Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Week 45: Kind of a Rough Week

大家好! (I figured out how to type in Chinese!! See my name at the end of the email) 

Where is the time going! I am soon going to be the oldest sister in the mission! That is weird to think...I have been on a mission for 10 months now! I only have 7 months left!! Time is going by so fast! 

We had a good week this week, especially because we had Zone Conference this week! I always LOVE Zone Conference! Not only because I get to see all my missionary friends, but because we get to be spiritually uplifted and have our missionary fire renewed! We had such an incredible zone conference. We were taught all about baptism, rescuing and retaining. We had some incredible breakout sessions taught by missionaries, and had some great instruction from our mission president about desire and motivation when it comes to missionary work! So awesome! We are also doing a mission read of the Book of Mormon and will finish in June; I am super excited about that! 

Other than zone conference, last Monday my companion and I and one of our recent converts made cookies together! I had been craving chocolate chip cookies, so I decided we could just make some. Except Carrefour (like Walmart) didn't have chocolate chips. So we used M&M's instead. They turned out super yummy! Our elders loved them. 

Tuesday was rough. We were supposed to meet with 3 of our 4 progressing investigators, but they all cancelled or fanged us, and didn't reschedule for later in the week. So it was a rough day. 

Wednesday was a good day though! We went to our recent convert, Pan JM's house and helped her organize a bit. She wasn't really sure where to start so we helped her get started a bit, and then we went out to lunch together which was fun. After that we went to visit a lady we had met tracting. We had a great lesson with her and her husband. While they are very Buddhist, they were very willing to listen to us. They wanted to know why Christian churches don't care much about ancestors, so we shared with them how, actually, our church very much loves our ancestors and we know they are very important. We didn't go into a ton of detail about how we show respect for our ancestors, but we talked a bit about genealogy with them and what not. They were super awesome, and it was just a super awesome lesson! We also went to our other recent convert, Liu JM's house for dinner. That was super fun =] I love her!

Thursday was zone conference and we went to Pan JM's again to visit with her and her kids and teach a lesson about service. Her kids are so awesome and they totally get the gospel. I love seeing it! I asked her 6 year old son what kind of service he could do for his dad, and he said he could help him to stop drinking alcohol =] I just smiled and said, that is an awesome service. Their dad isn't really interested in the gospel now, but the kids understand the importance of the gospel and how much their dad needs it, and they want to help him. I love their family! One day, they will have an eternal family =] 

Friday was also pretty good. We went to one investigators house for dinner (that was interesting...) and then to a park to exercise with another investigator. That was fun! We also met this really cool lady there who was super hilarious! We hope that another day we can meet with her =] 

Now Saturday, that was by far the best day we've had in a while! While we didn't have a ton of new investigators or anything, we did have some incredible lessons! We went tracting in the morning, and I told my companion to lead us somewhere. So she did, and we are knocking doors and the first three, people answer, but aren't really interested. At the 4th, we see a lady in the courtyard, so we are trying to get her to open the door, and right as we were about to leave, she opens and is like, what do you want. We tell her who we are and she is like, I know. My parents are Catholic and I'm atheist. We start talking to her a little, and she shares how she doesn't believe there is a God because so many people in the world are suffering, and how could God let so many people suffer, and she is trying to do her best by helping other people and helping to make them suffer less, but it is so much pressure. Long story short, by the end of talking with her she was crying and asked us to come back. The spirit was so strong, and she was very willing to pray with us at the end. Because her mom is Catholic, she doesn't want us to come back to the house, but we are going to go visit her on Tuesday at her work. I am very excited to see what happens with her. Also while tracting that street, an Amah (grandma) let us come in and she shared with us all about her family =] So it was a super great tracting time! We then met with an investigator (whom we only recently determined is for sure an investigator, not a less-active like she thought she was). She willingly accepted a new baptismal goal for March 2 and we are excited to help her hit it! And lastly, that night the Elders had a baptism! Last week on exchanges with my MTC companion, she asked about an investigator, but I said I didn't know her, we weren't meeting with her. So this week I looked up her record and we called her and she was very willing to come to the baptism. I was so excited! So she came, and the bishop and another ward member remembered her from when she was investigating 6 months ago! That was a plus as well! So we are excited to start meeting with her again and helping her progress towards baptism as well!

So all in all, it was good week, with lots of motivation and uplifting experiences! This upcoming week is the last week of the move-call! I have a feeling I might be moving next move-call; we shall see!

I hope you all are doing well! I love you all and miss you all and am so grateful for all you do for me, for the prayers and letters and whatnot!

Have a wonderful week!

291: Finished cookies! They were a bit flat, but oh so yummy!

