Thursday, January 29, 2015




Consequences

Hello(: Such a short week because it was only five days, but it was so wonderful! On Wednesday I had the opportunity to go to the temple! Oh my goodness, it is my favorite place in the whole wide world. It is the one time on my mission that I can forget everything and just focus on the Spirit and feel the peace of the temple. This last Wednesday was the most spiritual temple experience I have ever had and I hold it very near and dear to my heart.
Wednesday night we had English class, and since my companion is a bendi she doesn't teach it. So I had to teach English all by myself! I was so nervous because I was worried that if they tried to ask me a question in Chinese I wouldn't understand them at all. But luckily I remembered it's ENGLISH class... so if they ask me something and I ting bu dong I can just tell them, "Could you say that in English?" ;) It's perfect. And it was so much fun! I had forgotten how much I love to teach!


 
I love my companion. She is so cute! I feel my Chinese getting better and better each day. She makes me laugh so hard! We get along really well(: I have been so lucky with my companions so far!
This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with our new Sister Training Leader, Sister Williams. And we had a BLAST! She has my personality, so the whole time we were together we didn't stop talking once! We were either contacting a person, teaching a lesson, so talking each other's ears off! That night we went to bad at 10:30 (like the obedient missionaries we are) but then we ended up talking until 11:15! Don't worry, we payed for that one the next day ;) But anyways, we went and met with an LA who decided to buy us all sodas (there must have been caffeine in it or something) and these apple pie things from KFC. This memory of how Sister Murri would always take pictures of people she first met came into my mind, so I decided that we should all take a picture. Sister Williams asked this man to help us, and he came over and said, "I'm a member of your church. I haven't been in a while." MIRACLE LA FOUND! We got his number and are planning on setting up with him. But that was totally God's set up! How neat is that?! Things like that remind me that this really is God's work and He is directing us and leading us where we need to go.


 
Sister Williams and I also found this very interesting family, and Sister Fan and I had the chance to teach them yesterday. The man is 89 years old. He came to Taiwan about 60 years ago and married a Taiwanese lady. Her English is really good. So in this lesson I was speaking Enlgish and Chinese and translating what Sister Fan said into English and it was very interesting. Basically the wife wants her husband to get baptized because he's already a Christian but she likes the way our church sounds. But she isn't interested in it for herself. She thinks she has been Buddhist for too long to change. I bore testimony to them that I knew that this church was the only true church on the earth and that our church was the only church that had the proper authority to perform baptism. We left them some copies of the Book of Mormon, so I hope that they will read it and come to know of the truthfullness of our message.
I would like to take a moment to talk about consequences. God has given us this beautiful thing call agency. It is our ability to make choices; our ability to choose between right and wrong. He has allowed us to come to earth and  completely forget our pre-mortal life so that we can make choices without being swayed by the knowledge of our pre-mortal life. But there are consequences to every choice; good or bad. "You are free to choose and act, but you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions" (True to the Faith pg. 12). The consequence of me staying up late with Sister Williams was that I was incredibly tired the next day. Of my own free choice and will I chose to stay up past the time that we are told we are supposed to go to bed. I was not free to choose the consequence. Sadly, I was not able to choose to not be tired. God has given us commandments so that we can be happy. He is not trying to bind us. He created us, so He knows what is best for us. He knows what will make us the happiest. Following His commandments allows us to be happy and to be free from the consequences of bad decisions. Out of respect for our agency He will never force us to follow His commandments. But like any loving father, He hopes that we will follow His counsel so that we can be the happiest that we can be.
I know that obedience brings true happiness. There is a living prophet directing Christ's true church today. His name is Thomas S. Monson and if we give heed to his counsel we can grow closer to God. I know this to be true.
I love you all! I feel your prayers, I really do. You are all so incredible and mean so much to me <3 
我愛你!

簡姐妹


I Love this City

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015



 
Miracles!

