I am having a great time here in the Xinan ward. Honestly, with this tripanionship (or san he yi as they call it in Chinese) it feels like a party every day. I get along with Sister Armstrong and Sister Langley so well. Sometimes going finding can be fun to figure out as 3 is kind of a large number to stop 1 person on the street but we’re making it work.
Our area is so much fun. We have several university campuses in our area and you could literally spend all night on one small section of street (which is SO different from Zhubei). We’ve contacted into some really cool people that we’ll be meeting with this week so once they become solid investigators I’ll talk more about them.
But this week has been filled with lots of exploring, finding cool people to teach, making friends with members, and generally soaking up everything Taipei has to offer. Here’s some of the specifics!
On Thursday-Friday we went on exchanges with the STLs in Beitou, which is a 40 minute MRT ride from the mission office. Me and Sister Armstrong went while Sister Langley stayed with the temple sisters. I was with Sister Clawson, who was companions with Sister Apsley in the MTC! It was so much fun. Beitou is the cutest little place right next to the mountains and the sister apartment there is the nicest one in the mission, I would wager. It even has an OVEN (which is unheard of for most places in Taiwan.)
We spent the exchange finding and we taught two great scheduled lessons. We had a really humbling experience right before dinner as we started talking to this guy who was sitting right out of his apartment building. He did not seem to be receptive to our message at all so I was about to write him off, give him a tract, say goodbye and whatever, but then he told us that he wasn’t too happy because a family member had just died. Man what a bombshell. So we watched “Because of Him” with him and it was SUPER cool. In the end he didn’t agree to any special commitment or anything but you could tell the video had touched him at least a little bit. Well me and Sister Clawson definitely both learned to not write people off! Every person that we meet has hidden concerns and questions that we can learn and then use to teach a gospel truth.
That morning we played frisbee with two of the Beitou elders (Elder Fitzpatrick and Elder Kaufusi) and it was so much fun. And I did pretty good. (All the missionaries in Taipei love to do sports in the morning for exercise time. It means we often wake up earlier than I would to like to, but it’s always super fun. I guess it was less of a thing in Zhubei because there weren’t as many missionaries who could participate.)
We’ll be going on exchanges again this coming week and I’ll be with Sister Miller, the other STL so that will be fun! Just so you know that’s what I’ll be doing on Dad’s and Caroline’s birthdays.
On Saturday night I got to go to xiang ke ren’s BAPTISM! I loved teaching her so much. Her and her mother, wu an qi are probably my favorite people in Zhubei. I was so blessed to have a Xinan member, Zoe, to go with. That night was actually pretty crazy because Sister Langley also had a baptism somewhere else, so we came up with this creative plan and got permission from President to carry it out–
Sister Langley, Sister Barber (one of the temple sisters) and one of our investigators would go to the baptism in Taipei. Sister Armstrong would be in our area with the other temple sister, Sister Bradley. And I would go with Zoe to Zhubei.
(Oh and I guess I should explain who the temple sisters are. So, all the sisters in Taipei are assigned to do tours around the temple/chapel area once or twice a transfer. The temple sisters are the ones who figure out all the logistics of that.)
I had so much fun talking to Zoe on the train ride to and from Taipei, the baptism was also so cool. Elder Erickson got to baptize xiang ke ren. It was pretty funny–since his Chinese is not the best he was still trying to memorize the baptismal ordinance as we arrived at the chapel, as well as trying to say xiang ke ren’s name correctly. But in the end he was able to pull it off!
It was also cool to see my trainer plus a couple other missionaries who had been transferred to Zhubei after I left.
Some Crazy Tidbits/Funny Stories
- We had an investigator who wasn’t able to meet with us this week because her cat, Cocoa, was…can I say it…passing a kidney stone. On the phone she sounded worried and was grateful for us for caring about her in this very difficult time. She was distressed but the doctor said everything would be okay so that gave her some peace. Please pray for Cocoa. #prayforcocoa #cocoa2017
- Our ward mission leader fed us and the APs at a 7-course restaurant on Friday night.
