On Friday, Elder Gummow will celebrate his 20th birthday! No longer are the days of being a teenager and he mentioned a few weeks ago that he felt like he has grown up the equivalent of 4 years in the past year! It is fun to see the growth in him and the challenges he has overcome! Here is a picture of him and his new companion from Georgia who has great Chinese and is upbeat and easy to work with!
"Love you family!!! Thanks for the letters and most of all for the package!!! It came sooner than expected (Tuesday last week). It's great too I'm sorry I'm not sure if I should've opened it yet or not but I couldn't help myself. :) I haven't opened the card yet though and I'm not planning on using the stuff until my actual birthday date comes around. Luckily my birthday falls on weekly planning day so we'll be able to cook up the food for lunch that day!! Yes! I'm really super pumped, there's two things I've been craving food wise since I have been here and that is zucchini brownies and Cafe Rio. Otherwise you can get pretty much everything else in our area. It's super nice, for example last Monday we had T.G.I. Friday's for the first time since I've been here, oh man it was really good, - really expensive but so worth it.
Anyways enough about food. Sorry about the lack of pictures mom, my camera works but I've been doing really bad at taking pictures of stuff and bringing camera's to event, something I feel I'm going to regret after. But I'm going to try better to take pictures from now on and plus I have a bunch of good pictures today of when we visited Danny's house and played with his snakes.
Hmm, This week was amazing and also incredibly intense and stressful at the same time. There were so many highs and lows it was crazy. For example our investigator, Ch..., that we have been working with for a really long time finally promised us that on July 20th he would get baptized and he said that when he promised it he would be solid and it wouldn't change. That was such a good moment ! It was so intense up til then trying to help him to gain enough faith to set a goal. Probably one of the best moments of my mission!
However, two days later he tells us that he was talking to his Mom and she was talking about how big of a commitment baptism was going to be and it scared him a lot and now he's not sure if he can keep the commandments and be baptized. Agghhh!
Along with that was Saturday. We had a really devastating experience. One of the Less-Actives we've been meeting with told us that he was going to reconvert back to Buddhism and become a monk. I love him so much and it hurt so bad to hear that he was going to do that. We still have faith in him though and I'm sure we'll be able to get him to reconsider. He's still willing to read and pray and come to Church so that's really good.
So also on the other hand, we had a miracle that same Saturday. We were up in the West District of Taichung city, contacting and stuff and it was about time to go home, so we felt like tracting a couple minutes before we headed back. I went to an area not knowing completely beforehand where we were going and we pulled up to this house that I knew was pretty familiar. After a couple seconds I realized that it was an investigator's house that Elder R and I had visited before. The lights were on and people were out and the Dad came out of the house right when we got there, recognized us (even though we had never seen him before) and called W...... or Howard out of the house. We had been calling him for the past month and half and had visited once but before then hadn't been able to get in contact with him but that night he was there. Turns out he's been working in Nantou during the week and only comes back Saturday and Sunday. Even better he was still reading and praying, his friend is now investigating the Church, he said he would come to Church next Sunday with us, and funniest of all he had put a sticker on his new motorcycle that said "Christ loves You" (a motto of Christianity in Taiwan). It was so great to seem him again and even better to hear that he was still living the Gospel as much as we had taught him.
So love and faith, I feel like our the mottos of this week and what I need to learn the most. Faith to never give up on the people we teach, no matter how desperate or gloomy the situation looks, and also Faith to follow the spirit whenever it gives you promptings. Otherwise, we might not have been able to get back in touch with Howard.
This work is amazing and I'm glad every day to be a part of it. I'm not sure why but I was so glad to hear Daniel's backpacking story, it was an incredibly moving story to me. Incredible to think this group of young men were able to experience such and incredible manifestation of God's hand in their lives and care for them. Plus thinking of the worthiness of there Leaders in being able to following God's promptings when it was given to them. It's something I wish I was able to experience a little more when I was a kid.
Anyways time is low, Love You So Much Family! Bry your scaring me getting earrings and wearing makeup, it's something I'm totally not used to. Daniel, still looking like a stud, Love ya man. "