Monday, May 25, 2015

充滿改變的一個禮拜 WHAT

Transfer day! Surprise!!!
Well my friends, this week was one of the most crazy weeks of my mission. (for starters, I went on exchanges with Sister Howell in NanKan and it was amazing! We went to a night market and I heard the song What Does The Fox Say? and I had completelyyyy forgotten it existed!!)

Then we did service for a lady and helped her do factory work, the nitty gritty putting tiny parts together kind of stuff. Wednesday night was our English class party and one of our investigators walked in having just been hit by a car.....he said his foot was broken and I held ice to his foot until the elders left with a member to take him to the hospital and we took care of the rest of the English students. No worries...he's fine, nothing was wrong, but it was definitely exciting!
The beautiful coast - my view from the bus

BUT the MOST exciting thing of the week.....I GOT TRANSFERRED!!!

YES THAT'S RIGHT. I got a call from the Zone leaders on Wednesday night saying I was leaving...let me tell you, if you don't understand how RARE it is to be transferred when you're training a new's rare.

When you start training a new missionary, you can pretty much be guaranteed that you will stay there for AT LEAST 12 weeks while you train the new missionary. So me training Sister Haupt still had 6 weeks left!! The zone leaders said that they actually were surprised too so they called President Day and he said that it was no mistake, he would talk to me when I got to the transfer meeting. 

It was like I was punched in the face, shot in the stomach, and had a heart attack all at the same time. This is the SECOND time I have been surprise transferred and not gotten to tell my members goodbye!!!

Well, I wasn't about to question the Lord's decision no matter how much it hurt, so I called my recent convert Pan Dixiong and Duncan and the Relief Society president and all my favorite people and they all wanted to see me Thursday.

These people :-)

Saying so long to my "baby" Sis. Haupt

 Thursday was a magical day full of sunshine and fun and people giving us free waffles and members feeding us and DUNCAN BOUGHT US CHOCOLATE COSTCO MUFFINS AGAIN!! He was like "it's the last time I can buy these for you, I know they're your favorite" :( and I was planning on celebrating my birthday this week with them and my trainee!!! 

Also Elder Jacobsen is training and I wanted to be training in the same ward since we were trained in the same ward!! But I knew that God had a bigger plan than my selfish desires to have fun with my converts and continue to be in the same district as Elder Jacobsen for a whole year of my mission haha.

Well Friday was sad and I got to transfer meetings and President Day came up to me as soon as I got to transfer meeting and asked if he could talk to me. He said the Lord needs me in the south east more than he needs me training. He also said some other very wonderful things and expressed his confidence in me and about why I am needed in Yuli.

And...I AM NOW IN YULI玉里!!!!!!! Part of the 台東 zone, the farthest you can get in the south of our mission!!!! It is the biggest area in our mission and only 15 members away from being able to request to build its own chapel!! 

We took a 6 hour train ride and I was temporary companions with Sister Tate, who I was in the MTC with! 

And church yesterday was SO fun with our tiny tiny little branch (not even a ward) of about 30 members!!! Our chapel is one floor, on the second floor of a little building, and our apartment is on the fourth floor of that same building!! 

Haha it's so crazy that I am in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere with hardly any people, SO different from the 3 big cities I have served in so far! 

Also, this is my 5th companion in Taiwan, and I have been to every transfer meeting since I got out of training, which is NUTS. But that's what missions are right and what would my life be without a little crazy?:)

Well friends, I have definitely been asking Heavenly Father lately to help me boost my confidence and I guess His way of answering me is taking me way way WAY out of my comfort zone and sending me the farthest away from anything I have ever known; showing me that He trusts me to be here. At least that's how I take it:) I love you all, pray for me, pray for this area, pray for my beloved TaoYuan zone, and pray for yourselves. Prayer is so powerful, I love it!!!

I also turn 20 this week.....老了!!

Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹
Saying goodbye in the restaurant with live cats
My best friend JJ

A huge Kit Kat for the 6 hour bus ride! Thanks Caleb!

Say hello to being even more wet than ever!
My new companion,, Sis. Chan!

