One translation for Ban Qiao is “plank bridge.” So this week we’ve been walking the plank in many different ways, the most common of which is just walking through our area trying to find people to teach. I like to think of it as jumping off a diving board into awesome opportunities to find new friends and learn new things!
You guys my birthday was so dang awesome! Yes, on Sunday I turned 20 years old. I realized ever since I got my mission call that my only birthday on my mission would be on a Sunday and I really think it could not have been on a better day. We spent literally the entire day at church. Morning in the Xinban ward, afternoon in the Xinpu ward and the New Member fireside at night (the one that happens every month–missionaries bring investigators to hear the testimonies of new converts as well as musical selections provided by the missionaries.)
I woke up in the morning and was pleasantly surprised to find that Sister Hansen had woken up at 5:00 in the morning to do some little decorations in the bathroom and at my desk. We joke around that having a companion is like having an “assigned friend” so I’m glad my assigned friend is also my real friend and went out of her way to do some things for me!
We were blessed to have 4 investigators at church for our two combined wards, and it was fun getting to help them all morning and afternoon. And then we were blessed to be able to go up into the mission office where I found the packages that Grandma and my family sent me.
And then for the new member fireside I got to accompany Sister Tadd, Sister McKim and Sister Wells who sang “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” which was awesome. We only had the chance to practice together an hour before the fireside started and I hadn’t practiced the music at all beforehand so it was a blessing that it turned out well!
Oh and Sister Wells is Bishop Stepan’s niece so we took some fun pictures to celebrate.
Honestly the best part of my birthday was not having to worry about myself! I already know that I am very loved. I think that knowledge is the most valuable knowledge anyone can have, especially when they know that they are loved by God, their Father in Heaven! So, now that I know that I am already loved, I only have to worry about teaching other people about that love!
Other than that, this week we had zone conference in Taoyuan on Tuesday. It was my first time going to Taoyuan and it was super awesome. We rented bikes to get to the chapel and back and I got self-contacted 3 times. Plus we got fed lunch so that’s super nice. It’s no wonder they call Taoyuan the “promised land” of the mission!
We also struggled to find new investigators this week. We honestly tried so hard but we had a ton of “dud” first lessons with people who weren’t interested. It’s okay though because our progressing investigators are doing super well! Huang jm had some concerns about the Law of Chastity and Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy but we met with her this week and the member who was with us really soothed all of her concerns in about 2 seconds flat. She changed her date to the 22nd of this month but we think she’ll be able to make the 15th!
We taught Cherish and Huang jm the law of tithing/fasting this week and they both fasted with us this Sunday! Yay for them! We’re currently praying for Cherish’s family to let her be baptized because if you’re under 20 then you need permission.
On Friday we had a scripture class in the chapel and we read 1 Nephi 3 and 4 together. Huang jm came and provided a ton of awesome insights. She was laughing at Laman and Lemuel, particularly how their go-to reaction in times of trouble was to tie Nephi up and beat him up. Oh, things are going bad? Let’s beat Nephi up! Moral of the story: don’t blame others for your problems, just move forward!
I’ll be spending the 4th of July in TAOYUAN on exchanges and I am super excited!
I have to go because we are getting fed at the Taipei 101 for lunch today by Sister Hansen’s trainer, who already went home but has come back to Taiwan to visit! But it’s been an awesome week, Banqiao is a great place to serve and we are working really hard! No matter how hard it gets I am just super comforted knowing that everyone at home and all my friends all over the world are doing well! Thanks for all of your updates!
Sister Anne Watson