Friday, December 26, 2014

Tender Mercies

Wow! Sheng Dan Jie kuai dao le! (Christmas is coming quick!) I will start off with this week's apartment adventures ;) Monday was the first P-Day in about 2 months where I didn't have rehearsal, so I could do whatever I wanted! SO we chose to clean our apartment haha! We went to our security guy and asked him, "We have a couch we don't want. Do you know what we can do with it?" He told us, "Yeah, I have a friend who could take it away for free!" Awesome. So we went back up to our room and 2 minutes later he was knocking on our door and telling us, "Hey, I just called my friend, so bring it down right now!" Well, ok! So we drag this huge couch out of our apartment and we decided to try to get it into the elevator. I backed into it, but the elevator doors closed on me. I was waiting for them to open again, but they didn't. So I was stuck in this awkward position holding this couch in between elevator doors haha! I was able to reach around and hit the "open" button, but we discovered that it didn't fit. So we started to carry it down two flights of the most narrow stairs of my life! Oh my goodness we were laughing the whole time! I kept pushing Sister Murri into the wall and we had to awkwardly maneuver it over handrails and stuff. Finally at the bottom this lady helped us fit it through the door and we got it outside. We quickly ran back upstairs, shoved the rest of our dongxi into the elevator, pushed the button, and raced down the stairs to get to it in time. That was quite the adventure, but hey! Our apartment looks nice now!
We had exchanges from Tuesday to Wednesday, and I finally got to leave my area! But Sister Zhong, the Sister Training Leader, stayed with Sister Murri and apparently was very surprised with the state our apartment was in. So she called the Bu and said, "You need to get them some blankets, a plumber, and a new microwave." What do you know, suddenly all of that happened ;) So we can finally use our sink again and we now have a microwave that works longer than ten seconds.
Last Sunday a man had wandered into our chapel and we were able to meet with him this week. His name is Richmond and he is the sweetest man ever! He has pretty much adopted Sister Murri and I as his granddaughters. He came to church on Sunday and he loved it! Ah!(: We set a date for Wu Dixiong and I think he's going to make it!
So this week was a good learning week for me. I was so focused on getting a second baptism that I started viewing people as numbers instead of real, living human beings. I had to take a step back and realize that God knows and loves all of these people, and I need to love them too. I need to focus on their needs. My testimony that God answers prayers has really strengthened too. I was feeling kind of down, and I prayed that I would receive some comfort. As soon as I finished my prayer Richmond leaned over and gave me this little doll that he had made out of a handkerchief! It was the cutest thing and a little tender mercy from the Lord. And then after church Yang Jie Mei gave me this card that said the sweetest things ever! She wrote one in Chinese, and then wrote one in English so I could read it. I just started crying. It was an answer to my prayers. I know that the Lord answers our prayers. Sometimes it's through reading the scriptures and sometimes it's from a thought that comes into our minds. Sometimes it comes from angels like Yang Jie Mei. My mission has helped me grow closer to my Heavenly Father and I know that He knows each and every one of us individually. He knows our needs and He knows how to help us grow.
I love the ward that I am serving in so much. I had the opportunity to sing with the missionary choir at our chapel. After wards I started to feel slightly home sick from listening to all of the Christmas music. But all of a sudden I was getting dragged into this huge group picture with our whole ward. Let me tell you, I have never felt more out of place than in this country where people stare at me all the time because of how white I am and I can't understand anything that anyone says, but I have never felt like I have fit in more than I do with this ward. They are my family. We are all brothers and sisters. I absolutely love the people here so much!
I know that God has placed me with Sister Murri for a reason. I absolutely adore her. She has taught me so much! During companionship study I ALWAYS have questions for her, and she knows how to perfectly answer them and teach to MY needs. She is the greatest trainer, and I hope that someday I can be as good of a missionary as she is. She found a scripture that she said made her think of me: Genesis 21:6 says, "And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me." Haha! I love that!(:
I am so grateful to be here this Christmas season celebrating the birth of my Savior. I am so grateful for His sacrifice for all of mankind. I love this work. I love the people. I love Taiwan. I know that my Redeemer and Savior,Jesus Christ, lives. I know that God loves us because we truly are His children. I am so grateful for this experience.
I love you all so much! Have such a wonderful Christmas(:

                                                               I love our new chapel


Saturday, December 20, 2014

"What Counts As a Cockroach Problem?"

