Monday, December 21, 2009

Letter # 35

Translation: (Hello my beloved family, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas)

Well my time came to leave Longtan 龍潭. I was a little disappointed to be honest. We were actually in a meeting when the assistants to the president called me and gave me the assignment to go to the city of Shipai 石牌. So I actually just got here a couple of hours ago and I am pooped! I didn't get to bed until 12:30 and had to wake up at 5:00 to get up here!

So the city I am in now is in Taipei county, and again like my first area is nothing but buildings. I am going to miss the rice patties and all the farmers in their funny hats. It actually was really hard leaving my last area. Longtan has a really special place in my heart, partly because of the learning experiences. The biggest part was obviously the people. That was the area that I fell in love with the Chinese people! I also know that one of the reasons why I was called to Taiwan was to meet a couple of the people there specifically.

Yesterday I stood up in front of the ward and bore my testimony on how much I knew that we were all brothers and sisters of our Heavenly Father. I remember just looking at them and feeling that is was true, That they were family. Anyway when a missionary leaves an area the ward there pretty much goes ballistic! They love the missionaries here. Food, pictures, gifts, food! They treat visitors way too well here! But it is totally their culture to just give to others, especially if your a Foreigner! All the Members kept offering a place to stay for my parents and food and all that stuff! So the Weinberger family has it made here.

Well this last Saturday we had a huge ward Christmas Party. A lot of the community showed up. About half of the people there were not members. So we were running around like crazy trying to talk to people and having members help us talk to investigators and all that stuff. It was pure mayhem! But it was a really successful night. A lot of investigators showed up and they all loved it! We actually had one of our investigators perform and sing a couple Christmas songs for everyone! That was another thing that was so hard about leaving. There were so many people we were teaching and they were all doing amazing. Especially the Lin Family. I think I told their story a couple weeks ago in an email. But they came to Church for the first time yesterday and they loved it. They said they were so touched! It was perfect because this week was the Primary Christmas program. Then a member of the bishopric got up afterward and started bearing his testimony of the example of children. It was really powerful.

That night the Lin family invited us over for dinner so I could eat with them one last time. It was really sad. I gave the closing prayer after the lesson and the mother wanted to say another prayer. But this time she wanted to offer it. As she started to pray she started to sob. She was crying the whole time! I didn't know what to say. But It just made me so happy that I had a chance to see the true process of finding God and the true Gospel unfold in a person right before my eyes! I am 100% sure that they will be baptized within the next couple months. I am going to beg with the mission president to let me go down there to see them baptized!

Oh ya my new companion. His name is Elder Shumway he is from Idaho Falls. He seems like an awesome guy! I have only been with him for 3 hours so we will see what unfolds. He didn't really get along with his last companion from what he told me. I told him it was going to be a sweet next few transfers or however long we are together. I am actually really excited to be with him. He is a young missionary and works hard from what I have heard. Also there are not a lot of investigators in our area right now. But that gets me so pumped! That might sound weird but the challenge gets me way fired!

Okay well the scripture I chose for today is something I read in my personal study this morning. It is 2 Nephi 9:41-42. I had a really strong feeling when I read it this morning. When you read it try to think of what the Savior expects of you?

Okay I love you all MERRY CHRISTMAS from 台灣 (Taiwan).
Talk to you on Christmas!
魏長老 (Elder Wei)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letter # 34 (HUMP DAY, Dec. 10, 2009)

Hello everyone! ...WOW

I have been on my mission for one whole year! Its such a crazy feeling to think about what I was doing a year ago! What's weird is that two days ago I looked at my watch and realized that I was already past my year mark! That was not a normal feeling you could say. My companion and I are going up to our roof to burn one of my shirts! I don't know (Supposedly) it's some missionary year mark Tradition. I don't really want to burn one of my shirts but my companion insists. Again, I don't really care cause I love burning stuff! The part that freaks me out the most is realizing how fast time flies! Well this week went well again. I'm Lovin' it :)

My companion and I have been finding a lot of new people this week. Last night we went over to this old Investigators house. We saw his teaching record and his address and we were curious why he stopped meeting with missionaries. We got there and were welcomed right in by an amazing family with 5 kids. They set up an appointment next Monday with us and they want to feed us. I am way excited. But unfortunately My companion and I both think that I am going to be transferred this next week. Its a huge bummer for me because we are teaching now 4 families and a lot of other people with great potential. We actually set a baptismal date with someone yesterday! (For the 23rd of January).

