Sunday, December 25, 2011

Week 27

Happy Christmas, Harry. Happy Christmas, Ron. I think those two sentences will stick with me for a while...:) It was great to be able to talk with the family back home! I'm glad to hear you're all doing okay. I know the Lord has been blessing and guiding us all very abundantly. Yesterday, Elder Su and I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting about "the true meaning of Christmas." I was super nervous Saturday and Sunday morning because we were super busy during that time. Saturday we had our ward party, in which we and the Youth sang "Little Drummer Boy" sang in the style of the King Singers (very good song, by the way). But youth leaders wanted to me to direct and arrange it! Oof! So with the couple hours I could spend on it I arranged the background parts for the men and taught it to them, and ended up directing the song as well. It kind of fell apart for the performance...but it was fun. I'm grateful Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to be able to help the ward by doing something I love doing. On Sunday morning, our ward practiced a musical number, "Angels we have Heard on High" arranged by Sally DeFord It has a two-person accompaniment on piano so they had me play the lower half. But amongst all that, we prepared our talks. I really was braindead all of Saturday morning, even during my studies and at night when I was making my talk. But I was praying really hard, because I was still unsure of what I would even say. But as I laid on my bed that night, I had two thoughts I felt prompted to write down, which became the two pillars of my talk the next day. I was so grateful to be able to receive that revelation to be able to guide and comfort me for the next day. I got up at 6 to start writing my talk. Ideas started to flow through my head, and I was able to pull out a lot of scriptures for my talk. Here's about how my talk was: I remember one time my brother asked me on Christmas Eve, "Do you still believe in Santa Claus?" I thought for a while...and I actually forgot what my answer was. But inside was a feeling of "no, not really." This was when I was pretty young, maybe 12-13 years old. And since then, I just had the idea that I didn't believe in him anymore. But all the same, every year I would see a present from mom and dad, and another present - from Santa Claus. After a few years of this, I thought "strange....I'm pretty sure my parents know I don't believe in him anymore." And yet, the presents kept coming. Without fail, one from mom and dad, and then one from Santa Claus. This is when I truly realized the love that my parents had for me. Every year they gave me what I already wanted from my Christmas list. But they would always give one more, because they truly loved me. They wanted me to be even happier. This let me think of a scripture. In 3Ne 14:9-11, Christ teaches. That we, being mortal and imperfect, know how to give good gifts to our children. Then how much more does our Heavenly Father, who is indeed perfect, will give to those who ask of Him? I know that Heavenly Father doesn't stop at just what we ask. He doesn't stop at what makes us satisfied. He always gives us the other present - the unneeded present - because he truly loves us. In the case of Christmas, we know the Lord has given us the best present that he could. This is, of course, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that this present gives us the opportunity to attain true happiness. So what does this gift truly entail? We know that Heavenly Father's perfect gift to us can completely wipe away all sources of unhappiness. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome each and every one of these things. We can narrow down all unhappiness or discontentment to 4 things. I hope you can all think of one thing that you are discontent with, and see if it applies to one. The first is Death (Corinthians 15:22) - the death of a loved one, fear for your own. The second is Sin. (Alma 11:40) As we know, wickedness never was happiness. Every sin brings unhappiness to yourself and others around you. The third is weakness. (Ether 12:27) This might be one of the hardest ones, because we have to bring our weaknesses with us everywhere we go, as well with deal with the ones of those around us. The fourth is any other sickness or hardship not related with sin (3Ne 12:3-4,10), such as financial, educational, or emotional problems. I love the scripture in Mosiah 3:13. Because we have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we all can have the effects of having our Savior with us like he walks among us. In His Ministry, he healed all sicknesses, he tended all wounds, and he comforted all who were weary. I testify that we can all receive this comfort as if Christ stood beside us. So what is our responsibility? We've been given this wonderful gift. All he asks us to do is: 1. Mos 2:21-22 All he asks is that we repent and obey His Commandments. Use the gift he's given 2. Mos 2:17 Serve someone. Show your gratitude. 3. PMG says that as you understand Christ and His purpose, our desire to share it grows. So share the gospel with those you love! I love Christmas. I know our Savior lives! I know he has made it possible for us all to be happy eternally. Merry Christmas! I love you, -Elder Liu

