Sunday, April 24, 2011

French Mexican Food in Taiwan!

So this week I have been kind of sick, but the Lord has really been taking care of me and I've had the energy to do all I need to! I also passed off two Chinese tests this week!! Three more to go and then I am done with my Phase One for Missionary Mandarin or whatever they call it. There are three phases in total. Keeps us studying hard :).

Something fun I forgot to write about last week was that we had a member from our Daliao ward have us teach a friendfrom Ni geria! She came with us and it was so great. He is Catholic but hasn't gone for a while. He seems excited to read the Book of Mormon and is such a kind man. I know that as he really puts forth an effort to draw closer to God, he will receive a special witness of the truth of our message. We are handing him over to the Elders though since he is a he. But it has been fun to teach in English :).

We ate burritos on Tuesday!! SO GOOD. There is a French man that married a Taiwanese woman that lives in our zone who set up a Mexican food shop. So delicious. It is outside of our area (and always closed on Mondays) so I have only heard the stories of its deliciousness. But the sisters in that area offered to pick some up for us before district training meeting and it was awesome! Definitely different, but soo good.

Also, we have been given soo many random things this week that it inspired me to keep a journal on just the things people have given me! So far it includes popcorn (thrown into my basket at a stop light), beef jerky, lemons, and stick notes. The things we get "song"ed as I like to say "song" = to give.

So funny story for the week---How HDX and my skirt met. Sounds creepy? Well, it was!

Well, we pulled up to their house and the mosquitoes started to swarm. Sister Lew bent down to spray my legs to save me from the mosquitoes and HDX thought I had hurt my legs. So he rushed over (he is like half blind too...and doesn't speak full is mixed with Taiyu) and started feeling my leg and pulling up my skirt. I just freaked out cause I had no idea what was going on, but all I did was like go white and kept fighting him with the hem of my skirt. SOO FUNNY! Then Sister Lew translated and we both were like, Oh. It was hilarious and no harm done--just an old innocent old man, but it was soooooooo awkward!!! Oh well, the things of life.

Hmm...well, it appears as if the time has already come and gone, but I love you all so much and more later! We have some awesome investigators and I am excited to see how the Lord uses us in his hands :).

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Special Mission Conference

Hey There everyone!!!
So this week has been pretty great! We've had quite a few meetings though, so our lessons were a little down. We only had 28 this week, but we know we can improve! I passed off my Phase One lesson #2 evaluation! YAY! And my awesome district leader, Elder Adams from Colorado, helped me set goals to push myself a bit more...and I will be doing lesson #3's evaluation tomorrow. YIKES. I can do it though!
Then on Thursday I had my first ZONE CONFERENCE! It was great! We did something a bit different from the usual (I have been told)--we had a master teaching lab. We had six stations and were taught how to improve different aspects of missionary work at each station and given a few minutes to role play and implement the new knowledge. It was great!! We can already see a difference in our work and I just so glad they gave me all of these awesome tools right at the beginning of my mission. Definitely a blessing. I was able to see Sister Miller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She was one of my companions at the MTC (along with Sister Pomeroy--we were in a trio). It was soo fun and she is doing great. I was also able to see Sister Bray. I just love her so much. Our mission president, President Bishop gave us an inspiring lesson on the Atonement. It was beautiful and the spirit was so strong.
Then on Friday we had an investigator, D. H. pass a baptismal interview!!! She will be getting baptized on the 30th!!!! I AM SOO PUMPED! She came to three sessions of conference and is just GOLDEN. She is a beautiful daughter of God.
On Saturday  (the picture I sent) we had this AWESOME special mission conference with two of the best Church Historians. They are absolutely amazing and so spiritual--they also happen to have both served missions in Japan (shout out to Dad!). We were able to just ask them any question we wanted and they spoke to us about it. Then our area seventy (he said the closing prayer in General Conference on Sunday) Elder Kent Watson, bore a beautiful testimony on how serving in Gaoxiong over 48 years ago has changed his life!!!!
Well, I am out of time, but I love you all so much and I know that God is really watching out for all of us so much!

