So I’m a little late with this one but in my defense she didn’t have P-day until Wednesday. So, technically I have until Wednesday to post this one….I’m ahead of schedule already! -Lisette
Yesterday, we had six lessons set up, all with good, solid investigators. Found great members to help us peike (fellowship? member present at a lesson taught to an investigator? I dunno how you say this in English). Been set up several days in advance and was looking perfect. Prayed about it, God said it was okay and we went and did.
…. and not twenty minutes out the door, everyone cancelled.
I know, right?
But, never fear. If you’ve got the Holy Ghost in your companionship you know this is not the end of the world. It just means God had a different plan for your day. We spent the morning calling formers and one lady invited us to her house that night. Several more set up for Thursday and Friday night. Ate lunch and kind of set a tentative plan. That plan fell through, too. On a whim, decided to go visit one of our Relief Society Presidents (remember? we have three) at her shop. Ran into her son, who is terrified of missionaries because his dad really fandui-s the Church. Don’t worry, Dai Jiemie speaks fluent “little boy” and within a few minutes they were off about dinosaurs and weird trees and things only little boys really care about. 😀
As we sat looking at our Recent Convert List with her, she found only one name that belonged in her ward. Strangely, I’ve been carrying this woman’s photo and conversion story around with me for the last month for no apparent reason. We discussed her situation and how the RSP thought we might go about helping her. That conversation wrapped up just when an old school mate of the RSP’s walked in with her daughter. They live in Zhu Dong and msisionaries have happened by their house a few times (all unbeknownst to us). The RSP invited us all out for “xia wu cha” or afternoon tea (… or, in my case, afternoon mango smoothie!) and we easily fell into conversation with her classmate and her daughter. By the end of our xia wu cha, they were willing to have the Zhu Dong missionaries over for dinner. 0.0
Leaving there, the RSP explained that she’s invited her classmate several times to meet the missionaries, and she’s been polite but firm in her resolution to not want anything to do with the Gospel. She was absolutely floored that she was so warm and welcoming after some light snacking with us. Dai Jiemei and I just smiled. This is something we’ve realized in the last week or so… eating WITH people is a Gift of the Spirit. It’s not just eating in the same room, or at the same table… it’s sharing space and time, really forging a connection and having a relationship with someone. Makes eating something almost sacred. That’s what we all crave — physical and spiritual nourishment. Most people don’t realize that’s what they’re getting when missionaries are eating WITH them, but their spirit craves more of it.
So, missionaries! Next time you’re invited out to dinner… make sure you’re eating WITH your members or investigators or whomever. Not just sharing the table. Not just being polite. Not just reading a scripture at them. Get into their lives first. Once you’ve done that, listen. They will tell you where they can use the Gospel. And, as a direct result… they’ll want to feed you more. Another Gift of the Spirit Dai Jiemei and I have developed is the ablity to “get qinged”, or to have people give us food or take us out to eat. It’s only Wednesday and our count is up to six. We’re contemplating adding a new Key Indicator to the list…. 😉
Anyway. Back to the story. We left there and headed in the direction of this Recent Convert. Headed the wrong way, we saw a white guy in monk’s robes. We thought that was weird, realized we were going the wrong way, and turned around all in the time it took for him to walk a block. At the next intersection, we were all waiting for the light to turn red. He began to talk to us and the next 30 minutes was absolutely magical. This man understands more about the deeper doctrines of the Gospel that anyone else I’ve ever met. About half way through this conversation, I though… this man NEEDS to read the Book of Mormon. Everything he’s studied will only be confirmed and expanded on through the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In my mind, I asked God: “How do I give a monk a Book of Mormon?” God said, “Just tell him what it is. An ancient record that confirms all the things you just talked about.” I said… okay and carried on, looking for a good spot in the conversation to put THAT sentence. 😀
While we were talking, a lady pulled up and wanted to give this monk some money. She’s seen him quite a bit and every time, never has any cash on her. She saw him today just after she saw us and ran home, praying that he’d still be here when she got back. Just her luck! He was. She talked with my companion for a while and turns out she sees Mormon Missionaries all the time… and has started wondering why. She can tell we’re good people and wants to know more about us. She set up with my companion, as my conversation with the monk turned more serious.
I found that spot in the conversation… and it was incredibly powerful. I told him we had something to give him to express our thanks for his service and sacrifice, but it wasn’t money. He looked touched. I told him it was an ancient record that would confirm every eternal truth we’d just discussed. He graciously accepted it, insisting though that we sign it first. He parted with a blessing and we gave him ours… then he just disappeared. I was so overwhelmed by this deep, cosmic feeling that I started to cry.
I could feel it — we were exactly where we were supposed to be. At the intersection of people’s lives. God had been preparing that moment for a very long time. It was so important, in fact, that He changed lots of schedules to make it happen. I thanked God for letting me be a part of this plan and told Him how gracious I was for having a small part in it.
As we carried on with our plan, this was only confirmed to me again…. and really, every moment since. The list of miracles in the last two days is unbelievably long. And I’m glad there’s some angel in Heaven whose job it is to record it all. I simply don’t even know where to start…. except with the simple testimony that God is real. He is watching and loving you from a distance. He wants you to be closer to Him, and He’ll move heaven and earth to get you there if you WANT it. You’ve got ask for it… even just think about it for a milisecond. That’s all it takes.
I love this work and I love being in Taiwan. There’s no place I’d rather be… because I know God’s protecting all of you and we’ll have plenty of time to catch up next year. I love you all and I hope you can feel God’s love in your life every day, every hour… the way that missionaries do. 😀
Hua Sheng Jiemie.