Last time I emailed, we had just finished off a pretty slow week. We were tired, brain-dead, and a little overwhelmed. When it hit 6 pm, I looked at my watch and thought, oh boy, here we go again.... I was not really looking forward to go out the door. I looked up at Elder Hintze right when he looked at me, and we instantly had the same thought flash across our minds. It was clear that it was a prompting from the Holy Ghost. Spontaneously, simultaneously, we both lunged for the nearest stuff sitting on the couch and started putting them back on their shelves. Over the past few weeks, our house as slowly but surely fallen into disarray, and now it was time to clean!
After a good hour, the house was spic-and-span. The best part, though, was the feeling I had sitting in the orderly apartment: I felt at peace, organized, and motivated to work hard. It was amazing to me how easy it was to focus on the work at hand. Driven with this new-found energy, I called and set up four appointments for the next day, as well as finished a large amount of planning for the following days' activities. Through this experience, I learned to appreciate a phrase I often hear: "The Lord's house is a house of order." I'm sure my mother would attest to this one!
I better watch out about what I write in these emails. I can see mom using this line on me later...
Elder Hintze and I put together a fireside meeting, and managed to pull it off quite well yesterday. I felt like I was on a stage again, which was very fun, but it felt all the more amazing standing there as an ordained representative of Jesus Christ. I loved being able to use my talents that God gave me to inspire others to follow Christ.
We have been blessed to be here during a time of great excitement and anticipation. Our Stake President has been pushing for a temple to be built here in Taichung city. A temple would mean more active members, more essential ordinances required for salvation being performed, and more ancestors being sealed to their posterity as eternal family relationships. Of course, temples are a privilege, and we have to do our part and show our worthiness to have a temple be built in our area.
Under the Stake President's direction, we have been visiting members throughout the week and sharing this vision, as well as extending some invitations to help them know how to take part in this initiative. The invitations come from a talk given in the last General Conference of the church, by S. Gifford Nielsen of the Quorum of the Seventy. While reflecting on this address, I felt to copy the three invitations and re-invite all the members of the church to do them. They are as follows:
"First, specifically pray to bring someone closer to the Savior and His gospel every day. You could do this by seeing all people as sons and daughters of God helping each other on their journey home. Think of the new friends you would make.
"Second, pray for the missionaries serving in your area and their investigators by name every day. The only way to do this is to greet them, look at their badge, call them by name, and ask them who they are teaching. Elder Russell M. Nelson wisely contributed, “Until you know a person’s name and face, the Lord cannot help you know his or her heart....
"Third, invite a friend to an activity in or out of your home. Wherever you go or whatever you do, ponder who would enjoy the occasion and then listen to the Spirit as He directs you."
I don't know how much the attitude toward missionary work has changed in the United States since I've been gone, so I may be wrong when I say that I think many people think of missionary work as knocking on doors. May I suggest that missionary work is much simpler, much less stressful, and much more powerful. The missionary work I am suggesting is making friends.
Think about the times a friend has influenced you to make a change in your own life. Friends have much more power to influence lives than random strangers knocking on your door. When David O. McKay said "Every member a missionary!", he was in effect saying "Every member a friend!". When we love our friends, we will naturally want to share with them the message of the gospel, and we will do so in a natural, powerful way.
President Blickenstaff provided an allegory in our sacrament meeting yesterday: "One morning someone gave us a huge box of oranges. After thinking about what I was going to do with so many oranges, I finally decided to try and make some juice. The drink I ended up making was absolutely amazing! It was some of the best orange juice I ever had. The first thing I did after downing my glass was make some more for my wife. I wanted to share this fabulous orange juice with her. ...Don't we all have a natural desire to share precious things in our lives with those we love? And don't they understand and appreciate your tender feelings for those things? A gift given in love will never offend anybody."
I know that as we pray for missionary opportunities, pray for the missionaries and their investigators, and invite our friends to have fun activities with us, we will see many miracles. It is through the small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. Even small acts of friendship can bring about the conversion of a precious soul, one of the greatest miracles I personally have ever witnessed. I know this work is the work of the Lord, I have no doubt. I am grateful to be a part of it.
Hope you have a wonderful week!
“I've been eating Pizza every morning. Scallion pancake, tomato sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Mmmm!”
“Me and my son, Elder Hintze.”