Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 31

Hello from TaiDong! It was a great opportunity to be able to learn more about Chapter 8 at our special training. I thing I learned and benefitted from most was the training done by the Assistants afterwards. They taught about how to get 30 minute lessons (not 45-50). This is crucial because the Spirit should be the teacher in all we teach and learn. We should not put ourselves in a higher position to answer all their questions and resolve all their concerns, because the Spirit will be the teacher whose influence will be eternal. He teaches to our souls -- disregarding any physical limitations. I am also so grateful to have become Senior companion with Elder Braithwaite. He helps me so much in things I forget and my shortcomings. I'm trying to fulfill my responsiblities to the best of my abilities. We're getting along really well. We haven't seemed to run into any problems so far. Our biggest trial so far has been being on time. But we're finding ways to overcome it :). And haha yes, I actually miss MiaoLi and Elder Su a lot. Elder Braithwaite is originally from Boston, but his family moved to Alpine, UT when he was still pretty young. His Chinese is really good! He speaks really dignified speech. I'm grateful to be able to serve with him. It's his 4 transfer, so I'm only older than him 1 transfer. So we're both still fresh, but I feel we're carrying out the work pretty well. TaiDong seems to be doing good. It's been hard for Guonian because a bigger part of our investigators have been students going back home. But we've done what we can, and we found some pretty great people. Right now we have a lot of slow/not progressers. It's been great getting to know the TaiDong 2nd branch (the divider line is a street the chapel is on. We're the south side). It turns out that our family knows President Cai (the District President) very well. They were at my house last August visiting my parents. Speaking of branches. There are a lot of trees here, which is a little different from MiaoLi. Otherwise the two places are about the same. Oh...right. Also speaking of branches, the Hualian zone of our mission is the last one with branches -- the rest are wards throughout Taiwan! So we're pushing hard to have a lot of conversions so that we can continue to build this place. TaiDong also has a lot of Aboriginese (Yuan2 Zhu4 Min2). A lot of them are Christian. We're thinking it's because of when Portugal was in Taiwan. So it'll be a different challenge to talk to those who already have their own beliefs in Christ. But I'm also super excited to be able to work with the people here. We have some awesome members here. The one most famous with the missionaries is Jerry Lin. He was baptized last year on (normal) New Years' Day. He's simply amazing. He's our Mission Leader for the 2nd branch. Basically he does everything for us. He drove us to the train station, peiked twice, bought us lunch and dinner, cleaned the chapel grounds, bought us a Buddha-head fruit, all in one week. It's amazing to see these kind of examples of Christlike people all over the world! (Like all of you!) The two most likely to be baptized in the near future are a Xu3dx and a Lin2dx. Xu3dx so far only has curiousity, but he is willing to do all that we invite him to do. Hopefully he'll do our invites with enough desire to be able to feel of these invites' power. We just met Lin2dx this last week. He seems to be really spiritual. He came to church, and he said when he meets with us he feels a different, peaceful feeling. He didn't pray after our first meeting, so that was a little disappointing. But he still has very good potential. He expressed a desire for a fulness of truth -- and we haven't even talked about the restoration yet! It's interesting how people understand these concepts deep inside, and hopefully we will do our part to identify these truths from the Savior and His Gospel. Yay! Guo4Nian2! (Chinese New Year). We already got invited over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. and we have lunch and dinner arranged for this entire week. We've been hearing a lot of firecrackers and fireworks. It was great to see everyone at their houses yesterday, enjoying their time with their family. Hopefully I won't get as fat as everyone says I will for GuoNian :P Thank you for all your emails and letters! I love you all!- -Elder Liu

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 30

Wow! In 40 minutes I'll be on a train towards Tai2Dong1 - my next transfer area! It's all the way across the mission. I hear it's nice weather over there -- but also most prone to have typhoons if I stay until summer. I'll be Senior Companion with Elder Braithwaite! He was in my district two transfers ago, and he'll be on his 4th transfer. I can't believe I'm leaving MiaoLi. I'll miss it so much, but I know there will be a lot of opportunities in TaiDong to serve, and I'll learn to love that place, too! But I'll be sure be back here in MiaoLi when I visit Taiwan. I'm determined to stay focused till the end. I hope to give my all in Taidong. Sorry, my time is short today. Thank you for all your emails! Elder Su and I have been companions for 3 transfers! It'll be weird to switch. Elder Su has been a wonderful companion and leader. I know that my singing can annoy some people sometimes :P. MiaoLi's doing pretty good. We found some good investigators these past few days, so they'll be well off for the next transfer. I want you all to know I love you, and I'm praying for you every day! (Yes, you, too!) Love, -Elder Liu

