Hello my dear family and friends!
This week was incredible! Honestly relatively not a lot happened, and the first five days of the week were a little depressing, but Heavenly Father always pulls through and Saturday we had a day packed full of lessons.
First of all I loved all the emails this week. I say that every week, but it's true. Emails and letters are a missionary's gold. No matter the content. I'm so glad General Conference was good, we get to watch it this week. Hopefully they set it up in english for us. I don't think it will have the same feel in Chinese. Also I'm super excited for the trips. Hopefully that will keep us busy enough so I don't get bored. I think I'm going to need to be busy to keep me sane. Haha.
Second of all, I love my companion!! She is incredible and I am so grateful for her friendship and support. She may be in training, but she is already a great missionary. She is super thoughtful and I love her so much. She asked me when my birthday was when we first got together and has remembered and been mentioning it for weeks. So has Sister Anderson, who is conveniently in the area next over and in our english group (for teaching english class). So we get to see each other all the time!
Sister Murdock, all on her own, wrote a note to the Wheelers (one of the senior couples in the office, we go to their house everynight for dinner) and told them about my birthday. this whole surprise birthday party was planned and pulled off by Sister Wheeler. We conveniently had set up the week before to eat dinner at the Yang's (who are the other senior couple serving in the office) that night. So while we were at dinner the Wheelers broke into our apartment, set things up, and waited for us to go up. My companion pulled the I have to go to the bathroom excuse so we went up before we were going to go out again. So pretty much we had the Wheelers, the Yangs, and four of the nearby sisters who stopped by and ate cake and ice cream with us. It was really cute, and I was so appreciative. I pretty much had my birthday in the best area. Where else do you have the Wheelers to pull something like that off for you? They are incredible and are our saving grace every week.
Thennight we went over to their house to eat and Sister Murdock told them some of my favorites. So they had that all prepared for an extra surprise.
Once again I am so thankful for my companion and how thoughtful she was to make it a good day. Honestly it was one of the best birthday's I've ever had. The rest of the week we had been stood up more than normal and hadn't taught very many lessons, or seen much success. But Saturday we were packed and were running from lesson to lessons, to dinner, to surprise birthday party, then back out to tract and call phones for a little bit. We even ran into a really cool girl while we were trying to call people at a Family Mart (kind of like a 7-11, but they are a lot nicer here.) She was super excited to see foreigners so I went over and sat next to her. We talked to her and her boyfriend (who happens to be from Nantou!) for about an hour. Sometimes about english, sometimes about church and our work, but it was great and we got her number to call her and set up a time to share more. She told us that if we tracted her door, she would be more than willing to listen (so cute). As we were getting ready to leave she asked me if she could give me a hug. I said, "Of course." Then got launched at and almost fell of the stool I was sitting on. Needless to say, that was the perfect ending to an incredible birthday. Oh and that night President and Sister Blickenstaff called and sang Happy Birthday which was an even better ending.
I almost forgot! Friday night Tu Jiemei from Qishan also came up to Taizhong and went out to dinner with us and Sister Anderson and her companion. She brought a cake as well and a card from the members in Qishan for my birthday. I love those people so much! It was a hard area, but I made some of my closest friends down there.
And I got your package! Thank you so much! It was a lot more than I expected or needed. But I loved it all! Jemma's picture is now up on my wall where I can see it every day. I was pretty impressed at how you got the cereal box to fit, way to go! You could be a sister missionary! Haha.
Earlier this week we met with a referral from the office elders. This lady just walked into the office and asked them to give her a blessing. They did and referred her over to us. We set up with her the next day. It was extremely frustrating! She is Christian and kept saying she respected us and felt the power of the the Spirit when they gave her a blessing and when she met with us, but is completely unwilling to learn anything about our church. She wouldn't even take a Book of Mormon and just try to read. Sometimes agency is really frustrating.
We weren't able to meet with Shi Yue this week, and she didn't come to church so we don't quite know what is going on with her. But we did get to meet with Yi Jun. We shared a message with her, which went really great then followed up with her on if she was able to talk to her mom about being baptized again. She got really sad and said that her mom said it is okay for her to keep meeting with us and going to church, but this time she came right out and said she could not get baptized. She wants her to understand more and doesn't want her to get baptized probably for a few years. I don't know why, but the only thing I could think of when she told us this was to have her read the Book of Mormon. So I shared with her a story I had heard from another sister who invited their investigator (Lerma actually) to read the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover in a month. They promised her if she did it she would have a way to go to church, and that was the only time Lerma was allowed to actually go to the church. I told Yi Jun that we could do the same and that if she did God would provide a way, or help her know what to do according to His will. I asked if she had faith that He could do it and she nodded without hesitation. So I asked her what time frame she wanted, thinking she would do about a month, but she replied and said she would startand finish on Saturday. Seven Days! I asked if she thought she could do it, and she said yes. So I replied, "okay, and we'll do it with you."
After that Yi Jun went to work and as we watched her walk away Sister Murdock looked at me and said, "so, what are we doing?" I told her what I had just got us into and she freaked out a little bit. Not too much though. Actually as more time went on we got more and more excited about it. We started yesterday and are almost done with second nephi. It's actually not as hard as I thought it would be, just a little hard to fit in with the normal missionary schedule. Hopefully we can see miracles by the end of this, or at least see some faith increased.
Anyway, that's about all I have to report this week. Sister Murdock is still doing awesome, and I am so grateful that she is my companion. I can't believe that we are more than half-way through training! It seems like that just started. Time flies like crazy!
I love being here. I'm not going to lie, I will probably come home with some chinese mannerisms like the RM you were talking about. (I think he was in Taibei, because i don't know him.) Hopefully I'm not too bad though. You may have to put up with some Chinese phrases thrown in here and there, that one is going to take a while to get out of. It's hard talking to the senior couples sometimes because you want to speak Chin-glish, but can't because they don't understand. Sometimes I have to think a minute to translate over what I wanted to say in Chinese.
The work keeps going. That's really all you can say about missionary work. As soon as someone drops or gets baptized there's someone else to work with or something else to do to find more people to teach. There is never a slow moment. It definitely feels different here in the city, but I'm coming to love it. I still think I like the country better, but they both have their perks. I love being by the office an interacting with President and the office staff more often.
I love being a missionary. I love this work. It brings so much more purpose and even though it is hard sometimes I know that we are doing what the Lord wants us to be doing. I'm so grateful He led me to walk this path. I'm so grateful for how much I have changed and all I have learned. I have seen so many miracles that testify to me that Jesus is the Christ and that this is His gospel and only true church on the earth. I love these people. I love Chinese and Taiwan. It will always be a part of my heart.
I love you all! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! It was a great birthday. What better gift could I have than being able to go out and preach the gospel?
Have an incredible week and always remember to count the miracles, because they are just around the corner!
With all my love,
ps. despite popular belief down in Qishan, the second coming wasn't on Oct. 4th. I was a little disappointed. We'll have to wait until next year.
Tell Jemma I love her 80 90 80 90 780 90 80 and more than that!