It’s been another rather hard week in “the work!” We dropped most of our investigators this week so now we only have 2 on baptismal date and, like, no one else. It doesn’t help that it’s been pretty rainy, either! At least Zhang jm and Alice Chen are still doing good.
It is so sad to drop people, one of the saddest things ever. It’s also sad to get rejected a lot and it really has been a trial of my faith this week! Honestly every day during studies I was grappling for answers on why missionary work has to be SO DANG HARD and in the end I have learned so much. One good thing is that no matter if we get rejected or not, what we do STILL COUNTS as service and it really is valuable in the eyes of Heavenly Father even if it means nothing in the eyes of those whom we serve.
It has been very meaningful for me to study the ministry of Jesus Christ this week, and to see how He spoke truth as plain and powerful as it can be, and still got rejected. But who can say that the words of Jesus Christ are not valuable? Same with things like the Book of Mormon and other scriptures. I truly have a testimony that this is part of God’s work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
The biggest miracle we saw this week was a pretty good one! On Sunday night we had the new member fireside in Taipei and the investigator that we had coming cancelled LAST MINUTE. We felt like it was going to be a really sad ending for a really disappointing week! But then I literally just turned to my right and there was our most progressing investigator, Zhang jm! She had been in Zhanghua all weekend with her family so we were not expecting her to be there at all. We hadn’t even committed her to come or anything, but she CAME! (The reason this is huge is because we normally have to drag our investigators to things, like a dog going to the vet or a kid getting a flu shot.) I think we might have scared Zhang jm a little bit with how elated we were at her showing up! She was definitely able to see how serious all of us missionaries are about church stuff. The testimonies that were borne at the fireside were really good too, and we hope it helped Zhang jm out. I think most of the recent converts said things that really align with Zhang jm’s current concerns, like not knowing why we have to repent and rely on the Savior or WHY we have to keep the commandments.
Zhang jm is really good at keeping her commitments, now she just needs to gain a testimony! That’s the one thing we can’t really do for her so we just have to pray, pray, PRAY!
Oh and another fun lesson we had this week. We met with our recent convert Huang jm and she is ON FIRE! She was so disappointed that she didn’t really have any friends that live in Banqiao she could introduce the gospel too, so she told us she has been praying for opportunities to make friends she can share the gospel with! And she will be bringing two friends to English class this week, we are so pumped!
It’s so funny that my family did a lot of baptisms for the dead this week because we have a pretty funny story to tell you all about dead people!
This month there have also been lots of Daoist holidays (because it’s GHOST MONTH) so lots of our investigators skipped out on some of their commitments to go and do ancestor worship with their families. Yesterday they also had a ton of small bonfires going out on the street for it. It made the weather SUPER hazy. But anyways, as we were meeting with Huang jm she told us that she had gone to accompany some family members to do ancestor worship during the week. They read/burn up copies of Buddhist scripture so the ghosts can know where to go after they die, and so as her family was reading the Buddhist scriptures she remembered that all of the ghosts are in the spirit world and that the spirit world has missionaries! And so she whipped out her Book of Mormon and started reading Mosiah 4 and 5 to the ghosts so they could know the truth and be converted!
Annnnnnd now for another funny tidbit! On Saturday it was really rainy and so we spent most of the day contacting in and around Banqiao station! (All the lessons we had that day were also around there.) They were having a lot of random events going on (like a gourmet food exhibition and another child art’s festival) so there were lots of families walking around. The funniest event was a meet-and-greet for some twin boys. We have no idea why two random 20-something year old guys would be famous, but there was a huge gaggle of girls from all over Taipei waiting politely to watch them get up on a stage and LITERALLY just stand there. We were so confused. And then at the end, the twins just walked off the side of the platform and the whole gaggle of girls followed them out into the mall (where we were standing and waiting for an investigator.)
We met with another recent convert this week at her office and she was trying to set us up with 30-year-old Taiwanese men. Now THAT was an interesting experience! Needless to say, we had to get into a discussion with her about how we are currently NOT in the business for husbands.
I’m sorry this email is so jumbled! It’s been one heck of a week, full of stress, prayer, talking to people, fasting, I wouldn’t say there haven’t been a ton of big events, so it’s been a great week to think and ponder about a ton of different things as we have been doing the work. It’s really easy for me to feel super lonely as a missionary as I think about and see fun things that other people are doing, and I just contrast their best selves with my worst self.
It doesn’t help that I take lots of things super personally! I have been working on not blaming myself for getting rejected, dropping investigators, and so on and so forth. On my mission I have learned the difference between beating oneself up and truly REPENTING! Before I thought they were one and the same, and now I have learned to separate them. Beating oneself up over bad things just promotes a cycle of fear, envy, stress, and shame. REPENTANCE results in a cycle of self-reliance, self-purpose, true peace, happiness, and joy!
I could share a ton of philosophical things from studies, but I don’t want to bore you guys to death and my time’s about up! I AM SO SORRY I have no way to send pictures this week but I will send them next week! SO SORRY I’m really sad about it but hope you all can wait 🙂
And then last but not least, it is TRANSFERS this week! Me and Sister Hansen will probably be getting split up 🙁 The past few months with her have passed by like a ROCKET and I can’t believe that autumn is coming up!
Questions from Mom
- How are your clothes holding up? How often do you have to change clothes due to the weather, if at all?
No, I actually have lots of outfits that have pretty good fabric for the rain. The thing I’m struggling with right now is shoes, the crocs I got for Christmas both hurt my feet so we are getting some new ones (cheap) that repel water today!
- Where you are, about how many people usually show up to church every Sunday?
The Xinban ward is really good for church attendance! This is the strongest ward I have been in my whole mission, we probably have a good solid 70-80 active members.
Sister Anne Watson