So first I feel to talk to you about your testimony sharing with your boss and the lady who is native Chinese. Good for you, never let an opportunity drop to share and testify. This brings to mind though what you were talking about with China and their ban on religion. Besides China banning the sharing and proselyting of religion, did you know that there are actually no chapel buildings or anything in mainland China? I have now slowly over the last while found more things out about what is going on in the world (really as a missionary you become so isolated from the world and have no idea what is going on). About Russia and Ukraine it wasn't until about 3 weeks ago when we went to visit the 80 year old man we are helping to prepare to go to the temple that learned a little about it. We were sitting with him while he was eating dinner (he lives at a old person home up on 八卦山, so it is quite a little exerting bike ride to get up, but you come down so fast, like I have gotten up to 37 mph) and they have the TV on with news and it was showing some other country news broadcast comparing Ukraine's forces to Russia's forces. Then just yesterday from a couple of Americans who teach English here that come to church I found out more what exactly has been going down with those countries.
The second thing is I don't know if you have noticed what has been going on in Taibei, but pretty much it is what is all over the news as of late and on a lot of peoples minds. That is the the Taiwanese president is actually from mainland China and is considering giving control of Taiwan back to China, which means China's laws would be enforced here in Taiwan, which means us missionaries as well as all chapels and even probably the temple would be breaking the law. So that is why not last Sunday, but before the previous Sunday I had gotten a call from my leader that Sister Blickenstaff was inviting every missionary that Sunday to fast for Taiwan. We continue to work and as well pray that things will work for the best and that the Lord's work will be able to continue to progress forward here in Taiwan. We have great goals for the next 5 years we are working towards (namely the biggest is getting to 20 stakes here in Taiwan as well as a second temple in Gaoxiong).
Dad I fully agree with you about forgiving myself and forgetting my past mistakes and such. It was actually interesting that it felt like I got a double-header this past week with getting one letter on Wednesday and then the next on Thursday (both of the big ones with talks in them). Needless to say I am striving to digest and embrace everything that was said in the letters. I actually am still studying on Matthew 11:28-30. I am still in the process of writing down a lot of my thoughts and understanding from those verses. So hopefully next week I will have that more ready to share.
I have come to create a positive label to tell myself each day. It is this: I am a virtuous son of God with my own unique attributes and weaknesses, striving along the path of joy to grow and improve, who hopes to live my best so that my Heavenly Father rejoices each day of my life. Sometimes I shorten it and tell myself just the first part when I really need to bolster myself.
But so things have been progressing and improving. Brother YYY we have met with a couple times this past week. We taught him more fully the Plan of Salvation and as well as taught him the Word of Wisdom. Right now his challenges are with coffee and tea. Mainly more about tea. He still doesn't know exactly why green tea is not ok to drink. But we have invited him to commit this week to obey the Word of Wisdom and see what differences there are or if there are blessings he sees. He has progressed so much in his development and faith of praying and reading though, which makes me so happy. He understands to go and pray about the questions he has (like as well pertaining to resurrection and reincarnation) and we taught how to study the scriptures more effectively (he almost every day reads the Book of Mormon). I pray and hope he will be prepared and ready for his goal on 4/19. It's a matter of also being able to teach him all the lessons and that he is keeping and obeying the commandments.
So this past week QQQ came up to 彰化 and saw me. Quick note about QQQ and then as well as RRR. Both are not baptized yet. Yes RRR from Jiayi is not baptized. He is waiting to graduate first in May. I actually will see RRR on Friday because it is spring break and he is coming up to 彰化. But so QQQ came up and we had dinner together and we had a really great time talking and especially seeing how he is doing lately. If you don't remember QQQ is the one Elder Mudrow and I tracted into and were the first Elders to teach him the gospel. He told me about how one week he had been given the invite from Elder Mudrow and Elder Hansen to read Moroni 10. Up to this point he was having the feeling about maybe getting baptized. But after reading through Moroni 10 he said he said the greatest reassurance that it was true, that what he had been learning was right and felt such a good warm and peaceful feeling. So he really wants to get baptized now. The thing that is holding back right now is his parents opposing, especially his mom. It makes me so sad how many people I meet with and their parents oppose so fiercely that they don't dare do anything. But QQQ is 19 right now so he has to wait until he is 20 to make the choice for himself and not need his parents consent, or he is going to Australia in July and can maybe get baptized there (I don't know the missionaries rules about parental consent there). I am so excited and happy for him though. He bought and gave me these two canisters of Baked Wheat Cookies (they are actually really good, like Wheat thins, only a bit thicker) that are only in Jiayi.
There were a few more experiences I wanted to share but I will have to write them down in my journal and maybe another time will get them told to you. It seems like so much there is never enough time to do anything or study all that I want or write down all that I want. Ughhh....Oh well that is about cherishing what you have and what is given you.
Lastly my personal feelings is that I would love to find someone who I baptize and help to fully come unto Christ and endure to the end. But at the same time I feel like I am more like one those few who is there at vital moments to teach or testify to progress someone along their path. Especially a few experiences from this past week and even my mission time have shown how much I am not the one baptizing but helping in vital areas.
Love you so so much!\