Monday, September 28, 2015

It's ALWAYS a holiday in Taiwan!!

Talent show - they wouldn't perform until I did the splits with them!
Happy Mid Autumn Festival! or Moon Festival. It is always some sort of occasion for celebration in Taiwan. This week everyone, yes EVERYONE celebrated 中秋節 by barcebue-ing meat, so that was fun:)

Also, this transfer has officially ended and we ended with handing out 105 COPIES OF THE BOOK OF MORMON THIS TRANSFER WOOOOO!!! :) We are going to flood all of Yuli and RuiSui and Zhuoxi :)
Also, transfers have been extended a week since no missionaries have come in yet. I pray every day that I will stay in Yuli!!!!!

Also, there's ANOTHER typhoon coming!! It's supposed to hit us pretty hard here on the east coast, but we'll see:)

I have learned a lot this past week. A lot about love. In 1 John 4:19 and Alma 8:10, we learn a lot about love. Heavenly Father's motive for everything is love. I really love my Heavenly Father and I really love my companion and I really love this gospel. We all need to strive our best to recognize ways, even the smallest simply ways, we can show we love the people around us and all of God's children. I am so so grateful for the companions I have had and the experiences Heavenly Father has given me in order to prepare me to teach people, whether it be my companion or investigators. I don't always feel super adequate to be a "teacher" per se, but I know  that it is something that Heavenly Father requires of me in this life. I have been reflecting on how much I have learned about diligence, persistence, and just plain WORK on the mission. There is never any moment when I can just say "Oh, I've done all I've can, I'm done receiving revelation, for myself or others." or "I've learned enough, I'll let other people do it for a change." 

In the beginning of my mission, I definitely was really ok with letting other people lead, just accepting things that happened and not doing anything to change or improve my situations. I have really learned the importance of continually striving to do the best I can ever day, every moment. ACT as an agent, impACT my circumstances!! I hope any of this makes sense, my English grammar isn't super proper anymore! I'm so grateful for Sister Haacke., I know she  is the companion I need to learn patience, love and humility and to expand my potential. I couldn't do this without her and her loving, outgoing, funny personality. My outlook on life, on my mission, on frustrations and on setbacks has totally changed because she has helped bring me out of the haziness and spiritual rut I felt that I was in before. I know that, whether we believe it or not, this gospel, Jesus Christ and His teachings, are real, are truth, are fact. It is true whether anyone believes it or not. My belief is a knowledge, and I no longer have any hint of doubt. That is why I am inspired every day to keep working.

Fun things/miracles from this week:
-we rode up the mountain to meet with an investigator, only to find that she couldn't meet because there was a family reunion going on! They were all gathered around to watch this man slaughter a pig and seperate the guts into bags for the village people to take come and cook for the Mid Autumn festival. Killing pigs is considered a recreational activity in our area:)
-WE ATE MAC N CHEESE THIS WEEK. Oh man.....oh man, it was so good. It's simple things like this that make missionary-ing fun;)
-ok get ready for this one.....So I served in Taoyuan for 5 1/2 transfers right? 3 different wards there...I was born in GuiShan, part of the Tao 1 ward. GUISHAN IS NOW ITS OWN WARD AND THE TAOYUAN STAKE IS HUGE NOW!!!!!!!!!!! And my past ward mission leader, Brother Lu is now the 1st Counselor in the GuiShan Ward Bishopric WHAT!!!!!!! This is the happiest thing of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!
-We had a talent show and played limbo in English class this past week. Pretty dang fun. The little girls made me do the splits with them or else they wouldn't perform. So that was fun too.
-Sister Haacke and I have explored lots of fun places this week. 
-Zhu Jiemei is amazing as always. She is not afraid of her friends' opinions as much anymore. She even leaves to go exercise when they start drinking and doesn't come home until they all leave:) SHE'S SO STRONG!!!!!
-I had an impression to stop and talk to a lady on the side of the street...she was SO focused on our message and we have set up to meet with her next week, a woman named Shao Jiemei. So excited!!
-Li Jiemei's daughter in law from China, Ba Yong, has decided she wants to read the Book of Mormon with us EVERY day. She says she wants it to be for 4 hours, but obviously we dont have that long;)
Well, life is awesome. Missionary work is the best. My English is bad and I really have no words to say to express the ways my life is changing/has been changed. Shout out to my trainee Sister Haupt who turned 20 yesterday WOO!! :) <3

