Merry Christmas!!!!! I can't believe the year is almost over! It seems like just yesterday I was putting in my mission papers, and now that was already over a year ago! Don't let a minute go to waste, time is too precious!!
We had a good week here in GaoXiong! I survived my first week as senior companion! It started off better than it ended, but that's ok. Our first full day together, Tuesday, was really great! We had a ton of lessons and it was just so fun! Wednesday we got fanged (stood-up) a lot, which was kind of a bummer, but we had English and now that I'm not English Leader, I enjoyed it much more =] I teach Gao Ji Ban (Advanced) and for our spiritual share we watched Mr. Kruger's Christmas. My students were really touched by the movie and how Christ-like Mr. Kruger was to others, even though they weren't very kind back to him.
Then Thursday was the day I have been waiting for since I got to Taiwan! Our Mission Christmas Activity!! The one day that all the missionaries were together at once! It was so much fun, but so short. We left at 6:30 AM on a bus and drove 3 hours. Then we arrived at a Buddhist temple and took our mission picture! So fun! We had about 30 minutes there and we just visited with people! I wish we had had more time there so I could have gone and looked at the temple. I was just more concerned with talking to people =] Then we drove about an hour to another tourist attraction, where we had more time =] So we walked around there and took pictures, then it was off to TaiZhong, my first area!!! We ate lunch at the TaiZhong Steakhouse, and that was super fun. It is an all you can eat buffet. It was great to just get to visit with missionaries I hadn't seen in a while =] And then back to my old home, Beiqu! It was so weird being back there. We had a Christmas Devotional, and then it was back on the bus to head home to GaoXiong. It was so fun to be able to see everyone and to celebrate Christmas!
Then last night, Sunday, we went with some of the singles and some of our recent converts to go caroling for Family Home Evening. It was super fun, and the elders had a real cool miracle out of it. We also had a lady come up to us and talk with us. She often sees the missionaries and is always touched when she sees us. She was willing to give us her information, so we are going to call her and see if she is willing to meet with us so we can share about our special message.
This Christmas season has been very different from every other Christmas I've had. I have been able to focus more on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and really remember why we celebrate Christmas. Here in Taiwan, they have some of the commercialized aspects of Christmas, but most people here are not Christian, and therefore do not know about Christ. I love that I get to spend everyday sharing with these wonderful people about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how this gospel can bless their lives. I hope everyone can remember the importance of Christmas, and remember our Savior Jesus Christ.
I read in a conference talk this morning this quote by Elder Russel M. Nelson: "All missionaries, younger and older, serve with the sole hope of making life better for other people." This is why I am serving a mission, and the way I help make people's lives better is by sharing about Jesus Christ. I know He is my Savior, and that through Him, all the pain and suffering and hardships and trials can become joy. That is why we celebrate Christmas, to remember our Savior.
I love you all! Thank you all for your love and support! I am so grateful for you all. I feel your prayers everyday.
Have a wonderful, Merry CHRISTmas!
1: Me and Sis. Taylor, my MTC companion of 12 days, and my best friend in the mission (who is now serving in my first area!!!)
2: Me and Elder Westbrook (and our companions). He and I lived together in China
3: All the missionaries (except for Elder Buckwalter, who we couldn't find) that I came to Taiwan with. Love these people!
4: My darling companion and I