Hello!(: What a wonderful week and a half this has been! How do I even start to tell you what I have done? Last Monday was our last P-day of the transfer, so we all met as a district and just played games at the chapel. I was laughing so hard the whole time! I absolutely love the missionaries in this mission, and I am so sad that Sister Murri, Elder Ploeg, and Elder Miller got transferred. But all is well because my new companion, Sister Fan, is absolutely incredible!
 

 She is a bendi (a native) so my Chinese has already improved a lot because that is all we speak! Sometimes we really can't understand each other haha! But we have gotten really good at charades ;) She is so sweet! She likes to make me breakfast(: and from day one we had companionship unity! And she loves to sing! So we start off every lesson by singing a hymn(: Also, if I don't understand what she is saying she uses Disney movies to help me. How great is that?! For example, I ting bu dong-ed the word for "brave," so she explained to me in Chinese, "you know that one Disney movie with the girl who has hair like yours and the brothers turn into bears and stuff?" And I figured out she was talking about "Brave" the movie. Haha! She's so great(:

 
Sunday was a pretty "up and down" day for me. We had 4 of our investigators come to church, plus 2 of our formers! I just started crying. I was so grateful that God helped these people come to church! But then after church I felt very overwhelmed. I am pretty much "in charge" because I'm the one who knows this area the best. I really didn't want to fail, and I finally just got down on my knees and poured out my heart to God. Instantly I felt this feeling of peace wash over me. It was incredible. And then I walked outside and the first lady I ran into said, "Wow! You're Chinese is great! Let me read your hand. You have a very kind heart and are very willing to serve people!" That was definitely sent from God haha! Man, I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to grow closer to my Heavenly Father!
This last Monday was filled with miracles! I still get giddy when I think about it! That morning I had studied specifically from Preach my Gospel about how to find people to teach. It quoted a scripture from D&C 61:3: "But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief." Basically we need to look for unplanned opportunities to talk to people. So we biked into Dan Shui, and I saw this lady sitting on the side of the road. Suddenly that scripture popped into my head, so I turned around to talk to her. We ended up having a lesson with her, gave her a Book of Mormon, and then got her number! She doesn't live in our area, but it was still a miracle nonetheless! Then our lesson stood us up, but we were able to meet with a former! And then during English boarding we ended up having a lesson with another girl on her bike, and she also took a Book of Mormon!
 We biked to a member's home, and we had about 30 minutes to do some finding. There was hardly anyone around and there were no doors to knocked, but we prayed that the Lord would help our faith and help us find the prepared people. The first lady we talked to we had a lesson with, set up to meet with her again, and set a baptismal date! Oh my goodness I was so amazed! We saw this man smoking, so we went and talked to him. When we started talking to him, he threw away his cigarette and Sister Fan said, "Wow! What a great start!" Haha I just died of laughter! But we had a lesson with him and then he set up to meet with us again! 2 new investigators in half an hour! Miracles still happen! It was absolutely incredible! When we got home that night Elder Marchant called and gave us a referral! And then we received another one from the phone! Oh my goodness I am still just so amazed.

 
Seriously, Sister Fan has been so good for me! She is so humble and so sweet and so willing to talk to everyone she sees!As for our investigators, we actually have some now! Let me tell you about Feng Dixiong. This man is so sweet, and he has stage 4 cancer. But 3 weeks ago he walked into our building and attended all 3 hours of church. He told Sister Murri that on his way to church he had received a text from the doctors telling him that they think they had found a surgey that could completely cure him of cancer. He told us that he knew that God wanted him to come to church! How neat is that? Yesterday we were able to give him a tour of the chapel. But before that he handed me and one of the elders his surgical papers and asked us to help translate. Dad, I wish you were there because I did not understand a single thing I read. The elder was finally like, "Um, this isn't English; this is doctor." Haha! But he has a baptismal date! So pray that he stays healthy and keeps having a desire to come unto Christ!
Candy, my recent convert, has not been coming to church. Please pray that she has a desire to wake up in the mornings haha! We gave her a temple goal, so we hope that next month she can go to baptisms!
I am loving life. I am so happy. I have seriously never been happier. I love my area. I love this ward. I love the people of Taiwan. I love my companion. God hears  our prayers! I know it! I also know that He knows us individually. I know that he only gives us what we can handle. He knows what will make us grow (that's why He's left me in this area; so I actually have to be responsible and make decisions and all that grown up stuff ;)). Miracles still happen, we just think that they are coincidences. If you look, you will see miracles. You will notice God's hand in your life everyday. I know that through daily prayer and scripture reading we can grow closer to Him. I also know without a doubt that this church is Christ's true and restored church. I say that with all the conviction of my heart.
I love you all so very much! I feel your prayers and support(: Thank you <3
我愛你!

