I can't believe tomorrow starts 2013! Time is just flying by! I have just a mere 7 months left as a missionary, and I know that time will fly, so I hope to make the most of it!
We had a wonderful Christmas here in Taiwan. I got to skype with my family on Christmas morning and that was such a fun thing! I loved getting to see my family! It had been 9 months since I'd seen them and 6 since I'd talked with them. So that was great. Then we were fed a delicious hot pot lunch by a member (hot pot is just broth and you just pile in meat and veggies and sometimes noodles; so good!) and then a fantastic Christmas dinner by the same member to gave us Thanksgiving dinner. We had turkey, ham, pototoes, the works. Even Christmas cookies! I was so grateful! But aside from all that, the best part was that we had 2 new investigators that day, both who accepted an invitation to be baptized on January 26th! BUT! The miracles don't stop there!!
Thursday, Friday and Saturday were also filled with miracle new investigators who accepted baptismal goals! So that meant that by Sunday, we had 5 investigators with baptismal goals! BUT! It still doesn't stop there! One of our investigators that we've been working with for a few weeks, but has been meeting with missionaries off and on since 1998 accepted to prepare to be baptized on January 26th as well!!! So we currently have 6 investigators who have baptismal goals! We feel so blessed!!! It is nothing short of a Christmas miracle! And we still have two more investigators that we are hoping to help them set baptismal goals this week, so hopefully next week we will have 8 investigators with baptismal goals! I haven't had this many investigators with goals since my first month on island. It actually attribute the majority of our blessings to the faith of my companion. She is so incredible. Here is an example of her faith:
We have this investigator who had been meeting with the sisters here since June or so. When I got here, it was clear she wasn't interested in the gospel right now. After about a month of being here, we finally just asked her if she had a desire to be baptized, and she said, no, not really. So we dropped her. Her son is a recent convert of the Elders, so she comes to church with him sometimes, and she came with him to the ward Christmas party last weekend. She met my new companion and wanted us to come visit her. I was reluctant because we had just visited her the previous week at the request of her son (who had helped rescue my keys, so we felt like we had to), so I wasn't too thrilled to go again, when we could be focusing on finding new investigators who are ready. My companion wanted to talk with her about baptism but I was like, she's already told us she isn't interested, but I figured, it won't hurt. So we go and share a message and my companion talks to her about how we want to help her prepare to be baptized, and that we want her to pick a baptismal date. She's like, ok, January 5th. And I'm like...uh, this is to be baptized, like, become a member of our church, and she's like, ok. And I was like, well, January 5th is a bit too soon, how about January 19th. And she was like, ok. So we talk about what has to happen before she can be baptized and she is willing to do it all. So, I am so grateful for my companion who has huge amounts of faith. I know it is because of her that we had so many miracles this week, and I am so grateful that I can learn from her!
So yes, I am so grateful for my companion! And then! On Wednesday we went looking for less-actives. One of our bishops has asked us to help re-activate less active single woman. So we got a list of all the single woman in the ward and we have started calling/visiting them all. So last week we went to visit some in one area, and we came upon a less-active who we learned is deaf. We couldn't get her attention, so we just left her a note. She texted us that night, but we didn't have a way to text her back because we aren't allowed to text. We called the assistants for permission to text her, but they said no because our mission president has just said that no missionary is allowed to text because they don't know how much it costs. I told them the situation and they said they'd see what they could figure out for us. So they called a few days later and were like, we are going to see on Monday how much texting costs, but for now you can send a text or two to her. So we set up an appointment with her for Sunday. We prayed really hard because neither of us know sign language (Chinese Sign Language is different than ASL), but I was grateful my companion is a native and could write. So long story short, through her reading our lips, and writing down things, we came to find out she is really needing the gospel in her life. She was so grateful we came. She said she prays every day that someone would notice her, and I was so grateful everything in our plan that day had fallen through that we went and found her. So we are going to start seeing her every week and make sure the ward knows about her and can help her come back.
So that has been our week. It has been such an incredible week, definitely one of my favorites on my mission so far! Every missionary who was on the mission last Christmas said, be prepared for Christmas miracles; it's hard being away for Christmas, but the Lord blesses us for our service. I was skeptical, but I have seen the blessings and this had made it a Christmas to remember.
Thank you all for your love and support! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know that this is such a special time to remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am so honored to wear His name everyday as His representative. I know this message that I am sharing with the people of Taiwan is true. I know that through prayer and studying the Book of Mormon, everyone can come to know of the truthfulness of this gospel. If you don't know if this church is truly Jesus Christ's church, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon so you can find out for yourself if this is Christ's ancient church, restored in our day. I know it is, and you can know too.
I love you all! Happy New year!!!
#121: My Christmas gifts from my family, under the Christmas tree =]
#160: Me and my family, skyping =]
#165: My companion and our Christmas lunch
#167: My companion and I and our Christmas dinner