Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mission Letter 2/1/2016

Dear family and friends,

This past week has been so amazing! The weather warmed up, but it rained incessantly. Any moment of sunshine was like a gift straight from God to us, and it's those little happy moments that which keep you working at full speed. 

We also started a new transfer this week; transfer 13 of 16 for me. No, neither my companion or I moved, but we have a new face in the apartment. He's been on a mission for getting close to a year, and he's now serving with us in Sanxia. He's super awesome, and super enthusiastic for the week. He just moved up from Yuli, which was my second area on my mission, so we have had much to talk about.

This week we visited the Liao family, pictured below. The aunt and one of the daughters are members of the church, and the rest of the family has kinda been investigators for quite some time. This is the second time my companion and I had the chance to visit with them, and though they've been "investigating" the church for a couple years, it seems they haven't made much progress. But when we've visited with them, we've been clearly teaching the basics of the doctrine, and giving them very specific invites. We also follow up pretty well. And it seems they've been progressing. 

And then, miracle of miracles, this week the whole family (with the exception of the Dad, which had to work) came to church! It was awesome to have the whole family come to church, after encouraging them and helping them do all the basic things. They've come before; a long time ago, I'm not sure when. They felt that when they came to church, no one really guided them, they felt lost, and that church was more of a social event where everybody came to just chat and see friends that they haven't seen for a week. But when they came this week (they were late, they went to get breakfast first), they went to Young Women's first (the whole family, even though only 2 of the girls are that age), then they came to Gospel Principles and learnt about the Creation, and then at Sacrament meeting, we helped prepare them by sharing some scriptures to set the mood, and reviewing at the end of the meeting what could be learnt from church that Sunday. The talks were also all perfect, about how to improve ourselves as people and about how they (the speakers) received a testimony of the gospel. At the end of the meeting, about 4 sisters from the Relief Society (so, about 1/3 of the Relief Society) swarmed the family and chatted and fellow-shipped them.​ So they felt welcome, felt like church was good, had good feelings, etc. It was awesome. They're going to be gone now for two weeks because of Chinese New Year, but hopefully when they're back, we'll pick up right where we left off. 

We met two awesome new investigators this week. We were sitting in a cafeteria style restaurant eating lunch when this old lady (as we call them, Amah's) sat down next to us. After a few minutes, she struck up a conversation with us. "Ooh, you guys are so young! Mormon's, right?" Turns out, she got baptized into another church about 6 years ago, after having come into contact with some Christians while she worked in Africa as a nurse. She'd read the Bible twice before deciding to be baptized, and once after. But then she went "inactive" because of "flaws in church doctrine" and other people in the church who offended her. She felt like she always wanted to come back to Christ, and that God would set that up for her one day. So she describes running into us as "fate." Now she's 70. She asks all the right questions, like, "Why are there so many churches?" and, after teaching about authority, she understands why there should only be one church and why she'd need to be rebaptized. The Book of Mormon she wants to read to completion, but we set a baptismal date with her for 6 weeks away. I feel that she will be baptized, along with her 11 year old son, who she started taking to church with her 6 years ago, and at the time said, "When I grow up, I want to be a missionary/pastor." So, hopefully, we can help him prepare for that now, too. He was also present at the lesson, and we set a baptismal date with him, too. The family is so cool! We love them already.

Other than that, we just have one investigator who we are trying to help him develop real intent. He's an eternal investigator, has been meeting with missionaries for 2 years, comes to Sacrament meeting every Sunday, and even attends the ward choir practice. But he's not wanting to be baptized, because he still "worships" (for lack of a better word) his father and ancestors, etc. He thinks it's all good, it helps reading scriptures and praying, but he doesn't have true faith nor real intent. Any ideas on how to help with this? We've been studying and asking, but we're still trying to figure out the answer.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay safe, stay warm, don't do anything stupid.

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission