Zao An! ("Good morning!")
Yet another incredible week has blown by, and I'm positively swimming with stuff to tell you.
Perhaps the biggest news is that we have two investigators that are moving towards baptism. One of them is set to be baptized on the 20th of October. He goes by the name Rich, and he is such an amazing guy! He is in his late 30's, and he has been investigating the church off and on for about 7 years. Before I came, Elder Cox and his companion had a breakthrough with him where he really understood why he needed the Church. Since then, he's been awesome in keeping commitments and getting ready for this ordinance. We are very happy for him, and I am very optimistic that he will be able to hit his goal. The other one we met through the English class we teach, and his name is Zhou. Zhou is in his early 20's, and he's very shy and very kind. What's funny is that Rich totally latched onto him and they have become amazing friends. Rich has told us several times that we really need to help and support Zhou because "he really needs this Church." Rich has done a great majority of the missionary work, bringing him to Church and different activities. Zhou does not have a baptismal goal yet, but he has been progressing through the lessons pretty fast and has been keeping commitments. We pray for the both of them every day and we see them making progress all the time. It's such a blessing to see how the gospel can change people's lives for the better.
And on to less important things, but noteworthy nonetheless...
There is this awesome couple in our stake that is good friends with Elder Cox, and I was introduced to them on Sunday. They told me that I was very "shui" (handsome), and that I looked like Justin Bieber.
I was asked to play piano for Church. We're organizing a church choir as well, so I've been playing quite a bit! One day we had dinner at the ward mission leader's house with a few investigators and recent converts, and they asked me to play piano for them. When they saw me play, they all got really excited. On the following Sunday, I was attacked with sheet music and song recordings. :)
Taiwanese culture fact of the week: They do not acknowledge bodily functions that could cause embarrassment. If someone sneezes, coughs, burps, etc. you don't say anything or even look at them. During Ward council meeting this week, one of the ladies choked on her drink, and started coughing uproariously. She was completely ignored, even when I thought she was going to pass out from lack of breath.
Those who know me know I don't like mushrooms. We were at a young single adult activity, and we cleaned up a lot of dishes for them. To show their gratitude, the people gave us a nice big plate of mushrooms. I forced myself to eat all of them and smile, and I guess I was convincing because they asked if I wanted more. :) "Wo chi bao le!" ("I'm full!") They were so nice: on the way out the door we were laden with cookies, cakes, soda, and even a bag of meat.
Every week we teach English class. I teach the beginner class by myself, and the frustrating thing is that I don't have any curriculum to work off of, so I basically just plan the lesson that day and hope that I can do it. I've been really lucky; one girl named Apple has been translating a lot for me when I can't think of words. Her English is very good; I have no idea why she is in my class. I teach them an hour of English, and half an hour of something spiritual ("Spiritual Share"). It's been really stretching me and helping me cement the differences between Chinese and English in my head, especially with grammar concepts.
Now for a spiritual share!
Last week I delved a little bit into the priesthood, and there is a subject that stems from it that is of utmost importance. There are many offices in the priesthood (one of them being Elder), and there is one that is more important than the rest, and that is the role of the prophet.
You know those guys from the Bible that were basically the spiritual leaders of their time, people like Moses, Adam, and Noah? They are what we would call prophets. Prophets are people called and chosen by God to reveal spiritual truths to His children, and to guide and direct His Church. God has given him the priesthood authority to be a leader for all people on the earth. This priesthood authority can be traced back to Joseph Smith, who received it from Peter, James, and John (Christ's original apostles), and in turn bestowed it upon following officers of the Church.
Prophets receive spiritual truths through a process called revelation. Revelation is an instance where you receive promptings or knowledge from a divine source, namely the Holy Ghost, a spirit whose job is to protect and guide us. We are all entitled to revelation, but in order to receive revelation for others, you must have the authority to do so. Prophets have the authority to receive revelation for the entire church.
There has never been a time when we needed a prophet more than now. There is a living prophet on the earth today, and his name is Thomas S. Monson. God has not left us alone; He has given us a guide. I testify that he is a prophet called of God, and that if we listen to and obey his words, we will be greatly blessed.
Twice a year we have the opportunity to hear from our prophet and other church leaders in a worldwide broadcast. One of these broadcasts took place this past weekend. I encourage you to visit www.lds.org, and hear what he has to say. Look up the October 2012 General Conference and you can find videos, podcasts, and text of the event.
I love you all, and have a wonderful week!
He looks happy and that warms this mother’s heart!