Walk in the LIGHT of your FIRE

Best purchase so far as a missionary!
Well in these past few days, lots of frustration has happened!!! I can't tell you how many times people have called to cancel our appointments, and how many doors have been slammed in our faces i can feel Heavenly Father has a HUGE awesome plan in store for us, but with my mortal capacity to see eternal perspective, its a bit hard. It's also always disappointing when people you love refuse to accept the gospel. Liao Dixiong has been drifting farther and farther away and Wang Dixiong can't make his baptismal goal for the 22nd....this week. And everyone else has rejected us!!! BUT we have faith that things will turn up!! 

Agency is definitely a frustrating thing...but I can use MY agency to be happy and that's what I am really working on lately. I think I have been letting the stress of training and having lots of hard things pop up take the fun and enjoyment out of missionary work. But if it's not enjoyable, why do it you know?? I have been very aware this week that Heavenly Father has His own plan for this area. No is progressing and we are hardly finding anyone new, but we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, so His plan, not my selfish wish, is what I have to rely on.

What I have been focusing on this past week is limiting distractions and it's been the focus of our invites from the mission president this month. Getting rid of those thoughts and actions that are time-wasting and distracting and incongruous to the Spirit of the Holy Ghost and His presence in my life has realllllly been so effective!!! But I have to pray for Heavenly Father's help because there's no way I can do it on my own.

I have been saying only gratitude prayers lately, because my trainee is such a good example of simple gratitude, and it is amazing to see how many things we skip over being grateful for!!! So maybe I'll invite you all to try that and see what happens:) 

I really loved reading Jacob 5:75 this week and I love the part that says "WE nourished MY vineyard." I realized that THAT is my goal for my mission, to be able to say that I nourished His vineyard, WITH Him because it truly isn't nourished if it wasn't with His help and His guidance. How can you all do the best that you can with what He has given you, with HIS help? Think about that this week:) Also, I LOVED 2 Nephi 7:11 and it is "Behold all ye that kindle fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks, walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks which ye have kindled." HOW SWEET IS THAT. I love it. 

We need to light the fire and keep it burning our whole lives, adding new kindling to our fire, that is scripture study and prayer and going to church. And we have to let our own lights shine to others around us, walk in the light of the fire we have kindled, the relationship we have developed with Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. 

these Kit Kats are a comfort to me to help me get through my paperwork
Well this week, we prayed really really hard and believed that we would find a family to teach. Well, after finding for hours all day every day this week, we found a dad and his little boy. SO CUTE. We don't know if he will really accept this amazing gospel, but we have faith that we will. And he was all that we had been praying for, friendly and loving to his little boy and interested in being baptized!!! So pray for them to progress!!! We also did a lot of service this week, lots of listening to troubled people that just don't know how to handle problems for themselves. I am so grateful that I represent Jesus Christ and can act as His hand to be a comfort in these people's lives. 

I love you all so much and even though there is no way to describe all of the miracles that happen each day and all the changes I'm going through, just believe me when I say that God's work is the most important thing. 2 Nephi 9:51 says "Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness." My favorite part (besides the part where it says we can be fat) is where it says that we need not waste our time on that which will not make us satisfied. 

The three things that I believe that we can take with us into eternity is our knowledge gained, our relationships with others, and our knowledge of the gospel. So I've been focusing on getting rid of that which won't truly make me satisfied...its hard!! I gave up chocolate for a week, but turns out it does make me satisfied so I decided it didn't need to be given up;) 

Have a great week!!!
Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹

Saturday, May 23, 2015

On My Last Legs of Teenagedom

I don't know if that subject line makes sense but I hope it does. My birthday is coming up and I'm starting to feel old in every way!!! Only thing I want for my birthday is letters;)

The TEMPLE was today!!! I mean...sorry english bad....I went to the temple today!!!!!!! The temple was JUST what I needed, plus seeing friends and eating mango ice cream and getting packages from fam and friends:)

Well my amazing cousin Madelyn Whitlock got home from her mission this past week....weird!!!!
I also skyped my amazing family, but I'm so super awkward and I wasn't even excited, I actually forgot about it until it was time to go Skype....sorry family:) Plus Walker and Weston's hair is TOO long so it was hard to look;) haha just kidding!

