Last week I ran out of time before I could put together a decent letter together, so for those of you who I was not able to tell, Tom did not get baptized due to his issue with tea and China's cultural pressures. I personally also feel that there is still a lack of understanding regarding the need for a restoration which is probably caused by the language barrier, but we are still working hard with him and he remains as golden as he can be at the moment. He took us to lunch at a very expensive Chinese restaurant where there were plates that cost nearly fifty dollars! And the way they do it in China is you order a bunch of different plates which are placed in the middle of the table for everyone to share, so I had a variety of authentic Chinese foods including duck, lamb, duck soup, tofu, really good asparagus and egg plant, rice, and I even tried (or was forced to try) the fish. The tricky part was using the chop sticks but I got the hang of it eventually. Tom brought a friend named Melinda and she is interested in learning more about our church and joining us at our services, so Tom drove her to stake conference yesterday, which was fantastic. (Elder Nathaniel R. Payne of the Seventy presided).
Last week we picked up several new investigators who seem very promising. It is such a joy to have so many people to teach. There's so many people to talk to you about that I don't even want to start. Lot's of people to teach means lots of hard work, deep emotional and spiritual involvement for each person, lots to be aware of, lots to remember, lots to study, lots of disappointments, lots of joys, lots of planning and lots of struggles. You could call it a burden but it's a burden I love carrying.
Last week was also transfer week. I am not being transferred but am staying in Urbana with Elder Lazaro which I am quite thrilled about.
This week was a very long week. Elder Lazaro was very sick and therefore spent about half of the week inside so he could rest, recover, and use the bathroom when needed, which was needed a lot. It's so hard staying inside when there's so much to do. I was going crazy by Wednesday. Due to him being so sick we had to cancel many of our appointments which I hated doing. He is doing a lot better this week and we are eager to make up for the time we lost. Extra time sitting in the apartment does however give you lots of time to pause and reflect on many things. Throughout my mission I have been a witness of so many miracles. Miracles are all around us and they happen every day. I believe it was President Monson who said "Miracles are to be found all around when the priesthood is understood..." The priesthood is Gods power. He uses it for the salvation of His children. It is by the priesthood that miracles are wrought. It is by His power, the priesthood, that He does all things, that all things were created and live. God is in the business of miracles; He is the business of miracles, both small and mighty. His power is matchless and it preserves us. As some of you have already heard, two Elders from my mission were in a very serious car accident this week. On the highway, a semi truck blew a tire, sending the truck and its load into the median and into oncoming traffic where the Elders were driving. When the truck left the median into oncoming traffic it went airborne over the Elders car. But the trailer it was carrying came down and ripped through the top of the car. The missionaries were literally smashed in the face with a flying semi truck trailer, both going over 60 miles an hour. They should have died on impact but miraculously they lived. Though the condition they were in after the crash was extremely critical they were released from the hospital just a couple of days later. They are recovering remarkably well, walking around and will soon return to their work.
What a miracle! Surly there is nothing more powerful than the priesthood. Nothing can match the power that God possesses and what a marvelous thing it is that He has given worthy men that same power! Like I said before, I have seen countless miracles throughout my mission and I know I will continue to witness more and more, for miracles have not ceased and they never will.
On a much less dramatic note the USPS is no longer forwarding letters or packages. Anything sent to the mission office will now be held until it can be distributed at a zone conference or transfer meeting. Instead of of using the mission office address please use my direct address and do not send anything the week prior to transfer week as that address is quite subject to change by the time it arrives. I will do my best to inform you when transfers are coming up in case anyone is planning on sending anything and I will of course provide my most current address when I know it, trusting that it will be shared and updated with everyone through facebook and my blog. For those of you who do not know what my current address is it is:
1026 E. Kerr st. apt. 301
Urbana, IL 61802
I love you all. I thank you for all of your love, support, prayers etc. I hope you all know that I love you very much and I am grateful for each of you in my life. I thank God upon every remembrance of each of you.
Have a fantastic week! Look for the miracles in your life; they're there.