Sister Wright (Taiwan Taipei Mission)
Rèn Jiěmèi 任曼欣姐妹
Care package from a member who is moving to America

It's really beautiful here!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dog Bites

Finally! Mail! After going without for 2 months!

With Sis. Kunzler & Sis. Haacke
Outdoor Zone Conference!
Hello everyone, I got bit by a Taiwanese mountain dog this week! NO worries, I am fine:)

It's ironic that that is the title of my email since SO MANY MORE AMAZING THINGS HAPPENED THIS WEEK!!! I don't have a lot of time, but here are a few:
-We went to ChiShang with our district and rode tandem bikes on Monday:)

-We went to the famous Taroko Gorge in HuaLian with the Hualian and Taidong zone for Outdoor Zone Conference!!! SO BEAUTIFUL and spiritual and FUN!! I got to see my beloved Sister Kunzler and I also got to pass of the final language test in our mission Phase 3, reading the Book of Mormon in characters:)

-Zhu Jiemei, she is just AWESOME. She is content with how she feels in her heart, and able to see that her circumstances do not define her. She is ready to make this next step into the waters of baptism and she has her interview planned for tomorrow. I am praying SO hard that she will not give in to the pressure of her friends and drink!! She doesnt have a lot of friends to begin with and so its hard for her to refuse the few "friends" she has. But I will let you know how her interview goes!!

-We met another amazing Zhu Jiemei this week. It was right before dinner time and we were walking back to our bikes and we saw a mom playing with her kids at the park across the street and we felt like we should talk to her. As we approached, we realized that there was another woman sitting on a small bench that had been hidden from our vision until we walked closer. So we started talking to this woman, not the original plan but SO inspired. Turns out she is going through some really rough trials with finding work, with her marriage, and her child's health. Pretty much everything. What was SO prepared about her though was that she had previously been Christian, gone to a bunch of different denominations, said their prayers, read their scriptures, and said "At that time, I was not necessarily more happy." She is the perfect example of people like Joseph Smith, who saw so many churches who proclaimed to have the perfect doctrine and key to happiness, but inspired no feeling. This Zhu Jiemei said a prayer with us, according to our style of prayer, addressing Heavenly Father, and she poured out her heart, sharing everything that was on her mind. She looked hesitant when we invited her to baptism, and it's understandable. She was baptized into her Catholic church when she was younger and it didn't make any difference in her life. But we promised her that OUR church is HIS church and here she would find happiness unlike anything she had ever experienced before. I am so excited to experience her progression with her. 

-WE HAD THE FIRST EVER HUALIAN STAKE CONFERENCE!!! All the members from the entire East Coast went, and our little town of Yuli represented pretty well!! I sat next to Ren He and Ren Ping (SO grateful that members were willing to bring my two favorite 8 year olds!!) and kept them quite and for the most part reverent the whole 2 hours:) I know its been a while since my little brothers have been 8, but I felt such love for this little ones, like their big sis:) It was so awesome to be with our branch, we are growing and becoming so united.

Our branch at Stake Conference!

-We stayed in Hualian to go on short exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, I love being with Sister Tan:)
Sister Sleepover
I love Mac & Cheese!
Little last insight for this week:
Sister Haacke shared a quote with me from a talk this past week that she read in personal study. It said "He (God) desires you to be the one who causes things to happen." Of course "things to happen" is very general in this context, but considering its talking about Heavenly Father and it was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who said it, we can tell that it means GOOD things. And I truly believe that something I have done on my mission and in my life is strive to make GOOD things happen for myself and for other people. Sometimes I have been in situations where NOTHING is happening, good or bad, and I know that that is precisely what Heavenly Father does NOT want, is there to be no action. It is the whole purpose of the Fall and of opposition, for us to have the power to act, so I have continually tried to make things happen for good, to be proactive and not acted upon. Sometimes this attribute of mine is criticized, but I KNOW that when I am doing what Heavenly Father wants done under the influence of the Spirit, I am not wrong. 

