Happy late P day! These 9 days we have been just working, working, and working…so nothing new. It can be mentally challenging sometimes because we are caring so much about people, and people sometimes do things that are out of our control! One thing I have been thinking a lot about this week is a section from Preach My Gospel chapter 9, specifically at the end where it says “No effort is wasted.” Sometimes conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ takes time… for some people a lot of time! And lots of people will be taught by several sets of missionaries before they finally make the decision to be baptized.
We actually saw a good example of that this week when we got the opportunity to see a 96-year-old man get baptized! It was probably one of the coolest things I have seen my whole mission. This man was taught in 3 different areas before he was able to get past obstacles like being moved to different rest homes and facing opposition from some of his children. (He ended up in Xiangshan, a district of Xinzhu city and pay of our district.) Even his baptismal interview was hard because our district leader and him couldn’t understand each other, so they had to do it a second time and bring in a native Chinese speaker.
But the day finally came and it was quite a sight to see! Because he couldn’t walk, he had to get baptized by 4 elders. Instead of having him walk down the stairs of the font, they pulled up his wheelchair to the glass barrier between the font and the room the font is in. With all the elders in the font, the members lifted him up through the barrier and the elders grabbed him and set him on a chair in the water. And then for the actual performance of the baptism, with four elders supporting him, the chair was slid to the side and this awesome senior citizen was immersed in the water! It was pretty suspenseful because a re-do wasn’t really an option. Even the children went quiet for a few minutes.
So the moral of the story is, if you ever think it’s too late for you to completely change your life, you’re WRONG! This 96-year-old man won our hearts with his willingness to make this commitment and do something that definitely wasn’t easy. I know that God allows us to see opposition as we begin to follow Him, because having faith and pressing forward in our trials of faith is how we grow so strong that we can overcome temptation!
We were so thankful to see that awesome example of perseverance this week, because we definitely had to let go of lots of other investigators because they simply didn’t have the faith to do things that were hard for them. We had one investigator that used to be addicted to coffee, but recently she told us she had given it up. She also seemed to understand pretty well as we taught her from the Book of Mormon about having faith in Christ and keeping the commandments. But this week when we asked her how keeping Word of Wisdom was going, she replied that even though she had mostly given up coffee, she still wouldn’t go out of her way to avoid it if it was placed in front of her. She then proceeded to explain how she wanted to learn about Jesus Christ, but she didn’t want to get baptized and she didn’t want to have an eternal family. And she was so adamant about saying that she didn’t think she could persevere!
I know that in my life and on my mission, I of course have also had many times where I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t even imagine actually doing it. The whole point of life, I feel like, is to go and do those things that are hard for us so we can become more like God!
Me and Sister Liu definitely had our fair share of moments this week, but luckily we were willing to keep going. One thing that comes to mind has to do with our investigator Xiao Wu. Oh man, she is a good sport and is so patient with us! Because she doesn’t live in our ward boundaries (and she is not too consistent with picking up the phone), sometimes we run into communication errors with where and when we will have our lessons. To make a long story short, we somehow ended up in this situation where us two, Xiao Wu, and the member who was going to teach with us ended up in 3 different places in the city. (I guess this is why they decided to give us cell phones and tell us to do lessons through video chat.) Anyways, we were still able to teach her in the end and communicate the mix-up to the member as well.
Well, there’s most of the major events for the week, so here’s a couple of tidbits! Food in Taiwan is really delicious. We took the Zhubei sisters on exchanges this week. There was another day in the week where we biked to their area and they passed a baptismal date investigator off to us!
We got a miracle family of new investigators this week because we invited them to English class! That was a huge tender mercy. It was super cool because all we did was give them an English tract really quick as we were doing language study. And then, later that night they came to class! We found out that they had actually been to Utah and done a tour of temple square before, but they didn’t actually understand anything because they did the tour in English…haha.
There was another day this week where this former investigator from years ago called us at 6 am (we don’t normally get up until 7) and went off for 20 minutes (without even letting us interrupt) about how she had this religious convention going on at the morning market and desperately wanted us to come…right then. We eventually decided to go check it out after exercise time and personal study, and it turned out to be just her wearing a weird costume and dancing. She wanted to meet with us the next day and we did, and she asked us a million questions about our church and also went off on how she’s read the Book of Mormon but doesn’t understand it/how she wants religious freedom in the world/how she wants to be a “free spirit.” And then she ended the lesson with a 10 minute prayer. The beginning of the prayer was pretty notable. “Dear Heavenly Father, #1. I really want to get to know you, thanks for sending these two sisters #2. I really don’t believe in you, and #3. I really like Buddhism better.”
So how’s that for a monster of a long week? I’m out of time, talk to y’all later!
Sister Anne Watson