You know it's funny how that you talk about with the Elder's Quorum that at moments not really anything is happening and it is rather quite sober, and then about 20 things all happen at once. To sum up Lingya for you in very much the simplest and easiest sense, that is exactly how Lingya is. There are moments where it doesn't seem like a lot is happening or where it is just a day ahead of us to contact a lot or finding people. And then I get days where I am getting 7 or 8 lessons, running all over our area to get to appointments, and having about 10 different pressing matters. For example about a week ago we sat down to make calls at a 7-11 before going off to English Proselyting. Throughout the whole time we called only 1 or 2 people answered. Then with five minutes till English Proselyting we went out to our bikes to head off and some crazy, poor guy came up and started talking to Elder Ulrich and asking for money. At this time one of our investigators called back so I spent time talking to her and setting her up. Then after I hung up immediately a LA called back and I set him up to meet later as well. Then another investigator called right after I hung up with the LA while at the same time the crazy guy kind of went off and some other guy that was handing out flyers on the corner came over and talked with Elder Ulrich for a second (which sadly afterwards he didn't have any interest). But then it made us a little late to English Proselyting, although it all worked out ok in the end.
Quite an interesting experience to happen at the temple. I guess it shows that we are all really human after all.
Yeah I am sure it is quite a show to see how the missionaries who have returned home are all turning out. But in all honesty that doesn't fully matter right now or in my opinion really needs to be thought on.
Yeah I know I haven't really told or said much about my new area or all the different things that have been happening. So here goes:
I am right in the very central heart Gaoxiong City. I actually have figured out now that the Gao 85 (the biggest sky scraper in Gaoxiong) is just outside our area, literally 2 blocks away. But we still have a lot of all the hubbub of the city and tons of people. Not always from our area. But yeah it is all city and that is about it. No countryside or anything, which is actually funny that at first I always thought that I didn't like cities. But I love being in Gaoxiong city! And being right in the middle of it too! We live right by the Cultural Center in the city which is more towards the east side. But the church is outside of our area all the way on the west side. So on a good day, biking really fast, and may or may not be walking our bikes through an intersection that is still red light and no other cars around, can get home from the church in 12 minutes (which just so happened a couple nights ago because we had a lesson go long and didn't leave the church until 9:47 pm since we had to close it up and got home right before 10, so thankfully I didn't have to call President that we were going to be home late). This keeps happening several times though that I don't get home at 9 on time because we have lessons or are biking back home.
I don't know if you know this though. Elder Dailey served in Lingya as well. So several people know him and it has been way fun having another Elder Dayley here who was also his companion before. Although Matt hasn't emailed at all, the duffer. I'll have to kick his butt.
As for my companion right now, Elder Ulrich is super awesome. He had just got done with training when I got here. His Chinese is already super good (I swear every companion I get with I feel like their Chinese is as good as mine or even better, even though they are all younger than me mission wise). He is a little more softer and reserved like me sometimes and it has been really funny as several times we call an investigator to follow up they can't figure out if it is me or Elder Ulrich talking with them because accordingly to them and even the other missionaries in our district we can sound pretty alike. Elder Ulrich is very studios and a good endurance person. He has about a million different journal and thought books that he writes in. Things from just thoughts throughout the day to a dream journal to a regular journal to a specific study journal on more his personal questions and things he feels he lacks in understanding. He is a lot better about writing down so much stuff and recording stuff than I ever am. He has a really fun personality or being more calm, collective, and reserved, but then at other moments more funny and childlike side comes out and makes the situation a lot more funny. Sadly though, he is moving this next Friday to Qishan (just north and east of us by bus ride, still in Gaoxiong).
So yeah this next week is going to be a whole transfer week (even though the next movecall actually starts next week). It is because all the missionaries going home can't fly on the week of Christmas, so they are flying home this week. Then as for new missionaries I think there are some Taiwanese that are coming this week but as for the American missionaries they are not coming because of visa issues still. We still don't know all the reasons and what exactly is going on as to why the visas are not going through. But so they are having everyone move this Friday instead to compensate missionaries going home and the few new missionaries coming on. So my new companion is Elder Robinson coming down from Daya all the way up in Taizhong. He is from the same generation and MTC district as Elder Ulrich (so I believe he will be on his 4th movecall). But from what I have heard is that his Chinese is also super good, like in the MTC he could already write little notes and such in Chinese. I wonder what the Lord is trying to tell me or why it is that he always seems to pair me with someone who already has really good Chinese.
