Wow, its been a while, hasn't it? I am back from the mission, and have decided that maybe blogging isn't such a big waste of time after all. So yes, I've decided that I'm going to post once in a while. But for now, I'm headed to bed. Good night :)
So Chinese New Year is in full throttle. This whole week pretty much everything is closed besides Mcdonalds and 7/11s and everyone has school and work off. There are fireworks going off every night and well... the missionary work is taking a little pause this week because pretty much all of our investigators are out of town visiting family. So I guess everyone in the north part of Taiwan goes down south where is warmer during this time of year... so its kind of a like a ghost town in Taipei, which is really weird compared to the normal hustle and bustle.
But what does this mean for us as missionaries? Lots of time spent with members because they qing women chi.. have us over for new years lunch and dinner! Its pretty much a strategy to pace ourselves with eating because the members are so generous and they send us home with lots of food, too. Mhmmm, its been delicious.. lots of traditional Chinese food :) Its just a little tough to do the missionary work this week, but we are trying our best. We did tract/contact some families that set up with us for us to come over later this week during the holiday, so we'll see how they go.
Anyways, things are going well here. We have 2 investigators that are really close to setting baptismal dates, but they just don't feel ready yet. But we know that they are ready and we are helping them to have more confidence in their testimonies... please pray for Zhang Yong (Paulina) and Lin Jie mei for them to have enough confidence to take the next step of the gospel... baptism!
Okay, I have some miracle stories. Well, I count them as miracle stories. I had a chance to see my trainer from my first area at Zone Conference this week and she told me that our investigators when I was there... Ding Jiemei (I knew had gotten baptized), Yan Jiemei and her son Matt, and Wu Pei Jing and her 11 yrold daughter all got baptized last transfer!! These were all the investigators Sister Teh and I were working with that all went through!! I was so excited to hear about their success and their progress! Wu Pei Jing was a referral from our mission president that had a big problem with work on sundays.. and well, she's baptized! And Sister Teh told me of a miracle (which we didn't even realize at the time). Sis Teh and I were eating lunch one day and we felt like we were just wasting time in the area we were at because no one was home. We decided to eat at this place with lots of windows and happened to see Ding Jie mei walk by. I ran outside to call out to her to say hi. Well, she told Sis Teh later that she was going out that day to take all of our Buddhis relics and statues, etc to the mountains to give back to the gods because she felt like she needed to do it in order to learn about our church. Well, she was really scared and thought that those gods were going to come to her and haunt her... so she said a prayer that if she saw the sister missionaries she wouldn't be scared anymore. Well, her prayer was answered and we saw her! And now she is baptized and she has a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the church. YES!
And one more thing. There was a girl that I talked to on the bus one day in my first area... got her number and I set her up for a time. Well, when I was there met with her twice and she was pretty good, but seemed like it would be hard with her family situation. Well, Sister Teh told me that she has a baptismal date and that she's really really good! YEAH!
moral of the stories... you never know the impact you might make. There are miracles all around us that we might not realize at the moment... but the Lord has His way of helping his work progress. I know that was in my last area, and that now I am in this Shuanghe area helping the Lord make miracles in this city. I know that if we have faith and plan for miracles to happen, they will. There is power in the prayer of faith and so much power in the Book of Mormon.
Our mission President has invited each one of us to read the entire Book of Mormon by June 1. Our theme this transfer is helping our investigators feel the power of the Book of Mormon. A member converted to the Book of Mormon will NOT fall away.
Things are going here. We are keeping up our faith and working hard and doing a lot of reactivating in the area. The thing with Taiwan is that there are sooo many people that go inactive, its pretty sad. When we look at the ward list, we don't know who the majority of the members are because they've gone inactive... But we are finding some people to teach. Kinda of funny, but we have started to get to know members' (only member in the family) moms. We have started to teach two of them who really respect the church because their daughter is a member, but haven't really learned about it. And I called a former investigator from our Area book (from 2006!) and she was willing to meet. Well, we met with her yesterday and she says that before she wasn't really ready to believe, but then she's felt more inclined to study more about God, and well, that's when she received our call! She's got a lot of potential, she's super sweet and super tiny (probably the size of Aunt Ivy, but in her 20's) so we are excited for her because she really has a desire to learn. I'm really learning a lot about myself this transfer, its amazing what a mission can do. I'm learning that everything has a purpose... our companion, our area, everything. This church is so true and I love being able to read the scriptures every morning and to grow closer to my Savior. This morming I read Helaman 3:29-30, about how the word of God has the power to protect us from Satan's evil influences. The Book of Mormon has so much power! You can read "Because my father read the Book of Mormon" from this past conference. Things are going good here. I'm really trying to get my chinese to progress and starting to focus more on reading the book of Mormon in Chinese. There is so much to do with so little time! I'm already over a third done with my mission, ahh!
Okay, well, we got move calls and I'm in a place called ShuangHe right now. Its really two areas- Yonghe and Zhonghe, and in the church they call it Shuanghe. I'm really sad about leaving Xizhi, I really loved it over there and I'm going to miss it a lot. Ding Jie Mei passed her baptismal interview! She is getting baptized on Saturday, and I don't know if I'll be able to go :( But this week has been really good. We have been meeting with Yan Jiemei and her son, Lin yi pin, and they have grown so much since they have started meeting with us and coming to church. They have started to recognize the blessings of the gospel and their testimonies are growing stronger and stronger. They will definitely be baptized this next transfer... but I won't be there :( But its okay! I'm here in my second area, with Sister Pitts, from Nevada, who has almost been on the island for a year now. She is very different from me, tall, blonde, and very quiet... but it will be a good experience to learn from her and work with her. This area is nothing like Xizhi... they tell me its the most densely populated part of the world, apart from a place in India. There are huge buildings everywhere and just tons and tons of people. Ahh! It will take some getting used to. I loved Xizhi and its beautiful scenery and quiet atmosphere. Anyways, I'm looking forward to working hard and starting fresh. Cool story: Sister Teh and I were riding our bikes yesterday and we were stopped at a stop light when the couple Sister Teh was talking to agreed to stop so they could get a pamphlet. Well she asked them when they had time to meet, and then they said, "Well, now would be good." So we rode over to the chapel and had a lesson about prayer and about how we can directly talk with God. It was a really cool experience and it was awesome to share with them that they could have their frustrations and pains taken away when they prayed.
Things are going good! I am still with my companion Sister Teh here in Xizhi and we are excited for Yan Jiemei and her son Lin yi pin. Their testimonies are growing and they are slowly recognizing the changes that come from this gospel. Yi pin loves learning and he is a really smart boy, and we like him a lot. We just need to help him make some friends at church so he won't be so bored. In this area, I never realized how lucky we are. The Xizhi ward loves sister missionaries and they are all awesome! We get a lot of support from the ward and its faithful members. Our chapel is a little sad, though. Church is held in a building that looks a little run down... there is no carpet, and there a neon sign that says, "YesuJidu houqishengtu jiaohui" and we use ping pong table halves as classroom tables... its great. But the ward is wonderful and I love it.