Monday, April 2, 2012

Last March of the Ents April 2, 2012

William Preston Vernon

to me
Well, my mission is now coming to an end. The cycle is coming to a full circle with an interesting little twist on the end. Elder Taylor will be training! I'm so excited for him. The last sunday on taiwan will be my fifth conference as a missionary. Starting the third year as a missionary is really interesting. I got a little sick a couple weeks ago, and I joked that all of my vaccinations were probably toast by now. It's already been over two years since I had my shots. It's gone very fast. On the other hand I still feel like I've lived in taiwan for about five years. Time on a mission is not easy to explain.
Sister Huang is so awesome. She's passed her interview now, and is probably going to be baptized this friday or saturday. Right after we pick up the new missionary, we're going to see a baptism, and introduce him to puli. What a lucky little goober he's going to be to be placed here in his first area. I hope they can finish what we've started. Puli will keep growing, the church will be established.
A couple other miracles. Sister Huang is actually friends with Jin Shui's mom, Wang mama. From sister Huangs example, and the difference she's seen in her son, Wang mama has decided she's willing to be baptized now. She can't quite meet the qualifications yet, but she's going to be baptized soon.
Last week at church we had 41 total, but we had 11 investigators at church. They just kept coming in. I've never seen so many investigators. I hope we don't swamp the branch!
Brother Chen, a miracle investigator, who has been progressing really well, set a goal for the 21st, and is working hard to quit an almost 50 habit of smoking and drinking. He has had such faith, and feels the spirit. Never have I had investigators so sensitive to the spirit. Now every time we meet with him, we share our testimonies, and then he says "can I share my testimony? Ever since I've found this church, my life has been blessed, no longer do I live in fear and darkness, but I find that every day is filled with joy, and I don't have to worry as much, because heavenly father is looking out for us." He was the man who through the pamphlet away after I contacted him on the street, and then felt strangely that he should go find it and come to church. His daughter at that time was having a serious heart surgery, and he started praying intently for her to be safe. She had a succesfull surgery, and he's really happy.
We went up to the college to meet with our other Brother Chen, Jeff. He's on the school ping pong team. And likes studying english. He's a fun investigator. The miracle came when last time Jeff was late, and we were stuck waiting for him at the college. We started talking to every student. we got rejected hard core by like 5 in a row. They wouldn't even take the free english class! I was about to get discouraged and just call referrals or something, when I decided to contact one more kid.
He was Golden!
His name is Jesse, he grew up in Thailand, and speaks english as his native language, but he's taiwanese. He's super spiritual, and loves christianity because he grew up going to a catholic school. He came to church, loved it. We met after and I told him about the restoration, and I was surprised at his answer. he said "I can feel already that this church is where it's at. I'm really sensitive to spiritual things, and as you tell me about these prophets, and coming to church today, I just feel like this is right." We invited him to be baptized on the 21st, and he said, "I'm down." I don't how familiar you are with the Preach my Gospel videos, but he reminds me a lot of German.
President Bishop's promise proves true. He said "Every time somebody returns to activity in the church, they bring somebody with them that could be baptized."  A lady from the ward just randomly came back to activity a month or two, and when we kept strengthening her, and asking for referrals, she showed up with Huang Long Yi, here cute little nephew. He's golden and wants to be baptized as well.
This last transfer, as I've been able to call all the recent converts on my list, I can't explain the type of happiness that comes, when I call a convert, and they know it's me before I even tell them, and they tell how they are still going to church and active. I also can't describe the kind of grief that comes when your converts aren't active. but I know Heavenly father will bless them. I really hope to see all of my precious converts again someday. In the celestial kingdom, and the temple. Seeing recent converts endure to the end probably has been the happiest thing of my mission.
We're all really excited. This week is the week of the RHINO! (I had a pretty cool dream a couple weeks ago that involved a rhino, a car, and a horse.) We set a goal to add 80 potential investigators, and leave a huge old pot of investies for the new missionary. I really have learned this last transfer that you can set high goals, and hit them. Heavenly Father has blessed us exceedingly.
I'm excited for conference!
Love, Elder Vernon.
p.s. Last preparation day I went to an amusement park in our area. It was so much fun! We missed the first bus, so the next bus got us to the park at 2:30. There were no lines whatsoever, and the park was pretty small. We ran as fast as we could from ride to ride, till we had hit every ride worth going on in less than 2 hours. We booked it down to catch the bus at 4:30, and barely made it. After a little ways down the mountain, I looked in the back and realized our phone wasn't there :0 ! I left it in the park. We bailed from the bus, and started the walk back up the park. We knew we wouldn't make it before the park closed, and couldn't do missionary work without our phone, and couldn't spend another day coming back to find it. So we prayed. The very next car we waved down was more than willing to drive us up to the park, and we referred him to missionaries in Taibei, because I remembered the Preach my Gospel story about the guy from mexico who drove two missionaries in the rain and then was baptized. We found the phone without any problems. They called and asked each ride if there was a phone. Elder Vernon had left it next to the drop tower! Doh!
Heavenly Father really answers prayers. What a fun little miracle to find our phone and still get safely home. On the bus back, there was a family from chicago that seemed interested in the gospel. Bearing my testimony powerfully to them in English reminded me that there will still be chances for missionary work after my mission. It was fun. we touched base in puli at 5:59 and were able to start proselyting at 6!
p.p.s. Last saturday we had quite the experience. There's a park in the middle of puli. There was a chinese instrument orchestra performing that night, we went and asked the guy in charge, and while they were warming up, I played my violin for the people in the park. It was such a fun experience to spread the gospel by sharing music. I played some traditional taiwanese songs, and then a hymn, and invited everybody to come to church. Elder Taylor meanwhile was busy handing out plan of salvation pamphlets, and adding new investigators.
Oh, I'm so excited. My recent convert from zhanghua came out to visit me a couple weeks ago. Huang Yi li. He's such a cool guy. I love him. What a solid recent convert. He bought me an erhu! I'm so excited to learn to play it and appreciate a little bit more of the Chinese Culture!
p.p.p.s. I got a little Times New Roman Daddy-Announcement that Parley was engaged! Why is nobody else telling me about this? This is big deal eh? I thought somebody would have e-mailed me and filled me in with the deets! Is dis for reals?
Oh well. I'll be home soon. Love, Elder Willabop

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