This week has been absolutely crazy! The new missionaries actually ended up coming a day later than expected. Apparently church travel forgot to tell President and Sister Blickenstaff about the change in plans, so they went and waited at the airport for about three hours before they figured out what was going on.
Sister Schultz and I were supposed to have some of the new sisters stay at our apartment that night, so we had gotten some beds prepared and tried to get as much sleep as we could until they arrived. Our alarm ended up going off at four in the morning (we had forgot to change the alarm from when we went to the temple) and we both jumped up, afraid we had slept through the call, but they hadn't called us yet. We went out to our living room to see if they had sneaked them in without us knowing...there were no missionaries out there either. So around seven we called the assistants, worried that something had happened. That's when we found out the missionaries were just coming in a day later than planned.
So....Thursday night the new sisters came in and we ended up having all four of the american sisters staying with us. It was the weirdest situation. Sister Schultz and I knew that I would be training, and that one of the sisters that would be staying with us for the next couple of days would end up being my companion, but we couldn't say anything. We didn't want the sisters to find out.
We ended up doing the morning exercises with the new missionaries, which was painful the second time around as well. Sister Schultz and I opted out of running bleachers the second day. Lately I've been waking up every morning feeling like I got hit by a truck, and I figured I did that once I didn't need to do it again. Some privileges come with getting 'old.'
Anyway, things were pretty crazy with trying to get Sister Schultz packed and ready to go without letting the new missionaries know as well as getting ready for my new trainee. But the time finally came and Sister Murdock is now my knew companion. She is incredible. She doesn't need me to train her at all. She came here trained. She actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was training. She is nervous about the language, but is picking up on it so fast. I kept expecting to have to deal with some stress or help her through a break-down, but she hasn't even gotten close. I'm so grateful for her and her faith! She is going to do incredible things and I can't wait for all the miracles we will see together.
We just left the internet cafe to go eat lunch with the Hong family, who came up to say goodbye to Sisters Anderson, Fuller and Packard. The three of them are all going home this Wednesday. So out of the four of their missionaries I will be the only one left here. They are still as incredible as ever. Hong Jiemei's baby is due next month and they will probably be going to the temple in December. Hopefully President Blickenstaff will let me go, because that would be incredible!
Today is move-call so a ton of missionaries are meeting at the mission home (which is in our area). We were just down there and it felt like back to school day, or a high school reunion or something. There are so many incredible sisters going home that I've gotten to know on my mission. We will miss them so much! There are also a ton of crazy changes going on because so many sisters are leaving. Sister Anderson who was my companion is Qishan got called as a Sister Training Leader in North Taizhong. Those sisters actually share our chapel, so I will be able to see her all the time. It should be really fun!
I don't have anything super spiritual or a crazy miracle that happened this week. I did call Yang Jiemei earlier this morning. She is our investigator who wasn't reading or praying. She said she read and prayed like we asked and still doesn't feel like she has an answer, so she said she doesn't want to meet with us anymore. That was probably the hardest phone call I have ever made, and once it was over I fell on my knees and I cried. I cried to Heavenly Father and asked Him to help her one day receive an answer. I know this gospel is true, and that it can help everyone as long as they are willing to accept it. It hurts to have investigators reject this message, but I pray with all my heart that some day another pair of missionaries will go back to them and then they will be prepared to receive this incredible gift that will bring them so much happiness.
Last night we were able to meet with Lerma again. Every time we meet with her I am strengthened. She truly is a prepared spirit and is closer to God than anyone I have ever met. We met her inside a 7-11 along with Sister Schultz and the other sisters she is staying with, the assistants, the Wheelers (a senior couple in the office) and Sister Blickenstaff. It was a pretty big group, but it was an incredible experience. We sang together and Lerma bore her testimony and talked about how grateful she was for all of us walking into her life and for bringing the gospel to her. Elder Vandiford, who is one of the assistants, actually found her when he was a zone leader here. He and Sister Schultz are both going home, so it was kind of a sending off meeting. It was so full of the spirit and really touching. Lerma always says that we bring the light into her life, but really I think she brings it into ours. She is an inspiration and is one of the most christ-like people I have ever seen.
Well that's most of what has been going on. I love my new companion! I love the Taiwanese people. I love being a trainer. I was riding my bike the other day and I realized that after this my mission will never be the same. It has only been a few days, but it all has a different feel. One sister was telling me that training brought her mission to a higher level, and I think I'm already beginning to feel that. It's so much fun! It is such an incredible opportunity to learn and grow.
I love you all so much! The fair looked like so much fun! I think it is really cool Nicole won so many ribbons! Jemma's pictures were beautiful, as usual. I can't believe how grown up she is! I guess we all change a lot in a year. (Can you believe I went to the MTC a year ago this week?) Time goes faster than you think possible.
I hope school goes well, for dad and Jemma both, and that you all have an incredible week. I hope I have loads of miracles to tell you about next week!
There's always a miracle just around the corner.
With all my love,