Hello to all!
I hope this week was a good one and you were all happy. It looks like its really nice outside back home. I can't tell you how much I miss dry heat! It is a little better up here in Taizhong (yes that is Taichung, that's the incorrect english transliteration for the city name, most are written strangely). In Qishan I was always wet, whether it be from rain or from sweat, most often it was sweat. It's disgusting.
Anyway this week has been an interesting week that flew by like normal. I'm sure you know, but it is always interesting moving into a new area. You have a new companion, new streets, new people, even a new way of doing missionary work. I think it is going to take me a little while to get used to what works best in this area. You mentioned before that I said I thought proselyting in the city would be easier. I think it might be, but this week seemed pretty much the same to me. I'm not biking as much, and there are a lot more people to contact, but they are a lot more prone to ignoring you here. Its fine. I'm used to it. I just keep talking to them anyway, maybe its partly being stubborn, but I never want to let their unwillingness to listen stop me from sharing. Maybe something, someday will spark their attention. For now I just keep sharing.
For the most part though we don't do any contacting or tracting. (Which is a big change for me.) I talked to Sister Schultz about it and I think we are going to try to do more, but most of the new investigators here come from english class or member referrals.
Speaking of investigators we have a few people who have a lot of potential to progress in the gospel. There is a 14 or 15 year old girl who is incredible. She was taught the Restoration and prayer before I got here, so we picked up with the Plan of Salvation. Most of the time people are really confused or don't quite wrap their minds about what we are talking about, but she just gets it, and best of all she feels it. She really wants to be baptized, but her mom told her she should wait. So we moved her date back and decided that we wanted to work with her and get to know her mom so that she's not so worried and knows who we are. We don't want to cause any family contention if we can avoid it.
We also have another lady, Zhang Jiemei, who I met on my first day (so I don't know her super well, or remember much), but she believes the Book of Mormon and also has a strong desire to be baptized, but she has a really hard time coming to church. We're working on it. We'll meet with her tonight, so I'll get to know her a little better.
Then there is a sister named Zou Jiemei. We helped her move this week out of one of our member's houses (she was rooming there in a spare room). I haven't gotten to teach her a lesson yet, but hopefully now that she's moved she will have a little more time. Sister Schultz says she feels like she believes, she just needs to grow her faith. When we asked her is she was coming to church she told us if she was too tired she wouldn't come. Miraculously she showed up and stayed for the whole time.
They also have an investigator here who is Phillipino. I've actually heard of her from other missionaries. She has read the whole Book of Mormon and has stronger faith than anyone I have ever seen, but she is forbidden to get baptized because the family she works for doesn't approve. It is really sad sometimes to see how the Phillipinos are treated by Taiwanese. They are pretty much indentured servants. She meets with us and Sister Blickenstaff when she is able to take the trash out. She will text us if she gets a chance to leave the house and we will drop what we are doing and go meet and a 7-11 near their house. She is incredible! I hope and pray with all my heart she will someday have the opportunity to be baptized.
I almost forgot! We met with a member referral this week who was absolutely incredible! She studied english in college and her english is flawless. We actually taught most of the time in english (which still feels really weird). She told us her story about how she started believing in God. She said it was during High School and she just felt like she didn't have a purpose and didn't know what she was doing with her life. She said she thought about suicide, but one day she went to her kitchen and saw a Bible on their counter. She explained how there was no way they could have had a bible. Her whole family is very Buddhist and would never take a Bible, much less put it in their kitchen. She said she was curious so she opened it up and ran across a scripture that talked about praying to God to know if He exists. She figured she might as well try, so she prayed and asked God is He was there. She didn't really expect much to happen, but as soon as she finished she felt an enveloping warmth. From then on she has believed in God and is so willing to try reading the Book of Mormon and wants to learn more about Christianity so bad. We asked her if she would be willing to be baptized and she very emphatically said she would, if she comes to know this church is true. The spirit was so strong! I am always amazed when we find souls like hers. They are incredible and are so open to the truth. She actually doesn't live in our area, so we are going to try and refer her to the Beitun sisters this next week. (Because our area is so small, that is a pretty common occurence.) I'm just grateful I was able to hear her story. Every story and testimony from the people here strengthens my own testimony even more. Seeing people change changes us as well.
I got to call the Hong family last Monday night! (My RCs from Nantou.) They didn't recognize my voice, probably because my Chinese is a lot better now, and freaked out when I told them who I was. It was so good to talk to them and hear their voices. Hong Dixiong got the Melchizedek priesthood a little while ago and takes the sacrament to his wife when she is too sick to go to church (she's pregnant). They are still just as incredible as before, and now that I'm up north and closer to Nantou they might come up here for church and find me. It would be so good to see them again.
Not much else happened this week. We did get contacted by another christian missionary from Louisiana. He tried to disprove the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith using the Bible. He asked us to read a scripture from Isiah for him, but we don't carry around our bibles (its too heavy to have an english and chinese bible to carry around). He told us to go home and read some from Isaiah and Romans. I haven't gotten through it yet, but part of it is condemning the Jews for corrupting the gospel. Then the parts from Isaiah he gave us are actually in the Book of Mormon too. We just promised him we would read it and were really nice. He was a very nice man, and is trying to do what he thinks is right. I'm just so grateful I have my own testimony and that I don't need logic to prove or disprove it because we know we can receive our answer from God.
Its really interesting being right next to the mission home. We go into the office pretty frequently to pick things up or take care of things with the office missionaries. The office elders and the assistants are technically in our district. Elder Noll (who was in my district in Nantou) is the operations manager and our district leader. He and his companion are off taking care of other mission things a lot of the time, then the APs are very rarely in Taizhong because they travel with President and do a lot of exchanges. So other than us we have the zone leaders in our district. It is a crazy district full of really old (move-call wise) and really incredible missionaries. I am the youngest by at least five move-calls (about seven months). It should be a really good opportunity to learn from these experienced missionaries.
Its also strange being around this area. It brings back so many memories from my first few days on island. We run at the track we exercised at my first day in Taiwan. We are always in the church we did studies in the first morning. We teach english in the room we got exiled to while waiting to know who our trainers were. It's funny. It is crazy for me to think that that was about nine months ago. Time flies so fast. I hit my year mark next month. I know I still have a lot of time, but time keeps ticking by and I don't want this time to end. So I'm going to try and treasure the time I have left.
We actually had interview with President this last week (it was really nice, we just walked biked down the street to our church). He asked me about the areas I've served in and after I told him I was in Nantou then Qishan he told me I was due for some city time. So I'm expecting to be here for a little while, at least three move calls. It was really nice to talk to him. He said he wasn't worried about me and that he thought I was doing a great job, which is nice to hear sometimes. It's kind of fun being in this area, because we run into President all the time. Sister Blickenstaff peikes for us and calls us on errands all of the time. If she had assistants it would probably be the Beiqu sisters. I guess it just comes with the calling of serving here.
I've loved being here this week! It's hard adjusting to a new area and leaving the old area, but I couldn't be in a better area or with a better companion. I have been so lucky with my companions and have loved every single one of them. Sister Schultz is an incredible missionary! We clicked really quickly and are already able to talk about anything together. She had a hard past couple of move-calls so I am so glad we've started off well this move-call. I firmly believe we will see so many miracles this move call.
I love you all SO much! You don't even know. I'm so grateful for your support and your email every week. Jemma looks like she is having fun as always. Her hair is so long! We'll have to go to Boondocks when I get home (we'll have to add it to the list).
As always there's always another miracle just around the corner.
I love you!