Happy Monday! It is another beautiful day over here in Taizhong! This past week it has been pretty rainy--which we loved because it meant cooler weather! Luckily we were able to stay pretty dry most of the time too. The one time it was really pouring we pulled over to talk to some people under the overhang of a building and said a prayer together with them and it stopped raining! WOOT! They weren't interested in the gospel...yet! But it was a cool experience nonetheless. I am pretty much in love with my new area :). Sister Devictoria is the COOLEST! She has been a little down with a cold this past week, but that never stopped her. She is on the mend now too, so that is good. We just have so much fun together doing the work and she has such a desire to bring souls unto Christ that will endure. There is a lot of reactivating work to be done here and new investigator side of things is a bit down. But since we are both pretty new to the area we feel like we've been given a new start. So we are going to redo how missionary work has been done in this area! They haven't had a baptism in about five months too--we are definitely changing that as well. We know that as we work hard and are obedient and worthy, the Lord will bless us. We have already met some awesome people who we would love to prepare for baptism. We have also got some amazing ward missionaries here! They are way hard working and excited to see the work go forth. We can only be truly successful as missionaries when our members help us along the way! Member referrals are GOLD.
Some fun things that happened this week was that we had a little Dan Jones Night of our own last night! We parked our bikes and waited at an intersection for the light to turn red. Then we would take our BOM and bear our testimonies and invite people to pull over and talk to us. It was our first time doing something like that and it was really freaky at first. But we prayed and while it wasn't terribly successful at first, we started learning how best to do it and I think the next time we do it it will go even better. We had a few people say they would come to church...we'll see next Sunday how that goes! It really just helped us focus and pumped up to open our mouths to everyone and invite all to come unto Christ. We also had a lot of chocolate that day...maybe that had something to do with all the extra energy? :) Sister Devictoria has this HUGE tub of chocolate ice cream in our freezer... the Elders ordered it for us from like a factory or something. It is HUGE and DELICIOUS. Yep, we are going to have do some extra exercise while we are here. Lol.
We love our district so much :). We have an interesting district--one pair of Elders that now cover Dakeng/Beitun, one pair of Sisters (us) that cover Dakeng/Beitun and the office Elders! The office Elders are awesome :). Elder Hanick, who is an office Elder, is our district leader and is pretty great. We are excited to revitalize this area and see some success.
It feels a little like Sister Devictoria and I are restarting this area (as we are both pretty new). We have started finding some really great people. Sister Devictoria is super lihai and already knows the area really really well. We have been working to open our mouths and preach the gospel to everyone. We have been trying out many different finding methods since we need to rebuild the investigator pool. So far the most successful source of new investigators have been our received referrals! We are so grateful :). In our ward, our ward corrector wanted us to think of a missionary activity we could set up for the ward and we have come up with some fun and effective ideas. When I spent three days with the Yuanshan sisters last move call they held their mission activity and I learned a lot from them. There are some parts that went really well and some that were a bit rough. Having seen how it went I think Sister Devictoria and I are going to do a similar activity but adapted to our situation. So hopefully that will happen in the next several weeks. We really need to get our wards involved in the work!! The wards are full of great people, but they are still working on becoming unified and warm. Through service they can accomplish these goals so we are excited to help them along their way.
I loved meeting the Dakeng ward yesterday--they were so great! One of the areas we need to work on is getting our RCLAs to church. The same as my last area, there are many less actives in our wards. We visited one cute family the other day and I absolutely love them. But they absolutely loved us and Sister Devictoria had this great lesson on how every part of the gospel (reading the Book of Mormon daily, listening to the prophets, family prayer etc) are critical to protecting our families. They seemed to understand.
As for my gospel study, lately I have been restudying conference and I love it so much. Every time it just lifts me up. I reread Elder Uchtdorf's talk and I really liked how the last section is all about how we need to share the gospel with others. I am going to copy the Chinese version and drop off a few copies to some families in the ward as we meet them. Also this past Sunday I had such a good experience in Gospel Principles. I really felt spiritually fed and found some areas that I can improve in. The lesson was on the Second Coming and that is not a topic I have been thinking much about. But I was reminded how important it really is--because we need to prepare for it. Preaching the gospel to all is a part of that--a very important part. I felt God's love for me and how much He needs me to help do His work in these Latter Days. It renewed my testimony.
Well, all for now but Sister Devictoria and I are going to have a great week and we are soo excited to see the blessings the Lord has in store for us!
Sister Brooke Smith