This week went ridiculously well! After being in Fengyuan for about seven months, I've really gotten to know the members, and I finally felt like I was getting some clear direction. Remember when I had been in Hengchun for five months, and then we had an idea that got the ward on fire? It's happening again!
Fengyuan ward is fantastic. The people are wonderful, and most of them are returned missionaries, which means that they have good ideas about how to do missionary work. However, the fire is pretty absent. Not that this is their fault: a while back there were some negative things that happened between the members and missionaries and this has affected trust. Lately, the missionaries here have rebuilt our relationship with them, and we have even found how to re-kindle the fire. Which unveiled a new problem: how do we keep the fire going? Home and Visiting Teaching, where members go and visit each other each month, is the church's prescribed method of building up the church members/maintaining the fire, but few people do it.
Elder Zhu and I spent much time praying and got a lot of inspiration. Missionaries are really good about starting spiritual fires in the ward members, but because of lack of following up, the fire quickly goes out. We created a detailed calendar follow-up system that is used together with the Sister companionship and ward missionaries.
If the Elders meet with a member, the Elders will write down how that meeting went, and record it on a log, which information is thereafter distributed amongst the other parties. Recorded is the lesson content, overall reception, and extended commitments. Then, in the following week, either the Sisters or the ward missionaries can call them and follow up on that commitment, or visit them and teach the next lesson. All efforts are coordinated during our weekly correlation meeting, so that every party is clear about who will be visiting whom at what time.
We feel this is a very good way to both be accountable with the ward and also help us and the ward be unified in vision and in efforts. Through this calendar, the ward knows what the missionaries are doing, and the ward members can better magnify their callings as they take on responsibilities in visiting other members.
Our goal is to clean the inward vessel before focusing on the outward objectives (i.e. develop faith and consecration in the members before finding new investigators). As we do this, we know the Lord will bless us with ample opportunity to fulfill our missionary purpose.
We've already seen blessings from this. Members have given us referrals which have turned into new investigators. One of our current investigators suddenly became very interested and comes to all the church activities, and asks lots of good questions. Members get excited as they more visibly see the progression of our investigators and the baptismal goals they have.
I know the Lord is blessing us. I'm glad I have Elder Zhu as my companion, and that I can spend my last few weeks helping the ward members in their own personal spiritual progressions.