Our new car! Just kidding...
|Managing my cold the Taiwanese way|
SO MANY CRAZY THINGS HAPPENED THIS WEEK I CAN'T EVEN EXPLAIN THEM ALL. All I can say is that THIS week was full of all of the miracles that made up for last week:)
As for the title..........so many people, like so many, people on the street and members and investigators and even other missionaries told me that I am not American, I am way more Taiwanese. I don't even know what's happening, but I know that it's true. Watch out.
SO , we met with Resa. She is a new investigator and she is AWESOME. She has never felt loved, always felt criticized and picked on. She has been to a ton of other Christian churches and still doesn't feel that it's right. She is awesome and wants to feel Heavenly Father's love so bad. She is preparing to be baptized on 12/19:)
, we met with our RC Chen Hui Mu. He told us that when we took him to the temple for the first time, when I handed him a Book of Mormon to read while we waited, he flipped open to Alma 40:23 about the resurrection it brought him comfort that his bad knees and missing teeth will be restored:)
, we had a huge miracle. I start talking to a random couple. We start talking about family and the husband says they have no time to think about religion or go to church because he has to take care of his 100 year old dad!!! I was like "WOAH REALLY" and he invites us to go see. So yes, like a zoo, we go see his ancient dad just laying on the bed!!!!! Then this guy starts telling us the secret to living long is not eating medicine, just Chinese medicine, and then through massaging the pressure points on your body, you can activate your body's natural healing power.
So we are talking about religion and this body stuff, and I give him a Book of Mormon and because of the culture here, they ALWAYS feel like they have to give you something back, so he starts scurrying around the house trying to find a book to give me. He gives me a book about the pressure points of the feet and how you can heal your body from it. Then he grabs my foot and starts kneading my toes and I'm in so much pain, and then at the same time, his wife starts to ask about the Book of Mormon. I'm unable to process the fact that she says that she has FINISHED READING the whole book, then gave it back to missionaries a couple years ago, because I'm in so much pain.
The husband stops "massaging" my feet (also, who would want to touch a missionary's feet???) and I start to ask her what she thought of the book and why she gave it back. She starts to ask what we think the purpose of life is and where we were before we came to earth and where we will go after we die and why we even need this earth life. Once I compared it to how little children need to grow up and get jobs and go to school and get married so they can experience life on their own, she totally got it. AND YET she still didn't want to learn more, still was unable to accept that our Heavenly Father loves us. Anyway, this whirlwind of strange foot-mangling and free books amidst a gospel lesson was the miracle we had prayed for that day:) We will go back and talk to her more about the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we gave her. :)
That same day, we met with Xie Dixiong, the eternal investigator who is like a Taiwanese cholo beaner guy. He moved to Neihu!!!!!!!! So yah its definitely a sign that we can't help him here, the answers will be found in NeiHu for him!!! (that is still in our mission zone, but not the area me and my companion cover)
THEN that night, we went to the night market to eat dinner with our district and recent converts before English class and LO AND BEHOLD there were 3 white women visiting Taiwan from UTAH. Two of them had return-missionary sons!! They paid for our meal and thought it was amazing how we could communicate and understood and accepted the culture. It baffled me at how baffled they were! They asked me to have a full on conversation about our day's events to our district leader Elder Boyce and it just came so naturally to me, more naturally than English:) So that was a huge miracle to see them too. :)
I was sick. Ugh it hit me hard, this cold, I am still getting over a cough. I've been really weak, but through resting and drinking water, I was still able to work .
OH MY GOODNESS . THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE BIGGEST MIRACLE OF MY MISSION. So I was still sick, but rested in the afternoon so we went out at 3. We were trying to find less actives and no one was home. It's about time for a lesson we had at 5 so we turn to go. For some reason, I turn back around, look up at the man and his son in the 2nd floor window and shout "HEY CAN WE GIVE YOU A PAMPHLET?" And instead of the expect "不用謝謝!" He says "Are you Mormon missionaries? Welcome into my home!!" and so we go up.
This man, 陳崇勇 pulls out a MoMenJing (the current version we use is MoErMenJing, so the version he had was an old translation) that he got 15 years ago that a missionary gave him before he went home. This Chen DiXiong says " I LOVE THIS BOOK. It has gotten me through some really hard times. When my relationship with my wife was bad, I read this book and prayed like the missionaries taught me, and then my wife joined a Christian church! I feel like God speaks to me through this book. I know that our prayers have to be sincere in order for God to hear us and help us."
He then goes on to explain that he doesn't believe in the Trinity like every Christian church in Taiwan does. He knows that his wife's Christian church is good, but he doesn't like to go because they pray to Christ and not Heavenly Father. He says "I know that Heavenly Father is our Father and Jesus Christ is His Son, He is our Savior." He practically just bubbled over with joy that we came into his house to share about the message that he ALREADY believed to be true, but because no missionaries had stayed in contact, he never got to be baptized. We invited him to be baptized on Christmas and he accepted. WOW.