Wow! This was the fastest week on my mission! It is crazy how quickly December is flying by! I think you will really enjoy my adventures this week ;) We came back to the apartment Monday night and went on a cockroach killing spree. Yup. We killed about 65 of them within about 2 hours. We don't actually know how many it was because we stopped counting at 50. It was disgusting. One of us would be making calls and the other one would be on cockroach duty with the can of Raid haha! It was rather comical. Oh, and did you know they fly? I found that out Monday night. Haha! So we had to keep our shoes on because of all the dead cockroach bodies and puddles of raid that I kept slipping in. The nice part was that the Raid was "Country Fresh" scented, so it was basically like spraying Febreeze everywhere, right? ;)
Oh, but it gets better! Wednesday morning our sink was not draining. It was filled with dirty sink water. So we went out and did some contacting for about an hour and came back with some Magic Ama (drain fluid) and poured it down the drain. It started bubbling this black nasty looking stuff, but our water was draining so that was good! It smelled absolutly horrible. We were very excited that something in our apartment was working out... until I heard Sister Murri say, "This is not good," and I saw water spilling out of the bottom of the cabinet underneath the sink. We look, and we discovered that the sink pipe was plastic and the drain fluid had corroded it. Haha! Oh my gosh we just started laughing, because what else can you do when the floor of your apartment is covered in dead bugs and dirty sink water? We have called for a plumber but as of yet they still have not come. So our sink has had rotting brocolli in it and we have not been able to eat at home. Just lovely ;)
Other adventures of the week: so here in Taiwan it is incredibly rude to not finish your food. So you had better get small portions or else everyone will judge you. Our less active, Cai Jie Mei, took us out to dinner at my favorite little dumpling place. I was ordering, so I decided to get a soup and 7 dumplings. But she took the pen from me and changed it to ten dumplings, and then added ten more of a different kind of dumplings, and then ten more of another kind of dumplings plus a bowl of noodles. Long story short, I ended up eating half of those dumplings by myself along with half the soup and the entire bowl of noodles. Somehow Sister Murri got away with just eating her bowl of soup but Cai Jie Mei kept forcing me to eat EVERYTHING and my Chinese is not good enough to tell her that my stomach has expanded so much that I think that my skirt is ripping. My favorite restaurant offically became my least favorite place to eat.
One of our Tongxue, Li Tongxue, drinks tea every time he comes to our lessons. So we taught him the Word of Wisdom (while he had his bottle of tea on the table of course). We asked him which part he would have the most trouble with, and he said tea and coffee. We asked him if he was willing to keep the Word of Wisdom and he said yes. We said the closing prayer and immediately after he starts chugging his tea! Sister Murri was like, "hey! that's breaking the Word of Wisdom!" and he just kind of stared at her and kept chugging away haha! I guess that's one way to end an old way of life ;)
We had temple tours on Friday and we did a tour with one of our Elder's investigators. He showed up and we instantly knew that he was very drunk. He was a very sweet man and so much fun to hang out with! Throughout the whole tour he would just randomly shout "Hallelujah!" Haha! We invited him to attend the Nativity performance the next night and he showed up! And then he showed up to church on Sunday! It was awesome.
The Bali Elders (Elder Ploeg and Elder Frizzel) had quite the adventure with their baptism this weekend. So apparently we had forgotten to turn of the water from last week, so when they went to turn it on it was 98 degrees Celsius! So they turned off the hot water and waited about an hour to start filling the font in hopes that it would be cooler. When they turned it on only steam came out. Well this cloud of steam went up to the fire alarm and set it off. A voice came over and started telling everyone to evacuate! Luckily they found out how to turn off the alarm and a member came over the loudspeaker and said, "Don't panic, it's just the baptismal font!" Haha! I wish I could have been there to witness all that ;)
Then they decided to play a video after their investigator got baptized to try and keep the spiritual mood. But the member had picked some video that had to do with crocodiles attacking these gazelles and just ripping their heads off! It was so violent! Sister Murri and I were dying we thought it was so funny! That's the difference between elders and sisters I guess: we pick warm and fuzzy movies and they pick violent animal channel videos ;)
On a more Spiritual note, this week we really saw miracles. We had no time to do anything because we had to keep traveling back into Dan Shui to teach our old investigators (about a 30 or 40 minute bike ride and then up this monster hill that just kills me). But the Lord kept sending prepared people our way! One night we found 3 new investigators, and after church on Sunday a man randomly walked into our chapel and we gave him a chapel tour and set up with him! We received several referrals from other Elders and Sisters in our district too! Miracles! This work is incredible!
We performed this weekend with the English ward. They did the Nativity and we sang a couple songs with them. It was so amazing. I was so overwhelmed with emotions. This Christmas season is so special because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was born for us. "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God. And he shall go forth, sufferring pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and sicknesses of his people...Yeah, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin which easily doth beset you, which doth bing you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God thhat ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witnesss it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism" (Alma 7:10-11,15). Everyone, He is inviting us to come unto Him! He wants to help us! He wants to heal us of our physical and spiritualy infirmities! He loves and understands each and every one of us individually. He came into this world for you and for me so that we can lay aside "every sin which easily doth beset [us]". Through him we can become clean from our sins. We can have true happiness and true joy. Come unto Him. Repent and be baptized. You will find true joy when you are following the example of Christ. Don't forget the true meaning of Christmas.
I love you all so much! Jiayou(:

