Friday, May 23, 2014

"Sort of like New York City, but with Chinese characters everywhere"

This week had some super great highs and also some disappointing parts. C L was baptized yesterday!! It was so exciting! A guy who was baptized a few months ago got to baptize her, so that was super cool. The whole thing went really smoothly and she gave a great testimony at the end. Watching someone get baptized really made me think about my role as a missionary. I really can't take credit for any of it. It's interesting- we spend all our time trying to help people, but in the end, it's really about God and them. It's not about us at all. But it is so amazing to see people take that first step and be baptized. Alma 29:10 was how I felt yesterday! (that scripture says, “And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then I do remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he has heard my prayer, yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.”)

Skyping on Mother's Day with the family in different places
Another great high of the week is that S, our sweet 9 year old, is on track to get baptized this Saturday! Our goal is to really focus on her family and reactivate her dad so that they can partake of the blessings of the gospel as a family. We asked her this week why she wanted to be baptized, and she said, "well, I've never done it before, and it will make me closer to God". Such sweet simple faith.

I don't really have a lot to tell you about this week, so I think I will just try to describe to you what it's like to be in Taibei! It is a big city and sort of like NYC except Chinese characters everywhere. There are busses and cars and scooters and bikes and taxis and people everywhere. There are lots of old people here too. Well, probably not more, but they are just more active than older people in America. We talk to people who are 80+ quite regularly.  It is a thing to be proud of to be old and they still walk around and buy food and exercise in the park by hitting themselves (apparently it increases circulation).

playing a game with the English class
There are advertisement cars that blast loud music or words. There are Buddhist parades with fireworks maybe once a month on a god's birthday. There are a ton of Buddhist temples here and on certain days of the lunar calendar, people burn incense and sacrifice food and money out in front of their businesses and the whole place smells like a campfire. Every house and business (pretty much) has a big Buddhist altar. We mostly do street contacting to find people who may be interested in learning about the Gospel. We tell them who we are and ask them if they believe in God. Usually they say no, that they are Buddhist, and a lot of the time we teach them how to pray or show them the Book of Mormon, or if they are not interested, we give them an english tract. Someday I will bring you all here so you can really see what it is like! 

I am trying to work hard and make the best use of the Lord's time. It is easy to always wonder if I will ever be doing enough or working hard enough or speaking well enough but I have to trust in the lord and use that to motivate me. I have learned so much about myself and about life on my mission already. I love the gospel so much and it is so amazing to be able to just do gospel things all the time. I love teaching people that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them. There is no concept of loving and merciful God in Buddhism. I think I have always taken that for granted until now.  This past week, I have really been working on my prayers. Prayer is something I take really seriously. How wonderful of an opportunity is it to be able to talk one on one with the Creator of the Universe, the one who loves us perfectly and is all- powerful and all knowing. Wow. What a privilege!


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