Monday, May 9, 2011


Lin He!!!

Mother's Day:

I guess I will be calling Monday morning at about 6 or 6:30AM my time. So that'll be Sunday, roughly 4 or 4:30PM for you, unless Daylight Savings Time has hit, then it's probably close to 5 or so. Roughly. Sorry, I don't really know the time difference. I thought it was 14 hours from Oct to Apr, then 13 from Apr to Oct, but I don't know anymore. :D I'll do my best!!!
Wow. I've been through a lot lately. Sometimes I'm not entirely sure if I've made Spiritual progress or not. But it's pretty obvious, isn't it? I'm sure you'll hear a difference on Sunday.
BUT, one thing that I have seen and felt lately is the importance of youth and children. All they have to do is smile, keep praying, reading their scriptures, going to church, and doing everything they can to defend the faith and follow Christ, and they can prophesy.
I helped Xu Hong Wen (nine years old) get baptized 8 or so days ago. We watched The Testaments the day before his baptism, and all three of the Xu kids were attentive and not moving the ENTIRE movie. Afterwards, Xu Hong Wen came up and told me something I'll never forget.
Let me explain my recent state of mind for a second first.
I've been doubting the church. I've been doubting the truth of whether or not I'm actually a son of God or not. I've been doubting some of the doctrine I've been teaching. I know it's true, so I teach it. But do I feel it? Do I believe it? Do I really know it? No. At least, I didn't. I felt guilty teaching people when I didn't believe the doctrine myself. I thought of all my friends out on their missions, and preparing. Elder Hart, Elder Bernards, Elder Seamons, Elder Brimley, Elder Stauffer, Elder Byers, Elder Leyva, Elder George... you name it. They are all such an example to me. Seeing Elder Bernards' pictures lately.. wow. It's so cool to see the change he's made. You can see it and feel it just by looking at his pictures. It forced me to take a reality check, and wonder if that's how anyone feels when they see my picture. And then I think, do I even believe in this church?
I want everyone to know that. Of course I do. I lost sight of it, and ran into my own concerns pretty hard. I realized that WE are God's investigators. He's fighting-- for us. He sets up some of His members to sit in on our lessons, and trusts them to lead His children home. Those "members" are the missionaries. And others. That's me. He wants His children home. And He will make sure it's done right. The fact that I'm still here, wearing the nametag, means God still trusts me. He wouldn't let me be here if I wasn't the right tool for His children.
I also realized that sometimes I miss the point. There is no point to life, if you don't change. I've always felt like, I can help others make it home to Heavenly Father, but if I don't make it, oh well, at least I helped others make it. One point I was willing to do whatever it took to get people home to Heavenly Father even if it meant my own Salvation. Obviously that was the wrong route. I never acted on that, of course, but now you can better understand my feelings and my doubts concerning Jesus Christ, and the things I was teaching these people to overcome, while I myself had my own problems.
I just started doing what I was telling my investigators to do. Pray. Read. Church. You'd think these things would be easy for a missionary. Not true. That's why we need to develop habits before the mission. I have not missed a day on my mission for praying, or reading the scriptures. But what did I get out of it? How useful were my prayers? As soon as I started CHANGING is finally when I saw results. And started recognizing my God's tender mercies. I've learned how to really pray, still learning how to really study the scriptures, and now I know how to be a good member, and REALLY attend church. Do I just go and listen, then not do anything about it?
Xu Hong Wen comes up to me after that movie and says one thing. "Xiangxin Ta ba. You yitian Ta yiding hui lai." Translation-- "Believe in Him. One day, He will come."
This kid is NINE years old and he just changed my mission and helped me find my motivation again. He ignited that fire again. Yes, the Lord's missionaries do need this kind of help sometimes, and there are a lot of people that need it. If you are a young boy, man or young girl, or woman... it doesn't matter what age you are, you ARE important.
Mason Hart? Madison Hart? Ashley Hart? How old are these three? Emily Bernards? Hannah Bernards? The Pew Posse (or should I say 'Group'/Band)? And so many more? Cooper Goodman? Ryan Johnson? Do you all know how much you affect your older siblings/parents? For me, if you weren't all there while I was in that ward, I'm not sure I'd have enough reason to be out here. So thank you. Keep pushing. You can all make it out on missions. I can't wait to hear where Mason Hart will be headed, that oughta be interesting ;).