Dedication of the new chapel

Five Months


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Just Ask Stanley

This week flew by! I was so busy! Christmas performances have started for the choir and I am so tired! Missionary strugs ;) The weather turned cold this week. My outfits stopped matching because I just throw on whatever I can so that I can be warm haha! Sister Murri found a really good scripture for me: Alma 26:3 (I just love this chapter!). "Behold, I answer for you; for our brethren, the Lamanites, were in darkness, yea, even in the darkest abyss, but behold, how many of them are brought to behold the marvelous light of GOd! And this is the blessing which hath been bestowed upon us, that we have been made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work." Sister Murri said the blessing isn't that it didn't rain all winter, it's that we are able to be instruments in the hand of God in bringing others unto Christ. I love that!
We did a lot of "Christmas Contacting" this week. We would walk up to people and ask them if they knew what the true meaning of Christmas was. Then we would show them the "He is the Gift" video on their phone. It was really fun and really cool to see everyone's reactions to the video! I contacted someone all by myself! In Chinese! It was so neat to see how far my language has come! We did caroling this week! Ah I loved it! We held a sign with our Elders that advertised our free English class and we all sang Christmas songs! It was so much fun! And a lot of people stopped to listen(: During English we had a Christmas party and the Elders decided to do a little comparison between Santa and Christ. They told everyone to name stuff that they really wanted in life. A lot of people said happiness and health and stuff like that, and Elder Miller helped them all to see that Christ can give us all of that stuff, while Santa gives us material things. Someone said they wanted a million dollars, and Elder Miller asked, "Who can give us a million dollars? Christ, or Santa?" and someone said,"Santa!" Sister Murri then said, "I've never gotten a million dollars from Santa! You must have a different Santa than me!" haha! She's so great.
We contacted this one lady, and man she was so interesting! She kept saying, "I AM who I AM!" and then she kept telling us, "Just ask Stanley! He will tell you who I am. Just ask Stanley!" Sister Murri was like, "Who's Stanley?" and she was like, "Just google him!" Lady, do you know how many Stanleys there are in this world? Haha! Oh my goodness. People are so great.
So my big adventure of the week; we moved apartments. We switched areas with the elders because the chapel got built into their area and our president likes the sisters to be closer to the chapel. My third area and I'm not even done with training! I'm eternally a greenie...

So Friday morning we packed all of our stuff and shoved it into a members car. And let me tell you, my new apartment is the size of the living room of my last apartment! It's tiny! This is how Sister Murri describes it: "It's like living in a 10 square foot Ikea show room house but without the nifty Ikea furniture and with lots of cockroaches." Yes. Nasty cockroaches everywhere! As I was going to bed that night I saw one scuttling across the wall next to my head. That helped me sleep well ;) So yes, this new apartment is quite the adventure. Not to mention that Sister Murri's desk fell apart and the microwave doesn't work. We just laugh at our situation haha!

So as I was biking around I accidentally fell over (I fall off my bike a lot) and these two teenage boys laughed at me and then took a picture of me. Haha! So you could pretty much say I'm famous here ;)
Yang Jie Mei got baptized on Saturday! Ah! She's incredible! I am so happy and proud of her! She has sacrificed a lot to be able to do this. The people here are so amazing! Sister Murri and I bought a cheesecake to share with everyone. Mmm(: After, we were about to take the elevator up, but Sister Murri said, "We just ate cheesecake. We should take the stairs." See mom, I am exercising! ;) We had a choir performance that night! It went so well and it was so much fun! One of the bendi (native) missionaries told me that he thought I looked like some famous movie star, and then a member told me that I looked like Amy Winehouse! Interesting.

Sunday morning we had stake conference in Taibei. This lady behind me kept playing with my hair and telling me that it looked like Shakira's! Then she asked me if I was from Israel. That's a new one! Sister Murri got sick this weekend :( Please pray for her! So after church we went to the President, and he took us up to the mission home to let her rest for several hours! So while she slept I ate lunch with the President and his wife! It was so much fun! They are so great! I'm a really messy eater (as most of you know) so I was trying REALLY hard not to spill anything! But I looked and saw I spilled pudding on the table cloth. Dang it. Then about 2 minutes later President Day grabbed my wrist and said, "Let me save you from yourself," and proceeded to wife pudding off of my hand. Haha! What a way to make an impression on my president ;) Then I took a nap and just read the Book of Mormon for a couple of hours. It was so weird, but a nice day of rest!
We performed at the Fireside, and the only song we did was "Silent Night," the one where I have my solo! I was so nervous, but it was so fun! Man, I love singing! (: We traveled home with Angel and Yang Jie Mei. Yang Jie Mei gave me a Chinese name!(: Jian Xin Ting. I love it! I love the people here! I love this season!
I am so honored to be serving the Savior this Christmas season. I love this work. I love this gospel. I have seen the happiness that the gospel of Christ brings to people's lives. I know that this church is true. I know that Christ lives and He's my savior. I know He atoned for me and for everyone who has ever lived and who will live on this earth. He is the true gift. Through Him all things are possible. I hope that we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas this season. I love you all(: Jiayou!

