I'm running out of ideas for how to describe my weeks. I could say they were fabulous or wonderful or fantastic, but I feel like I've already used those ones. Have I used remarkable yet? Probably not. I'll go with that. This week was remarkable.
I guess I'll start by saying that the weather is finally getting cold up here. I've had to start wearing a jacket, and this week has been super rainy. It's common knowledge that Asian people will actually melt in the rain, and so if it even looks like or sounds like or tastes like rain, most of them will either run for the indoors or bundle up in huge coats that make them resemble a volleyball with legs. I love it.
Elder Stowell is still as studly as ever. Yah.
David is doing great, and he's still looking good to be baptized next Sunday after church. After his interview on Sunday, Elder Stowell asked him "did you pass?". He kind of put on a confused expression and said "Seems like it." Then he looked at the elder who did his interview for a confirmation. Luckily Elder Shu confirmed that he did indeed pass, and we had fun celebrating afterward :) So he's doing amazing.
Lu Feng (one of the members) brought a large bunch of people to church this week, and they were all really cool. We met with one named Crity (I know, the name is a little funny, Asians pick funny English names) and wow, this lesson went well. The beginning of the lesson was a little messy because we change topics from the restoration to the plan of salvation on a whim, and we really just felt like we were confusing her, but then it got cool. She didn't understand the atonement, so we invited her to read the section about the atonement in the pamphlet. She did, and about halfway through, she started crying. Legitimately. Like, really hard. I was honestly amazed, because I felt like we hadn't done that much, but the spirit really touched her that day. It was amazing.
The Zhu family is still doing wonderful. We sat down this week and said "Alright, we're going to talk about a commandment called the Sabbath day." They didn't know what that was, but as soon as we said it's a commandment about what we don't do on Sunday, Sister Zhu just blurted out "Oh, right, so we don't go shopping, we don't work, we go to church, and spend time with our family, right?" My first thought was "Wow, they know it all" and my second thought was "darn, there goes our lesson".
It turned out well though, and they all said that want to make going to church a consistent habit. Also, they're going to start doing family scripture study. Brother Zhu was talking about how he wants to start doing that, and his exact words (translated) were "Ya, I was thinking we could start small, like maybe doing just a half hour each night or something." I almost laughed. I don't even know if every member does that! They're so fun.
Vivian is still great. No change really. She goes to institute every week. Elder Stowell and I keep dreaming that we're going to share some concept or some scripture in a lesson with her and some switch will flip and she'll decide that baptism is right for her. Haven't found it yet though.
We're still looking.
We're meeting with quite a few other investigators, but those are the ones who are really on fire.
One day this week, Elder Stowell and I were a little bit discouraged because we hadn't had a lot of success that day (I think it was Thursday) and we really wanted to find someone cool. We only had like 20 minutes left before we had to head in, and so we decided to just walk around the bottom of our apartment on busy Yonge Street. Usually contacting here is hard because everyone is really busy and even though there's tons of people it's hard to get them to stop. However, we really felt good about it, and in those couple of minutes, we found a Chinese guy on a park bench who wants to hear about the gospel. His name is Ted, and we probably talked with him for 10 minutes or so. He's super cool.
Also, miracle happened as we sat down at the library to write our emails. We sat down, and then I realized that across the table from us is Linda, that christian Chinese lady I talked about a few times. We said hi, and she seems to be doing well now, but she's been having a bit of a crisis with work lately. Keep her in your prayers, alright? I just hope she takes this encounter as a sign that she needs to meet with us more.
Life's going well here. No complaints. I keep praying that I'll get to train a new missionary next transfer. During one of the conference sessions, a choir from the MTC did the hymns, and in the front row there was a missionary with a mandarin tag on. Every time we saw him I would turn to Elder Stowell and say "There he is. My future son." It was actually super funny, because he got a ton of camera time. I took it as a sign.
Also, I loved conference. I'm sure every missionary in the world is sending home updates about conference, so I'll just keep it simple. I always love Elder Hollands talks, and this year was no different. Frankly, I've been really unimpressed by the church members interest in home teaching. I guess I don't know the situation around the whole world, but my impression is that it's become a joke in the church. It's common knowledge that no one does it, and so everyone can sheepishly laugh whenever it's brought up in a meeting because they know that their neighbor didn't do it either. I'll tell you all right now that I will always do my home teaching, because I've seen that program work miracles. I just worry that members sometimes don't care enough about being part of miracles to start visiting. I remember as a younger man complaining when my dad would drag me to these appointments. For that I'm sorry. Truly, I am, and from now on you will never hear me complain about a home teaching assignment.
I also really loved Carl Cook's talk, but frankly, I would have to say that my absolute favorite was Dallin H. Oaks talking about missionary work. "I guess today we would say "loose their thumbs." Go to it youth!" Definitely my favorite quote