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!