a 60+ year old Vietnam veteran from Kentucky).  Oh, you do not know how bad I miss those good ol' American burgers!  OH!  Anyway, he reminded us of all the good tasting food we have in America and also told us that we missionaries are crazy for proselyting in this typhoon.  He said something along the lines of, "You guys are either really religious or you are just crazy."  Went on telling us about a fella who actually passed away the night before cause the wind knocked off a sign from a building and landed on his car.  Mom, don't get nervous, the Lord will protect his missionaries.  Well, we went back out into the storm and got back to work and actually had a few lessons afterwards.  
Saturday was the best day of the week by far.  It began by visiting with another one of our progressors, Jay.  He is doing great and has recently discovered the help that comes from prayer.  He and his family have been discussing about purchasing a new car and going the that whole procedure, and he mentioned that prayer gave him more power in the decisions he has made so far and felt that God was backing him up..  Well, we testified that as he prays specifically about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith that he would get the same kind of feeling.  After his lesson we cruised on over to Elder Garey's area to do a baptismal interview for their investigator Liu bei bei, an 82 year old from China.  Love, this, man! and his accent!  At first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to understand him very well, cause is mainland accent was pretty thick, but thanks to the Spirit all went well.  He passed and I look forward to attend his baptism next week.  We cruised right on back and  visited with a former investigator named Jerry.  He recently became a Christian after the previous missionaries dropped him and now knows that he can't rely on himself anymore cause that has gotten him nowhere.  Jerry is your average heavy beetlenut chewer, smoker, and drinker, but he has a huge desire to give it all up.  We talked that it'll come through faith, reading and praying that he will receive God's help in quitting and coming to know the truth.  I hope to be able to share more about Jerry, he is honestly the world's funniest man alive!  We then cruised back on over to the church to do another baptismal interview for one of the sister's investigators.  Long story short, the process up to her baptismal interview was a miracle in and of itself.  She passed her interview and immediately attended the baptismal service of an investigator that Elder Christensen and I began visiting with and then turned on over to the sisters to finish off the rest.  Her name is Wu Dong Xian and there has been a huge change within her every since we turned her on over.  She is a lot more happy and giddy which is one blessing the gospel brings, eternal happiness.  
One thing I absolutely love about being a missionary and a member of this church is the knowledge I have of the gospel plan.  God gave us the gospel plan cause he knew it would bring us happiness.  The center of this gospel plan is His Son, Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice.  It is through the Atonement that every unfair thing in life can be made right.  It has brought happiness to my life, it has brought happiness to the investigators I have worked with, and it will continue to bring happiness to the honest seekers of truth.  I also know that it will continue to bring happiness to each of you as well.  I love you all!! 
Love the One and Only,