Taidong is the promised land. That’s what every missionary calls it, and I can see why. It is AMAZING!
We went on two different companion exchanges this week and had some pretty cool things happen on both.
The first exchange was more of companion splits. My trio all split up and took different youth who have their mission calls out for a proselyting day. We were with them from 9am to 9pm.
Well I hadn’t even been in Taidong a week yet, and they sent my off on my own with this youth. It was wild. Surprisingly, we survived haha! (And I was able to express myself in Chinese the whole day! That’s a miracle in and of itself!) BUT We went to go visit a less active member and shared with her the video “Because of Him”. That has been a topic of a lot of my studies and pondering this week, so I’ll share a little more about that later, but after the video I decided to let our youth testify. She bore the most powerful testimony I have ever heard from a 19 year old. Everyone in the room felt it. When we left, the youth looked at me and goes, “Does missionary work always feel this good?” I smiled and said, “Not always, but if you always look for these moments and focus on these, then yes, missionary work is amazing!”
Another exchange happened with our Sister Training Leaders. On this one, Sister Wang and I went out with Sister Garner. It was getting later in the evening so we decided to go outside and just try talking to people and find someone to teach. Pretty much everyone in Taidong will talk to you because it is such a chill place. Well, I tried to say hello to this woman and she just ignored me. So I was like okay I guess she doesn’t want to talk. We ran into her again about five minutes later. The only thing different this time is that we were approaching her from the front instead of the back. We said hello and she greeted us with the biggest smile and starts talking to us. When I try and start responding she pulls out her phone and was using her phone to turn my speech into text. Turns out she lost her hearing as a child. She was such an amazing person! We were able to share with her the “Because of Him” video and testify of Christ not leaving us alone in challenges. She really wanted to learn more, so we set her up to learn more with the missionaries from where she actually lives in Taizhong.
So this week was really good, but let’s just put this simply that Taidong has lots and lots of miles of road to bike that are really pretty and not a lot of people to talk with in those bike rides…so, I’ve got lots of extra time to think. As I said earlier I’ve been thinking a lot about Christ and discipleship and everything because of Him. I’ll share with you some of my main thoughts…
What are the first few things that come to your mind when you think of being a disciple? What does it take to qualify as a “disciple?”
IT’S NOT REQUIRED OF A DISCIPLE TO BE PERFECT; it is required of a disciple to choose the Savior above all else and to follow Christ in His path. Okay, so maybe in an essence it is required of us to be perfect. But how???? Through Christ! We do our best and Jesus makes up the difference. Through prayer, repentance, and sooo many blessings, we can become eventually perfect. Only with the help of our Savior. Not on our own. So, yeah, being a disciple is daunting, but what about qualifying for eternal life? That’s a lot bigger of a deal.
Here’s a quote from Dallin H. Oaks (from the talk “The Challenge to Become”) … “We qualify for eternal life through a process of conversion. As used here, this word of many meanings signifies not just a convincing but a profound change of nature…”
Jesus’ challenge shows that the conversion He required for those who would enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 18:3) was far more than just being converted to testify to the truthfulness of the gospel. To testify is to know and to declare. The gospel challenges us to be ‘converted,’ which requires us to do and to become.”
Our earthy life is not just about going through the actions of the gospel of Jesus Christ and being a disciple. We have been placed on this earth to grow and become a better person than we were when we started. So here’s what I’ve decided this week in my scripture study: being a disciple is not just about being a follower of Christ, but about becoming like Him. On the surface, we know that we’re asked to be a disciple, to teach others, and to be an example, but I know that being a disciple also helps us personally.
As we are being disciples, we are learning more about Christ and who He is. Hopefully we’re building a stronger relationship with him during it, too. As we learn from our Savior and follow in His way, we can learn to BECOME like Him. This is what we will be judged upon, as Elder Oaks taught us. We need a profound change of nature, which can only be done through our Savior. We follow Him, we learn from Him, and we repent through Him. Everything we can become is because of Him.
Hopefully that made sense. Main point is that I love my Savior!
Funny things that happened this week:
1. We were walking into a Seven and there were two men sitting at the table out front. One was chewing betel nut and the other was smoking. As we were walking in, my companion decided to start talking to the one chewing betel nut. He said that Taiwan was a bad place because there were people who chew betel nut. Out of impulse response I said, “so why do you do it?” I kid you not the person sitting there smoking started laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe hahahaha the other guy just kinda sat there staring and not knowing what to say. It was really funny!
2. Sister Smith has been on her mission for a year this week, so one night she wanted to do a photoshoot so she would have cute pictures to send home…let’s just say that I tackled her in the middle of it and we laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe for the next 15 minutes. Now her email home is titled…”when one year hits you like a truck…oh wait it’s just my companion” hahaha
3. We were trying to think of ways to bike to the train station and get my bike. This was one of the ideas (I will send it in the picture email). The thought of doing that for 50min made us reconsider.
I hope you all have a great week!
I love you so so so much!!!