I am growing stronger and stronger in my confidence of my divine relationship with Heavenly Father and even thought I am often tempted to compare myself to others, I just need to remember that He doesn't compare me to anyone else, so why should I? I got a letter from a friend this past week that said "You are better than you will ever give yourself credit for." And I realized, wow, I am HARD on myself!! Haha but I always have been. I think I could benefit from taking a step back and realizing all the progress I have made, lives I have blessed, and service I have done. I am ALWAYS looking for ways to do better and humbly do the Lord's will, but I think that if I am always running myself into the ground and never look around me and appreciate all the ways that the Atonement has helped me grow and bless myself and others, then ultimately that progress is useless. It's like walking down a beautiful path and needing to look around to admire the beauty of the flowers that were planted:) Or biking around the mountains of Taiwan and admiring all the watermelon and rice patties;)
I love you all. Read the scriptures. Pray every day. Talk with your Father in Heaven. Rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It's awesome and He loves you. 

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

It's true

Our district!

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Tribal Mountain People are Really into the Gospel

Helping in the rice paddie!

So we spent a lot of time up in the mountain villages this week....a treacherous bike ride but so worth it to get to learn about and love these people and share Christ's gospel with them! We are teaching 3 families up there right now, one old couple who can't read so we just read to them, and one family of 3 kids. I don't have pictures of them yet, but when you think of Taiwanese people, what you think of is NOT what these people look like. The Aborigine mountain tribal people are all dark skinned and look TOTALLY different than the rest of Taiwanese people haha:)

I wanted to share what I have been pondering lately. Covenants. A covenant is a promise we make with Heavenly Father. We promise that we will use our agency to do all that we can in our power to seek out and then perform His will according to Christ's gospel. At first I was a little bit scared of coming home and not being able to keep my covenants through missionary service. But the little simple things we do like loving and laughing with and supporting those we love is also very much included in keeping our covenants. Anything that we do that inspires our friends and family to keep walking on their path back to Heavenly Father counts:) That perspective makes it so much easier and not as scary to think about keeping covenants. He asks so little of us, yet blesses SO MUCH. 

I would like to share about Zhu Jiemei. Her husband is an alcoholic and is very violent and rash in his decisions. He has recently brought up that he wants a divorce. Well Zhu Jiemei, she is making AMAZING changes in her life. This past-alcoholic lady with a fiery, abusive temper has changed into someone who I would trust with my life. She has changed so absolutely right before my eyes. She expressed to us this past week, after her husband had had a drunk rage and yelled at her, accusing her and insulting her, she left the room and said a prayer. Zhu Jiemei is the type of person who, if you insult her even the littlest bit, will throw a chair at you, punch you in the face, swear at you, then leave the house. But not anymore. She felt her temper calm down immediately and she was able to sleep peacefully that night. She realizes that Heavenly Father is preparing her for possibly harder trials in the future, but that with His help, she can do it. She is SO CLOSE to quitting drinking and chewing binlang, and then she'll get baptized:) I love her with all my heart.

We had a run in with one of our investigators drunk dads this week. I have met a lot of drunk people in my life, but WOW was he gone. Literally staggering, trying to speak English and Spanish and teach us the gospel even though he is Buddhist. It was....great. 