Another Baptism. I'm so happy for her!

At the bottom is one of our new converts. I just love her.
The Ladies in the park who teach us their moves!!


Monday, December 1, 2014


Our Hearts' Desires: Please! Please! Please!

Man, this week flew by! I am so busy with the Christmas choir performances coming up and trying to reach President's goal for the mission! He wants us to have a White Christmas, meaning that every companionship baptizes two people in the month of December! We have been working on this goal since the end of October and we are praying hard to find the prepared people! 
This week was full of joy for me. I have seen so many miracles in this beautiful city and I am so incredibly happy with where I am at in life. The scriptures describe it perfectly: "and they were filled with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory" (Helaman 5:44). Ah!(: That's just so perfect.
This week I had the chance to go on exchanges with one of the temple sisters, Sister Perkins. She is so awesome! She goes home at the end of this month and she is such an incredible missionary. She was really good for me. She had a lot of the same struggles at the beginning of her mission that I am having right now. So she was able to help talk me through everything! The Lord knows who to send to help me grow(: It's so awesome. 
This week we met with this awesome man, Chen Dixiong. We met him on the streets and he told us that he had just got out of jail. We went and taught him a lesson and he is GOLDEN! He accepted everything so willingly! He accepted baptism and we set a date for the 27th of this month!... but then he told us that he won't be back in Dan Shui until the end of February! Agh! So we hope that he keeps having a desire to get baptized! 
Yang Jie Mei went back to her family's home this week, and they don't agree to her getting baptized, but they don't fandui! Yeah! So she had her interview last night and she passed! She's getting baptized this Saturday! I was seriously so happy! I did my awkward air punches again haha! 
Our investigator, Aaron, prayed out loud for the first time! That was so neat! But he still refuses to come to church... so pray that his heart will be softened so that he can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost in his life! We met with Wu Dixiong, and he is just this little teddy bear. He also is having struggles getting to church, but he's so prepared! I seriously love all my investigators so much.
We met with Hong Dixiong, our 75-year-old investigator, and he finished the Book of Mormon! It took him about 3 weeks! Wow! We asked him if he had prayed about it, and he said no. So Sister Murri asked, "So, now that you've completely read it, what is the next step?" and he said, "Read it again!" Haha! Well, yes, that is a good idea, but you should also pray about it ;)
We did temple tours on Friday and we had the most interesting tour ever! This Japanese man came in, but he could speak ok English. So the peike was this white man who served his mission in Tokyo. And then this Taiwanese lady decided to join, and her English was pretty good. So we did this tour in English, and had them read scriptures from the Chinese and Japanese Book of Mormon, and had the peike speak Japanese, and sometimes the other set of missionaries would translate in Chinese. Haha! It was a pretty cool experience(:
Wang Jiating (Tiger, Angel, and Peggy) are just so cute! We taught them the plan of salvation. Sister Murri asked them, "so what are some things that we should do in this life?" looking for Primary answers like read the scriptures, go to church, and pray. Peggy, the 7-year-old, said, "Take pictures!" and even threw up two peace signs haha! My kind of girl ;) The next day we were reviewing the ten commandments and we did the hand gesture for number nine and asked them what it was. Peggy said, "Don't eat food!" haha!... no. Thank goodness that's not a commandment ;)

My thanksgiving was really good(: that morning we ran to our park with the little old Taiwanese ladies, and we decided to join their dance routine! A little Taiwanese Zumba is good for the soul I'd say ;) I tried making my Thanksgiving lunch... but our fridge has this habit of freezing our food. (Every morning I have to pull out my rock hard orange just so it can defrost!) So one day we tried switching the nob, but it made our freezer go warm! So all my dumplings melted into a giant ball. I tried cooking that, and they just ended up being all shredded up haha! Missionary strugs.
I love my companion. She is so funny! I walked down this escalator and turned around expecting her to be right behind me, but she wasn't! So I looked back at the escalator and I saw her standing in this line with a bunch of old people just smiling at me haha! And when we were making goals this week we set them SUPER high because we have so many people that could get baptized! I told her, "Wow, I feel like our goals really reflect the desires of our hearts!" and she said, "yeah, our little hearts are saying 'Please! Please! Please!'" in a high pitched voice haha! Then she drew a picture of that on our window. She's so great!
So yeah, missionary work can be fun! It has it's ups and downs, but I can't imagine doing anything better than doing the work of the Lord! Hey! It's Christmas-time. I encourage you all to remember the true meaning of Christmas this year. There are 24 days to lead up to Christ's birth, and there are 24 chapters in Luke. I encourage you to read a chapter a day and remember that Christ is the real gift. Because of Him we are able to live with our Heavenly Father again. I know that Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of this world. I know that He lives. I know that He suffered for us and understands us. I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can face any trial that comes our way. 
I am so happy and I know that is because I know who I am, where I came from, and where I'm going. I know that God is my Heavenly Father. I know that He has a divine plan for each of us and He wants us to be happy in this life. Everyone go to this site and watch the video! It's so good! Also you can take quizzes to see how Mormon you are ;)
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season!(: I love you!


Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Sight to See

Hey, Nihao! This week was a humor-filled week! The Lord wanted me to be happy ;) So starting with Monday: it was so cold and rainy all day! It was horrible, but not that bad; whenever I get cold I think to myself "Hey, you could be in Russia!" and I get over myself (Sorry Jake). Anyways, so we went to this street to do some door knocking. Remember that man from last week who didn't know what a prayer was and kept trying to get us to come into his house? Well, we saw him again! We were in the middle of praying and he came up and started poking Sister Murri in the arm. She told him, "we're praying. Wait a second." But then he started pacing and mumbling things to her again. The whole time I'm still trying to pray but I'm also laughing. Finally Sister Murri started telling him that she couldn't understand him and we had to go. He kept mumbling at us, so we just walked away haha! Oh man. He's our friend ;) Since it was pouring rain outside we decided to keep our beautiful blue ponchos on. Man, we must have been a sight to see! Imagine you're a Taiwanese person and these two white girls knock on your door and they are soaking wet and look like oompa loompas. Not to mention that when they want to give you a Book of Mormon or a pamphlet they have to hike up their ponchos in order to reach their bag. Oh, and one of them is carrying a CD player (me). It was quite comical. And when we were biking it was hard to see because of the rain! I think I'm going to go buy myself some swim goggles or a ski mask or something. 
Tuesday morning we had interviews with the president. Man, my president is seriously so great. He has a timer so he doesn't go over time with his interviews, but I went off on so many tangents that he just ignored the buzzer. Several times. Oops. Later that day the Elders were trying to show us how to fill up the new baptismal font, so they brought us into the men's bathroom. But when we were all walking out another pair of sisters saw us and were like, "umm..." haha! Wednesday we had a wonderful peike. Her name is Jin Jie Mei and she is super spunky and hyper. I love it. Her English is super good too. So after our lesson she walked across the street to her scooter and Sister Murri and I started to get ready to leave. We heard her shout across the street to us, "Hey! Come over here! This boy is Christian!" haha! So we go and meet this boy and he's like, "Yeah, I've never met this lady before in my life." But we got his number so it all worked out. We just want to take Jin Jie Mei finding with us. She would work miracles I'm sure. 
Thursday morning we went on this giant goose chase. Wednesday we had contacted this lady and she was like, "Yeah come visit me tomorrow!" We put her number in our phone and saw that she was a former investigator, and her name was "Taiyu Mama" (Taiyu is another language that is spoken here). So we were like, "well, this will be interesting!" We called her and asked which house was hers. She told us 23. We went there, but no one answered. So we called her and she said 3. So we walked down the street some more and rang the bell, but she wasn't letting us up! We rang a neighbor's bell and he let us up. We got to her door, and she didn't answer when we knocked! We called again and she said to go where we met her the day before, which was on the OPPOSITE end of the street. So we traveled there and found her in number 58... I don't know how she messed that up haha! So we asked her what she expected from our lesson, and she said that she just wanted friends. Oh dear me. So we would say something like, "God is your Heavenly Father and he loves you," and she would respond, "Oh really... you girls are so beautiful." Or "through baptism we can become clean." "Oh really... hey so are you from America?" haha! She was quite the character ;)

On Friday CANDY GOT BAPTIZED!!! Ahh! It was seriously the best thing ever! It took a lot of work. We had to first get her to the building. And then when we got there Sister Murri and I ran around unlocking every door possible trying to find baptismal clothes! We finally found them, thank goodness! And then Elder Ploeg, the elder from my generation, got a call saying the guy who was supposed to baptize her couldn't show up and if he could do it instead. So he really quickly memorized how to say the prayer in Chinese haha! But oh my goodness, it was such a spiritual baptismal meeting. I was so happy. Candy was so happy too. Afterwards I just went outside and looked up at the sky and thanked the Lord for letting me be able to have this opportunity. How fortunate am I to help others come unto Christ? How lucky am I to help people make commitments to follow Christ and help them return to live with their Heavenly Father? I seriously am so grateful to be serving here in Taiwan with these amazing people.

On Saturday we went knocking again, and guess who we saw? Our friend from Monday night! Haha oh dear me. We heard him shout our name, so we turned around and once again we couldn't understand anything he was saying. We offered him some pamphlets and he refused them and started walking away. But then he turned back around and said, "Alright give them to me." Haha! Then he raised his voice and started speaking to us in Taiyu! We finally just walked away from him. Haha! That night we visited a less active family with some unbaptized kids. Their English names are Tiger, Angel, and Peggy. They are so cute! The parents agreed to let us help them get baptized! Gah! They're adorable(:

