Ge wei di xiong jie mei! (Every brother and sister...thats what people say in church when they say like, Good afternoon brothers and sisters =] )
Well, I am officially on my second move call! (a move call is a 6 week period where you are in one area and with one companion (usuallly); every six weeks there is a possibility that you could move areas or get a new companion). I am still staying in Beiqu since I am technically still being "trained" (whatever that means =] ). This is my companions last move call, so we are going to try and make it the best!
Not a whole lot happened this week. It was a slow week. We only have two investigators right now, and really, only one of them is actually progressing. Both have July 21 baptismal goals though, and one will for sure hit that, not sure on the other though.
The week went by incredibly fast. Thursday was our weekly planning (normally its on Friday) because today is move-calls, so it has to be done in case you are training (which we knew we weren't) but everyone in the mission just does it on the same day, so Thursday it was. Then Friday we had two sisters come and stay with us for the weekend because their companions were training. So it was so crazy! We were in a 4-sister companionship! We actually "fen kai gong zuo" = split up the work. So Friday Sis. Liston and I went and did missionary work and Sis. Lee and Sis. Luo went and did missionary work. It was crazy that I was "da tong ban" = senior companion, for a day (well two...) and then Saturday we switched and Sis. Luo and I went out chuaning the jiao (being missionaries...) and Sis. Lee and Sis. Liston went together. And then Sunday we were all together. It was fun, but crazy! I am grateful that I know my area and am (for the most part) confident in my abilities to be a missionary without my senior companion. It was a neat experience.
Other fun things:
*Calling phones like crazy trying to add new investigators
*Three Sacrament Meetings
*Phase 1 COMPLETE!
Here we go!
*Calling phones like crazy trying to add new investigators*
We asked our zone leaders how they add people (adding a person is when you set up a time to meet with them, and you haven't already met with them before). They suggested calling dead stacks (which are contact cards that missionaries got from people that didn't go anywhere) but we don't have any dead stacks because the Beiqu sisters just recently moved into the apartment we are in now, and somewhere along the way the dead stacks never made it with them. So they suggested calling old APR's (we write APR's every week...its just a record of who we need to call every day and who are investigators or potential investigators are, when we have scheduled to meet with them, notes, what they've been taught, etc). We do have tons of those, so we started calling APR's from 2009/2010. And the crazy thing is some of them are from a Sis. Busath! I knew that a few years ago another Sis. Busath had served in Taichung, but I didn't know she was in this area!! So that's been fun! We are also going to try and reactivate some of the people she baptized. The other cool thing is some of them are from a friend of mine who also served in this area and I didn't know she served in Beiqu either! So that has been a lot of fun! The only bummer is...we haven't added anyone from the (literally) hundreds of phones we've called this week. BUT! We are going to be diligent and have faith that something will come of it, either now or later.
Our district has been practicing a song for this musical fireside for about a month. We unknowingly got signed up for it, and its been a bit stressful. We found out we were singing it with other missionaries in our zone, and it turned out so great! We didn't think it was going to be all that big of a deal-fireside, and we were lame about inviting people to it, but it was so amazing! We felt really bad we didn't get more people to come. It was also a super fun bike ride there. We were getting ready to leave and saw the zone leaders ride by, so we quickly caught up to them since they knew exactly where they were going and we didn't really have a clue. So that was fun. And then we practiced, ate dinner, performed and rode back. We were not sure we could get home alone in the dark, so we once again followed the zone leaders home and it was such a fun bike ride! The zone leaders ride crazy fast and so we were biking like mad sisters to keep up with them! I had never biked so fast or so hard in my life! It was crazy fun though. And we were super appreciative that they were willing to let us follow them home =]
*Three Sacrament Meetings*
Yesterday was the longest Sunday! I am so grateful that my area covers only one ward because yesterday we went to sacrament meeting 3 times, and then Sunday School and Relief Society. I was so antsy to get out of the church! It was hard because I still "ting bu dong" = hear but don't understand, what is being said in sacrament meeting. And the members in our ward feel like they need to give talks when they bear their testimonies, so they were long, but it was still good =]
*Phase 1 COMPLETE!!!!!*
I finished my phase 1 yesterday! I had one lesson left to pass off with my district leader, and then the final evaluation to pass off with my zone leaders. So I started about 6:30, finished the lesson one at 7, and then we found out we were having ward correlation at 7:30. I was worried about the final evaluation taking so long and not really wanting to be at the church past 9, so the zone leaders came over right then and we started, stopped then finished. One of my zone leaders, Elder Hermansen, said, I want this to be as quick as possible. I said, its up to you whether this goes late or not. He was super chill and we just quickly went through and finished it all. We did have to continue after ward correlation, but it was still super easy. He said my accent has gotten really good, and he said that while I may not always have the vocabulary I need, I can almost always say what I want to say. So that was pretty awesome. And now I can start learning characters and words that are not gospel related! Yay for being able to understand people better!
