Sunday, March 27, 2011

Two Baptisms and a New Companion

I'm loving life on this side of the world. It truly is a lot of fun. The heat is returning, it's time to turn on the fans and air conditioning.

We had two baptisms this past week! Both went well. Brother Li, a special guy we have been teaching and an older man Brother Liu, whose wife is a member (he is older and was worried about bending back in the water. He brought a small stool that he sat on first then slowly went back--all went well).

When people accept the invitation to be baptized, I see them as a bishop, full of the spirit, accompanied by their family--all having the same eternal goal--, Eternal Life. In leadership training President Chen spoke about the importance of envisioning our recent converts as leaders in the church. This made me realize I need to teach more in depth doctrines like fasting, sacrifice, service, pondering, missionary work, and others that usually get left behind.

We have been blessed with a lot of baptisms lately. I think it is a new season in GangShan. Today we bought some simple stationary that we will use to invite our recent converts to record their testimonies.

We have a really neat investigator right now named Brother Wu. He is so prepared. He came to church this week wearing a suit!! He is also comes to church activities and tries to get to know the members. His wife is Christian and she lives in China; she will be coming here next month and plans are set to share the gospel with her. ETERNAL FAMILY here we come!!

My new short-term missionary companion is great! He is humble, and he has a lot of desire. He said he wants to baptize 10 or more people this move call! WOW....we better get moving.

Currently we are focusing on member referrals. These past two move calls a lot of our success came from working with member's family members. As a part of our finding plan we are going to visit less-actives in our ward and try to meet their families. We are striving to ask everyone for referrals. We are hoping that through this method we can find those people who are willing to progress quickly. Hopefully we can find those families whom the Lord is preparing to hear the gospel or are prepared to come back into the fold.

(Written to his mission president) I am happy to serve in whatever capacity the Lord would have me serve in. At the beginning of my mission, I was more desirous of leadership positions, but now I can honestly say that I know God's plan has always been the best plan. When I came to GangShan we had hardly any investigators, and we really struggled for those first few weeks. However, through our experiences I learned that the mere chance to wake up every day and put on a name tag is enough reason to rejoice. So, I am grateful to serve wherever is needed. I’ll fulfill my commission the best I can. I love being a missionary and wearing the name of Christ.

God is great! Love, Elder Spencer Harris

Sunday, March 13, 2011

God's Loving Kindness (posted by mom)

This past week we had a fun district training meeting where we each had a chance to share an instance when the Spirit directed our work. It was neat, we practiced testifying afterward. I think as a missionary, we get in the mode where we assume we are testifying, but in the end we just talk. We practiced saying phrases like, "I know this because..." and "By the power of the Holy Ghost I know..." Then as we testified, we tried to really process what we were saying and give meaning behind the words. I enjoyed it. I know the spirit is key to this work.

District Training Meeting, brought out the fact that when we consistently strive to do the things God would want us to do, we are directed and our efforts are magnified. In all the stories shared, we were just doing what we felt we should do, and only after the miracle happened did we realize we had been directed. I know this is true--Do what you should do, and be where you should be and then the miracles will happen.

We had a Zone activity today. It was a lot of fun. We went to lotus lake...I've been there before. It is a place with a big dragon and tiger and two tall pagodas on a lake. Afterward we went to a Stake Center. It was fun to be around other missionaries and rub shoulders with the greats. Everyone is great!

I'm learning a lot about what God means when he says "loving kindness and long-suffering toward the children of men". We currently have some people we are working with who have some special needs. They require endless kindness and a lot of patience. But they are children of God too.

Keep being awesome!
Elder Spencer Harris

ps: In answer to your questions, we didn't feel the earthquake and Taiwan seemed pretty unaffected.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Gospel Changes Lives (posted by mom)

It was a great week. It is so exciting to see the change that comes into people's lives when they accept the gospel.

Our new member Brother Zhuang came up to me after church and said when can I meet with you this week. Those words were written in heaven!! It is wonderful to see the excitement he has to be taught the gospel.

Another new member brother Chen, has to work sometimes on Sundays, but he has been able to attend church for five consecutive weeks: 1) confirmation, 2) regular meetings, 3) stake conference, 4) regular meetings, and 5) priesthood ordination. His Book of Mormon is marked up and has many tabs marking his favorite parts!

Also Gao Jiemei is helping her husband come into the fold. Her husband is older and is worried about the process of baptism (bending back to be immersed.) So the current plan is go go to a swimming pool where it will be a lot easier to be immersed in the water. I'm really excited for him and for their family.

This ward is so good. There is no pride in this ward as far as I have been able to tell. Everyone stands fast in the work wherewith they have been appointed. The Ward Mission leader has a lot of ban fa (anything is possible attitude) --he always helps us think of the possibilities!

That is about it for me this week. It was a full week. One training and two exchanges. Our Zone is really unified right now. The Zone leaders have given us some fun invitations and helped us strech ourselves. We have a goal for 30 baptisms this month! They asked us to teach 6000 other lessons on the street this past week. It was fun to recognize that there is always the possibility to do more!

The church is true. I love you all.
Elder Spencer Harris