We had an amazing week this week. Our numbers doubled in almost everything, and our baptismal dates quadrupled (from 1 to 4). I was shocked yesterday as we counted everything up together, and spent a lot of time on my knees in gratitude, recognizing that both prayer and fasting contributed to the sudden shift for good. When the night comes, the sun always has to rise in the morning. The Lord is blessing our efforts.
If any of you were wondering what happened this week after our huge push for Francis to have the faith to change his shift to allow himself time for church attendance. Our whole apartment fasted last Sunday for Francis to be able to change his job ours and for the other companionship's investigator to get baptized on Sunday. We anxiously awaited Francis to call us, feeling little doubt that he'd have success. When he finally did, however, he began with a rather shaky voice telling Elder Woo that his boss didn't budge. Elder Woo asked him if he had the faith to find a new job, and Francis indicated that he did. A couple hours later, we decided to call his fellowshipper, Danise, to tell her what happened. However, I wasn't sure how to respond when I asked Danise if she had heard what happened and she said, "Yeah, it was kind of a miracle, actually." "What?" "Yeah, Francis got fired from his old job, but I saw on facebook A-Bong [member in Chai Wan Ward] putting up his tutoring position for offer. So I called him immediately and he hired Francis on the spot." "WHAT?!"
Francis called later that night to deliver the news himself, completely elated that he could come to church. It's been a huge change for good in his life, and he is so excited to be baptized this coming Sunday, on the 31st. Yesterday when we taught him about the Law of Tithing, he got really worried and said that he was willing to gradually pay little by little until he got everything worked out with his debts until he could pay a full tithe. However, the members who were with us bore strong testimonies that paying a full tithe always brought greater blessings, and we asked him if he thought the Lord could continue to do miracles after the new job he's received and all the joy he's felt since meeting with us. He said that God would do that. He closed promising the Lord in prayer that although it'd be difficult, he'd pay a full tithe.
It's just been such a great week. So many things keep happening that I don't have time to record: the boy on the street who pulled us away because there were too many people around, and began crying as he asked us where we went after this life. The guy who came to English class and stayed after to hear the Restoration, scheduled us the next day, and said he believed Joseph Smith was a true prophet because the story "was so convincing." The day I worked out too hard one morning by running up 15 flights of stairs in under a minute and a half, and then the next day felt dizzy and sick -- I decided to go out and find anyway and ended up getting more numbers in that couple of hours single-handedly than our companionship had gotten in a whole week previously.
Looking at the success of this week and the incredible blessings we're seeing from the Lord in Chai Wan as the Ward is coming together, I thought back to just a week ago when I felt completely despaired in prayer as I begged God to help us push through. Many ancient prophets describe the feeling of peace and joy that comes to us after the "trial of [our] faith" (Ether 12:6). They describe the exquisite joy that comes only after they've experienced exquisite pain (Alma 36). There is something unique about putting yourself in a position to be completely led by the Lord in all things by serving Him full-time that allows you to gain a very personal understanding of how exquisite both pain and joy can actually be. I testify that God in Heaven allows us to experience both for our benefit and the benefit of others. I testify that the joy that follows our sorrows and our pains is beyond description, that it is real, that we are all meant to experience it, and it drowns out sorrow. I testify that it does so because of our Savior, Jesus Christ.