Well, I am kind of tired today. So maybe don't expect a super good e-mail. Today we rode our bikes really far to the top of a mountain, and took some pictures at the top, there was a buddhist temple there. Buddhist temples are really pretty, with lots of ornate carvings and stuff. But I do just get a little squirmy uneasy feeling everytime I look at the big grotesque statues of their gods. It just always makes me happy that I can be here spreading the true gospel, teaching people that Heavenly father loves them, and that Jesus Christ is a resurrected being, that overcame sin and death. Well, I have a lot of fun doing missionary work. Last week President Bishop suddenly came to our ward in fengyuan. That was a surprise. Chen Zhi Tai was confirmed that day. He is our most recent new member that had to give up a 15 year smoking habit to get baptized. He is such a solid new member, it just makes me so so happy every time I talk to him, because he just understands things, and gets what is going on. I'm excited that I'll still be here when he goes through the temple in a year to get his endowment, and gets the melchizedek priesthood. I started watching the movie "how rare a possession" with him, and it was a really special moment because it shows the story of how Parley P. Pratt found the Book of Mormon and read it. And I was able to say, "Look. The fact that I'm here today is a direct result of him finding that book. Because that is my great great great grandfather. That's the power of the Book of Mormon. It changes generations of people and can bring them to christ." And I shared with him that he has no idea how many people his choice to join the church will affect, that he was just like Parley P. Pratt. He told me something I didn't know then, said that he really related to that story because the night I gave him a book of mormon, he went home and read for four hours straight, way early into the morning. And the feeling he said he had when he read was that it "resonated" with him. Soooooooo gooood!!!!
It is just the thing that makes me the very most happy of any happy I've ever happied, is seeing recent converts come to church, and stay solid in the church. Chen zhi tai is way good, Chen Hao Feng is amazing as well. He wants so bad to share the gospel with his friends, And he brought one of his friends to church this week, and we've also sat down with his friend a couple times, and if his friend can get parent permission, he'll get baptized no problem. Wang Yu Li is the most solid any new member could be. He's already been to the temple to do baptisms, has a girlfriend in the ward, and preparing to go on a duanchuan, or a mini mission in preparation for going on a mission in about a year. Lin Chen Hui is still super shy, but he comes to church every week, and he's improving a lot. I can't wait to see him go on a mission and serve the Lord. chen hui's sister is getting baptized this saturday too. Yay. The sister missionaries in our district are super awesome. Sister Missionaries are just so much better than us dumb elders. They are more organized, nicer, smarter, mature. So girls should all go on missions. Zhan yi rong went off to college, but he's still solid and will go to church up where he is now.
Anyways, besides working with new members, there is still a lot to do with finding people to get baptized. I set a mission goal one time that before I go home I want to baptize a really old man and also a little chubby kid. The old man was more of just a challenge, because that's real hard to do. Old to me means probably over 70. As long as they are older than mom and dad. Last week a couple came by themselves to church, an old grandma and grandpa (a-gong and a-ma). They are both 90 years old! The tough thing about old people is that they are either really devout buddhists, and only speak taiwanese, or sometimes they are from mainland china and think religion is all useless trash because it can't help you put bread on the table or food on your back. These old people only speak taiwanese. darn, I might have to refer them to the sisters because Sister Li is from taiwan and can speak taiwanese.
I can speak only a little tiny bit of taiwanese. It's really kind of fun to speak though. It sounds way cool and way funny at the same time. taiwanese sounds different than chinese. Can't really describe it. But it's a fun thing to learn little phrases and talk to the old people that just sit there on the side of the road selling papaya and pillows and power tools.
So, the old man goal might take some time, but the chubby kid goal is looking pretty hopeful! I just really want to baptize someone that looks like a little chancho from Nacho Libre, that would be so fun!
About a couple weeks ago I ran into Liu Zhi Cheng. He's thirteen and extremely happy and giggly and hilarious and naughty and frustrating and golden and he's got chancho way outdone. I'm pretty confident this thirteen year old weighs as much as me. He came to church. It was a headache, but this kid is progressing towards baptism quickly. the first time I met him he set up his own time to come to the church. when he came, the young men and women were having a water balloon activity, and zhi cheng stayed and played with them the whole day. He also ate the entire table of desserts and put the rest in his pockets. :) oh well. More next week.
And God bless us, every one!
Elder Willi Vernon
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