So to open off the week, we had an AWESOME EARTHQUAKE! In the neighboring province ("Nantou"), there was a 6.1. I was in the third floor of a McDonald's at the time, and I was with Elder Robison while our companions were at a meeting in Taizhong. Everything started to shake a little and we both looked up at each other from our scriptures. Elder Robison says, "Hey, do you feel that? I think that's an earthquake." And then it really starts to shake. I turn around to see the windows of the KFC across the street vibrating wildly and the light fixtures swinging around. Elder Robison gets up and starts "surfing it", while I just sit there blankly and watch the people outside completely ignoring it. The staff downstairs started yelling and laughing. Clearly the Taiwanese don't think much of earthquakes. After that we tried to call the assistants to the President, but all the cell phone lines across northern Taiwan were down, so we had to walk over to the nearby train station and use a payphone to call them. They informed us that the apartment buildings in Nantou were severely damaged, and that some other buildings had collapsed; they asked us to check our building as soon as possible for any damage. When Elder Edwards got back, we came home to find a pretty decent crack running across the ceiling of our apartment. The building is stable though, so no worries. But it's crazy how a single moment like that can cause so much damage.
Before I received my mission call, I had a dream that I was going to be called to Richmond, Virginia, Mandarin speaking. Of course, this did not happen, but Elder Edwards's brother just got his mission call, and guess where: Richmond, Virginia, Mandarin speaking. What!? In reality, this is a very interesting call. That's not a call you can just guess. It was really funny to see the correlation between my dream and his mission call.
It rained super hard this week. It makes Washington look extremely pitiful. We were soaked in seconds. I couldn't see farther than 3-4 yards in front of me.
I was reading Alma's talk with his son, Helaman, and he mentions that "small and simple means bring to pass the salvation of man." While I was with Elders Christensen and Xiong this week, we had an experience that confirmed this principle: We made a plan to visit a certain member in an area that was pretty out of our way. When we arrived, the member was not home, so we fell to our backup which was a nearby former investigator. That person was not home, either. Elder Christensen then had the idea to visit two other nearby less-actives, but they were gone too. So we biked over one block from that last person's house and ran into a man on the side of the road who invited us to follow him to his home. What a simple event, but what a fantastic miracle! It's amazing how the Lord can choreograph all of this. I'm so grateful to be able to have the spirit with me, so that I can recognize these events to be miracles.
When I found out that Elder Edwards and I were separating, I prayed about it a lot. The thing is, he taught me the meaning of "working hard", and I was afraid that I was going to forget it after we split. I've been known to be one to go with the flow of things... I felt that if my next companion was not as diligent, I would slacken up and follow suit. As I prayed about it, I had the distinct thought: "You don't have to go with the flow... Be yourself! It's *your* choice. Work hard even if others don't!" I've been given agency for a reason, I just have to use it!
But I don't think I have to worry. As far as I can tell, Elder Jensen is going to be a fantastic companion. I'm excited to work with him, and I know that we will see miracles. I am now in Gangshan, Kaosiung. That's right, I'm back in Kausiung!!! I saw Rich, Sister Zhang, and her daughter Amy today! Rich has new glasses, they look a lot like my dad's. It is super awesome to be back here. It is such a beautiful land, and the people here are wonderful. Woohoo!!!
I love you all, and I am excited to tell you about the work next week!
“Elder Edwards on the phone.”
“My entry in Jeff's "Bye-Bye book". He crowned me the "Duke Burrito" after I made him some Mexican food. He told me the food was as good as a ticket to the Celestial Kingdom.”
“Elder Christensen. He is an amazing singer and actor.”
“Me and Sister Busath and our companions, splitting up! Sister Busath is going home in three months, I'm going to miss her!”