Week 26

Thank you for all your packages and your letters! I love them. You all know how to make a missionary happy :D This week has been really good. We've been...what's the english word? Ditched? Anyway, whatever it is. We've gotten a lot of it this week. A lot of people say they'll come but they never do. But we still were able to see miracles. We had an adventure going to ZaoQiao and Houlong this week. Each is about a 30 minute bike ride away. We had a lot of time on Saturday so we decided to visit the souls of those townships. We found a lot of potential investigators and that day we found 3 investigators. We really were lead to prepared people. It was amazing to see the Lord's mercy and guidance. These three were all willing to set baptismal dates as a goal to change their lives. I hope we can hang on to every single soul. Our investigators have been progressing really slowly recently. But it's okay. I know that they have their own pace and their own agency. I'm still grateful that they are still willing to meet with us, and willing to make small changes in their life because of our message. We have a wen1 dx that we've been meeting with recently. He's 30 years old, and he's a really great person. But he has a really special characteristic. He needs to fully understand everything he learns. So he'll ask a lot of questions until he gets the knowledge that he wants. He's meeting with us because he wants to get to know God more. We keep teaching the Book of Mormon and coming to church, but he wants to fully understand them before he does too much. So as of now, he won't come to church, and he'll read the Book of Mormon, but he won't pray about it. He feels that it is already true. I know he'll come around sooner or later. It'll just be a little longer of a process. We have another investigator who's 18, yang2 dx. He loves to talk, and he loves Christian stuff. But his parents might oppose him learning. So he sneaks out to meet with us. Hopefully his parents will be able to soften their hearts. He really is great. I think right now he just likes talking with us more than our message. But he still learns a lot and finds the stuff we share really interesting. We recently shared with him the Plan of Salvation. I think this helped him understand more about why we all love Christ so much, and that he has a lot that he can learn here. Our new district is wonderful! We have 4 Taiwanese and then 2 from Provo/Orem. Yay! Our mission is focusing on Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, Developing Christlike Attributes. This week we've been learning about Love, Charity, Virtue, and Knowledge. We did a super interesting role play as well. We had two companions demonstrate contacting on the street using their usual way to contact. But then we switched to me, where they said I was Christ, and I had to contact someone. It really changed my perspective on how I would go about preaching the Gospel. I really hope we can all live up to our role as a representatives of the Lord. For Chinese I'm studying "Phase 2", which are everyday words in alphabetical order. So I've been studying A-E words. It's fun to be able to start using some new stuff in my every day life. Wow, I can't believe Christmas is already coming up! I guess it's hard here because there isn't much of the change that I'm used to. There's no snow, and it's taken a while to get cold. And the only places that have decorations is 7-11 and McDonalds. I'm hoping Chinese New Year will make up for the lack of Christmas :P But I know that I have a wonderful opportunity to invite others to remember the life of Christ with me. Love, -Elder Liu P.S. We've been playing a card game by the same people who made Bang! and Dominion called Citadels. Pretty fun game. It's like Bang! and Dominion mixed together.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 25

