I don’t even need an intro to this one! Haha. Lisette
Sorry, I don’t have any energy left to be even a smidge creative…so here’s a straight up copy of the letter I just sent off to my Mission President:
First, a big thank you to President Zeng. He is a miracle worker and rearranged his schedule twice for me this last Sunday. Please let him know how much we appreciate him here in XinZhu! Because he was willing to do a second interview on such short notice, our investigator family is headed to be with three other nuclear families in their extended family — all of which are part-member– for the week and celebrate their upcoming baptismal service! Chen Jiemei’s son will be the first male in their entire family to be baptized, and they are all excited to finally have a Priesthood Holder in the family. 😀 He’s 13, but he’s taking his responsibility very seriously. Because there aren’t really any other Young Men in their ward, he meets with the Bishop for third hour. Apparently, yesterday, he asked the Bishop if they could discuss Priesthood responsibilities since he’s getting baptized this week. The Bishop happily obliged and he’s prepared to start passing the Sacrament in a few weeks. 😀
Second, we have an investigator in one of our wards who is a dad. His wife has been a member since she was in high school, and he’s met with missionaries several times over the course of their marriage, but still never been baptized. They have a 1.5 year old little girl and they come to church every week. They recently moved from one of our wards to another, and asked me to make sure they were attending the correct ward for their address. I did, let the Bishop know they’d moved in, and asked if we could come visit her husband. She was skeptical at first and let me know a bit of his background. We went over anyway and in one night he opened up to us, let us know where his challenges were and agreed to try again. The following Sunday, we set up an interview for the family with the Bishop. The brother came out of his interview moved to tears at how supportive and loving the Bishop was, saying that he doesn’t feel like he’s doing this alone any more. Last week they went to go visit family in another part of the island, so between that and the Typhoons we haven’t seen them in a bit…. so last night we decided to drop by. Good news! They are doing so great!!! The copy of the Proclamation on the Family we gave them is hanging up on their wall, with the brother’s baptismal goal stuck in the frame. He is keeping all his commitments and has so much love and light in his eyes every time he talks about his family, the Gospel, and the possibility of being sealed in the Temple! It was a short visit, but absolutely perfect. I’m so excited to continue working with him, and even more confident in his success because the Ward is supporting him every step of the way.
Third, our week of meetings has been so productive! All three of our Relief Society Presidents are thrilled at the prospect of taking our investigators under their wings. And even more touched that we would ask them about families with 9+ year old kids not baptized. In fact, in one of the wards, our investigator is the mother of one of the Elder’s recent converts. Her baptismal goal is set for next year because of a fairly large commandment issue… the Relief Society President offered to set her up with Visiting Teachers because she’s finished all the lessons, has a solid testimony, and really just needs to endure to the end. That was so perfect and such a great blessing! I’m honored to think the Ward is willing to consider one of our investigators as if she’s already a member — they love and care for her and are invested in her future as much as we are.
Fourth, we had a cell-phone-referral-system miracle this week! We received a referral from Mu Jiemie for a Wang Jiemie. We’ve already met with her three times and she came to church yesterday. She has a baptismal date and her two meetings we have scheduled with her for next week are at member’s home — one of which lives in her community. I ended up telling her the wrong time for church because I wasn’t sure where she lived, but once we sorted out which ward she was really in the members from that ward went out of their way to find her in the hall and welcome her to next week’s services. Awesome!! 😀
Fifth, later today we’re headed to lunch with 7-8 of the just graduated from high school youth in one of our wards. This was an initiatve from the Meng ZhangLao and Lin ZhangLao to a) get to know all the mission-aged young men in their ward b) youth in part member families that are in that weird between stage. In talking to their parents, turns out that all of them have expressed an interest in going on a mission, but that interest is waning in face of work and school and military service. So, we invited our whole district out to have a lunch party with them at a member’s pizza shop. Inviting the kids yesterday, it was great to see their eyes light up at the prospect of going to luch with a bunch of missionaries. President, you might have some new missionaries coming to you from XinZhu next year. 😀
I love this work and I love XinZhu! Being with Dai Jiemei for three transfers has been incredible. We have decided if we’re together for another, we could totally do it… we might have to paint the apartment, though, just to change it up. 😀 She’s such a strong spirit and a fantastic missionary. I learn so much from her every day. I’ve also learned that God answers prayers in ways you haven’t even thought of! Our first transfer together, we did lots of starting-from-zero work in terms of investigators and member relations. It was really difficult but so rewarding to see all the healing that was taking place in this area. At the end of that transfer, we prayed that we could see a baptism before we left. It didn’t happen that transfer, but then we both stayed together to see two of the most incredible women become the best new members ever. We were satisfied and convinced because our prayers had been answered, one of us would move. Nope! In a week we’ll get to see our miracle referral family also start enjoying the blessings of the Holy Ghost. So… not only did we get to stay together until we saw a baptism… but five!! AAAH! 😀 We’ve also seen the miracle of tapping into the resources of our Wards here in a way that’s never been done before. To be able to help the Elders relations with the ward, building on the foundational work we did two transfers ago, has been extremely rewarding. XinZhu is the place to be!!
Thanks for being awesome! XinZhu doesn’t feel so “far out” any more. 😀
Ps — when I get home, I have plans to sleep for three months solid…. Not even joking. 😀