Hello my dear family!
This week was incredible! The funny thing is though that it doesn't really effect me like it did before. Maybe that's a bad thing, I don't know! I guess when I first came out I was amazed when someone wanted to set up with us or when they accepted a baptismal goal etc. But now it seems so natural. Why wouldn't they want to talk to us? Why wouldn't they want to hear this message? It is the most important message being shared on the Earth today. Of course they'd want to listen.
This week I learned so much and grew so much personally, as a companionship, and in our area. We saw so many miracles that I am so grateful for. I think it all startedwhen we went on exchanges. Since I just got to this area I went to Gaoxiong with Sister Wilkins and Sister Bi stayed here with Sister Lin. I was a little disappointed because Sister Lin just finished training in Nantou. I was hoping to talk to her about the area and the people there. It's funny how you don't really love an area as much until you leave it.
Anyway we went on exchanges and it just felt off. The whole first half of the exchange we didn't feel unified. I didn't feel like I was being inspired to change or feeling much of the Spirit. Then at the very end we had a lesson that just clicked. We ended up teaching a completely different lesson then planned, but it felt right. It was what the investigator needed.
I think having that experience of a not so unified exchange made me realize what Sister Bi and I were lacking. I have been really lucky and never had a problem before with companionship unity, so I think I was a little proud and didn't want to talk about it. I kept thinking that it was a personal problem that I could change and everything would become better, but sometimes, well most of the time you can't fix problems on your own. Especially in a companionship. I could try my hardest to strengthen our companionship unity and better myself, but it will never have the same effect as a companionship working together and individually to better ourselves and our companionship.
So as soon as our exchange was over and we sat down on the train I looked at Sister Bi and talked to her about our companionship unity. We didn't necessarily have anything wrong or any disputes, but there was obviously something missing. So we sat down and made goals to improve that and how to make a companionship more of a 50/50 relationship, and how to develop more love for each other.
The results were incredible! Within the next day or two the feeling of something missing was gone. I wasn't as stressed and Sister Bi wasn't as nervous. We've also seen so many miracles that I believe are a result of our efforts in striving to be unified, diligent and obedient.
By the end of the week we had found eight new investigators! Sister Bi tracted into a family and had a miracle contact while on exchanges, then the other four were lessons we had set up the week before. Because of these new investigators we had considerably more lessons than last week, and consequently a lot more faith and hope in the area.
I said last week that the "promised land" didn't feel very promising. Dad also talked about having the same feeling on his mission. But I realized this week (and dad also talked about the same idea in his email) that an area is only "golden" if you make it golden. Your attitude, your efforts, your diligence are what make an area golden. It all starts with you.
I guess that idea can be applied to almost any situation in life. Whether it be on a mission in a new area, a new companion, in a new job, in an old job, school, family relationships etc. Our situation and our experiences are only as 'golden' as we make them. So let's stand up and make them golden!
I was reading this morning in Alma about the story of Ammon. One thing that really struck me this time through was the immediacy with which Ammon went and acted. I'm sure he felt pretty uncomfortable with the Lamanites. I bet he was probably scared out of his mind, wondering if he was going to live to see the next day. I'm pretty positive he had no idea how he was going to help those people believe and listen to the message he had to share. BUT when he was provided an opportunity to show for the power of God he took it without delay. He didn't sit and cry with the Lamanites and fear for his life. He just went and acted.
This is a huge sidetrack, but the Christmas party was this week! We ended up going to Fo Guang Shan. I was a little disappointed, since I've been there before, and honestly Buddhist things don't really interest me much anymore. So I ended up with a few of the sisters just walking around and taking pictures. Sister Bi ended up with the other Taiwanese sisters, so we went on splits for the day and I spent most of the time with Sister Grigg! It was fun to see her again and talk about the last year.
One thing that I notice every time we have big mission gatherings is just how precious the friendships we make here. President mentioned that he always struggles with the decision of having a Christmas activity, but seeing the joy we have of being together and seeing old friends makes it worth it every time. I have met some of my closest friends here. As we were getting ready to leave I hugged my old companions and couldn't keep from crying. Sister Anderson is actually going home in a week, so that was the last time we would see each other on our missions. We both started crying and didn't want to leave. It was a little embarrassing hugging Sister Blickenstaff and shaking President's hand with tears running down my face. I love these people! I love my companions! There definitely is a special bond that comes when you serve the Lord together. No one else can understand completely what it's like.
Anyway that's some of what I learned this week. I don't have a lot to write about investigators yet, they are all just getting started. So hopefully next week I will have more to write about them. I got my stocking this week! Thank you! I haven't gotten the other yet, but I'm sure it's in route. I'm super excited! It sure doesn't feel like Christmas around here. I got the music too! It will be nice. I make us sing a Christmas song when it's my turn to choose our hymn for companionship study, but Sister Bi doesn't seem to have much of the Christmas spirit because she never picks Christmas songs. :(
Well I don't know what else to report. Our area is on the rise! Hopefully there will be a lot more to report next week. I love you all! Thanks for your emails, letters etc. It means a lot and keeps me going. I can't believe how fast time is going. I just hope I can treasure every minute I have left.
I love you all! Have a great week! Remember that its the small things that bring miracles, and its our decisions that effect our fate.
And Remember to stay happy! And sing tons of Christmas songs for me!
With all my love,
(Yes, that sign says Pig Knuckle Street, which I'm sure is why Sister Fernley took the picture. :) )