“I Love My Mission in Taiwan” is a thing that us Taipei missionaries love to shout out loud every once in a while. I used to hate it when other missionaries would do it, but it’s honestly what I keep thinking about after this week.
This week I will finish training so there is a possibility that I will be moving to a different area and it’s quite a definite that I will be getting a new companion…Sister Apsley’s been a great trainer and I’ve learned so much. She says she went to easy on me ? so we’ll see if my next companion (who everyone in the mission calls your “breaker”) will think the same thing. I don’t want to leave Zhubei! This is the best area. I love our beautiful chapel/stake center and the wonderful members and our incredible investigators.
On Tuesday morning we got a call from the STLs telling us we were going to go on exchanges even though we already did one at the beginning of the transfer. The catch was that I would be leading Sister Erickson around Zhubei for a day while Sister Apsley would go to Xinzhu with Sister Li. That never happens with sisters in the mission so it was quite a surprise!
Basically we had to hurry and clean up our apartment really fast. And then I got to try my knowledge of the streets of Zhubei and Liujia so we could make it to a day and a night and a day of lessons, member visits, and street contacting. Sister Erickson is a pretty loud and proud gal from Texas and has been out for over a year so I was kind of intimidated the entire time but it ended up working out great!
That Wednesday afternoon before we biked to Xinzhu to finish the exchange, we celebrated the birthday of Abish’s son at Abish’s house. Abish loves to use every occasion to do member missionary work, and she considers even the least prepared of people as ready to be introduced to the gospel.
So…that’s how I found myself eating cake with a Sister Erickson, Abish and her son, the wife of a Filipino preacher, and a taxi driver! Yeah it was pretty interesting. We only had time at the end to blurt out a couple sentences about the Church’s Christmas initiative and the Filipino preacher’s wife started showing us her Church’s website on her phone.
And then when we got to Xinzhu to wrap up the exchange, we found our companions plus Elder Kleine and Elder Omer outside a grocery store. Elder Omer was playing Christmas songs on the trumpet as Sister Li and Elder Kleine were accosting people with flyers for their ward’s Christmas eve activity. Haha.
MISSION CHRISTMAS PARTY
Thursday was a BLAST. We had the mission Christmas party! We were so happy that we got approval from the Asia Area Presidency to have the entire mission get together. It was at the American Club in Shilin. All morning we had a mission talent show and people had me laughing so dang hard. One district did a parody of some of the “The District” videos that every missionary has to watch…yeah. I hope “Law of Chastity: German” or “Invitation to Read the Book of Mormon: Jynx” conjures up a few memories for some people.
The talent show also included a song called “Groovy Fruitcake Midnight” performed by a couple elders who had served in Jilong together (performed on a keyboard provided by a member), two districts from the Central Taipei zone doing a skit that included some Amah dances, a couple Taiwanese elders rapping, an elder singing a song about breakfast food. The Taidong zone filmed a funny video parody (The District 3: Taidong) that they showed. Oh and I played Rhapsody in Blue! There was also a stirring rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas: Taiwan Taipei mission style (which is basically mission legend after it was performed at last years’ talent show.) It basically catalogs all the excuses people give us while out on the streets:
- I have no time! (wo mei you kong)
- Right now’s not very convenient (xian zai bu fang bian)
- I’m very busy (wo tai mang)
- There’s stuff going on at home (wo jia li you shi)
- Xie xie xie xie xie xie xie xie xie
And then we had lunch and it was SUPER delicious. And one of the old temple presidents told us about religious beliefs here in Taiwan, which was pretty interesting. And then the Missionary Choir which has been preparing for a Christmas performance in Taipei sang for us. Which was really cool although we were all falling asleep (since we had woken up at 3:30 that morning to make it on time).
In general it was just great to talk to a bunch of people from the MTC and from other areas. Oh man I love our mission haha.
Christmas Eve Party
The Zhubei member’s Christmas eve program was so cool. We got a bunch of investigators to come and listen as they did a bunch of choir numbers and a live nativity. They went all out with costumes, backdrops, music, and props. Sam dressed up as Santa Claus at the end and gave everyone the little toys I took a picture of last week. I got to sit next to Rimon, one of our investigators and I feel like we were able to really become friends!
After the party the twin sons of one of the members got baptized and I got to play the piano! It was pretty cool, we had Rimon come and it really resolved all of her concerns about baptism. Now we just have to teach her!
Well this has basically been the most unique Christmas I have ever had in my life, but I think it turned out wonderfully. The morning started with Sister Apsley and I giving each other presents, plus I was able to open up a package from Grandma and crack out one of the chocolate oranges I got from my family.
We then spent most of the day at the chapel as we had sacrament meeting, coordination meetings, and lessons. No better way to spend the day, in my opinion.
That afternoon the 3rd ward had a big Christmas feast that we were invited to and it was delicious! So many carbs. Sooooo many carbs ahahaha. They had turkey, cake, and lots of other little treats.
They even had ranch dressing. Our district leader, Elder Welker, LOVES ranch dressing. I pointed out the ranch to him–his eyes got really wide and he said with the biggest, most innocent smile I’ve ever seen, “This is the greatest day of my life!” That gave me a good laugh. Needless to say Elder Welker then proceeded to put ranch dressing on literally everything he had on his plate.
We also went caroling with the Elders (Elder Griffin and Elder Hyde) to a bunch of the members in our ward. It was a success! Three of us were singing and Sister Apsley had a Ukulele!
And that’s basically it.
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
聖誕節 – sheng dan jie
This is the Christmas holiday!
Yeah, no one really celebrates Christmas in Taiwan, especially since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, but this has been a super special week for me. Probably one of the most meaningful Christmases I have ever had. I was a little bit wistful about Christmases-past this week, but only because it feels like the time has flown so fast since last year when I was only worried about whether I would get a new phone and whether it would snow. Christmas on the mission is honestly so much fun and I’m glad I’ve had this special time to focus it on Jesus Christ.
Some parts of the mission have been insanely hard, no doubt about that. But I know that through Jesus Christ we can conquer all of our fears, all of our insecurities, all of our doubts. What a blessing it is to always remember Him.
Sister Anne Watson