My dearest family!
This has been one of the best, yet hardest weeks for me of my entire mission! So many things have happened I don’t know where to start! It all started on Friday when our district leader became a trainer for one of the 27 new missionaries that came to our mission. As a result my really good friend, Elder Ripley, came and joined Elder Edwards and I for a threesome! We had a power-packed weekend ahead of us!
That Friday night we met with the Jiang family and they were doing so, so wonderful! Everything looked great! We practiced baptism and planned to see them the next day! Saturday started great with meeting this young man who looked at me and told me “I want to become a Christian!” After that, we went about our day and went to go get some lunch at the feast (the place where our “Taiwanese parents” feed us). It was during lunch that I got a call from President Bishop. He explained that he needed me to be a zone leader, and he would let me know that night where. Though I am willing to serve anytime and anywhere for the Lord, I feel absolutely unqualified and humbled…
We went through the rest of the day and then headed to the church to set up for our baptismal service. We knew that we would be sharing the building with a wedding reception, but when we arrived at church we found they had absolutely taken over the entire building and left us a tiny little room to do the service. We quickly went to work and packed as many chairs in there as possible. We had organized a missionary choir to sing at the service and we quickly found we were going to be stuffed to capacity! I just prayed that this beautiful experience for the Jiang Family would go smoothly without incident–and it did! My favorite part was watching the member who gave us the referral for the Jiang Family, baptize both Jiang Jm and Jiang Dx. All the while having their 6-year-old son, who is absolutely adorable, kneel in front of the font whispering, “yay mom yay!!!” It was such a great experience. Following their baptism, Jiang Dx shared the most touching testimony of all! I have watched the Atonement of Christ absolutely change him! He shared how he once didn’t think he needed baptism, but then found he needed it more than anything. He went from opposing anything about God, as a complete atheist, to a man who knows our Heavenly Father lives and directs his family. Following all the great socializing and picture taking we returned home exhausted.
It was that night I received a call about movecall and found that I would be going to the Gaoxiong West Zone, down in the very tip of Taiwan. I would be replacing Elder Peel, who in my eyes is a giant of a man and has left some enormous shoes to fill. I have never quite felt so inadequate in my life! My new companion is Elder Sanford from Provo, Ut. He was in the office when I was in Dakeng so I know him very well! This is his last movecall so we are excited to go out with a bang!
Sunday, as I announced I would be leaving, I had member after member just come hug me. I was so surprised. I had just felt like such an average missionary. The previous week I had been asked to talk in church. So perfect, right before I left, I was able to share my love for the ward, Taiwan, and my Savior! It was so hard to look into the faces of my dearest friends with tears in their eyes and say good-bye. I love Dakeng with all of my heart! It has been a long, trying, yet blessed, nine months with those dear people! Zhan Dx, one of my recent converts, ran up to me and in English yells, “Hey! Do you know I love you?” Then he wrapped me in this huge hug! By that point I just had tears rolling down my cheeks! The Lord has shaped me in ways I didn’t even expect when I first came to Dakeng! To see my recent converts passing the sacrament in a shirt and tie, and to watch the Jiang Family received the Holy Ghost is an experience that words just can’t describe!
This morning I boarded a train and rode for 3 hours south and arrived in the great land of Gaoxiong! It is hot, beautiful, and the fruit is cheap! Elder Sanford is an amazing man and I am ready to learn even more! So, here is to the next chapter of the life of Elder Bailey!
I love you all! And remember, as I have come to find this week, all our experiences bring us unto Christ to allow us to be “perfected in him” (Moroni 10:32).
ps. I am so sorry, no pictures or audio. This new computer lab is not super user-friendly and none of my stuff is working, so I will try to get you pictures next week!