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!