What a week, what a week. Have I got some stories to tell you.
We had a big miracle this week! When I first came to Hengchun, we had taught this guy named Brother Z., and he had progressed really well. Unfortunately, because of past transgressions concerning violating national law, he still had to complete his probation before he could be baptized. After he heard that, he just completely vanished. We could never get ahold of him on his phone, and we never saw him. Then, this week, we saw him trimming the bushes outside the police station. It turns out that he had jumped right into community service ahead of schedule. As we talked with him, we found he was still eager to be baptized, and he was still reading the scriptures and praying daily! He also introduced us to his friends who were working with him, whom, later in the week, tried very hard to convince us to drink some beer with them. (We didn't give in, and they seemed to really respect us for that.) It was good to see that he was still progressing, even when he was no longer in contact with us. He still has about two months, so I might still be here when he finishes his sentence.
I'm glad we had this one big blessing, because the rest of the week was pretty bad. To wrap it up in a nutshell: we had two flat tires, one blown tire 15 km from the nearest bike shop, pouring rain, cancelled lessons, a late Saturday night assignment to give a talk on Sunday morning in church, and a whole day blown because of a two hour Zone meeting way up north (which cost about $60 US for travel). To put icing on the cake, hurtful rumors have spread about our most progressing investigator, and we've had to sort out the aftermath. Needless to say, we have been stressed.
I think the thing I am learning throughout all of this is that I need to trust in God more, and less in my own ability. Sometimes, life just flat out stinks and it's at times like these that it's important we learn to rely on the Lord and his perfect power. Frankly, we should be relying on him all the time, even in the good times. One of my problems is that I think too much, and pray too little. It is good and very important to be self-reliant, but we also have to realize that maybe God has a better idea about what we need to do. "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings," says the Book of Mormon prophet Alma, "and he will direct thee for good" (Alma 37:37). As I come up with plans and ideas, I have to make sure that it is according to the will and timeline of God.
Despite all the tough stuff, I truly am grateful I am out here, and I do not want to go back home early. Not once do I wish I hadn't come to do this work. I am tremendously blessed to be helping the Lord in his great harvest of souls, and witness the changes of many lives and hearts.
I have had some questions about what missionaries exactly do. Here's a video from the Church news department that should give you a good idea about what I do on a daily basis.
I love all of you and pray for you all the time. Have a wonderful week!
“Elder Christensen is awesome.”
“中山路 in Hengchun.”
“Our Elders Quorum President’s wooden sandal shop.”
“Recognize the man carved into the sandal?”
“Me and Elder Christensen.”
“English Class banner.”
“A military Humvee in the rain.”
“A dead bat we found hanging on the church door.”