As football season starts in Utah, it is still the summer season here in Banqiao. It is also bus season. This is the land of buses. I swear Banqiao must have the biggest bus station in Taiwan.
This week hasn’t been too exceptional, as I look back in my journal I will sum up this week by talking about all the appointments we’ve had and other stuff that happened in between.
On Monday night my bike broke! It was so random! We just parked it by Banqiao library but when we got back the brakes were completely busted! So we got to spend all Monday night and Tuesday walking everywhere. I enjoy walking so it was fun but I wasn’t wearing the right shoes on Tuesday so my feet got destroyed.
On Tuesday morning we had an appointment with Wu Meng Ting 吳孟庭, our old high school investigator who we hadn’t been able to get in contact with for weeks because of summer school and family vacations. We were so hoping that she would still be ready to learn and work with us, but in the past few weeks she has forgotten nearly everything we had taught her! She also explained how a few nights before she had been to this activity for another church and she went rattling off on the minister’s interpretation of all these bible stories. And she told us she will basically have no time to meet with us because her school schedule will be from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM and on Sundays she wants to spend time with her family so she won’t come to church. Aaaaaargh this is why we want to teach families, so everyone can come to church TOGETHER! It’s pretty hard to teach families in Taiwan because oftentimes only one family member will have interest, and family opposition is a HUGE problem to many people getting baptized and joining the church.
On Tuesday night we also met with this member and served her by writing emails in English to a bishop and member family in New Zealand because they are hosting her son who is on foreign exchange. They didn’t have any air conditioning on in their apartment, so by the time we were finished we were sweating bullets and just wanted to jump into a pool!
Speaking of pools, we also met with Sister Ye葉, a member, this week in her apartment complex’s activity center and there was this GIANT pool and we wanted to jump into SOOOO bad. But anyways this member told us her conversion story. The gospel was introduced to her by her college roommate, how cool is that? Her college roommate would read the Book of Mormon with her as she was meeting with the missionaries. But Sister Ye was an investigator for a veerrry long time (several years, in fact) so by the time she was almost ready to be baptized, the elders and this friend ran out of things to teach her, so they would have HER prepare lessons to teach THEM! Sister Ye is pretty shy but we convinced her to give one of her friends a Book of Mormon! She also gave us yellow watermelon, the fruit of choice in Taiwan right now.
On Wednesday morning we met with Alice Chen, an English teacher that Sister Hansen met on the MRT last transfer and she set a baptismal date! We had a member with 4 daughters with us and we talked all about bringing kids to church, as well as the sacrament/classes we have at church. And in the end she didn’t come to church because she said her kid kept her up all night so she was tired. We will keep working with her 🙂
That afternoon we met with this interesting investigator named Sister Xu許. The last time we met with her it was right outside on the big road and it was SO FRUSTRATING because the buses were making a racket and she didn’t seem to understand what we were saying. She’s been taught the restoration like 3 times by several different missionaries but poor lady still doesn’t seem to get any of it. She just has lots of strange misconceptions about churches in general. We had the bishop’s wife, Sister Chen come with us this time and it seemed to work out a LOT better (and we also met in a quieter place.) The bishop’s wife definitely does not beat around the bush with anything so we figured she would help Sister Xu get things straight. She ended up being able to deflect all of Sister Xu’s questions about vampires and ghosts and stuff so we could teach her about how our church doesn’t have ministers and why we should come to church. And in the end she didn’t come to church because neither her nor her children woke up on time but we will keep working with her as well, and we will definitely keep having the Bishop’s wife with us!
We also met with Sister Zhang this week 張綺芳 and began teaching her the Plan of Salvation. We got to meet in the art college in a classroom on the main building (which was fun…I love college hehehe.) She is so awesome! She has a lot of real intent, even though it seems to be a little hard for her to change all of her previous conceptions about religion and God. We ended up focusing a lot on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and she was having a little bit of a hard time wrapping her thoughts around the fact that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that we need Him to conquer all of the difficulties/sins/weaknesses that we have in this life.