Yesterday Candy got confirmed in church(: She now has the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have to say I am so grateful for this amazing gift from God. Through the Holy Ghost I have received so much direction and comfort in my life. It truly is a special gift. We met with Liu Tongxue's Ama (Grandma) after church. We invited her to be baptized, and she said no because she didn't want to pay money. We told her that she doesn't have to pay money, so she told us that her husband said that she shouldn't join another church. We told her that her that this was between her and God, not her and her husband. Finally she told us, "Well, I really like drinking tea." Sister Murri was like, "and...?" haha! People are so funny. 
Anyways, this week was a good week. I am so lucky to be serving here. I have seen so many miracles. I have seen people grow closer to God and Christ. I have seen people get baptized and become free from their sins. I have seen the change in people from following the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so lucky to be here.
I found an incredible scripture in the Book of Mormon. Alma 36:3 says, "I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." Those who trust God will get through whatever difficulties they have to face in this life. God didn't say that trusting Him will take away all their troubles. He said that we will be lifted up and He will help us through them. Trials make us grow. They help us become the people that we were meant to be. Through trials we are able to humble ourselves and grow closer to God. I know that God is my Heavenly Father. I know that He loves His children immensely and wants to help them get through this life and gain experience. I know without a doubt that this church is true. I know that it is Christ's church restored on the earth today through Joseph Smith. 
I love you all so much!(:

View of our back yard. This is the start of our running trail every morning.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Wanderers in a Stranger Land

It's officially the rainy season here. So now I'm wet and cold haha! But let me tell you, I have seen so many miracles and the hand of the Lord in my life so much this week! It has been so awesome! I went on exchanges with my sister training leader, Sister Koch (pronounced coke) and she is so awesome! We stayed in my area, so I was pretty much senior companion for a day! It was so scary! Haha! So we had a lesson with Liu Tongxue and his dad has decided that he wants him to wait a couple more months to get baptized. Please pray for him! He is so awesome and wants to get baptized so badly! He's seriously so great.
So now that the rainy and dark season has started I have started to get more down-hearted and discouraged. I think it might be the weather. But let me tell you, God knows His children and He knows how to help them! He speaks to us through scriptures! I was reading in personal study and I came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Gah! God knows what I can handle. He knows just what will push me enough to make me grow! That gave me a renewed strength!
We met with Cai Mei Li, my favorite person ever, and she told us the story of her conversion. She was 18 years old when she got baptized. She didn't tell her parents because they didn't approve! So when a bunch of brothers from the church kept visiting her her dad though that they were trying to date her! Haha! When she finally told her parents that she had gotten baptized, they forbid her from going to church. She told us, "The first week I stayed home. The second week I snuck out the back door. And finally the third week I just walked out the front door!" Haha! A little rebellious side ;) She kept giving us so much food! (Apparently it's really rude here to turn down food). 
Candy passed her baptismal interview! Poor girl, she was so nervous! So she is getting baptized this Friday! Yeah! This Sunday she had to attend church, so we went to her house to travel with her. At 8 we rang her doorbell and she peered out the window and it was obvious she had just woken up. So we kept telling her, "Come on! You can do it!" Finally she got ready and came downstairs. For reals, it took a miracle to get that girl to church! And other great news: Yang Zhi Ming set a baptismal date! Ah! I freaked out! The whole way home from Candy's interview I kept awkwardly punching the air Melanie style ;) Oh my gosh. Miracles, I'm telling you. God is so great!
There really wasn't much that happened this week. During finding we met these three old ladies who were sisters. And the whole five minutes we talked to them all they said was, "I'm 80. So is she. She's also 80. We're all 80. All churches are the same. We don't understand Christianity. I'm 80. She's almost 80. Yeah, we're all 80." So we said a prayer, blessed them in their old state, and left haha! It was so great. We knocked on this man's door and he came out and was like, "I don't need a prayer." So we started walking down the stairs and he shouted after us, "Wait, what kind of prayer? How do you do it?" So we came back, but he kept trying to get us to come inside and he didn't understand that we weren't allowed to unless there was another woman inside. So we kept telling him we were going to pray for him, but he kept pacing back and forth mumbling stuff and Sister Murri couldn't even understand him, so I just kind of started praying and then we left. Haha! Man, people are so great.
This morning I had the best personal study ever! I spent nearly half an hour on 2 pages. Alma 26 talks all about praising the Lord. I love it! I read this verse and I absolutely loved it: "Blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land." God has been so mindful of me in this strange land of Taiwan. He knows His children individually. He doesn't abandon them. When we are in the midst of trial God is there with us. He is helping us and strengthening us. We may not see it at first, but He is always there.
So yes. I have struggles. I feel down sometimes. The weather gets to me. Real life sinks in. But it's during these times that the Lord truly blesses me. I have seen the Lord's hand in my life everyday. He is watching out for me and for all His children. I am so happy to have the privilege to do this work. It is hard but it is so rewarding. I love when people develop a relationship with their loving Heavenly Father. It brings so much joy into my life.
I love you all so much! God loves you! The church is true!