Xiaogang, Graveyards and Conference

This week has been amazing! On Monday we went to this CRAZY place in Xiaogang which is the area bordering ours. It was children's day here so it was hopping! There is a restaurant next to an airstrip (funny how worst land in America is considered prime property here... :P) where the attraction is eating while seeing planes land and take off. But that is not all--there is a smallish zoolike section and a pony ride place! Lol, the whole place looks like a tropical wonderland--pictures will come soon. One of the FUNNIEST things EVER was that our new convert who took us made us use the bathroom...she was like, you have to use this stall right now! We were like..uhmm, ok. Turns out that the stall is a squatter and that the wall you face is GLASS. Yes, GLASS. And it looks out onto this bird exhibit. So while you do your business you can watch birds! Lol, kind of creepy. I took a did Sister Lew. It is totally enclosed, but still makes you feel like someone is watching...:P.

Then on Tuesday we had the awesome opportunity to sao mu---sweep graves! It was a huge Buddhist holiday where everyone goes and takes care of their ancestors graves. So two whole zones of missionaries got together at 9am and went to this really forsaken graveyard. It was soo overgrown and had litter of every sort imaginable--including medical supplies. YUCK. Many of the graves were dug up too...apparently here--since ground is scares--they dig up the bones every ten years and rotate graves...yep. GROSS. So about fifty missionaries were out there doing all sorts of work. We cut grass, pulled weeds, picked up old medicine IV drips...yep, and all sorts of random stuff.  It was fun because Sister Bray was there!!! We had fun being together again. I also got to know a Sister If and we are totally going to be besties when we go home. She is also a BYU student and an ABC. She did the Nanjing Study abroad a year after I did! Her cousin is actually an assistant to the mission pres. too! Cool eh? So we ended up doing this work until 11:30--many a splinter inflicted upon us all and in great need of a second shower. With all the ash around..not really sure what it was from (please not cremated people!!) we all blew out black when we sneezed...yep, gross. But we totally got "song"ed sports drinks from a random passerby who saw us working hard. A senior missionary couple from Taibei came down and took tons of pictures and are writing an article for the church news! So we are apparently on the website...check it out and let us know! Lol. Then we headed back to the chapel and were rewarded with a delicious lunch.

On Wednesday we also had a delicious lunch---C. J. ordered us pizza after our lesson! We had such a feeling of being a family! It was soo fun. While we were waiting for the pizza to come we played with the kids (in a totally missionary appropriate way of course :) ) and it was so great! After we finished eating, little Ryan scooted up next to me on the couch. It is hard to resist those cute little kids, but mission rules are pretty strict when it comes to them. Sigh, I miss being able to just not worry and play with them. Oh well :). Blessings come through obedience.

P. peiked for us a lot again this week! We are soo proud of her :). She is becoming such an awesome member--and it has only been like two weeks!!!! We are really excited about H.--totally going to be baptized soon. General Conference had a HUGE impact on her...and on us all!! I loved it soooooooooo much.

But before I go to that part, on Friday we had the unique chance to sing for a family at a mortuary. One of our member's father passed away that week. She asked us to sing for him and it was such a sweet time. He was behind a curtain and her family and sister Lew and I were on the other side. Her family is Christian, but not LDS....yet. We sang Nearer My God to Thee and Lead Kindly Light (the favorite funeral song of the Chinese) in Chinese with the family and then Sister Lew and I sang "A Child's Prayer" in English. Sister C. had heard us sing it at P's baptism and wanted us to sing it for her dad. She is very tender and I am so glad she knows the plan of Salvation and that we could have this faith promoting experience together. It was so great to be able to share the gospel with her family at least a little. She is going to keep working with them and we gave her older brother a book of Mormon. Member missionary work is vital!

