I have a new companion! Yep, Sis Pieper got transferred to Taibei- which I was pretty surprised about. I thought for sure we would be together for another transfer. But my new companion is Sis Smith, who is in my same generation! I didn't know her super well in the MTC because she was in the other zone, but now that makes 3 companions whom I've known from the MTC that I've served with here! This week it was confirmed to me again- just as it has many times on my mission- that God knows me SO well. There is no way he cannot be my Heavenly Father. Being companions with Sis Smith is just what I needed. She has an incredible fire, desire to be obedient, and so much faith.
Our people made a lot of fantastic progress this week:
-M SET A BAPTISMAL DATE THIS WEEK! Apparently she has been progressing behind our backs- wow. We had an incredible lesson with her and she bore her testimony to us, told us that she knows this is all true and that she needs to get baptized. She even brought a friend to church this week. She still really wants her husband (who is not interested in the gospel) to join the church with her, but our peike shared a great personal experience with her and helped her see that she can't let her husband's lack of interest keep her from the blessings of the gospel. She is set for the 28th of March. We are thrilled. :D
-H is also doing really well. We taught him the Word of Wisdom (the Lord's law of health) last week- he took it really well and admitted that he really does rely on alcohol. He said how happy his friends and family would be if he could quit.. And we also cleared up the difference between God, Jesus, and the prophet. :D
-Last Sunday after church, we were leaving the building when we saw L standing in the hallway. We asked him what he was doing, and he said that he and his wife were getting temple reccommend interviews so they could go do baptisms on Friday!!! (baptisms for the dead is a practice described in the Bible that was restored to the earth when the fulness of the Gospel was restored. 1 Cor 15:29) We were so excited! We got to meet with them on Saturday and hear about their experience. They didn't participate in ordinances- they just wanted to go in first and feel the spirit of it and watch- but they talked all about the peaceful Spirit that was there. We had a great lesson about the temple (I showed them my temple book, Mom, which they loved- thanks again for that!) and the best part was that they kept talking in terms of 'when'- "when we are sealed", "when we reach a year of membership and receive our endowment in the temple". Made me so so happy. That has been my mission-long dream, to baptize people whose sealing I can later attend. And I made myself a promise at the beginning of my mission that I would try to do everything I could to return to Taiwan to see my converts receive the ordinances of the temple. The miracle of the gospel is not just that families are able to be together forever, but that they can want to be.
We also had some super interesting experiences this week:
-We were knocking doors and were let in by a nice buddhist couple with a really large and lovely altar. They explained that they worship Pusa (a buddhist God), and we had a little discussion about our beliefs and then about theirs. Then the wife went into the kitchen and came back with a large burgandy tin of cookies, and gave them to us, saying that they should be ours because we are white, and there was a white person on the front. We tried to refuse, but Taiwanese people are extremely generous, especially when it comes to food, and they just don't take no for an answer. We finally accepted and then she said that that morning when she was bai-bai-ing to Pusa, she had a feeling that she should give the cookies to someone, but didn't know who...until we showed up at their door. She said we should just consider them a gift from Pusa. We gave them a Book of Mormon in return.
-We had a lesson with a guy this week (who turned out to not live in our area, darn) who, after being taught about God being our heavenly father, asked if Heavenly Father had a companion. He reasoned that if we are all spiritual sons and daughters of God, then there can't just be a Heavenly Father. First time I've ever met someone outside the church who's figured that out.
I read 1 Chronicles 29:5 this morning- "And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?". There is no way that I can, in good conscience, call this mission a sacrifice. After all that the Lord has done for me, this is just a tiny drop in the bucket.