Starting a Lovely Garden

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Me and the gardens of the National Palace Museum
Me and the gardens of the National Palace Museum

Me and the gardens of the National Palace Museum

Dear Everyone,

Last week for P-day the Shilin sisters (my former companion Sister Bernhardt and her trainee) invited us to go the National Palace Museum with them! But in the end we got there with not a ton of time, plus it’s rather expensive so we just went and took pictures outside. We also ran into this fun member family from California and a tourist family from Washington. My experiences with other foreigners in Taiwan are always pretty funny! They’re either super curious and excited to see another foreigner, or they look away from you like you are a particularly unappetizing fried food. I feel like most of them come to Taiwan to either get away from the rest of the world and don’t want to see anyone other than Taiwanese people, or they come for school and get really lonely and want fellowship from people that speak their language and have similar cultural traditions.

Me, Sister Huang, Sister Bernhardt, an investigator, and Sister Dunn

I was super terrified to talk to other foreigners when I first got to Taiwan, but now I think it’s so fun! I think I have grown a lot more confident so that I now can share the gospel with literally ANYONE and not get nervous. For some reason at the beginning of my mission I think I was ready to share the gospel with the Taiwanese, but would have rather melted in my shoes than talk to an American. Now when I see people from other countries (and most of the time it’s pretty obvious) I immediately try to make that eye contact so I can tell them about this wonderful, worldwide, multicultural church that is run by God through His prophets and apostles.

For more P-Day fun from last week, Sister Huang forgot her nametag at home and we didn’t have time to go back. So I asked Sister Bernhardt if she could pick an extra one up really quick from their apartment and she agreed! So we just hopped on the MRT and when we got there we found the Shilin sisters with a paper nametag and some tape! In the end they forgot to get the extra nametag, so Sister Bernhardt just went to a 7/11 and photocopied her own nametag for Sister Huang to use. 7/11 is THE most convenient place ever.

Sister Huang and Sister Bernhardt, or Sister Bernhardt and Sister Bernhardt

Sister Huang and Sister Bernhardt, or Sister Bernhardt and Sister Bernhardt

The Week

The rest of this week was pretty dang hard because in many ways I feel like our area kind of did a belly flop. But we were still really busy with exchanges (again in Yonghe), helping members, and teaching new investigators. It was hard to realize at the end of the week that all of the hard work we were doing wasn’t adding much to our key indicators–mostly because we have been finding a TON of people to teach but none of them have been sticking or turning out to actually have interest.

Also, our most progressing investigators are super awesome but the hurdles they have to jump over in order to be baptized are pretty high. Cherish has to somehow tell her extremely strict parents that she wants to become a Christian, and Zhang Qi Fang also has to overcome all the barriers that come as a result of changing religions. They are both incredibly good at keeping commitments, and you can just see how they know that the church is true! But it is also so easy to doubt and let life just GET IN THE WAY. They are both university students, too, and school just started so it will not be as easy for them to come to church.

For most of the week I was super stressed about all of this, but then as I was reading a conference talk by President Uchtdorf about how oftentimes, the service that counts the most cannot be counted by numbers.

Even though I know it’s important that we baptize people and give an accounting of our efforts, but I just felt SO MUCH PEACE and knew that Heavenly Father was pleased with the service I was performing and the efforts I have been making.

the National Palace Museum

Here’s some things about Sister Huang, my new companion!

  1. She is a second-generation member of the church, and both of her older siblings and her mom served missions.
  2. Her teaching skills are on point. I asked her to practice a 4-minute restoration lesson with me and I was astounded. I am definitely going to have to make her use it on the street every single day. She’s gonna convert the whole town with the way she presents that doctrine man.
  3. She hates cockroaches just as much as I do.

Well, and I think that’s about it for this week. Even though everything felt like it was ripping apart at the seams, because of gospel study I was able to change the perspective a little bit. We haven’t been using the slash/burn gardening tactic, we have ACTUALLY been using the “sowing seeds” tactic for our missionary work. Yes, this is a common comparison made–that missionaries who aren’t seeing a lot of progression in their area are just “sowing seeds” for future missionaries. But that is truly an honorable and an amazing thing! And it’s just as fun to do as it is to help those people who are more progressed along their path to baptism to help them be baptized. This work is truly amazing, and it is truly God’s work no matter what stage it is in. I am confident that because of the work I’ve been doing in Banqiao, the next missionaries that come here will have a lot of prepared people to work with. Luckily, I’ve got 2 1/2 more months here so hopefully some of those seeds will have grown before I leave!

I was reading in Preach my Gospel chapter 11 about making and keeping commitments and I did a super cool activity (sorry, forgot which page it was) where I discovered a better way to testify. Normally in lessons, I’ll just say “I know that this is true” or “I know what my companion says is true.” But after reading some scripture passages, I realized the power of saying “I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that this is true” or “I know this is true because God revealed it to me.” How amazing is that? We really can call upon the name of God as our source of authority as we teach and testify. I am so excited to use what I have learned.

Love,

Sister Anne Watson

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