Oh on Bad news the baptism this Friday fell through. Her name is Zi Ji Zhu. It's actually a really complicated story but basically she had members from a Church down the road telling her all these things about our church. We were luckily able to meet with her one last time. We committed her to pray about it and ask God what she should do. Couple days later she called us and told us that she had gotten an answer. She said that her answer was very clear that the message we were sharing was in fact true. But she told us that she just can't join the Church. I am still very confused about the whole thing. Supposedly from what she explained is that she was in some debt a while back and some of the people at this other Church lent her some money. So in other words she has to pretty much do what they say. It is really a sad situation. I personally think there is a deeper problem that we don't know anything about. But we will continue to keep praying for her.

We have a New investigator right now that is doing awesome. She is actually another one of my English class students. She is about 36, and miraculously is best friends with that Lin family that I told you all about last week. Ya really interesting. But she is progressing really fast. Especially for someone 2 weeks ago who wasn't even sure that they even believed in God. Its amazing to see those miracles. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation. Every time I teach about it, it seems to just get more and more clear.

The scripture for this week was Moses Chapter 1. I want everyone to pay attention to the part where Moses talks about him being a son of god. I read it last night and it was really powerful. It helped me realize the power and promises that we have given of God, just because we are his Children.

As usual I don't have much time to email today. I love you all and I hope that everything is going well. And next time I email it will be the new transfer. Excited to see what happens!!!!!!!
Your in my prayers
Wei Zhang Lao!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter # 33

Hello everyone!

Okay so surprisingly enough the Christmas spirit is strong here in Taiwan. Well at least in my and my companion's apartment. I got the little tree you sent Mom. My companion and I Loved it. My companion's parents sent a bunch of Christmas music. We have been going crazy with that the last couple days. I think a white Christmas might be a little to much to ask for right now, especially when it feels like May in Utah here. Surprisingly they love the Christmas advertisements here. They have green and red and Santa's everywhere. But obviously it has nothing to do with why we even have Christmas......Still fun though.

Well a little about the Investigators.... We still have Sister Zhu getting baptized on the 18th. She loves church and loves coming to all the Gospel classes and stuff. She actually attended a lot of different churches before she met the missionaries. She is gaining a testimony fast and its awesome to see. The 18 year old kid we were teaching is still struggling with his family going against the church and they told him that he couldn't be baptized. We are really praying for him and we had a huge lesson with him on Faith a couple days ago. He said that he would continue to pray for his parents hearts to soften. Oh his name is Kun Ting Lee. Please pray for him!

We also are still teaching the two Chan Families. They are still progressing but they are still praying for an answer to know if what we are teaching is actually true. They need prayers as well. One of the biggest Miracles I have ever seen actually happened last night. Well this story actually starts back about two months ago.

One night...... We were going to visit this member family and give them a card because it was the Mom's Birthday. When we got there the mother was not there but as we were about to leave we had a feeling that we shouldn't leave the area. I looked down the road and I thought maybe we can just knock these doors. As we started knocking these doors just a few doors down from the members house we knocked on this one door. The women came to the door. Actually excited to see us. She came out the door and just said, "come in, come in,". I looked at my companion in disbelief, both of us just kinda had our mouths open thinking that something had to be wrong. As we sat down with her for a while we found out that her daughter is actually a member. Her daughter is away at college. She said that she had been to our Church multiple times but she was actually a member of another Christian church. We also found out that the member, her next door neighbor, they are actually best friends, and grew up together. Their Family name is Lin. As we continued to talk to her we found out that the reason why she never joined the Church is because she could not except that Joseph Smith was a real prophet and really restored God's Church. From then until now we have met with her a few times and continued to teach her the doctrine of knowing through prayer the truth. It all changed when last night when she invited us over for dinner and then for a lesson.

The difference this time is that her husband for the first time was going to join us. We had a great dinner with them I ate my first "Thousand year old EGG" In case you haven't heard of that I guess the easiest way I can explain it is by saying its a black egg. A very black egg. From what they told me back in the olden days the way they made these eggs was by putting the eggs in horse urine and then burying them in the ground for a very long time. After they told me this I obviously wanted to know how they are made now?..........They didn't know.... That of course was very reassuring for me. If you wanted to know how it tasted. Just imagine gagging a rotten egg down your throat. Other than that I guess it wasn't too bad....

Okay, well like I said dinner went great and we met the husband and he really like my companion and me. During dinner we got talking on health and good food and stuff. We took that opportunity to teach them about the revelation Joseph Smith received called the Word of Wisdom. They thought is was amazing that the Church knew about this Law of Health way before anyone knew about that stuff. They were both very curious from that point. As we sat down with them we new going into it that we were going to be teaching the Plan of Salvation. From the beginning we both had a feeling that we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation out of the Bible and compare it to the Book of Mormon.

