Sunday, November 4, 2012

Week 63

Wow, it's September! It was just barely September like...last year! Time flies really fast. Today I don't have too much time, because today I'm in the Mission Office. My companion went to a Military Recall (JiaoZhao), so he'll be gone for a week. But this week I'll still do a Zone Training that we have every month now. The topic we have for this month is using the Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel to be more effective with our time. There is one thing that I loved that President Day said. He said, "The only reason why we use Preach My Gospel and anything like it is because we know that we have a living prophet of God." Otherwise, these things would just be good. But it's not only that, it's the Lord's Way -- the best way. It made me realize how much I've been blessed by being in a time where there are so many resources from our living prophets. I can know that if I just follow these things, I'll be doing what the Lord would have me do. Recently we haven't had many people to teach, which has been hard. I feel that Elder Lin pretty down about that. But we're doing an interesting work. It's because recently we've been spending all our time with the training for next week (because he'll be gone next week, so we had to get it all ready a week early). So we haven't done much proselyting. But we know our work is for a greater cause -- if we can help 20 missionaries come closer to Christ and be more effective, it'll be much better than us working for a week. It's boggling to think what kind of effect these training meetings have, and I am truly humbled to try to represent the Lord in this upcoming training meeting. Anyway, that's all I have time for this week. Thank you for everyone's emails! Love you all! -Elder Liu

Week 61

This week has been just wonderful. It was a start of a new transfer, which is weird. It feels like it just started, since I've only been here 2 1/2 weeks. So it's felt like 2 transfers in one. But that's okay. Elder Lin and I are staying here in ShiLin. It's going to be awesome. We have one investigator in particular, 陳奕廷, who is progressing very well. We've met with him 4 times, and he already has a strong testimony about prayer. He said "我知道神絕對會回答我的祈禱". He said he really has felt the Spirit and has received many answers to his prayers. His baptismal date is in October. I think he'll definitely hit that date. It seems like the zone is doing good with the new transfer. I don't hear of many people having companionship problems or anything like that. I went on exchanges with Elder Sabey. We found that we have a lot of similar interests, so it was a lot of fun. He's a great example. I really learned a lot from him, especially with his contacting. He's very sincere and seems very effective in sharing the Gospel. He's doing a great job and trying to get to know the ward and the situation in his area, but that might give Elder Wang a little pressure. He and Elder Wang's personality are a little different, so they'll probably need some time to get things fully together. There was someone who Elder Lin and I met the other day who we had sent to San Chong's English class. Then just recently he saw me and pulled over, and said "Hi, do you remember me?" His face was really familiar, but I forget his name. He said "Thank you for introducing me to such a wonderful place. I love it there." He had been going to English Class as well as church. It was an awesome experience to have someone bear simple testimony of the joy that they had received from the Gospel. It was Elder Lin's birthday the other day, so we celebrated. We were going to a pizza place, but it was really crowded with no room. So an a-ma suggested us to a restaurant across the street and said that it wasn't expensive, was. A little. But that's okay, because it was his birthday. We had a lot of fun. Recently I've been trying to be more positive in my attitude and actions. It's actually really hard, sometimes. (It's been really hot recently here, which makes me sluggish sometimes) But I despite my weaknesses, the Lord has helped me see some wonderful miracles, especially in finding. We had a potential investigator invite us for lunch and introduced us to her two kids to try and get them to church. We've also been doing a lot with the ward. We met with the bishop and attended ward council two weeks ago. It was really good. Our bishop is doing a really good job. I just wish they had a more specific list of people to visit. They've really only given us one LA Melchizedek Priesthood holder, 黃dx, who we have visited. He has a good family, but they're really busy with their work. We visited him for the second time last night. They seem to not have come for a long time. I think they felt the Spirit though. Hopefully they'll continue to let us visit them in the future. Our new president has asked all the wards to give us a list of all the Less Active Priesthood holders as well as the kids 9+ who aren't baptized so we can start doing more member work. I'm excited for this next week -- We'll exchange 4 times. So hopefully we can keep our area in good shape. We'll see how it goes. It's been great to hear from everyone. Have an awesome week, everyone! I know that Heavenly Father is helping us all be the people He wants us to be, if we are willing to follow His will. Love, -Elder Liu