All done!!!!! Yay!
Well, sorry this past week was a little lame. Nothing big happened, but we are expecting miracles this move-call! Because, when you expect things, they happen right =]
I love you all! Thank you for your love and support!
Taiwan Taichung Mission
#498-11 Wu Chuan Road
Just beware...the space bar on this keyboard is broken so its taking a long time to type, so I don't know how long this letter will be.....
We had a very slow week here in Beiqu. Not a lot happened, and our numbers were super low. We picked up two potential investigators and we still have one solid investigator. We have a few good stories though!
*Crazy Preacher Man*
*Church members from Mainland China*
*4th of July Day Celebration...*
*New potential investigator*
*Update on our incredible investigator*
*Crazy Preacher Man*
So last Tuesday, we were in the church parking lot trying to decide where to eat for lunch. Our zone leaders came up and the 4 of us started talking about different places to eat around here.One of the elders suggested Subway and Sis. Lee and I were like, yes! The elders weren't thrilled because that's where they wanted to eat (we can't go eat together). Sis. Lee said no worries, there are two subway's in our area, so we could go to one and they could go to the other. So off we go. We get there and this American man is ordering sandwhiches. He kept talking about his wife, and I imagined her to be Taiwanese, but when she came, she was American too. He kind of got upset when paying because he thought it should all be cheaper. Anyways, they go upstairs to eat, we pay and go upstairs as well. We pass their table and they are praying before eating. Interesting...So after we finished eating, the husband had gone to use the restroom and Sis. Lee said she wanted to invite the wife to church. I didn't feel all that great about it, but I just attributed it to them being white, and we rarely ever talk to white people...So she starts to talk to her and we find out they've been here for 6 years. She said they already had a church, and that her husband is a preacher in Mandarin....uh, ok...(not to be mean or prideful or bragging, but I've been on island 7 weeks and my chinese is better than his....I'm curious how many people come to his church...). Anyway, at that moment he walks up and sits down and says, I want to be honest with you, I don't think that you can be saved in your church because you don't know who Christ is...oh no. Not the kind of conversation I want to get into. But Sis. Lee does great, defends our beliefs, and after about 5 minutes of listening to him tell us that we don't know who Christ is, we are able to leave...peacefully. So that was fun. We don't experience that from the Taiwanese. Even if they are already Christian, they are never rude or disrespectful of our beliefs. I don't think I could have served in America!
So in Taiwan we don't eat much meat. Last Monday I was craving chicken so bad because I was so deprived of meat! There is a place at the mall where you can order a whole chicken. So to celebrate having finished Phase 1, Sis. Lee and I went! And we ate a whole chicken by ourselves! And it was SOOOOOOO good! I still crave meat and cheese, but it was so stinkin' good!
Our chicken before we ate it...
Our chicken after we ate it! SO GOOD!
