Week 12 Qishan week 3

Hello everybody!  Just another week in the mountains of Taiwan.  You know, typhoons and stuff.

Last Tuesday was typhoon day.  The typhoon I don’t think was as quite as big as the last one, but it hit Taiwan a lot more directly, so its effect was worse.  We didn’t go outside at all on Tuesday, we just sat inside and called people, and cleaned, and ate food.  It was really relaxing actually.  We had planned to bike an hour and half to visit a city neither of us had gone to before to proselyte, but of course those plans were scratched.  But, surprisingly, we did get a few things done.  Because of the typhoon, most people were inside, and thus were able to answer their phones.  We called a lot of former investigators and most of them picked up.  We weren’t able to set any definite appointment at that time, but we have visited one of them since.  So, in a way, because of a typhoon we were able to reach more people and teach them of Jesus Christ.  God works in crazy ways sometimes.

Wednesday wasn’t super busy.  We got a call from the Bishop in the afternoon.  He wanted our help to go clean up a member’s house from the typhoon!  SERVICE!!  I was excited.  But then we got there and it turned out there really wasn’t anything we could do.  Because Bishop was our ride, we had to wait on him to get home.  And because it was raining pretty hard, he wanted to wait out the rain.  We waited for a while.  He and the member were speaking Taiwanese to each other for a while so we were pretty lost the whole time.  That evening we had a lesson planned at 6:00 before our English class at 7:00 with Wang JieMei.  We called to confirm she could still come, and she could so things were looking good.  But then she didn’t get to the lesson until 6:45 and by that time we had to start getting ready for English class.  But no one showed up to English class until 7:30.  Basically, our planned lesson turned into a very disorganized question and answer session where most of the time, Lin DiXiong was talking.  (He was our Peike, which means he was the member who came to sit in on the lesson)   He talks a lot.  A lot a lot.  He spoke probably 3 times as much as my companion, who spoke at least 5 times as much as me.  I got a lot of listening practice, and I think our investigator walked out of it a little confused.  But!  The Spirit was there in a lot of moments and although it was disorganized she has since been pretty open and willing to continue learning.  That was our first real lesson with her and when we talk to her on the phone she says she’s praying!!  That’s a miracle.  I think she has a lot of potential.  It’s going to be amazing to watch how the gospel of Christ will change her life as she continues to accept our invitations to learn and grow.

Thursday was Zone Conference!  I got to see President Teh! And the best part may be the fact that THEY HAD MEXICAN FOOD FOR LUNCH!  It was fantastic.  I ate a lot.  It was delicious.  They had real tortillas, and salsa.  Oh it was a miracle.  But it was also good to see some of the Elders that I knew from the MTC and how they were doing.  We talked about quite a bit at zone conference.  But my two biggest takeaways are probably the fact that it strengthened my faith and humbled me a little bit. And I needed both of those.  We discussed our mission standards of excellence, which I briefly talked about last week.  As a mission we have raised our standard for new investigators a week from 3 to 7.  The average in Qishan is less than 1.  :/  BUT!  God is a god of miracles.  At one point when we were discussing, President Teh said it was silly to set a goal beneath the standard.  So I raised my hand to ask a question.  I talked about my area and the history of the success here.  Then I asked if we should immediately set our goal to 7, knowing that for the past several months (at least to my knowledge, perhaps longer) the Elders in Qishan have rarely hit 3 new investigators a week.  I likened goal setting to faith.  Faith doesn’t grow from nonexistent to complete in one day.  Even people in the scriptures who had seen miracles and angels struggled with their faith.  So was it smart for us to set the goal of 7 new investigators in one week, when it was difficult to get even one?  I didn’t know.  I certainly was conflicted.  I knew I needed to exercise faith in order to see miracles.  But I also knew what I had been taught in the MTC, what it talks about in PMG, that goals should be realistic and attainable, but still push and stretch you.  In answer to my question President Teh said that perhaps in our case, it wouldn’t be silly to set our goal beneath the standard.  Later on, when he was talking about having the standard of 7 and why it makes sense, he mentioned that everyday we should have a goal of finding a new investigator and that you would never put 0 down as your goal for a new investigator for any given day, even if you had already reached your weekly goal.  That just doesn’t make sense.  He turned to me and asked if I would do that.  I of course said no, and he then said, “See!  Even Elder Councill wouldn’t do that.”  That comment was a little humbling.  My Mission President called me out in front of the zone.  He didn’t do it abruptly or anything, and I don’t think he meant it as anything more than to prove his point, but it made me think about my lack of faith.  I know that with God all things are possible, but here I am with a lot of doubt about my area and about our possibility of finding people to teach and baptize here.  I need to exercise my faith.  I need to work without doubt in the Lord.  I can’t rely on my myself.  I have to put complete and total faith in Him and not doubt His power, His will, His plan, or even His timing.  I recognize I have a long way to go to reach that point.  But I am trying.

The rest of the week went by pretty quickly it seems like.  My time is Qishan is moving pretty fast as I look back to when I first got here.  Friday we were able to bring a Tagalog Book of Mormon to Angie!  We visited with one of the former investigators we called on Tuesday during the typhoon.  On Saturday it rained and rained and rained.  We were both soaked, even with our rain gear.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned how much it rains here, at least 3 or 4 times a week, even without typhoons.  I need to invest in a shoe dryer or something.  But anyways, Saturday was good, we actually set up at appointment!!!  Its set for tomorrow and its with a middle school student we met on the street.  He put a lot of thought into the questions we asked him and it seems he really has a desire to learn about God, Jesus Christ, and the Restoration of the gospel.  I’m excited to see how it goes.  Yesterday was awesome because it was the Sabbath and I got to partake of the sacrament and recommit to remember my Savior.  Next week I won’t have that opportunity because its General Conference!  It actually happened this past weekend, but since Taiwan is half a day ahead of America, we watch a recording a week late.  I’m really excited to hear all the great talks though!  And I get to watch it in English, which will be super nice.  YOU ALL SHOULD GO AND WATCH IT!  Just go to Lds.org!  It’ll change your life.  The Prophets and Apostles that speak are inspired of God to teach us all what we need to learn about Jesus Christ and His gospel.

I love you all!  Life is great!  God is good.

-Elder Councill