Week 62

Hey, everyone! This week really was great, although numbers haven't shown it very much. And indeed, we don't have very many investigators, but at the same time, we've had a lot of success and have done our part in inviting others to come unto Christ. We went on 3 exchanges this week. We had planned 4, but they had a baptism that day, so we decided not to. The first was with LuoDong with Elder Anderson. He's doing really good. He says he didn't work as hard as he should have his first 2 transfers, so his Chinese is suffering a little. I also know he's a little more introverted, but he doesn't seem like the happiest Elder there is. I think he's doing okay, but I hope to just see him happier. I think the language might be part of it. I tried to push him to do some calls, and I had to end up taking over. But I was grateful he was willing to try it out and push himself. We set goals to make at least 1 call a day and talk to everyone. Next was Elder Bannatyne in YiLan. He's doing really great. His Chinese is just stellar. He's from Russia, but lived in the US. So he has perfect Russian, English, and soon to be Chinese. He teaches really well and seems to be getting along with his companion. I think he's a great worker, but sometimes he does get tired and then just gets a little more lazy. But Elder Forbes (his trainee) has been great at pushing him and helping them both improve their teaching/planning. At YiLan we also taught a progressing investigator that I sent them when I was in LongTan. It was great to see her! 神的安排! I tried to set some goals with him, but it seems like he didn't really want to, or at least didn't know what to set. And then we had Elder Su in NeiHu. He seems to be doing really good. We didn't have any lessons, but we went finding a lot. He really teaches clearly and simply. He stresses on the fact that they can know these things for themselves. I think he's doing just great. He seems to get along with his companion just fine. We set a goal to study and then teach our companion about how we can control a lesson and help the investigator focus/listen to the gospel. I've been trying to get my zone better at setting goals. It feels like a lot of them aren't used to it, which is weird for a missionary. Wow, I saw my cousin on Tuesday while exchanging, Hu2Li4Wei1. He lives in ZhongLi right now, and we just happened to pass by at the MRT. He's a bit busy with work, so he's a little less active. But I was so grateful to see him (and this time, be able to communicate with him with not a broken Chinese). Recently our investigators just haven't been sticking. I don't know why. We either get fanged, or I really do feel the Spirit in their lesson, but they just don't come back. So it's been a little hard in ShiLin, but Elder Lin and I have just been pushing forward with faith. And I know we've seen the success in the other parts of our work, especially with members. It's a little slow in the progress, but it seems like our pool of resources just grows bigger and bigger as we rely and actively strengthen our ward. We've been able to attend a lot more FHE's and Dinners this week, which was a great blessing. The only struggle has been trying to find an investigator who can come with us. Nonetheless the experiences were great, and we feel we've done a lot of things to try to help the ward here. We have a lot to work on, but we're slowly getting the hang of member work. We had a Michael McLean concert, which was great! He's the songwriter for a bunch of seminary stuff, as well as Best Two Years. His voice wasn't the very best. But I think the simplicity and innocence of his voice added a lot to his songs. Our new member, Li3dx really liked it. He's been a little depressed and stressed out recently. So I think it helped him a lot. Most of McLean's songs are about hope and faith. It was really great. I miss music a lot... But anyway, that's all for this week. I hope this week is the best week of your life! -Elder Liu

Week 60 (8/13/12)