簡姐妹

 I love this Bike Path

 


 

Sunday, January 18, 2015




 
Everyone is Dead

This week was pretty slow. Not because it was bad or anything, but because nothing happened. Oh, and all of our investigators are dead. So that's pretty zaogao. We had to drop so many of them because they weren't progressing and we even got dropped by one! So we have been struggling to find people to teach.
Last Tuesday we had Zone Meeting. They introduced the mission vision for the month: Obedience and Using Time Wisely. They asked me to bear my testimony on one of them and I picked obedience. Whoa. 6 months ago if you asked me to bear my testimony about obedience I wouldn't have done it. But since coming on my mission I have really realized the blessings that come from being obedient! Mosiah 2:41 says: "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness." I have been so much happier since I have started being more obedient. It is rather selfish that I have this opportunity to come here for a year and a half and learn and grow without the distractions of the world. What a great opportunity this has been for me.

 
On Friday our dear companion, Sister Zhong, got taken away from us because she got a duanchuan (a member, usually youth-aged, who serve a mission for a couple missions). So we are now back to only dealing with our own area. We had a lesson with a less active, Wu Dixiong, and the spirit was so incredibly strong. We could tell that he really wanted to return to church, but he just doesn't know how to. You can tell that he really wants to be happy again. This gospel truly does bring happiness! This gospel has blessed my life so much! I am so grateful I was born into a family where I could receive the gospel and then develop my own testimony! Trust me, I would not be here in Taiwan right now if I didn't know for myself that this gospel is true and that it can bring true happiness into the lives of everyone!
We had the opportunity to do temple tours on Friday. We did a tour with these two members. The boy was preparing to serve a mission (in California yeah!) and he was expressing his concerns about not knowing the language and not knowing the gospel as well as he liked to. I was able to bear my testimony that this is the Lord's work and yeah, knowing the language is helpful, but it isn't everything. The Spirit is what does the true converting. As long as you can invite the Spirit you don't really need to know the language. I really needed that tour because sometimes I feel like I am very inadequate, but the Lord sends the simple and weak to confound the wise!
As for investigators, everyone is dead. We literally have no one to teach. We tried meeting with our investigator, Sungeon, and he gave us cookies and chocolate bars and then dumped us. I guess that's one way to do it!
Li Tongxue's dad doesn't want him getting baptized until he is 20 years old... so please pray that his heart will be softened!
Funny moments of the week: we taught English class in Beitou this week. We teach the little kids class, but this man that attends the advanced class started following Sister Murri and I around saying, "you're so beautiful. You're so cute" in the creepiest way possible. Elder Karlinsey kept saying, "Hey, Tom, come back over here" or "Tom, you can't say that to missionaries." He finally was like, "Tom, that's actually a really rude thing to say in America. Don't say that." Haha! I couldn't help but laugh! I thought it was so funny!
I got off the MRT and this man walked up to me and in English said, "Where are you going?" I told him, "Umm... home?" and he pointed at my nametag and said, "Where are you going?" And I said, "Well, I'm a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." He said, "oh... well I'm going to the hospital. Right now. Bye." And then walked away. People are so interesting.
I called an investigator the other night and tried asking him where he had read to in the Book of Mormon. All of a sudden he was telling me about sleep and I was like, "what are you talking about?" Sister Murri then told me, "You asked him where he reads his book, not where he's read to." Oops. This language is so fun ;)
I am loving my mission so much! I reached my six month mark this week, what is life? This time is flying by. All of these experiences are helping me to learn and grow and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
I love you all so much! Thanks for all the cards I am STILL receiving!(: You are all so sweet and supportive! Thank you!
我愛你!

