It was so good to hear from you! This week has seemed longer than usual. You all mentioned the missionaries that passed away this last week in your emails. They were two elders in the Taibei mission. We aren't completely sure about the circumstances, but pray for their families and for the safety of the rest of the missionaries in Taiwan. It is sad to lose loved ones, but I know that those elders were doing the best work they possibly could have. They were dedicating their time to the Lord and I know that they are continuing their missions on the other side. They will always be there helping us continue our work of preaching the gospel.
Honestly I can't remember much of what happened this week. A lot of our investigator are disappearing or didn't have time this week, so we focused a lot on contacting and finding. As a result we ended up finding three new investigators! (Yea! I haven't done that for a while.) Then sadly only one of them actually lives in our area...so once again we will pass them off to the other sisters. But good news is we have been getting a lot of referrals as well lately.
I talked a few weeks ago about our "no companionship left behind" week. The week where we got left behind. Haha. We were talking about it in DTM the week after and Elder Vandiford (our old AP who just went home) told us that what goes around comes around. He was right. We've been getting more referrals lately than I have gotten my whole mission combined. It's great! Hopefully we can contact some of them who will be willing to hear the gospel.
That's pretty much it for this week honestly. For a while I felt like I was killing my area again. It seems like every time my companion moves out and I'm given the responsibility of leading the area everything just drops. It's annoying. But it always picks up again, so I'm just waiting for the miracles to start happening. They're just around the corner. ;)
Aside from not much happening as far as investigators, new investigators etc. go, it has been really cool working with Sister Murdock this week. I remember when I was training my trainer told me that it was really cool to see a new missionary open up and start getting the hang of missionary work. Now it's my turn to watch that happen. It has been incredible to watch from the other side and see what I must have looked like a little less than a year ago.
Sister Murdock is incredible! She is doing so great, and she doesn't even know it. She has just been soaking everything in and has been trying so hard to do what she can to help me out. I am so grateful for her spirit and for her effort to do her best. She is doing a lot better than I was at this point. By this time in my training I had already broke down because of stress, couldn't sing most of the hymns during companionship study because they made me emotional, and already didn't like my bike much. Sister Murdock tells me everyday how much she loves her bike, hasn't broken down yet, and got her first phone number on the street the other day. She says it was only because that person spoke english, but I don't believe it.
It has been really interesting this week, because I've had to kind of test out the waters and see what my trainee can take. You have to find a balance and figure out how much you can push them so that they are pushed out of their comfort zone, but aren't pushed too far that they break. It's like a science. But with Sister Murdock it's not that hard, because she will tell me when she doesn't want to do something. Usually when that happens I will give an example a few times (like with contacting, or calling on a phone) then turn it over to her. She's doing great, and after occurrences like this usually tells me afterward how fun it was, or how it wasn't as scary as she thought it was. She is going to be a great missionary. She is already so focused on our investigators, and is always ready to give suggestions on different ways to try and teach, contact or find investigators to teach. It's been a privilege to work with her and I can't wait to see what happens this next three months.
This week I did have the opportunity to spend a little bit of time with one of the members from Qishan. She was up in Taizhong and got a hold of me and Sister Anderson (who is now a sister training leader up here) and we went out to lunch. It was a little bit strange being with my old companion with one of our members from our old area. I was thinking about it after and realized how much I love this place. I was telling Sister Murdock that after you are here for a while and move to a few areas every time you see old companions or members from your old areas it's like back-to-school night. I feel like over the past year I have created my own family here in Taiwan; all the missionaries I have worked with and around, President and Sister Blickenstaff, the senior missionaries, the members, the investigators....everyone. They have all made this island a place that I love.
This member, Tu Jiemei, even gave me and Sister Anderson the little book she made with pictures of us with the members and activities we had in Qishan. She put all these pictures in them and had members from the ward write in them. It is probably one of my favorite things I've gotten in Taiwan. I think I've pulled it out almost every day, and tried to read as much as I could (most of it is in Chinese). The members in Qishan are so incredible. I loved working with them and building friendships with them. I can only hope that Sister Murdock and I can do the same in this ward in Beiqu.
Sorry this email is shorter than normal. I honestly don't know what else to talk about, and have a shortage of profound thoughts today.
I know this gospel is true. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know He loves us. I know He loves me because He gave me the family that I have. He loves me because He sent me to Nantou, to Qishan and not to Beiqu. He gave me my incredible companions. He gave me this opportunity to learn Chinese. He gives me my challenges and my trials because He knows who He wants me to become. He has given me a life where I could grow up in the church, which is the greatest gift of all.
I love you all and pray for you everyday. I couldn't do this without you.
Remember, there is always a miracle just around the corner!
With all my love,