For starters, I apologize for no letter last week! I will tell you what happened:
So for as long as I was in the MTC, we thought we were leaving on Thursday, May 17th, and were all totally prepared to leave that day. So, Monday of leave week comes, and we are in class, and we all get called to the travel office. The Taipei missionaries were leaving Tuesday and we were like, what if we end up leaving Tuesday as well. We were talking about how crazy that would be, and that we didn't have anything ready or anything like that. So we get to the travel office and they were like, Well, you have had a change in travel plans. We were like...what...when are we leaving, and she said, tomorrow at 8 AM!!! We started to freak out!!!! No one was packed, no one had done laundry, and we were still supposed to have class all evening till 9 PM! So we run back to class, tell our teacher what is going on, and he goes to talk to his boss to see what to do about classes. We ended up staying in class for the rest of that shift, and then we had dinner, called our families to let them know what was going on, and then came a fun time. I had sent a skirt to alterations, and it wasn't going to be ready till Wednesday. Problem, since I was leaving on Tuesday. So I went to the front desk and asked what I could do. They said someone was in Alterations, waiting for a sister to pick up some clothes, so we run, but there wasn't anyone there. We went to the clothing center, and there was a sister there who was able to get security to come open the alterations door for me so I could get my skirt. Problem averted =] So we did laundry that night, were up super late packing, and then were up at 5 AM the next morning, ready to leave at 8! We flew from SLC to LAX (so much better than to Michigan!) and then to Taipei. We had a 3 hour lay-over in LAX so I had time to call my family, and then it was off to Taiwan!
Now, before I talk about my first few days in Taiwan, I'll talk about my last week in the MTC.
The two big things besides leaving were my companion, Sis. Taylor, leaving and in-field orientation. So Sis. T ended up getting a temporary assignment to Arizona until her visa comes. It was sad to say goodbye to her, but we've decided that, we are both individually going to be amazing missionaries, so that our mission president will put us together and we can be the dream team =] I can't wait till I get to see her again!
The other thing was infield orientation. We spent all of our last Friday in in-field orientation, where they had 6 workshops that we went to all.day.long.....it was from 8 AM to 9:30 PM. It was long, but good =] I enjoyed it.
We also had our last Sunday. My generation sang in Church. We sang the EFY medly, in Chinese =] It sounded soooooo good!!! I just love the people I was in the MTC with. They are so wonderful! We also had our last temple walk, where we were able to take a generation picture, as well as tons of other pictures. So wonderful, since we didn't have time our last night, because we didn't know it would be our last night!!!
(Here we are in that Generation Picture.)
(This is my district and I at the "big map")
Now, the part everyone has been waiting for!!!!
(Here are all the new Taizhong Missionaries.)
The flight over was pretty uneventful. Except for getting to meet Elder Russel M Nelson in the SLC airport. That was pretty great =] My MTC companion, Sis. W, placed a Book of Mormon on the airplane which was pretty cool. When we arrived in Taiwan, we went through customs and what not and went out to meet our Mission President, President Bishop, and his wife. The assistants were also there as well. We left the airport around 10 PM and arrived at the mission home around midnight. On the bus we all introduced ourselves and filled out a ton of paperwork and such. It was great. There were also 2 others sisters and an elder who came from the Philippines MTC. So that was fun! The sisters all stayed in the Mission home and the elders stayed with the zone leaders. The first day we were up at 6 to go running with the assistants at 6:30! I also knew this was coming and was prepared. It wasn't too bad. The rest of the day was training. We had a great Taiwanese breakfast and we had hot pot for lunch! I was so excited! That night we went out to dinner at a really good Chinese restaurant, and then the event I had been preparing myself for: Dan Jones! Dan Jones was an early Church missionary who went to England (I think...) and he was famous because he converted 1300+ people, and he stood on a stool and preached. So our Dan Jones experience was that we went to a night market area, sang Love at Home, and then stood on a box and bore our testimonies! After that, a more experienced missionary took us and we went contacting! I was so nervous!! I hate talking to people I don't know! But after my sister took me and did the first one, I did the next, and it was so great! We talked to 10-12 people and we got 6 referral cards and I placed a Book of Mormon! It was so fun and I loved it! And in true Taiwan fashion, it was raining, which I heard hadn't happened in a long time =] So after that, it was home and then to sleep =]
The next morning was up at 6 again and the assistants picked us up at 6:30 to go running. This time they were timing our mile...so we ran to the stadium, and then they timed us. My goal was 12 minutes, since I had done it in 12 mins at the MTC. I did it in 11! I was so proud of myself, and know I'll only improve from there =] After showering and getting ready, we went to the church where we had breakfast and then it was time to have our last training meeting and meet our trainers!!! So we walk into the church and we are all picked by a missionary to sit with. Sis. Lee picked me. I knew of Sis. Lee because, when I got my call, I googled Taiwan Taichung missionary blogs, and hers was one that I read a lot before my mission. I of course didn't want to sound like a stalker, so I didn't say anything =] Since I had seen her the day before, I was praying that she would be my trainer, especially because President Bishop said she was training. So we had our meeting and at the very end, we were all given hong bao's (red envelopes) that had the name of our trainers. There were 4 sisters, so 4 trainers. The first two went up, and were given their trainers, and neither of them were given Sis. Lee. So then, I knew my chances were good, since the other sister left was a native and the other trainer left was native. We went up at the same time, and my prayers were answered!! Sister Lee was my trainer! She is only here for 2 more moved calls, and so we'll be together until she goes home =] I am so grateful and so blessed to have her as my companion!!!!!
