Apparently Halloween is in a couple days, and I’ve been seeing a lot more of it around here in Taipei than I did in Zhubei a year ago. It’s probably because all of the cram schools around here have been doing Halloween activities to teach the kids English. I have seen several classes parading around in costumes. I’m sure the kids here would love an opportunity to have endless candy thrown at them on the street like we do here in America.
As for us missionaries, we’re not really getting candy off the streets, but we are going person-to-person, door-to-door hoping to give people some spiritual candy!
I forgot to tell you, for P-day a couple weeks ago we went to the Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall again, but this time we got to explore inside the exhibits they have there a bit more.
For this past week’s P-day we wanted to go to a museum since most of them are closed on Monday (and our P-Day was changed to Tuesday) but our luck was such that the museum we happened to go to was closed for renovations. So we took the MRT to Danshui for fun but once we got there it was time to head home. Haha.
This week we had a lesson with Patrick, the non-member husband of one of our members. We are trying to get him to stop smoking! Sister Huang shared a really cool experience with him about her grandfather, who converted to the church in Taiwan after moving here from China. The missionaries got angry when they found out he was smoking after they met with him so they took all of his cigarettes and threw them out. Then her Grandfather would yell at his family members to buy him more cigarettes, but no one would and so, just like that, he stopped smoking! (We wouldn’t necessarily recommend this tactic, but it worked for them.) Sister Huang also explained that when he was baptized they had to have 4 people baptize him (instead of just the usual 1) because he had bad knees and couldn’t bend down in the water by himself. Just imagine one person stationed on each one of your limbs to dump you into the water!
But we think that this experience really helped Patrick.
We didn’t get to meet with Zhang qi fang this week because she was sick. We did have a nice conversation with her last night on the phone though. We are helping her to learn to enjoy reading the scriptures even when she doesn’t understand everything.
This week we worked SO hard with Sister Xu, trying to help her keep commitments. Sometimes we meet with her and her nine-year-old daughter together. We taught them to say prayers together every night, and then the next day they came to a Halloween party that the Xinpu ward was putting on. The Xinpu Elders did a spiritual share and asked all the kids what they should do every day (or some question like that) and our investigator was the first one to yell out “Pray!” We were so proud.
We saw a big miracle this week through….MEMBER REFERRALS! Honestly, in this story, the members basically did finding FOR us on Facebook. Last Sunday Guo Ma and Guo Ba approached us at church and told us about this less-active couple they had gotten in contact with on Facebook, and they came to church! Mr. and Mrs. Zheng were baptized into our church when they were young, but then they started going to the Presbyterian church. But thanks to Guo Ma and Guo Ba’s fellowshipping, the family agreed to come back and they want us to teach their two unbaptized sons! We are so excited. This family lives on the SAME STREET as us too so it will be easy to visit them a lot.
On Sunday we also had a special activity for the last hour of combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting. The Bishop gave us about 15 minutes to do a role play activity. So we split the members into three groups and gave each a scenario–
Group 1. Inviting a friend to eat dinner with them and the missionaries
Group 2. Giving a friend a copy of the Book of Mormon
Group 3. Inviting a friend to come to church.
For each group, we prepared a role play demonstration. I demonstrated sharing the Book of Mormon, Sister Huang demonstrated inviting a friend to church, and our ward mission leader demonstrated eating with the missionaries. And then there was a little bit of time for open discussion between the groups to talk about their personal concerns/questions/etc. about using that way to share the gospel. And when time was about up, we had one person from each group stand up and share what they had learned to everyone.
The activity turned out a success and gave all the members more ideas as to how they could actually share the gospel with their friends instead of being nervous about it. We are super excited to follow up with most of them personally to see how the activity boosted their individual desire to share the gospel.
Oh and on Sunday night my bike broke and the elders didn’t have time to fix it, but in the end the interesting tinker man down the street took a quick look at it and in no time it was as good as new.
And last but not least, I have been having a BLAST helping Sister Huang learning English! It’s taken a little bit of a toll on my Chinese language study, but I will use my studies to read the Book of Mormon or talks in English with her. Her English is getting better and better every day now that she only speaks in English to me and other missionaries (unless we are with the people of Taiwan). I know this will be a blessing to her in her future missionary efforts and in her relationships with all her future companions!
- How many dogs do you see on a daily basis? Cats? Rats? (This question was supplied by Diana)
You see dogs all the time no matter where you go. If you’re not in Taipei, you’re more likely to meet ravenous dogs that want to eat you! (Just kidding) but in the more rural parts of Taiwan there are a lot of stray dogs. Here in the city there’s lots of spoiled house dogs–big dogs, little dogs, Japanese dogs, etc. Most of my companions have loved dogs right along with me so when we are on the street we love to talk to people about their dogs (and slide the gospel into the conversation.)
Cats are seen pretty often but not as often as dogs.
I’ve actually seen a few rats here in Banqiao but I don’t remember seeing any in my other areas.
- How is your luggage holding up? Do you have to lug it with you on the train for transfers? In Japan, we sent our luggage on without us via a courier service.
Oh my luggage is awesome–perfect! I’ve heard so many stories of other missionaries’ luggage breaking down/wheels melting/etc. but mine are awesome. I also have this cool system down where I can pack all my stuff inside my two suitcases for transfers in only one hour. People should honestly hire me haha.
- What sporting events are big in Taiwan? What do the kids like to play?
Basketball is probably the most popular here, and after that baseball. Back in August they had some University games going on in Taipei, and lots of college students from all over were in Taiwan. Some people from the BYU men’s soccer team were even here.
- What good things have you learned from your Taiwanese companion?
Mostly I’ve learned about why Taiwanese people do the things I have always thought are weird or different. It’s super nice because she’ll answer any kind of question I ask even if it might seem a little weird or awkward. Haha.
- What good things have you learned from the members in Taiwan?
I have learned a lot about magnifying callings–the people of Taiwan are INSANELY busy, but since the wards are smaller the members naturally have more responsibility per person than I am accustomed to. I swear these people never have time for themselves–they spend every day either at work, or all in the service of others. I think the sacrifice of time is truly one of the greatest things we can give to show other people we love them and care about them, and Taiwanese members do that SO well! My goal is to be more like them when I get back.
- What has been the best advice you’ve gotten from your mission president? Other missionaries?
I think other missionaries and President often tell me, in essence, to worry less and work/serve more. I’ve heard this advice given in many different ways throughout my mission, but in the end this is the simple way to say it that endures. I think changing worries into work still takes a lot of effort, but it’s oh so worth it. I was pondering this week about all the things that have happened on my mission, and it’s been fun but I can see that one of the biggest reasons I was unhappy at some points was because I simply worried too much. I look back on so many situations and only look at the good things now, so those worries seem pretty pointless in the long run.
If anyone else ever wants to ask me questions for me to answer in my emails, please feel free!
Sister Anne Watson