Gawwww :B I hope everyone's doing fantabulous today. It's our transfer day today. We had a couple people in our Zone finish their missions. I can't help but think that my day to leave is getting really close. I know I've still got a 10 months, but it just seem like it'll come super discreetly. Recently I've been pondering long and hard about how the Gospel has effected my life. It seems like I testify of it everyday, and I know it's true, but I still feel like half of me doesn't truly understand the full impact the Gospel has been for me. It's been such a blessing to be able to focus my thoughts and prayers on this subject the past few days. I really feel like being in Shi4 Lin2 has been an answer to this prayer. First of all, we had dinner with Deng4 mama, which was amazing. (Especially their potstickers that brought back a lot of memories.) It helped me realize that since I was little, all my friends and all my relations already had ties to the Gospel. What a blessing it was to be able to grow up innocently in an environment where my standards wouldn't be influenced by my closest peers -- in fact, they would only be strengthened. Shi4Lin2 is great because it's pretty much one of the busiest places in Taiwan with a famous night market. Therefore I get to meet a lot of different people. On Friday I ran into some CBC's (almost as cool as ABC's, but from Canada.) But it was so interesting to see how much of them and their personality seemed to reflect my own past and experiences. I could truly testify to them of the next thing I realized this week, which is that the Gospel really has held my family together. Not saying that without the Gospel, it would fall apart. But I know that there is an incomparable unity that comes to a family that lives by Gospel principles every day. I really know that I have felt that with each of my family members. I'm still learning a lot of how the Gospel has changed my life. As I realize these precious gems of truth, I really feel that my testimony grows so much, and I am able to teach with more convincing spiritual power. Taiwan's also pretty great because I can talk to everyone about random things I had in my childhood that no one else really did in America (like particular video games, movies or candy. The most important things of a childhood, of course.) Even though this is really small, it really has given me great joy to be able to give me a bigger sense of...belonging? I guess that's the word. But I think it's been a two-way blessing. I feel that I have better relations with all of my companions because even though I'm American, I still have a lot of Taiwanese traits and background that the Taiwanese feel more comfortable with. Needless to say, I know that I have been called to Taiwan by the Lord. If not for any other reason, at least it's been like a 2 year Christmas present from him. But I know that I am doing the Lord's work, and because of it, I get to see His tender mercies every day. I know that the Lord is taking every bit of effort we are willing to put forth and change them into blessings and miracles. The key is just to be willing -- to have faith in the promise that if we actively keep his commandments, we will all be blessed. I'm really loving every bit of the work now. I know not all transfers are like this, so I'm cherishing the moments. Thanks for everything. I love you all! -Elder Liu

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Week 59

Oh man, being Zone Leader is great! I really have enjoyed my calling a lot. It's pretty different, and there are a lot of things I need to learn. But I really love getting to know more missionaries and being able to learn from their example. Recently we had a Zone Leader council about our training for next month. We learned a boatload about member work and working with the Bishop and Ward Council. The more I talk about it, the more excited I get. I really have had a huge desire to do more member work, but have always felt restricted on this side of missionary work. I hope that I can help other missionaries see the importance and blessings of being influential to the ward in which we serve. Well last week I thought I was real smart and started to pray to be able to show my faith. Right after I prayed for that, I thought that that probably wasn't the most intelligent thing to pray for if I wanted a nice and peaceful mission life. But this week I feel that God, as always, has answered my prayers. This week I've been having a pretty bad headache and some neck problems. I'm trying my best to do all I can, but try to take it easy when I need to. Yesterday's fast might have been the hardest one I've done. But I felt privileged to be able to express my faith and desire to serve by going out and working my hardest with a smile. Even though we didn't find anyone yesterday, I truly felt that my work yesterday was a success, and my faith grew because of it. In 士林 I'm see so many cool miracles! Mostly with the members here. I've been so blessed to meet Cai4 family -- whose dad is a convert of Dad. You can really see how the gospel has blessed and changed their lives. They invited us to dinner, and he told us the story of how Dad found him and his conversion process. It was a real treat. I was trying so hard to understand all of his words -- he has a hard time pronouncing fricatives because he leaks air though his nose after a car accident, I think. But I understood most of it. It was a great story. I am so blessed to have met him and learned from his example and testimony. His daughter also showed me her bass recorder, which was pretty sweet. I didn't know they got to be so big... Also, Deng4 mama (mama of Deng4 Jia1) lives here! She's going to treat us to dinner this Thursday. As well as a Chi2 mama. It's been pretty crazy to run into a bunch of familiar faces. I hope to be able to get to know them more and do what I can to strengthen them. Love you all! -Elder Liu

