Puli's on fire! Investigators just kept on walking in, I was so excited to see 8 investigators come to church, all three of our recent converts, and two less active Melchizedek Priesthood holders we've been working with. We had 47 total to sacrament meeting which is getting dangerously close to my goal of having a consistent 50.
One was a Lin Dixiong, and the other was the brother Shi I talked about last week, who wanted to bring his son. I was worried that the little kid might have thought it was boring, and that he wouldn't come back consistently. But I guess he's really started to change, and I'm so happy. Once again, he welcomed us in to meet, and once again they were two of the first there. He used to be the ward mission leader, so we invited him to sit next to one of our investigators, and he did a great job of fellowshipping.
I'm so excited to tell you about all the miracles in puli, the people, and my personal growth.
One fun experience this week was the opportunity to meet with Howard and his wife Gloria, and their cute little baby Lucas who was born in Orem. They have such a cute family. We met at Gloria's Parent's home in Puli which was really pretty. It looked like an american cabin on the inside with more wood than I'd ever seen in a home in taiwan before.
Anyways, Howard is so good. I feel like he's very prepared to receive the gospel. What a fun chance it was to meet with them and share my testimony of the gospel, and invite them to attend church and pray together as a family.
I also want to share what I shared with some of the missionaries in our zone for District Training Meeting. It was really blessed by the spirit.
The more I do missionary work, the more I find that no one thing is nearly as important as a burning testimony of the restoration. You may be the best teacher, the best at chinese, have many other gifts, but if you don't KNOW that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, it's all going to seem empty. On the other hand if you can barely speak, but you bear pure and simple testimony that Joseph Smith Truly was a prophet of God, and the Church of Jesus Christ was restored on this earth, It's game over.
I invited each missionary to renew their testimony of the Restoration. I'm so excited to report that I did that myself. As I prayed and read Joseph Smith's history, I felt like I was seeing and old friend. I felt refreshed, I knew I had a testimony, and it was strengthened and renewed.
I gave the example of our testimonies are like milk. They have expiration dates. We don't want to go sharing old sour milk with everybody, we want fresh testimonies.
I also invited each missionary to not only share what they learned in personal study with their companion, but to bear their testimony to their companion in each companion study. As I've done this, I've felt a lot stronger companionship unity. It's been fun. I also invited to evaluate with our companion after each contact together.
The people of Puli
1. Elder Stark. He's such a good missionary, I learn a lot from him every day. I also learn a lot about him every day. I wish I was more like him. I tend to take any cool things I've done or strong points and brag about them, or put them in front. I'm really impressed that he never brags about accomplishments or things he's done. I learn something new every day, for example, the fact that he could dunk a 10 foot hoop when he was a sophomore, or played volleyball for one of the best high school teams in the nation, those only came out after three weeks together! I still think I may have seen him before my mission. But I'm glad that we didn't know each other well before our mission, because I'm a different person now. I can't believe how people put up with me how self centered I was back then.
I'm really really pleased. More than any time before in my mission, I feel like we're working at 100%. I know that it's because he's humble, and I'm trying to become more humble than I've ever been before. I still have a long way to go. But we are able to play off of each others strengths and work 50 50.
2. The Branch President,
I had so much fun just talking to the branch president one day. After he helped us teach a recent convert lesson, I talked to him for a long time about the branch, about puli, and about how to build more faith in the members. I really hope I'll be able to strengthen not only his faith in this branch, but also strengthen the entire place. I told him of our goal to have three stakes in puli, and a puli temple. I think he thought that was funny. Not as funny as when I wrote my own name wrong on the progress record just for fun, and they all thought I did it by accident, and said, "I know chinese is hard, but you can look at your own nametag right?" haha.
3. Our investigators/friends
Justin is an eternal investigator. I don't know why he's not baptized yet, but he's basically an active member. I hope he is able to make that covenant before I leave Puli. He's such a great guy. I know he'll make a solid member.
We've seen so many miracles with Chen baba. he's cut smoking now in a week from 50 to 10. We all prayed so hard for him to be able to make it to church on Sunday. He has to go up in the morning and pick lettuce to sell to restaurants. when it came about 8:00 on Sunday morning, he knew he wasn't going to get done in time for church, when he received a little inspiration, that he could finish the other half after church. He had never thought of that before. We were so happy when him and his son (a less active member) came to sacrament. He really felt the spirit at church. This investigator is unbelievable. we visited him that night, and he said the two words that always came to his mind whenever he thought about church were zhen de. (true) He says he knows that it's true.
we also had a zeng jiemei, zhang dixiong (that makes stone sculptures as work), lin dixiong, liu bei bei (he can't speak very good Chinese, like most old people, but is really willing for some reason. He reminds me a lot of mom) also came to church on Sunday. A new blessing is brother Zhan. We were riding down the street and he jumped out and waved both hands over his head just to say hi to us. That's how we met him. He's a cute little 45 year old guy who got in a really serious car accident and now is a little slow. He forgot a lot of things. We bore testimony to him of the restoration, and he made a decision to come to church.
I know that blessings come from humility. On Sunday morning before church, I prayed and told Heavenly Father that if we were able to see success I promised I wouldn't think it was because of myself, or try and say I was amazing or anything. I know success is just a blessing from God.
Then at dinner I turned on a conference CD that mom sent me, while I was cooking, and listened. D. Todd Christofferson's talk on repentance really struck me deep, and I knelt down and repented of not keeping two commandments that I teach on a daily basis. I had had too many half hearted prayers recently, and too many studies gone by without really drinking deep from the scriptures. I had forgotten that these were commandments to me as well as the people I teach. After I prayed I felt a cleansing feeling and knew I'd been forgiven. I also felt like I was fully charged and ready to blast some people with the spirit.
That night the first referral I called was a lady who had been contacted by a member on facebook. I asked her if she could join the church and she said, yeah!
then we decided to go tracting, the first door we went into revealed a 60 year old man who had suffered a stroke laying on a bed. we went in and sat with him and told him he was really handsome. he just loved it. It was hard to see how this was helping our goals for the day, but I felt really good when I was with him, and I felt like it was something Jesus would do was to minister to him. So we stayed and visited for a while. Then when the mom came home, turns out he was a member that moved up from Jia Yi, and wasn't on the record. the mom was too, but hadn't been to church in a long time. They had a little boy who wasn't baptized yet. we asked him if he wanted to be baptized and join the church, He and the mom both said, "Willing!"