Hi everyone! It’s been a great week and a half! Missionary work is great but when your P-Day is two days late you can really feel the wear down! It is currently 6:00 AM here in Taiwan, we are doing emails before we go to the temple and we have some fun stuff planned for later today.
We are super duper busy here in the Xinan ward, and the past 9 days in my planner have been filled up with meetings, appointments, and various other activities. This past week began when we hiked Xiangshan for P-day! It’s basically just a giant staircase. We had a picnic at the top of the mountain and the view was pretty nice too.
On Tuesday we had interviews with President! It feels like just yesterday we were doing interviews in Xinzhu right before Temple Week.
Exchanges Round 2
Because we are in a tripanionship, I got to go on exchanges in Beitou twice! The first time I went up with Sister Armstrong and this week I went with Sister Langley. I was with Sister Miller, who has been on the mission for a year and is from Lehi, Utah.
The coolest part of the exchange was that I got to go to a baptism in Danshui for an investigator I actually taught with Sister Clawson on my first exchange in Beitou! Sorry I don’t have any pictures from it but it was pretty cool. The Danshui chapel is gorgeous and it’s right next to a mountain. It was supposed to be a stake center when it was built and it’s pretty new so it reminded me of the Zhubei chapel. Oh, and just a note for the rest of the story, Danshui is about a 15 minute MRT ride from Beitou.
We stayed in the chapel after the baptism to meet with a new investigator, but as we were finishing up the lesson Sister Miller realized that we needed to be at the Beitou chapel for a relief society activity and the other sisters did not have the key to get into the chapel. The activity was a German-pancake-making activity, so we told our investigator about it and she was like “ooh! I want to come, can I come?”
And that’s the story how we took the MRT back to Beitou with the investigator, and she RENTED A BIKE to go with us from the Beitou train station to the chapel to make it to the activity. And the Beitou chapel is up a really steep hill. And she kept up with us crazy biking missionaries. That is dedication in investigating the church, I tell you. And she ended up loving the activity so that’s a WIN.
Teaching in English
So we have this investigator named Tina, from Canada. Sister Armstrong had been teaching her in Chinese when we got here and our big struggle with her was wondering about her comprehension of the lessons. She would agree to our commitment invitations but was always super quiet when we taught her and it didn’t seem like she was becoming truly converted.
But we’ve had so many breakthroughs with her this week as we’ve really learned to understand her background. Tina is 25. Her parents are actually from Vietnam and escaped from the country during the 70s to emigrate to Canada. They refused to teach Tina Vietnamese growing up so she learned English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Growing up she had to become independent very quickly but has had difficulties because she doesn’t feel completely fluent in English or Mandarin.
She came to Taiwan about 6 months ago, originally to just have fun, but she has also started trying to gain confidence and find an identity for herself. She has been trying to find a job teaching English but this has been difficult as her Mandarin skills are not 100%.
So we just kept teaching her in Mandarin until recently when after a lesson we realized that she wasn’t “getting” everything because of the language barrier. And we all had a strong feeling later to ask her if she would like to be taught in English better. And she became so happy when we proceeded to tell her about the English ward that meets here in Taipei.
So on Sunday we got to go to the English ward with her and it was so weird haha! There’s a bunch of cool English-speaking members here in Taiwan. The ward mission leader is this British dude who’s about to go be the English ambassador to Panama, for example. But let tell you it is weird to be in gospel doctrine in English where your mission President is sitting right in front of you and the lesson is being taught by a British guy. In Taiwan.
It has been kind of hard now that we have to teach Tina in English, because we’ve had to push her baptismal date back and we basically have to review all the lessons again. But it is so worth it. We have been able to see her beginning to become truly converted in the past couple lessons.
Yesterday we got to teach Tina in the Jergensen’s house with Sister Jergensen as our peike! Teaching a lesson in your mission president’s house is really something I did not think I would do before my mission but it was honestly so great. It was so cool for Tina to feel the spirit of the Jergensen family, especially since she has never had a large, close family of her own. President also made us crackers and cheese so that was pretty cool.
Finding a New Investigator in One Day
Okay so we have this thing here in the mission called “key indicators.” It’s basically the tracking system we use to measure how our area is growing and how our investigators are progressing. There is one key indicator for the number of new investigators we get each week. For someone to become a new investigator, we have to meet with them once and set up with them to meet again. Normally, this makes it difficult to find, set up with, meet with, and set up another appointment for someone in 1 day. It normally doesn’t happen. UNTIL MONDAY!
It’s pretty funny because Monday morning I said to Sister Langley in passing, “You know what would be cool? If we could get a new investigator in 1 day. But that never happens.” (For what happens next I’m just copy/pasting a section of my letter to President Jergensen for today.)
And that afternoon as we were going to shi da, one of the college campuses in our area, we had a short conversation with this student named Annie who was willing to set up to talk with us at dinner. And we were able to get one of the single adults in our ward who is also a shi da student to come too–and it was so easy because we just scheduled to eat together on campus. And at dinner we had a cool discussion about the Book of Mormon and everything was perfect. Annie was so prepared and became friends with our peike right away. And we were able to set up to meet with her again for tonight after English class.
Sorry this story feels super fragmented (maybe because I’m trying to write after waking up at 4:00 AM) but it was super cool.
CHINESE CHARACTER OF THE WEEK
I’ll do something fun and simple that also describes the title for my email this week.
可以 – ke yi
This means “can”. If you can/are willing to do something, you just say 可以.
This is the attitude I’ve been trying to have this week! I’ve been working really hard to be a courageous missionary, working so hard to beat all the feelings of fear I have. One thing that’s been hard for me to learn is that sometimes we just have to work with our fear. When we can’t get away from it, we just have to be courageous and God will let us see miracles despite our fears. Letting our fear become swallowed up in Jesus Christ is huge. Sometimes when I’m out on the street or whatever, remembering Jesus Christ’s example is huge in helping me to be a more courageous missionary.
I love you all!
Sister Anne Watson