March 6, 2017
Zhong Li District, Taoyuen
Miracles are real
Well this week was incredible! We fasted last week for our baptismal goal and for our particular investigators that we thought could make it, and we have seen miracle after miracle this week. The biggest one was absolutely jaw dropping.
A couple of weeks ago a man named Jerry called us randomly and asked if we could help him paint his house in Yangmei. We were on exchanges and so Elder Davis and Elder Lin went to help him. All week Elder Davis talked about how funny this guy was and how he is easily one of his favorite people here in Zhongli. Well he asked us if we could come help him finish his roof (His back is really bad and so he cant really do it himself) and but it was raining. We asked if he would still like to meet anyway, and he cancelled on us. This happened twice, so we began to feel like he probably didnt really care about what we had to say and really just wanted our free labor. Needless to say we werent very excited to go and help him finish, but we decided that we needed to serve him anyway so we met him at the Yangmei Station which is about 20 minutes from Zhongli by train. While on the train I got grumpier and grumpier. I have no idea why but by the time I got off the train I was in a terrible mood. Every little thing was bugging me. Elder Davis was so excited to see Jerry and I told him "I hope this guy is as cool as you say he is, I need a pick me up. Im so annoyed with everything right now."
When we got to the car, Elder Davis got to it first and asked if I wanted front or back. it was a little two door and the back looked tiny, and it would have been a pain in the butt for me to crawl around him to get in the back so super annoyed I just told him to get in the back. Well as I started talking with Jerry, who is fluent in English, he was explaining that he has to get back surgery but he is afraid because its a super complicated surgery and he there is only 1 Taiwanese doctor who knows how to do it. He told us that he wants to write his will first before he gets it because he feels like he will die if he gets it. It was so sad to listen to him talk about it. Well as we were driving he asked where I was from. I told him Ogden, Utah. He then asked what my last name was. When I told him, he said "oh I know some Sproul's in Utah." My jaw dropped because Im related to every Sproul in Utah so I was like dang thats crazy. He then asked if I knew a James Sproul. My jaw dropped further. I told him that was my Dad's name. He asked if my Dad was originally from Saint George. I couldnt even believe it, he knew my Dad.
He then explained that he had lived with my Dad for a year in Saint George. He said he was so sorry to hear how my Dad had passed away and how he was there when my Grandpa passed away. He told me that he was actually one of the Pallbearers at his funeral. He then said that it was weird, one day he felt like he needed to get a hold of my dad several years ago and after some searching, all he could find was my Dad's obituary. He then asked about my Aunt and her little Indian boy. I told him that he had just gotten married. Jerry said it was crazy because the last time he saw then, my cousin had only been a little baby. He then asked about my other uncles and said that he had lost their contact info years ago but he's been trying to get a hold of them. He then told me that back then he didnt go by Jerry, he went by Geronimo. My jaw dropped again, I had heard about this man. Not a ton about him, but I had heard his name.
I finally got my witts about me and asked how he had met my family. He told me that he met my dad here in Yangmei. I couldnt believe it! I had thought that my dad had only served in the South. I knew he was called to Taizhong and then I thought that after Taiwan split into three missions, he served in Gaoxiong, but apparently, I am now currently serving in the same city as my Dad. Jerry told me that he actually came home to visit his mom one day, and my dad and his companion were there teaching Jerry's mom. The first missionary that Jerry ever met, was Elder Jim Sproul.... the first missionary he ever met was my Dad.
He then told us of some trials and some offenses that had happened while he was going to school at BYU and that because of those, it had left a really bad impression of the church for him and that it was still hard for him but after all these years he decided that he needed to let it go. I then bore my testimony to him that the reason that I was there was to be a reminder from God that there are good members out there who loved him and that the Lord is sending a sign to him. He agreed. Elder Davis then told him that we would like to continue teaching him about the Gospel and Jerry promptly accepted. He said it wasnt really that difficult and that he had already read the Book of Mormon and would start reading it again. I then told Jerry that we wanted to help him understand that Jesus Christ wanted him to start following His example and that included baptism. Jerry said "No problem."
As we were headed home, we asked Jerry how he thought to call us for help. He said that he has kept in contact with a couple of missionaries that he has met over the years and one has repeatedly told him that he should start meeting with missionaries again. Jerry said that one day he was thinking about how he was going to get the painting done because his back was so bad, and "the Elders just popped into my head." We are the first missionaries that Jerry has dealt with in years.
The chances of this situation are so unlikely that I cant even begin to fathom how impossible this is. I was honestly pretty upset to move here and I KNOW why I am supposed to be here now. It brings me a lot of comfort and really strengthens my testimony to know that The Lord is in the details of things and that he really does lead this church and inspires his servants. This was not coincidence.