Happy Birthday Mom!
So all of you that forgot it is my mother’s birthday today, might want to pick up the phone and give her a call. She is the best mom and always remembers when it is everybody else’s special day cuz she has such a sweet heart. So you better go do something nice for her or I will kick you when I get back. Yeah Ali, I will kick you, my kicking foot is pretty good now to since I have to beat away the wild dogs that always try and eat our legs when we ride our bikes. Watch out!
Love you mom, don’t think of it as getting one year older, think of it as you becoming one year wiser. I sure hope dad remembered!!! Yikes!!! Just kidding I am sure dad has some great plan involved where a flying elephant circus swoops in performs a show and then carries you off to the Mediterranean to go ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet.
I love how creative dad is with trips and celebrations. I remember one time when we were in Malaysia; we had been trekking across asia for about 2 weeks and after staying with the Iban head hunters in the middle of the Sarawak rain forest our next adventure was supposed to be some monkey jungle quite a ways away. As we all piled in the car to head back to civilization, I remember the topic of screaming monkeys pulling our hair came up. I think someone suggest that it might be best to skip the monkey abuse and go straight to Thailand for a little R and R on the beaches. In the end the monkeys lost and we were on a plane to Koh Sumai.
So I am getting transferred to the Taipei Mission! Crazy huh? Only for 1 day though. On Wednesday I will be going up there to install their new computer referral system for them. It should be kind of fun. I am going to be super busy right up until the end. Not many people get to serve in 3 different missions! Usually you only get to serve in 1. We had to get special permission for this assignment from the area presidency, normally missionaries are not supposed to leave their mission area unless there is an emergency or some other reason, but we got the go ahead so off I am to play with computers in Taipei.
I know I have mentioned to you all about what it is like driving in Taiwan before, but honestly this week was even crazier. I drove the huge VW van through gaps that anorexic super models couldn’t fit through. Seriously, I was rubbing on both sides, didn’t even scratch it though. I like to call it the precision fender bender, without the bender. My companion is Taiwanese and has never driven a car before, so he always freaks out when we are doing some crazy maneuvers in the van. He has finally learned to trust me, but occasionally he will emit an involuntary yelp when he thinks our young lives are about to be extinguished. I normally wouldn’t tell you this, because I am sure it makes you worried, but hey oh well, you only have 2 more weeks to worry about me. If you don’t drive like Jeff Gordon over here, everyone will steal your spot, so you have gotta drive like you are a Ferrari and push people around like you are a Hummer. That is why the church came out with the Ferummer (AKA the VW Transporter). It gets the job done!
Are you getting excited for Christmas? I am! I love Christmas and the cold and the snow. I just can’t wait to jump into a big pile of snow and eat a snowball! Yes, dad I know not to eat the yellow ones! Thanks for the tip.
I am still working hard, I am excited to come home, but my bags are far from packed. I am not trunky! Lately, I have been taken down a lot of phone numbers and emails for people all over Taiwan. Everybody I meet I try to get them to email me when I get back. I want to find a way to continue to share the gospel with these people. Plus all Taiwanese people love to use instant messaging and email so that will be perfect, even after I come home I can continue to do share the gospel in Chinese. Elder Bednar the Apostle instructed us missionaries to continue to use the gift of tongues that Heavenly Father has given us to preach the Gospel in the Chinese language. What better way to do that then thru emails! Not to mention, thru emails I could speak with Cantonese people too. Cantonese and mandarin use the same characters, but Cantonese does not sound anything like mandarin. I can hardly understand 5 words in Cantonese. It is okay though, most of Asia speaks mandarin.
We met a Brazillian man last week! So we took him to the office to see if we could find a Portugese Book of Mormon and sure enough, there was one in the back room on a shelf. Who would have thought that we would have Portugese Books of Mormon in Taiwan? Miracles do happen. He was very excited to read, it seemed as if he hadn’t had any contact with religion for quite some time, but he sounded eager to start again. His English was very good, and I was thankful that we were able to communicate.
