This week has been pretty decent! It all began with a rockin’ P-Day at the beach in Miaoli. Miaoli is pretty far from Taipei, so we had to be pretty careful with time. We got down to the beach and the whole Zhunan zone was there! It was fun to see a lot of friends.
When we first got there it was high tide, so there was only a small section of shore mostly covered in rocks and shell fragments. But as we walked along the coast we found a nice area with tons of sand and we spent all afternoon playing soccer, football, and frisbee, as well as taking lots of pictures!
I got to see Sister Armstrong, my dear companion from last transfer. Another cool person to see was Sister Alyssa Olsen from Cedar City, Utah. She is good friends with my grandparents and they are all from the same home ward! Sister Olsen told me stories about how she got inspired by my grandma to listen to Music and the Spoken Word every morning before she left on her mission. Also, Sister Olsen’s dad served in Taiwan and President Jergensen was one of the Assistants when he first came to the mission field! Haha. It’s for sure a small world!
But being on the beach, we quickly lost track of time and realized that we had about 10 minutes to put on our shoes, run to the car, and drive to the train station in order to make the 2-hour train ride back to Taipei. This is because our member friend had to drive some other missionaries back home so he only had time to take us back to the train station.
So we quickly found ourselves scrambling up the beach and to the road. Yo, our awesome chauffeur member-friend didn’t even put his shoes on and was screaming in pain the entire time he was running through the rocks and down the asphalt road to the car. And then we went on a CRAZY car ride with 5 minutes left. We were speeding through these windy little roads, honking at scooters, pedestrians and little old ladies on bikes to get out of our way. We tried to take the quickest entrance into the train station with two minutes left, but the CAR WOULDN’T FIT through the tunnel we had to pass through! And there were a bunch of scooters and cars trying to move around us but Yo backed the heck outta there like a MADMAN. And then we had to make a quick detour through the main road. And then we all tumbled out of the car right as it pulled up to the train station. We scrambled up a flight of stairs, passed through the gate and FLEW down another flight of stairs and SPRINTED into the train.
And right as Sister Barber, the caboose of our little sweaty, sticky, sandy lineup, hopped into the train car, the door slid shut with a beep and we found ourselves to be the focus of many polite but very mortified stares from those who were sitting in the train.
It was a very fun 2-hour train ride back! We even got to pass through Zhubei and I got to see my beloved west coast area again.
This week our mission had zone conferences with Elder Funk, the Asia Area President. It was amazing! At the beginning we took a big giant picture and we all went up individually to shake him and his wife’s hands. When I introduced myself he quickly figured out that I am my grandpa’s granddaughter. And during lunch he came up to talk to me and asked that we get a picture together. Him and his wife are so Christlike and charitable. I learned a lot from them!
What was even more fun, though, was that I got to talk to a bunch of people who came up from the east coast for the conference.
My trainer, Sister Apsley, is currently a Sister Training Leader in Hualian, which is awesome! Sister Bernhardt, who I was in the MTC with, is currently in this little place called Yuli which is the remotest part of the mission (literally only ricefields) and we had SO much fun catching up and thinking about what’s gonna happen next transfer.
Gusto Pizza and Taco Tuesday
One of the coolest things about Taipei is that there is lots of great international cuisine here. A place we’ve been hitting up a lot recently is called Gusto Pizza. It’s a cute little shop run by this Indian man from London! And he actually went to PIZZA SCHOOL in Italy. He’s awesome. On Saturdays they also make Focaccia bread.
Every Tuesday night we also go to Macho Tacos, which is basically the Taiwanese version of Cafe Rio haha. Yes, there is actually good Mexican food in Taiwan! This place is amazing. They even have churros and horchata. The restaurant’s decor makes you think of Nacho Libre haha.
Spring is In the Air
Taiwan never gets really cold, of course, but this week has been special with more people outside. The best was when we did English Boarding (giving everyone an English tract) at Da An park on Saturday morning. There was this big Azalea festival thing going on so there was a concert in the park and there were a TON of families! I had so much fun and realized that I LOVE contacting people! I realized that the key is to have fun with it and try to get to know people a little first before you try to spring the Gospel on them. I love visualizing every single one of these people we meet as children of Heavenly Father that truly have limitless potential!
As children of Heavenly Father, we all have different personalities and circumstances, but through God’s help we can truly be able to relate to all of them. What could me, a foreigner, have in common with a bunch of Taiwanese people? A lot, actually! We all have the same desire to love and be loved and to know of our great worth!
So over the past nearly 6 MONTHS I’ve been in Taiwan (wow time sure flies), my bike has suffered some wear and tear. I didn’t really notice it a ton until we were riding on Saturday night and the break for my back tire completely busted out. So we hauled my bike over to the store and they repaired everything as good as new! They even fixed the chain and the gears which have been kind of weird ever since I got the bike. Also, my handlebars were at a weird angle because of all the times my bike fell over from the wind in Zhubei. And the bike shop people here are always so nice and they didn’t even have us pay any money.
But when I got on my good-as-knew bike I realized how awesome all these repairs were and how much it made riding my bike easier! And of course, realizing this, I related everything to a gospel principle! I think getting my bike repaired is like the sacrament. Sometimes we don’t notice the little wear and tear on our souls throughout the week, and we think we can jut live with it for a while. But when we go to church on Sunday and partake of the sacrament, we are spiritually renewing ourselves so we don’t have to live with needing repairs all the time!
How amazing is it that EVERY WEEK we get this opportunity to renew ourselves?
This Thursday is transfers! We will likely be switching companions since me and Sister Langley have been together for two transfers. But we don’t know who will be moving and who will be staying! We have both been in this area for the same time!
I have a feeling I will stay in this area but we will see!
On Wednesday afternoon my companion was in an interview so I was just waiting in the chapel on a comfy couch. And I started up a conversation with a couple who was walking through. And I found out that this man had been found and taught by my grandpa when he was a young missionary in Taiwan. WHAT. Since then, this man has been an amazing member of the church and for a time he even lived in San Jose, California, in my mom’s family’s ward! AMAZING. I love seeing cool people like this all the time! I loved hearing the story of how my grandpa and his companion, an Elder Larson, found Brother Yu as they were knocking doors in Taoyuan.
I am so excited to see what miracles this week will bring! Hope y’all see some too! I love you!
Sister Anne Watson