Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Sky's on Fire!

This was another fast week for me! The stake is getting so close to being built here in Hualien! There was a meeting for Melchizedek Priesthood holders this last Saturday and there were over 100 that attended! That's so awesome! We are finding those less actives and baptisms have been happening! I have faith that the Lord's work down here will hasten and we will get this stake built!
So last Monday was a super fun P-day for Sister Howell and me. We went to a Daoist Miao (Temple)! It was so interesting to explore the culture of this country. We talked to a couple of people to figure out more. We even watched people do their interesting worship things. I don't know, I'm just so grateful for the beauty of LDS temples and for the beautiful ordinances that happen inside. Going to this Daoist Miao strengthened my conviction that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church on the earth today.

Our District Leader called us one day and told us that he found a name on the ward list that he hadn't met, Zhang Jie Mei, and he felt that we should go visit her. It worked out perfectly because we were actually on our way to that area at that moment! So these three young girls, about 13 years and younger, got baptized last year and fell inactive because their mom isn't a member so they didn't have a way to get to church. We ended up talking to the mom on the doorstep for a little and asked if we could come back to meet her kids. Last night we went to visit them and they are all so cute! They all read the Book of Mormon, the mom included, and occasionally say prayers! We got to know them and sang a hymn with them, which they absolutely loved! So that was a really neat experience. They said we can keep coming back to visit them! Pray for this Zhang family that they can rekindle their testimonies!
We had the coolest miracle happen on Thursday. We went to our Branch President's house so that we could get my bike fixed (it actually isn't my bike; my bike still hasn't come in from Dan Shui). We were able to talk to him about some less actives that we wanted to help. We left his house and then pulled over to the side of the road to discuss what we wanted to do next. We suddenly heard this weird noise above us, so I looked up and saw that a balloon had landed on the telephone pole and had caught on fire! Little fire bits started falling down, so we quickly moved away haha! We decided to head to a street that we had planned to go to the night before. On the way there I saw this girl sitting outside. I made eye contact with her and instantly had this thought come into my head that I needed to turn around and talk to her. So we did! And it was the coolest experience ever! The father invited us in and sat us down and called his family into the room and we were able to pray with all of them and have a quick lesson! They said that they had talked to missionaries like us once before! They took a Book of Mormon and then set up to meet with us again! Ah! Miracles still happen! We just need to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost and God will guide us to His prepared people!
As for Cai Dixiong, this whole week he didn't answer our calls or texts until Saturday night. We had been so worried! Sunday he came to church and told us that his parents fandui is baptism, so he can't get baptized. That was really hard for me because he is such a great kid! He is really busy right now because he has a big test coming up, but he can still come to church every Sunday! Please pray that his parent's hearts will be softened. 
So this transfer has been so much fun! I absolutely love my companion! She has helped me learn so much already and we get along ridiculously well! We laugh all the time! For example, we didn't have time to sit down and eat dinner at a restaurant, so we brought our sandwich and guava (which we're both obsessed with) and ate underneath this little shed in the pouring rain next to this dog. Haha! We just have fun ;) I
I found this quote this morning that I absolutely love: "Sometimes we take upon ourselves too much credit or too much blame when it comes to others accepting the gospel... God doesn't ask you to convert but rather to open your mouths" -President Uchtdorf. Our job as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints is to open our mouths and live so that we can invite the Holy Ghost into our lives so that others will be touched by the influence of the Spirit. If someone rejects you, that's ok. Our job isn't to convert people. It's simply to open our mouths and invite. Live so that others can see the Light of Christ through you. Let the Holy Ghost do the job of converting. 
I am so grateful for this gospel and the guidance it has given me in my life. I'm so grateful for prayer and the peace and comfort it provides. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here in Taiwan spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to these beautiful people. I'm so happy here! 
I love you all! Thank you for all the love(: It means so much to me <3


