Once a quarter, we have the opportunity to interview all of our missionaries. The first time we did that was when we first arrived on island last July. Then we had about 175 missionaries. So three months later, with the wave of new missionaries, we have grown close to 225! I take advantage of this time also to interview them so I can get to know them better. After asking them about their health situation, I invited them to share a miracle story with me, and lastly to tell me something they admire about their companion. We take a day to visit each zone, so that kept us busy the first two weeks of November. I picked a couple of the best miracle stories to share!
As you know, last year Pres. Monson lowered the eligibility age of young men and women entering the mission field, causing a great influx of young missionaries. This was followed by Elder Nelson's address, "Catch the Wave", encouraging all members to engage in the spirit of missionary work. Then while we were in the MTC last June, the prophet addressed the saints worldwide in the "Hastening the Work of Salvation" broadcast. He showed us how easy and natural it was the share the gospel with our friends and family, and to unite our efforts with the full-time missionaries. Well this miracle story is an example of how "Hastening the Work of Salvation" brings eternal blessings to all who labor with their might:
Our Operations Manager shared this miracle story that happened while he was training a new elder in Kaohsiung. This new elder was in our first group of new missionaries to arrive, and was one of the 18-year-olds who caught "the wave" with enthusiasm. The trainer wanted to work on using their time more effectively, so decided to focus on ward members and strengthening them. They spent a lot of time visiting families, one of which had a couple of youth. The father and daughter were less active members. The first time they visited, they accompanied the family's home teacher, sharing with the family the scripture D&C 18:10,15. They extended an invitation to the family to talk to people, pray for them specifically, and pray to have missionary opportunities. That night, the family gave them the names of five of their friends to call on:)
The second time the elders visited, the parents were there with their 17-year-old teenage son. They shared an article from the Liahona magazine and then invited the son to share the gospel with everyone around him. The third time, the missionaries performed service for the family, pulling weeds in their yard. Afterwards, the family treated them to dinner:)
A few days later, the son went to shoot BB guns at a shooting range. While there, he noticed a young man with a motorcycle that had a "Jesus loves you" sticker, so started talking to him. He discovered the young man was a Christian, but couldn't appreciate the church he grew up in, because the services were all spoken in Taiyu (local dialect), which he didn’t understand. He was looking for a new church! He was also in the military, a Navy Seal. That Sunday, the family brought the young man to church and introduced him to the missionaries. He loved it so much he told the missionaries he wanted to be baptized and join the church right away! Over the next few weeks, the family participated in the missionary lessons as the young man was being taught. This experience brought the father back into activity, upon which he accepted a calling to be a ward missionary.
In this ward, the investigator met another member who was also a soldier. They became good friends, and this brother would text him all the time and teach him how to share the gospel with military personnel. Soon, the investigator was baptized by this good brother.
Can you believe what a miracle this was, that the Lord put this young, searching Christian man in the path of a missionary-oriented teenager? Was it not more than a natural conversation that this teenager initiated? Was it not more than a simple invitation that was extended? What a blessing it has been to the family! What a blessing it has been for this teenage son to have an awesome missionary experience that will inspire him to serve his own mission! What a blessing for the new convert to enter the gate of baptism! What a blessing for our elders to be inspired as to how to bring about the Lord's work and glory, to labor diligently in the Lord's vineyard, and to experience the joy that comes from bringing others unto Christ, even the joy spoken of in D&C 18! Another testimony of Pres. Monson’s quote, “There is no substitute for a member-oriented missionary program."
One more miracle story. Early in the week, a man riding a scooter saw a flier on the road advertising the missionaries’ free English class every Wednesday evening. He went directly to the chapel listed on the flier, but during the day, no one was there and hence, the doors were locked. Refusing to give up, he called the phone number listed, but no one answered:( So come Wednesday evening, he attended English class, and the missionaries set up to visit his family the next day. The husband and wife had a son that was 10. The mother happened to be a teacher, so she asked the missionaries to visit the school in order to meet the principal. The principal then asked permission to leave English class fliers at their school, and also asked if the missionaries could teach English to their interested students at the school on Saturdays! I remember when they called President about that, and he gave them permission:) So they have had at least 9 investigators from the school, with 4 attending church. The 10-year-old son and his best friend were baptized in November. The parents are also looking forward to their baptism, but are dealing with opposition from their own parents (the grandparents).
Now, whenever this elder drops a flier on the ground, he thinks he’d better just leave it there!