On the 5th I hit my 1 year mark for being in Taiwan! It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in a foreign country for over a year now. I have an excerpt of one of my journal entries from when I first got here:
“Well, I should probably talk a bit about…Taiwan. It is very wet. My companion says that if you’re not wet from the rain, you’re wet from sweat.Oh goody! I hate how it rains off and on and what it does to my hair.
Biking is deadly scary. Especially since my bike isn’t getting here ’till Monday, so I have this boy bike our ward’s bishop gave to us. The seat is way too tall for me and the handle bars are way too low. So as I ride, everything hurts and it strains my upper back and my wrists on the handle bars.
Let’s face it. Who could ever be happy being in the rain talking to strangers?”
I hope you’re just as entertained by that journal entry as I currently am! It’s for sure been an interesting year. When I got here I was incredibly uncomfortable with…everything from the weather to the work! So it wasn’t very pleasant then, but now I am just laughing at literally everything that happened back then.
Looking back on those experiences from a year ago, I know that when your perspective is foreshortened, it’s hard to be positive. I don’t know what I would have done differently a year ago, but I’m thankful for the perspective I have now, and I know that those rather “unpleasant” experiences have really strengthened my character by now.
I know that it takes a lot of constant effort to stay positive. It’s easy for our positivity to slip from us, so this is why we have to focus on Jesus Christ to help us retain it! I know that I am SUCH a weak person and a weak missionary by myself. The message of Jesus Christ really is the center of everything I do and who I am whether I’m a missionary or not. Remembering Him is truly the best way to stay positive and faithful.
This week was a pretty good week! Numbers-wise our area still looks like kind of a train wreck but we are starting to see more and more miracles and we feel good about the work we are doing.
For P-day we did the Maokong gondolas in Muzha again–I went last January when I was in Xinan. This time the weather was a lot hotter, but still the same great view! Afterwards we went to this American-style burger/panini place called Juicy Buns and it was INSANE. It even smelled like an American restaurant. It still wasn’t quite the real deal but probably as close as you can get for being in Taiwan!
On Monday night we got a new investigator named Lin Ting Wei 林婷惟, who was a referral from Hualian! There was this senior couple working in Hualian named the Beutlers, and they gave us this referral right before they went back home. They were meeting with this “juice man” for over a year but he never got baptized, so before they left they finally asked if he knew anyone else the missionaries could teach and so he referred his girlfriend! The first time I called she hung up because she thought I was a telemarketer. But then we called again and we met!
HUGE MIRACLE she is actually from YULI, my last area, and she knows where the chapel down there is and everything. And she was willing to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know the truth. So that’s good.
And this week we also had GENERAL CONFERENCE and it was so exciting. We had no investigators show up because this past week was Mid-Autumn Festival and this week is Taiwan’s national holiday so literally everyone is busy and has taken a break from us for, like, a week. Haha it’s okay though.
I have so many favorite talks and I feel like every single one of those speakers was trying to whip me into shape as a better missionary and person. SO fun.
We watched conference in the Tucheng chapel. We did splits so I could watch it in English and Sister Huang could watch it in Mandarin. Luckily the Tucheng sisters’ companionship also has one Taiwanese person and one American person so I just went with Sister Bennett while Sister Huang went with Sister Su.
For some reason they had our Saturday conference sessions go from 1 in the afternoon to 8:00 at night (including the women’s session). And they had the English women’s session going on in the main chapel even though there was only me and Sister Bennett watching it haha. It was pretty fun.
On Sunday we had no idea what to do, so we made two signs with cardboard, paper, tape, and paint that said “free Book of Mormon” and “free English class” and we paraded them around the night market! It left people with absolutely NO questions about our purpose because they would see things in this order:
- An American girl and a Taiwanese girl together
- The girls holding up signs giving away free service and free scriptures
- The girls wearing name tags which pronounce that they are representatives of Jesus Christ
So all that was left was for us to actually talk to the people and tell them WHY we were doing all these things. And we found this awesome lady who had met with the missionaries a year or two ago, but stopped after she left the country for a while and the original elders who taught her got transferred. And we set up a time to meet with her again! Miracles.
Let’s see…a cultural thing. The only two results of the Mid-Autumn Festival were:
- No one came to our free English class this week
- Everyone was sitting out on their porches cooking meat, so all of Banqiao has smelled strongly of meat this week. Yummy!
Since the Mid-Autumn festival is a pretty chill holiday, the members also had time for us to visit them! We have been inviting the members to share the Book of Mormon with their friends. We will give them a Book of Mormon and invite them to pray about who they can give it to. I have been thankful for the members for humbly accepting this challenge despite their busy schedules and fears in sharing the gospel. Sometimes I’ll have hidden concerns that the members don’t actually want to work with us, but then when we actually visit them and listen to their testimonies we can tap into what they share to help them feel more confident about fulfilling their missionary duties!
I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. Oh yeah, updates on our other investigators!
We made a lot of headway with Zhang qi fang this week. Of course, she has been awesome from the beginning, but this week we were able to have a member present in our lesson with her for the first time and it was a match made in heaven. Ye jm, the member, shared her conversion story and it turns out her and Zhang jm are pretty similar in lots of ways! And Zhang jm shared with us how she has changed since she started meeting with us a couple months ago. She is now praying about a specific baptismal date, because it is now something that she specifically wants! AHHH SHE IS SO READY.
And that’s about it.
- Do you have any contests for clean apartments like grandpa Kent wrote about in his email today?
No, sadly, we just get them inspected every couple transfers! They kind of just expect us to have clean apartments haha. We don’t really get “rewarded” for anything. For me the reward is having a senior missionary couple come to inspect the apartment because they’re fun to talk to.
- Do you have to get any special permission to go out of your zone for p-day activities? I don’t remember ever leaving my zone for activities.
Haha we leave our zone ALL the time for P-Day! We just give the APs a ring and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll let us leave. Especially here in Taipei, it’s kind of a given for everyone to do area-hopping on P-day. It’s so convenient to get around. So I guess that’s something I’ve been taking for granted. Most of the P-day excursions I’ve been on on my mission are out of my area.
- How has bike riding been lately? Would I cringe if you told me the things you have done on your bike that I haven’t heard about?
I don’t know, I think you’d just have to see what it’s like to bike in this traffic for yourself. Of course, growing up, you and Dad (mostly Dad) were always like “they’ll be fine” in matters of being outside, so that’s kind of how I feel about biking. You maybe wouldn’t like how we maneuver in traffic sometimes, though! I’m not even bad, though. The elders are horrible, they bike like absolute maniacs, rushing through lanes of car traffic. I have been having some knee problems lately, but it is getting better.
- Your emails lately have been pretty short. Is it because you want to get done so you can go out and do fun things or is it because you have less time because of where you do your emailing?
Neither. The past few weeks have just been pretty hard so I figured I would rather keep the emails short and sweet because it’s not fun to just complain. Things are looking on the brighter side now 🙂
Love you all! Always good to hear from any of you!
Sister Anne Watson