Monday, January 25, 2010

1/24/10 the mechanics of missionary work‏

Dear Family,

My companion and I have colds today. It is most inconvenient but hopefully we can rest and tomorrow feel better. This last week has been a really good, busy week and we pretty much are booked up with lessons until Thursday already. I like being busy.

We had another baptism this last week. Lin Jie Yun got baptised! It was really great to see her. I remember she called us and I answered and set her up for a lesson but we had no idea who she was. We called her "Lin with lots of ones" because there were a lot of ones in her phone number and we had no other way to identify her from our other Lins until weeks after we started meeting with her. Then she could only meet once a week so progressed so slowly it seemed like she would never get baptised, then all of a sudden her baptism date was here and she was ready and it went through. I like getting to watch investigators progress from beginning through baptism. I am finally beginning to see the "fruits of my labors" and realizing that what I do everyday is actually affecting people in positive ways.

Amy asked me what deadstack is, so I guess I will tell you more about what finding investigators is like in Taiwan.

Most of our potential investigators come from people we meet on the street as we bike places. At every stoplights we pull up next to someone, teach them two principles, and ask them to write down their information, set up a time to meet, and set a baptismal goal with them for five weeks out. I usually say something like:"Did you know you have a loving Father in Heaven? He is the father of our spirits. This is His Son, Jesus Christ. He came to Earth to be our Savior. In 1820, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and through him restored their gospel. This restoration of the gospel includes the restoration of important ordinances that allow us to have eternal families. Do you think tomorrow or the day after are more convenient that we can meet for twenty minutes and share about this? Have you heard of baptism? Baptism is an expression our love to God and that we are willing to follow Him. In return, He promises us special blessings. We are holding a baptismal service on ____. We would like to set a goal to help you prepare to be baptised on that date. We will share and if you believe it is true, are you willing to be baptised then?" If they set up, we put them on our APR (active progress report) and meet with them or keep calling them for a couple weeks if they don't come to their lesson. The deadstack is not a place, it is a stack of contact cards that have people's information but the person wouldn't set up a time to meet. Usually the people are mediocre in interest. However, someone I called from deadstack last movecall got baptised so it is worth calling through. I hope this is interesting to you.

I think missionary work in Taiwan is different than in a lot of places. We rarely tract - it's really pretty ineffective. We also find investigators through member referrals, and referrals from other missionaries (who are usually found on the street).

President Hoer had a missionary with programming experience spend a couple months creating a referral system for missionary phones that allows us to send referrals to each other in Taiwan, tracks how many times they have been called, etc. It is really great. President Hoer's business experience is a really great asset to the mission; he has implemented a lot of things that I can't imagine how other missions can function without. Like, how do other missions live without contact cards, baptismal planners, church address fliers, etc? I don't know. This is probably my most boring email ever, sorry.

Let's do a Tastes of Taiwan section. This week: Donguacha - Dongua tea. Dongua is translates to wintermelon my companion just told me. The first couple times I had it I didn't like it much, it is sort of brown sugar water. Then I loved it. It tastes a bit like graham crackers. An occassional treat is donguacha with milk and zhengju, which are pearls. They are chewy black balls that they put in drinks. They have special fat straws to suck up the pearls with. It takes a little adjusting to needing to "chew" bits of your drink, but it's really good. Some people think it's a bother; I like it. The pearls don't really have flavor, just sort of a chewy texture, softer than a gummybear but not sticky. They are made of rice gluten.

Okay, I'm sorry I'm so boring today, apparently there is no hope.

I love you all very much!
FML
Sister Johnson

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