My Dearest Family!
Hello! Oh man I got some super good emails today! I really enjoyed those! Looked like everyone is healthy, happy, and doing well!
I remember at a national conference for FBLA hearing the national president say, “The business of serving others is far more rewarding than the business of making money.” I never quite understood what he meant until I came on my mission! This week we had some remarkable service opportunities!
In Taiwan, there is a holiday called 清明節 (Grave Sweeping Festival). Every year our mission goes and serves by cleaning graves. Ancestors are such an important part of the culture to the people here in Asia. The families all come together and visit their ancestors’ graves to clean them and plant new flowers. They then worship and leave incense burning. There are a large number of graves that do not have any living ancestors and they always lay abandoned in the back of the cemeteries marked by a gravestone that says 無名 (meaning: the unnamed grave). Elder Hu and I set up with government officials to have all our central Taiwan missionaries come to the Taizhong National Cemetery and do a big “Mormon Helping Hands” service project! It was so fun. We got all muddy and just pulled weeds, swept walkways, burned trash, sang hymns, and smiled and laughed with some old friends!
One of the highlights for me was working with the news media. We drew a lot of press attention when they saw a bunch of foreign missionaries serving these unnamed graves. Elder Allan and I got to talk with multiple reporters, photographers, and television stations explaining that we believe in respecting our ancestors, that we believe families are eternal, and to show that respect, we participate in 清明節! We had tons of Taiwanese people just come up and thank us for all we did and ask us where our churches were. It was an amazing sight to look out at the Army of Helaman on their hands and knees working hard for the people they loved!
I challenge each of you to get out and find a way to help someone that is different from you! I testify that in so doing you will discover a deeper love within your heart for those people!
I love each of you and wish a wonderful start to April! (Wow, time flies. I cant believe it!)
-Elder Spencer K. Bailey