Week 58

Wow,.I can't believe it's August...again! We just had August last year... This week has been absolutely crazy. Last Wednesday, during our studies, our Assistant called Elder Tay and I and said, "Hey, we're in LongTan. We want to come visit you. Can you come down and pick us up?" So we went down, and Elder Workman and President Day were downstairs to greet us. We took them up into our apartment and we sat down together. "You're probably wondering why we're here, huh?" "Umm...Yeah..." "Well, you're life is about to change. Tomorrow." Turns out President Day wanted to immediately call me to a new position. I'm in Shi4Lin2 serving as the Zone Leader of the North Zone, including NeiHu, DanShui, and JiLong. So I packed up my stuff in a day and was out of LongTan by Thursday morning. This has probably been the hardest move call I've had. Elder Tay and I worked so well together. We even played Tennis everyday at the clay courts by our apartment! Just when things were getting really, really good, we moved out unexpectedly. Well, I'm sure I don't really understand all what Zone Leader entails right now, but so far so good. I know that Elder Tay is doing great back in Long Tan, even though it'll only be his 2nd transfer with a DuanChuan companion now. I know that the Lord has prepared him for this, and it was our time to part our ways. I really have a learned a lot from him, and loved every second I had in Longtan with Elder Tay. The good thing about all of this is because now I'm in a new Zone, I get another chance to have a Temple Day -- I got to go twice this transfer :B Which is also why I'm emailing on Wednesday this week again. So my new companion is Elder Lin from GaoXiong. Elder Lin has been a great companion as well. I really feel his love and his sincerity. I know that I'll learn quickly. I just need to stay focused on my calling and put my whole heart into it. He's good at giving me a lot of opportunities to try out the Zone Leader responsibilities, so I feel I'm doing my part. ShiLin needs some work. It's been a Zone Leader area for a while, so the missionaries have a harder time focusing on the place here. And so the work here is a little different. I hope to be able to build it up as much as I can. So I've already been on exchanges to NeiHu with Elder Montalto, as well as Elder Thatcher in JiLong. I've been in 4 different beds in 5 days. It's been a little hectic. But I'm loving to be able to be with a lot of different missionaries and learn from their example. On exchanges I learned something pretty important. I was talking with Elder Thatcher about the difference between sad and discouraged. Preach my Gospel says that we will face disappointments, but we should not be discouraged. We came to the conclusion that although we will all face challenges in life, the main thing is that we cannot let what we face effect our faith. If our faith decreases because of our trials, that is being discouraged. We need to always remember, like in Moroni 9:25-26, how these things can be swallowed up in the Love and Power of Christ. To be discouraged is to forget Christ and his sacrifice. In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Anyway, we need to get going. Thank you everyone for your wonderful emails. Love, -Elder Liu

Week 57

This week has been great with our Duan3 Chuan2 短傳! 郭長老's going to be a great missionary in a year or so. He's a Senior in high school from Ban3qiao2 板橋. The Youth program let a few people come and 傳教 with us for a week. I was inspired by his willingness to serve and his fire for missionary work -- it was like training someone. He even contacted 2 investigators for us, helping us hit our goals for the week. It was great to make a new friend out on the mission. I'm going to miss 3 part harmonies for our Daily Planning sessions, too. Elder Tay and I have been a little confused with the new rules with the new mission president. He basically got out the rules from President Grimley and said, "These definitely are inspired, but we aren't using them anymore." President Grimley apparently was really strict. But I didn't really realize how much until President Day gave us complete trust to use our own agency and judgement to seek the Lord's will through PMG, The Missionary Handbook, and scripture. We, of course, are liking the bigger freedom. But at the same time, we have found a lot of unspoken rules that we don't know what to do. We're still doing our best in exercising our agency with this "higher law". This week I have felt more sympathy for the Jewish people after the Law of Moses was fulfilled. The first reaction would have to be, "what, are you serious? But those are the rules! That's how it's always been. You can't just change that." But at the same time, we know that this is because the Lord trusts us and loves us enough to live by a happier, Spirit-lead life. We will take great care of the trust that we've been given. This week has been pretty good. We've seen a lot of miracles to help us hit our goals. But at the same time we need to work hard with the investigators we've already had. We've had troubles with getting them to church, so it's a little frustrating. We'll do our best to focus on it more this week. Thanks for the emails every week. Love you all! -Elder Liu