Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A visit to the Taipei Taiwan Temple

Sister Fernley's letter to us was delayed by a few days because the missionaries' p-day was changed so they could take a temple trip up to Taipei on Wednesday. We are so glad to hear she is doing well and is enjoying the work.

Dear Family,
Thank you so much for the emails! I'm so glad you got the message that our p-day wasn't on Monday this week. Sister Anderson forgot to tell me so about an hour after we left from emailing she mentioned it and I was really worried about you being worried. We called Sister Darrington and asked her if she would email our parents and let them know. She's great and so willing to help us out.

I thought we were going to the temple on Monday but we actually went today. So we woke up around four and took a taxi to Zhonghua and met the rest of the missionaries from our zone there. Then we had a bus arranged to drive us to Taibei. We watched church movies the whole way there and it was great! I decided when I get home that I need to start getting a collection of church movies because they are all so awesome! Do I sound like a missionary or what? Haha.

I was so glad to hear that Jemma is opening up to the grandparents and that she is having a great time with friends and family. I miss you all like crazy and talk about you a lot actually. Everyone wants to see family pictures here and when I show them they always comment at the age difference between the two of us. Someone also told me that I looked like my mom :).

The bus took longer than we expected to get back to Zhonghua so we are only taking an hour to email before we have to go teach english class, so sorry if this one is a little shorter than normal. But we will have p-day again on Monday in just a few days and I can catch up then. I'll try to answer the questions I remember, but I might not remember them all.

As for emailing we bike down the street a little bit and there is a place where there are just a ton of computers that people waste their lives away gaming in. We just pay for a specific amount of time and the computers will shut off when its over. It always smells like smoke and there are people gaming all around us. Its kind of sad, we were biking this morning around five to meet our taxi and there were already about twelve scooters outside of the place.

Anyway this week has been pretty good. I can't remember a lot of specifics actually. But nothing bad is sticking out so that's good. We got another baptismal goal this week from a sister that the elders have been teaching and haven't been able to get her to commit to anything. They turned her over to us because her husband isn't interested so they can't teach her anymore. I think it will be hard, but we really want to help her.

And something not super spectacular, but really unexpected happened yesterday. We ended up not going to visit the less active we had planned because it was going to be too far out of the way for us to make it in time to english proselyte (we find an intersection and hand out fliers to everybody on the street during a red light about our english class). So we decided to tract some houses a member had referred us to. We had gone down almost the whole street and came to a house where the family was obviously really devout buddhists. (They will have shrines and idols all over and often a bunch of red lights. Sometimes it is really creepy.) We knocked anyway and didn't really expect anything, but a lady answered and we said we were church missionaries. Usually about then people say they don't need anything and close the door, or they make some crazy excuse like they are brushing their teeth or need to shower. But this lady actually told us she didn't have a lot of free time at the moment and then said, "but why don't you come back on Saturday? Does the afternoon work?" We were both a little shocked and of course we said yes and now have an appointment this Saturday which I am really excited about. We tend to spend a lot of time with less actives because we have so many of them and want to "rescue" them, so I get excited when we have someone new to teach. It also gets frustrating sometimes teaching all of our less actives, because they all know what they need to do, they just don't do it. We keep trying though and I hope we are making progress.

Also the ward is doing so much better! Even just since I have been here there is a complete change. In my first letter I asked you to pray for this area and that the members would be involved in missionary work and...well its working. Everyone is so much more willing to attend lessons with us. Sister Anderson says that they would always just make excuses and they have started catching themselves and have even been trying to rearrange schedules to help us out. Even in chuch almost every meeting something about missionaries is mentioned and they talk about how we need help with peikes (attending lessons) and need the members to be active missionaries themselves. I usually don't know exactly what they say, but I hear the word missionary and I perk up because its something I understand. I have been studying a lot about involving members and I think we are going to try and visit at least two family a week and share messages with them and get them to trust us and feel comfortable with us so they will be more active. I feel like it will really help us and will really help me get to know the ward better for when Sister Anderson isn't here anymore. Which she will most likely get transfered after our training is done which is a little scary for me. I'm going to have to really learn how to get around and where everyone lives. I'm starting to get it a little bit, but I'm still pretty unsure and still get a little lost.
I'm not sure how much time I have left so this may get cut off.
I guess to help you get a better idea of Taiwan I can describe some of the random things here. I've had a lot of people this week especially comment on how pretty we are. They like our white skin and people are fascinated with eyes that aren't brown. Sometimes its a great confidence booster because in reality we are super sweaty, my hair is pulled back all of the time and a lot of the time I'm panting from biking so fast or going up crazy hills. Probably not the most attractive, but they are nice anyway. Other times its just really creepy when its from some of the men here or when we get rude cat calls from drunk or high truck drivers or people on the street. I guess we got a really bad one a couple of days ago because Sister Anderson was really mad, but I didn't understand what they said so I guess that's a blessing.

Our mission has its own set of language study materials that were actually created by Taiwan Taichung missionaries. There are three phases. Phase 1 is basically preach my gospel in the form of the three column Books of Mormon (english, pin yin, and characters). Then it has vocab that is helpful to know and phrases that bring out the main points along with interview questions, commitments, and promised blessings. We have to study and pass of the separate lessons by teaching and having a language evaluation with our district leaders. Phase 2 and 3 are more regular day flash cards of vocab and then 3 is characters. I'm trying to get phase 1 done in a move call and have already done three of the seven chapter pass offs. We will see if I can do it.

Anyway our time is almost up. Sorry I didn't get a ton, but I will write more on Monday. I am doing great and am getting more used to Nantou every day. I'm still working on the language and its coming, very slowly. But I know Heavenly Father and Christ are at my side and know exactly what I am going through. I know this is the best thing I could be doing with my life and I'm so happy I get to take this glad message to the people of Taiwan. I continue to grow in confidence and hopefully in my spiruality and recognition of the Spirit. I can't tell you how much I love you and how grateful I am for your examples, support, and helping me grow up in this gospel. Thank you for all you do and have done for me, I couldn't be blessed with a better family and better friends to help make me who I am.
Until Monday!
Sister Fernley
Tell Jemma I love her tons! And give her the biggest hug for me!

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