Hello my wonderful family!
I never know how to start my emails anymore. I feel like I always start them the same way, so I try to be original and think of something new, but can never think of anything so I always resort back to the same old thing.
I hope your week was a good one full of miracles. The ceramic place looks fun and Jemma looks completely entertained. I think art will be fun for her. She's always liked that kind of stuff. As far as sports goes....maybe you could start a hula-hoop class and then it will become an Olympic sport and she would go pro. Haha whatever she gets into I'm sure it will be great.
As always I feel like I can never remember what happened throughout the week. I think its getting worse. Like my brain capacity has been overloaded so when new information gets shoved in something else has to get shoved out to make room. Sometimes I wish we worked like computers and could just add extra memory storage.
But since that isn't an option I have to resort to looking back to my planner and hopefully can dig up some of this weeks happenings. Thank goodness for planners. It's genius.
I don't know if I talked about her, or if you remember her, but we were finally able to contact En Man again and meet with her this week. She took me about three weeks of consecutive calling to finally get a hold of her and set up a time, but once we got to meet with her she was golden. She invited herself to read, pray and come to church every week but ended up disappearing for several weeks. I called her one day and she told me not to worry because she was going to another church....
What! Of course I'm going to worry.
Anyway we were able to set up with her and discovered that she is still reading the Book of Mormon. She just doesn't want to come to our church because she doesn't know anyone. (I don't know where we stand, but I guess we don't count.) I told her that she would never get to know anyone if she never came, so maybe in a few weeks when she isn't as busy we can get her to come. She needs it so much! I don't want her to let the truth slip through her fingers, but everyone does have their agency.
We also had the opportunity to share the Plan of Salvation with a woman who just lost her brother. Her brother and his immediate family are all members of our church, but she isn't. Her family members called us and asked if we could share a little bit with her hoping that it could help her calm down. We testified, taught, and listened as well as we could but she wasn't taking comfort in anything. Her family testified and she still wouldn't believe. She had the one message that could bring her the most comfort right in front of her, but wasn't willing to stretch forth her hand and pick it up. Sister Murdock started crying because she felt so sorry for her. She might not have understood everything, but she could feel how lost this woman was and how unwilling she was to trust. She did say at the end that if we said prayer could help her she would keep trying. I hope she receives peace, but unless we pray with faith, even a little, we won't be open to God's help. Seeing her struggle and how lost she was made me so much more grateful that God was merciful enough to give me the gospel from the very beginning. I've never had to be lost, I've never had to doubt or be afraid. Because I am human I do, but I don't need to. The truth is always there as long as we are open enough to receive it.
Later on that afternoon we had an unexpected opportunity to see Lerma! Sister Blickenstaff was taking her to the police office to do some reports for the accident she was in last year and asked if we had time to come see her. Of course we have time for Lerma! We dropped our plans and were able to have an incredibly inspiring lesson. She is so incredible and inspires me to become better. She takes care of an old man and has to help him take his medicine and follow the doctor's orders.
While we were in the car she was telling us about the other day she ran into President Blickenstaff just outside of a 7-11. She then told us that later that same day she was pushing man she tends in his wheelchair and ended up in the same spot. She said he wanted to go in and buy something to eat, but she has been given doctor's orders to not let him eat that kind of stuff because of his blood sugar. So she didn't let him, but he got angry with her and started yelling and trying to hit her from his wheelchair. She told us that at that moment she remembered meeting President at the same spot and realized that God probably put President in her path so that when she was having this trial she would have the strength to overcome. She said because she had met President there she felt like she couldn't get mad or have bad thoughts.
She really is an incredible example. She sees the blessings of the Lord in her life and remembers God at all times. She always says we were sent to her to lift her up, but I believe it is the other way around.
This week we were also able to get back in contact with a lot of people who have disappeared for the past couple of weeks! Honestly it's a miracle we were able to get back in touch with them, and they are all still willing to keep learning.
We were able to meet with Shi Yue again, and she is just incredible. I was really nervous to go back and discover that she lost interest or ran into some anti-literature or something. But one night we just stopped by to see if they were home and they invited us right up. We talked to a minute and then she turned to her husband and asked him if he had told us about what happened when they went to bai bai (when they went to worship the buddhist gods). My heart dropped and I painfully waited for the worst. She then told us that she got baptized. I was devastated.
She then told me the following story:
They were in Taibei visiting her husband's family for the Moon Festival (which is actually today) and his aunt asked them to go bai bai with her. Shi Yue just thought she was being nice and in turn agreed to go with her to support her. (Shi Yue has never gone to bai bai before because she's from China.) She told us she went and was completely confused about all the food and incense and the prayers they were doing, but just did what everyone was telling her to do. Then she said they gave her this paper with her name on it and were really nice and good to her, but didn't tell her much about the paper or what she just did. She said later when she was in the car with her husband her turned to her and told her that she was just baptized into the Iguandao religion. She had no idea and freaked out! I guess her husband didn't really know either until the end because he's never learned about Iguandao before either.
So she got baptized without even knowing it, and no one else would tell her what was going on. We laughed about it and told her if it was against her will it doesn't really count for much. She asked us that if she gets baptized into our church if we will tell her what is going on. We assured her that there would be no secrets.
So if you come to Taiwan, I guess you have to be careful or else you could get baptized into another church without even knowing it. We'll stay on our guard. :)
As far as her progress goes I don't think she has received a specific answer about the Book of Mormon yet, but she is understanding the scriptures and the commandments so much more. We had talked to her about fasting before and she had a little bit of a problem with it, but we went back and she said she was thinking about it and realized that fasting does have its benefits (besides all the blessings God promises us). I asked her what that was and she said she realized it would help you develop self-control and give you confidence to know that you can do hard things. Yea...she just gets it. I really hope she gets baptized someday. She says she has a lot of time and is just at home now, so we have the invitation to come over whenever. (The best kind of invitation for a missionary.)
We weren't able to meet with the girl we ran into and gave a Book of Mormon to last week. She just has no time. Hopefully some day she won't be as busy, but at least for now she has a book and knows where the chapel is.
We did get to meet with one of our english students who came to church last week though. She was super interested and said that she feels so happy at our church. She said she thinks it is a really special place and that she feels really lucky to get to be there. We taught her about the Restoration and Joseph Smith's vision and she loved it! I can't wait to continue teaching her.
Well, I could probably keep writing about different things forever. (See planners work miracles.) But my time is about up.
I love you all and am grateful for you every day. I love this gospel. I love this church. I love that I get to be a missionary. I love my companion. I love my investigators. I love seeing the change in people. I love knowing that no matter how often I get rejected, prepared people are just around teh corner.
Remember that I love you all so much and that miracles are given to us every day.
With all my love,