My second Christmas in Taiwan (and on a mission) was sick! There’s literally no better way to spend a holiday. I had already opened all the mail family had sent me so there were no gifts to worry about on Christmas, which was no worries because Skyping my family was enough! Plus the fact that it was P-Day so we got to relax for a bit. I literally spent the day getting chased by a dog. Yes. On the day to the all-you-can-eat barbecue we went to, we passed through this garden field thingy (there are lots of those outside of Taipei) and the elders rang their bike bells, which made the garden’s resident dogs go for us like rabid beasts. Elders who come to Xinzhu on exchanges all have to face this trick…
So yes, we ate a ton of meat and ice cream and then we finished off the day by window shopping and writing emails.
This week we taught our most progressing investigator, Chen Xiao Rong, the Word of Wisdom. We had to utilize every single missionary teaching skill in the book for this lesson because at the beginning as we were telling her what the Word of Wisdom is, you could see her face getting more and more stressed. So we asked questions, listened, and discerned the spirit to discover all of her concerns and help her to overcome them. But she told us she was willing to begin trying to keep it and we told her we would do a follow-up lesson next time to discuss it a bit more. What’s super cool is that her husband wants her to live the Word of Wisdom, so we are SO THANKFUL that he is a good influence for her even though he’s not a member and not even a Christian. He even drove her to church this Sunday (on his way to work in Taoyuan) so that is SO awesome that he doesn’t oppose her being with us! That’s such a huge problem in Taiwan and there’s so many people that don’t get baptized because they don’t have the faith to face rejection from their family members. It’s okay, though! We love building up people’s faith.
This week we got several cool new investigators. We actually started teaching 2 12-year-old girls which is pretty funny. It’s so weird, in Xinzhu we’ve had so many non-member parents wanting us to teach their kids, which never happens haha. The story goes like this: one day last week we went to a bike shop owned by a member family from another ward to get my brakes fixed (we also cover the female investigators of this ward.) The co-worker of the member started fixing my bike and then he gave us a REFERRAL! He said, “hey, my daughter has been asking some questions about Christianity lately, one day when she comes here after school you guys can talk to her!” And so we came to the bike shop right around the same time as her this week and we started teaching her! And she brought a FRIEND and the friend wanted to learn more about our message, too! Right now we are not sure whether the friend’s parents will let us keep meeting with her, but it is good to know that we have some members ready to take these girls to church when they would like.
On Tuesday we went to Zhubei’s district meeting. Lots of the missionaries in this district have been struggling lately, but luckily the district leader presented an awesome training, the centerpiece of which was for us to evaluate our ranking from 0-5 according to these three statements: 1. I love finding 2. I love my investigators and 3. I love the Lord! (which is going off of our zone’s vision for missionary work.)
Little did I know that throughout the week I would also be questioning myself a little bit on these three questions as we ran into the usual roadblocks and struggles of missionary work. After Saturday night me and Sister Liu noticed that we weren’t talking to as many people as we would like. In the mornings we were setting really high goals, but weren’t really reaching them. At the beginning of the day we would start of pretty strong, but as we faced rejection and other tasks, by the end of the day we would be slacking a little.
So on Sunday we started really trying to invite EVERYONE, even all of the people on motor scooters at stoplights, to do something that would help them come unto Christ, like doing a chapel tour, coming to church, or meeting with us. Taking that more bold approach instead of settling for less definitely means that you get rejected a lot more! For most of my mission, I have been really learning to try and get over being embarrassed (or 不好意思) to talk to people, and this week I was really fighting that a lot! Sometimes it’s hard to not take the rejection personally. But I am beginning to learn that, by letting the light and hope of the gospel (and my desire to share it) overcome any negative feelings I may have, the power of Jesus Christ’s atonement can really take place in my missionary work. That power helps us to have the spirit more and to be able to see tons more miracles! Including a member referral who wants to meet with us and a surprise run-in with a lady who was willing to come to church–she just happened to be the older sister of the owner of this Grass Jelly shop we were at (since his family were also potential investigators.)
One thing that’s also been really motivating for us is our district LINE chat. We have started sharing tender mercies with each other every day, and we also have one person in the district give a spiritual share each morning. For my spiritual share, I shared one of my new favorite hymns, “The Time Is Far Spent.” Every verse is super cool and really shows the purpose of missionary work. I just love the idea of following the example of the Savior, since He already went through all the challenges we are experiencing! And He knows how we can overcome them!
Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.
During my personal study this week I also enjoyed reading Isaiah 53, which chapter is a highlight of many of the songs in Handel’s Messiah. I can truly testify that each one of us must follow Jesus Christ unwaveringly. It is truly such a gift to understand His character and strive to follow it. He is literally the Son of God, so it totally makes sense that we can get closer to perfection by following His teachings and example than anyone else!
Well, we ended the year 2017 with a BANG…we hope! We were woken up at midnight by something that sounded like “a family of 20 getting shot at” or, in other words, 20 GAZILLION FIREWORKS. It was so weird because a year ago in the very center of Taipei we heard absolutely nothing. We were absolutely exhausted but we snuck a trip up to the roof of our apartment to get a good look at the fireworks going off all over Xinzhu city. I almost wanted to cry because I love Taiwan so much!
So that’s about it. At this point, my feelings are basically like “I have 2 months left in Taiwan! Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!” and I can’t even think about what this next year will bring, can’t even fathom it. We are just far too busy! I don’t even want to sleep since I just want to be working hard all day long! Love you all!
We also had a cool P-day this week but I will talk about it next week😀
Sister Anne Watson