(Here I am with my new companion Sister Lee.)
After that, we went to lunch for one last group time, and then it was off to our areas. My area is called Beiqu, and for anyone who knows Taizhong, knows that Beiqu has the mission home in it, which means I didn't have to travel anywhere! It was so great! We live a whole 1 minute bike ride from the mission home/mission office and church. Our whole area takes like, 15 minutes to bike across (its crazy small) but I love it! Its right in the city and reminds me a lot of China. So wonderful! We went to some appointments our first night and we did some tracting as well. While tracting, Sis. Lee let me chose which directions we wanted to go, so we ended up at this park, where there was this super cute ama. We talked with her and shared a short lesson with her, and set up a time to meet with her again this week! I am excited and hope she comes =] And of course, as soon as we finished talking with her, it started to rain. Like, crazy hard! We went and sat for a few minutes, to see if it would lighten up, since we didn't have our rain gear with us, but it didn't. So we ran back to our bikes. And then biked to the church, and we were soaking =] Sis. Lee said it hasn't rained like that all year. I just said it was Heavenly Father's way of testing me to make sure I wouldn't have a bad attitude about it =] Which I didn't. Yes, it was uncomfortable to be super uber wet, but it was fun =] And it wasn't hot so I couldn't complain too much =] We have about 8 investigators and a few potential investigators. We have 3 investigators with baptismal dates and several stellar recent converts! One is a 10 year old boy, and he is just amazing. He is the only member in his family and is just so stellar!
(Here I am on my new bike.)
This weekend was super weird because we had two other sisters in our area for 3 days because move call and so, while it was crazy, it was a blessing because then Sis. Lee could focus on training me on all sorts of things, while not neglecting our investigators and recent converts. So it really worked out great!!! The left today though, so things will be going back to "normal" now =]
Yesterday was my first day at church! Sis. L and I don't sit together at Church, we sit with investigators or recent converts. So I sat with a recent convert who speaks some English, and that was great. We had 4 investigators at church, and 2 potential investigators (who we are meeting with this week!) Sunday school and relief society were great too. I understood much of Sunday School, and some of relief society, but pretty much none of Sacrament meeting. But that's ok. I'm finding I'm doing ok with the langauge. I can understand some, and I'm not afraid to respond if I know what they asked or whatever. Everyone keeps saying how great my Chinese is. Its ok, but I have sooooooo much to improve on!!!
Well, I don't know what else to say! I'm so sorry this letter is so crazy long! If you've made it to the end, you are amazing!!!!!
Anyone who wrote me a dear elder after last Monday, I'm sorry, but I didn't get it =[
But! If you write me in Taiwan, I will write you back! It's super cheap (like 50 cents) to send letters to the States, so I'll totally write people! But don't feel pressured to write =] You can also email my mom a short note at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll forward it on to me.
I love you all so much and am so happy and grateful to have this opportunity to be a missionary in Taiwan! I love you all!!!!
Oh! And the best part! I can attach pictures now!!!!!!!!!
So here are some pictures from the last week in the MTC and the first few days in Taiwan! The file names give a brief explanation of the picture.
(Here I am with Sister Bryce, who grew up with the Busaths in Sacramento.)
Love you all!
OH! I got a full Chinese name!!! It is Peng2 Ming4 Jie2 (this computer won't let me type the way I know how =[ so I attached a picture). Peng doesn't have a meaning, Ming was given to our whole district and means destiny, and jie means outstanding person =]
Taiwan Taichung Mission
#498-11 Wu Chuan Road