Did I ever tell you about the Iraqi guy I contacted? That was awkward! I was really nice to him, but I don’t think he liked me very much, once I found out he was Iraqi it made a little more sense. I wanted to tell him, hey I wasn’t the one who decided to invade your country? At first I talked to him in Chinese, but then we started talking about religous stuff and he didn’t understand, and I didn’t know what to do, however he spoke very good English so we switched and started talking in English, his English was very good, much better than his Chinese. I found out he was Muslim and we chatted for a second, but I think that I offended him by simply talking to him. It was probably the most awkward thing that has ever happened to me. I contacted a Muslim Man a long time ago and he yelled at me in Arabic. The first guy I contacted I didn’t know he was Muslim because he was wearing a helmet.
This week we met with a man named Zhang Jia Hao. It was such an amazing lesson! Jia Hao believes that there are many Gods, he believes that if we follow one God we will get the blessings from one God. My companion asked him if he thought God was perfect and he said no. So the next question we asked was “What do you think it would be like to have a perfect Heavenly Fahter?” he thought about it for a second and said great. Then my companion made a great point. He said if there is more than one God and they are all imperfect Gods, what would happen if one of those Gods woke up one day and decided he wanted to start doing evil things, since according to Taoism Gods are imperfect they will make similar mistakes that we make. Obviously, God could not be God if he made mistakes. Jia hao thought about it for a while and finally came to the conclusion that a perfect God would be the best one to follow. He still believes that there are many many gods, but at least now he thinks there might be a perfect God. There is a perfect God. He is our creator! It is really neat to think about that! We were all created by a Perfect Being who does not make mistakes. We are created in His image just as Genesis 1:27 says. It would be so hard for me to believe in a God that does not have a form, it is clearly stated that we are created in God’s image. If God was a cloud of intangible mist then that is what we would be too, but we are not! We have 2 arms and 2 legs and 10 finger and 10 toes, just as he has.
I saw some great changes happen to Jia Hao as we taught him. You could see his previous misconceptions about God start to melt away and you could tell from the look on his face that he was truly pondering about what it would be like to have a perfect person, that looks just like us, that loves us and wants to care for us, as our God. He has been coming to church for the past 4 weeks and has changed so much. I sure hope he accepts this message and lets it change his life.
Love you all,
A little over 100 years ago in Mainland China, the family outhouses were all located on the banks of rivers to keep the environment clean. One day there was a young school boy who was walking to school. As the boy walked he passed by the outhouse and noticed a very pretty butterfly that had seated itself on the roof of the outhouse. He struggled and stretched to reach the butterfly and just when he had almost grabbed it, his weight started to stress the wood on the outhouse and the outhouse started to collapse. He quickly jumped back to the safety of the shore and watched as the outhouse tumbled and dipped in the river. He knew his father was going to be upset, but he still had school so he hurried off to school. During the day they learned about American History. They studied about how George Washington cut down his father’s cherished cherry tree. When George Washington told his father what he had done, his father calmly forgave him and was appreciative of George’s honesty. George Washington said that this experience in his life was one of the moments that turned him into such a great man. When the young Chinese boy heard this story he became very excited, he knew his father was a great man, and he hoped so dearly that his father could show such love and understanding as George Washington’s father had shown.
After class the boy hurried home to talk with his father. He found his father reading and asked his father if he could have a minute to speak with him. The father agreed and the boy said “Father I am so sorry this morning I knocked the outhouse into the river.” The Father looked at the boy for a moment and then spanked him. The boy started to cry and said “Dad, why are you mad, I wanted to be honest, when George Washington cut down the cherry tree, his father forgave him?” The dad looked at his son and said “George Washington’s father wasn’t in the cherry tree when he cut it down now was he!”
My companion tells everyone this joke and he thinks it is hilarious. It is kind of funny, hope you enjoy it.