Well...I just absolutely LOVED conference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will have to write more about it next week, but I really really loved Sister Stevens address. I need to become more childlike--more Christlike so much!!! Also, I really loved how during every talk I was able to think of someone I could share it with! I loved knowing that God hears our prayers and through His servants He answered EVERY question I had prepared for that Conference. I cannot wait until October!! Lol. I know I need all the time until then to truly understand all of the beautiful truths shared in this one. I am excited to see everyone go into action and serve the poor and the needy! It is such a HUGE need to be filled, every where in the world. I also really really loved Elder Bednar's talk on light and the Spirit. It is sometimes hard to recognize what you truly know--like walking outside when the sun is behind clouds. But God will always give light to those who seek it! It is soo true.

Well, all for now, but I love you all so much and I am excited to hear about all of your experiences with Conference :).

If I can help you with some of your goals---let me know :). I know you can be a success with the Lord's power behind you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Angels Protect Us

We had a great week--we taught 36 LESSONS!!!! Woot! That is a new mission high for both me and Sister Lew! The mission standard is 30 and our zone wanted to pump it up to 35. Through our diligence Sister Lew and I were able to surpass it, but we still have many other areas to improve in. Such as adding...sigh. Adding consists of finding a person on the road (or on the telephone), setting up a time with them and giving them a baptismal goal. I still have a hard time consistently adding more than two people a day. Our goal is to add four each every day...but that is not quite happening yet. We will get there!
This week had its ups and downs for sure, but mostly ups. I almost totally wiped out on my bike the other day! I was soooo scared because we were in the middle of traffic and I went to pull down the back of my shirt (while biking super fast) and I had put my bike seat up A LOT higher than usual...and totally lost my balance. I started to swerve and I just knew I was going to have my face scraped off by the pavement and my nice white shirt ruined...yet it didn't happen. I was able to use my feet...not even sure how cause we were biking so fast (I sounded kind of like a stomping dinosaur...pretty sure) but I totally regained my balance and was able to pull over. I shouldn't have been able to, but that is when you remember that there are angels all around you, protecting you on every side! It was amazing and I was soo grateful. My only wound was a pretty shweet bruise by my knee. Other than that totally unscathed! 
Other fun story is that on Saturday we went and visited with some friends.  They were soooo happy to hear I hadn't transferred! We wore the little earrings they had given us as a parting gift last Saturday and they smiled. They are little shiny ones of stars and they call them our Celestial Kingdom earrings (we had just taught them the plan of salvation that day) :). The mom believes what we say, but like most Taiwanese, does not believe in it exclusively. She says she still wants to go to the Buddhist Celestial Kingdom, not the Christian one. I guess we are going to have to review how the whole center of the plan is Jesus Christ. Other than that she is great...and I really do believe she will come to put her faith into action through being baptized. Just not quite yet. Her daughter drew a super cute picture of me while we were there :). I'll have to send it home soon. Totally precious! Also, they made Yuto (Taro? It is a purple potato, really sweet--my absolute favorite) for me because they knew I loved it. Sooo sweeeeeeeeeeeet. It was so great. Plus they said they would come to General Conference :).
Hmm...other cool things? We met with another family again--revived them once more. They are coming to the Saturday session of conference with us--I heard from Sister Lew--through her parents--that they spoke on tithing!!! Totally prayed and prayed for that!! YES! And they will be in Taipei for Sunday, so they are going to take a look-see at the temple! Great eh? The mother is as strong as ever, just working on her husband. He just needs to gain a testimony of tithing. We invited him to pay this month's tithing...he laughed...but he still loves us, so that is good right?
Well,  our new member, is out of this world! So amazing. She wants to look into going to BYU provo. I gave her mom and Dad's emails... you might be hearing from her soon :). Well, time is up, but much love and know that the Lord is really guiding us out here. We have been able to have some awesome experiences this week--some people just walked into Church again this Sunday. Awesome eh?
Sister B. moved to Gaoxiong City and I think the new environment is doing her a lot of good.