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

Week 56

Luo jm's baptism went really well! The Spirit was really strong as she bore her testimony and was baptized into the Church. I feel she was also very welcome by those who attended the baptism, which I felt really good about. Elder Tay and I performed a viola/piano arrangement as part of the baptismal service. With Linda, we'll have to wait for another interview next week. It's been really hard with her because we only get to visit her once a week, and so we never really know how she's progressing. I think recently she's been having some Word of Wisdom problems, so we'll see how that goes the next time we meet with her. Even though we had meetings-galore this week, we were still able to hit a decent amount of our goals, which we were excited about. We went to Taibei twice for temple day and meetings, and will go once again today. We'll have a temporary missionary with us for a week that we'll go pick up! He'll be coming to see if he will want to come on a mission later. Hopefully we'll have a boatload of miracles to tell you all next week -- I know the Lord will help him see the blessings of being on a mission! There are just too many! Elder Tay and I have made a goal to look at our goals daily! (Otherwise they never get done...) No wonder we are commanded to study daily and partake the sacrament -- we are so easily distracted with the daily things of our lives, that we forget the purpose. We forget the commitment and fire that we've felt a few moments before. When, in the long run, we definitely would choose the most important things, which is the result of the goals that we set in the beginning. Sometimes Elder Tay and I feel the new 12-week training program is a little repetitious, especially when there are the same videos in 2 consecutive weeks. But I know that it has helped a lot with giving me opportunity to share my own experiences and insights. Hopefully we'll continue to take as much as we can from this opportunity to go through this training. I'm going to continue to do all I can for the district. I'm still praying hard for inspiration to know how to lead them. Thank you for everyone' own example in leadership and Christlike attributes. I've been able to learn a lot by reflecting on the example of all of you. Elder Tay says hi. Ah yes, we might not have had second breakfast, but we had second dinner -- it was awesome. We had a multiple family gathering at the church with some dinner, but a lin2 family also invited us to dinner later that day. I felt kinda bad, but I was really full at the end of the day, so it was okay. We shared a simple message at both of them. I think they both went really well. It was good to get to know the members in the area here. Thanks everyone! I hope you all continue to actively bring yourself closer to Christ. -Elder Liu

Week 55

Today is our temple day, which I really have missed this past year! So our preparation day got changed to wednesday instead of monday. Recently this place has been doing great! Mostly because here we get to teach sisters. The previous missionary here, Elder Kasparian, is a wonderful missionary, so I got to share in his blessings with 3 baptisms planned for this week. He's in a nearby area as our Zone Leader in Taoyuan, and so we get to see him pretty often too. Whoa, Citadels! I played that here. It's a pretty cool game -- kinda dark, though :P But yeah, I really like it. I thought you would enjoy it. It was wonderful to see our new Mission President! These two weeks has been absolutely amazing. We hit every single one of our goals last week -- that feeling is just amazing. I don't know about other missions, but hitting every single goal doesn't happen very often. I know that the Lord provided this opportunity for us to be able to grow in our faith and our understanding of the sacred work we have. Our last two investigators were found on Sunday, just barely hitting our goal. I know that through our prayers, our faith, and our effort, that we were able to be lead to great, prepared people to hear the gospel. I've been having a hard time finding a balance in leading this district.Elder Tay and I were talking about the Color Code yesterday, and I realize that a lot of our district members are yellow (the fun-loving type), which has been harder for me to lead. In my last area, I would say they were all blue or red, except maybe one. I've always have had a problem leading those who love to play, which I guess will be a good thing to develop. Sometimes I think we get less out of things out of meetings and reports than we could because we have this difference. So I'm going to be praying to find a way to be able to lead them in a more effective way. I feel the new missionaries are doing pretty well. I'm sure they're having some hard and frustrating times, but I think they're pushing through it really well. They're really lucky to have Sister Chen and Sister Christensen as their trainers. Speaking of Sister Chen...yes. I don't really know how to describe her family, but we know them. She lives in Provo and I think their brothers stayed at our house a while ago. This week we'll have one person, Joanna 羅jm, who will be baptized this week. They announced her in Relief Society that she was in young womens (oh yeah, she's probably in her 50's). And so they'll be a ton of young women at her baptism, and they'll make the dessert for the baptism, too. Kinda funny, but at least there will be people there for sure. Next week we also have another potential baptism. Linda 彭jm. She has some really cool faith. She's pretty busy, so usually she has no time to meet with us, but by the time it's 9:30 and we can call her, she can pick up. She's had some challenges throughout her time investigating the church, including some Book of Mormon, Word of Wisdom and Tithing questions. In fact, she was at one point, going to stop investigating. But she always willing to pray about it, and sure enough, in a couple days, she would come back with an answer from God. And then she was totally willing to do whatever was required from the Lord, without any particular effort on our part. She's definitely prepared to hear the Gospel. Love you all, 加油! Elder Liu