I don’t think there was too much this week that was out of the ordinary. I am halfway through my 10th transfer on the mission…and halfway through my fourth transfer in Banqiao. I think if I had been in an area this long at the beginning of my mission, all I would have been able to think about is “Get me out of here! Get me out of here!” But now I am just trying to work on helping a long-time vision for this area come to pass by small and simple things.
On exchanges this week we shared a scripture with an investigator–Alma 37:6
6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
And this scripture is so true! It describes perfectly how we truly help people to come unto Christ, especially as full-time missionaries. If we don’t have a vision, it’s really easy to get overthrown by the many little disappointing things that happen. And they sure do happen a LOT. But I am happy to keep learning and to keep seeing miracles.
Here is a quick throw-down of everything that happened this week!
For P-day we went to the first choir practice. Every Christmas, our mission does this big choir that performs on several occasions. Last year we didn’t get to do it since Zhubei was a little bit too far away and all the fastest trains didn’t go through so it was inconvenient.
But this time they put me in Taipei, and they also want me to help me out on the piano so I guess they will be having me do it this year! I am so excited, I haven’t gotten to put this much effort into practicing piano in such a long time.
We had a fun advanced English class this week where I had them talk about different positions/titles people hold in life like mother, grandfather, policeman, politician, etc. and I had them order all of these things as to who they respected the most and who they respected the least. Grandfather made it at the top of the list with mother coming in as a close second (with the roles Grandmother and father also implied as of equal importance). Politician and King were at rock bottom haha. It was also funny to see them place the role of “student” above that of “policeman” and other occupations.
And I ended the lesson with a hidden ace of a card– HEAVENLY FATHER! And I explained to the class that, above all of the roles and positions of power people have, the person with the most power and importance is none other than God. And then we had a nice discussion about prayer that got really deep, but we had to cut it short because of time. So we will have to talk more about prayer next week. I love my philosophical, thinking English class!
At district meeting the Zone Leaders got custom-ordered chocolate peanut butter 包子 for everyone. And they actually turned out really delicious although they are unheard of in Taiwan since traditional 包子 are just bread stuffed with meat or vegetables. Apparently the store owner that custom made them for us thinks they are so good that he will add them to the menu.
Oh and who can forget exchanges this week? After taking a look at our map and consulting other missionaries, I realized that Yonghe was probably only a half-hour bike ride from our apartment, so we decided to check out biking instead of taking the MRT and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. First off, it was nice to have our own bikes on exchanges because normally we’re stuck using old missionary bikes that hurt your knees. It was also nice because, as it turns out, we only had to bike down one big road ALL the way through Zhonghe and then, somehow, we ended up right in front of the Yonghe chapel. I felt really proud of myself because we literally had to guess that we would make it to Yonghe eventually if we went down the big road. Just call me a Zhonghe expert.
But anyways, I got to serve with Sister Richards, who I came to Taiwan with so no biggie ;). Now I can say I have been companions with all of the sisters in my “generation”! We are just a small group of 4 (me, Sister Richards, Sister Bernhardt, and Sister Rhynard) but we have gotten to serve a lot around each other our entire missions.
And THEN our ward had a big Thanksgiving activity this week which we got to participate in and bring our investigators to. My awesome recent convert Huang Ya Ling brought a friend too, she is one of the best member missionaries ever! They had SO much food and our ward just ATTACKED it like no one’s business. And then we played some games and stuff. They also made pinatas and let the bishop punch the heck out of them (no, seriously.)
Sunday night our stake had an Ice Cream Party (actually a fireside on missionary work) at the chapel. It’s funny, apparently “bing qi lin pai dui” (sorry, the Chinese character function isn’t working) doesn’t have as much of a ring to it, so whenever they were announcing it in church they would say “Ice Cream Party” in English before continuing on with the Chinese. But it turned out really good! Our investigator Zhang Qi Fang came. They had a member from our ward who successfully referred a family to meet with the missionaries do a talk, and President Jergensen also came and gave a talk as well. It was really cool.
As a fun activity, me and Sister Huang have been helping out our mission’s Mental Health Adviser to translate an article he created and it has been such fun and challenging work! We normally just complete a bit during language study each day–it’s this big comparison peace called “The Victor vs. the Victim of Life.”
Oh and then here’s a ton of questions from family members:
- What has been your favorite food to have as you’ve been in Taiwan?
Um probably Taiwanese breakfast places. I have also grown to really like guava
- Will you consider learning or bringing home some of your favorite recipes so I can try them?
That might be a little hard since I SWEAR Taiwanese breakfast places use this secret delicious sauce that can’t be re-created in America. I will teach you how to make some other things though 🙂
- What’s been your least favorite thing you’ve eaten?
I don’t like squishy food. Taiwanese people LOVE squishy food (like jello-y things)
- Is the street food really really good?
Yeah most missionaries eat out for most of their meals because it’s more convenient. I don’t really go for the night market classics since they are normally unhealthy, but because Taiwan is so convenient there are lots of healthy(ish) cheap options for eating out.
- Do you ever have to cook for yourself?
I don’t mind preparing food by myself but I’m not a big fan of cooking in Taiwan. There’s just no time.
- How often do you eat at members houses?
We get fed by members at least once a week. They often don’t invite us formally to their houses for dinner, they just give us fruit and crackers and stuff.
- Do they ever have any American type food?
- Have you eaten anything odd like bird saliva?
No. It’s probably out there if I wanted to find it but I don’t really want to find it haha.
- In your last email you never asked for anything else in your Christmas package. Does that mean you don’t need anything else?
I just can’t think of anything. There are lots of things that would be nice to have but since I’m going home soon it’s like eh no big deal. I’m not sure if I mentioned these things:
- Chocolate orange
- Conference ensign
- uhhhhhh I dunno
- How has bike riding been this week? Any close calls?
Oh I have at least 2 or 3 close calls every day. Mostly almost getting run over by buses, or motorscooters barreling through small alleyways without looking.
- Have the elders played any practical jokes on the sisters lately or the other way around?
Haha that doesn’t really happen to us in Banqiao since we don’t serve with any elders. It happens more when there are elders in your ward, but even then it’s only really tame stuff.
- When you go the temple do they have it in English or do you even need it in English?
There are tons of senior couple missionaries that are in Taiwan as temple workers, so we always do it in English. It’s a tradition for the missionaries going home to do a session together in English.
- Do you have the desire to keep up your Chinese language up to date long term? How about your Spanish? You could be trilingual!
I will probably take Chinese classes at BYU when I get back home. I’m still thinking about the Spanish…I can still understand Spanish but I have virtually lost the ability to speak it since only Chinese words come to my mind…
- What is your favorite smell in Taiwan? Least favorite?
The bakeries and breakfast shops smell really good but there are also some really bad smells that I don’t even know where they’re coming from. But just to name a few, there’s sewer smell, betel nut smell, cigarette stink, etc. etc.
And that’s about it. Love you all!
Sister Anne Watson