285: My companion and I making cookies =]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Week 44: Senior Companion

Where is time going! Actually, since becoming senior companion, it has slowed down quite a bit...I'm not sure why. But hopefully once I adjust to being senior companion, it will pick up a bit. I don't want it to fly by, but I like feeling like I accomplished a lot in a day because it went by so fast =]

We had a good, abeit crazy week. We had two exchanges this week, plus my companion was sick one day, so it was just an interesting week =] But good none the less!

Last Monday we went to the beach! We started off going to the place my previous companion and I went, but there is no sand there, so our area has a little bit of this island, so we took a ferry and went to the island and to the sandy beach there! It was so much fun! And it was actually warm, so we didn't freeze. And the water was fairly warm too. I was really surprised. So fun! 

Tuesday was exchange number one. I stayed in my area with another Taiwanese sister, Sis. Liu (same as my companion =] ). We had a good time! We both learned a lot about how to be better senior companions and how to become better teachers. It was super awesome! We also had an awesome lesson with our investigator, Chen JM. She is doing really well! She is willing to live the word of wisdom, now we are just helping her do it! We really hope she can get baptized on January 25th!

Wednesday we had a fantastic lesson with another investigator named Chen JM. We also taught her the word of wisdom, and while she knows it will be hard, she is totally willing to keep it. We are hoping this week we can give her a baptismal goal! She is so ready to be baptized! We also met with a recent convert this day who has been struggling with her testimony a bit. We talked about how we could help her, and what things would help her strengthen her testimony. I hope she is willing to let us help her!

Thursday my poor companion was sick, but she is a little trooper! She pushed through and we still had 6 lessons that day! We have such awesome recent converts. We meet with a lot of them on Thursdays, so Thursdays is one of my favorite days =] 

Friday we had another exchange, zone scramble! This was just our zone, and all the companionships exchanged. I stayed in my area and my MTC companion, Sis. Walbrecht, got to come back to her old area and we got to be companions again for a day! It was so much fun! We talked about how much we've changed and how our missions have changed us and it was just super great. We had a scary experience with an investigator who is now no longer an investigator, but other than that, it was all really good. 

Saturday was ok, but we were stood up quite a bit. But we did have a good lesson with a new investigator. She is a mom of two little girls and we are hoping we can help her learn and grow in the gospel! 

Then Sunday! Our investigator Chen JM came to church, and so did our less-active, Cai JM, who is deaf! I was so happy to see Cai JM. We had texted her the day before to check that she was coming, but she never responded back to us. When church started, she still wasn't there, but right after the sacrament, a member pulled me out and there was Cai JM! I was so happy! I took her over to the relief society president (because I can't read or write, so I couldn't help her understand what was going on in sacrament meeting), and she stayed for all 3 hours! I was so happy! We are trying to find someone who can sign or who is willing to learn so that we can help her have a good experience at church. 

So all in all, we have had a good week! This week I've been reading the "Teachings of the Prophets: Joseph Smith" book because often in the Gospel Principles book, the reference are from this book, and I am loving learning more about the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was such an incredible man! Today I read a quote that he had written in a letter to someone, and it really struck me. He said, "The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." I have heard this before (at the end of one of my CD's about missionary work) and didn't realize Joseph Smith had said this. When I read it this morning, I was like, wow, this truly is the Lord's work, and nothing, NOTHING is going to stop it. And what is even cooler is I am a part of this work! I am the Lord's servant here in Taiwan. I know sometimes I forget this, but after I read this this morning, I don't want to forget anymore. The work will go forward, with or without me, and right now I have the special opportunity to be fully dedicated to the work, and I don't want to let other things get in the way. Life will go on after my mission, but right now, I've promised to the Lord to be His servant. So neat! So yeah! I love being a missionary!

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe week! I love you all! Thank you all for your love and support! I feel it every day!

271: Me on the beach

208: This is where I am serving my mission! It is so beautiful!

233: My companion and I in the ocean!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Week 43: A New Year!

Wowza, time is just flying!!! We are already one week into the new year! I can't believe that! We've had a good week here in GaoXiong, abeit some craziness. 

Last Monday night, New Years Eve, we went searching for less-actives. It didn't occur to me that because it was New Years Eve, most people would not be at home, but we found one less-active sister who was! She has only been a member for about 2 years, and normally works at night, but because of the holiday was at home. So we had a good time getting to know her and we hope that we can help her continue to strengthen her testimony and remember why she decided to follow Christ and be baptized. 

