|Just keep smiling, just keep smiling, just keep smiling:)|
|The bugs really like me, just like they liked my mom on her mission!!!|
GOD LOVES HIS KIDS.
So... when I went to the MTC my teacher gave me a name. That name is Gu古. I never questioned it, I never thought much of it... until recently. I realized that everyone else's names are translations of their names. But Gu doesn't exactly sound like Giles... so I began to wonder why this was my name. Then when we were out contacting last night I was talking to a woman about Chinese characters (because I'm still trying to figure out what the heck they mean) and she talked to me about my character. Guess what my character is? It's a cross over a box. Guess what crosses symbolize in Chinese characters? THE NUMBER 10. As I realized this, I got a little emotional. For those of you who don't know, my jersey number in soccer was number 10.
This was a huge blessing because lately I've felt like I've kind of forgotten who I am. I had forgotten about the things I did before my mission. My talents. My abilities. My strengths. My interests. It sounds a little crazy but that's really what was happening. Then as I had this little moment of clarity about my name, I felt the Spirit whisper to me, "You're still my number 10 Mads." I was so overcome with joy and peace and just... yes. haha I am playing on a different team now, but I've still got a big role to play.
Another cool thing I realized about my name, is that it is a representation of our Savior. The top is a cross to remind me of His atoning sacrifice. Then the bottom is his empty tomb. He is Risen. I loved this when I saw it. I know the church is true!! :) haha
Funny thing that happened this week!
So our next door neighbor is our best friend. She and her daughter are also our investigators. Mom is super catholic, but she's slowly opening up to the Book of Mormon! YAY!! Also, Chen Su Mei (daughter) has cancer. She's really not doing well. But I know that the Lord has been preparing them to hear this message. Our Branch President came and helped us peike their lesson. They just love him. haha Then when we were at our Missionary coordination meeting, I was talking about Chen JM and Chen SU Mei and I expressed how their biggest concern is coming to church because they have their own church that they go to. Then our Branch President explained that our neighbor is like the branch president of this catholic church... hahahaha. So... we're probably just going to convert this whole catholic sector. yay! :)
The power of a smile.
So... this picture is very significant for many reasons, but for starters this is a Momenjing. I've heard about them, but I had never actually seen one! Then we went over to our LA's (less active's) house to visit and as she was reading with us it sounded a little funny, I asked if I could see her book and voila! This book is at least 40 years old. So we very lovingly offered her the newer translation :) haha
To go from the beginning, we went to visit this woman's daughter and she wasn't home, but I really had to go to the bathroom, so I asked if I could use their toilet. When I got out, we asked if we could just read some scriptures and pray with them. The two sons said they didn't want to and left the room. The mom looked like she was about to leave too, but she said it was ok. So we pulled out our activity that we were going to do with Qiu Cun Cun (her daughter) and did it with her. She was surprisingly very interested in reading! We had a pretty good visit and left.
As we were reporting to our Branch Presidentabout our week, I brought up this family. (They have the same name as my RC (recent convert)back in Zhubei :) yay!) Up until this week, I didn't know that the mom was a member. We had always gone to visit her daughter. As it turns out, all four of their kids have been baptized! President Hou said that the mom doesn't usually let people in and that she's pretty grumpy. He asked how we got in to the house. I just shrugged my shoulders and smiled. He said "That's why! It is your smile!" haha He then proceeded to tell our Elders that what they need to do to improve is smile like the Sisters. haha
|This is the Momenjing.|
While this experience is pretty funny, I have really learned the value of a smile on my mission. I testify that God smiles and we should too. When I first got to Taiwan I remember just riding through the streets and smiling. I had no idea what to say to people, but I knew I could smile and wave at everyone. I testify that the little things will bring about great change in the lives of others. I don't know where this familie's story will go from here, but I know that we won't give up.