Lin Jiemei's conversion story is the most miraculous I've witnessed on my mission. We met her at her son's baptism. She was already Christian and since she had just moved into the San Min area she was looking for a church to attend. She welcomed our invitation to come to church but was pretty insistent that she wouldn't get baptized because she already was! As we kept talking with her she told us that she had cancer so she felt sick a lot of the time and she wouldn't be able to come to church every week. But she was willing to have us come visit when she was feeling well. We set up with her and started teaching her the Restored Gospel.
Lin Jiemei already understood a lot of the principles we taught because of her strong Christian background but still kept getting caught on the question of why she had to get baptized all over again. We had already taught the first lesson, but it didn't seem to click. She also struggled with some of the commandments, not because she wasn't willing to keep them, but because she was worried of committing in case for any little reason she had to make an exception. She just kept finding all these unrealistic "What if?"s and we didn't know how to help her not be afraid to commit. But we knew she was sincere in her desire to learn because of the way she prayed. Because of her health situation she had a really tender heart and often would plead in tears for Heavenly Father's help, to feel His love and to have ti2 li4.
Our District and Zone Leaders all knew about her and her situation, and one night as we we were discussing with our District Leader how Lin Jiemei didn't understand why she had to get baptized again, he said that the Zone Leaders had advised to teach about the Great Apostacy again. My companion and I got the same impression the day before so we knew that's what she needed. As we re-taught her the Great Apostacy she finally understood why she needed to be re-baptized. The problem then was finding a time her health would be good enough and she would have enough strength, since she was undergoing chemotherapy. She chose a particular weekend that was far enough after her next treatment that she should be recovered enough and committed to that date.
As her date came closer and closer she was progressing a lot but was still struggling to commit to the commandments do to all the "What if?"s she could think of. We were trying so hard to help resolve her concerns but she'd always come up with more. I felt like she wouldn't be completely ready to meet her baptismal goal because of this little bit of heard-heartedness, but my companion kept reassuring me that whenever she prayed she felt we needed to all we could to help Lin Jiemei meet that date. Frankly I didn't see how it could happen that fast and I seriously didn't want to baptize someone that wasn't ready yet! I told Sister Gibson how I really felt and what I knew from my "experience." I remember clearly stopping my bike, turning to her and saying, "I've seen a lot of baptisms and I know there's A LOT that still needs to happen between now and her baptism in 2 weeks. She's not converted yet." Sister Gibson responded, "I know.... but I can't deny the impressions I've gotten in my prayers to help her meet that date." Humbled by my trainee's response I felt I needed to trust those impressions too, even though I still felt uneasy about it. "Ok, then lets start thinking about how we can help her meet her goal instead of thinking of how she can't." As we kept talking we felt we needed to teach her about personal revelation and how the prophets teach the commandments, but through prayer the Holy Ghost can help us understand how to apply them in our own personal situations. To our surprise, after we taught that lesson she never had another problem with the commandments!
Suddenly Lin Jiemei's health took a turn for the worse and her chemotherapy schedule got changed meaning she was scheduled for chemotherapy 3 days before her baptism. I could hardly believe her change of heart over those few days. She was even more humble and really desired to have the blessings of baptism. Both Sister Gibson finally felt she was ready and couldn't believe just a week before we had had the conversation that she wasn't ready yet. It was truly a miracle that the Holy Ghost was able to change her heart in a matter of days. We knew we had to get her in a baptismal interview before her treatments so that as soon as she was feeling well enough she could get baptized.
After her first interview we found out she needed a second, but there was a possibility she was going into chemotherapy the next day. We were all on edge of what would happen and if she'd be able to meet her goal.
kai gong zuo." Finally we got it worked out and when I visited her she said she could do her second interview the next day. Wednesday morning President Chen interviewed her and she passed no problem. The amazing thing was that President Chen was a survivor of the same kind of cancer she had so he was able to comfort and encourage her a lot. He also gave her a tender Priesthood Blessing. President Chen then turned to Sister Gibson and I and gave us specific instructions that we were not to ask her about when she would get baptized, but that when she felt well enough, she would tell us. We were a little bit nervous about that, but trusted President Chen's counsel.
We went back 2 days later and knowing we couldn't bring up the subject of her baptismal date ourselves we read a scripture that Sister Gibson had felt impressed to share. To our amazement she said, "You know, I've been thinking that I'm well enough to get baptized tomorrow." She then explained how that whole week she had been feeling better than she had ever felt the whole time she had been struggling with cancer and said, "I think that's the Holy Ghost telling me I need to get baptized." When Sister Gibson and I left the lesson we immediately offered a heartfelt prayer of gratitude that the Lord had led both us and her through through the Spirit to make things work out the way they did. It was almost too miraculous to believe.
We called the Bishop (who was aware of the whole situation) and he arranged the baptismal service for the next day. It was a really moving experience to see that even though her body was weak, her faith was strong and this baptism meant a lot to her. She wasn't scared of death anymore because she knew she had done what she needed to do.
She passed away a few months later, during my last move-call. Even though I was heart-broken when I heard of her death, I was filled with peace that we had been able to help her prepare for eternal life while she was still on this earth. I know the Plan of Salvation is true, and I can't wait to see my sister again in the Celestial Kingdom. Lin Jiemei's conversion was nothing short of a miracle.
I love you all!! See you soon!!
All my love,