Dearest family and friends,
I can't even tell you how much your emails and letters uplift me, encourage me, and make me want to be a better missionary and person. Thank you so much for them and for your support.
Because I now live closer to Taipei, we get to go to Taipei about 2 times a transfer to do temple tours. So, the Taipei temple is across the street from the mission home and right next to a big chapel/stake center = super mini temple square. It has a bunch of paintings in it and a video room, so we give tours of the church to people and explain the importance of the temple, etc. I am so excited to be able to do this, because you know I LOVE giving tours - especially of art and religious art - shout out to all my moa besties. So on Tuesday we went up to Taipei. It's kind of stressful because the night before doing it, the temple tour sisters (these missionaries are kind of like assistant to the president, except sisters) call us and tell us if there are any specific tours planned and what to share with them. Then we plan a few different tours - one for a non-member Christian, one for a non-Christian member, and one for a member/recent convert, etc. So, if we don't have tours scheduled then we just go out and find people and invite them to come and have tours with us. It was fun and super tiring - definitely had museum legs, you know, when you're in a museum all day and your legs feel like they're going to fall off? Love that feeling. Anyway, as we were walking to the temple, someone on a scooter called out to me, and it was a mini-missionary (like a one-transfer missionary from Taiwan), that I met last transfer and hung out with for a few hours. She had just finished her mission so I invited her and the boy she was with (a recent convert) to come do a temple tour with us. They came and we gave them a tour. It's a cool experience to be able to bear our testimonies and hear why they got baptized. They gave us a bunch of referrals, as well, which is always good. Most of the time was spent trying to find people to come and do tours, which is hard, because a lot of the people in the area around the temple have already been invited to do tours. Later in the afternoon, the elders brought in a man from Australia to do a tour, which meant we had to do it in English. Chinese is super hard, but I feel like my gospel-English is way awkward and since I've been learning how to say things in Chinese, I never know what to say in Chinese. Also, I think I'm not as bold when I'm talking in English. Isn't that so bad? I'm really trying to be better. Anyway, this tour was a good experience for me - the man had tons of super hard questions. And we couldn't answer all his questions. But he did say that he appreciated that we tried to answer all his questions and never ran away from his questions. He asked that if someone is a good person and lives their whole life well, do they need to have an organized religion? We answered yes, and explained the importance of the temple and the things we learn in the gospel that help us get back to Heavenly Father and live with our families forever.
It's so sad/frustrating sometimes to know that I have all this knowledge of truth, but sometimes no matter what I say, I can't help other people understand why it is important. Like, a lot of the Christian people here think that all Christian churches are the same. The other day, I talked to a Christian girl and told her reasons why our church was different, and in the end, she was just like, "Well, I also believe in Christ and pray, so it's all the same." or something like that. Wah. Contacting is so hard. I think I need to be better at following the Spirit and thank goodness for Preach My Gospel.
I got a little sick this week. I got better record-speed fast. Tsai Jiemei knew I was sick when I didn't want to eat anything. She knows how much I always love eating. I got a blessing that said cool things in it. The blessing of the Priesthood is a huge, big, invaluable blessing, and another reason why our Church is true and another reason I'm so grateful to have the gospel in my life.
This week, we have a little 11-year-old girl getting baptized and her mom should be getting baptized soon, as well. Her name is Yi Qi. She is so cute, and always gets kind of distracted and bouncy during lessons. A couple days ago we taught her the law of tithing. She totally recognizes that everything we have comes from God. We asked her if she only had 100 for food this week (not very much), would she still pay her tithing? She told us how she would ration her food to last through the week and that she would pay her tithing first because God is more important. We also asked what she'd do if she wanted to buy a cute thing and she said that she would save up for it and pay tithing first. She said life is more important than cute things. Her faith is so simple and so strong. She totally trusts Heavenly Father and all his commandments. We also told her how she can only give tithing to Bishop and counselors and she was like, "Idon'tknowwhothebishopisorhiscounselorsIdon'tknow!!" and threw her head back and slumped back in her chair. Ha, so cute and dramatic and bouncy. When she had her baptism interview yesterday, she was like, bouncing off the walls excited. So cute and funny. I told her baptism was coming up so fast, but she thinks this week waiting is forever long. Too cute.
Let me tell you about English class this week! My favorite! Okay, so this week, we talked about American manners, etiquette and food. I demonstrated different etiquette and then asked if it was okay to do that in America or not? And then we started talking about all the differences between Taiwan and America. This guy named Kevin who I love said, "Have you tried chicken butt? It is so crispy and so good." I started cracking up. And we played my favorite game, where I everyone has to give a person clues so they can guess a specific thing. So, this girl named Theresa/Pong (our new investigator)had the word BBQ and people were saying, "It is meat" and "It can be red" (she kept guessing ham), and then someone said it is an activity and she was like, "What?! You tell me it is food and then you change it to an activity?!" I was cracking up. I love calling on her because she always avoids eye contact with me and then when I call on her, she starts giggling and tries to get out of doing whatever I want her to do. So cute and so funny. Oh, and here, people a lot of the time squat on the ground when they sit, so I was trying to tell them we never do that in the States, but they didn't understand what I was trying to say and I was wearing a skirt so I couldn't demonstrate. So then Kevin was like, "Oh, I think I know what you're saying." And he squatted down and I was like, yeah, that's it! But then some people didn't see, so I tried to make him do it again, but he wouldn't. And it was so funny and kind of awkward, and we were cracking up. Oh, also Kevin was trying to explain s'mores to them because he thinks they are weird and they had never heard of them before, and he was trying to explain what a marshmallow is and it was just so funny. Wow, sorry, I"m being so spastic because my time is almost up.
For English spiritual thought, we taught about the Holy Ghost - we compared it to the patronus spell in Harry Potter - you can cast off dementors, or bad thoughts, by using a patronus/the Holy Ghost. (Tsai's jiemei's brilliant idea.) It was awesome. Hopefully they loved it. I'm getting a little bit better at contacting after English class. Even though when I asked Theresa to meet with us, she thought I was asking her if she wanted to work for us. I think that maybe freaked her out a little bit.
I never know what to say about investigators because I don't want to say anything too personal. I'm still trying to figure out this area and the people in this area. I'm getting way better at remembering Chinese names, which I am so happy about! It's so hard to remember their names. A lot of people here have Buddhist background - actually almost everyone does, I would say. A lot of people will claim Buddhism, even though they don't really practice it. So, a lot of times this is a problem investigators have is that they believe this religion, or they believe in many gods - can't accept just one God, or their family won't allow them to join the church because of their Buddhist background. It's definitely something new for me and a religious background I am not used to.
Love you all so much I can't even stand it!
Ps, my english class wants to learn slang. Help me! And any more english class ideas/games or even current event things would be greatly appreciated !
Emily Larsen! Wah!!! Berlin, Germany?! You're gonna be so great! I have so much to tell you!!! I'll respond to you soooon. Also, your letter was so funny - thanks for moa and provo deets. Wanted to cry (in a good way) seeing all you moa cuties dressed up all frenchie. And Christian's turtles! Wah, so funny. I will write soon.
Rena!! Thank you for your letter and the cool conversion story! Wah, you are awesome. You'll be such a good missionary.
Grandma! Thank you for your letter! Love you so much! I will write you soon!!
Kimi - Thank you for your letter! I'm glad you like my letters! Livy - gets cuter and cuter every day! Thanks for your English class ideas! will write soon.