The area though is doing super good, we are just focusing towards getting more baptismal goals extended. Right now our best investigator we are meeting with is J. She is already graduated from college (just this year actually) and is working right now. But she loves the church a ton. She comes to church as well as a ton of other activities. Her religion that she has had before was the traditional Taiwanese religion of Taoist/Buddhist. Even though she is 24, her parents have still expressed that they don't agree with her getting baptized (even though she doesn't need their consent) and so for awhile it had kind of deferred her from huge desire to get baptized. What transpired though over the weeks is that it had more come to as well about a desire to be baptized not being there because she hadn't received any real miraculous answer or big miracle to that being the right thing to do. We had even taught her fasting and invited her to fast last Sunday specifically about if baptism is the right thing to do. Sadly she had said that she didn't really feel anything particular. But then really cool blessing and miracle that last Wednesday after English got done we had a few of our investigators there that we were talking to (Elder Ulrich was talking with Roger, I was talking with R our investigator as well as Richard Li our member, and J was there as well). Sister Hsu and Sister Thao had just got out of a lesson and came up to start talking with J (they serve in the Shizhong ward, but still also help with befriending our investigators since women just know how to friendship and help women). So for part of their conversation me and the Richards were involved until we broke off and talked more among ourselves. But it was super cool what Sister Hsu shared and talked with her about. At first she just straight up asked when her baptism date was (before she had a date for the 20th, but then dropped and hadn't given a new one since because she was still feeling like she hadn't had a strong answer yet). She then talked more with her and the point I feel really helped J a ton and helped to progress much more in her faith and showing to herself the testimony she has already gained is that Sister Hsu asked if she has shared what she has learned with others around her. J replied yes. Then Sister Hsu asked if us Elders had invited her to do this. J replied no (which is true that no we didn't invite her to share with friends, at least not yet, but she has already shared with coworkers what she has been learning and even brought one of her coworkers to English where afterwards Elder Ulrich and a member sat down with her). Sister Hsu then went on to share how prophets and apostles have testified that one of the greatest signs of having faith and a testimony and that you really know these things to be true is when you act yourself to share it with others (like Lehi in his dream with the desire to share the fruit with his family and friends after he had partaken of the fruit). So when we met with J last Saturday morning we had Richard help sit in on the lesson (the member who is probably one of the funniest guys I have met and actually met up with Matt back in New York for a day while he was back east). Richard helped along with us to really emphasize the point Sister Hsu had made and Joyce just immediately said I want to set a date. Richard kept going on to testify of some point but J said again I want to set a date. She said (this is the simplest and best way to translate to English) that she is hard working. So after looking at the calendar for a little bit she set a date for January 1st. Both Elder Ulrich and I are super happy for her!
Another investigator that we are meeting right now that I love to death is R. He had just come to English the Wednesday right before I had come (literally 2 days before I got here). Background about him: He is already Christian. He got baptized about 10 years ago in the Zhanglao Church (which I think is the Presbyterian Church). He is a drummer now for a Christian rock band at some other church, but loves to learn English, but also is in my mind very prepared and good man. We have shared the message of the restoration with him (which we might review with him this next week) and he is willing to pray and read but feels that baptism is a little too fast right now. He wants to learn and understand more. He even found out about the polygamy stuff but Richard (member, which has actually been really fun having him sit in on lessons because they have the same name) helped to explain and expound on that and that R (investigator) was like hey, yeah actually even in old times prophets or others had more than one wife. We have even met his mom now too (who is also Christian, super nice and friendly and I imagine not opposed to us at all because she treated us to some soup at a little store nearby her store in the department store). We shared the plan of salvation with him and the part that really stuck out to him and he really liked a lot was that fact about how everyone will have the chance to accept Christ whether in this life or in the spirit world. He said he has asked others in his church before what about the people like in the mountains (natives, aboriginees) or other areas where they never learn about Christ are they just condemned to hell? No one in his church he said was able to answer him. After this lesson he even had read 4 pages of the BoM that night (before that he hadn't read much yet from being busy, tired, and probably also forgetting). We are hoping and praying that he will come to church this next week (didn't yesterday because he went with his mom and older sister to a spa in Pingdong).
We don't have any RCs that we are working with because the only there was when I came here had already moved to America back in May. And as for LAs there are a few we are working with. But time is never enough. To much to try and share about over such small time and just typing words. Seriously!! It's ridiculous!
As for calling for Christmas I can call anytime on the 25th or the 26th. So that is the 24th or the 25th pretty much for all of you. It's really up to you of what time you want to do it at. The DeWitts have offered and said we can come to their house to Skype (which we probably will) because they have 2 laptops we can use. Probably a determining factor will be for Sahara and Zephyr so that it isn't too late for them. You will have to let me know.
Wow that is a lot. And it probably is only a scratch at the surface of all that happens and is going on. We have probably about 7 or 8 investigators we are working with right now. 1 has a baptism goal right now and at least 2 or 3 of them could fall into a baptism goal in the next week or so. So we are really going to pray and work hard a lot to help serve these people.
That is totally fine to take Elder Yang over to the temple and eat. He will have a little something for you as well from me.
Have fun at the Roskelley's! I really need to try and take more pictures. I feel it to be bothersome sometimes though because I am so programmed to think so much more on all the proselyting I can be doing in a moment.
Love you so much!