Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Baptism & A Bike Crash (posted by mom)

Saturday was Bro. Lin’s baptism. It was a special one! We look forward to see Brother Lin receive the Priesthood, receive callings, and be molded into the person that God wants him to be. He has changed so much over the past few months. He is kinder with his family and with others. The first time I met Bro. Lin, he wasn't even willing to say a word to me. So we prayed. After we were able to meet with him we wouldn’t even let us discuss baptism. So we prayed. The change has been slow. We hoped we would one day see him baptized, and on Saturday we did!! His less active son came--he was a really nice guy. We are so excited for them and for their potential to be an eternal family in a year!! I think only God knows the full extent of this miracle. It was fun to see the end and the beginning--BAPTISM! President Bishop and his family came to see it! It was a special thing.

This week we went on exchanges with the assistants! That's always fun. It's nice to leave an exchange feeling uplifted and strengthened. The only bad thing that happened was the assistant and I wrecked with each other on our bikes...haha. It was actually amazing that no one got hurt. We were going really fast on this road to visit an investigator when we came to a yellow light--I figured that no one else would make it through the light so I slowed down and headed toward the closest person to contact them. The assistant looked behind him to see if my companion was going to go through or not. Therefore He didn't see me slow down and slammed the back of me. I looked behind me to see his face about 2 feet away from mine and hovering in the air. The only casualty was the box on the back of my bike. No one was even scratched... I think it makes a good story.

On Thursday we got to go to ZhangHwa to see an old Buddhist Temple and other sights with the mission. On Sunday our district leader was called to be the new mission recorder. So now our companionship has three people now. I am the Sr. companion and the district leader. I am responsible for the missionary work in the entire county of Yunlin!!!! wow! We are excited for this power filled week.

I was amazed that we were still able to get 30 sit downs this week even since we were gone for one whole day on the 23. It's interesting how the blessings come--they come at the best time and in the best way. We have a goal this week to add 100 investigators. It is a good thing that we have an extra companion and Zone leader exchanges this week!

Right now we are focusing on a Wang family--the father is a Police officer so it's hard for him to make it to church. We are also focusing on a Brother Li --a former atheist who prayed for a really long time and now believes in God. He enjoyed himself at church, and we believe he looks really good for his Week C goal. Others include a Brother Yuan, who is trying to help his parents have a better understanding of the Church, and the Brother Chen who still believes everything, but hesitant to act on it.

Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Going to be a White Christmas (posted by mom)

It's going to be a white Christmas in Douliu--and one Christmas from now, it will be even whiter when the Lin family goes to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity!!

Brother Lin is going to be baptized on Christmas day! We are really excited for him. It's going to be a day to remember! His story has been pretty epic--It involves twenty plus years of his wife fasting, praying, and believing. It involves his son going on a mission. It involves an Area 70 president. It involves the Taiwan Temple president. It also involves a caring mission president and about 5 elders who know him, pray and fast for him, and helped pave the way. It involves family back home praying and believing and encouraging. I am so excited for him and his family. He has one less active son who was invited to attend. My companion and I fasted and prayed that he will come.

I love saying "Merry Christmas!" to everyone on the street. It always gets a good reaction since the holiday is not celebrated nationally. My companion and I have organized a small activity on Dec 24. We are going Christmas caroling with ward members and investigators at the train station. The ward is really excited about it--I am too! The ward is having an activity on Christmas morning--grilling sweet potatoes and playing with each other.

Right now we are teaching a Bro. Yuan, he is a teenager who has a really big testimony. His dad came to church with him this past Sunday. His parents want him to wait to be baptized, but we are praying and planning to help them work through this so he can be baptized as quickly as possible.

Thank you to everyone who sent me a Christmas card, letter, or gift. The Ward/stake has sent 3-4 things that have brightened my day. Grandparents have each sent Christmas greetings that we are very grateful for!!

This past week I learned 50 characters each day. It is a goal that is making me stretch, but I've found that in one week doing this I feel that I've unlocked a little bit of the language. I don't feel so much like I live in a box. I can start to read things a little. I can definitely find my way to the chapter and verse of scripture I want to use without referring to the English version (at least most of the time.)

I love each of you so much. I'm so grateful that Jesus Christ, the Creator of our universe was willing to condescend below us all to be born in a stable. I'm so grateful that he allowed his entire life to be used for the purpose of Preaching the Gospel and preparing the way for everyone else to follow. I'm grateful that he took upon himself our pains, weaknesses, and sin so that we could be healed and reconciled to the father. I know he is lives. I know his restored gospel is true.

Love, Elder Spencer Harris

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Priesthood Blessing, and Protecting the Culture of Mankind (posted by mom)

I got to give my first priesthood blessing in Chinese this week. We had a sick brother who asked us for a blessing, so we gave him one. When it came down to it, the spirit calmed my nerves and the words flowed. I'm so grateful for a God who we can rely on.

An interesting situation: There is a foreigner in our area who is absolutely sure we are destroying the culture here. He is very clear at letting us know how he feels. In reality it is smoking, drinking, sabbath day violation, pornography, and the downplay of the family that are destroying the culture of the entire human family. It is that universal culture we are trying to protect.

This week we had a 2 day training in Gaoxiong. It was great. I felt a lot more confident this time than I have in the past. Me and another elder had to travel farther than anyone else to attend. As we got on the train, after the first day, we thought to ourselves, by the time we get home, it will already be way past the time for bed and we'd need to get up early to travel back. So we made a call and got permission to sleep over. On our walk from the train station to the Sanmingqu elder's apartment we talked to everyone we met, we called our investigators, and sat down with a homeless man. It was a much better use of our time. All in all, we had a great experience at the training. We learned and practiced a lot. I also got to see some former companions and friends.

I know this church is true! Scattered Israel is being gathered in! I know Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer!

I'm grateful for your prayers and love! Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Change of Heart (posted by mom)

We are loving it out here in Douliu. My new is from Hawaii and he is a midshipman from the Naval academy. He is a million dollar missionary. We work well together and he has a strong self-will and determination.

I want to tell you about a special experience I had just yesterday night. We went to go visit our beloved Chen baba who we have not been able to get a hold of for a long time now. He was really "buhao yisi" (embarrased) because he had made a decision that he didn't want to change or join the church. We expressed our love for him and re-taught some things that he had forgotten. We found that he had not been reading and praying recently.

I felt inspired to share two passages of scripture that were focused on his concerns. Then my companion pulled out a picture of his family and told Chen baba, with tear filled eyes and a sob in his throat, about how his dad was converted at the age of 19. He told of how the thing he most appreciates of his dad was his decision to join the church. I'm so grateful for this experience. Even if I would have found a scripture that was personally addressed to this Brother Chen, it wouldn't have had the same effect or spirit that was felt in those sacred moments of my companion's testimony. I felt the spirit and believe Chen baba's heart was softened.

Love you all --Elder Spencer Harris