New Taipei City is a monster of a city and City Hall is right in our area across from the also-monster-sized Banqiao Station. This whole week the town put on this big kids’ art festival called Hello! Monsters so there were a million monster statues with a million families walking around with their cute little kids. And none of them wanted to talk to us…maybe they thought we were creepers?
Well, where to begin? Last week we had our usual P-Day, District Meeting, and Free English class. At English I am currently teaching the beginner class and it is really fun. When I first got to Taiwan I thought I would only want to teach the Advanced students so I could speak English, but I think the students in the beginner class are HILARIOUS and so fun to talk to. We spend most of the class in Chinese and they just ask questions about English words. This week we had a recent convert named Lily come to my class. She is so funny, she’s the one that works above Banqiao station and she has a very forward personality! She said she’s taken a liking to me because I’m nice. Basically I just let her talk and enjoy hearing her opinions on stuff. But during the spiritual share she invited the whole class to attend Stake Conference!
Sister Huang who was baptized last month also gave us the referral of her friend who lives in Zhubei (my first area) and now the Zhubei sisters are meeting with her. Sister Huang is the most on fire recent convert ever! This Friday we met with her at the chapel with our Ward Mission Leader. She’s asking the deep questions now, and I am certain that her gospel understanding and comprehension has multiplied 200x because of her having the gift of the Holy Ghost. We reviewed the plan of salvation by sharing Alma 40 and using 4 handy little cartoon illustrations that Sister Hansen got from somewhere.
Other than that, this week we were FREAKING OUT because most of our investigators suddenly fell off the face of the planet and either dropped us or completely lost contact with us. Mostly everyone went off their baptismal dates, too, and it was so frustrating! In the end we basically decided that we would have to get tons of new investigators to make up for the old ones, because contact just wasn’t working. So we worked hard this week and now we have 6 new investigators! We definitely saw lots of miracles and the hand of God directing us, and having people be directed TO us!
I’ll share one with all of you. This Sunday was our stake conference in Taipei and all week we had NO investigators coming, we were really nervous (because our number of baptismal dates was faltering as well)! But then on Sunday morning we got a referral over the phone from the Jilong elders for an investigator that had just moved into our area. And we called her right before stake conference was supposed to start and she agreed to come! The phone call didn’t sound too promising–mostly she was just asking questions about where it was and what was going to happen and stuff. So we ended up attending the first hour of stake conference by ourselves (it was pretty awkward because we had to tell a couple members we were saving seats even though the conference started and, yup, still no investigators.)
About an hour into it we just tiptoed out of the chapel super quick (President was there at the conference too, hopefully he wasn’t too concerned about us ditching) and walked to the Subway station to meet her, and she CAME!!! Her name is Sister Xu and she brought along her 8-year-old twin daughters! Lucky me, I got to spend the last 40 minutes of stake conference keeping the two 8-year-olds entertained as my companion helped out Sister Xu. The twins were so cute, one is very out-going and I had to talk to her the whole time while the other one just got a pen and paper and drew the entire time. I felt like I was babysitting again! It was great.
We also had Zone Conference this week! We went back to the Taoyuan stake center and the conference was all about the Book of Mormon! It was great to see a ton of familiar faces. We’ve been super PUMPED now to use the Book of Mormon more in contacting and lessons. My love for the Book of Mormon began a little bit as a little kid and as a high school student in Seminary, but I think that love has just exploded both at BYU attending religion classes and on my mission. There really is no better thing to talk to people about, because everyone naturally gets kind of curious when we use the book as opposed to just church tracts/brochures.
If any of you are not reading the Book of Mormon daily right now, I challenge you to do it! This book has changed my life. I have more favorite verses than I can count. Just do it.
To end with a couple tidbits, Taiwanese traffic has NOT been kind to us this week! We don’t even know where to park our bikes at night because there are so many motorscooters and cars that seem to rule the road. Traffic laws here seem to be “friendly guidelines” and the general rule seems to be the BIGGER the vehicle, the more authority they have to make you get out of the way. Banqiao seems to be Big Bus City, too, so we’re always having to swerve out of their way. It’s hard! Sometimes we feel like we get yelled at for literally no reason but we still know that God is protecting us on the streets.
So, to sum it all up, it’s been a hard, hot week in the work but I know that God is directing us to find people to teach, and the members have been helping us out SO much. Sometimes it’s hard because lots of people really seem to see us as the Hello! Monsters. I personally think we seem really nice as we say hello to people and offer to help them but they STILL run away screaming (haha just joking.)
We really do love being the Hello! Monsters and no matter how many times people reject us, I will still try and at least say hello to as many people as I can and have even bigger conversations with them if I can manage it. There’s no end to the people here so there’s always a success behind every disappointment. I know that disappointments are meant to build us up, and I am so thankful for the gospel because it will NEVER EVER disappoint us!
Sister Anne Watson
Questions from Mom
- Any awesome fresh produce this time of year in Taiwan?
Other than the usual greens and whatnot, summer is MANGO season in Taiwan! Mango drinks and ice cream are really popular.
- Where is your companion from and can you tell us any cool things about her?
Why this is a great excuse to compose a brilliant ode on my companion Sister Hansen. She is from the Ogden, Utah area (in some rural valley out there) but was actually born in Japan and also lived in Thailand as a girl! She was big into swimming before her mission and worked as a lifeguard. She is the first companion I have ever had that likes Harry Potter and so we throw out references to each other literally all the time. She also came out to her mission RIGHT out of High School, so she hasn’t even been to college yet! It has been SO fun getting to know Sister Hansen the past few months, she is SUPER chill and I am just filled with love for her and her family. I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m kind of weird but she still accepts me (most of the time ;)) She likes to cook. She likes grocery shopping. She works really hard.
- What is the one thing that you can’t buy in Taiwan that you miss the most?
Mostly I’m thinking of certain food items like Dunford donuts and your home-cooked food, haha. It’s super cool how you and dad used a mortar and pestle to make curry paste this week! I’m excited to see the kid’s school pictures, maybe you can shoot some to me once you get them. I also love to hear about how the garden is doing! It’s giving me flashbacks to a year ago because this seems to be exactly what was going on with the family when I was in the MTC a year ago.
But basically in Taiwan you can buy everything, but you can’t buy your family though! They had a returned missionary from my ward talk at stake conference and he had his parents, the bishop and his wife come up to the stand and he asked them some questions like “do you love him/her? Why do you love him/her? How do you show your love for him/her?” And it made me get a little teary-eyed thinking about you guys haha.
- Are there any amusement type parks in Taiwan? Aquariums? Zoos?
I’ve heard there’s this gigantic theme park in Jiayi, but that’s in the Taizhong mission, sadly. 🙁 Taipei has a zoo in Muzha, I’ve never been before, but that’s also where the Maokong gondolas are and we went there for P-Day back in January when I was in Taipei before.
- What’s the one thing you have enjoyed the most while in Taiwan?
I love Taiwanese breakfast shops/food, the convenience of Taiwanese 7/11s, Taiwanese thunderstorms (they’re really fun to watch!), riding Taiwanese trains, viewing the Taiwanese scenery, seeing the cool Taiwanese animal life, having fun with a whole ton of cute and interesting Taiwanese old people, the people watching, and so many other interesting things. I’m sure you’ll hear non-stop about all of it next February because it’s impossible to think up everything I love about Taiwan in an email haha.