I have been called as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Taiwan Taipei Mission for 24 months. (Sept. 2016-Sept. 2018) This blog is a compilation of the weekly e-mails I send home, which contain my experiences, thoughts, and feelings in the mission field.
So this past week was a little crazy...
So this past week was a little crazy...
On Monday night we got a call that Elder Moss would be training this next transfer, so this would mean that I would be moving out of Zhubei on Thursday. So that news hit pretty hard, and really started some reflection on everything that happened in Zhubei. This reflection
really took off when we met with the Liao family on Thursday night. When we arrived at their home, the visiting teachers were there, which happen to be Sister Xie (Charlie and Yvonne's mother) and Sister Yu
(the bishops wife). They were discussing how following the Spirit has blessed there family. When myself and Elder Moss joined in on the conversation, Sister Xie shared an experience from just a few months before, after being inactive for 10 years and rejecting members and missionaries of the church's attempts to reach out to her. She had finally just hit such a low point in her life and knew she needed the gospel in her family to keep going. So she made a promise to God in prayer that the next time someone reached out from the church, she would accept it and come back to church. The very next day she got a call from me in my first week in Taiwan. She could barely understand my Chinese but she accepted the invitation to come to church. We went on to share about the first time we came to do the missionary discussions with her kids, we brought a member Sister Ni. And at that time Sister Xie for some reason really had a desire to do some family work. It turned out that Sister Ni happened to be the stake genealogy person and Sister Ni immediately started talking with Sister Xie could do her family history work.
Sister Xie then said that she knew that I was under the direction of the Spirit when I called her that day, because her family needed the gospel of Jesus Christ in their home. And that we were always guided by the Spirit when we invited Sister Ni to come with us, because her family that had already passed on, also need the gospel in their different stages in the great Plan of Salvation. She has since, found her ancestor's names and taken them to the temple with her son after he had received the missionary discussions and got baptized in January.
This experience really got me thinking about how much we relied on the Spirit in Zhubei. Myself and my companions all admit we had no idea what we were doing. None of us had ever worked with families before and I personally had never worked with anyone before, as it was my first area. But it somehow worked out, and actually worked out really well. Sister Liao shared about how much they also needed the gospel in their lives at the time we contacted them. And Kristine actually gave me a little goodbye letter that said when Elder Aiono first contacted her she had so much trouble in her home, at school, and even with friends. And now "everything is great!" It was the spirit that guided us to each and everyone of these people, and then proceeded to guide us in all of our dealings with them.
On Thursday I moved to my second area, which is Tianmu in Taipei City. So yeah I'm in the really big city now. It's super different but I already love it. I'm really just trying to follow the spirit in every aspect of the work and we've already seen so many miracles. And even met someone who has been praying so hard for help in her life and immediately recognized us as representatives of Jesus Christ.
My new companion is the wonderful Elder Triplett. He's been on the mission for 3 more transfers than myself. He's also my first companion from Utah, so that's cool too. He's got lots of good experience and knows the area pretty well, so that's nice too, because the cities
Thursday with theLiao Family Somehow Andrew's former companion Elder Aiono received this today and forwarded it to Andrew's dad. These men love this family so much and you can tell from looking at the picture.
I continue to be amazed at how the Holy Ghost inspires people! Today we went for a follow up appointment for this missionary with a hurt ankle. Imaging study showed he needed a cast for 3-4 weeks, but can't walk or bike with a cast and it rains frequently. I asked if he could get a brace or boot and Dr. Su said it is more expensive but he could then walk and possibly bike. We asked how much and he said $1200NT ($360US) I don't carry that kind of cash around and I know the missionaries don't either. I asked if they would take my credit card. Dr Su made a call and asked for a discount for "personal friends" and price became $8000NT! I had $4000NT($120US) and as the missionaries pulled out what they had...Dr. Su said "I will lend you the money!" I declined his offer but he insisted and asked "Won't I get blessing?" I couldn't refuse! We accepted his offer and I asked if I could take a picture and he sprung from his chair! What a wonderful…
So last week was Christmas and it was lit. We had 10 investigators at church! And then the super cool Sister Ni had a super cool caroling activity at her house and she invited like 3 families and let us go door to door with like 25 members/nonmembers in her neighborhood, which is a neighborhood that would never be allowed in if we didn't have Sister Ni. So it was just an wonderful day full of wonderful people.
But anyways, last Wednesday during lunch Elder Hammond and I got a little surprise phone call from the mission president. And after making sure we weren't busy and then said he was "about to flip our world upside down." He then proceeded to ask Elder Hammond to come be his assistant in the office and my new companion was going to be Elder Aiono, the AP Elder Hammond would be replacing. Because we were in the middle of training which is two transfer, we were supposed to be guaranteed 2 transfers together to complete training. So this came as quite a surprise, bu…