Saturday, March 14, 2015


I don't even know how to put this week into words. It was absolutely incredible! I literally saw a miracle every single day. I don't even know what happened, but me and Sister Howell are still so giddy from it! I will just tell you some of my favorite parts(: On Tuesday night we were biking towards a night market to eat dinner when Sister Howell saw this little old lady pulling weeds in a field. She stopped, turned around, and said, "oh man, this is so weird." We ended up pulling weeds for a little bit with this lady, and she gave us a referral! So that was a fun experience haha!
We did some English Boarding (passed out English pamphlets to get people to come to English class) and this old man seemed really interested in it. Then he asked us, "What is the difference between your church and other churches?" We were able to bear testimony that our church is Christ's restored church and we have a living prophet today. He had so many questions and we had all the answers! He even took a Book of Mormon! He lives in Taibei, so we gave the Taibei missionaries his number. But he told us that we made him feel inspired and he really wants to read the Book of Mormon! There are prepared people out there!
That night we had English class, and our English Unit Leader, Elder McNeil, decided to start of the meeting by playing some hangman. You can tell his English has really gone down when he spelled the word, "ExcellANCE." Haha! So that is our motto for this next transfer; striving for excellANCE ;)
One day we decided we needed to find some less actives. We were at the church building and we decided to say a prayer to ask for some guidance as to where we needed to go. As soon as we finished Chen Jie Mei, our ward missionary, walked out of the building and asked us what we were doing. We told her we were looking for less actives, and asked if she wanted to join us. She said, "Sure! But I need to be back here in about 20 minutes." So that was a direct answer to our prayers that we needed to stay close to the church building! So we biked to this one LA's house, and as soon as we got there there was this girl that had just gotten home from school. We ended up having a lesson with her and giving her a Book of Mormon! I had this thought that I should invite her to baptism, and all of a sudden I had all these nervous feelings and thoughts like, "Oh, she won't accept. Don't ask her." I instantly knew that was Satan, and I instantly knew that she would accept. So I invited her to be baptized, and she accepted! It was so neat! We set a date on the street!  Later she told us that her parents don't approve of her meeting with us, but I know that some day that girl is going to get baptized. 
Let me tell you about this amazing investigator of ours: His name is Cai Dixiong and he is 17 years old. He ran into the elders on the street about a month ago and started meeting with them. The elders realized that he lives in our area, so they handed him over to us. On our first meeting with him we could tell that he had a desire to learn about this gospel and get baptized. He has a date for the end of this month, so please pray that he will continue to prepare to receive the ordinance of baptism! Our second meeting with him was absolutely incredible. We taught him the Plan of Salvation, and we asked him if he believed it was true. He said, "Yeah. I believe that God is a fair God, and this plan seems very fair." And then he said the closing prayer, and oh my goodness the Spirit was so strong! I remember looking at Sister Howell when he finished and we were both amazed at our strong the Spirit was in that room. This kid is so special and I feel so lucky that I get to work with him!
We attended a baptismal service that night, and Cai Dixiong came with us! Sister Howell and I sang and two of the members played piano and cello. It was really fun!(: I love baptismal services; the Spirit is always so strong there. I love watching people receive a new start. I think it's absolutely incredible that God has provided us a chance to be clean again. He knows that we aren't perfect. He also knows that after we get baptized we aren't perfect. So this is why every Sunday we go to church and take the sacrament. To remember Christ and His Atonement and to remember the covenant we made at baptism. God has a perfect plan for all of us! It is a plan of happiness! If we follow the example of Christ, get baptized, and continue to keep the commandments we can be so happy in this life and in the life to come! I testify that the only way to find true happiness in this life is by following Christ and keeping the commandments. I invite you to try it out for yourself. I promise that keeping commandments will bring you closer to God and help you find happiness in your life.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a Taiwan Taipei missionary! My mission has allowed me to come closer to God and to Jesus Christ. I am so happy out here! I love you all so very much(:
                                                   Morning bike ride to the beach!!!
                                                      This City is Beautiful!!!
Our District Missionaries

