On May 15th, after a wonderful day at church in which there was a little broadcast to the Asia Area of the church, Elder Francis and Elder Coletti decided to go finding. While finding they ran into a young female name Joanna Yang (楊). Joanna is 27 and absolutely loves English. The two Elders talked to her for awhile and asked if they could meet with her again and talk more about Jesus Christ and Church. She said, "Of Course!" The Elders then invited her to set a baptismal date, a direction to work towards. She quickly declined, saying that she has never thought about baptism before and needs more time.
On May 21st the Elders met up with Joanna again and gave her a chapel tour. She really liked it. She thought it was very pretty, and very peaceful. They showed her the baptismal font, and asked if she wanted to go watch another baptismal service going on in BeiTou. She gave a HARD pass. They then showed her the chapel. She loved the chapel, especially the fact that their church has songs.
On June 5th Joanna and the Elders went to a fireside that was being held at JinHuaJie. Firesides consist of the Taipei missionaries bringing their investigators and recent converts to listen to some recent converts talking about their conversion story, and then listen to beautiful musical performances by the missionaries in the mission. Joanna LOVED it. She had so much fun and really made some friends. On the way back, she expounded saying that going into it, she was really nervous. She didn't know what she was getting herself into. But afterwards, she said she had so much more respect for missionaries and that they were willing to give up 2 years of their lives to go on missions. She was really moved.
Around June 7th Joanna called the Elders and said that she has been praying on her own. She isn't feeling anything, but she is praying. She made a deal with God. She had a big English test coming up and she wanted here score to be higher than before. So she said that if she gets a certain score, she will go to church. On June 10th she called saying that she didn't get a very high score. But that she was still okay. She needs to go to class on Sunday, and won't be able to go to church.
On June 12nd the Elders taught Joanna the Restoration. She thought it was pretty cool, especially about the prophets. The Elders invited her to baptism ONCE again, however she declined. She said that her family is Buddhists, and doesn't think that they will approve. We then talked to her about what she needs to know/feel before she will get baptized. She said she needs to see a miracle. The Elders talked to her about how there are miracles every day, we just have to open our eyes and realize that they are there. Really stressed prayer, and how everyone needs to pray in order to see miracles. After the lesson, the Elders talked to her about still trying to come to church. Joanna said that she will be able to make it next week!
On June 17th Elder Coletti called Joanna to see if she would still be able to make it to church that week. While on the phone, Joanna broke down, saying that she is praying every night, but she is feeling nothing. She feels like she is talking to nothing. She thought she would see miracles, but she is not. She isn't seeing anything. Elder Coletti asked if she is happy right now. She said she is not. Elder Coletti explained that this is the principle of opposition. That we cannot know what happiness is until we have pain. God is always there, but it is up to us if we want his help or not. Believe in God. Always Believe. Joanna was still able to come to church.
On June 19th Joanna came to church! While at church, the ward talked about sacrament meeting, and how they feel a sense of peace during it. After church Joanna said that she didn't really feel anything. No special feelings. She brought up that she doesn't thing she will be able to get baptized for awhile because she still isn't feeling anything. She still doesn't know if she would be able to live up to the standards of the church. However, Elder Coletti pointed out how happy she was today. Joanna was extremely lively and happy the entire day at church.
On June 23rd Joanna sent a text to the Elders saying that she is so stinking happy right now! Even her friends are pointing it out to her. She doesn't know why, but she is happier than ever. The Elder's texted her back saying that it is because of God. God is ALWAYS there.
On July 2nd Joanna came with the Elders to watch a baptismal service in BeiTou. She thought it was awesome. She felt a little something, but still not ready to commit. On the way back Elder Coletti asked if she has been praying lately. She said that no much lately. Elder Coletti invited her to continue to pray everyday, and to thank God for 5 things every night. We can't just ask God for help, but we need to thank him when we have our happiness. She said she would.
On July 3rd Joanna came to church. She talked to Elder Coletti about how she had a dream last night about one of her past mistakes. She did one of her friends wrong, and she had major regrets and guilt. The entire sacrament meeting Elder Coletti shared scriptures about opposition and the Atonement, how the Atonement allows us to become better. He also talked about how this baptism thing is how we become clean. Only through baptism can we have a fresh start. She was super moved. Later that night, the Elders went with Joanna to the fireside. She was super excited to go. She loved it. She told Elder Francis how much she loved the music.
On July 6th the Elders got a very special call from Joanna. Joanna asked the Elders what she needs to do to get baptized. She has been thinking a lot about the fresh start, and how much she needs it. She has been doing gratitude prayers and has started to feel of God. She wants to get baptized.
On July 13th the transfer calls were made, and Elder Coletti found out that he was moving. When Joanna found this out she was really sad. Elder Francis was going home, and Elder Coletti was leaving. But she still wanted the baptism. She asked Elder Coletti if he would be able to come back and baptize her. He said of course he would. But do not lose the faith you have right now. Keep strong to God.
Between the days of July 14 and July 29, Elder Gray and Elder Van de Merwe finished the lessons with Joanna and prepared the baptism for her.
On July 30th Elder Coletti came back to DanShui, and helped Joanna get baptized. Walking into the font she was EXTREMELY nervous. But she made her way in and the ordinance was finished. She was so happy after. Super pumped. During her testimony she explained that the day that she met the Elders, she was very depressed. She was not in a good place. But since finding God, she is a new person. She is happier, and she has changed.
I, Elder Coletti, know that God had his hand in this conversion. He prepared Joanna to receive the gospel and helped her to change. It's crazy how many times she rejected baptism, but in the end she was the one that invited herself. God is always there for us. He is always wanting us to change, and he will help us change, as long as we are humble enough to receive his help. Follow Joanna's example, and trust God. Trust that he can make us whole.
I love you all so much! The work here is amazing, and God is real.