It’s so cool to see how everyone all over the world is preparing for Christmas, whether it’s family, friends also serving missions, friends who aren’t serving missions, and everyone in between. Wherever your journeys have taken you right now, I hope you are currently getting in the Christmas spirit. And also the missionary spirit whether you’re a full-time missionary or not.
This week has had a lot of ups and downs…literally! Now that us sisters were switched from the Zhubei 3rd ward to the 1st ward, our new area includes biking up and down a ton of hills. We get to bike up Xinfeng hill nearly every day now which is cool because it means we get a lot of exercise. I would also wager to say that Hukou is probably the windiest place in all of Taiwan–we get buffeted by it from ALL directions, never ceasing.
So we had to go up to Taipei TWICE this week! On Tuesday and on Friday, so Sister Apsley could take two hospital visits. They’ve ruled out common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, collapsed lung, and asthma, so now they think it’s some sort of allergy. They gave her a different inhaler which has been helping her a lot so we’re hoping she’s getting better! I will be done with training in a few weeks and I think Sister Vatcher (the mission nurse) will want Sister Apsley to leave Zhubei and go somewhere with a little less pollution, so maybe her symptoms will go away even more.
But anyways on Tuesday Sister Vatcher wanted us to go to Taipei in the morning, but that was the same day as Zone Meeting so she had us go crash the Central Taipei zone meeting instead of going to our own! So that was fun. That zone has Elder Anderson and Elder Van de Graaff from our old district and they were super confused when they walked into the chapel and saw us there haha. The looks on their faces were pretty funny.
Also last night, Sunday we crashed a family dinner when we contacted a man on the street. We had arrived to a member family’s house at 5:00 pm for them to feed us, but we knocked on the door and found out the appointment wasn’t until 7:00! So we laughed for a bit and went knocking around the neighborhood. The tactic we’ve been doing lately is asking to sing Christmas carols for everyone! It’s actually a pretty useful strategy because everyone either dismisses us and closes the door really fast or they’ll listen to us. And every single person that’s been willing to listen to us has been willing to set up an appointment, listen to our message, or at least come to English class. So it’s made the tracting process way more efficient haha! But after we had been in this neighborhood for a little over an hour, this man was walking down the street and we started up a conversation with him. He said he had seen us a couple hours earlier biking up Xinfeng hill! And we told him about how we were missionaries singing carols, and he invited us to his house! And we talked to his wife and daughter who were also there about the restoration. And they started giving us food and wouldn’t take no for an answer haha. But they were interested enough to set up an appointment with us again this coming week. And then we went to our dinner appointment haha.
Yes, we have been burning a lot this week because we have been on FIRE! The fire of the Christmas spirit, the fire of missionary work, whatever you want to call it.
I took a test with one of the assistants this week to pass from the 1st part of the Taipei mission language program to the 2nd part–the vocabulary track! I’m so thankful for this language program. I’m pretty sure it’s the best in the entire world. I’ve had no idea what to do with lots of my language study materials from the MTC since all I need to use is the track program. (The Taizhong mission uses this old phases program which our mission phased OUT of.) But anyways, when we went to Taipei for the 2nd time on Friday I got to pick up the 3 gigantic boxes of flash cards from the mission office and am hoping that my Chinese will progress even more quickly!
We had an amazing lesson with this new investigator, Sister Wan, that we contacted through English boarding. We were actually pretty astounded from the entire time we were teaching her the restoration because she was just absorbing everything and getting it just like that. She was telling us how she really wants to make a change in her life and readily accepted a baptismal date for January 7th.
We are also going to start meeting with the daughter of a less-active member this week, who was referred to us through Sister Ni in the 3rd ward. We ate dinner together on Tuesday night and I talked to the mom a little bit about how daily family scripture study and prayer has blessed my life. I am so thankful to my parents who had us study together for several years. I mention it often as an example of how my testimony grew. And this testimony really touched her, which was so cool to see.
One more investigator story: On Saturday night we were at the train station in Hukou, where this old man approached us and asked what we were doing in such a small, un-touristy town as Hukou. As we explained our purpose we got him to commit to come to church the next day, and we gave him our number. We didn’t even give him the church’s address but on Sunday, he CAME! And he loved it! He said he learned a lot and was asking so many good questions.
But yeah in general we are preparing for a big Christmas eve activity that all the Zhubei wards will be having together on Christmas eve night! it’s a really great finding tool, just inviting random people on the street to a Christmas activity.
Earlier today I got my hair cut by our old ward mission leader, Brother Wang! My hair has not been this short in so so long haha. But he even had Sister Apsley take the scissors for a quick spin. I can’t believe I trusted her with my beloved hair but it turned out okay, so all’s well that ends well!
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
Haha, I learned this one from my new box of Flashcards! On every card they also have example sentences and some of them are pretty funny, so in the next few weeks you can also expect me to do a funny example sentence of the week every once in a while. But anyways, this week is…
熱情 – re qing
This means “enthusiastic”. I’ve found as a missionary that literally any activity can be fun when you think of a way to be excited about it. I often think of Mary Poppins, that part of the movie where they tidy up the nursery. “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down!” I’ve found that to be true on the mission. When you get enthusiastic about stuff it becomes a lot easier to have a good attitude and to be a light to others who are struggling. So maybe this week you can think of a way to make someone else’s medicine easier to swallow.
I love you all!
Sister Anne Watson