So Sister Haupt has really started coming out of her shell...and by really I mean very very very slowly. She is very shy, well maybe just more reserved as well as shy. She doesn't like to talk and feels uncomfortable sharing a lot. Well I am the opposite of that and I told her to first start talking freely with me and then contacting people on the streets and participating in lessons will come easier. It has really made a difference in our companionship unity, at least for me to know what she's thinking instead of just worrying about why my companion hasn't said anything. I think patience is the thing I am working on the very very most right now and I can't wait to keep working on it!!! Well...patience in developing patience...go figure!!

So our mission got a kick in the butt last week and had some major changes in the way we are going to be doing things. We are becoming more diligent and more consecrated and the changes and hard but good. But despite that, lots of unexpected let-downs have been happening. Our investigator Liao Dixiong who was supposed to get baptized this saturday, passes his interview then his mom said a hard NO YOU CANNOT. That was super disappointing. The same night we found out his mom said no, our most golden investigator family dropped us hard core and said that even though she knows Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is true, she believes Orthodox Christian is the path she needs to be on...but she will continue to pray with her family and read the Book of Mormon because it's great but she doesn't want us to "waster our time on her." Sister Haupt's first break-up with an investigator went pretty rough!! We both went home in tears because her family is broken and needs this gospel SO badly and she just feels it and loves it but won't accept it. That is one of the hardest things as a missionary, when people deny themselves this happiness.

We have been finding every day for at least 2 hours and every single door has been slammed in our face. It's been pretty interesting, with us renewing our efforts and praying to LOVE finding and inviting people to baptism on the street....and every contact has been a rejection. But we have a firm faith that Heavenly Father is preparing the very most GOLDEN family for us to find and teach and baptize in the month of June!!! It's all about the FAITH!!! However, our key indicators for conversion have increased despite the fact that we have been rejected like crazy. We are seeing miracles in ways that are hardly discernible day to day but the difference is spiritual. Members are helping us more and I know that the referrals we are giving people will be good blessings in the future. I'm going to apologize right here and say this week my Chinese and English were both barely understandable and no language ability has come back to me yet so I am sorry if this email is less than coherent. 

We DID however find an old man and his wife climbing up 5 flights of stairs and the husband just left his wife, who has a fake leg and was only able to use one arm. I dropped my bag and helped carry this lady up the stairs. It took us 30 minutes because she had to stop every half flight of stairs. But I felt like Harry Potter carrying Bathilda Bagshot up the stairs so it was totally worth it:) She recognized us as servants of Jesus Christ and that's what matters. 

Returned missionary from Taiwan, Michael Bowcutt came back to visit 八德 this week. its cool because he actually was my Ward Mission Leader in my mini-mission in Sandy YSA in Utah!!! It was such a coincidence that he came to visit when I was serving there!! But the BEST news he told me was that my recent convert from Sandy, Jonathan Bosch, is his Home Teaching companion!!!!!!!!!!! That literally made me so happy!!! AND HE'S GETTING MARRIED SOON!!! Having a recent convert still active (cuz it doesn't always happen like that in Taiwan for a lot of missionaries) is the best. Speaking of RCs, Duncan bought us Costco muffins again this week!!!!!!!!! He is literally an angel, perfect, and he GOT HIS TEMPLE RECOMMEND THIS WEEK AND THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! He was a 3 week miracle and is continuing to be my miracle every day!!!!! 

Another miracle this week, we were able to squish 5 HUGE cockroaches in 1 minute. Also, we prayed to find an investigator last last week and as soon as we looked up from our prayer, a lady walked up to us and asked what the Book of Mormon in my hand was. She said she actually had no where to go and didn't like going home because her son got angry at her for being Christian, so we shared the message of the Restoration with her and then she came with us to a visiting teaching lesson with 4 missionaries, 2 members, and an RC!!! So awesome!

