It has been THE. COLDEST. WEEK of my whole mission. Xinzhu is a literal ice box. I have never experienced this kind of cold. None of us brought enough layers to battle the weather because we never expected it could be like this! It’s way colder than it was a year ago. Cold rain plus the Xinzhu wind must not be a great combination. BUT it’s been fun anyways.
On Monday MY DREAMS CAME TRUE. They literally did. Why? Because we got to go see EGYPTIAN MUMMIES. Anyone who has known me for a really long time may know that I think Ancient Egypt is literally one of the most fascinating things ever.
So yes, Monday was P-Day and since it was raining and there wasn’t much to do in Xinzhu, we decided to go up to Taipei on a whim and I picked the National Palace Museum in Shilin as our destination for the day. I went there once a year ago, and a few months ago we went back to take pictures outside. So I didn’t think this trip would be anything special, but once our bus pulled up at the front steps we saw the signs for a special exhibit of Egyptian Mummies brought to Taiwan by the British Museum. I was nothing short of ecstatic, because who could imagine anything better to do on a rainy day than to go to an exhibit on Ancient Egyptian funeral practices brought to you by British people in a classical-style Asian building?
And, in the end I enjoyed the people watching around the museum just as much as I enjoyed the exhibit itself. It was interesting to see a ton of families with older children and young couples methodically touring the museum just as slowly as I do. Those are normally the kinds of people who seem to be messing around and giggling at the night markets and stuff. I guess it just goes to show how seriously Taiwanese people take their learning opportunities.
For the most of the rest of the week we were just working in the rain…we have mostly been trying to build up our area after we dropped so many people! It has been a very slow, but thankfully a steady process as we have been really searching for people who are willing to seriously investigate the gospel.
One of the miracles we saw this week was with getting a new investigator from a member referral! Back in December, one of the sisters in our relief society invited a friend to the big Christmas party that we had, and after that we asked the member if the friend would be willing to meet with us. Literally as simple as that! The friend agreed and this week the time finally came where, in the comfortable setting of the member’s house we were able to give this friend a Book of Mormon and begin to introduce her to the Message of the Restoration. It seems so simple, but miracles like this are what missions are all about!
Us missionaries have learned that someone’s willingness to accept the gospel really has no relation to how well you know the person. It all depends on the state of their heart and how they’ve accepted God’s attempts to help prepare them! So our job as missionaries is just to invite as many people as possible to come unto Christ because it is impossible for us to know the whole story of how God has been preparing the people we meet each day!
On Friday we went to my last Mission Leadership Conference! Great way to begin the ending of my brief stint as a Sister Training Leader. This conference we had no conferences to plan for or anything, so the training that was presented was on helping us to become better leaders–the theme was “Lead Like Moroni!” Here at the end of my mission I have realized that you don’t need any kind of formal position to be a good leader. Christ’s invitation for each one of us is to be a leader in terms of how we are willing to serve and lift other people up.
The meeting was very spiritual, but it came with a humorous catch! As Elder Carson, one of the APs was introducing the theme, he started to get a little heated and took off his suit coat. Then, to the surprise of the conference he ripped off his white shirt (to reveal another white shirt underneath), on which was written the attributes of Moroni that the leaders of our mission could emulate and strive towards. Then we all signed the banner and each got a cute commemorative scrap of paper with the words “Lead Like Moroni” on it.
And, oh hey…on Saturday I hit my mark for being on a mission for a full year and a half. 1 1/2 years and STILL GOING STRONG! Haha.
On Sunday we spent a grand total of 9 HOURS AT CHURCH as we went to two different wards’ meetings and to a fireside on missionary work that night. Our most progressing investigator went to the Xiangshan ward for the second time and she loved it! She only has to come one more time before she can get baptized. She has a baptismal date for just a few days before I go home, so that’s exciting! We were especially excited that she brought hot chocolate instead of coffee to the meeting. What a homie.
The chapel was also freezing because central heating isn’t a thing in Taiwan, so everyone was totally bundled up for all the meetings. You know the picture I sent of me outside? Yes, I was basically wearing that INSIDE too (minus the surgical mask thing because that’s only for biking.)
For the fireside, they had the Xinzhu City and Zhubei missionaries sing “Called to Serve” with an orchestra made of youth and older primary kids. They take music SO SERIOUSLY here in Xinzhu. The ward choir is huge and they performed as well. I am particularly impressed with how several members just happen to know how to lead music like symphony directors. It was great. They also had several speakers from the stake come. The one I liked the most was probably from this sister who served in Taizhong a year ago and shared about how her and her companion went to sing to this less active family when their grandma opened the second floor window and spit on them. She then talked about how her and her companion tried to have charity instead of complaining after that experience.
And then to end the night and the week we experienced an EARTHQUAKE! The biggest one I ever felt was still when I was back in Hualian (and apparently this earthquake actually hit the east coast harder), but this one we felt 3 times. The first one was when we were in a member’s house at the end of the night and everyone felt it except for my companion. Then we felt two more at home as we were reporting.
I love being a missionary in Taiwan!
Sister Anne Watson