Editors Note: Sorry for the delay in posting this. I have been in China where I do not have access to Natalie's blog.
Hey, dearest Mom, Faj, Kai, Niels, Finn and Lars.
I can't WAIT to see you guys. You guys all looked so cool in your camping pictures. I want to go camping. What fun stuff are we doing this summer? Lars, you looked so awesome with your pocket square. Seriously, you guys, are the classiest, coolest little brothers.
Our investigators are doing good. But, our investigators are few, so we are really trying to be good finders and get more investigators. We have two new converts who are like 17 and 15 and we've recently been meeting with their older sister and their mom. Usually separately. The sister came to all of church yesterday and liked it. She's been really influenced by seeing her sisters pray and she wants to try it out. She is curious about whether this is all true. I think it's so cool that peope really do wonder if all of this is true or not, and that they can test it out and try it out and know that it is all true. All of it. It's so cool. We are so blessed and lucky to have the truth and to know the truth. Anyway, we went over to their house the other night and just read the book of mormon together with the two convert daughters and the mom. We would just take turns reading (Faj, I carry around my chinese book of mormon and a little english one in case I have to look stuff up. So when I read outloud, I read from the Chinese one. There are still a bunch of characters I don't know, but sometimes I get through whole verses without needing any help. Yay, becoming a little literate! But, writing, not as good. There's a few I know, but when I write letters, I usually need to look a bunch up.) Anyway, we took turns reading and discussing the things we read. The sister has been stuck on 1 ne chapter 2, so we read that together. It was the first time they had all ever read the scriptures together, and they loved it. They were like, "Whoa! We're already on chapter 3!" And then we all discussed what we learned and we all learned different things; one learned about prayer, one about faith, and one about the importance of keeping the commandments. I feel like the book of mormon and the Spirit totally did all the teaching. It was cool. Also, there really is power in the family. I have definitely taken that for granted - having a strong family that does spiritual activities together. Honestly, what a huge blessing. I testify that the peace and contentment we feel from the gospel is impossible to find in outside sources.
On Tuesday, we visited the precious Ma's. They're doing so good, but keep them in your prayers, okay? Their parents and grandparents are extremely supportive, but they're still just kids, coming to church on their own and we want them to get really solid testimonies. We taught the ten commandments. When we taught about the sabbath day, we had the littlest one do an activity where we made him run all around. He was so tired and panting afterwards. Oh, I love him so much. On Saturday, we stopped by their house, and the kids and grandparents were there. The grandpa was cute - kept talking a lot and the boys were cracking up a little in the background. But, the grandpa kept thanking us and said he's wanted his grandchildren to become Christians for a long time. I invited him to come to church again, and he was like, "I'll come! To the doorway to drop my kids off." We all started cracking up. Ah, their whole family is so good; I believe in the future, they'll get baptized.
This week, me and Sister Evans spent a day plus in Yuli on exchanges with the sisters. Me and Sister Wu (I love her! I tried on all her clothes and took a skirt home with me and ate a ton of her chocolate - ha! she's the best!) spent the day in Rui Shui. There is NO ONE there. Haha. Sister Wu and her companion are the first sisters to ever serve there. It's like a little country town with a couple mental hospitals. So everyone either works at the hospitals or are farmers. We rented bikes in Rui Shui (because we took the train there). Mine had tiny tires and hers had no gears, so we just biked really slowly around to visit 2 less-actives and one really stalwart member. It was really fun. Oh, we did have a sort of lesson with this guy. We contacted this woman outside her house, and she let us in, but she wasn't interested in even talking to us. (I guess everyone there just lets you in their house.) She watched TV and her 30 something year old son was half playing the computer/half talking to us. He had met with missionaries before, but thought not being able to drink tea was too hard. It was awesome, because for some reason I was just really bold with him and told him like it is. I told him he was relying on his own strength and not on God's. And lightly got after him for paying more attention to the computer than to me and he laughed and listened a little better after that.
This week, I also went on exchanges to hualian with sister parker (we live together, and have practically the same area). It was great fun. As we were headed to do service at a member's house, we ran into this Philippino guy who is a member but hasn't been to church since he's lived here. We detoured to take him to th church house, and when we got there, my companion and Sister Huang were teaching a lesson, but Huang jiemei was basically just taking care of our investigator's daughter who. let's just say, has a TON of energy.
Our investigator C jiemei passed her baptismal interview, but praaaay for her. Ever since she passed her interview, she's been feeling really sad and dark. I think Satan is hitting her hard, so really remember her in your prayers. She's supposed to get baptized this week.
Also, this week a child was trying to bite my thigh, and so was biting my skirt and I tried to get my skirt away and it totally ripped. Yeah. Started my mission with a dog biting my cutest skirt, and ending with a child biting a hole in my second cutest skirt.
A bunch of people were at church yesterday -= 5! The people we have are so good. Oh, man, love this mission thing.
Love you guys dearly,
pictures - exchanges in rui shui