Sunday, June 30, 2013

Well, I Guess I Should Tell You...

But maybe I won't =] You'll just have to wait and find out what I may or may not tell you =]]]]]]]

I love secrets!

So this week has been really great! It's been a week of adjustment and learning and growing and finding and fun!

My new companion, Sister Horton, is so wonderful! I love her! She is such a hard worker and she is trying so hard to learn everything she needs to know. Especially because she'll be senior companion in a few weeks. We've been doing lots of training and working on her Chinese. She's never had Chinese before and so for only being in the MTC for 2 months and being in Taiwan for a week, her Chinese is really coming along. I've already seen so much improvement in 10 days! She is so great! We've been working a lot on contacting on the road and as well as teaching. Teaching skills are so important! Of course the language is really important too, and you need to be proficient at it in order to teach, but you also need skills to teach, so we've been working on that as well!

We've had some great lessons this week and have been working on finding new investigators! We did find some last week, so this week we are going to work on finding more and getting the ones we have to progress. We also met with our miracle mom and daughter that we found while looking for less-actives. They are so great! The mom really wants to be baptized, but we are worried that her husband might not agree. She also lives really far away and can't ride a scooter for that long with 4 kids. So we are working to get members to help her come to church. She is also worried about bringing her two youngest (3 year old twin boys) to church because she thinks she might go crazy =] But church is so important so we are hoping we can help them to church this coming Sunday so they can get baptized on my last Saturday, August 3rd! We can do it!

We also have a new mission president in our mission, President Blickenstaff! President Bishop left on Saturday. It is weird, since Pres. Blickenstaff will only be my mission president for a month, but I'm excited and I hope I can get to know him just a little before I leave!

We've been having some great lessons with less-active members which has been really great. We have some really awesome less-actives who we just need to help them remember their testimonies and the feelings they get from church to help them get to church! I hope we can help a few of them come back this month!

Not much else is going on! Just lots of training and practicing and preparing my companion to be senior companion! (Not for reals, her new companion will be the senior companion and her trainer, but she knows the area...or she will =] ) It's been fun and I'm trying not to stress my dear companion out. Our birthday's are right next to each other (mine is August 1 {hint hint} and her's isAugust 6), so we are looking forward to birthday week! Though I'm going to need to spoil her good to make up for the fact that I leave to come home on her birthday!!! Oh man, I'm such a lousy trainer! Who would go home on their trainee's birthday!? Only me =] 

Well, I hope you are all doing well! I am loving every last moment of my mission and doing my best to stay focused on the work of the Lord!! Thank you all for your love and support over these last 16 months! I love each and every one of you and am so grateful the Lord has put you in my life!!

So since I'm coming home on August 6th, that means all letters/packages/whatnot, will need to be sent from the US no later than July 17th to be safe. (This is not a call for letters or birthday packages, please don't think I am soliciting packages. But if you had already planned on sending me a letter or something, I just don't want it to get here after I leave =] )

Oh, did you all just catch that? That is my surprise!

I'm coming home on August 6th! I've known this for a long time, but we were going to keep it a secret so I could just show up at my family reunion, but I just decided I can't hold it in any longer =] 

Horray! Love you all!!! 


Sister Horton and I


Well, if you know what I'm talking about, you know that means, I'M TRAINING!\

Yup. I didn't think it would happen once I went Sister Training Leader. But, well, it did. 

Her name is Sis. Horton and she is from Tucson, AZ. She is super great! Our birthdays are just days apart, so we are going to have so much fun celebrating together! She is an incredibly hard worker! Just a little story: our first red light on our bikes, I told her, "Ok, we can contact these people together." I pulled up along side a lady and started to talk to her, and then I looked to my side to see my companion, and she was off contacting someone by herself! I was so proud of her!!! Off on her own her first day. And she hasn't stopped! She is so awesome and I know we are going to see so many miracles together! I can't wait!!!!

That was the biggest thing that happened this week. 

Last Monday the other ZhangHua sisters went with us to LuGang, again! This time a member drove us to the beach as well! It was nothing like the beach in GaoXiong, but it was still fun to just be at the water's edge. We didn't go in because it was not very clean water, but it was still lots of fun! And we went to see this little road, that is literally no wider than a body! (see picture). 

Our investigators are doing ok. None of them came to church on Sunday so none of them have baptismal goals now. But we have one investigator, Yi JM, who is so great! She has been reading and praying and she really understands what she is reading and is really developing her testimony! I love meeting with her! And she makes us amazing dumplings! But I told her she couldn't feed us next time because I don't want her to think that is why we come visit her (and I don't want to get fat!!! she gives us so much food!!!) She is so great! She is really hard of hearing, so it's super funny to talk to her because she can't hear =]

Well, I know this is a short email, but that is about all that has happened this week. The biggest thing is that I'm training! I'm so excited to see miracles with my dear sweet new companion! We are going to have so much fun and see so many miracles! She has such strong faith and I am loving all the time that we have to study together. So wonderful! 

Anyway. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support!!