Tuesday we had a great lesson with our new investigator, Chen JM. She has a strong Christian background, and so when we were explaining about Joseph Smith she wasn't getting why he was so important. We had a peike (a member) in the lesson with us, and we had never had her peike for us, but she was incredible! She did a really great job about explaining why Joseph Smith is important, and she asked her some great questions and what not. I was like, can we have her peike every time? It was awesome. So Chen JM is doing really well and she really began to understand about prophets and Joseph Smith. Super cool to see!

Wednesday was also super cool! We have three less-actives that all live in the same area, but none of them ever are home/won't let us in, so we go about once a month to visit them and take them notes. Wednesday we just decided to go, and the one sister, she is always home, but won't let us into her building, and won't let us share a message with her through the intercom. So we got to her house and the door to her building was open!!! We were so stoked! So we go up and she was home! She was a little, um, not too happy at first and really didn't want to talk to us, but she eventually let us share a scripture with her on her door step and then she prayed for us. As we were leaving, she was like, the door wasn't closed, was it. And we were like,  nope =] Heavenly Father wanted us to visit you so he let someone forget to close it =] It was so neat!

Thursday was an interesting day. One of our new investigators has a lot of problems, and we have been trying to figure out how, through teaching her the gospel, we can help her resolve some of her problems. One of her problems could be resolved by living the Law of Chastity, so we decided to teach her the Law of Chastity from the beginning so that, if she really wants to be baptized, she can begin to live this commandment. Well, long story short, her boyfriend was not happy about the fact that he would have to move out, and he came looking for us. Thankfully we weren't there, the elders were, and the second time he came (we knew he might be coming back) the bishop was there and talked to him. I was really nervous, but needless to say, we are not teaching her anymore. It was really sad, because she did have a desire to learn, but in her current situation, we didn't have the capabilities to help her. Hopefully one day we can. 

On Friday we had a great afternoon with our Recent Convert, Zhang JM, and then had another great lesson with our investigator Chen JM. At this lesson, she really understood why she needs to have her own testimony of Joseph Smith, and she was willing to go and pray about him and she has been reading the Book of Mormon and everything! And in the short time we've known her, I have seen a difference in her. It is so great! We have a lot of investigators who are not keeping commitments (ie: reading the Book of Mormon, praying, coming to church) and because they aren't keeping commitments, they are not progressing. It hasn't been till this move-call that I have really seen this kind of affect in my investigators. When investigators don't read or pray, they will not progress and they will not be baptized. So now my problem that I'm trying to solve is how to get my investigators to ACT! Acting is so important, and sometimes it requires faith, but it always brings blessings =]

Saturday was good. We went and found a former investigator! She is a mom of two young girls who are so cute! She is super busy, but she is willing to let us come back. She wants her girls to grow up going to church, but she doesn't really want it for herself, so we shared how it is important for her to set the example for her girls; taking them to church every Sunday isn't good enough. So I am excited for her! We also had a lesson with another investigator who had a baptismal goal. I wrote about her last week, but sadly, this week, she doesn't want to get baptized. So we will see. We talked with the bishop and he said she needs to wait a while to be baptized, so we will wait, and hope that she can progress. 

And then Sunday was Sunday =] Church and meetings and what not. We went to Family Home Evening with a few recent converts which was fun. We also had two other investigators with baptismal goals drop their goals because they weren't able to come to church on Sunday. So that is also a bummer, but we hope we can help them and a few others get new goals this week! 

I love being a missionary! I love seeing people grow and progress! I need to figure out how to be better at helping them, and continue to develop my skills as a teacher, because I know that makes a difference, but that is why each day we have a new day, so we can learn and grow and become better! Lately I've been reading the Teachings by the Prophet Joseph Smith book and I am just loving learning about Joseph Smith. My companion and I were discussing how similar his and Christ's stories are. Both such important men, yet both rejected and persecuted by the world. It is also so interesting how they were both only on the earth till they were in their 30's. They both were martyred so young. But, their work was so incredible. How grateful I am for these two men! For without them, we would have no Book of Mormon, and oh how I love the Book of Mormon! There is so much greatness in the Book of Mormon that can help us study about Jesus Christ and His Gospel! If you haven't read the Book of Mormon, ever or recently, I challenge you to read it. We are all busy, I know, but through reading even just for 5 minutes a day, we can learn so much about our Savior and how he can help us in our lives. 

I am so grateful for this chance I have to be a missionary for the Lord and to take his gospel to the people of Taiwan! I hope you all have had a marvelous start to this new year! Now is the time to change, to begin new habits, and to more closely follow our Savior Jesus Christ. 

I love you all! Thank you all so much for your love and support! You are all so wonderful! I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Lots of love!

(Sorry, no pictures this week... I'll have some next week since we are going to the beach again today =] )