 Moving out here to Gangshan in southern Taiwan was a grand experience. I think I got over the move syndrome in about 2 days this time. And there've been miracles in and out of my ears here. My companion is unbelievably brilliant and loves his mission. He's had a hard couple of move calls. It's cool to see him rebuild and then this special Double Senior companionship, both mission leaders, is just rockin' this area!!! About three solid families are meeting with us now, and they are all pushing forward. There are 5 kids over the age of 8 in the ward that aren't baptized yet. There was a recent marriage. 40% of the ward are recent converts, less actives, and investigators. More than half of the priesthood are recent converts (because the priesthood brethren aren't attending their meetings, and aren't quite as strong as the sisters are because of it...). Because this area does not have sister missionaries, we are also able to meet with sisters and help them progress towards baptism. We are not allowed to contact them unless our companion is next to us, but we can teach them. And we have to have a priesthood brother attending with us before we are allowed to meet with these women. But still! Such a different mission experience! One, I have no idea how to help women. Like any man in his right mind possibly understands these crazy, awesome, magnificent, frustrating creatures ( I meant that in a good way). Ugh. I taught two almost 30-year-old sisters at the beginning of the week, and it was awkward. I have NO idea how to help them open up and share their feelings about the Gospel, life, marriage, etc...
I think I'm done ranting. The great thing is, these women truly appreciate the efforts we as missionaries put into the work, and into their lives. Not to mention the mom and daughter we're teaching, and the other grandma, plus the other 48-year-old mother. It's like I'm trying to teach Tersta, my Mom, and Grandma Hill, plus my sister all how to live the Gospel and change their currents thoughts and ways to conform with God. Sigh..... big job ahead. We also have some recent converts who are female, 17 year olds. Plus a couple 18 year olds that dropped out for some reason.
No worries!! There are plenty of brothers to go around, and that's my focus anyway. The south here in Taiwan is waiting for more temple attendance and more Melchizedek Priesthood brethren before they build a temple down here. So that's my focus, and the area's focus. But there are a lot of solid sisters (they just seem to get it more than men do) that we can't just ignore.
Sister Chen: TOTAL hippy. So funny to teach her. She's super willing. She's not sure if God exists, but she prayed one day and asked Heavenly Father to stop the rain, and it didn't rain. Lol. This was her second prayer ever. She's so funny! Just like Kendall. Just "whatever" attitude. Laugh at everything, and roll it off your back.
Sister Lin: A cat girl. She's got five cats and a dog. LIves by herself. Lol... she thinks a lot more deeply than Sister Chen (lol), and maybe a little too much. But she's willing. Her cat just had to go to the hospital for cancer. So she couldn't make it to Church yesterday either. Grrr... lol. Meeting with these two tonight.
Sister Fang: Wears earrings all around the ear and in. Gross. Don't do that. BUT, her and her daughter are exactly alike, and are a little to touchy-feely with each other (like girls do sometimes... why do you hold hands? Blech!). They're really cool, and really nice to us though. So they progress great.
Brother Ye (Eason): He's a father with a one-year-old kid and another on the way. Met him at a Wedding Reception on Saturday (TRUNKED OUT OF MY MIND), and talked to him about accepting the Gospel. I emphasized families with him, and that seems to be a big hitter with young fathers. They like the idea of Eternal Families. I brought up baptism and what it means, and asked him if he'd like to come with his wife to meet with us, and he said, "this is my wish/desire", he liked the baptism idea. So excited!!
Brother and Sister Su: Tracting down a random street one day and met with this couple. Very happy, but looking for truth. Not super accepting, and prays to our God and their God. Like the simple life. Very nice, and willing to meet.
Brother Liang: Doesn't like to say no to us, just likes making friends, but he's willing to push forward and make the steps necessary to work towards baptism. He is Buddhist, so he's hesitant. But he's a very humble, nice man. He teaches in Junior High History, and has a severe limp. Likes to talk a lot. Got eyes that scare me half to death, but an overall good man.
Student Lu: Good kid. Came one night and attended seminary, and played pingpong with everyone for like 3 hours. We ended up not meeting with him because he was having such a good time, and making such good friends, but he slept in on Sunday and didn't make it to church. I'm worried his parents protest.
Well, there's a lot more, and I don't have time. But I like giving a rundown of investigators every now and then. These people will be getting baptized within the month. They all have dates set, and ward friends (mostly), and are trying to learn. Let's just hope the fire stays and they have the zugou testimony to make the change. 
I'll have to tell you the rest in the phone call.

Gotta go!! Sorry! Love ya!

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