We met a very special friend this week, someone who had met with the missionaries in TaoYuan before and while she was down in YuLi for service for the Catholic church, she wanted to see us. A big part of the miracle is that her friend, who we do service for, called us and set up a time for us to meet with her!! Well this 22 year old Zhang Ting is her name...she is VERY special. She POUNDED us with questions from every lesson, every doctrine. She took the pamphlets we took to teach The Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, The Law of Chastity, and Tithes and Fast Offerings. We answered what we felt like we should, but mostly told her to read the Book of Mormon and pray, since that is the way we receive truth anyway. :)

Well I am about out of time today, but this week was amazing. We are going to go to ANOTHER beach today later, that is exciting, then outdoor zone conference tomorrow in Hualian YAY!! Life is so good here, I love being a missionary, if any of you couldn't tell:)

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

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hospitals, Hualian, Hot, Humid, Happy

So yes, I did go to the hospital this past Tuesday!!! Haha I was really really dizzy this past week and nothing I was doing was helping, sleep or medicine or water or resting, NOTHING. So we went to the hospital in HuaLian to get me checked out. We were taken there by Sister Singletary who was headed up anyway for work, so she dropped us off at the Mennonite Hospital, a giant Christian hospital with a giant statue of Christ with His arms reached out in it. So here we are, two white girls, in a city we are not familiar with, at a huge hospital and no idea what to do. But no worries, 5 hours, 3 vials of blood, an ultrasound, and one shot later, we were in a taxi headed to the train station!! I get to learn about the results of the blood test tomorrow when I go back, so stay tuned. :) 

BUT even though we spent the whole morning at the hospital, we saw HUGE miracles that night!! We stopped by 朱惠鈴's house (ZhuHuiLing) to meet with her daughter 郁珍(YuZhen). We helped her daughter write a card to her mom to express appreciate for her, and helped her think of specific ways she can treat her little brother nicer. We also roleplayed telling her dad that she wants to go to church on Sundays, since the main reason she hasn't come is because her dad makes her work on Sunday mornings. Then another miracle, her little brother came in and told us that sometimes he prays on his own!!! He became our new investigator:) Then, they invited us to stay for dinner and we ate dinner with their family! The magical part was when I asked if we could start with a blessing on the food. I got to say their first prayer as a family, ever. :) 

I realized I haven't really shared a lot about this family. When we met them, they were broken. Zhu Jiemei suffers from an alcohol and binlang addiction, she and her husband hardly ever talk to each other, but the way it is in Taiwan is that divorce is looked down upon when you have so many kids so they just deal with it. Her husband smoke and drinks all throughout the day and owns a binlang store. We have seen the faith of Zhu Jiemei as she has fully relied on her relationship with Heavenly Father to change her and her family. She has an intense desire to get baptized, and it is fueling her ability to quit this habit of drinking and chewing that she's had for over 30 years. Her husband doesn't support her in this change and doesn't believe she can do it, but she says that "at least Heavenly Father is there". Her changes have been INCREDIBLE. The Atonement changes everyone and no one is ever past the reach of the Savior's love. I have seen this women be transformed.
Then that same night, we saw a lady in a car that we felt like we HAD to talk to, so we went on a high speed bike-chases-car race, and finally caught up to her at a stop light, where she rejected us. But as soon as we turned to look the other way, we saw a man. As we talked to that man, he told us that someday he hopes he can join our church and feel God's love as he read the Book of Mormon. He will be a golden referral for the Gaoxiong missionaries, and well worth the high speed chase:)
We also went to see our former investigator 蔡姊妹 (cai jiemei). She has four of the most beautiful little girls I have ever seen in my whole entire life. Cai Jiemei is somewhat bipolar in her interest towards the gospel. She will see us in town and tell us to come over, then when we come over, she hides, and won't come out. So after like the 4th or 5th time this happened, I asserted my called-of-Jesus-Christ-authority and opened her front door, walked through her house, and marched up her stairs to find her sitting in the dark at the top of her stair well. I sat down next to her, put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong. She isn't much of a talker,  and she said nothing was wrong so I just proceeded to tell her what an amazing mom she is and look how much her daughters love her. She doesn't pay very much attention to them and seems to put her own needs above theirs, even though they are all under the age of 8. So we sat at the top of the tiny narrow stair well, me sitting next to this grown mother of 4, with her children all gathered around my feet listening to me tell stories about Jesus Christ. It gave me hope for the future, maybe I do have hopes at being a good mom;) The magical experience was just the Spirit that filled this tiny cramped area as I talked about family prayer and the importance of baptism in a way that a 5 year old could understand. When I asked Cai Jiemei to say a pray before we left, she thanked Heavenly Father that she could learn about Jesus Christ loving each and every one of us. It was an experience I'll never forget.
Another privilege we got this week was going out into real live genuine Asian farmer rice fields and picking weeds!!! Barefoot in the mud, picking weeds out of the rice paddies, that is what I got to experience this week. Once in a lifetime opportunity, SO FUN :)
Last miracle I will mention....we went to go find some formers that lived on 大同路 and we knocked on the door of someone who was supposed to be named Gucci. We knocked on the door and said we were missionaries and she immediately let us in. She was Christian and had seen missionaries before....BUT turns out that she wasn't the same person, just a different golden prepared person who lived at the same address as a past prepared person, how cool!!! We gave her and her little sister a first lesson and a Book of Mormon. She didn't except the invite to be baptized...yet:) She set up an appointment for us to go back and seemed fascinated in our message. Teaching the Restoration simply and spiritually is the most powerful tool there is.
This week I learned that all we have to do is ask Heavenly Father and He will tell us. No, not always when we want or how we want, but He will. I'm not sure why my health has been so poor lately, especially when I've never been sick this often in my whole life, but there is a reason. And because of the timing, we have seen some of our biggest miracles!!! Heavenly Father is so aware of the details of the details of every single one of our lives. We don't need to compare ourselves to others because HE doesn't. There is only one path we need to be concerned about: our path back to His side. That is our goal. All the other stuff we have to deal with is just because we are human and in this period of mortality:) Like Jesus says to the people in ancient America, bring any of your afflictions to Him and He promises to heal you. (3 Nephi 17:7)
Keep praying, keep studying, keep preparing for eternity. Love you all!!

