My only nametag (since all my other ones got lost) is currently being held together with double-sided tape. It’s working really well! Although every time we get off our bikes or whatever I always have to look at my shoulder area to make sure it didn’t fall off somehow.
This week was kind of funny! All of us Xinzhu missionaries are in full-blown preparation mode for the Christmas activities that will be going on this coming week. There has been a lot of planning, practicing, and coordinating. Sadly, you’ll have to wait until next week to see how it all went. We have been really focusing on inviting everyone to these activities and it has been SO FUN! Even just now, we’re taking the train back to Xinzhu and we just talked to one young girl who will be in Xinzhu for the weekend and wants to come to our Ward activity on Saturday and one old woman and her daughter from Taipei who wanted to come to our missionary Christmas performance at the Jinhua chapel on Sunday night. No better way to spend P-Day than spreading the Christmas spirit!
This week began with me receiving a wonderful Christmas package from the family. Thanks Mom for sending it! Shout out to you all, you’re the best!
At English class on Wednesday we had the biggest show-up for our children’s class I have seen probably my whole mission. We played games like musical chairs and stuff but then some of the kids started throwing tantrums because they lost, and some others were throwing out rude comments so we did a last-second change of spiritual shares and made it about loving our neighbors. We taught them “Love One Another” and they sang it all with us.
After class we met with our most progressing investigator, Chen jie mei (陳曉蓉). She is a young mother who is already Christian. Sister Eyre and Sister Liu met her on the street last transfer and got her interested in our message because they talked about prophets! She currently has a baptismal date for next month and she really could make it! We are about to share the commandments with her and we are going to try to emphasize how keeping the commandments isn’t meant to be stressful or difficult, it’s meant to give us blessings! It’s actually kind of sad in Taiwan how lots of investigators will get hung up on one commandment that’s hard for them to keep and that can stop them from continuing to learn the restored gospel entirely. But we are going to try and be optimistic with Chen jm!
One other case of an investigator who got stressed out a long time ago was our investigator Mo jie mei. A year ago she was about to get baptized, but then she found it difficult to keep the Word of Wisdom (she loves coffee) and since then has run into lots of mental road blocks keeping her from baptism. Sometimes she thinks she can’t accomplish the things that God has asked of her and often tells us she wants to give up in one way or another. We are slowly trying to get over those roadbumps, and one thing we have thought about to help her is trying to read the Book of Mormon with her through LINE chat every week. LINE is really convenient, you can use it like skype to face message other people. It was really cool to read 1 Nephi with her this week like that. We are just trying to really strengthen her faith in the Book of Mormon because we know that will help her to keep all the commandments and develop a desire for baptism!
Okay, on Thursday and Friday we got to go on exchanges, but this time it was the OTHER way around and I spent 24 hours taking another sister around Xinzhu! It was nice not to have to pack haha. We brought the Miaoli sisters up into our area. I got to be with Sister Warren who has been on her mission for 6 months. We ended up not having any lessons the whole day, but she said she still had fun as we spent the whole night hunting the addresses of less-active members and trying to talk to everyone on the way.
It was the most fun to hear her story about how she is learning to love her mission. I know that for lots of missionaries (including me), the beginning of a mission can be rough! But I have a testimony that it’s hard to love your mission until you learn to love your companion, the members, your investigators, and the people you meet on the street. Sister Warren is on her way! She is so awesome! We also talked about making sure that we have a vision for her mission and what we want to have accomplished by the end. The sisters who haven’t been on their missions as long actually have a valuable opportunity to start sooner rather than later to put their dreams and goals into action. I envy Sister Warren just a little bit for how much longer she gets, but at the same time I look back on what I’ve done in the past 16+ months and I am so thankful for what has happened and how I have grown.
At the end of the week we saw so many cool miracles in getting new investigators and helping people to get to church! Sister Liu met some really awesome people on exchanges that we were able to meet with. The first was this lady named Xiao Wu (小伍) and her one-and-a-half year old daughter. She came to do a chapel tour, and she shared with us that she had been to Christian churches for activities before. She was willing to set up with us again to hear more about our message of how the gospel blesses families! She seems super solid and it is cool how we were able to get a new investigator out of such a simple street contact.
Another cool appointment we had was with a family on Saturday morning. Sister Liu met them on exchanges as well. They fed us breakfast at a coffee shop–a mom named Sharon and her two children, a 12-year-old boy named Ray and a 10-year-old girl named Nikki (Don’t worry, they’re all Taiwanese but sometimes people like us to call them by their English names because they are easier to remember.) The mother’s coworker was also there. The mom was really interested in having us meet her children–we think it’s because she figured they could learn good values from us missionaries. She was really impressed at how we take so long out of our lives to go and share the gospel with people in Mandarin Chinese. Even though at first it didn’t seem like they would be super interested in our message, Sharon’s co-worker and the two children were willing to set up to come to church with us this Sunday! AND THEY DID!!! (Yes, I know it sounds a little weird–the mom couldn’t come herself because she was working in Taipei that day.)
And get this!
They BIKED with us! Yes, they got up really early on Sunday and rented bikes to bike to church with us. It was so funny. In the end, it turned out that Sharon’s coworker was from Zhanghua, so she let us get her number to give to the missionaries there. But Ray and Nikki were willing to set up with us to read the Book of Mormon! So cool! Who bets that Sharon would let them get baptized? Needles to say, we are super excited about them. I really do know that even though Sharon might not be interested in us meeting with her children for ALL the right reasons, there really is no better way she could have picked to help Ray and Nikki learn good values and become better people. Y’know, the Gospel of Jesus Christ just does that to people…
Oh and about the title of the email: This past weekend the weather went WAY cold and WAY windy and it actually felt kind of dangerous to be biking outside, but it’s okay because we will go outside no matter how much we feel like we’l get blown off of our bikes. Actually, on Saturday afternoon we went to visit this less-active member named Du jie mei who started feeding us all of this Chinese medicine stuff (to soothe our throats and make us warm inside, she said). The worst of all was this really spicy ginger drink that I could barely swallow down and Sister Liu could barely drink at all. Oh man, it was actually pretty gross but it definitely made us warm inside!
Last but not least, there’s some really cool people we’ve run into this week who in the end weren’t willing to meet with us, but through meeting them we have learned a lot. I would like to share just one example. On Saturday night, we went to re-visit this potential investigator that me and Sister Warren had tried out on exchanges, but then she told us to visit her earlier in the day another time. So me and Sister Liu tried again, but this time she wasn’t at home and her older brother answered the door and started talking to us. Even though it was really cold inside and he didn’t have a coat, he was willing to have a conversation with us about Christianity. We found out that he himself had two daughters, lived in another part of Xinzhu, and had grown up visiting the Catholic church with his grandmother. We had the impression to start sharing the Book of Mormon with him. I had a feeling to share 3 Nephi 17:17 with him and shared with him my testimony about how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really love all of us. At that point, a really sweet spirit entered into all of our hearts–we could feel it, and this man we barely even knew could also feel it. At the end of the contact he told us he didn’t have a ton of time to meet with us because he often goes on business trips, but as we left the doorstep he stuttered out a few words about being in awe of us willing to do what we are doing. He may not have recognized the full magnitude of what he was feeling at that moment, but I think through this experience I was able to learn and witness what it really means to plant a seed of the gospel in someone’s heart. And I am sure that he will put in a good word for the potential investigator who lives at the house when we go to visit her again!
THIS GOSPEL IS SO TRUE! I am so excited for Christmas and to spread Christmas cheer around one more week before the season is over. I love all of you and am excited to skype with you all next Monday! Have an awesome week!
Sister Anne Watson