Yay For June

Hello Everyone!!!!
What a great week!! The greatest thing being: my brother is going on a mission to the Indiana Indianapolis Mission, English Speaking!!! I am so excited and so proud of him! Thankfully he leaves after I come back so I can see him for a short period of time =] And the crazy thing: my cousin is going to the same mission, Spanish speaking. The two of them are great buddies and are so excited to be serving in the same mission!!!

Now, as for my mission, we've had an incredible week this week!!! Our investigators, Liao JM and Zheng DX are doing so well! We've seen them twice this week and they are both reading and praying! We taught them about the Sabbath on Saturday and they both currently work on Sunday, but are willing to try and do all they can to keep the Sabbath Day holy! We are so excited for their progression! Liao JM is a bit shy, but we are working on getting her to open up. I really, really love meeting with them! It's so fun!

Our other investigator, Yang JM, who was a former investigator, is also doing well. We are helping her to see the importance of the Book of Mormon, and how through her actions (reading, praying and coming to church) she can and will gain a testimony that God lives and guides her life. She is also hardcore studying Buddhism right now, and she is having a hard time separating the two things, so that is making things a bit difficult. But no worries, I came up with the perfect example (thanks to the help of the spirit) and we will share that with her next time we meet with her! I'll let you know how it goes. 

So they are our current progressing, baptismal date investigators. But we also found several other new investigators this week!!

The first was a pure, beautiful miracle!! Our mission has this new project, called the "Map Project". A companionship of elders took all the ward lists in the mission and made maps with dots plotted for every member on the list, organized them all and put them in binders for every companionship. These maps serve several purposes: finding really difficult addresses, seeing what members live where, so if we are in the area we can visit them or have them help us peike, and, the best one, find new investigators!! We have had success using the maps for the first two purposes, but we had yet to find any new investigators from the maps, nor had we really seen any big miracles. On Thursday we were in LuGang and our evening appointments cancelled, so we were able to stay in LuGang a bit longer. There was a name on the list we didn't know, nor did we know their current situation, so we decided to go visit the sister. We get there and she wasn't home, but her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law's 4 kids were there. One of the daughters wanted us to come in (she's 7) so the mom invited us in. We started talking with them and just sharing about what we do as missionaries. We then started sharing about how this gospel has blessed our families, and she was just eating it up!!! She was loving everything! Us ourselves didn't mention anything about baptism, but she said, if she is to be baptized her mother-in-law will probably oppose (this is a huge problem in Taiwan). We asked if we could come back and she said of course! Then, as we were leaving, she said, you won't forget us will you?! Of course not!!! So we are so thrilled for this wonderful miracle. And even better, her oldest daughter is 10, and was so interested in prayer as well! They were both willing to pray and they really want to come to English this week!! So excited!!

We also found another new investigator this week as we were tracting. Yi JM is an older woman who is married with two kids, but has gone through a rough time lately. Her mom passed away a year ago and she is feeling the pain of that still. And she is partially deaf, so it's difficult to be able to talk to her (though she can speak just fine). So we are excited to be able to share with her the Plan of Salvation and help her know where mom is, and that she can see her again! The Plan of Salvation is such a wonderful thing!

Well, I think that is about it! We've really had a fantastic week this week! We are continuing to be diligent and work hard, and we are feeling the blessings. I am so excited to see where these investigators can go!!!

I hope you all are doing well! I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Really, It's Not Happening

Really, I'm still not counting =] Well, maybe I am, but I'm not advertising it =]

We had a good week here in Taiwan! We'll start with last Monday!

Last Monday we went with the other ZhangHua sisters to LuGang, a town in our area. It was SO MUCH FUN! We went tourist shopping, took lots of pictures, ate yummy food and saw lots of old buildings! It was so much fun that we are going back next Monday! We were going to go today but its raining and we are really tired =] So next Monday it is! 

Tuesday we had zone training meeting. I love getting together with our whole zone. Its so fun! We have a fantastic zone with fantastic zone leaders who really care about us and our investigators, and really want to help us do our best! We talked about how to extend baptismal goals in a comfortable, non-threatening way, and it was a really good training!

Wednesday we had a bonus zone conference! Our mission president and his wife go home at the end of the month, so this was the last meeting that we had with them. It was so fun to hear all the reflections of the elders and sisters who are going home. We have SO MANY leaving at the end of this move-call. It will be sad to see a lot of my mission friends leaving. Most of the elders I've served around all leave this move-call or next. It will be weird. It was also so great to get to see our mission president and his wife one last time. They performed a great song about Taiwan to the tune of "This land is my land" and we all thoroughly loved it. And then of course it was so great to hear his testimony and to feel of his love for Taiwan and the people here, as well as his love for us and the work. He has been a wonderful mission president, and I have learned so much from him. 

Thursday we went back to LuGang, but this time for proselyting =] Sadly, most of our lessons cancelled, but we still had a few great lessons, and we got one new investigator!

Friday we went on exchanges! I got to stay in my area and a brand new sister came with me. She's been out 1 month and is a rockstar! Funny story about her. She has long, beautiful blond hair. When she was getting ready to come on her mission, she was talking with her mom about how she didn't know how she could wear her hair in a bun on the top of her head and wear a helmet. Her mom said, well, you just need to have a hole in your helmet for your hair. So they went and bought a skater helmet, cut a hole in the top, and now she can wear her hair in a bun on the top of her head and wear her helmet, and her hair just sticks right out =] It is a great conversation starter!