Sister Wright 
(Taiwan Taipei Mission)

How is SCHOOL Treating Everyone?

I'm so glad that I don't have to go to school. I am being schooled the the language of the Spirit and in the knowledge of the much better;)

Right up front, please pray for our investigator LuoJiemei who is having heart surgery right now. She has 6 kids that really need here and she also wants to get baptized in October!!:)

So this week was CRAZY AMAZING. Like, last week was good, but this week was literally MIRACULOUS AND HILARIOUS.  I feel like I have been blessed beyond measure and ability to describe. I actually was sick this week, I have been having really bad headaches and dizziness and nausea, so we had to stay inside some time this week, but we still saw AMAZING miracles!!

Prepared people were EVERYWHERE this week, we were truly either led to these people, or them led to us. For example, on Friday, we got fang'd by all of our lessons and so we decided to find in a totally different area than we were in. We stopped to talk to some men, turns out they were drunk so we left. Then we tried to visit a former investigator but she wasn't home. And all of these little setbacks put us right in the path of finding two sisters, 13 and 16 years old. The younger one had been taught how to pray from one of our members, Tang Jiating!! She had wanted to go to a baptismal service, but never had the chance. She taught her older sister and 2 younger brothers how to pray and said an AMAZING prayer for us! She also already has a copy of the Book of Mormon and occasionally reads it! We ended up setting baptismal dates with them, and they can come to the baptism we are having this Saturday!!
Another miracle on Saturday...we were cancelled on AGAIN, so I let S. Haacke take the lead and find a place to knock. We found an amazing wonderland of new investigators, 3 prepared people on this one little street!!! One of the people, a 25 year old Qiu Dixiong, said he knew about Joseph Smith and prays every night and wants to follow Christ's true church!! He was fascinated with the Book of Mormon and committed to read it!!

