Monday, September 1, 2014

WEEK EIGHT: YOU'RE GOING TO TAIWAN!!..​...PSYCH. AKA, hardest week of my mission

Well my dear friends and family, let me tell you, this was one heck of a week. I’m going to start with funny stories just so you all know that I’m still optimistic and don't hate life all of the time, ha ha. :-)

I was sitting at lunch with Elder Shoop and Elder Ploeg and I’m watching, horrified, as a new elder sticks a whole banana into his mouth and proceeds to pull it back out. I say "Elders are disgusting" and proceed to look back at my friends. As I do, I see Elder Ploeg trying to eat onion rings off of his plate with just his face!!! Perfect timing, absolutely perfect! He slowly and embarrassedly sits back up and we all died laughing. :-)

And I'm sorry but that's about it for funny stories. I have a good spiritual story though! We do Skype TRC on Monday nights and my companion was still sick so I did TRC with Sister Price. We didn't know we were doing it together so we had no time to prepare and went in blind. We skyped for 45 minutes with a Taiwanese lady who was living in Australia. We had no idea what we were doing, but we had a list of 3 scriptures about prayer that Elder Shoop had given us. We just read them and shared feelings and experiences, and the Spirit was so strong. I prayed before our lesson and basically said "Qing bangzhu women, women xuyao hen duo de bangzhu" which means "please help us, we need a lot of help" and that's exactly what Heavenly Father blessed us with. We came out feeling so good and even though we had no idea what happened, we knew it was good.

Headed to Taiwan? Maybe!

We had a picnic!
Friends Sister Bean and Sister Rich!
Sister smiles!
My friend Elder Wu!
We love our vacuums!
Friends from BYU 49th ward!

I also had a long conversation with a returned missionary, who has only been home from her mission for 2 months. We talked ONLY IN CHINESE for about 45 minutes!! Let me tell you, she was a blessing in my life. I was having a super rough day, feeling like I would never learn the language and would never touch anyone's life. And this sweet sister comes to the classroom and has a solely Mandarin conversation with me and I was able to do it!!! Not only that, but she was a dancer, so someone I was able to relate to!!! I have stopped believing in coincidences.

One more positive thing this week: I RAN 3 MILES. If any of you know me at ALL, you know that I hate running. Well because of my lack of a companion, I was with Sister Price for exercise time and she loves to run. Well I couldn’t wimp out and the other gym with the equipment was closed so I RAN. Let me tell you, pretty dang sore the day after. Oh and I probably should mention that it was 2 miles one day and 1 mile the next. Oh you thought I ran all 3 at once? FUNNY!

Ok, ok so you're probably all wondering what my subject line is about. Well we had in-field orientation this Friday because we all thought we were leaving next Friday right? In the middle of it, the host announces "Any of you going to Taiwan Taipei needs to go to the travel office immediately." We all knew immediately that it was bad news. And it was. All she said, as 30 scared missionaries entered the tiny travel office, was "You don't have visas. You're not leaving Friday," and kicked us out. And that was it.

We don't know when we're leaving.

If you read my email two weeks ago, you read about the FAKE FLIGHT PLAN SCARE that we already this was just devastating. I did make a list of positives of staying at the MTC and that helped a lot. But the main reason I was so devastated was because I have been having a hard time. I'm going to get a little bit personal right now, so I hope you all learn something from this like I did.

Well, because all three of my roommates were sick, I I have been alone a lot. I wake up every morning by myself, get ready and have had to sit in the hallway and wait for someone else, ANYONE else to wake up so that I could go to breakfast. Literally every morning, I would get up and pray for someone to wake up so I could eat and exercise. Then I would pray that no one would feel sick after breakfast so I could go to class. Many times for the past 2 weeks, I was the only sister in the classroom.

Every morning I was feeling so alone and every day I was feeling so frustrated. Why couldn't they get better? Why did I have to be by myself during the one part of my life where someone is actually ASSIGNED to be with me? And why was I always having to teach with different sisters, and never my companion? I was doubting my companion and myself and my purpose.  

I have been blessed to see one immediate blessing of this frustrating time; I got to be companions with every other sister in the zone, from the sisters who came in right after us, to the brand new sisters who had been there for a few days. I got to teach with Sister Griffin and Sister Price, and go to choir with Sister Baker and Sister Brown, and exercise with Sister Cardon and Sister Noble and Sister Kunzler and get ready in the morning with Sister Moore and Sister Strong. I got to build relationships with these amazing sisters and see how Christ's light can shine through so many different personalities. That was amazing.

Finally, about two nights ago, my companion was feeling better and we sat down and talked for about 5 hours. Now everything is fine and I know that everything will be better from now on. I feel like I had to go through this trial so I can become better at building relationships and also to learn how to teach with other sisters. And today has been SO good! We had a picnic! The picnic was the best idea we've had yet.

I have been praying this week harder than I ever have in my life and I have been seeing a difference. I am learning how God talks to me and it is such a blessing. I am learning and growing so much. I learned that there are a lot of things that I can improve on, and I learned a great quote this week....IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME. That is powerful, and I challenge you all to remember that YOU control your life. Through God and Christ, and your own power that comes through knowing you are a child of God, you can do all things.

I have learned a lot this week through being alone physically, but I know I am never alone when I know Christ. This work is amazing. I love you all so so so much and hope you have a wonderful week!!!

Wo ai nimen!
Ren Jiemei

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