Monday, July 20, 2015

I feel like I aged 10 years this week

This week was full of incredible miracles. I don't know how or why or what I do to be a participant and recipient of such amazing miracles. Maybe Heavenly Father loves me and these people in 玉里? Probably :)
One of my favorite moments this week...we took a member with us to go see Lin Jiemei, the one who we've been meeting with for EVER and is still not willing to quit drinking coffee and tea. So while our member was talking to her, we snuck into her house (well we told her we were going to, but quietly) and found her coffee and tea and THREW IT OUT!!!!!! Woooo one of my proudest moments as a missionary:)
Bye Bye Coffee & Tea!

We met a really old lady biking home one day and she said to visit her that Tuesday. Well we went there and the people said they'd never heard of her, BUT the 20 year old boy with blue hair had met the elders the day before and was interested in learning more. So we gave him a first lesson, a copy of the Book of Mormon, taught him how to pray, and set up a date to be baptized all right there on his front porch!!! He said he had always wanted to be baptized but never really felt prepared and didn't know why so many churches existed. Well, it's a good thing that that's EVERYTHING we teach as missionaries:)

So as you know, there were typhoons this week. Not in Yuli, but it rained pretty hard. Well we were having a rough time finding anyone to talk to, people had fang'd us and cancelled on us and so when we saw the truck selling hong dou bing, we just had to get one. Well another man was ordering too, so I did a very basic missionary thing, pulled out a tract, and gave it to him. Turns out, he had gotten divorced only 7 months ago and so turned to religion to help him. He had started going to the Presbyterian church only FOUR MONTHS AGO, and has been reading 10 pages of the Bible a day! He just clung onto our every word about how we wanted to share all of Christ's teachings and prepare people to follow Him by being baptized, he also wanted to know what we had that the church he was learning about didn't. He didn't have a lot of time to talk, but he said he is SUPER interested in learning, and right before he had to drive off he goes "You guys pray right? Can we say a prayer RIGHT NOW??" He asked me to say it. It was SO amazing! Heavenly Father knew we needed a little snack and then He brought the prepared person to us:)

We also went on exchanges this week. We almost missed the train on the way to HuaLian to switch back, and it was a nice young lady who told us which train it was. She also reminded us when we were almost pulled up to HuaLian station. She used the word "sisters" so we knew she was a member. Well, she is a less active member and divorced and has 3 kids. She hasn't prayed in years because her family problems lessened her faith. We prayed with her and helped her say her first communication with Heavenly Father in years. She REALLY wants to come back to church, and just moved to Yuli to work at the hospital and she lives there by herself and has no friends here. When we told her we have a branch in Yuli, she was so happy!!! She wants to come back, and just by chance running into her on the train, we were able to give her the opportunity to come back!! SO AMAZING!! God loves and watches over His children here.

We recently started a scripture study class here in Yuli, in hopes of increasing the testimonies of our less actives and investigators. Well it was about to start and no one but one member was there. I turned around, and before I even thought about talking to the man walking out of the internet cafe, my mouth opened and I invited him to attend our class for an hour RIGHT THEN. Well....HE ACCEPTED. Funny enough, he recently dropped all of his work and family and moved into a Buddhist temple in the middle of nowhere to ponder and gain knowledge. He is SUPER open to learning about anything and open to using prayer to find out if it's true. and THEN HE CAME TO CHURCH THE NEXT DAY. It was incredible. Even though he very specifically said he isn't interested in joining...well that's the special promise about our church. If he truly learns and applies it and feels the change in his life, he WILL want to join Christ's only true church. So amazing. 
Well as you can see these were some pretty impressive miracles. And I believe that Heavenly Father has blessed me so much this week because I am taking care of my companion. I am convinced that on my own, I do not know how to handle stubborn members, faulty investigators, and troubled companions, but Heavenly Father does. And I have spent more time on my knees this week than probably any other week of my mission. Because we, as humans, are weak. But Heavenly Father has PROMISED us that all we need to do is turn to Him in prayer and promise to act on whatever guidance we receive and He will lead us. What if we remembered what it was like to live with Him, to have accepted every challenge He wanted to throw our way and what if we remembered how excited we were to prove that we would stay true to His teachings and show we loved Him?
I want to invite you all this week to write a letter to yourself, either from your premortal self to who you are now, or who you are now to who you want to become in the future. We don't need to remember everything from the pre-existence to know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us infinitely and perfectly and only want us to be happy. It's hard sometimes. I can tell you, right now everything in my life is being tossed about by the winds of the adversary, and yes, his power and influence is so real. But I can also tell you that there is no influence more real or more powerful than that of Heavenly Father and Christ's love for us. Seek it, pray for it, work for it. Because you, I, and everyone else in the entire world need it. :)
We really do eat healthy food!
You probably wouldn't believe that I eat stuff like this every day - only fruits, veggies, and oats:)

Monday, July 13, 2015

One year older and wiser too...