Then Sunday was CRAZY!! We got cancelled on by two investigators, so we just found in a small alley that was across the street from one of our investigator's house. First family we talked to, 4 kids, all were interested and let us in!! The older brother was SO focused, so intent on everything we were saying. We set baptismal dates with all of them, and in the closing prayer that the older brother said, he prayed that his school wouldn't have any kind of activity so that he could be baptized on the 26th! Then that night we met with one of our progressing investigators, a Wang Dixiong. His wife had been super hostile to us before, but we got to sit with her for a little while, waiting for Wang Dixiong to be done switching light bulbs in the kitchen. She seemed to get a bit friendlier and even gave us wintermelon tea! Wang Dixiong is a father of 2, but takes care of his niece and nephew like his own. He is originally Catholic, and family means everything to him. We shared the Family Proclamation to the World and the Restoration. He said he not only believed, but FELT that what we said was true!! In his closing prayer, he thanked Heavenly Father that we could help him slowly understand God's will for him, and that he can walk the way of the gospel. Despite the noise of his house with all the kids, we testified and taught with the Spirit and the Spirit testified to his heart that what we were saying was true. So inviting him to be baptized was so simple, he accepted:)
Funny moments from the week:
-We met a totally golden guy who was biking his way around Taiwan. We wanted to give him a copy of the Book of Mormon, but he didn't have anywhere to put it, literally not just an excuse! So I pulled my hair tie out of my hair and fastened to book to his water bottle holder!! Haha he took it because I provided a way:)
-We saw a cool statue head outside of someone's house and I wanted a picture with it. Sister Haacke was like "what if someone sees us on their front lawn?" but i was like I think the door is closed, it's fine, we'll share the gospel with them. So we took pictures and as soon as we turned away to knock on another door, the man whose house it was came out...TOTALLY saw us:)
-This past Friday was 中元節 or Ghost Festival. Everyone believes all the ghosts of their dead ancestors come out to wreak havoc unless you worship them or something like that. So 98% of the population in Taiwan worships their ancestors, so proselyting at people's doors was not super effective on Friday!! Haha as we biked down the streets, EVERYONE had huge tables set up outside, sacrificing TONS of food to ward off and appease these ghosts. We would bike through huge clouds of smoke produced from the fire pits people throw money into to appease these ancestors. Crazy stuff huh?
-rain all day everyday. I think I have forgotten to mention that because we are so used to it! Haha it rains more recently than it did when the typhoon was here!!
-I got told by YET ANOTHER PERSON that I look Taiwanese!! I guess I was meant to be in Asian!! Haha:)
-Not funny, just fun, I saw 鍾姐妹 this week, a Taiwanese returned missionary that I served with at the very beginning of my mission!! Love her!

Our only down point of the week was that Zhu JM, who was supposed to get baptized this Saturday, did not pass her interview because she hasn't stopped chewing binlang. She was crying a lot and seemed really sad, but she came to church the next day, so it was good:) We are a bit worried that she will give up, but we are planning on just showing an increase of love and helping her role play how to tell her husband that she can't help him work at his binlang stand. But the lesson we had before her interview was incredible. She is just so ready to make this commitment with Heavenly Father, she just has this one thing to overcome, a habit of over 30 years. We are going to try fasting with her and helping her feel yet another way that Heavenly Father has provided for us to obtain His help.
I also realized it is such a blessing that I have never questioned my purpose on my mission. I never really realized it before, but when there are so many hard things and trials and challenges and heartbreak and rejection and changes going on on the inside and outside, how could you not sometimes doubt? Well...I never have and I know that is a blessing. It also is a blessing that Heavenly Father is helping me learn Chinese super well. I have started carrying around my full-Chinese character triple combination. It was terrifying at first, what if I wanted to read a scripture or share it with someone and I couldn't read it?? But I have found that I can read a lot more than I thought I could and it's so cool:)

This week was just miraculous!!! I love my companion, we have fun together. We are so similar and get along and laugh:) It makes the work and life more enjoyable:) I really feel that through my efforts and the help of the Savior's Atonement, I am learning to be happier, no matter what. I am learning to be more patient, with myself, with others, with circumstances, with His timing. I am learning that when I am humble, things always get better:) I really also am loving the Book of Mormon more and more, I'm almost done:) The scriptures are so true. I can feel them converting and consecrating me. Things like obedience and diligence that seemed hard at the start of my mission are natural now. It's like magic, but better:) I invite you all to try it. 

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