*Church members from Mainland China*
On Thursday night, we were at the church with one of our recent converts, and this group of people walked in. They were all dressed up really nice and I didn't know who they were. Come to find out they were from Mainland China! So all of us missionaries talked with them for a bit, and then they went into the chapel. We weren't sure if they were LDS or not, but come to find out they are! They all heard about the church one way or another and are now members of the church in Mainland China. It was so super cool! One was baptized in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, it was just so super cool! Then all the missionaries were talking about the day that Mainland China opens up for missionary work! It will be such an incredible day and we all can't wait!
*4th of July Day Celebration...*
Ok, this is anti-climatic...Our celebration was going to eat at Subway =] And then we had English class. Which I was not thrilled about. I was so frustrated with my kids the previous week because they don't listen, don't participate, and just talk to each other in Chinese every week, that I told them if they weren't going to listen and participate, then don't come. So during our English meeting I was begging the elders to take my kids class. Earlier in the week I had even fixed two pairs of pants and a shirt for one of the zone leaders (that's another story...one pair of pants and the shirt were an easy fix...the other pair he had ripped on both sides of the seam, but I was able to take it in and fix it, and while it puckers a little bit, it looks pretty dang good! I wish I had taken a picture of it...) and was going to pull that card, but decided that I'd just make a new rule that if you were 11 and over, you had to go to one of the other classes. And low and behold, all 5 of my students who came were 11 and older! So they all went to Sis. Lee's class =] So I just called phones, and I was so happy I didn't have to teach English! So that was our 4th of July =]
*New Potential Investigator*
As I said, this was a very slow week, and we really didn't see much happening. Every day we've spent a few hours going through the ward list visiting less-actives. On Friday night we were doing that, but we couldn't find these two addresses, so we decided to tract. The very last house, a mom and her two little kids had just gotten home. We stopped and talked with them, and turns out she had met the missionaries last year and she wanted to meet with them but was just too busy. She said it was fate that she met us because she wants her kids to grow up going to church. She invited us into her house and we visited with her for a minute and were able to pray with her and set up a time to go visit with her tomorrow! I am so excited! She also called on Saturday night about coming to church on Sunday, but she never came =[ I still have hope!'
Oh Melody, our golden, self-taught, investigator! She is so incredible! We met with her on Saturday, which was the first time we'd seen her in a week and a half! She came to a baptism and she loved it! She thought it was so great and she was like, I can't wait to get baptized! We told her what still needed to happen before she could get baptized. We reminded her that her goal was in 2 weeks! She was like, no! That's too fast! But we told her she was really prepared. Part of what she still has to do was come to church twice, which meant she had to come to church the next day, and then the next Sunday. So when 2 came around and she still wasn't at church, I was super nervous! I called her and she finally came around 2:30, but was able to stay for all of church. We met with her after for 1 1/2 hours!!! We taught her all the commandments and she thinks they are great and readily accepted them. We will start teaching her over the phone as well. We haven't even taught her about the Plan of Salvation or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we went through all the baptismal interview questions with her and she was able to answer all of them and her testimony is incredible! She knows how to receive revelation through church, prayer and the Book of Mormon and has experienced it all herself without us ever talking to her about it. She is just incredible! July 21 is her baptismal date! I can't wait!
So thats about it! It was a slow week, but those few experiences were so great! I love being here in Taiwan and am adjusting well and trying to find my little groove in missionary work.
I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!
I've included a few pictures, including ones of where I live, since I'm lacking in the picture department this week.....
Our kitchen and study area. When you walk into our apartment, this is what you see. Right past our desks in the hallway. We have three bedrooms and a bathroom.
Our bedroom. It is super small. Just big enough to have our two beds. We have a big bedroom that we use as our wardrobe room and our guest bedroom. We don't sleep in there because there is no AC. The third bedroom is the junk/storage room.
The view off our balcony into our courtyard. We walk through the building in front to get to our buiding. Its a super nice little area!
So there you go! I hope everyone is doing well! I love you all and am so grateful for your love, prayers and support! I feel it every day!
Taiwan Taichung Mission
#498-11 Wu Chuan Road