August 11, 2014Happy Father's Day!
So sorry I didn't have enough time to write my weekly email. We only have one hour today and another hour on Wednesday because we're going to the temple. I love you all, and I will send out my big email on Wednesday. Thanks for all the love and prayers! I love you all so so much!
August 13, 2014
I miss you all so much! I hope everyone is doing well. I pray for you all often. Sometimes it's hard not being at home seeing everyone, but there is no where I would rather be than here in Taiwan. This week was really amazing. We have been working super hard and have found some really prepared people!
On Monday, we had dinner with an investigator. She introduced us to her fiance - he's Taiwanese, but grew up in South America! They were so precious, and super interested in our message. I know they will get married in the temple some day. It's really interesting to see how many times people run into or talk with missionaries before they actually start taking the discussions. The girl met Sister Chang when we were contacting one day, and we've continued to call her and have finally found time to meet up. Later this week, we realized that her fiance had talked with the missionaries before on the side of the road. The Lord is preparing all of His children. It's fun to find these people who have had several events happen that lead them to the opportunity meet with us and come unto Christ.
Tuesday we had Zone Training Meeting. Several of the missionaries in our zone are going home at the end of this move call. All of these missionaries were in that wave of new missionaries that came in after the move call. My companion was the second 19 year old sister who came to Taiwan. That whole group from the mission age change are coming to the end of their missions now! It really feels like just yesterday that President Monson made that announcement! At your last ZTM, you give a reflection. One of our Zone Leaders, Elder Yang, shared a really beautiful reflection. Something he said has really stuck with me and I've thought about it a lot. He talked about how we do role plays as missionaries, how the first time we do a role play, it's usually not very good. But we do a little evaluation and figure out how to make it better, and then repractice. He compared that evaluation to our missions. This short time is like an evaluation with the Lord. He can help us realize what we did wrong and how we can make our lives better. Almost everything we do is better after we practice. Our lives up to the mission have been a practice. We've all made a lot of mistakes and probably haven't lived up to our potential. But on our missions, we have this consecrated time to serve others. That's all we do all day, is serve. As we lose ourselves in the work, we develop our relationship with the Savior and recognize how to do our next practice, after our missions. I hope that makes sense. I love thinking about it.
We have this awesome awesome investigator!! She was contacted by a missionary in another area, and was referred to our area. The lesson we had with her was so awesome - she talked about how she's been to a lot of different churches, but nothing feels right. She has seen people using their own understanding and knowledge to lead people to believe things. She really wants to find the truth and follow Jesus Christ. She basically taught the first lesson herself! It was so great. I'm so grateful we have this gospel. I'm so grateful we have a living prophet on the earth today, who leads and directs us. Just like in Bible times, we have literally have Heavenly Fathers power and authority on the earth. It is through the restoration that we are able to have truth in our lives. And it's not truth that comes from ancient prophets, or latter-day prophets. It's truth that literally comes from Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful for that.
I learned so much on Thursday! We had three investigator lessons set up with members coming to help teach, but all three fell through. Two of these investigators have decided to stop meeting with us. I won't go into details, but it's been challenging to see people learn and understand principles of the gospel. It's miraculous to see them make little steps to coming closer to their Savior. It really strengthens my testimony each time we meet with investigators. But remembering to respect people's agency when they decide to stop meeting is hard. Heavenly Father trusts us so much. He has given us the gift of free agency. We can decide everything for ourselves. It's really one of the hardest parts of missionary work, watching people use their agency in ways that distance themselves from their Heavenly Father. I testify that I know Heavenly Father is there. He perfectly loves each of His children. He knows what our potential is - to become like Him. Through our choices and our actions, we can come closer to Him and literally become like Him. It's such an incredible concept!
Jacob often says that happiness is a choice. I think that's something I really learned this week. It has happened many times, people choosing to not continue meeting. I always get disappointed because I really come to love these people that we teach. I see them as who they can become, and know that this gospel can bless their lives in ways they can't even imagine. But instead of being disappointed or discouraged, I have learned to just keep being happy. I have complete trust in Heavenly Father. He has his own time table that we don't understand at all, as mere mortals down here on earth. Heavenly Father knows best.
We met with a member family this week and shared about the Brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. The Brother of Jared built barges to bring his people across the ocean to the land of promise. I love Ether 2:24 "For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth." I think it was probably a little scary for these people to be pushed around at sea inside these barges. It probably was not very comfortable or enjoyable. But the Lord tells them that the winds and rains and floods are all sent by Him. All these things were trials, and were hard, but they pushed the people toward the promised land. In our lives, we have challenges and trials. We need to remember that Heavenly Father gives us these challenges, that they can push us in the right direction if we let them. We just have to trust in Heavenly Father. He sees where we are, where we've been, and where we can go. Trust in His timing and His ways. He will lead us back to His presence. I know it.
HEY, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! In Taiwan, they have Father's Day every August 8th. 8 in Chinese is ba, so August 8th is ba yue ba hao. ba ba. baba is dad in Chinese, so ba yue ba hao is Father's Day! We went and decorated a few doors of the fathers in our ward.
I love my mission! There are a lot of other things I want to write about, but I'm already almost out of time. Yesterday, we were doing street contacting for a while. We pick an intersection, and just ride around from corner to corner and talk to people as we wait for the light to turn green. We usually have less than a second to contact someone. At first, I didn't like contacting people because I felt like I did not know how to say anything, and I couldn't understand anything they were saying, but now I love it! It's like making a new friend each time, haha. Last night, I contacted this cute girl at the stop light. She was super interested, and we got to pull over to the side of the road and talk for a little while. I asked her a question about God, and she told me that she's never even thought about God before, or her relationship with Him. It was really powerful to be able to look her in the eyes and tell her that I know God lives and loves her individually. She was so happy! It was really cute. I'm so grateful we have a Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful He loves us enough to send His son Jesus Christ to earth to atone for us. I know that through Him, we will be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father. I know that we are all so important to Him. He really does love and care for us.
I love you all!