Hello Everyone! Every day here in Central Taipei is REALLY crazy and that’s just how I like it! Running back and forth between appointments, meetings, and being out on the street. There’s nothing better. I feel like I have been able to really thrive in this crazy environment, being in the middle of everything.
Transfers are THIS week and we know our companionship will be changing up, we just aren’t exactly sure how or where. These past 6 weeks with Sister Armstrong and Sister Langley have been an absolute dream! We have seen so many miracles together and they truly feel like my sisters. We are Sisters in Zion! (Elder Reintjes does this HILARIOUS impression of relief society sisters being all sappy which also adds to the hilarity in the title of this email.)
For some reason, this week Sister Armstrong has been really obsessed with dogs and we have just happened to come across some very funny ones on the street. Tell you more about that in a sec.
But this past Monday was probably the LAMEST P-Day I have ever had in my entire mission. It will probably go down in history as the lamest P-Day I will ever have haha. Probably one of the lamest days I will have in general. We cleaned ALL day. We ended up doing nothing else. The Xinan apartment is something else, I tell ya. Our kitchen definitely looked like it had just come out of a horror movie or an episode of “Hoarders.” I won’t say anything else about some of the stuff we saw but let’s just say I used a mask, rubber gloves, and a LOT of bleach. After some screaming, gagging, and hauling of many garbage bags to the common garbage area (about a block away), we finally got the job somewhat done. We have been using little pockets of time to continue cleaning throughout the week. Good riddance to cockroach poop, old stinky clothes, and the other nasty goodies left around.
Our biggest miracle of the week goes along with Tina, our English ward investigator. Her baptismal date was scheduled for February 25th but we were having impressions throughout the week that she could totally move it up a week or two earlier. And she felt that impression too! On Saturday night we attended a baptism in the jin hua ward together and she told us she really felt ready for baptism. So on Sunday she had interview with the English ward bishop, Bishop Weddle, and they agreed on a baptismal date of Sunday, FEBRUARY 12th! So in less than a week! We are SO stoked. The APs have another investigator named David from the English ward getting baptized on the same day. This is HUGE because the English ward’s baptismal goal for the entire year is only 4! Guess they’ll have to be rethinking that one, haha!
We are also progressing really well with our Xin an ward investigators and we have been trying to set really solid baptismal dates with them. There are lots of people that have cancelled on us this week because of Chinese New Year. But it hasn’t been too bad.
On Friday we went to bafang (the dumpling place) for the first time this transfer and that was awesome haha. Me and Sister Apsley ate there nearly every day in training but we just haven’t gotten the chance this transfer! Then we met this old couple with this really fat, tiny dog on the street. The fattest dog. It was SO funny taking pictures with it. That night at bedtime Sister Armstrong wasn’t able to keep herself together for a full half an hour as she looked at the pictures and laughed at them.
On Saturday we did Temple Tours for the first time! Basically we just wander around the area of the temple and try to find people to come in to do tours with us. Members also sometimes invite their friends to do pre-scheduled tours. We began the day with one of those and we were able to refer the friend! Then we walked all the way over to the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall (about a 10-minute walk) and got an older lady to walk all the way back with us to the chapel to do a tour! That was a HUGE miracle! We went into the chapel and I was able to play the piano for her and that opened her heart right up. We were able to refer her to the missionaries in her area too. So that was super cool!
Last night, Sunday, was the monthly New Member fireside and I got to play a piano solo at it. We also had one of our ward’s recent converts, Chen Fen Fan, bear her testimony for everyone which was awesome. It was really last minute too so it’s cool that she was willing.
Today for P-Day we are going ice skating! How cool is that? I didn’t think we would be able to do things like this in Taiwan haha. And then tonight we are going to travel with Tina to Bishop Weddle’s house to do a Family Home Evening together! It’s going to be one of the best P-Days ever. Oh man. Taipei life is great.
- We are going strong with the morning exercise! This week we have played basketball, frisbee, and have done some aerobics. Also we had to ride our bikes up a bunch of big hills as per usual. Biking missions are the best. I was pretty scared when I found out I was going to Taiwan because this is probably the biggest biking mission in the world. But it has been so much fun. Nothing more cool than riding through town as three white girls in skirts.
- I really appreciate the American garbage system after this week.
- We got fed by a lot of members this week, everything from hot pot to traditional food to pizza and chicken nuggets. Haha.
- The tradition for Chinese new year is giving each other red packets of money! So we had the creative idea to give our ward members hong baos with a scripture, a picture of us, and a hand-written note in them. Me, thinking it would be nice to be cute, put stickers on the back of each hong bao. But apparently when you do that it’s basically a good-luck wish for marriage. Luckily all the members got a kick out of it as we gave them out!
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
This week it’s going to have to be 弱點, or weakness. This week I hit my 6 month mark! So many trials marked the beginning of my mission and there were many moments where they only thing that kept me going was…the ability to just keep going. I know that this ability is provided to us by our loving Heavenly Father. When we persevere, he provides with blessings and the ability to see how our trials and weakness provide us with opportunities to learn. I love this perspective I have gained in the past 6 months, even though it is still really small compared to how much time I have left to live and learn. When every weakness you have is magnified, you have to rely on the Savior’s example and nothing else. Ether 12:27 tells us that God gives us weakness so that we may be humble. Humility is such a huge aspect of being able to rely on Jesus Christ. If I hadn’t had so many interesting challenges at the beginning I would not be able to rely on the spirit, scriptures, and doctrine of the gospel like I do now. I am so excited we always get this opportunity to keep learning and becoming humble.
I love you all! Sorry for the sappiness. The church is true!
Sister Anne Watson