Week 16 Qishan week 7–The Price of Freedom

Howdy everyone!

I have now officially finished my first transfer in Taiwan!  It’s been a ton of fun!  Missions are awesome!

As a complete side note, I just got really excited for dinner because we’re going to a place with unlimited ice cream and that makes me really happy.  So yeah that will be awesome!

Anyways, this week was particularly great because we taught a TON of lessons.  A total of 15!!  4 of them were peikes (member present), 9 were either investigator lessons or where someone let us into their house and we got to teach them, and 2 were with recent converts!  So yeah, busy busy!  This is an insane contrast to how it was my first week in Qishan, where I think we just taught one recent convert the entire week.  So I can’t really say what changed between then and now.  I don’t know if my attitude has anything to do with it, the fact that my love for my area has consistently grown each day I’ve been here, or the power of prayer, or what.  But it is an amazing miracle.  This area has so much potential.  There are a lot of people that I believe are ready to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So because of how many lessons we had this week, we didn’t have as much time to go contacting or tracting to find new investigators.  But ya know what?  We still got two new investigators and there are some really great potentials that we are planning on following up with this week that I am very hopeful will begin taking lessons from us.  There is a man named Michael (a different Michael than the one in our ward that I don’t know if I’ve mentioned or not) who is a former investigator that hasn’t met with missionaries for months.  We were biking home one night when he pulled up beside us on his moped and said “Hi I’m Michael!  Do you know who I am??”  He then had us follow him to his house less than a block away and had a more formal introduction.  We’ve seen him one other time since then but we haven’t had a formal lesson or anything yet.  He has expressed his frustration that when he prayed and asked God if He was real that God didn’t answer him.  He said he had the desire and he said he did everything the missionaries told him.  I told him that in order to receive answers from God you can’t give up and you have to be patient.  What was really cool was that he admitted to giving up, which means he is teachable!  I’m excited to help him grow and develop his faith in Christ.

Let me tell you about John Sullivan.  He’s a Canadian who has been living in Taiwan for 18 years, and I don’t think he speaks Chinese.  His wife is a less active member who hasn’t been to church in ages.  AND he has been meeting with missionaries on and off for 12 years.  I wanted to meet this man when I first got to Qishan but my companion wasn’t too keen on doing so because he didn’t think it would go anywhere.  Well last week we called his wife because we wanted to meet with her and find out why she hadn’t been to church in so long and if there was anything we could do to help.  As soon as I said I was a missionary and before I could say anything else she gave the phone to her husband.  I guess she assumed I wanted to talk to him and not her.  So I set up a time to meet with him!  Let me tell you, that man has more of a desire to learn the truth than anyone I have ever met.  He has a lot of struggles.  It won’t be easy.  He thinks that praying is hypocritical because he doesn’t believe in God.  But we are going to help him.  And one day, even if it takes another 12 years, that man is going to be baptized.  What I really loved about meeting with him was that I got to teach in English.  I could express all of my thoughts and everything the way I wanted to.  I bore some of the best testimony I think I have while in Taiwan.  And after the fact I could only think that one day I’ll be able to express all my thoughts clearly and eloquently in Chinese.  And it will be glorious.

I’ve started to take my language studies more seriously, though not to say that they haven’t been serious to this point.  But I started learning characters in my free time.  At breakfast, while we are doing phone calls, just little time here and there and I’m at about 120 characters!  Not too shabby.  I plan to have read the entire Book of Mormon in Chinese by my 10th month in Taiwan.  By month 6 I was to be more or less fluent.  Watch out Mom that’s about when Mother’s day is, so we’ll see who’s Mandarin is better. 😉

So I’m sure you all are wondering why my email subject is the price of freedom.  Well now that you’ve read everything else, I’ll tell you.  This last week I had the opportunity to vote by absentee ballot in the presidential election!  Now I won’t say who I voted for because missionaries don’t talk about politics, but I will say that it cost me 390 kuai to get my ballot to the US in time.  Thats about 12 dollars.  So the price of freedom is approximately $12.58, depending on the current exchange rate.  That’s like a movie ticket in America.  Is your nation worth more to you than a movie ticket?  If so, go out and vote.  I went through all the trouble of getting an absentee ballot as a missionary in Taiwan because I know how precious that right is.  This week I have been reading Our Heritage, which is a brief history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and if you haven’t read it I encourage you to do so.  There was a time at the beginning of our history when mobs that consisted of 100s of armed men would prevent people of my faith from voting at the polls.  It was that important.  Today, we don’t have that problem.  Yet so many people still don’t vote.  I encourage you all to vote.  I don’t care who you vote for.  I do ask however, that you pray about it.  God knows what is best for us, and that includes the good of our nation.  So ask Him.  Plead with Him.  And apply that same process for every decision you make in life.  God is our Loving Heavenly Father and He wants what is best for each of his children.  Heavenly Father answers prayers.  He answers the pleas of the righteous.  Pray in faith and He will help you.

I love you all, more than you know.  (But nowhere near as much as God does)

Have a Blessed Day.

-Elder Councill