I can't believe Christmas is only a few days away! It doesn't feel like it at all! Christmas is so boring in Taiwan. No one really does anything, but I guess it is okay. It makes it a little easier to focus on the work.
Well I have now spent a whole four days in my new area and I absolutely love it! I love my companion, I love the ward, I love the area. I really am so blessed! I'm now serving in the Tainan zone in the Tainan 3rd ward as a Sister Training Leader. Ever since I've gotten to Taiwan I've heard so much about Tainan and always wanted to serve here. My trainer was trained here and I've come here for exchanges a couple of times when I was in Qishan and absolutely loved it. I didn't think I was going to get the chance, but now I am here!
My companion is Sister Jenny Chang and she is incredible! We trained at the same time and I always looked up to her. She is a really hard working missionary and is so loving and seems to be always happy. We were both really excited when we found out we would be companions. We've been getting along really well the past couple of days and I'm so excited for the next move call. She actually only moved to Tainan about a month ago, so when I moved to Chaozhou, so neither of us really knows this area. It will be quite the adventure, but I'm sure we will be fine. We have maps for a reason. Haha.
I'm really excited for the chance I have to learn from the sisters as I get to serve as a Sister Training Leader. An STL is pretty much the same as a zone leader. We are over a certain group of sisters and get to go on exchanges with them and help them in the work. We work with the zone leaders to make sure they are taken care of and to know how to best help them. It's a great opportunity to lift and encourage.
Honestly I'm feeling super inadequate. Most of the sisters we are over are incredible! I'll be learning more from them than they will from me. We were recording their numbers this morning and it made me realize just how inadequate I am for this job. Almost every companionship is doing way better than I ever have in any of my areas. But hopefully I can learn what I'm supposed to and be able to encourage the sisters. I know we are given all of our callings in life for a reason. I just hope I can fulfill what I have been called here to do.
Honestly not much has happened this week. I spent pretty much the whole week eating at member's houses. I was in that area for the shortest amount of time, but got invited to eat more than any other time I moved. The members are great. I'm sad I didn't get to spend more time there, but I know I'm where I need to be.
The first few days in Tainan were interesting. My first full day here Sister Chang had a baptism she had permission to go to up in Taizhong. So we took the speed rail and attended the baptismal service. There were five people who got baptized! It was really inspirational. Then when we got back to Tainan we went to this Christmas nativity musical that the stake was putting on. They did a really good joy! I was impressed. Most of the time Taiwanese can't really sing, but they had some really talented people. All of the missionaries were required to attend both sessions of the performance, so that took up most of the day.
Honestly that's pretty much what has happened so far. We had church yesterday and it was so fun to meet the ward. I actually met several of the YSA members the night I came to Tainan and was able to spend some time with them at the Christmas performances on Saturday. I already feel so welcomed and consider these people my family. They are so welcoming and are incredibly strong members. I'm excited to continue working with them and getting to know them. It feel so nice to really belong. I don't know why by in Chaozhou I didn't really feel that. No matter how hard we tried it always felt like we were a little distant from the ward, but my first day here I felt completely welcomed in. It's good to feel included.
Oh I almost forgot, we had our english party on Wednesday. Of course we had Christmas themed and did gingerbread houses and snowflakes. We were able to find crackers that would work (it was surprisingly hard) and made the icing on our own. Taiwanese don't really know how to bake. They are always amazed when you tell them you can bake cookies etc, so when I was making the icing Sister Bi was amazed. We used a ton of sugar, but it worked out, and I'm sure most of the english students will be on a sugar high if they eat their houses.
That's about it for me. Not much has happened yet. I'll have more next week. I loved reading your emails. Everyone is getting married! I honestly feel like it was a conspiracy and the whole world decided to get married as soon as I left the country. Most of my roommates got married while I was in the MTC and now our whole family is getting married. Anyway it is super exciting and I'm really happy for everyone. I was really glad when Nicole said you were going up to help take pictures. I think that is really great and will mean a lot to them. Tell Mel I love her and that I wish them all the luck in the world! She looks happy.
It sounds like Christmas is going to be fun! I was surprised Jemma asked for a drum set. Where did that come from?
I can't wait to talk to you all! To be honest time has crept up on me! It feels like this Christmas has come up really fast! This year flew by.
Well, I hope you all have an amazing Christmas! Enjoy the time with family and friends. It really is a precious time. I'm so grateful for the family I have been given. I'm grateful for all of you and for your support. Life is hard, but God gave us family to make it easier. I hope we can all remember what a great blessing it is and cherish the time we have together now.
We should all remember that the first Christmas gift was the gift of our Savior. Our Father sent His Only Begotten Son because He loves us more than we can know. He set the perfect example for us in helping us remember what is truly important in this life. I've realized being out here that I love Christmas so much not because of all the wrappings and trimmings. Not because of the presents and the snow, but I love Christmas because of family. I love the smiles, the hugs and the companionship of loved ones. It really is the greatest gift we have been given!
So I hope this Christmas we can try a little harder, be a little better and bring our families closer. Because the building of those eternal relationships starts today.
Merry Christmas! Enjoy everything!
With all my love,