Monday, January 20, 2014

Jan. 20, 2014 - Family

It was a short week because our P-Day was on Wednesday last week. The week goes even faster when those changes happen. Crazy to be sitting at this computer trying to think of what happened to give you a little report thinking, "Didn't I just do this?" But in all reality, i love emailing and taking this time to think back on the week.

It was another solid week. We had so much cool stuff go down. So bear with me as I try and recall all of it. So on Thursday we had the chance to go to a mainlander baptism. since Elder Woo has really good mandarin, he had to help witness for the baptism. It was an awesome experience for me. It was a young, college aged lady from Tianjin who was baptized. A lot of friends who are church members came down to go to the temple as well as to support their friend in getting baptized. She has a crazy story about how she came into contact with the church, which was really awesome to hear about. I think my favorite part about getting to know Mainlanders is that we literally have no way of communicating. i know enough mandarin that I could say my name and that Im a missionary and if they had interest in learning more that we had missionaries like me that actually spoke mandarin. Other than that I am useless. So it is so fun trying to get to know them and talk. I have learned so much about body language and tone in communicating. So crazy. Thinking back on it, I think that some of my best relationships have been made when we couldnt talk. Goes to show that we have to show our love, not just say our love. Overall it was an awesome experience getting to be a small part in that and getting to know them. One of the friends had a daughter who is only 8 years old and is the branch pianist up in Tianjin. I thought that was soooo cool. That little girl has serious talent.

We had the chance of doing more exchanges this week. I stayed in 深水步。 It was with our zone leaders. I honestly think that exchange is going to change my mission and how I look at what a missionary does. What i mean is, I have come to learn more about the purpose of a missionary and how that effects what we do on the day to day. I always thought that when we go "finding" that we were looking for families, but what i learned was that I was trying to contact everyone that would listen (which is good), but that I would miss families. I thought I was looking for families, but I learned that I wasnt making them my focus. I learned that I developed this habit out of laziness, because it is scary to walk up to a family in a park, the parents sitting on a bench watching their kids play. I have to be honest, it is probably the scariest thing I have ever done. Its a lot of responsibility, knowing we have the answers every parent is looking for to help their family become more unified and strong. This is exactly what we did on the exchange, we found families. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We talked to so many great people. We now have a number of potential families that we will continue to contact. Not everyone was nice. I talked with a lady who said that we dont worship the same God and then grabbed my shoulder and began to pray that I could get to know the real Jesus Christ. I think the coolest thing that i learned from this particular experience is that I am gaining a new perspective. She wasn't particularly nice, but I loved that lady for caring enough that she wanted me to find real happiness (the exact thing I was trying to help her do). i hope this is semi-making sense, but just know that I am really learning the importance of the family and the responsibility we have in helping them. Also I am learning just how to love a stranger.

It really was an awesome week. Thinking about what I learned about family finding and the way we can show our love. I think these two lessons that I learned from the mandarins and the families that we talked to is that we can always be better about showing our love. So I want you to think about that this week. How can you better show your love? It isnt anything that you have to say, just a simple way to show your love. It doesnt have to be big, it doesnt have to just be towards your family. It could be something for a complete stranger. But be bold and do it. It may be scary, but I have learned this week that God rewards and empowers the bold, those who are willing to do what is right even if it is scary.

I love you all. the support that you offer me is a love that is very precious to me. I hope that in a small way that my service here is helping you back home.


Elder Woodburn

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