- We ate at an Indian food restaurant (wowie wow wow delicious–I haven’t had any Indian food since I left)…run by Filipinos…in Taiwan. And there were, like, only Caucasian people eating in the restaurant.
- Taipei has so many Caucasian people. I cannot believe it sometimes. I guess as missionaries we sometimes forget that there aren’t just Chinese people and Mormon missionaries here. In this past week we have met tons of random Americans and Europeans. There was this one really sick British lady who was in Taipei for a couple days to attend a seminar about the health and mobility of dogs. ?
- Last night (Sunday night) we were biking with the APs to a dinner/ward FHE at a member’s house who lives outside of our area. (I don’t know how this works because that’s, like, not a thing for members to live outside your area but…whatever.) We had about an hour and a half until dinner and the place was about a 45 minute bike ride away so we spent the time stopping people on our bikes. We had so much fun, and the road that we took leads STRAIGHT to Taipei 101. It was so much fun going contacting in this mob with the giant tower in the distance, getting closer and closer as we biked and stopped and biked and stopped
- After that dinner appointment we had a visit with a less active member who totally roasted me on literally everything about my personality and my Chinese but it’s okay because I didn’t understand most of it. I guess she’s the boss fight less active member — the less active member who has met with tons of missionaries and knows all their spiritual share tactics. The less active member every missionary has to meet and then get fed humble sandwich from. I had fun. Plus she gave us a ton of food at the end. ?
- Do your remember when I was in training and we made those cookies, like, the first week? We tried to make them again in Xinan Saturday afternoon. Everything was going along fine until I took a look in the oven and saw a huge yellow mess on the cookie sheet. It’s okay because we were able to give the cookie batter mess to Elder Kirschner, our zone leader, since it was his birthday. (Apparently they got stood up like 5 times that day. Pray for them too haha.)
- I feel like I’m in some virtual reality game every time we get on our bikes here in central Taipei. We’re always scraping past, dodging, and stopping for cars, trucks, scooters, pedestrians, stop lights, stray dogs, and everything in between. It’s honestly so much fun!.
- The other night as we were biking home and contacting, we ran into this French lady who swore she knew sister Armstrong. (And Sister Armstrong swore that she had never seen her in her life.) But she knew we were missionaries and we had a quick conversation before her bus arrived. We got her number but as we were asking to say a prayer together THE BUS CAME. But this French lady just clapped her hands together and yelled “LET’S PRAY” so we said a quick prayer for her and then she got on the bus.
- One morning for exercise time we just decided to walk outside to get breakfast, but then as we got back to our apartment we realized that none of us had brought KEYS. We are so lucky to be in central taipei because we were just able to call the office elders to bring us an extra set. But we had to wait outside of our apartment for an hour in our stinky exercise clothes in the rain. While we were waiting we joined an old person dance group for a little bit.
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
This is a SUPER common phrase in missionary life, and in the life of the hardworking Taiwanese person: 辛苦 xin ku
This is an adjective used to describe hard/exhausting/toilsome/frustrating situations. Like, if you’ve got work for a long time they’ll say, “aw, xin ku ni” and missionaries will use a mixture of Chinese and English — “that night out finding in the rain and getting rejected was pretty xin ku.” I’ve also heard “we’d better go xin ku it out on the streets”, in referring to how to get baptisms, “his situation is pretty xin ku” and so on.
You could say I’ve had a lot of “xin ku” situations on my mission so far. But as much as us missionaries like to talk about things being xin ku, we also like to mention to people how it’s really all 幸福 “xing fu” or blessed. I’ve found this to be so huge on the mission. Most missionaries here agree that xin ku situations are a good place to learn how to have a good attitude at any time, in any place, under any circumstance. This is SO dang valuable. I’m so thankful I get to develop this skill here in Taiwan. And it makes the sweet/fun/spiritual times even sweeter.
Well, I think that’s about it for this week! I’ll send a picture from exchanges and other occasions later. Today for P-Day we’ll be going on a hike and having a picnic! Yay!
Love you all!
Sister Anne Marie Watson