Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinkytown: Week 15: "Through the Gate, and the Road is Bright Before Us"

Through the gate of trials and difficulties (prepping for baptism and being baptized) and the road is bright before us! (we are having quite balmy weather these days, its like spring all over! 32-38F) yay! simply like one or two degrees C above freezing. haha But it is beautifully sunny here in the MMM!
I guess I am just excited to compare that blog title to our super awesome investigator Anrew Li's (Li Zhu) experience.
AL is our date set for February 1st. He is so, stinking awesome! Andrew is from all over China. He was born in HeBei, moved to Xi'An, and then Guangzhou, and then lived in Beijing for eight years. He lived and studied in Frankfurt, Germany for 4 months, lived in Japan for a little bit, and is now finishing his PHD degree in Astrophysics at the U. He LOVES nature (and the stars of course), but also loves the busy, lively lifestyle of the cities, and thus, he gets sick of Minnesota at times. We have been teaching Andrew steadly twice every week for the past 3 weeks. He was contacted by the Elders (Elder Meguro and Elder Lee) on campus, and then passed on to us because he is Chinese- oh we are oh so lucky to have had the chance to teach him. When Andrew first met with the Elders, he did not believe in God. He believed in a higher power, but would not call him god. He has changed so much within this short month!
I know Heavenly Father is blessing us with a strong Chinese investigator after all our other date sets have been a little flaky. I know the Lord is preparing him to become a strong member to help build up the ward here.
He was originally a date set for February 8th, but after much praying and consideration, we feel that he is totally ready for the first. We asked him about it this past week. He agrees as well and is super excited about it.
Andrew has been growing and changing so much, and so well, because he is the most obedient investigator ever. He LOVES the Book of Mormon. He reads at least 5-8 chapters everytime we meet with him. He highlights, asks questions, and shares favorite verses with us everytime! We are always very excited to meet with him because WE learn so much from him! He attends church every week and loves it. He prays every night asking God what he can change to become better. He said in one of our prayers with us that he hopes that he can repent everyday for the rest of his life so that he can become a better person each and everyday. Our last lesson with him was finishing up the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End). At the end of the lesson, he prayed and thanked God for blessing him with a companion so that he will never have to be alone. He also prayed and told God that he can finally see the gate (for baptism). He said that the gate has become very clear to him and that the path past the gate is as bright as ever. We are so lucky to be learning from and with Andrew. I hope that you can all meet him someday. He said that he has been to Taiwan before. He went to TaiChung but just for meetings, so he didn't get to see much. I also told him that he should go to Hawaii, because he loves hiking and nature, and stars and the beauty of the world.
Other than us being super excited about Andrew, I just wanted to tell you all that Sister Smith and I are doing so great! I love the heck out of her. We are so similar, and yet so different and we have been helping each other grow in so many aspects. One of our favorite things to do together is to cook! And we love healthy food, so we always make delicous food together in the little institute kitchen that we love oh so dearly. I just can't wait for her to come to Taiwan and to try out all the foods there!
I don't think I ever told you all this, but Sister Smith went to BYU Jerusalem for a semester before her mission. And she volunteered in Ecuador after she graduated high school. She tells me stories about that place all the time and it just kills me, because I want to go oh so bad as well! She pushes me to go, but Oh, i would never be able to finish school if i ever did. haha! She studied and learned so many things about Judaism and the Bible. I wished I was as knowledgeable as she is with the Bible. I love hearing all her insights about it though.
Fam, I am doing so well! The mission is hard, but it is so worth it!
Mom and Cynthia, thank you so much for sharing with me all your experiences with missionary work. You are all such stellar missionaries. Continue to "sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you..." (1 Peter3:15)
There is something different about us, those with the Gospel. It is because we are followers of Christ, and we understand our purpose here on earth. People really DO see the light and hope in you. They will come and ask why it is that you have that light and glow about you. Be prepared to share with all your testimonies. Go the extra mile to teach and to diligently share this light with all those around us. Let us all not shrink from that, because imagine our guilt at the end of this life, when we will come to realize that we didn't do all that we could to share the joy that we found in this life with all our beloved families and friends around us. I know that I definitely wasn't always courageous to do that before the mission, but try! and that's all the Lord expects of us, for us to try our best!
I love you all so stinkin' much. Pray for you all errday and errnight!
Can't wait to hear back from ALL OF YOU AGAIN NEXT MONDAY.
Thanks so much for writing. seriously. it means the WORLD to me.
Love love love,
Sister Pao

Christmas Day!
Christmas Nativity haha
Check out our awesome, card-tastic door behind us!
Goodbye to Sister and Elder Gardner. See you laters actually because they'll be back in Utah! -that's if they don't head out on another mission! ;)

Funny txt messages. Only in Minnesota. From president.

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