I love you all very much. I challenge you all this week to find one thing you would like to change about yourself and in your morning and evening prayers, ask Heavenly Father to give you the strength to change it!!

Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹

YSA FHE featuring Taiwan RM Michael Bowcutt!!! So fun!!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Why did the pig cross the road? To get to the gospel, duh

Heavenly Father definitely provided me with this heading today as we were followed by a pig this morning while trying to exercise. 

THIS WEEK WAS INCREDIBLE. I have never worked so hard to have inspired goals and plans and it DEFINITELY paid off:)

Liao Dixiong is having his baptismal interview this week YAY!!! We were able to figure out through revelation and a change of perspective that his detached attitude and femininity is just, in fact, his personality. He actually is really ready to be baptized!!! It was surprising this week, a lot of our investigators spontaneously bore incredibly powerful testimony in our lessons...and as much as I know that sounds like something that should always happen, our investigators right now are all comparatively quiet and don't share very much. Liao Dixiong shared that our lessons have really made an impact on him and he feels that our church has a lot of really amazing things that other churches don't have.

Wang Dixiong should have his baptismal interview next next week!! He is SO excited and he would be getting baptized sooner except he is so busy with work we don't have time to meet as often as we would like. We taught the plan of salvation this past week and he LOVED the Atonement and that we get the chance to repent. He also loves following the Word of Wisdom because it gives him the chance to avoid committing sin! He actually took his friend (the one who always asks him to drink with him) aside and told him that he doesn't do that anymore. AMAZING!! He also gave us his mother as a referral this week because he thinks it would make her happier!!! He got hit by a motorcycle this week because he didn't sleep for two days so wasn't driving very carefully...then he met with us right after the accident and we just did a super short lesson so he could go home and sleep!!

This week I tried to eat less junk food and so i ate only fruit for breakfast and lunch. In Taiwan, that means that my diet consists of mangos, entire pineapples, peaches, pears, bananas, wax apples (its a real fruit in Taiwan look it up!), apples, tomatoes, etc. SO MUCH fruit. But hopefully my birthday present to myself will be to lose a little weight:)

Pan Dixiong came back from Thailand this week and brought me a necklace and Thai chocolate. That was my cheat this week, SO GOOD!!! Also Duncan bought us Costco chocolate muffins and delivered them to our door! OUR RC'S ARE AWESOME <3

Sister Haupt ate pig's blood cake this week, a famous Taiwanese delicacy....we told her that it was chocolate tofu so she tried it and we didn't tell her what it really was for 2 days;) We also saw guys from Paraguay this week. Super weird seeing people from that part of the world to be honest haha:)

We set two new baptismal dates this week!!! One was with the 李姊妹, the deaf lady I found while I was in my first area and turns out she lives where I am now!! We were thinking what a crazy miracle that was and how prepared she must be. After a super crazy 苦難 lesson with us telling a member what we wanted her to write and then showing and then writing and using hand signals and us not speaking any sign language, let alone Chinese Sign Language, we committed her to be baptized and she accepted. 5 hours later, she texted us saying she wants to be Jehovah's Witness instead because they have people who speak sign language. BUT that's ok because we know where she lives and someday she will be ready to accept the gospel:)

This week we went to 大溪。 I know that I have talked about the miserable 鶯歌 hill. Well the 大溪 hill is like FIVE TIMES AS LONG. Yah it was miserable to get up but super fun to go down:) We spend the day in 大溪 with the elders trying to find LA's! That same day we had SUPER spiritual lessons, one of which was JJ's friend, a super awesome member referral. He actually came to General Conference all day that Saturday 3 weeks ago. We gave him an introduction about baptism and he was a little apprehensive but we just felt the Spirit so strongly in that lesson and I knew then that he would get baptized, even if it took time. Same with our investigator family 邱Family. She rejected the invitation to be baptized yet, but I can just feel that she wants this, she just needs time. But everyone on this earth accepted Heavenly Father's plan and they just need to be reminded of it. 