簡姐妹

 

Saturday, January 10, 2015


 
Hello 2015!

A new year! It is so crazy how quickly a year goes by. Last P-day was a really fun day for me! We went to the National Palace museum with the Dan Shui, Bali, and Shilin Elders. There was a bunch of old Taiwanese donxi (stuff) and we saw the famous Jade Cabbage! Sounds lame, I know, but hey, it's famous and I've seen it and none of you have ;)
Funny story: one of the members in my ward knows Carter Hatch! She served in DC as a temple sister. Her name Crystal, Sister Lin Yu Xian, and she we were talking about her mission and she brought up a picture of Carter and I was like "Hey! I know that kid!" Small world this is(:
On Tuesday a bunch of missionaries went home part way through a transfer because they need to make it back in time for school. But we still haven't received any new missionaries, so I am now in a trio! Oh my goodness I love trios! We are with Sister Zhong, and she is pretty much the Asian version of Cassie Breazeale haha! I love it! I am always laughing! She is the Sister Training Leader. Every night this week we switched off between which apartment we stayed at. So now we have investigators in Dan Shui, Zhu Wei, and Beitou. We are so busy.


 
Hey dad, remember when you asked me and Sister Murri if we spoke in Chinese to each other and Sister Murri said, "Probably not as much as we should!"? Well... now we do becaue Sister Zhong is a bendi (a native). So we use Chinese a lot! Her English is pretty good but it's just easier to speak in Chinese. So I had better improve quickly otherwise I will not be talking much!
One of the members in our ward wanted to treat us to a New Year's Day dinner, so she made us Mexican Food! Mmm! We have been craving that for some time now and it was SO GOOD!
One night we had to go to a members house to pick up a blanket (because for a couple days we carried this giant blanket back and forth between houses and I had to bike with it in my basket and I couldn't see where I was going and I had to bike with one hand and that was pretty annoying haha!). So it was almost 9:30, so we raced home as fast as we could to make curfew and be obedient. We made it just in time and Sister Murri was like, "Wow, that was a miracle! That was absolutely a miracle! I don't know how many more times I can say that!" But then we heard Sister Zhong go, "oh man..." and we look and realized she had left the blanket on her bike. Haha! So we just laughed all the way down the stairs and retrieved the blanket. Almost obedient ;)
As for investigators: Liu Tongxue has not been coming to church and we have not been able to meet with him. Please pray for him!
Li Tongxue's parents won't let him get baptized, but he passed an interview so he is so prepared!
And all of our other investigators are not improving. So it's pretty frustrating haha!
Let me tell you, GOD ANSWERS PRAYERS. He truly does. But one thing that I've learned is that He will not always give you the answer that you want. He gives you what you need. I have received so many answers that I have not liked and have not followed those promptings, but God knows better than we do. When we pray sincerely and with real intent we will receieve an answer from God. And what does it mean to pray with real intent? It means that we pray knowing that we will act on the answer that we receive no matter how much we don't like it or it doesn't fit with our plans. We need to be willing to follow God's promptings so that He can help us reach our full potential and become the person we are meant to be. Trusting Him means taking a few steps into the dark, but He will always light the way for us.
I am so grateful for all the love and support I receive from home. Thank you for all the packages and letters I am still receiving this week! I love you all so very much. Jiayou!(:
我愛你!