It really made me think about how we really need to humble ourselves to be able to understand the purpose and the scope of what Jesus Christ did for us and how much we need Him. As a missionary, I like to think that I am really clinging to the great truths of the gospel, and it is always a faith-building experience to see other people working to build this same reliance on the Savior who lived many years ago and whose acts fall beyond our comprehension in their power and scope. Even as I am typing this email, I am so thankful for all the things I have learned about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout my life (but especially in the past almost-13 months!) It seriously gives me SO MUCH peace. And as much as I want to help Sister Zhang have these same feelings, I know there is not a whole ton that I can do and in the end she will have to read and pray to find out for herself. We assigned her to read Alma 34 at the end of the appointment, and she came to ALL THREE HOURS of church on Sunday! Yay for Sister Zhang coming in clutch. Please pray for her so that she can have the spiritual experiences she needs so she can get baptized on October 7th! We will be doing everything we can to help her to feel comfortable praying and reading the Book of Mormon.
We’re also teaching this part-member family: The wife, Irene, got baptized a little over a year ago. We have been teaching her husband, Patrick, for a long time and we began teaching their 28-year-old daughter Sofia this week too! (They are all Taiwanese, we just often use their English names to help keep track of them better sometimes. Their family name is 遲 Chi.) Patrick was not progressing for a very long time, but for some reason we saw a change in him this last lesson! He seemed so much happier than usual and according to him it’s because he “felt the God” (yes, he said that in English!) and he was willing to begin reading the Book of Mormon! And he even was willing to offer a kneeling prayer at the end of our lesson. It is the first time he has ever done that.
We met with Sofia on a different day of the week. She was actually the first one in her family to learn about the church, and she loves the gospel so much but has let her work become the priority instead of church. She actually works for Nu Skin but her boss holds these big giant training meetings every Sunday right during church. So she told us about this 1-year plan she has for convincing her boss to change their meetings to Saturday…. Ha. Hopefully we will be able to progress with her as she reads the Book of Mormon.
Finally, on Saturday we had the fun opportunity to go to Sister Hansen’s last area for a baptism! It was really close, just a 30-minute bus ride away in Xinzhuang 新莊. But the bus ended up not going all the way up a hill to the chapel so we had to call a taxi to get us up there the rest of the way and we were late. When Sister Hansen was in the area, this investigator had stood them up multiple times, but since then she started having some difficulties in her life and was just even more prepared for the gospel when the next sisters came in the area!
At the end of the baptism we were just sitting on the MRT and suddenly this guy from Africa got on and he came up to talk to us! His name is Jacques and he is from Burkina Faso (or somewhere around there…we forgot exactly.) It was so funny, he said he was in Taiwan to learn Chinese and then to get a job once he learns the language. We invited him to English class and church (at the English ward in Taipei) and he said he would call us. His primary language is French, his English wasn’t bad but he was definitely in the beginning stages of learning Chinese! The next day he actually called us! It was so funny. He told me “I went to the mountain today! I am sorry, I did not go to the church.” In the end he told us which MRT stop he lived at and turns out he is in the AP’s area (Xinan, my old area!). Luckily he didn’t seem to mind when we told him we would give his information to some male missionaries that live closer to him. The AP’s also seemed really excited to meet with someone from Africa. Poor Jacques needs some friends in Taiwan, it’s probably been pretty lonely for him!
And last but not least, yesterday night after dinner we started biking to an appointment with a potential investigator and ended up getting caught in a downpour! It was one of the biggest storms I’ve been caught in my whole mission, there was lightning flashing everywhere and it was raining so hard I couldn’t see a single dang thing. In the end we got to our appointment safely though and the potential investigator liked the restoration and is willing to meet with us again! (Even though she will be moving to Gaoxiong next month because school is starting.)
So, there’s a normal week in Taiwan for you! We are hoping that our investigators won’t be so busy in the next couple weeks because school is starting (so no more family vacations)
Also, it is apparently GHOST MONTH in Taiwan, which basically means that all of the Daoist people are going to the temples to worship their ancestors, and all the grocery stores are making ads based on this. Next Sunday everyone will have work and stuff off for the ghost holiday so we are hoping to get more people to church!.
Me and Sister Hansen are doing well, Banqiao is doing well. We have a lot of names of people to work with, we are still dropping lots of people but praying really hard to find those who are super ready to hear the gospel and get baptized now! And this brings us to the end of August in a few days, I am super excited for it to be fall again. 🙂
AND YOU GUYS ONCE SEPTEMBER STARTS WE WILL BE ABLE TO WATCH GENERAL CONFERENCE IN A MONTH I AM SO PUMPED
I love you all! Take care!
Sister Anne Watson