This week has been great! This week we're focusing on particular Christ-like attributes each week to improve. It's been a great opportunity to be able to focus on Faith and Hope this week. I feel that by better understanding how to express my faith, it can more easily grow. I think a lot of us have the faith to do a lot of things, but our faith won't grow unless we realize what the Lord wants us to do with it and to do it. Reading a clear definition from Preach My Gospel really helps a lot to sort out how you can express your faith to the Lord. This week has been a little harder for Elder Su and I finding/teaching-wise. We haven't been finding too many people and our investigators are wavering in their progression. But I know because of our hope, and our willingness to keep pressing forward, we will be blessed. I think the Lord planned out these topics really well for our situation this week. I know that I can continue on, even with the trials we face. This week we had our baptism with Wang2 dx! He had a great baptismal meeting. He shared a lot of miracles and stories that he's had since he met us. It was wonderful to increase our faith by hearing how the Gospel and Atonement have healed his wounds. Last Thursday we were able to give him a priesthood blessing because his anxiety and seizures were acting up. I shared a message from 3 Nephi 17, how the Nephites had great enough faith for Christ to stay a while and heal their sick and afflicted. I shared how these blessings will be according to his faith in Jesus Christ. I know we can all be the same. We don't have to limit the Lord's power by our doubt or feelings of insignificance. Wang dx was feeling a lot better after our blessing. We are still debating how to differentiate someone who has a mental problem and just someone who is a bit different. And then most importantly is if they still need to be baptized. And then what to do if we decide they doesn't need baptism. Wang dx has major depression, but I personally feel mentally he's perfectly fine. But some members say that he still has some problems. But our leaders were willing to let him be baptized, so we went through with it. I guess they see this kind of thing a lot in Miao Li, so they're all a bit more cautious. Yesterday we were able to see some of a broadcast of the First Presidency Christmas message. I really miss all this wonderful Christmas stuff, especially the MUSIC! Seeing the Orchestra at temple square made me squirm in my seat! I really miss band, orchestra, and choir. But I know that that can come later. It was a great opportunity to appreciate some really good music again. But for some reason, our satellite feed was interfering with a BYU-Aggies game, which was fun to listen to (don't worry, I didn't pay attention. Since both signals were coming in equally strong, there were some funny moments. Right after an Aggie touchdown, the Tabernacle choir started to sing "Joy to the World!" I was the only one laughing because only I understood it, I guess. Yeah, it's getting pretty cold down here. But I got some wonderful clothes from my family ^^ (thank you!) and I bought a cheap windproof pair of gloves that I've come to love a lot. I've actually been getting a lot of stuff from you all, so thank you! I will thoroughly enjoy my Tim Tam Slams in this cold weather :D We have an investigator, Qiu1 dx, who we've been meeting with for a while. He's been through a lot. He was in a car accident a couple years ago, and they had to amputate his foot. Recently two of his best friends passed away. And so we know that our message really can help him out. We know that he knows it, too. But he's lacking the faith to be able to do a lot. He forgets to read scriptures a lot, and he has a lot of excuses to keep him from coming to church. It's been hard to see his potential to improve but choosing not to. We hope our lack of teaching skill isn't preventing him from making a full decision. But of course we understand. It's hard sometimes to let go of what you're used to relying on and start to trust in the Lord. But at some point, we've got to take the first move and let go so that the Lord can take our hand and lead us. Work here is going great! I love you all. Thank you for your love and support. And good luck with finals! Love, --Elder Liu

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 24

Greetings! Wow! Elder Su and I are staying one more transfer! I've really come to love this place. I'm excited to stay here longer. Although I think Elder Su was excited to change things up a bit. But I think this will be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our ward and our area. Winter hit us really hard, really fast. It was 29 degrees Celcius one day and then 13 the next. I guess it's about time -- It's already December! Wowsers! So Wang2 dx hasn't been baptized yet. We were going to wait a week or so because he has been drinking coffee to keep himself up in the mornings. But he should be well on his way, still. He just found out he can still drink Coke :P But he'll try to slowly not use that, too. He has a serious, serious case of depression. So he ends up saying some pretty weird stories, and it kinda scares the ward. But I think he'll be okay. He's a really great person, and his testimony is strong. This Sunday was really great. I felt the Spirit prompt me strongly that my answer to my question this week would be in the Book of Mormon. Lo and behold, it was! The next chapter I read was wonderful to answer my question and encourage me to do better. I really have learned to love the Book of Mormon. I'm grateful for its teachings and its guidance. The scripture I read was in 3 Nephi chapter 4. A simple story of how keeping our provisions high (Spiritual provisions of Scriptures, prayer, and church) as well has constant prayer for protection will allow us to recieve any situation with the "Strength of the Lord" (v10) This scripture really helped me. I know that these things are true. I spent more time on pictures today, so that's about all for this week! Stay warm, everyone! I'm praying for you! Good luck with Finals and everything. I know the Lord is with us in all we do! I love you, -Elder Liu