簡姐妹


                                                                                 Our District

This is how I knock on doors

Model shot
 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

 
Christmas in Taiwan

Family! Oh my goodness it was so good to talk to you on Christmas! And Schaefer family it was a very please surprise to see you as well! I felt so much love and support this Christmas(: Thank you everyone <3 In all honestly, I have no idea what I should even tell you about this week. I feel like it went by so quickly! I will just tell you little experiences from my week I guess haha!

 
This week I finally hit my wall. When I first got to the island Sister Day told us that we would all hit the wall where we thought we couldn't learn the language and we would be so frustrated. I told myself, "No way, I'm going to be so patient with myself and everything will be fine!" Well, that didn't work. I was during language study and I just didn't feel like I was improving. I just broke down and cried. It was horrible. But thank goodness right after that we went out and started doing missionary work. When I am serving others I always forget myself. It's really quite a blessing. The Lord then gave me a little tender mercy. Sister Murri and I got onto the MRT but we couldn't sit right next to each other. I noticed the lady sitting next to me was looking at my Book of Mormon, so without even thinking I started talking to her. In my mind I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, Sister Murri can't help me this is horrible!" But I ended up giving her the Book of Mormon and getting her number! I even sang for her and I hummed "Jingle Bells" while she sang it in Chinese haha! The Lord truly is helping me do this work! Through Him all things are possible. He humbles me so that I remember that this is not my work; it's His. He helps me remember that it's through the small and weak that He makes miracles happen.
Christmas was so great! On Christmas Eve the missionary choir sang for half of the mission, so I got to see all of my friends from the MTC!(: And then Christmas Day I saw the other half of the mission! We went into Taibei and had some trainings and stuff. And we also had this delicious Christmas lunch. Mmm!(: President and Sister Day gave all of us a Christmas gift: there was a letter from the First Presidency, a journal that says "The Small Plates of Courtney Jenkins," and then a New Testament that has characters, pinyin, and English! I almost started crying when I saw that! This is the first time the Bible has been published like this to help missionaries! They have been working on it since the beginning of this year! It really is such a special gift!

 
There was a talent show, and I did "Do You Want a Book of Mormon?" to the tune of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" I also got pulled into a trio and sang "Angels We Have Heard On High." The Christmas choir was able to perform at the end. I think the mission is sick of hearing me sing all the time ;) During the instrumental  number I was looking around at everyone and I felt this overwhelming feeling of joy, peace, and love. I absolutely love where I am at in my life right now! I am so grateful I was able to be in Taiwan to celebrate the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

 
Family, skyping you was so much fun! Oh my goodness you all make me laugh!(: Sister Murri says you are all just like I described you(: As I was about to sign off skype, this realization came to me: I'm not ready to go home. There is still work for me to do here. The Lord needs me. I'm not finished yet. I had this feeling of peace come over me and I haven't been homesick. This is where I belong.
I love the people of Taiwan. I love this gospel. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who has provided a plan for us so that we can learn and grow in this life and then return home to His presence. I am so grateful for the Atonement because I am an imperfect human being and I make mistakes every day. Through the Atonement my guilt can be swept away. I can feel clean and happy again. I can have a fresh start and I can change and become a better person. What a wonderful gift that is! I finished the Book of Mormon again, and I can honestly say that I love that book. It has seriously changed my life. I have found so many answers to questions in The Book of Mormon. I know a couple months ago I told you all to read the Book of Mormon, so if you still haven't gotten around to that you can start now ;) I promise you that if you read it and pray to know the truthfulness of its message you will receive an answer. I know without a doubt that this book is true.
I am so grateful for all of the experiences I have had so far on my mission. They have helped me to grow into the person that Heavenly Father knows I can be. I am grateful for all of the people I have met. I am grateful for all of you at home who have supported me in all of my endeavors! I feel your prayers. They help me get through my trials.
I love you all so very much!(: Christ lives! This church is true!
我愛你!

簡姐妹
CHRISTMAS LUNCHEON

TREATING OURSELVES TO HOT POT