My dear family!
First off I love you all so much! I am so grateful that my Heavenly Father loves me so much that He gave me such an incredible family and that I've had the privilege to grow up in the gospel. I am so grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the Resurrection. He lives! I know it and I cannot deny it. I love testifying of Him everyday!
The sad thing is, I actually forgot it was Easter. There is absolutely no indication of Easter anywhere. No eggs, no bunnies, no mention of Christ and His miraculous rising from the dead. Nothing. Actually Sister Anderson and I went to try and contact at a market in Qishan and as we were walking away from someone who, once again, rejected us he muttered a barely audible FuHuo Jie (Easter, literally Resurrection Holiday. Sometimes Chinese makes so much sense.) Sister Anderson and I just looked at each other and sheepishly kept moving forward because the two white, Christian missionaries amid all the Buddhist, Daoist, and Amitofu Taiwanese forgot about Easter. Zao Gao!
Anyway, aside from forgetting about Easter this week has been fantastic! I have absolutely loved serving with Sister Anderson! She is hilarious and we have laughed so hard this week together. Laughter really is the best medicine, plus ice-cream, plus super awesome members and investigators.
At the beginning of the week we were talking about Qishan and the numbers here. Sister Anderson shared with me another missionary's tips for hitting mission standards and we decided to try it! We didn't hit it yet, but we have seen so many miracles. Our numbers as far as members attending our lessons with investigators, Less active lessons, and such have been higher than I have had since training. Needless to say we were extremely excited to report numbers this morning. Heavenly Father loves us! The work is moving forward in Qishan! It really is a place of miracles!
As far as our investigators go Shao Jie is getting baptized this week!!! YAY! She passed her interviewand is really excited. She is so golden. I just love her so much. I also just found out Sister Yeh couldn't get permission to come so I am going to have several very sad, disappointed
investigators in the next couple of days. Pray for me, I'm going to need it.
Zong Jiemei (actually I figured out this week is is actually Zhong, Yeh Jiemei just has a terrible Taiwanese accent) has a new baptismal goal and I think she is starting to get it. We will she if she starts progressing, we need to start teaching the commandments to that might be the make-it or break-it.
We went and visited Ma Jiemei again this week. We even had a few member present lessons with her. Our first lesson with her this week we had one of our RCs come with us and I absolutely loved seeing her teach Ma Jiemei and testify of what she knows.
The second time we went and visited her one of our Sisters who just got home from her mission came with us. The lesson before we had invited Ma Jiemei to pray about the Book of Mormon and our message to know if it is true...She hadn't done it. So we spent the whole lesson teaching about prayer and why we need it. We asked why she hadn't prayed; she said she didn't know how to do it. So we taught her how to do it; she said she didn't know why we needed it. So we talked about how God can help us; she doesn't think she needs help. So we taught about God helps us in our trials and with our weaknesses; she doesn't think she has any. So we talked about her kids and how she can pray for her kids in their trials; she doesn't think they have any. Her son said he did. She still wouldn't pray. I told her Jemma is four and can pray; still nothing. We told her Sister Anderson's niece is two and can pray; still nothing. I scripted a prayer for her to say; still wouldn't do it. It was one of the most extremely frustrating lessons ever!!! But it was also super funny! She said she wants to practice and then will tell us when she is ready. Mostly I think she is just afraid to pray because she's afraid of getting an answer.
We have several other new or potential investigators that could start progressing soon. We will see this week. Of which include our RCs eight year old son, that family we tracted into several weeks ago (that I felt we needed to tract), a former, a contact at the morning market who works at the coffee shop, and an old english student. I'm excited to see so many miracles this next week!
In addition to all of our miracles we has some extremely funny experiences. It's times like these that I love being a missionary in Taiwan.
I think it was, but we went tracting and ended up on this super small street in the middle of nowhere. Most people weren't home, but we went up to one house that sounded like it had people home. Their glass door was slid open and we could hear two people talking back in the kitchen through the screen door. They didn't hear our knock so we yelled, "Is there anyone home? We're missionaries and have a happy message to share with you." They went completely silent. It reminded me of when I was at home alone and when anyone would come to the door I would stop moving and pretend that I wasn't home until they would go away. That is exactly what they did, but they were adults. We waited for a minute to see if they would come to the door. After a couple of minutes they started talking again, but we were still there. We chuckled a little bit and as we were leaving I yelled through the door that we welcomed them to our church. Woops, we were still there. Their plan was foiled. They stopped talking again.
Also, I don't know if you know this, but Christ is coming next year on my birthday. I learned this from a very reliable source, an investigator who will not pray for anything! Yep, Ma Jiemei informed us this week that the Savior is coming. So prepare, its coming fast. She says she read it in the Bible and wouldn't believe us when we told her no one knows. So she's convinced, maybe we can use that to get her to pray.
I also had one of the most terrifying experiences of my mission the other day. We had gone to tract an area farther out in Qishan. We were biking back and a man on the other side of the street started frantically walking toward us. I stopped my bike, a little afraid and not sure what he was doing or if he needed help. He mumbled something in a frantic voice that sounded like a question but I did not understand what he said. At first I thought it might be Taiwanese. He asked it again and I still didn't know what he was saying. The third frantic time I understood what he was asking us. "Is today?!" As soon as I understood I told him, yes today was . That seemed to satisfy him and he awkwardly walked back to the other side of the street. I tried to ask if he needed help, but he was already gone and wasn't paying attention to us anyway. Really strange, but we had a good laugh about it, still do.
That's about the recap for this week. It was been incredible, funny, exhausting, patience-trying, and miracle filled. I'm so grateful to serve here in Qishan and that Sister Anderson and I can serve together.
I loved the Easter pictures you sent me! They are absolutely beautiful and it looks like you had so much fun! Jemma's dress is beautiful! Mandy did a great job! I love Jemma's poses, really cute.
Also glad you had a good time in Idaho. I miss the dry climate. It is getting really hot here and I feel like my skin is constantly wet. It's gross. Anyway I love you all and loved your emails. Tell Jemma I love her and that I'm so glad Easter was fun for her. Give her a giant squeeze for me :)! I can't wait to talk to you soon! (Mother's Day is in three weeks!)
Have an incredible week. Know that I love you, pray for you, and think about you all the time. Love every moment, even when it's hard. Trust in God and find ways to improve. For that is our purpose here, to improve and grow closer to God and Christ. There is no greater gift!
There is another miracle just around the corner!
With all my love,