Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chinese Memorial Day

Today we had a special activity. We went and helped clean graves for the Chinese memorial day. On this day the people Clean Graves (Sao Mu) worhsip (bai bai)and give food and money to their deceased ancestors. My conpanion and I cleaned up a whole area of the cemetary: swept the walks, pulled weeds, and cleaned the grave sites of those who don't have decendants. It was a fun service. The press came out and got some of it. We actually made a difference, it looked a lot better.

My companion and live at the mission storage appartment. We stay upstairs and the storage area is below on ground level. We have a big garage door for our front door, it's cool. I feel like we are leaving a base or something every time we head out. Since coming to TaiZhong, we haven't taken time on our preparation day to go grocery shopping so we have been eating oatmeal every morning. For our other meals we buy bian dangs on the street--they are a box lunch with rice, meat, and veggies. They cost less than $1.50 US and we can eat until we are full. It is a quick and convenient way to go.

I thought you might like to hear some rejections missionaries hear when going tracting:

No free time - - Mei3 you3 kong4
I'm busy - - Zai4 Mang2
I don't need it - - Bu4 xu2 yao4
I don't have use (for it)"--basically means no thanks - - Bu2 Yong4
Sometimes people invite us back to be nice but give us a fake number

The truth is none of these are good excuseses to avoid hearing the gospel; the good news!

There are many times I feel directed/prompted to do something and I get the distict impression that it is in answer to my prayers, and the prayers offered by family and friends back home. (it is sometimes a spiritual boost in the middle of the day, a prompting to talk to someone, a witness that something I read is true, and so on.)Thanks for your prayers in my behalf. I love you all so very much. Please keep the prayers coming and I'll keep praying for you too.

This week, we found out our baptismal candidate was already a member! I'm not sure what to think--I am happy he is a member though.

Currently we have an investigator named Brother Lai. He is in the Army--he is a big, strong guy, with a tender heart and a willingness to believe. We call to give him reminders and to follow-up like we do with our other investigators, but he is self motivated in coming to church, reading scriptures, and praying. (Missionaries call those behaviors "The Big Three" or "CPR"-Church attendance, Prayer, and Reading the scriptures.) I know if a person does these three things, God will direct their lives in the ways of righteousness. It is so easy to tell if an investigator has been reading and praying because they understand the doctrine. If they don't, they get confused about the simplest things pertaining to their salvation.

Thank you for the Conference Updates. I'm really excited. It seems as though the focus was families and parenthood--I think that's really good. In my last area there was a family that was previously really strong in the gospel, but all their children have fallen away from the church. We visited them a few times and they told us how proud they are of the freedom they gave their children. They did't set rules or teach them the gospel because they felt their children should learn things for themselves. I don't believe God ordained families so children could learn for themselves. I think parents have the responsibility to teach their children the gospel and show them the paths of truth. There is an eternal purpose to life and I'm happy that as a child I was directed down those paths of righteousness.

The church is true. I love you all, Elder Harris
posted by his mother