Dear friends and family,
Wow, last week I didn't get any emails and this week I got 10! I even got one from my mission president (we all write him weekly emails/letters about our areas and investigators), which was kind of weird. I love getting emails and hearing about life back in the "real world"--although sometimes I feel like I am more in the "real world" than I have ever been before! A mission is a great experience because it is like stepping inside a bubble of the spirit and then going out into the darkness to try and pull people into the light. So the Spirit is really strong and influencing but so are opposing powers!
My area is doing really well and I feel so blessed to be sent here. My companion is a lot of fun too and it is great because once again I get to tease my companion about how missionary work is preparing her for the wild world of dating when she gets home :). We have been blessed with so many people to teach and a lot of our investigators are preparing for baptism, and my companion and I just count our blessings every day! (We have to do it every day because we have new ones every day! I feel like the miracles are being poured down from heaven.)
So I have a couple of funny experiences that happened this week. This week was zone conference, which means that we made a trip up to Taipei for a day filled with learning from our mission president, his wife, and the assistants. As usual I was asked to play the organ (I am getting really good with all this practice! :) and so my companion and I were trying to be a couple of minutes early so I could set the organ up. Well, we left a little bit late and of course it was pouring rain so we ran from the metro station all the way to the chapel-and we cut a 15 minute walk into a 7 minute run. We got there right on time for spiritual preparation (30 minutes of scripture reading before zone conference starts, during which time I play the organ) but the only other people there were in our district. When the assistants came I asked them when spiritual preparation started, and it turns out that we had skipped breakfast and run in the rain only to get to zone conference an hour early!
Well, then I played the opening song and was slipping my shoes on to go back to my seat when my shoe broke. Of course. It was about to break anyway and running in the rain didn't help. So then I had to go up to the organ several times with my shoe strap just flapping around--and of course I felt like such a sloppy missionary with this broken shoe! At lunch time I went up to the mission president's wife and told her my shoe had just broken (mostly so she would know that I don't usually just wear broken shoes!) and, bless her soul, she said that she would take it to a shoe repair store just down the street for me right then and get it fixed. I gave it to her gladly, but then was walking around with only one shoe on during lunch. At every zone conference they call up the missionaries who have birthdays during that transfer, and of course the zone conference I only have one shoe is the one that I got called up to get a present and get sung to! Sister Nielson brought me my shoe within half an hour, but it was just so funny. And I was glad I was able to have another experience with my shoes breaking--I thought it might make a difference that I spent a lot of money on them this time, but true to my nature my shoes are falling apart.
And now for the spiritual uplift. This part will be followed by a challenge so if you don't like to feel pressured, please stop reading now. :)
A couple of weeks ago was our stake conference, and we all went up to Taipei to hear from the stake leaders and also the mission president and his wife. Sister Nielson, the mission president's wife, is a really spiritual woman and I learn so much every time I hear her speak. While we were singing the opening song I looked up and she was weeping, and I wondered what had happened. Then, when she stood up to speak, she said that several months ago she had been in an MTC training class (the Taiwanese elders and sisters that serve in Taiwan go to a 9-day MTC at the mission home in Taipei) and had looked out at the 10 or so missionaries in the room, and said that she suddenly had a vision of the chapel and the cultural hall filled with missionaries. She was in the back and could only see a bunch of black haired-missionaries. She thought to herself that that would take quite a long time--but then she was sitting at stake conference and said she felt the Spirit whisper to her, "Now you can see their faces!" The chapel and cultural hall were filled with members from several wards in the Taipei West stake (my stake) and she realized that all of these members are missionaries!
We have been really focusing on member work because our mission is "downsizing" and, while we have 160 missionaries right now, the number will go down to 100 by July. So a lot more responsibility will be on the members to find people and to fellowship their friends, less actives, and new members. Isn't it exciting that all of us have the opportunity to be missionaries and to bring people unto this glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and the precious gift of eternal life?! Can you guess what my invite is? Pray with yourself, your spouse (if you have one) or your family (if you have one) about who the Lord has prepared in your lives to hear the gospel, and then ask Him how He would like you to share it with them. And then write me back and let me know how it feels to help people come unto the gospel of Jesus Christ!
I love you all and am grateful for your letters, prayers, and support. And next time you go running in the rain in Sunday shoes, think of me. :)