Friday, March 6, 2015

Kingdom Builders Incorporated

Wow, what a week! To start off with, I've been transferred! After about 4 months of being at the very top of the island I have moved down to the East Coast! I'm in Hualien, every missionary's dream location. It is right by the ocean and it is so beautiful here! I was very surprised when I got the move call, and a had a lot of different feelings about it. I was very sad that I had to leave this ward and family that I have fallen in love with. I have gotten so close to Angel, and she really didn't want me to leave. So that was hard. But I was very excited to have a chance to see another part of Taiwan!
The most surprising news was that they called ALL of the missionaries out of Dan Shui. There used to be six companionships, but now there are only two and they are white washing the area. Jiayou to them!
So I have a new companion: Sister Howell! She was my first sister training leader in the MTC. She's a transfer ahead of me and I have been wanting to be her companion since I met her in the MTC! She is seriously the cutest thing ever! Her Chinese is fantastic (thank goodness!) and she is so willing to talk to everyone! I can tell this is going to be a super fun transfer(: I also live in an apartment with the Sister Training Leaders. So that's fun. I love it here already!

Some differences about the East Coast from the Taibei area: There are about 13 companionships down here. I have never met most of them because when you get sent down here you are basically isolated from the rest of the mission haha! It's about a 4 hour train ride from Taibei to Hualien, and then another couple hours to Taidong if you're serving down there. There is no one on the streets, so you are knocking doors all day. Everyone is a lot nicer down here and more willing to talk to you. And as of right now, there are no wards; only branches. But this is the exciting part!
When we all got our move calls President Day called a special meeting for the Taidong and Hualien districts. He told us that an member of the Quorum of the Seventy wants to take the papers to the First Presidency to make Hualien a stake by the beginning of April! What does that mean for us? Well, in order to be a stake you need to have 1900 members. As of right now, we have 1890. WE NEED TO FIND 10 MORE MEMBERS. That's it! So pray that we will find the prepared people! It also means that there needs to be 130 active, tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders attending church. So we are on the hunt for those less active members and we are trying to help other active members advance in the priesthood. We have a month to do all this! President Day told us, "You are part of Kingdom Builders Incorporated. You have been hand picked at this time to serve here. It's time to suit up. We can't be jogging anymore; it's time to sprint." I walked away from that meeting feeling so empowered and motivated to do this work. Please pray that we will have the faith to find those prepared people, know what to say to bring those less actives back to church, and have the faith to trust in God's will and plan!

I love the members here already! On Saturday we had a chance to go to Yuli (about an hour south of us) and participate in an outdoors sporting activity with all of the Taidong, Yuli, and Hualien church members. It was so fun! At one point I watched as all these people started running the track, and I could tell my companion really wanted to be a part of it, so I suggested we jump in (thinking that we would just be running around in circles and I could go at my own pace). Well, all of a sudden they left the track and I was running a 3K haha! That was fun! ;) We went home that night nice and tired.
Yesterday was a miracle day! We went out to do some finding, and Sister Howell felt prompted to visit this less active. Well, the less active wasn't home, but we had a lesson with her mom and set up to meet with her again! And then we visited an investigator that they haven't been able to get a hold of and he was home and we set up with him for this week! Then we went to another less actives house and he wasn't home but we also had a lesson with his mom and set up to meet with her again! Finally, we went to another less active's house, who wasn't home, but you guessed it, we had a lesson with his granddaughter and set up to meet with her again! Miracles! I'm so grateful that God is still a God of miracles today! He also protects us so much. Last night I was biking home and slipped off the path a little bit in our apartment area and the bike slid out from under me and I just crashed. Haha! I'm completely fine, don't worry. But it was quite the adventure ;)
So yup, I'm so energized and excited to be in this new area! I know that God gives us tasks to push us and make us stronger. Sister Williams shared this story with me the other day: "God told a man to push a boulder up a hill, and said He would return in a some time to check on his progress. The man felt empowered and knew that because God gave him this goal he could do it. So he pushed and pushed and really felt like he was making a lot of progress. God returned, and the man discovered that the boulder hadn't moved an inch. He said, 'God, you gave me this goal, and I really felt like I could do it. What happened?' God told him, "Son, look at your arms. Look how strong you are.'" Goals push us and help us to grow! They make us stronger. I know that without a doubt. If we exercise our faith and work hard, God will make up the rest.
I love my mission! I love Taiwan! I love my companion. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I love my Heavenly Father. And I love you all so very much(: Have a wonderful week!
We were soaked when we arrived at this members house so we used their blow dryer to dry off.