Monday, November 10, 2014

It's Your Birthday (Ugh)

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes, cards, and packages!(: You're all the best! Thank you for all the love and support you always give me(: Out here on the mission age is interesting; you have your real age and your mission age. Even though I am 20 and just as old or older than most of the sisters out here I am still only 4 months old and very very young. Haha! 

So last Monday was a fun day for me! I went to choir and Sister Baird was announcing the order of events and she said, "and then next we will practice 'Silent Night' and Sister Jenkins you have the solo." What?! So that's pretty exciting(: Now I'm trying to learn how to speak AND sing in Chinese ;) But it's quite the honor to be able to sing for the people of Taiwan! That night Sister Murri and I were sitting in a Family Mart waiting for a lesson and this man walked up to us and said (in English), "Oh, hey! You're Mormon! Can I talk to you about some questions I have?" So we invited him to sit down. Of course he started talking to us about polygamy (Why is everyone obsessed with that here?). Part way through he looked and me and said, "Spanish?!" and then proceeded to speak to me and Spanish. I told him I wasn't Mexican, but he couldn't let it go. "But your hair, it looks Spanish! Is your family Spanish? Yes, I know you come from America but where did the rest of your family come from? Do you have a Spanish name?" Haha! It was quite comical(: 
We had zone meeting Tuesday morning and everyone had to perform a little song or poem that talked about how the last month went. Sister Murri and I did the "cups" song from Pitch Perfect and I changed the words. I was pretty proud of it(: Elder Stewart and Wheeler did this hilarious rap, and this other Elder that I knew from the MTC did a rap in an Irish accent. Oh my goodness I love the missionaries in this mission! That night we met with Liu Tongxue and Sister Murri decided to act out a story from the Book of Mormon with him. She chose Alma 17 (My favorite story; the one where Ammon chops off all those Lamanites' arms!). So she told his grandma to be the king and he was Ammon and of course she made me be the Lamanites that lost their arms haha! It was seriously so fun and a great way to make Book of Mormon stories come to life(: He said that he could get baptized! (More about this later...)
Wednesday was such a great birthday(: I woke up and Sister Murri had placed a chocolate cake on my desk! I don't know how she bought it without me realizing it was for me, but she's a sneaky one ;) We met with a family we had found last week. His name is Allen and he can speak really good English because he spent 8 years in Australia! He even has an accent! It is so cool. Their child was watching Dora the Explorer, but she was speaking Chinese... it was so weird haha! That night we had English meeting, and the Elders decided to sing me happy birthday: "It's your birthday (ugh). Happy birthday (ugh). One step closer to the grave. Think of all the food we'll save. Happy birthday (ugh)." (Dad, for some reason this song made me think of you) I was laughing so hard!

Friday we had the trainer/trainee follow up meeting, so I got to see everyone from my generation! It was so good(: I've missed everyone so much! President Day gave an awesome training about missionary work and why it is so hard. "Did Christ, the perfect missionary, have every investigator convert to Him? Is there any wonder that we has imperfect missionaries don't have every investigator get baptized?" That's so true! Why should we have an easier time with this work than Christ did? Why do we think we are any better than the Savior? We just have to go out and do our best and help others come unto Christ!
Saturday night we met with Candy's parents (they have been fandui-ing big time) and all of a sudden they were signing the permission slip! Oh my gosh Candy is getting baptized! You don't even know how much I celebrated! I was so excited for her! So now we had two people scheduled to get baptized this Saturday. She said the closing prayer and it was so sweet and tender and the Spirit was so strong! Gah! It was so great! Oh, also, I showed her dad a picture of my family and he said, "Your dad looks like Obama!" hahaha what?! Hai hao. 
Alright so Sunday came around and Candy didn't come to church, so we have to push back her baptism one more week. So now we only had one baptism scheduled for this Saturday. After church the bishop called us and said, "So, Liu Tongxue is getting baptized this Saturday, right? I was just informed that his parents don't agree to that." We called him and he said, "Oh, yeah, they don't exactly agree." So we went from having two baptisms this Saturday to having possibly none. Gah these tongxue! We're going to try to meet with his parents so they can understand our purpose and that we aren't forcing him to get baptized; he truly wants to for himself. 
So yes. This is my life. People accept baptism and then don't follow through. But you know what, through it all I trust in God's timing. I know that the Lord's hand is in everything and that His work will go forth. I know that He is our loving Heavenly Father and that He wants what is best for us. He wants us to return to live in His presence. He knows each and every one of us individually. 
I love you all so much! Thank you all for writing and supporting me in my endeavors to bring souls unto Christ(: Keep the faith! Jiayou! 

