Ni Hao Everyone!
So this week was a hard one. Last week was hard too but in a busy way. This week was hard emotionally. It started off with the oldest district in our zone leaving. I said goodbye to five powerful elders and I look forward to seeing how their missions go. Still, It was good hearing from them one last time and being able to see how excited they were to head off to Three British missions, and Two California missions. They are going to do great. Still I was riding off of an emotional high from last week so my district and I soldiered on happy for them and ready to take on our role of being the leaders in the Mandarin Branch. Tuesday started out fantastically, so many things to do and a devotional to look forward too that night I was very excited. Tuesday we got the privilege to hear from Kim B Clark of the Seventy and he gave a wonderful talk about what makes a successful missionary some of my favorite lines/quotes/impressions were:
"You are acting as angels because you are angels."
"To be a good missionary let me tell you that it has nothing to do with personality."
"They are Obedient to both the rules and impressions from God."
"They have the Spirit, they tell inspiring stories and avoid that which would drive the spirit away."
"They Love the people."
"The most powerful thing you do is WHAT you do."
And then he ended with a powerful story about a boy from Idaho who in his teens decided to run away from home and join a motorcycle gang. He was with the Hell's Angels for nearly twenty years before he woke up one day in New York and realizing that he had no idea on how he had gotten there. Drove all the way to California to one of the 'safe houses' where he tried to sober himself out. While sitting on the front porch of this house he saw two missionaries walk by. He just sneered at them when they started towards his gate which was guarded by two attack dogs. However, to his immense surprise just as the elders opened the gate the two killer dogs simply went to the base of their chains and fell asleep. Too surprised to say anything he watched as the missionaries came up to him on the porch. One of them smiled and nodded at him while the other asked where he was from. Looking at them warily he responded with his home town in Idaho. The elder paused and then asked if he knew two names. He nodded once and then responded "They're my parents." The missionary blinked nodded once and then said. "They're my parents too." While this revelation blew the man away the Elder then had the state of mind to continue. "God has sent me here to invite you home." And he did. He went home he cleaned up he got to know this brother he never knew he had. The end of the story is that just about a year ago he was sealed in the temple to his wife.
This was a powerful story for me. One about love and about how God shows his love. There are no lost causes, we are all of infinite worth to God and He will put us exactly where he needs us to be. I don't know who's out there that needs me right now but there is someone who needs my exact words. While it's probably not going to be a long lost brother/prodigal son there is a brother or sister in Christ who needs me to invite them home.
So afterwards we came back from devotional and had our district review which turned into a zone review since at that moment we only had two zones. It was very powerful we had some great insights. I loved Elder Welch's testimony about being where we needed to be and loving the fact that this is His work and His glory and we are just the tools. I got a powerful impression about my Pride thoughts, which was that when they come don't squish them redirect them towards God. He is the standard of all success. Overall it was a beautiful and powerful night.
And then once we had said goodbye to our presidency and to the other district the seven of us knelled down to pray and Elder Welch told us that he was going home in the morning.
It was heartbreaking. To see him smile at us and say that he didn't know if he was going to be okay but there wasn't anything else he could do to get better at the MTC. Up until the very end he had been studying Mandarin and laughing with us. We had known that there was something wrong with him for the last couple of weeks but he did his best to act completely normal while he was around us. Listening to him tell us all how grateful he was for all of our testimonies, I got an overwhelming feeling of love. The Love the Heavenly father had for Elder Welch and the love that Elder Welch had for each of us. I knew that Heavenly father was going to take care of him and while I might not see him again for a long time. God had a plan for him and it was going to be okay. I didn't start crying until I got back to the dorm but once there I got to bear a powerful testimony of the truths I had learned to my room mates. I don't know what's happening with Wei Zhong Lao but he will remain in my prayers until the end of my mission. He was one of the greatest examples I have ever met and I hope to be able to give him the hug of comfort that I so desperately wanted to give someday.
The difficulties of the rest of the week came from feeling the absence of our district leader very keenly. I was also having a difficult time health wise the last half. I'm actually still very weak and tired even as I write this. But I have learned so much from God this week. Lessons on patience and Love and Enduring to the end. On being Diligent and on paying attention to the spirit. I wish I had more time to explain every moment that's been going on in my head but I have my first Skype teaching session with a member in Taiwan tonight and Sister Erickson and I have to prepare.
I love you all and I hope that you can feel that love. I'm striving desperately to have the love of Christ that I have seen so clearly this last week in my heart and in my prayers. You are so very loved. By me and by God. Always by God.
Till next week.