Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 74, in which I am absolutely FREEZING COLD, and in which we find Bilbo Baggins.

Clarification: it is only when I go indoors that I'm freezing cold. Outside is lovely, like Virginia in early May (all you need is a light jacket! name that movie). But for some reason the Chinese people like to crank up the air conditioning to the point that I can barely move my fingers and I almost feel like not typing this email. But I'll endure.

T-shirt of the week! I think it might be for a good cause, but I can't be sure. "Rocku, Keogae, Jazz, Rock acanst ranism." 

We've had some rough moments this week. Sister N, who was planning to get baptized in January, cancelled her lesson last week, didn't come to church on Sunday, and isn't answering the phone. We're not sure what is going on, and we're really worried about her. But Sister M and I both feel like God is taking care of things. I'm so grateful for him. Sometimes when you care about someone, you want to just be with them all the time, helping them and keeping them safe and happy, but you can't do that. That won't really help them in the long run anyways. So we're just doing our best to trust the Lord with it, and things will work out.

Do you remember H, the Filipina sister that was baptized in Macau? I talked to her on the phone this week! She is working in Hong Kong now, and she's still going to church and reading the Book of Mormon every day--I'm so proud of her!

Sister M and I taught English class on Friday, and it was so fun! Our topic was "Breaking News!" and we taught all about what the news is like in America. Then we broke off into groups and each came up with our own news report, which we then shared with the rest of the class. It was so funny, and our news stories ranged from deathly typhoons to Justin Beiber in McDonalds fighting over a Big Mac to an escaped convict who used a spoon to dig himself out of prison just so that he could steal a Book of Mormon (he didn't realize that missionaries give them away for free). 

I met Sister L's mom yesterday! She is here visiting family, and when she walked into the church, she gave me the biggest hug! It was almost as good as having MY mom walk into the church! She's such a sweetheart. When she left, she said, "See you in Canada!" I guess I'll have to get up there someday.

Miracle! We were wandering through one of the villages near the church the other day, knocking on doors and evading dangerous bees and barking dogs, when we happened upon the Burrow. Or Bilbo's Hobbit Hole. Well, not quite, no round door, and it's not in the side of a hill. But it is the cutest little cottage I've ever seen. It is surrounded by flowers, and on one side is the most beautiful tree with fantastic branches that embrace this whole house and create a little canopy under which one can sit and, say, teach the gospel. We knocked on the door, and who should come out but the cutest, old man with a gap in his teeth and the sweetest smile. Brother J really is the Chinese version of Bilbo. He's 72, divorced, and lives by himself. He traverses the countryside with his pack and stick, and he chuckles in the most hobbit-like way, I can't get over it. He was so willing to sit down with us under his canopy, and he listened so intently as we taught about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. He was so grateful when we gave him his own copy of the Book of Mormon, and tried to pay us $100 for it. We said no, obviously. 

The next time we visited, we brought one of our members, and they are already the best of friends. Brother J is so humble, he kept saying that he didn't know why God would send so many wonderful people into this poor village to find a lonely, little man like him. He then said, "Many years ago, as I was lying in bed one night, I thought to myself, 'I'd really like a Book of Mormon.' I didn't really know much about it back then, but I never tried to get one. And now God has sent one to me!" I almost cried as he was saying that. I still don't understand why I'm so blessed to witness miracles like this. Heavenly Father's plan for his children is so absolutely perfect, beyond comprehension, and yet so simple. I need to be needed, to share my beliefs, to feel useful, and Brother J needs a Book of Mormon and someone to tell him he's a child of God. So God sends us to him, two birds with one stone. I'm blown away sometimes. You'd think after being a missionary for so long I'd just get used to miracles. But I still can't get over it! And I don't ever want to get over it. Heavenly Father lives! He loves us! I don't know much, but this much I know.

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