Missionary Friend Letter: Miracles in the Mission Field
11 March 2009
Here's the letter I owe you. My mission president only allows 30 minutes to email both him and family, so a letter it is.
First things first, how are all of you doing? Hopefully the language is coming along--you'll certainly need it. But anyway, on to the part you care about.
Right after we got picked up at the airport, they took us straight to the Bronx to street contact for 2 hours. Let me tell you, street contact role playing in the MTC is fake. It's hard. (Especially in Chinese, but more on that later.) Afterwards we went back to the mission home to enjoy the night.
The next day I met my trainer and get my area assignment: Manhattan Chinatown (Tang ren jie)--no surprise there. What was a surprise is the fact that my trainer has an English speaking calling, and no, he's not Chinese either. Turns out, a year ago, he served three move periods in Tangrenjie, but he's forgotten a bit. His Chinese is probably on par with mine or a little less. So much for your trainer bailing you out!!
Next, I find out we're whitewashing the area. This means your companionship is completely replacing the companionship in the area, so to figure out what's going on, you need to rely on the area book. Too bad they haven't updated it in two months. (Let this be a lesson--keep a good area book!)
But enough horror stories. On to the miracles! Miracle #1: Somehow we live on $20 a week without members ever feeding us. Talk about feeding the five thousand. Miracle #2: the Lord always provides a way for you to succeed, no matter what level you're at. We managed to get a pretty awesome baptismal commitment for the 22nd, who's already invited a friend to be baptized with her haha. Miracle #3: we have been able to teach despite a crippling inadequacy with the language. It's almost like God has already gven them what they need, because we sure didn't say it well. But yes, this is truly His work, and fun too (though Tiring)!
Just some quick advice to finish off. When street contacting, don't waste time introducing yourself as a missionary. Jump right in, ask them if you can ask a question, and then give them a question of the soul. Otherwise, you'll probably get a "Mei you kong" or "mei you shijian" or maybe a "wo xin Fo", actually you probably still will most of the time haha. Along the same vein, try to practice street contacting there @ the MTC because out here, you contact alone, no trainer to back you up.
Also, really work on specific commitments that target why. Your lesson should be focused on explaining that, and especially your promised blessings. Explain why they would want to follow God, how they can specifically apply it, and alleviate potential, often real, but unvoiced concerns. For example, if you want them to come to church, explain that church is really a big family, and we go there to strengthen each other and be strengthened. Tell them there's a place for everyone, children included. Show them around and explain things to them. Have them write down the commitment, so they remember and solidify it. If they're not keeping commitments, then you are not fulfilling your purpose (some cases really cannot be helped though).
In all things, remember that you are a representative of the Lord, and carry all the power, authority and responsibility that such a calling entails. Act and speak as if you were the Savior and the miracles will never cease.
Love ya all,
P.S. I can say "guys" now! Envy me.
P.S.S. Taiwanese accent is awesome. Try dealing with like 10 different ones.