Copied from my letter to President… sorry, too many miracles to get creative with it! 😀
At church on Sunday we had three investigators — one who during the second hour did a Baptismal interview with President You. She passed and came out absolutely moved, grateful that President You was so understanding and supportive. He’s a great man and if you could thank him for taking the time to come to XinZhu for me, that would be great. 😀 Her name is Zhang Jiemei and we found her… or rather, she found us…. six weeks ago. She attend the baptism of the family that President Day also attended and was moved to tears. She said she’d be at church the next day. She was and the ward took such good care of her, felt the Spirit so strongly that she said she’d be at church every Sunday for the rest of her life. And she has! Turns out she’s a former from seven years ago, and the only thing that kept her from being baptized then was the word of wisdom. The first time meeting with her, she brought up the word of wisdom and said she’d quit it all. The next week, she had and you could see more light and peace in her face. She said her friends were telling her all week that she looks younger and happier, like she has more light in her eyes. Chalk one up for the Holy Ghost and the blessings of obedience. 😀 We also found out that she’s been paying her tithing for the last seven years 0.0! She’ll be getting baptized on October 6th at 7pm. The other two wards also have baptisms that day. Each ward in our building will be getting a new member this weekend, which I’m so excited about! You can feel the ward members getting excited about baptism! They’ve already started asking me what they can prepare in terms of food or hymns or presents, etc. 😀
Another lady who came to church was a Wang Jiemie. She’s been really busy with this holiday and the first week in October being the busiest for her business. But she comes to church on her own and as I was setting up a time for next week, I asked her how she was feeling about baptism (she had a date, but it passed as she opened up to us about her smoking habit). Her eyes got really big and she said, “I’m getting ready for it. I’ve already cut drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol. And I’m down to smoking one stick every other day.” This is a 20+ year habit of hers and I couldn’t be more proud of her. It’s incredible to see the miracles that happen when someone knows God exists, who He is, and that He loves them. 😀 So she’ll be setting a goal next week and probably baptized by the end of October.
We also had a street contacting / English Class miracle. Wang Jiemie and I pulled up to the church last week for a meeting, to see a man sitting at the gate. He asked us if this is the place they had free English on Wednesdays. On Wednesday he showed up with his son to English class and after sharing the history of the Book of Mormon for the Spiritual lesson, his son asked if he could have a copy of the Book of Mormon. They set up with us for Saturday, and we held the lesson in a member’s house across the street from the Church. It was incredible! Turns out this dad remembers missonaries coming to his house and teaching his family when he was a kid. At first he said he doesn’t subscribe to any religion, but thought it would be good for his son to have one. As our members testified of how much having a real, personal relationship with God helped them feel peace, make big decisions, influenced their family, etc. you could see the dad start to tear up. By the end of the lesson, he and his son committed to praying every day and starting on the Book of Mormon together. They also want to involve mom, who had originally planned on being there but had a last minute meeting with a client. They’ll be coming to church next Sunday and to the Stake Activity on the 10th. 😀
Recent work with Less Actives has been working miracles! Our other new investigator this week is a less active woman’s husband. A ward member set this up for us, inviting us to come with her to visit one of her Visiting Teachees. When we arrived, she asked if we could start teaching her son the gospel. He’s 6. We told her definitely, but better would be if he could come to Primary and learn with other kids his age. She looked a little nervous and finally let us know that her husband doesn’t really support her going to church. This woman was baptized in the same group of friends that are now the Stake President, the Relief Society President, and a few other solid XinZhu members…. so everyone’s been at a loss for why she’s just disappeared. Her husband passed through the kitchen right then and we reached out to him. Got to know him and sorted out that we’d been to some of the same places in China. We chatted about food and life and what his hopes and dreams for the future are. He talked a lot about his son and our member bore powerful testimony that more than any kind of private schooling, the Gospel priciples would bring happiness and success to his life. The dad was open to exploring the Gospel on behalf of his son and agreed to start meeting with us! We called a few of this less active member’s friends to let them know what happened, they were so excited that they’ve volunteered their homes and their family home evening time to help this husband get baptized and get the entire family to the temple. Awesome! I love this place. 😀
We’ve been meeting with another less active, Zeng Jiemei. She has come to church twice in a row now. Last week she just attended Sacrament meeting, so this week we invited her to try out all three hours. She still remembers her testimony and after a quick brush up on some doctrine, her only remaining problem with church is that it was boring. Yesterday, after attending all three hours I asked her if she were still alive. Her eyes lit up like Christmas morning: “I was so glad I stayed! Sacrament meeting was great, but what was shared in Sunday School and Relief Society were exactly what I needed to hear.” Awesome! She’s already done an interview with the Bishop as a returning member, and she’s set up for a temple recommend interview in a week and a half so she can go to the Temple with us on October 20th.
Last night, we had a Mid-Autumn Festival activity in Zhu 1. Last month in Ward Council, the Sisters were asked if we could take 30 minutes to tie the Gospel into Moon Festival. Wang Jiemei and I spent some time putting our cultural and spiritual minds together on this one and came up with a great tie into the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It went off without a hitch and everyone loved it. After sharing some stories about the origins of the festival, we shared some scriptures about how Jesus is the light of the world, and then how Christ has told us we can also be the light of the world. We talked about the principle of reflecting the light of Christ in our countenance and being member-missionaries. Then we invited the whole ward to pick a Christlike Attribute they wanted to develop… and every time they saw the moon, to evaluate themselves on how they were doing. 😀 They’re all willing and we had a member aproach us afterwards, asking if we could come over and have dinner with her and her neighbors who recently lost a loved one.
So…. yes. XinZhu is still going strong. I love Wang Jiemie and she’s doing GREAT things here! She’s correcting my Chinese all over the place, helping bring me into more exact alignment with Preach My Gospel. I love her and I couldn’t ask for a better companion. 😀
Ps — rumors of me coming home are true. A year and a half flies by. Can you believe it’s almost over? Get ready and if you’re planning on getting married, hold off until March please! I want to be there. 😀
PPs — Are you ready for General Conference??? Lucky for me, I have an extra week to get ready for it. 😀