June 9, 2014This week was so so so amazing!!
This week was so so so amazing!! I learned so much! Let's see if I can put it into words... :)
One big thing that we focus on as missionaries is making and keeping commitments. This is so important to helping people grow and develop their faith. Every time we meet with someone, we make sure to leave them with a commitment, whether it is to just read a chapter in the Book of Mormon, pray to know if what we taught is true, or to apply something into their life. We always give a specific commitment to our investigators, less actives, recent converts, and members. But sometimes they don't keep the commitment. In Preach My Gospel, there is a quote by Elder Holland about this: "
"The first thing you will do when an investigator tells you he or she had not read and prayed about the Book of Mormon is be devastated!" Much of the time we are just too casual about all of this. This is eternal life. This is the salvation of the children of God. Eternity hangs in the balance. It is the most important path this investigator will ever walk. But if he or she doesn’t know that, at least you do! So take control of this situation. Teach with power and authority, and then be devastated if the first steps toward commandment-keeping and covenant-keeping have not been successfully begun." (Making and Keeping Covenants, missionary satellite broadcast, Apr. 1997).
I think this is true with all commitments we make - if they were not able to keep a commitment we felt inspired to give them, then we should do all we can to help them understand the importance of that commitment and show how important it is. This week, we visited with a less active. We had planned a lesson for her, but because she didn't keep her commitment and read a chapter we asked her to read, we instead read that chapter with her and discussed it. Instead of just brushing it off and telling her it's okay, we put our plan aside and did the commitment with her. I think we could feel frustrated when something like this happens, but it's so important to just be patient and remember that we are all imperfect. The Lord is constantly working with imperfect people and he is asking us to do the same as missionaries. Everyone we work with is imperfect and sometimes they don't do what we ask them, but it has helped me remember that the Lord feels the same way with us. All He has asked us to do is to keep the commandments, but because we're so imperfect, sometimes we can't even do that. But God is still patient with us and works with us to do better and grow. God never gives up on us, so we should never give up on each other.
Every week, we do english proselyting as a district! This week, we went to FengJia, the area next to us, to do proselyting. We have english banners and we pass out flyers to everyone on the street. It was so hot out, but there were SO many people!! Sister Chang and I would stand at the corner of an intersection and give flyers to everyone who passed. When the light turned red and everyone stopped on the street, I would go onto the road and hand a flyer to everyone on a scotter and say "mian fei de ying wen ban!! (free english class!)" and smile. I would just walk down and try to give it to everyone as they stopped, but sometimes there would be more people stopped than I could get to by the time the light turned green! It was so crazy. We went through SO many flyers! It was super fun.
A good majority of the people I have met here in Taizhong speak some English. A lot of their own english names, and we come across really interesting ones. This week I met Shiny and Fish.
Hahaha, I love seeing people's reactions when they see me. This week I had a funny experience on the bus with a couple junior high girls. They kept looking over at me, and finally one of them got the courage to say something in english to me. They were SO giggly and uncomfortable. It got a little better when we started speaking Chinese instead. They asked if they could take a picture with me, so we took a selfie. They were really interested in why I was in Taiwan, and how my Chinese was so good. I love hearing how people say things in english - one of the girls pointed to her friend and said "she english bad." and they both just laugh. So cute.
People in Taiwan can be so awkward! Sister Chang and I met with an investigator this week on Monday. It was some sort of holiday which I still don't really understand because it wasn't really a big deal here, people just didn't have work. It was some Dragon Boat Festival holiday..idk. But we met with this investigator and she brought us some food. But she claimed that in Taiwanese culture it's really rude to give this food to someone because it's like saying they want to send you to your grave. She didn't want to like ask for money from us because that's awkward to do when you're giving someone food, but she didn't want to send us to our grave because that would just be awful. So she awkwardly just asked us for one kuai. Haha, it was funny.
We had Zone Training Meeting this week! I love seeing all the missionaries in our zone and feeling the power that we have together as missionaries. Our zone is so awesome!! President Blickenstaff came to our ZTM and talked to us a little at the end. During ZTM, we always make a prayer list of people who each companion should pray for who are working towards baptism. President Blickenstaff told us that this was his favorite and the most important part of ZTM. He stressed how important prayer is and how much power it gives people. It's so important to pray for people specifically by name. I'm so grateful we have so many people to pray for and so many people we're working with in this zone!!
I went on exchanges this week with the sister training leaders and I was leading for the first time!! I was a little nervous about it because I feel like I still don't know the area super well, but it went super well. Sister Packard came to DongHai for 24 hours. Her dad's cousin is actually President Packard! (The Boston Mission President). She taught me so much in the day that we were together. I think one of the biggest things she taught me was to just be bold and confident. There are so many people who will reject us and not want to talk to us, but they will thank us one day for giving them a chance. Everyone is a child of God, and Heavenly Father really does want to be able to live with all of us again. But it's really our choice as to whether or not we want that. As missionaries, our job is just to give people the opportunity to either accept or reject this message.
We helped a less active the other day set up a shelf in her house. We were working on it for a few hours and it's still not done! It was literally so complicated, and the instructions were in Chinese. Crazy, crazy. We were putting the pieces together and Sister Chang accidentally pushed a piece too far. It was really really stuck, and we had to get it out or the whole shelf wouldn't work very well. We tried and tried to fix it, but we couldn't do it. So we stopped and said a prayer that we would be able to fix our mistake. After that, we tried again and Sister Chang was able to get it out! I really think it was a miracle. It was a lesson to be that God hears and answers EVERY prayer. Even the little things. He is up there just waiting to help us, but sometimes we have to ask Him for the help before he actually does anything.
I love being a missionary! This really is the best mission in the world! There's so much I wish I had time to say, but I'll just leave a scripture for you to read and think about. Alma 12:34-35. God has commanded us to repent. He says that only those who repent will be able to enter into His presence. Repentance is something we do after we have sinned. God actually expects us to make mistakes and sin. He understands that that is just part of mortality, but through the Savior Jesus Christ, He has given us a way to fix those mistakes and have the opportunity to live with Him again.
I love you all so much! Keep improving. Remember to write!
Love, Sister Berrey