I can't believe another week has gone by and that this move call is coming to an end! Time goes so fast! I realized a few weeks ago that I was hitting my only-one-year-left mark, and I didn't like it. One year is still a lot of time, and I have a lot more time than many of the other missionaries, but it still feels like not enough time. Sometimes I wish they had lengthened the time for sister missionaries to two years as well as the age change. (I know dad probably doesn't like that idea :) ). Anyway, this week has been an incredible week and Sister Yeh and I continue to be amazed at the progress we are privileged enough to be a part of in Qishan. Truly so many miracles!
We were talking the other night an wondering why now? Why is it this move call that Qishan is seeing so many miracles? Why for the last two move calls was this area "dead"? Its interesting to see the pattern of an area's progression, and most the time we don't have the answers to these questions. We just continue doing what we know we need to do, doing our best, and trust in the Lord's timing. But I really am so grateful that I've been given the privilege to see the progress here in Qishan and hope that I've helped a little.
Earlier this week we had Zone Conference so we headed over to Sanmin to hear from President and Sister Blickenstaff and be trained by our leaders. It was an incredible conference and we were all reminded and taught how we can better do this work and invite others to come unto Christ. I think sometimes we try to make things too complicated, or get nervous about being bold when we teach. But if we just go to the basics and are brave enough not to care what other people think we, as missionaries, will be better able to further this work of salvation.
This move call I've been trying really hard to remember the invitations our leaders give us and actually go and do them! I don't think I can count how many times I've been given an invitation at church, during FHE, or from home teachers that in the moment I agreed to do and thought that was a really good idea and then afterward didn't do anything. Unfortunately I know I have done that a lot even on my mission. We receive invitation in every DTM, ZTM, zone conference, mission conference you name the meeting we receive an invitation. As missionaries we give everyone invitations in every lesson (or we should), and when our investigators don't do our invitations we are always disappointed. Without acting on these invitations they have no way of progressing. The same goes for us. So I've been trying really hard to obey and go and do. Our leaders give us these invitations for a reason and I know that if I do them my missionary work will improve and we will see miracles.
I've seen so many blessings from doing this and I don't know if all the miracles we are seeing is because of this, but I sure do hope it is helping.I do know I have become a better missionary a lot faster because I have been doing this. I've grown a lot more bold in inviting others to repent and receive the ordinance of baptism, I've become a lot braver in talking with everyone we see, I've had more effective study...and the list goes on an on.
In having this focus for the past month I've also been a lot more excited for General Conference coming up! Every single talk will have an invitation whether directly stated or not, and every single invitation will help us become better disciples of Christ and strengthen our testimony of this gospel. So, if you can't tell, I'm giving an invitation! Listen to conference and remember their invitations. Then go and do, just like Nephi went and did the things the Lord commanded. Our prophet and apostles aren't going to directly command us, but their invitations should be taken as such. I know if we will all do this our testimonies will be strengthened and Heavenly Father will bless us immensely. (Also I won't be able to watch conference until a week later, so don't spoil anything :) ).
This week we were also able to move into our new apartment! Yay! The office elders came down with a bunch of new furniture they bought from IKEA and helped us move the last of our stuff up to the ninth floor. They spent a few hours putting together our new desks and book shelves for our apartment while Sister Yeh and I got curtains put up and figured out where we wanted everything. It is really nice to be living out of one apartment now. I also had my first encounter with cockroaches here. Almost every day so far we have come home to find one or two giant ones in our apartment and have gotten pretty skilled at sweeping them up and running just outside our door and dumping them out the ninth story window. We don't have our new washer yet (yea they went all out and got us a new washer and dryer) so there are a holes on our deck where the hoses connect to. We think the cockroaches are coming from there, but aren't sure. Anyway, its a fun experience to cross of the bucket list. I had a few emerge on my desk the other night as we were finishing daily planning.
Oh man...this email is already long and I haven't even gotten to the miracles yet. Zao gao (literally translated=messy cakes, I know, Chinese is weird).
We continued to meet with our RCs and LAs and some of them are actually progressing and are slowly coming back to church. I love getting to know the people! Leaving an area is hard, but I love that we get to move around and get to know so many different people. There are so many incredible members here!
And then the best day of the week...!
Sister Yeh and I went to the church about an hour earlyso I could practice the piano. When I got to Qishan I was asked if I could play the piano because the Bishop had asked the missionaries to prepare a musical number. Unfortunately my ability is very limited. We were finally able to pick a song we could sing in Chinese if we could find the instrumental music. To our disappointment none of our members could find the music. So we postponed the number and I started practicing when we could find a little time. I finally managed to piece together something I could manage that sounded decent, but our number got postponed by the Bishop to next month. Move call is in two weeks, so some of us could be gone by then.
Anyway we greeted everyone as they came into the church and found a seat by shao jie. Just as Sacrament meeting was starting someone poked our backs from behind. I turned around and saw this teenage girl, who I knew I had seen before. She waved at us and walked around to come sit on our other side. It took me a few seconds, but I realized that she was a girl that I had contacted at a 7/11 a few days earlier! We had gone to the 7 to call phones and spent a little time talking to one of the elder's RCs we ran into there. As we were talking I had watched a few women walk in, sit down, and walk out that I wanted to contact but couldn't. So as we were leaving I decided I was going to be a brave missionary and talk with the one student who was still there. She was really cute, but wasn't really willing to give us her information or set up to meet with us. We invited her to church and gave her the church address and told her about english class. At the very most I would have expected her to come to english, but she came to church! And she stayed for the full three hours! She is really busy, but we have an appointment with herand she kept talking about the next time she comes to church, so we are keeping fingers crossed.
So Heavenly Father has taught me not to give up on anyone, and to talk to everyone, because you never know who could progress and come to accept the gospel.
I loved the gifs you sent! It looks like Jemma is getting pretty good at the hula-hoop. So cool! She is getting way too big! It also sounds like life is pretty busy back home. But I'm glad that you are all happy and healthy, that's the most important thing! I love you all and absolutely love hearing from you every week. If I forget to answer any questions ask me again and I will try to remember.
As always, with all my love,