WE HAVE A NEW MISSION PRESIDENT! And they are making this for friends and family to see what is up in our mission, plus videos and pics of us!! So go check it out...cuz I can't :)
Well it has been a fun ride this past are some of the highlights of living in this beautiful land of Taiwan. You probably won't understand half of them, but these are what has made my mission so incredible, important, and strange:)
stinky tofu
squatty potties
Amas pulling carts of recycling, 18 times heavier than they are
singing garbage trucks
mangoes to DIE FOR
stray animals with deformities
mosquito bites covering every square inch of skin
creepy old met hitting on you trying to speak English
"Ever heard of Jesus Christ?"
binlang 檳榔 (look it up)
7-11s on every corner
7-11s the only place with air conditioning
getting hit by cars
giant Buddhist temples everywhere you look
butchers selling EVERY part of the animal's body
"Every religion is the same"
being asked if I'm Taiwanese
brain washing Buddhist chants
what's the use of shaving your legs??
typhoons...that's why we wear Crocs
"Ever heard of Las Vegas?"
no matter how long you've been on island, your Chinese is always considered amazing
praying until your legs (or yourself) are asleep
riding bikes in a skirt
squishing bugs like a ninja...mosquitoes flies and cockroaches
going through 8 or 9 water bottles a day
停水 stopping the water in the town because it hasn't rained in a week
members following commandments
sweating from pores you didn't know you had
Taiwanese people sharing deep conversion stories
tea being the only drink sold at most stores
using a rice cooker for every meal
making relationships that will last an eternity

Well, any questions?:) This is my life, along with a million other miracles and people that have completely sculpted me inside and out to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. He is my older brother and my Savior. He is my best friend. Heavenly Father is my daddy and He loves me and knows what is best for me, in every single tiny trivial aspect of my life. Trials are for growth, and faith is meant to be tried. Like Nephi quotes from Isaiah in 1 Nephi 21:9 "That thou mayest say to the prisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in darkness: Show yourselves." My work, for now and forever is to show myself, the light I have accumulated from the light of Christ, to those who are trapped in their own spiritual prisons, whether it be because of self-criticism, the criticism of others, emotional turmoil, trials, pains, addiction or weakness. We all have that light that we need to share to penetrate the darkness in others' lives. I have been doing that for a year now, stretching and growing in ways that I could never have thought possible, and this is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of progression. I know that all of our efforts are required to change the way we want to change. No amount of work of sacrifice on our part will even merit a part of His grace, but He rewards us anyway. Because He loves us. He is our ultimate example of love and sacrifice. I love this, with all of my heart and soul I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A week without chocolate!

     So my mom and brother are in China right now, my brother did his Eagle Scout Project at an orphanage in Beijing. So you could say I miss China right now!!! Just bragging on my family:)
    Well this week, nothing much very interesting. We have very few members here in Yuli and ALL the ones who could help us peike were too busy or out of town. So that was a bummer. Also, a LOT of our investigators, well all but about 2 decided they didn't want to meet with us anymore, stopped answering calls or had family 反對. But our really progressing investigator Lin Yi Mei has really been progressing! she fasted for over 12 hours yesterday for the purpose of feeling like her body is strong enough to not drink coffee and tea!! She has a little bit of mental illness, like a lot of people here in Yuli, so her progress is REALLY slow, but we really think she can do this!!! That's right, Sister Chan and I have decided to give up chocolate until Lin Jiemei gets baptized, to show her that we can all do hard things, even give up what we most need to live!!! Yes, that's chocolate in my case.

We also have a Filipina investigator. She FINALLY brought out her real concerns this week. 1. She can't actually READ the material we give her in Tagalog because it isn't her dialect!!! So we can start from the beginning teaching in English. We wish we knew why she didn't bring it up earlier! 2. Her mom wants her to stay Catholic. But we think that once we start teaching Belen so that she understands the importance and beauty of the message we are sharing, she will want to rethink this decision and ask her mom again.

     Our members are really going to help us more this week, they really want to help us become a WARD!!! and even build our own CHAPEL! So we want to start teaching a scripture study class to invite members, less active members, investigators and any of their friends to, to discuss scriptures and help people understand them more. We really think it will be beneficial for some new members, as well as obviously help investigators understand the Book of Mormon and share their own experiences as well as providing a great environment for producing spiritual experiences.

     Happy Independence Day last week!!!! We spent our lunch eating steak at an American's house, pretty nice right? My mom sent me these scarfs so we wore them on the Fourth of July:) I was trying to be really American and use an English copy of the Book of Mormon:) Ha ha, there isn't much you can do to access American things here, especially in Yuli!!
A scripture I wanted to share today is in Mosiah 16:15 "Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen. "I love this because it is so simply what we stand for as members of this church and what I teach to everyone I meet every day on a mission. 
     This week was hard and it was a million degrees and the humidity is killer. Every day is like walking through a rice cooker, not an oven because an oven is dry heat and this wet heat is a million times worse. Dripping sweat from pores of my body I didn't even know could sometimes gets frustrating, and re-knocking doors because Yuli is so small...missions are hard but guess what, Jesus Christ's life wasn't easy and I am so grateful I get to experience at least a little of the pain He felt, even if it's in a different way. Because if we never experienced any pain or heartache, how could we really call ourselves disciples of Christ, who suffered more than any of us can comprehend? So I love this scripture because it makes what we teach SO simple.
As a last note, I want to add that YOU HAVE NOT LIVED IF YOU HAVE NOT EATEN TAIWAN'S MANGOES. Sorry, that's just a simple fact. We were knocking doors yesterday after having had an investigator not show up, and then members who lived in the area invited us in to eat mangoes. Then last night we had an inspiration to visit a less active member who is normal not home, but she was home and we had a great lesson with her, then she gave us free nuts (from COSTCO, what what) and mangoes she grew herself! I might turn orange ha
ha but I don't even care!!!! literally most delicious thing of my entire existence. Well I love you all, have a good week:)