Thank you so much for your prayers! I've been praying so hard, and I'm sure you have added prayers as well, that we would be able to see progression in this area and with our investigators. As a result, this week was incredible! We saw so many miracles! I know without a doubt that the Lord is blessing us. Weeks like this are what give me the strength to keep pushing forward when nothing seems to be happening.
So I guess I'll just start from the beginning (because that's a very good place to start right?).
Right after we finished emailing last week we headed over to Yi Zhong Jie, which is the market I sent pictures of several weeks ago. It is also the place they take all the new missionaries to for the Dan Jones experience. We were just going over to find something to eat, but when we parked our bikes this man saw us and started yelling and walking toward us. I'm not sure what disorder he had, but he had a hard time controlling his body and couldn't speak very well. His arms were mostly held over his head and were jerking all over. I was a little nervous when he started walking toward us and had no idea what he was saying. After he repeated what he was yelling several times I realized he was saying "dao gao" (prayer). He was asking us to pray for him. We ended up talking to him for a while, got his number to give to the elders, and told him we would pray for him. He was an extremely nice man who is truly humble in his circumstances. I thought it was really interesting that when he was talking to us about church and about God it seemed like he was able to speak better and his twitching calmed down. He told us he was looking for a church that could help him and could bless him. I hope the elders in his area can help him. It sounded like he had a pretty solid grasp on God and prayer.
Anyway, the rest of the day we spent with Judy. Who is one of our newer investigators. She was found through english class and just never had time before to meet with us. We went with her and her two sons to a local college that had lots of trails to walk on and a famous church. The church is on the campus and is famous for the architecture. It was an incredible building, but it is always interesting how it never feels the same as our church. I'm so grateful that we have that truth and that we have the authority of God. I'm grateful for that we believe in an unchanging God and that He is, and always will be, a God of miracles. I'm grateful that our church buildings, our temples, are not just pretty buildings, but are places of refuge and places where we can receive personal revelation. I love that we can feel the spirit and feel of God's love when we enter into His house, but I'm even more grateful that we know we don't have to rely on a place to feel that way. We can feel it every minute of every day! What an incredible blessing!
We were able to meet with Shi Yue again this week and it was incredible! I wasn't too sure where her testimony was, so we decided to review the Restoration and figure out where her faith was. We ended up inviting her to be baptized and she accepted! Sister Schultz and I had invited her several times and she would never accept a date, but this time she did and is dedicated to do what it takes to receive and answer from God. She said that she absolutely believes in God (which is a big step forward), but that she just hasn't felt Him in her own life yet. I pray with all my heart that she will see His hand in her life. I've seen her progress so far and hope she keeps going. Her family is incredible and I know the gospel will help them become even better.
As always we got to meet with several others, but it seemed like this week almost everyone was pretty earnest about seeking out an answer for themselves. When we meet with people like this and at least invite them to search for an answer I feel like I am doing my job, and that I'm doing it right. I'm so grateful that the Lord allowed us to meet these people, and at least start preparing them to receive the gospel in their lives.
This week Sister Murdock and I were focusing really hard on hitting the mission standards that President Blickenstaff has set for us. We saw a lot of miracles and were getting really close to hitting them. By the time Saturday came along we only needed two more lessons with members present (which is one of the hardest standards to hit), and had two set up already. We had our first lesson that morning (which was great) and finished up our studies at the church while we were waiting for Yi Jun who was our other appointment that afternoon. While we were doing studies she texted us and told us she wouldn't be able to make it.
We were both a little disappointed and tried to think of ways that we were going to get another lesson. We called a few people to see if they had time, but no one did. I thought of calling the member and telling her our lesson was canceled, but didn't because I was still hoping for a miracle. The rest of the afternoon I was wracking my brain and the only thing I could come up with was english proselying. That is when we go to an intersection and hand out fliers for our english class to people on the street. I thought that maybe, if we talked to everybody we could find someone who would be willing to listen and would be able to have a lesson with us. Maybe we could find someone prepared for the gospel. We were out on that intersection for about half an hour and it didn't seem like we were going to find anyone. I was praying so hard and asking Heavenly Father for a miracle. Then with only about ten minutes left the old lady walked up to me and started asking about english class. I told her about it then ended up getting into a conversation about America and why we were in Taiwan. She was Christian, but not very devout. Basically she had just gone to church a few times in America. I told her a little bit about our church and invited her to walk with us down the street and take a tour of our chapel, and she accepted! We ended up taking her into the chapel and talked to her about God and the Restoration and how much he wants to help us in our lives. She had so much faith in God! She ended up not living in our area, but is excited to learn more and happens to live on the same street as one of our chapels! We may not have gotten a new investigator or even a member present lesson, but God truly answered our prayers and provided a small miracle in the midst of the bustling streets of Taiwan. He loves us and knows our hearts desires, and every once in a while miracles like this happen to remind us He is listening.
And now probably the biggest miracle of the week and of my mission so far! I've told you about Lerma and her situation a couple of times. She is one of the most faithful and patient woman I have ever met. She loves the gospel and has the strongest testimony. She just can't get baptized because her boss doesn't want her to have anything to do with us. We meet with her when she gets a minute to leave the house to take out the trash. We thought she might be able to get baptized when she goes back to the Philippines for Christmas. Well yesterday Sister Blickenstaff told us at church that when she and President were in Hong Kong this week they talked to the old mission president of the Phillippines about her situation and were trying to work out her baptism in December. It's a long story, but basically he told us that if we just take her the sacrament one more time we could just find a time to take her to the church and get her baptized! So tonight when Lerma gets a minute to leave we are going to teach her a few last things, the elders will prepare and bring the sacrament for her so she will have had it three times. Later on this week her boss is leaving for America and Lerma has four days consecutively that she can meet with us. So with President's permission we will be able to arrange a baptismal interview one night then take her over to the church so she can finally get baptized! It is super crazy and only happened through connections President has throughout the church, but by the end of the week Lerma will finally be baptized! She has been waiting for almost a year!
Well, I'm almost out of time. We saw so many miracles this week and the Lord gave us so many experiences to strengthen us and build our trust and faith in Him. I love being a missionary and facing the unexpected. The Lord truly loves us and knows exactly what we need to keep us going. Have an incredible week! I hope Jemma loves school this week and that work goes well for everyone else!
There's always another miracle just around the corner!
With all my love,