Monday, January 23, 2012
Happy Chinese New Year!!!
Gong Xi Fa Cai qin ai de jia ren :) ...I would type that out in Chinese but I have no idea how on the computer. I'll have to figure out how to do that sometime though since I'll have lots of people to communicate with when I get home!
Anyway, HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! It's crazy that another year has come and gone and we're having another week of Chinese New Year Celebrations. Everyone things we're crazy as missionaries still going out to "work" even though it's Chinese New Year. Fortunately, New Year’s Day falls on preparation day this year!
It's been fun to be "qinged" out by a few members already, and we've got a full schedule this week of dinner/lunch appointments. The greatest thing is that we've already gotten some awesome referrals from those we've eaten with :) even though they're not in our area.... but that's OK because that's how this mission runs. I've been SO blessed though out my mission by receiving referrals from other missionaries because many of the people I've been able to help baptize have been referrals. So, I'm not so sad to give them away!
Some of the best things that happened this week were efforts of a little more diligence. Earlier in the week I re-discovered the scripture, "Search diligently, pray always and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good" (in D&C 90). I've always thought of the "search diligently" part as searching the scriptures, but this time it had different meaning to me: search diligently for people who are willing to live righteous lives, pray always that we'll be able to find those people and believe that we will find them! Just the night before I found that scripture we had a miracle because we lived those principles. We've been having difficulty finding people to teach lately because everyone's busy for Chinese New Year (it's like trying to proselyte over the Christmas season). That night we went to find a former investigator who the record said would only be home after 8pm because of work. So, we went at 8pm, but the house was completely deserted. Their neighbors said they were still at work! Ah! Our back-up plan was to tract that street, but it really didn't look like much. It was small and looked like not many people would accept the message, but we decided to pray that we would be able to find someone who would be willing to listen. As we were praying someone drove past us on a scooter and parked at one of the houses. We quickly finished the prayer and when I opened my eyes to see who it was I had the feeling, "that's her." We quickly walked over to meet her and we were shocked to find that, indeed, she was willing to listen! As we shared a message about coming closer to God she was interested, but still "hai hao" about having us come back. But before we left we said a prayer with her and then asked her how she thought her life would change if she prayed and was able to have that same feeling every day, and she said she'd be willing to try and see what difference it would make. We then set up a return appointment for after Chinese New Year and left with beaming faces and hearts! Our prayer had been miraculously answered and it was just in time for us to return home. We were a little more diligent in searching instead of quitting when no one was there, prayed in faith and believed we'd find the person... and we did!
The other joy of the week was Huang jiemei passing her baptismal interview! It's always SOOO amazing to me to see people change so much over such a short period of time. Sister Ju (I found out I've been spelling it wrong this whole time) and I were so worried for a long time that she would be able to progress that quickly to meet her baptismal goal. She didn't really understand what the significance of what we were teaching and was struggling to keep the commitments we extended. But, as happened before with Lin jiemei (the one with cancer) within a 2 week period she completely changed and Sister Ju and I are completely confident that she is ready to be baptized. Let me tell you, nothing can do that except the power of God. When we reviewed the commandments she understood every one of them and said "Yes, they're true. This is what I should do." When we talked about the baptismal covenant meaning that we love, serve and follow Christ for the rest of our lives she said, "I will never quit." She loves Heavenly Father and is SO happy! Oh, I LOVE seeing how the gospel brings light and life into lives that were previously dull and void of purpose.
Also, we found out that Chen jie mei wasn't able to come to church last week because she was actually really sick legitimately, not because of a hangover, so that's good! The sad thing was that we haven't been able to meet with her all week because she was recovering and then really busy with work/Chinese New Year. But we're still confident that she's going to progress and continue changing her life around. She really is so awesome.
Perhaps the highlight of the week (although so many little miracles could equally count!) was receiving a letter from the Peng Family, the one that Sister Chu (my second companion) and I helped baptize in Dong Hai last February. I had sent them one of the CDs mom sent to give to my recent converts and other members here and they were SO happy to receive it. The part that made me happiest though was that they said they've started the Temple Prep course in their ward and are preparing to be sealed together in March! AHHH! That will be one of the happiest days of my entire mission to be able to go with them to the temple! And just to add a cherry on top, Peng jiemei is pregnant and their baby will be born in the covenant. She was so excited to tell me that, and I could sense the gratitude in her writing for the gospel in their lives. This truly is the greatest work ever, to help families be united eternally. Accompanying this precious, dear family to the temple will be the crowning event and the perfect "ending" to my service here in Taiwan (I say "ending" because I'll still have a few weeks left after that).
So, in summary, this week has been so wonderful. :) Huang jiemei will be getting baptized next week, He jiemei will be baptized in the middle of February, and my precious recent convert family will be sealed in March. I'm so blessed to be a part of it all! My companion and I studied a talk together this morning that I feel really expresses my feelings. Elder Christofferson, in his most recent conference talk about repentance, described how one long winter of pain and suffering can be completely swallowed up in one morning of forgiveness. It's true, the last 14 months’ worth of pain, sorrow, rejection, suffering, depression, discouragement, and tears are completely overshadowed by the miraculous and joyful experiences such as seeing these people change to live and love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's so true.
Anyway, my time is up, but I love you all so much and I think of you and miss you!! Don't worry, I don't get distracted, but every once in a while I feel tender moments as I remember the precious gift each of you are to me though your love and service. I love each of you so much! Please remember how much I love you even though I'm not there to show and tell you every day! That time will come sooner that we all think.
All my love from across the world,
Sister Morey <3