Hi everyone. I am currently writing this email from central Taipei: yes, I was transferred out of the wonderful Zhubei. I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE. But it’s been good and I think I’m adjusting really well. I’ll fill you all in on what I’ve been doing the past week.
Well, first things first, I was transferred to the Xinan ward which meets in the chapel right next to the temple. Xinan is actually a mash-up name of two different areas, xin yi and da an. It is so weird. We’re in the middle of the city. We’re in the same ward as the APs. We eat with them and the office elders all the time. We hang out in the mission office all the time. What a life.
A bunch of elders from my other districts are here right now too, which is funny. Elder Van de Graaff is in my district, Elder Holloway is now my zone leader, and Elder Hammond is now one of the APs.
Oh man, on district meeting on Tuesday we did “move call madness” which is where everyone in the district guesses where people will be transferred. We called Elder Griffin, Elder Hammond, Elder Hyde and Elder Erickson safe because they were all in training, we also guessed that me and Elder Welker would stay and that Sister Apsley and Elder Giordano would be transferred. But then Elder Hammond threw us a bombshell at the end of district meeting, declaring that he was going to be the next AP and was headed up to Taipei the next day. Elder Aiono, the previous AP, would be coming down to Zhubei to finish training with Elder Erickson.
And then on Wednesday morning we got the ibon code text. We sped to a 7/11 on our bikes and put the code into the printer and…I found out that I was getting transferred and Sister Apsley would be staying in Zhubei. A lot of feelings went through my mind–confusion, sadness, a little bit of anger, a little bit of excitement. Packing was a bit of a pain! Sister Apsley had already packed a ton thinking she was going to leave and then I was the one who got the call haha. So I had to pack in a little bit of a rush and she had to unpack everything.
At the beginning of the week I unknowingly had lots of last lessons with our investigators, the best being with xiang ke ren who will be getting baptized this Saturday! (And with a little bit of luck I might be able to get back down to Zhubei to attend her baptism.) We had fun biking out to Liujia although the weather was absolutely CRAZY. Sister Apsley was telling me we were facing typhoon-level winds as we were fighting to bike to their apartment and back. Like we were getting blown several feet and it was fiercely cold. Luckily we had bought gloves a week or two earlier so we were toasty warm in the cold!
Oh yeah here’s another bombshell: I AM IN A TRIPANIONSHIP. Again. Yes, again. I’m with Sister Armstrong who trained Sister Rhynard, and Sister Langley. They’ve both been in the mission since this past summer. We have been getting along great. They’re both from Colorado and were actually MTC companions.
But yeah, on Thursday I took a local train up from Zhubei for one last time and reported to the mission office–with a little bit of help from a random Taiwanese family and some friends of the Jergensens who I ran into on the MRT–what a blessing!
We haven’t had a ton of finding time since I got up here to Taipei because we’ve had a ton of appointments with investigators and members, which is fun. This transfer we will also be pushing to get new investigators (as per usual) which I am super excited about! I love having new people to teach. We are kind of in a “gearing up” phase for Chinese New Year which will be at the end of the month/the beginning of next month. This is a time where everyone leaves Taipei for other parts of the country, which should be interesting.
A New Year
New year in Taipei was interesting! Sadly, I did not get to see Taipei 101 fired up but I bet it looked super cool. I’m super excited for this coming year, an entire year of missionary work. It’s probably going to go by so fast.
2016 was by far the hardest year of my life. There was a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort, a lot of adjusting to new environments and having to deal with tricky situations. But I came out conqueror and I know that this mission has been shaping my life. I now see every problem as an opportunity to learn and grow. My Chinese character for this week will be 改變, gai bian, which means to change or transform.
And hey, despite all the challenges I know I’ve met some of my best friends for life this year, in addition to some of the ones I had before my mission. I have learned so much from everyone here in Taiwan and at the MTC.
I know that everything I faced in 2016 was given to me by God to help me to be the best person I can be. Our Heavenly Father gives us opportunities every day that we can use to help us reach our highest potential. I love you all. Have a great week.
Sister Anne Watson