One of my favorite moments this week was our recent convert Debbie bearing her testimony. She was baptized in the Baptist church a long time ago and at first had a really hard time accepting that it didn't count and that OUR church is the only true church on the earth. But we reviewed the Restoration and priesthood authority with her (revelation in and of itself because we were planning to discuss something else) and she just burst into this glorious testimony about how she knows that our church is the TRUE church because she didn't feel any different at baptism, but when she was given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and when she started reading the Book of Mormon, she could just feel it. Debbie is a very quiet person and doesn't share very much, so her sharing this testimony with us was one of the most special moments of my mission. 

I just want to testify of the reality of asking Heavenly Father to help us strengthen our weaknesses. I have felt and seen a literal and real change in myself as I have turned to the Lord in humility and faith and asked Him to fix my broken parts. Digging deep and finding that faith that you know you are lacking is hard. It is not easy and it takes a lot of soul searching to see if you are willing to admit things are wrong. But I also know that when we turn to the Creator who has given us weaknesses so that we will rely on Him and become better, He will not leave us hanging. I am still learning and loving and growing and climbing and reaching and stretching, but every day we see miracles and every day is full of improvement, whether for myself or for someone I am teaching. I love you all so much and challenge you all to do what you need to do to feel this same power of which I testify. 

Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹

Sunday, May 3, 2015

"You're very compatible with the Taiwanese lifestyle"

With Debbie at the temple
 This week was CRAZY and awesome, but the highlight was probably the fact that 2 Taiwanese people told me that I am a 台灣人 and that the habits that I have are very suitable and 適合 with a life in Taiwan. I LOVE IT. But its a fair warning for how awkward I will be after my mission:)

Well many miracles this week, me and my trainee are just getting even closer, and I think she's opening up a little bit!!! On Thursday we ate a huge watermelon for lunch and just ate it on the floor since we still have no desks....we gave our desks to the new sisters who just moved in! Then we went to a lesson and came back to take out the trash but we ran into a miracle 14 year old who wanted to hear the gospel so we got back to our apartment with 2 minutes to spare, we took the elevator up and threw everything together. We ran down 8 flights of stairs and chased the garbage truck for 2 blocks!!!! That was an adventure never to be forgotten:) Then during WPS, there was a bird pecking at our bedroom window for like 20 minutes! But there wasn't a screen so we couldn't just open the window and shoo it away haha Sister Haupt is super great, I think she's breaking out of her shell a little bit, especially with me as a companion :)
Tao 1 ward members at the temple!

Me and Sister Akita (in the MTC together) with our trainees
 This Thursday was absolutely miraculous. We had a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy come speak to us. We were with him all day and got to ask questions and also they bought us Costco pizza and THREE HUGE GALLONS of ice cream and it was great. 

The five main things that I personally got out of Elder Gong's trainings were that we need to find and teach FAMILIES, we need to get to know people first in order to know how the gospel can best help them, we need to pray for the gift of tongues always, we need to show people our My Family Books (its a really cool little pamphlet that you can put pictures of your ancestors and your own family in, look it up!!), and that we MUST contact referrals within 24 hours. I was very humbled and prayed that I would get an opportunity to utilize these things I learned. RIGHT after we left the training and were waiting at the bus stop, I was able to talk to a woman. Instead of just whipping out a Restoration tract, I talked to her. I talked about her family and her youngest son was playing at the park. I showed her my family pictures. She asked me why I left them to come to Taiwan. I told her I was here to tell people how families can be happier. She told me she lives right across from our chapel and can't go in because her husband wants nothing to do with any religion but hopes she can get baptized someday!!! I invited her to English class and she thinks its an amazing opportunity to ease her husband into seeing the benefits of religion. I got to use what I learned about getting to know people first. 

Then we went to the train station to catch another bus and I saw a woman who I had been introduced to but didn't get to talk to and she actually was a referral I had tried to call 2 hours earlier!!! We got to talk to her and set up a time to meet, right there randomly at the train station!!! I used what I learned about contacting referrals. Then we met with a potential investigator and he was a little bit mentally slow, and was talking about a lot of things and using lots of words I didn't understand, but somehow I knew what he was talking about. It wasn't good things he was talking about, but I understood it so I could say something to help him. God helped me have the gift of tongues. 

