Project Purification is trying, but now I'm starting to see good results. I've noticed small changes in my personal ability to resist temptation. The improvement is slow, but I definitely have more control over my impulses. For instance, I am more quick to recognize when I am thinking of a "Babylon Song", so that I can shut out the thought before I start singing it. It's cool to use the power of the Atonement and see the transformation taking place inside myself.
As a result of this project, I have been teaching with more power. On Tuesday, we visited an investigator family. We've mainly been working with the father, Brother Wu, for the last few months, and despite his faithful reading of the scriptures and daily prayers, he still has not set apart time to go to church. He lately has expressed a desire to receive revelation from God regarding decisions with his work, but he hasn't been getting any answers in his prayers. We had already talked about church with him several times, but he didn't really see the urgency of attending. As we talked with him this time, I bore testimony about the importance of sacrificing in order to obtain answers from God. I then felt a particularly strong impression, and I told him that he had not made enough of a sacrifice for God to give him revelation about his work. Then followed with a promise: if he made the sacrifice necessary to attend church a few weeks, he would receive a direct answer from God in his prayers. That was when the member accompanying us kind of gasped. Brother Wu thought about what I said for a while, and had a hard time coming up with a response. After a little bit, he said, "Yeah, I really need to go to church. Let me talk with my wife about it." It was a big breakthrough.
The amazing thing for me was the level of confidence that I had as I dictated that promise. It felt like it wasn't something that I came up with on the spot, but rather direct inspiration from God. The Spirit was strong in that room, and I know Brother Wu felt it too. I am hoping that he gives this promise a shot.
Another event that occurred during the week was probably the closest I've gotten to direct contact with the devil: I'm pretty sure I phone called him.
We were calling through our investigators, and I eventually came to the number of a precious family we've been teaching for a while. The mother hasn't really wanted to participate in the lessons, and the father is very Buddhist, so we've been mostly teaching the kids. We'd wanted to meet with her for a while and re-invite her to take the lessons together with her children, but we had not gotten a hold of her for weeks.
I dialed her number, and she quickly answered. I said my usual hello, and she responded, "Uh, what is it Elders?"
"Hey, we were wondering if we could come over tomorrow, would that be okay?"
She kind of groaned, then said, "We're very busy lately, we don't have much time."
"Oh, no problem, maybe just 15 minutes then."
"Uh, um, no need. Don't come anymore, we have different beliefs, we can't accept your religion. Don't come."
I felt panicked. "Huh? Why can't we visit anymore? It was okay for us to visit in the past; what changed? Is everything okay?"
Silence. Then she hung up.
Elder Claflin and I looked at each other, and our hearts just flopped over and died. I quickly checked the number that I dialed, and sure enough, I had dialed the correct number. Elder Claflin was also sure that it was her voice over the phone. I didn't want to accept this as the end of our relationship with this family, so we decided we'd go by the next night.
We got there and knocked on the door, but she wasn't home, only the kids. The kids kept inviting us to come in, but due to the phone call a few days before, we felt we probably shouldn't. Clearly, the children did not know about their mother's feelings towards us. About ten minutes later, she pulled up in her car in front of the house. I was gearing up for some yelling, but instead she got out and said, "Hey Elders, what are you doing outside? Come in!" She started in, then noticing our hesitation, her smile dropped and she asked us what was wrong. I was confused at her apparent lack of anger for us coming against her wishes, so I had a really hard time forming words to tell her the reason for our visit. When I told her about our phone call the day before, she said, "What phone call? You didn't call me." She checked her phone log, and our phone was not listed. She asked, "Are you sure you dialed the right number?" I looked at our list of phone numbers, and she said that it was correct. I then looked at my phone log, and miraculously, the log didn't list the phone call.
Now I was really confused. And emotional. I tried to tell her that we were worried we had made some mistake and messed up our relationship with her, and she quickly told us that we hadn't done anything like that, and I started to cry, and she hurried us in, sat us down, and gave us oranges. We then talked with her, and she told us on her own that she felt like she needed to start participating in the gospel lessons with her children.
Clearly, the adversary really didn't want us to meet with them.
Hahaha! Roundhouse kick to Satan's face successful!
This week was a week of miracles! I am having fun! You know, the joy of sharing the gospel is all that really matters. Everything outside of that, including callings and responsibilities, are insignificant compared to the wonderful happiness that comes with sharing my testimony. God lives! This is His work.
“Elder Cao cooked up some delicious curry rice. Soooo good!”
“Elder Sun and Elder Cao being funny.”
“Elder Claflin looking graceful on the fancy sofa.”
“Elder Claflin playing soccer with the Xie family.”
“Various thank you notes, most of the writing done by me and the pictures by Elder Claflin.”