January 12, 2015I'm so grateful for Jesus Christ! I'm so grateful this week we were able to celebrate His birth and remember the importance of His life.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the word steadfast. I've been thinking about what it means to be steadfast and I have recognized a lot of examples of people around me who are being steadfast. They are being bold, confident, diligent, immovable. When I think of the word steadfast, I think of 2 Nephi 31:20, "Wherefore, we must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ having a perfect brightness of hope and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward fasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."
I see the example of so many faithful members of the Church who face so much opposition and conflict as they stand for the truth. We visited a member this week who was baptized only about two years ago. She talked to us about how hard it is that her husband is not a member. But she reads the scriptures and prays every night with her five year old son. Her husband does not participate, but he sits and listens. He does not like her going to Church, but she knows that this gospel is something that will bless her whole family. She is steadfast as she comes to church every week. As she kneels down with her kids at night. As she does what she knows she should do despite the pressure she feels against her.
I see the example of my companion as she pushes herself harder every day. Despite sickness and health problems. Despite the miles we have to travel each day to get to our area and to travel home. Despite all the rejection she faces on the road as she tries to talk with everyone. Despite challenges she is facing with her family relationships. Despite all the challenges that she faces each day, she has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She is such an example to me of being steadfast, being immovable. She works and labors each day. I love her!
I see the example of Isabel, one of our investigators. She is immovable as she faces the challenges of being so far away from home. She has left her husband and children, has come to this foreign country where she doesn't know the language and has worked so hard in her classes to be able to bring a better life to her kids. This weekend she was really busy and worried about her assignments at school, but we invited her to come to church. We told her that it would really help her focus on what is most important and she will be able to still accomplish everything she needs to do. She came to church for all three hours and was able to finish up her assignments on time. She is so strong and brave because of Jesus Christ.
Last week, we were having a hard day. We were behind schedule and were trying to ride to XiaoGang as fast as possible. I was leading, so I had the phone. We were riding next to a park, so I pulled into the park and picked up the phone. Sister King followed and as I talked on the phone, she said hello to the people walking by. They were Taiwanese, but they responded in Spanish! Sister King lived in Mexico for a few years when she was younger and has really good Spanish. As they talked with her in Spanish and showed her pictures, Sister King understood everything that they said to her. She hadn't heard of spoken Spanish for several years, but in the moment when she needed it, she could understand and have a conversation with them! It was so so cool!
On Monday, we followed up with one of our investigators on our invitation we gave him to write down things that he is grateful for. He pulled out a planner than he had bought and each day of the week was filled with things he was grateful for that day. We later talked with his wife and she told us that before meeting with us, he was not very grateful. His daughter had even tried to get him to talk about things he was grateful for, but he couldn't think of anything. It was so great to see him change and seem happier!
We taught our English class this week about transportation. We teach the little kids - there are so many of them!! We taught them the word truck. They couldn't say it. I was laughing so hard. Sister King would say, really clearly, "TRUCK." And the whole class would respond by saying "TRACK." ... "TRUCK." "TRACK." It was so funny!
The Schwieders taught them how to make paper boats. Some of them already knew how to make them, so when they finished making them, they started helping each other. It was really sweet.
The elders, the Schwieders, and Sister King and I are all trying to improve the relationship the ward has with members here. We have a list of all the members in our ward and a map of where they live, so we have split them all up between us and have been spending a lot of time visiting these members and finding everyone on our list. We have found so many miracles as we do this work! We have found many people prepared to hear the message of the restoration, many we have been able to teach and invite. I know that the Lord puts those He has prepared in our path as we do the things that He would have us do. This is His work, we are just His hands!
Last night, we had a member call us and invite us over because she had people she wanted to introduce to us! Her high school aged son had three of his classmates over. We shared an object lesson with them. We took two oranges, one peeled and one still with its peel. We them asked everyone to guess which orange would sink and which would float. Most of them said they thought the one with the peel would sink because it was heavier. We put them in the water and watched the one with the peel float to the top. We then discussed how the gospel protects us, how it helps us overcome any challenge that comes to us!
This week I hit my eleven month mark as a missionary! It feels like I just got on island. But as I think about all of the experiences I have had here in Taiwan, I can see the Lord in it all. He has been by my side, He has helped me grow, He has encouraged and blessed me so much. He has protected and comforted me. He has been in every moment of every day. I'm so grateful I am His representative, that He has trusted me with this calling to be His messenger. I love Him and I love this work that I am doing!
This morning I was reading a talk from this last conference. I love a quote from Elder L. Tom Perry's talk, "to be a Christian is to admire Jesus so sincerely and so fervently that the whole life goes out to Him in an inspiration to be like Him." I hope that each day as we move forward and live in faith, that we can work to become better Christians. That we can be more sincere and fervent in our actions and our words and our thoughts. I hope that we can dedicate everything that we do to Him, because everything that we have is because of Him.
At Church this week, there were talks and lesson given about why it is important to put the Lord first. I love the scripture in the Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 9:6, "But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen." I know this scripture is true. He will fulfill all of His promises. He remembers all of His promises. He remembers His children. He knows you. He knows me. He will provide a way for everything to be accomplished according to His plan. I love Him.
I love you all! Have a great week! Sister Berrey