Saturday we went and visited our new investigators, Liao JM and Zhen DX. They are boyfriend/girlfriend, and are really great! They both accepted baptismal goals for July 13th!!!! We are so excited!! They both currently work on Sunday, but I know that as we teach them the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, and as their testimonies grow, they will be willing to keep it. They were both excited to read the Book of Mormon this week, so we are super excited for them!!!

And then Sunday, the best day this week!!! So many great things happened!! 3 of our recent converts came to church, which was more than we've had come to church in a while! We had two less-actives at church, who came for 3 hours! One has been up in Taibei for the last 6 weeks, so we haven't seen her since then. I was sitting in the chapel, waiting for church to start when I see her 10 year old son in front of me. I was like, what are you doing here, and then it clicked that if he was here, so was his mom!! I turned around and there she was! I was so excited to see her!! She has made so much progress in the 4+ months that missionaries have been helping her come back. Sadly she told us she is moving up to Taibei permanently on Thursday, but we are going to get her in touch with the missionaries up there so that they can keep helping her progress. But the greatest thing that happened is that my recent convert, Liu JM, came to visit me from GaoXiong! Well, she went up to Taibei on Saturday to go to the temple to do baptisms for the first time, and then on her way home on Sunday she stopped in ZhangHua to visit me. I love her so much! It was so fun to catch up with her and to see the progress she has made in the gospel. She is going to go on a short term mission for a week in July and I am so excited for her! She is hoping this will help her decide if she wants to go on a full-time mission! Recent converts are just the best!!

So that is about it for our week! It's been good! We are still working hard to find new, solid investigators who want to be baptized. We haven't found them yet, but we know we can find them!

I hope you are all having a great week! I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

We Aren't Counting Anymore...

Well, I decided we aren't counting how many weeks I've been on my mission anymore =] It's already going too fast that we don't need to keep track anymore. Let's just let it last forever ok =] 

We've had a good week here in ZhangHua! Nothing too exciting. Missionary work is going really slow in our zone right now. We are all searching really hard for those prepared souls. The elders in our ward have had them dropped into their laps. I'm so jealous. It's the power of member referrals. Both of the men they are working with are member referrals. Sigh. We have all been discussing a lot recently about how to improve relationships with our ward members and how we can gain their trust and share their friends and family members with us so that we have investigators dropping into our laps too =] 

On Tuesday we did exchanges with some sisters. I got to go with a sister who has only been on island for 3 weeks. I've never been with such a new sister! It was so fun! It made me a little sad that I won't get to train, but I really love being sister training leader and getting to know more sisters and be able to help them out. But it was really fun being with this sister for a day. Her Chinese is wicked crazy good! And before going into the MTC she had never heard Chinese being spoken before! The Chinese-speaking missionaries are only in the MTC for 2 months now because there are so many of them, but it is incredible to see how the Lord has blessed them with language skills. It is just a huge testament to me that this is the Lord's work, and He won't let His missionaries fail. 

We also had mission leadership council this week, which was super great. It was our mission president's last, which was really sad. He is such an incredible man, and I am so grateful I've been able to serve under him. We talked about our new mission president coming, and we are all excited, but it will be weird, especially since I will only serve with him for a short period of time. But it will be good! It was really cool to be is such a small setting with our mission president and to hear his testimony and to feel his love for the Savior and for missionary work. Such a great experience. 

We had a great, new investigator this week! She is 17, but because of a huge test that she has in July, her parents won't let her meet with us till it's over =[ We are so sad because she was so great! She was sad that she can't meet with us right now because she loves the feeling she gets when she is with us, so we invited her to share this with her parents. I hope she does and I hope they will change their mind and let her meet with us now! 

I also forgot to tell you all about how we lived without water for 32 hours...Last Sunday as we were leaving for church, we saw a handwritten note in the elevator about how the water was going to be turned off from the day before till the next night. Well, we knew we had water that morning, and the last time they said the water was going to be turned off, it wasn't, so we just kind of ignored it (plus it was time to start proselyting, and it was Sunday). Then that night while we were out we saw everyone talking about how there was no water...uh we went home and sure enough, no all. Well, that's ok, as far as drinking water, because we are prepared missionaries who have 72 hours worth of water. But, we had no water stored up for showers or washing dishes or we took a huge bucket and went and bought water from a water pump so we had some. ThenMonday we didn't have any water, but by that night we did =] Yay!

And then we had another earthquake yesterday, but not nearly as crazy as the last one. It was still big, and it lasted much longer, but we are still just fine =] 


1: Sis. Jarvis and Sis. Schultz - the other sisters in ZhangHua. We went to Taizhong with them last week to eat Coldstone ice cream and go shopping!

2: My companion and I and our crazy yummy ice cream!

3: Back in my first area - BeiQu - gone shopping on Yi Zhong Jie! So fun!
Hope you all have a great week!!!