How was Thanksgiving?
The night before Thanksgiving (last Preparation day actually) some English students planned a little "Thanksgiving" activity. We had a lesson we needed to start promptly after class or we would be late getting in, but someone insisted. "This is all for you!" So we ate Chinese noodles and a slice of turkey standing in the hall outside the church kitchen. It was a nice thought and really very awful. "This is not Thanksgiving." was all I could think of. I started to get *really* trunky (missionary talk for missing home) for the first time.
That night at about ten oclock, we got a call and I answered it. I was expecting a Taiwanese woman and was very suprised to hear an American man's voice. He is a member in our ward and invited us and the Elders to Thanksgiving dinner at his house the next day. Oh, it saved me! Somehow, just being in an American home with other Americans and eating Traditional American Thanksgiving Food really helped. I may not have been with my family or at my home, but a holiday that is very important to me did not go unregarded as it has so often for me in the last 5 years. It was really a blessing and tender mercy that I needed. So, the moral of the story is make sure the missionaries are going somewhere on holidays!
On Sunday my companion and I were contacting at a light on our way somewhere. The person I was talking to did not set up and drove off. My companion was still talking to me. A man pulled up kind of in front of me, chewing on a biscuit and looking at me. He looked like someone that had a life of hard manual labor, alcohol and binglan chewing*. I tried not to look at him because we aren't supposed to talk to males unless our companion is within arms reach and involved in the conversation. "Hello" he said. "Come to church!" (Usually that is all it takes to end these kinds of conversations.) "Poor you." And he put a sack of of hot dumplings on my bicycle. I tried to turn them down but he just drove off.
Does anyone remember watching the old church movie On the Way Home? We watched it once, probably about 15 years ago, my companion had never seen it. All I remembered was there was a little girl in a family who died. We are working with an investigator whose spouse died so we decided to show it to her. We didn't have time to preview it and make sure we actually thought it would be a good fit. When it started we weren't even sure it was the right movie. My companion and I kept looking at each other like, is this it? It was so cheesy and early 90s! At the end though I was really moved and I think our investigator was too. It's about a family and their little girl dies, but as they accept the gospel and are baptised their family improves in all aspects, and gives them hope.
I've noticed I've started to get really easily touched by things. Man, those stories at the back of the Ensign just about get me every time! Whenever I hear of people's aches and how they are relieved by kindness of others it just moves me. Sister Busathe says the same thing has been happening to her. She says that the hardness of the world has been removed.
This Saturday my dear investigator Zhu Ya Ci is going to get baptised. It is amazing and a miracle. The first time I met her, we ended up having two investigators at once so I had to teach the lesson alone with a member. The member, despite her good intentions, was off on tangents and unhelpful. My Chinese got tonguetied and I tried to teach Zhu Ya Ci the Word of Wisdom and stay on topic. "So, do you think you will have a problem with any of the five things we just talked about? (tea, coffee, alchol, tobacco, drugs)" "Yes...I drink tea, coffee and alcohol and smoke." I didn't even know what problem to tackle first. We have had investigators that don't get baptised just from a problem with ONE of those things, let alone four. We are supposed to figure out when they use it and why and then have a plan for them not to. I just struggled through it, told her to get over coffee and tea and we'd talk more later. It was the worst lesson I've ever taught and afterwards I said to Sister Busathe, "If she gets baptised, I will know the work has NOTHING to do with me, and the church is true."And she is getting baptised this Saturday. Zhu Ya Ci is so amazing, she has had so many things to get over and she has done it in 5 weeks. Honestly, her getting baptised has nothing to do with what we have taught or done. She is just amazing.
*binglan is a kind of drug. It is a nut you chew and turns your mouth and teeth red. It literally looks like you are bleeding from the mouth. It is used mostly by the poor and those who do hard labor because it is numbing.