Wow, how did I get to be on week 32 of my mission, how did it become the end of October, and well, time is just flying by!!! I can't believe how fast everything is going!
The most exciting thing this week was Zone Conference!!! I was sad I wasn't up in TaiZhong to see all my friends, but I was excited to see a few people who I hadn't seen recently because they were down south, and to meet a few new people. The focus of this Zone Conference was working with ward members. It is something I've been excited to do my whole mission, but haven't know how to do so. Earlier this month we had a meeting with just our zone and we focused on this as well and it was super great, so I was excited to learn even more! It was a wonderful day, complete with seeing a few friends from the north! They came down to do a presentation on how to work with members. It was so great to see a few more friends =]
So, how are our investigators? Pretty good. Chen JM has only had tea once this week! This is super great! We are really trying to encourage her! She knows she shouldn't drink it, so she just has to decide she isn't going to do it. She has also been reading and praying, so this is some great progress! Another of our investigators, Liu JM also came to church for the first time yesterday! She thought it was pretty good =] And then we picked up another new investigators! Another Chen JM. We had wanted to go to a ward relief society activity on Saturday, but didn't have any investigators for that ward. The relief society president asked us to come anyway. About 10 minutes later a girl called about English. We said we only have English on Wednesdays, so she asked if we had any other activities that day. We were like, actually, we do in an hour! Do you want to come? She said yes! We were so excited! She has actually been in our referral system for a few months and we've called her several times but never gotten ahold of her. So she came the activity and had a good time, and then, even though she said she didn't think she'd be able to come to church, she did, and she brought her sister! Her mom and sister are baptized in different christian churches, but her sister wanted to check out our church. I think we have a great potential family here! I'm so excited! So that is investigators!
We have also been helping two less-active young woman in our ward with their personal progress. It is really fun doing it with them, and seeing them learn and grow and think about gospel principles. It reminded me when I did my personal progress. I didn't appreciate doing it, but I do realize how much I learned from it, and it gave me a renewed desire to make sure that I emphasize the importance of it with my daughters, and it is making me excited to complete it with them =] This is obviously a long way off, but I'm still excited =]
One of our recent converts has been bringing her 3 younger boy cousins to meet with the missionaries. They don't live in our area, so they've been meeting with the elders in their area, but since they come to church in our ward with their cousin, we've met with them a few times as well. The youngest, a 12 year old boy, is so super cute but kind of a punk. I've meet with him twice. Yesterday we were talking about prayer and I asked him if he has been praying. He said yes, and I asked him what about. He said his tests, so I asked how they went. He got really excited and said they went really well. I asked him if he prayed before his tests and he said yes, so I asked him if he thought his prayers helped, and he said he knows they did. It was really cool to see this young 12 year old boy share his testimony about how he knows prayer works.
So, how about some cultural things? Taiwan has a lot of people who are Buddhist, and therefore, there are a lot of miaos, or temples, all over. They all bai-bai, which is worship their ancestors through burning paper money and setting out food and chanting/praying to their ancestors. There are maios everywhere. We have one outside our church, on on the ride home, and, as I discovered yesterday, one right outside our apartment window. I mentioned last week about the fireworks all the time, so yesterday was no different, except that it was more like a cannon going off, and it was right outside our window. There was something going off that sounded much like a cannon, for about 2 hours. Then this parade or something started going on. They had cars with music and dancers who were performing for the gods/ancestors. It was so interesting to watch. All these people are out there participating in it, and lighting off fireworks and banging drums, all because they think it is what the gods/ancestors would want to see/hear/eat/etc. It made me appreciate what we know about God and about our ancestors and life after death. It made me grateful that we don't go around doing ridiculous things, but that we perform sacred ordinances for our ancestors in holy temples of the Lord. Though, I suppose, if those people knew what we did to respect our ancestors, they'd think we were weird too =] But, it really just made me think about how grateful I am to know what happens after we die, and to know that the work performed for our ancestors in the temple is the best thing we can do for them, and it has the most impact.
Well, that's about it for this week! Sorry I don't have any pictures today. We are going to Monkey Mountain, a mountain with monkey's, today, so next week I will have pictures for everyone!
I hope everyone is doing well! I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support!