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week 29

I think some of you have been getting an error while sending emails. I usually don't get them if you get an error. The LDS server gets really busy sometimes, so maybe you just have to wait a few minutes and then try it again, so I can get your wonderful emails ^^ Thanks! Yes! Chinese New Year has been coming around. There are already some red lanterns on the lamp posts and everyone is selling stuff cheaper! Yay! :P This week was great! It's been a great opportunity to learn about Accountability with our district. I've come to learn to love that word now -- opportunity. Because the Lord really has given us so many. And it's our decision what to do with those opportunities. This week I've been working on my accountability towards God. I'm doing better at daily and nightly prayers. In the morning I resolve what I'm going to work on. And at night, I report, and then pray for inspiration on what to work on the next day. I've already recieved a lot of help this way, both for my investigators and for me. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to recieve revelation every day. It has been a great blessing and testimony builder for me. This week we've been fanged a lot -- no change yet. We probably missed out on around 15 scheduled lessons. But we have found some great miracles in the former investigator work we've been doing recently. We recently have 2 former investigators were are now reading the Book of Mormon, and already feeling differently about our church and their resolve to get an answer. They're also progressing quite well. Our older investigator, Qiu dx is doing spectacularly! He's hit his hardest problems recently, especially with some commandments. But he's been even more resolved to do what it takes to get an answer. It's amazing to see his progress, especially when he's in a suit and tie at Sacrament Meeting. We're busy with all of our invites from our leaders. And especially our invitation to invite to baptism the first time we meet someone. But we really have seen miracles in the invite. Sometimes we are weak and we shy away from the invite, but we have since repented and have been inviting all of our recent lessons and investigators. MiaoLi is doing great. We had a meeting recently to discuss how to better coordinate missionary-ward efforts. It's been a huge step for the MiaoLi ward. I hope we see the fruits of our efforts. Thank you for all your love and support! I love you so much. -Elder Liu Remember, the key to an effective goal (new years resolution) is an effective, specific plan! Jia1 You2 everyone!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week 28

Happy New Year! This past week has been a little rough, but we've still seen miracles. For example -- this was an interesting one -- yesterday I was riding on the sidewalk with my bike, when I a car hit my front wheel. No damage was done, but he quickly said sorry and kept driving. I thought, "well that's not very nice" and so called out to him, and asked if he wanted to learn more about our message of Jesus Christ. He said "Oh yeah, sure. You can find me here (pointed to his work building) after 5." He gave me his number and name. So the Lord works in some pretty amusing ways. Goes to show that a missionary will do anything to find those prepared to hear the Gospel :P We've hit a low point in lessons we taught this week. But it's alright! We currently have 2-3 progressing towards baptism. The first one is Qiu1 dx. He's been meeting with us for a while now, but he's finally making commitments to change, like coming to church and taking notes, and quitting coffee. He's doing great. It's just hard for him to make too big of a change all at once. We are meeting with a kid named A-bin1 (Luo2 Wen2 Bin1). We like to call him A-binadi. He's an awesome person. He loves to play, but he's willing to calm down and stay for lessons. Although he seems miserable while we teach him, I know that he learns a lot and he likes meeting with us. He's 16, and he's already been smoking for 3 years. He's trying to quit, and so we're helping him. He has a goal to totally quit by Jan 8th. So far so good. He has a baptismal goal for the 21st of January. We also are teaching Yang2 Hao4 dx. He loves to talk, but he's really interested in being our friend, as well as learning more about the gospel. Right now his parents are a little disapproving of his meeting with us, but they won't stop him. He has class sunday morning so he wont' be able to come to church for a while. But we're praying for him a lot -- There'll be a way. So yes, amongst a little harder time, we're still having success. We'll just have a lot more time to go finding! Finding those prepared to let the Gospel of Jesus Christ change their lives. We're learning the New Testament here this year. I'm excited to learn more stories about our Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you for all your Christmas letters and packages! I love you all! Love, -Elder Liu