Monday, March 7, 2016

Miracles, as we are patient, faithful, and follow the Spirit, consistent competence = eventual excellence, involved in the Lord's work

Tracting on a tiny street near our house
7 March 2016

Awesome week! They're going by fast! 

It was a special week where I got to see lots of little miracles and hard work pay off. 

Small miracle with Sister Ke
One small miracle was Thursday: we stuck exactly to our plan and were at every location that we planned to contact at on the half hour dot and met each of our half hour goals that we had set. 

We planned to contact near the college at 4:30 pm. So we were there precisely at 4:30, when I heard someone yelling my name from behind me. It scared me and I didn't recognize who it was at first because she had her helmet on.  But it was our Recent Convert, Sister Ke. (You might recall she was baptized a couple months ago.  Do you remember the amazing story of getting over her coffee addiction?). 

She had gone to visit her son for a month over New Year. While she was there she found a new job and decided to move immediately. So I thought I was never going to get to say goodbye. But she happened to come back that day for a short time to move some of her things. 

It was a tender mercy that we got to see her one last time. Not only that, but on her short ride home from the train to her house, she not only ran into us but 2 other sets of missionaries, so she could say goodbye to all of us. What are the chances?!

Miracle with Sister Chen
Another huge miracle is our investigator, Sister Chen. I love, love, love her! 

When I first moved to the area, Sister Wawro and I called through the "formers" in our phone (someone who met with the missionaries in the past but either they or the missionaries decided to stop meeting) and looked through some former records in our Area Book. Formers are difficult sometimes because there are probably hundreds of names/addresses of people. They take a lot of work to set up with or sometimes they move, or they weren't interested at all and that's why they stopped meeting in the first place. There are lots of reasons that missionaries usually just go out and try to find new people rather than working with formers, but for some reason we called a few that day and Sister Chen said we could visit her. 

We visited her for the first time on November 6th and have been meeting with her about once a week since then. We read through her record, about 5 pages all stapled together because so many missionaries had visited her before... The last entry read "She's just not that interested." But we decided to give it a try. 

Going into the lesson we were pretty scared because some of the people made her sound kind of intimidating! But we fell in love with her instantly. 

She's one of the most sincere investigators I've met my whole mission. She has so much desire to do what is right and wants to know truth. She has tons and tons of questions -- all good ones and she has an intrinsic curiosity. 

With all my different companions that I've served with in Tainan now, we've invited her to be baptized and she has gradually told us what her real concerns. The last time we invited her, she said it was because she wanted her family's support and she wanted them to accept the gospel too. So we had waited for a while and thought that was a good reason and didn't bring it up for a few lessons. But when my companion was planning her lesson this week, she felt strongly that we needed to invite her again, so that was our plan. 

As we are patient, faithful, and follow the Spirit
We showed up on her doorstep a few hours early because my companion heard wrong on the phone :) So then went back later that day and had a good lesson with her. But during it she told us that she might have cancer and has to get surgery at the end of the month.  I was super bummed when I heard that.... Luckily we've developed a great relationship now, so we trust each other. I just looked at her towards the end of the lesson and asked her laughing "So, when are you going to be baptized?" She laughed back at me and said "I've been thinking about this month. My surgery's at the end of March, so how about before then?" 

I was grateful for the Spirit guiding that lesson, because it definitely didn't go how we had planned. But I'm grateful that I was able to courageously invite her and that she was willing to do what she knows she should do. 
For some reason, I just felt to ... just ask her when she was going to do get baptized, and it totally worked! 

We're so excited for her. It's particularly touching to me because this has been such a long time coming and there were so many instances she could have been lost or given up on, as tens of sets of missionaries had in the past. 

It was a great testimony to me that we can see miracles as we are patient, faithful, and follow the Spirit. 

Consistent competence = eventual excellence
It made me think of a talk I read this week by Edward Eyestone, a two-time Olympic marathoner and now head coach for BYU's cross country team. 

He mentioned a story about a runner who wanted to cut his mile time from 4:05 to 4 minutes, but was stuck in a slump and didn't know how to do it. One day he discovered that there was no one thing he could change that could cut 5 seconds, but that there were 10 things he could do each day that would each cut half a second. So he was incredibly disciplined. Sure enough through consistent, small efforts he was able to hit his goal. 

Eyestone quotes this scripture:
"Where, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which s great." (Doctrine & Covenants 64:33)
I like the equation he mentions in the talk: consistent competence = eventual excellence:

"So often we find ourselves looking for that big break, the huge testimony-defining experience, the job or investment that will set us for life.... While those events can occur, more often than not it is by consistent, competent effort, by the small things that we pay attention to, that ultimately and eventually lead us to excellence. Consistent competence equals eventual excellence, or c2 = e2, as I sometimes say. I would challenge us all to take a personal inventory of some of the small things we can work on in the coming months that will help break us from the spiritual, mental, and physical plateaus on which we might currently reside."

That's sort of what we did with Sister Chen. There was no mind-blowing, new idea that we came up with and tried for her. But we tried to get members more involved, we tried to follow up better with her, we stopped by during the week to drop off talks she could read, we got her to come to the chapel more frequently, and we tried to express our love for her more. I believe it was through the combination of all of those little things that we were able to see success with her. 
I've found this is true. 

Involved in the Lord's work
It was a wonderful week where I felt a tiny little piece involved in the Lord's work. I'm so glad that He could direct it through the obedient servants that we are.

Love you!!

Sister Hancock

Like my new ride? ;)
Typical Taiwanese meal

Crazy dog we found while contacting

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