As we were in the process of showing them all these scriptures they both were just blown away about the doctrine. Doctrine that was clearly in the Bible but nothing that they had ever heard before, or had been taught in their Church. The husband was amazed and he told us how excited he was about this. As we finished he told us that this is so clear, and that is why he had so many problems with religion in the past is because there were so many unclear doctrines. He kept writing down notes and kept pointing and saying "Look, its in there" It was amazing because It all tied back to the importance of Joseph Smith and the need of the Restoration. They believed and they knew it was true. It all helped my testimony so much. They both kept saying how thankful they were. Especially the husband. He kept saying how confused he was in the past, and how he understands now. As we said a prayer to finish the appointment we asked the Sister Lin (the Wife) to say the prayer for us. As she was saying the prayer she just kept asking Heavenly Father to give them the truth. To let them know if Joseph Smith was really a prophet. It was unbelievably touching.

My companion and I left the house with a feeling that I don't think I have ever had in my life. With my email I don't think I could ever explain the spirit and clarity of the lesson taught that night. But it was unbelievable. As I was teaching I felt like I learned about it just as much as they did. Even though I have taught the lesson a thousand times. Also I found out this week that a girl in a Family I started teaching in my old area is getting baptized this Saturday. That made me really excited to hear as well.

So the scripture this week is special. I want everyone to read Joseph Smith history in the back of the Book of Mormon and ponder on why the need for a restoration was necessary. As you do this prayerfully things will become even more clear then they were before.

Okay I gotta go. We have to catch a train up to Taipei.
Love you family!
Wei Zhang Lao

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Letter # 32

Nimen Hao Ma? Hello my Fam!

This week went great!
Well I guess except for my Thanksgiving meal. It was my first Chinese Thanksgiving experience. I guess. I had a self made tuna fish sandwich for lunch and a zhuabing for dinner. Its kinda like a Chinese crepe. I guess you can just say the Asian Taco. Street vendors everywhere have them. My companion and I couldn't help but think about what our families were eating. Oh ya know the basics:
  • Big steaming pile of Turkey
  • Bucket of mashed potatoes
  • butter and creamed corn
  • perfectly steamed and moist stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • Homemade rolls
  • corned bread
  • Honey baked ham
  • Green beans in gravy
  • Oh and not to forget a piece of perfect pumpkin or pecan pie, slapped with whipped cream!
If I was able to get that all out of my head I was able to somehow swallow down the zhuabing. It kinda made us laugh a little bit about what it is that we were doing. But hey sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven right? It would seem that way for my companion and I right now. We are still seeing a lot success. Setting up new people every day, still teaching those families, and teaching people who are still praying for the answers. It's great!

Funny story:
We were outside and I ran into this guy outside a bank. He told us he was waiting for his wife. I saw she was at the counter paying bills. Well I asked him if she was paying bills. Now the right way to say paying bills is (JIAO FEI) But instead my head came up with (JIAN FEI) which means going on a diet to loose weight. So in other words I asked if his wife was trying to loose weight? Right after I said that I realized exactly what I had said. He then looked at me and then looked at her through the window. Then turning back to me says "Your right huh! She is kinda fat!" My companion was about to loose his mind he thought it was the funniest thing. I, of course at that time was sweating bullets and I don't think I have ever apologized to someone so much in my life. I think I set a record for the number of times saying the word "sorry" in a minute. I felt like such a MORON! Anyway, funny story, hope everyone gets a good laugh out of it.

I also had an amazing experience with an Investigator this last week. This investigator is Brother Lee. He has some sort of disease in his legs and hasn't left his bed in years. Last time we met with him he started coming up with all these concerns and he was scared about joining the church and also saying that he was unable for many reasons. One of them being because he felt like some things he did in the past made him incapable of joining, especially in the handicap state he was in now. When I heard that I remembered a quote by Elder Worthlin the Apostle. He said "We see ourselves as yesterday and today, but our heavenly father sees as the eternal beings we are capable of becoming" As I translated that to him I remember becoming so choked over by the truth of that profound statement. It was a testimony to me that when correct doctrines are taught with love the spirit is so evident. A feeling I could never deny. Again also testifying to me of the truth of God being mindful of ALL HIS CHILDREN! Its true.

God loves all of us and does see us as the beings we are capable of becoming! I know that is true.
The scripture this week is Mosiah 4:9-12.

I love you all so so much!