                                                         Shopping at the Market in Taipei

Monday, November 3, 2014

The City of Taiwan

Nuts and Lemonade

So this week was only 5 days long, but man it was SO LONG! Really really good, but long. I am so tired. I can already feel the choir taking its toll! But I am loving this work!(: I have some great stories for you this week. Wednesday we got to go to the temple! That was so great! It was so peaceful and for once I didn't have anything to think about. I loved it so much (: Thursday I accidentally ran into someone on my bike...oops. Luckily she was super chill about it. And then I fell down some stairs.
Friday, Halloween yeah!... they don't celebrate that here. I think that's why everyone is so skinny ;). So we went into San Zhi to do some finding before we were going to meet with one of our less actives, Cai Mei Li. Sister Murri remembered a lady that she had talked to on the bus a couple weeks ago lived in that area, so she gave her a call. She set up an appointment for that night and got off the phone. She turned to me and said, "Wow, she sounded a lot younger on the phone!" So we went to Cai Mei Li's and taught her a lesson. And she always loves to give us stuff. So this time she gave us baby formula. Haha! We still haven't figured out what to do with it ;) We invited her to peike for our lesson with this bus lady, and she agreed! So we went to the Family Mart, and suddenly Cai Mei Li started freaking out because she recognized this girl. We then realize that this girl is the one that answered the phone. So we're like, ok, not the same person but we'll teach her! She was the busy lady's daughter and oh my goodness she's adorable! So throughout the whole lesson our less active suddenly turned into a missionary! She kept inviting her to church and even offered to take her! It was so great! And the girl kept saying how this had to be God's set up. I totally agree! She's willing to keep meeting with us! We left, but we saw Cai Mei Li and her stay so that they could hang out. Oh my gosh it was so cute (: I loved it! God's hand was in that, I know it! God's hand is in everything! Saturday night we were able to reset a baptism date for one of our tong xue because his dad stopped fandui-ing! Yes! So that was awesome!(:
Baptismal Font
The new LDS chapel in Taiwan
Sunday... oh my goodness yesterday was quite the day! After church we had MM meeting (we meet with the ward mission leader to discuss the needs of investigators and stuff). So the assistant ward mission leader, Lin Wen Qi, has really hilarious English. He's the one who said, "Hey, do you want a pumpkin lantern??" So Elder Miller was talking about this one member that always gives him crackers, and Lin Wen Qui turns to him and mistakenly says, "He gives you crack after church?" Haha! Oh my gosh we died! We explained to him the difference between crack and crackers ;) And here's the best story of my week. So it was fast Sunday yesterday, but my companion and I had started fasting after lunch on Saturday. So by the time lunch rolled around we were pretty starving. As we were biking home I pulled the keys out of my bag so that I could open the parking garage faster and then we could eat sooner. So we get in, go all the way up to the room, and I look and see that our room key isn't on the chain anymore. So our key has had this tendency to fall off a lot, so I'm like, "Great, it probably fell off while we were biking!" So we go all the way back to where we got off the bus stop and we can't find it. We go to the front desk and they're like, "We don't have a copy. We give them all to the landlords." So we call our landlady and she's like, "Sorry, I'm not in Taibei and I won't be back until tonight." So then we try calling the mission office and they don't answer. So it's about 2:30 and I am so hungry. We go and sit in the courtyard and realize that we won't be able to eat until 6 when we go into Taibei for choir practice. But luckily miracles still happen in our day. I know that my Heavenly Father loves because when life steals your key, the Taiwanese people give you lemonade and nuts. Haha! Luckily these people happened to be eating in the courtyard and they just walked over and poured us a glass of lemonade and dumped out a bag of nuts into a bowl for us! You don't know how grateful I was for that! So for the next hour we sat there and ate nuts haha!
Here I am eating nuts and drinking lemonade!
 We realized that even if the mission office had a copy of our key they wouldn't get to us until after we had left for Taibei anyways, so we call the temple sisters and ask them if they can feed us food. So we travel to Taibei where luckily the mission office found a copy for us. We finally got a meal from the temple sisters and then went to practice with our district. We sang a song at the New Member Fireside (I was soprano again, so strange!) and then we started traveling home. I am just so happy that we have a copy of our key. We get back up to our room and see our key sitting in the lock. Great. Now I'm paranoid. So we enter the house and I hand Sister Murri scissors and I grab our knife and we search every room to make sure no one is in our house. Now that I think about it, I really have no idea what I was planning on doing with that knife if I did find someone! Haha! So yeah. That's my story. 
Let me tell you, God is so loving and so merciful. He has provided so many miracles (aside from the lemonade and nuts). And that was just proof to me that He knows each and every one of us and our needs. He loves us and He will always provided for us. He is constantly showering blessings on us! 
Also, yesterday morning I finally finished reading the Book of Mormon out loud in pinyin. I started reading it in characters this morning and let me tell you, that's going to take a LOT longer! But I absolutely love this book. This book will bring you closer to Christ. It will bring you peace. You will find answers to your questions. God speaks to us through scripture, I know that for a fact!
This week was so wonderful. I love where I'm at in my life. I love the people of Taiwan. I love my dear, sweet companion who always knows how to make me laugh. She has the most positive outlook on everything. It's incredible. I love you all so much! Thank you for helping me to become the person I am today(: God loves. He loves all of us! Life is so great(:


ME and Wu Xiao Dai

My apartment
Sometimes I love what the humidity does to my hair!