It's incredible how fast a week can go by! Monday comes along and you don't know how you are going to get through the week, but the next thing you know it's Sunday and you still don't know how you got through the week. I guess Heavenly Father really does just carry us as we move forward in the work.
This last week I got to spend the entire week in my area of Tainan. We found members to be part time missionaries for the week hoping that we wouldn't have to run around everywhere and that we could help bring this area back to life. Sister Chang and I worked so hard trying to build it up and were starting to see some incredible miracles, than after only a week of not being here 24/7 almost everything disappeared. I was so excited to be able to focus on this area and bring it back, but this week it only got worse. I was hoping to have lessons set up for my part time missionary (Wu Jiemei) to help with, but almost every lesson canceled or didn't show up. A little depressing, but at least we got a lot of contacting and tracting time in right?
This next week is the start of the Chinese New Year so starting Wednesday everyone is busy celebrating with their families. It will go for about a week. Because of the holiday we weren't able to get any lessons set up and everyone we contacted said wait until after New year's. We also weren't able to find other part time missionaries to help us out next week so I'm going to be back in the Tainan 1st and 2nd wards for the next week.
We did get word that 12 new missionaries are coming next week! This means that once they come I will probably have a stable companion and get to stay in one place for the next month. Please pray everything goes smoothly. I feel a little like I've lost my identity in having to always change areas, companions, wards etc.
That is pretty much the status for now. I'm a little disappointed I don't get to celebrate with my own ward, but we've got to make the most of what we've been given. Sister Jiang and I will have an amazing week and I hope we will see many miracles!
Despite not having a lot of lessons this week it was really fun having a duanchuan (short term missionary). It was a little like training again, but Sister Wu caught on extremely fast. She's been a member for a little over a year and wants to serve a mission so bad. Her parents say she has to wait until she graduates college so she still has a few years until she can go on a mission.
I've loved working with her and am so grateful that we've become good friends. We were only together for a week, but become friends pretty quickly. She has a very loving and fun personality and is so willing to learn. She has helped me this week more than she could know. I think Heavenly Father knew that this week would be particularly hard, as far as rejection goes, so He sent her to me to lift my spirits and help me keep moving forward. We would find ourselves getting a little discouraged in tracting or contacting etc, and would say to each other, "it's okay, you(pronounced yo) xinxin you banfa!" It's a saying we have in our mission that means "when you have faith there is a way."
It was also really fun seeing her build her faith in missionary work. Our first couple of days together we didn't see anyone willing to accept our message which i think lowered her expectations. Then we had zone training meeting and were trained on helping our investigators come to church and set baptismal dates. I think she thought it was a little abrupt and kept telling me that we needed to think more like the Taiwanese people and realize that they aren't going to accept this message that quickly. I found myself praying for experiences and opportunities to help her build her faith in her own people and in their willingness to accept the gospel. Missionary work may be a little abrupt, but the way we work is how we've been counseled to work by the prophets.
Thankfully Heavenly Father loves us and answers our prayers. My prayers were answered this week and we were indeed given opportunity to see others willing to accept our message.
We had set some time aside to go Book of Mormon contacting. Basically like contacting on the streets, but just trying to hand out Book of Mormon. We started out at an intersection by a department store, but the police came to the same intersection several minutes later to do some of their own advertising so we decided to leave and go to our backup area. By that time we only had about fifteen minutes left of contacting and it didn't seem like anyone was going to listen. It was about time to go when I decided to talk to one last person. I started walking over to her, hoping she would be our last minute miracle, and began to talk to her. She said she was also Christian (Presbyterian) and showed me the cross key chain she had on her bag. After she said this I didn't have much hope, but kept talking to her and shared with her a little about the Book of Mormon. To my surprise she pulled over to the side of the road and we talked with her about how God has given us more truth to help us better understand His word. She said she had never read or heard of the Book of Mormon before and was pretty surprised that we were willing to give her a copy free of charge. She doesn't live in our area, but we were able to get her information and pass it on to the other sisters. She said if we have time we are more than welcome to visit her at her house, to which of course we are not going to object. :)
It was another typical last contact, last door experience, but it was a huge miracle! I hope with all my heart that she will be open to the message of the Book of Mormon and will be willing to learn more about our church and the message we share.
We had another pretty similar experience while tracting this week. There is a street that every time i pass it I think that we should go there and tract. So since we didn't really have any lessons this week we went over there and started tracting. Unfortunately that particular neighborhood has a pretty big Catholic church as well as a pretty large Buddhist temple. So for the first 20ish minutes we were met with either very devoted catholics or very devoted buddhists.
Sister Wu seemed a little hesitant to knock on the doors with buddhist alters, but i encouraged her and told her that everyone needs the gospel, even if they do have a massive, red alter in their living room.
Eventually we came to another door with an alter just like the others, but this time a man came out and actually stayed to talk with us for a while. We talked about all the different churches and that we were sharing about why there were so many. He actually seemed pretty interested in learning the answer. We ended up getting his contact information and he sounds pretty willing to meet with the elders after the holidays.
Sister Wu has shared this experience several times during activities this past week. It's been really fun seeing her faith grow and seeing Heavenly Father provide these experiences to help build our faith. Miracles are always around the corner. Sometimes it just takes us longer to get there.
A few days ago I was reading the story of job. I wanted to read his story and learn from his example of faith to help me get through the week. I decided if there was anyone who had a hard time it was him. I love that even amid all of his trials he stayed faithful. He couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but he knew it would come and just held on to his faith until that time came. His example helped me a lot this week.
Actually I found that this week Heavenly Father brought a lot of things to my memory that strengthened me and helped me keep moving forward. I was reminded of scriptures that have strengthened me in times of need, words written in letters from old companions, encouragement in family emails, sayings often repeated by our missionaries like "you xinxin you banfa!" etc. I could truly feel the spirit reminding me of these things and moving me forward and I am extremely grateful!
As far as the rest of the week goes we had several opportunities to serve our members and some random people on the street. We ate a ton of biandang and chocolate, drank a ton of soymilk, and became great friends. I'm excited for the next week! I know we can see miracles! Abby is actually an investigator for the Tainan 1st ward so maybe I will be able to see her again while i'm there this week.
I loved seeing your Valentine's Day celebrations! We didn't really do anything. Actually I forgot until a member pulled out these little bears and chocolate to give us while we were helping her clean her house. (i sent a picture of them). Jemma sounds busy as ever and growing like crazy still. I hope you all enjoy your four day weekend and the warm weather! I can't believe there's no snow!
Love you all! Remember to look for the miracles in every day!