Sitting there, I could not even comprehend this huge miracle we had stumbled into. Here I am, sick and weak and just soaking up the Spirit that this simple man's simple testimony invited. It was incredible. He came to church yesterday in a white shirt and we are visiting him. He hopes that we can meet with his wife too and help them both become stronger Christians:) I don't know WHAT we did to deserve this miracle, but I know that RIGHT NOW is this man's time to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Also, Chen Hui Mu went and did baptisms for the dead at the temple!! He is a stubborn old man and likes to be lazy, but he went!!
, we got stood up by an investigator, so we got to eat cream puffs with Jin Jiemei, the one with the super fancy house up in the mountains:) I also ate apple pie at a fancy little cafe we found. LIKE LEGIT APPLE PIE, NOT TAIWANESE STYLE. SO GOOD. We also met with an awesome less active who has real desire to come back, he's a super cool 20 year old Zhan DiXiong:) Then we went to visit our Philipina recent convert Sister Lita. She is so adorable, we are going to eat lunch with her :) oh also.............I hit my 500 DAYS AS A MISSIONARY mark:) SO COOL, I love being a missionary:)
Then . was nuts. Most importantly...JERRY HIT HIS YEAR MARK!!!!!!!! Who remembers Jerry, my recent convert when I was in training, the one who got baptized in like 4 weeks and was super golden and has visited me a few times since then?? Yesterday marked a year since he was baptized!!! So he will be getting his endowment soon and I got permission to go:) Congratulations Jerry!!!!!!!!! 恭喜陳鈞毅！！
We had 6 investigators at church, the most I've ever had in my mission. One of them was a man I met on the street, asked him if he wanted to come to the free English class we teach, he said he didn't want to come to English class, but he would want to come to church. And yep, sure enough he came!!! 3 other English class students came too, and then the miracle Chen Dixiong and Resa. SO AMAZING. Then later that day, we tried to contact a family, only to be told by the dad that the way we were doing missionary work was wrong and we should probably just stop. "不要傳教" (bu yao chuanjiao) is what he said. Well, in Chinese, missionary is chuan jiao shi, so he was basically telling us not to do what we are. So yah, we walked away from him:)
Then we had an AMAZING lesson with a referral named Zhang Dixiong. He is 21 and amazing. I have never had such a smooth lesson of the Restoration!!!!!!! He said he is going to think about when he wants to be baptized, but having Christmas be a goal is pretty tempting:)
Something that I have been pondering lately is how amazing it is that we are spreading the teachings of Christ in Taiwan. We had another lesson yesterday and he was an atheist who wanted to understand God. He did not understand ANY of the words we used to teach. Prophet, authority, disciple, apostasy, restoration, but even simpler words like gospel and truth were hard concept for him to grasp.
People here in Taiwan are literally trapped by the "traditions of their fathers," to quote the Book of Mormon (standard missionary). They CAN NOT seem to grasp why they would be able to chose for themselves their religion or why they would be able to change or why they would even need to change. When we get told a million times on the street "I'm Buddhist" and we ask how their religion has helped them, 98% of the time, the answer is that their religion hasn't made any difference in their lives. My question is why would you even make it part of your life then? I am so grateful for this great, DIFFICULT calling we have to help bring these people who are so buried in darkness into the light. They do not know God. They do not know Heavenly Father. Most of these people don't even understand that sin is even bad. It's pretty stinking cool that we get to help people learn the truth, even though, I can tell you, it's super hard. :)
Fun facts about our week:
-I had my first Chinese medicine 中藥 this week because I got a really bad cold. It is just...powder, some really weird herbs or something and it is NASTY. NASTIEST THING I'VE HAD IN MY LIFE and I have had some pretty nasty things. Like bitter and sour and dry and just UGH. But I hope it helps me heal:)
-We also helped a blind old man cross the street this week. That was awesome:)
-A member gave us homemade bread this morning and an apostle is coming to visit our mission :)
I know that this gospel is true. I know and I live it and I love it. I also know that happiness is for those who proactively seek it. I don't know how this directly translates in English, but Jin Jiemei shared with us 幸福是給主動的人的.
I Know that Heavenly Father is waiting to give us whatever we want, but we must use our agency to go after it. This life, our agency, the Plan of Salvation, it's all so wonderful. I love you all, I hope you stuff your faces full of the turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie that we will not see on Thanksgiving because it is not celebrated here. :)
Be grateful and remember that all of our blessings come from our Father in Heaven and we can progress because of Jesus Christ.
Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)