Then that night we went to find another potential investigator and I felt like we should knock a different house instead. It turns out it was a mother with 2 kids and a husband who was sleeping because he was struggling with work and had to get up super early. She is Buddhist and at first didn't let us in. So I asked about her kids and how she had been lately. She said they were struggling a bit. I then asked if we could pray with her and she invited us to come in and sit down. She continued to emphasize that she was Buddhist, but I  felt like I needed to show her my My Family Book. She then proceeded to ask us how to pray and how she could communicate with Heavenly Father and how she should go about reading the Book of Mormon...WHAT!!! The immediate change and process I saw right before my eyes was incredible. God gave me the opportunity to use My Family Book to FIND A FAMILY!!!! This was just such an incredible day because God truly helped me see how I could use everything I learned to find miracles!!!

Well some other cool things from this week, we went on exchanges and I LOVE Sister Smith, she is just the nicest ever!!! We got fanged by our peike so we couldn't meet with our male investigator, then got fanged by our investigator so we met with our peike and it was awesome!! 
Yesterday we went to find a less active member and her address didn't exist, but we ended up talking to people who wanted to write down their numbers and for us to contact them because missionaries had never been to that area or they had only seen elder missionaries!! We talked to a man who pulled out his little Buddhist radio that chants "Aomiiiiiitoufuooooo" which just means Buddhist. But we're trying to share the Book of Mormon and he is just like "listen, doesn't this sound good??" and we're like ok thank you byeeee haha

Temple tours were also this week. WOW so awesome I got to see Tao 1 members because of a sealing!!!!!! Duncan came and Debbie came and we did a tour with a set of elders investigators. We talked all about the temple all day and I LOVE THE TEMPLE. If you haven't been to the temple or are not worthy to do so, DO IT. I promise you that you can find any help that you need in the temple. 

We also had Stake Conference!!!!!!!! Because I have served in half of the wards in our stake, I knew 200+ members at stake conference!!!!! I am SO LUCKY that I get to see my converts and friends and members so often. In fact, Duncan sat next to me at stake conference, across the aisle from him was 黃威儒 from Tao 2 and then sitting behind him was Jerry and Sofia and 小寶 and YouRong from Tao 1!!!!!!!!!!!!! I literally am the luckiest in the world. I love love love the Taiwanese people, 特別是桃園支聯會的成員 :)

Another miracle was our lesson with Wang Dixiong. He told us that he has been drinking alcohol recently because it helps him forget his abusive dad and hard work and how his mom and him fight. We told him that the true happiness comes from following commandments and then shared the Word of Wisdom, totally not according to plan. And he accepted it. It was like all he needed was someone to tell him that it was a commandment and he said he could do it. So amazing. He wants to be baptized so bad!!!

A shopping area 
 This week I have been thinking a lot about who I really am. I am VERY different from who I was when I left on a mission. I have sacrificed a lot of thoughts, behaviors, habits in order to be a Preach My Gospel missionary and a consecrated missionary. I still have a lot to work on of course. But I am different. So sometimes I feel like I don't know who I am. I was praying last night for Heavenly Father to help me remember who I was, and suddenly the scripture in Matthew 10:39 "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." popped into my head. 

And it suddenly became very clear to me that Heavenly Father does not want me to remember who I WAS, but wants me to CONTINUE to forget that person and focus only on those around me and that is how I will become the ME that He wants me to be. It was a cool experience. I know that this is what I need to be doing and even though this week was hard and we are still learning how to work with the other sisters, I am reminded of Heavenly Father's love for all of His children daily, and He has blessed with me so much and the opportunity to get to see all of my past members and most beloved friends that I am sure I knew in the pre-existence. It is all worth it, all of it. I want to invite everyone to read April's Liahona "It's not a Sin to Be Weak" because up until not I always thought that we have to REPENT of weaknesses, but no, weaknesses are God-given and an opportunity for us to increase our faith and improve!! Love it. Also think about how you can all be better MEMBER MISSIONARIES!!!  Because the missionaries NEED YOUR HELP. I promise you:) Love you all, 拜拜

Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