My new favorite look is the look from ward leadership when a less active member walks through the doors of the church building. Haha let’s talk about some miracles in working with less active members.
First: the Yang Family 陽家庭（陽慶明＆胡妙芳)
I first started working with this family 12 weeks ago. Wow that’s a long time. When we started, she had been a convert of almost a year, and he a convert of almost two years. And I’m going to tell it straight, I was absolutely afraid of Brother Yang. Now it might have been the fact that his handshakes literally break all the bones in your hand which is the complete opposite of most Taiwanese floppy fish handshakes. Perhaps the fact that he used to be a street fighter. But I’m honestly pretty sure it was because of how loud he talked and the fact that I understood absolutely 0% of what he was saying. My Taiwanese companion at the time also had little idea what he was saying. ANYWAYS! I can testify that praying for love does work. I love this family so so so very much. And while they didn’t come to church when I met them, you can bet that they are at church every Sunday now, and this week we had a lesson about family history. They are now researching family names and genealogy so they can go to the temple. That’s what I’m talking about! PS…I understand 87% of what he says now, so that’s a plus Haha
Second: Sister Yang 楊淑青
I was also terrified of her when I started working with her 12 weeks ago. She refused to let us inside for about a month, and then one day something changed and she welcomed us in calling us her little angels. I was stunned. But in the progressing weeks, my love for her has grown. And while we’ve found out that she has more than her fair share of health issues, she has said we’ve helped her find happiness again. A week and a half ago now, I downloaded the Gospel library app onto her tablet and made the font size as big as it could be. Her eyesight makes it hard to read, so she hadn’t read the Book of Mormon in a year (basically since she got baptized). But this past week when we visited her, she proceeded to tell us the entire contents of 1 Nephi and how she wanted to be brave like Lehi and have her entire family follow the will of God. I was smiling so big, I thought my face was going to break. I almost started crying as she started bearing her testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
Third: Sister Wang 王思婷
I started working with her 9 weeks ago, and every time we visited her, she said she would come to church. Every week, she never came. My heart was starting to break over the fact that she didn’t want to come back. When we asked the ward for help and suggestions, they told us she didn’t have any friends at church and that she was basically a lost cause. This made me angry and sad because no child of God is so lost that they can’t come back. So this week we had a new strategy. Tuesday after I took a “wrong” road, we just happened to run into her. If that’s not the hand of God, I don’t know what is. But we walked with her to the store and back just talking and trying to be her friend. Before long she was telling me how all the trials in her life made it feel like God had turned His back on her. Well you can bet I testified so strongly that God will never forget us in our trials. I know this is true. I told her that if she came and partook of the Sacrament she would feel the power of God carrying her through her trials. She said she would come, but I didn’t quite believe her yet.
Later that week, we took a picture of Jesus and a handwritten note and left it at her doorstep. The next day was Saturday, so we went to see if she got our note and confirm her for church one more time. She said she’d be there. I prayed for her so hard.
Sunday morning comes. We just finish having a coordination meeting the Elders. She texts me and tells me she’s not coming. I try calling her and she won’t answer. With sounds of frustration in my voice, I’m talking back to the phone, saying, “if you don’t answer, I will come to your house!” One of the Elders looks at me and goes, “Bet. You won’t” Haha So Sister Concardas and I got on our bikes and went to her house (passing our bishop and some other ward leadership we were about to have a meeting with). After a long discussion with her constantly saying no, we sat in a disappointed silence for a solid two minutes, and then all the sudden she says, “Okay, I’ll be there.” I was shocked, and I wanted her to come with us right then, but church still didn’t start for 40 minutes, so she promised she would come and we left.
At our Ward Council meeting, we told the ward that she would be coming and that we wanted them to be friendly and reach out. They laughed at us because they didn’t think she would be there.
Ten minutes before Sacrament meeting was to start, in she walked. Everyone’s faces turned to me, in a state of utter disbelief. Miracles are real.
The time of partaking the Sacrament has become something extremely special and important to me on my mission. That is our time to have a personal experience with Christ. What it signifies, represents~the greatest gift ever given to mankind~I truly cherish that. A little while ago, I stumbled on a story about the Sacrament I want to share with you all:
~ The Last Sacrament Cup~
It was just before the new year, and we were visiting a ward in St. George, Utah, with our five little children—a ward that had no Primary or youth program because it was composed mostly of retired couples. No 12-year-old deacons bumped elbows on the front row; it was the high priests who were preparing to bless and pass the sacrament.
Normally, the ward would have gently filled the padded seats of the chapel, but on this holiday weekend the overflow divider was pushed wide, and we, with a number of other families, were nestled onto metal folding chairs that stretched to the back of the cultural hall.
The meeting progressed as usual, and I watched as a dozen older gentlemen carried trays of bread, then water, through the bursting rows. They were making great effort to manage the unusually large crowd. Their faces were kind. Some had rounded shoulders and bent spines. They whispered directions to each other. One wore cowboy boots. One winked at a little girl in front of us.
My daughters and I took the last cups of water from our tray and handed it to my husband, who passed the empty tray to the brother standing at the end of our row.
The bishop stood at the pulpit to assess the situation. When he asked who had not received the water, a few pockets of people, including my husband, raised their hands. So the brethren returned to the sacrament table, offered a second prayer on the new water, and delivered it to the waiting members.
Our row was last to receive the water this time, and I noticed that my husband offered the couple next to him the two remaining cups. The tray was empty, and it appeared to me that my husband was the only one in the congregation who hadn’t had the water. I wondered what he would do. Would he let it go? not worry about it this week?
Assuming that everyone had now received the water, those who were passing the sacrament partook of the water themselves, using all the remaining cups. But the bishop asked one more time if anyone had not received the water, and my husband raised his hand. He was, as I suspected, the only one. He looked at me and we smiled, conscious of the craned necks and curious eyes.
The brethren returned to the table for a third prayer on the water. And suddenly, as I heard that phrase “to bless and sanctify this water to the souls of all those who drink of it” (D&C 20:79), a realization crept into my heart—an understanding so keen it pried me clear open and God’s Spirit swept in. It was a reverence I hadn’t felt in too long.
They were praying over one cup. For one person. One soul.