This is my first official post in the New Year of 2013, so to celebrate I will be going to Costco and buying some much missed American food.
After I emailed home last week, we were going to an appointment with Rich when we came near a large shopping mall, and there was a huge gathering of people listening to a live heavy metal band. The guy was screaming and it was amazing how quickly the Spirit fled from me. Music has a powerful influence on us, and it can be used both for good or for evil. This music felt purely animalistic.
Something interesting about Chinese screamo: it's not much different from English; I still can't understand a single word they're saying.
It was spiritually rewarding to see Rich teach a gospel class this week. On Sunday nights all the singles from the area get together and have a gospel lesson and play games. Rich taught for half an hour, and he is a brilliant teacher. His understanding of the gospel has skyrocketed exponentially, and he is always so happy. I remember how he was before his baptism: he was happy, yes, but not the pure kind of happiness, the kind that radiates light. Now, his smile is infectious. He has made a ton of friends in Church. And even better, his testimony is rock solid. I asked him the other day what he would do if Elder Cox or I rejected the church and became bad people, and he replied that he knew this church is true and that nothing could ever shake him from it. He is going to be a great leader someday.
We taught a guy the other day that could have been on the TV show "Hoarders". I was floored at how much stuff he could fit in his house. It definitely grew a desire in myself to keep a cleaner home. (I'm sure my mom is very happy to hear this news.)
Last night we were contacting at the Cultural Center, and we ran into an adorable family with a two-year-old daughter. I showed them a picture of my sister Inge, also two years old, and the little girl's eyes just lit up. It was adorable. The mother would play with her and bounce her around, and she would do the cutest belly laugh. The father was holding a balloon animal for his daughter, and I could tell he seemed like a very loving guy. After talking with them a little bit, we shared our message about how through God's church families can be together forever, not even separated by death. We then asked them if they would be interested to meet with us, and the father said, "Well, if it's destiny that we join this church, then we'll do that. But right now, we're not interested." That felt like a virtual punch in the stomach. It took me a moment to realize that it wasn't the passive attitude of his response that I was disappointed about. When I saw that little girl, I saw my sister. When they rejected our invitation, I imagined what my life would be like if I was not eternally sealed to my little sister and the rest of my family. It was a terrible feeling. It's been difficult to be separated from my family for so long since I've come on a mission, but the one comfort that has sustained me is that in the eternal perspective, this time is only the blink of an eye, and that nothing can permanently separate us. I am so, so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who provided a way for us to be sealed to our families eternally. To me, this is heaven. I can't imagine a better life. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to share this glad message with the people of Taiwan.
Until next week, love,
“Christmas caroling picture from Sister Liu.”
“Our busy District Leader, Elder Dailey.”
“We sometimes forget to turn off the A/C, so I made a useful tool to see if the fan is running. Pretty nifty!”
“A pretty scene from my travels at the Christmas conference.”