This week was amazing!!!! I love this ward so much! The area is huge. It takes us 15 minutes to drive to church. We also live about 5 minutes outside of our ward boundaries. We live close to downtown Auburn. To get to church, you have to drive up a really steep, windy road. The houses and neighborhoods are really spread out and there is a lot of farmland. Elder Jiao was trained in this ward. He's been out for 3 months. He is from Beijing. He and his mother joined the church when he was 15. His mother's friend introduced them to the gospel. In China, very few people are religious. The government discourages religion in general, so mostly everyone is atheist. Because Elder Jiao is currently the only Mandarin speaker in the mission, we have permission to teach Chinese people anywhere in the mission. In fact, today we are going to teach a recent convert in Kent, Sister “Q”. Every day we have language study, I learn new Chinese words. It's incredible how far my companion has come. When he first got to the US, the only word he knew in English was "hello." Elder Jiao put up a motivational statement on the white board. It says "Mei tian jin bu yi dian dian" (Every day improve a little bit).
I'm really excited for the work in this ward. We have one investigator really close to baptism. Her name is “L M”. We're also working with a couple of part member families and preparing them to accept a baptismal date. Everyone here is super nice. Elder Jiao and his last companion found a couple down the street from the church building that we're going to start teaching. They are incredibly nice. They have a lot of questions about the church and religion in general. Their names are “B” and “D”. “B” left the Catholic church because he hated how they were told when to pray and how to pray. He said that one time as a teenager he asked his dad if he could go to his Mormon friend's church and he said no. He asked why not and his dad said "because they're Mormon." haha. He says now that he's grown up he can go to whatever church he wants to. “D” has a lot of questions about the afterlife. She wants to know what we believe about heaven. She also just met her long lost sister, and she happens to be Mormon. We have a set lesson with them on Thursday night.
The Lord is preparing the hearts of so many people to accept the gospel. The field is white, already to harvest! Yesterday, a brother in the ward gave a talk on missionary work and the spirit was overwhelming. The only time I feel the spirit that strongly is whenever missionary work is discussed. He said that he served a mission in North Carolina, where many did not want to hear the message of the Restoration but invited him in to tell him that he was wrong and that his religion was a lie. He said that he recently sifted through a box of mission stuff and he came across a bed sheet that he wrote the standard of truth on. These are the prophetic words of Joseph Smith. “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”
The other day I found a really cool scripture in the book of Jeremiah about missionary work. Jeremiah 16:16 "Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." I find it interesting that the Lord says he will send hunters after he sends out fishers. We live in the days where we need to hunt not fish.
This is how I apply the scripture: "...and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and from every garage, and from every sidewalk, and from every cul-de-sac."
What an incredible time to be alive. I know I was sent here at this time for a specific purpose. God can use my talents and abilities to work miracles in the lives of others. The spirit I feel when I am engaged in missionary work motivates me to do my best to bring souls unto Christ. I love you all so much and I can't wait to tell you about my experiences.
P.s. I'm so happy that Jessica is going to see the patriarch. Happy Birthday, Jessica. I love you and miss you so much. Just know that I left you for a short time to help other families live together for eternity. I know that the work I am engaged in is of God. I feel so strongly that I was called here on the Lord's errand. He chose me. He inspires me. He qualifies me. I love you all and can't wait to hear from you.