Monday, August 20, 2012

19 August 2012 (Zhongli-23)

In the city of Long Tan

Dear everyone,

Thanks for the million emails this week. !! Faj, thanks for all the reminders about how good and awesome my life is; I totally know it. But it's good to get your reminders, because sometimes I forget a little bit. But, seriously, my life, so good.

This week, we biked about an hour to a city called Long Tan - it's another area that only has one set of Elders. So we bike there to help them do English class. SO FUN. I miss long bike rides (Ashley McKell, can I get a what-what!). The way there is all uphill, so the way back is extra fun. Plus, Long Tan is super pretty; that's where those lake pictures are from. And Long Tan has delicious food. (Nothing like the food the parentals ate this weekend - geeeez. Beautiful food.) Anyway, BUT, biking back - the wind was huge and strong. And the wind just grabbed my bike handlebars and made them swing out from under me - I went tumbling/somersaulting over the top of my bike and then my bike completely flipped over the top of me. Super yikes. First time in my life I got hurt from not my own fault. I'm totally fine, but I have a few sick bruises and my ribs hurt. Yeah! Oh, and this week, a scooter rear ended my bike. Ankle banged up from that one. Actually, I seriously feel suuuper protected, because that fall coming back from Long Tan was scary, but I'm totally fine.

Oh, we had an awesome lesson this week with our ice cream shop owner investigators. They're crazy busy and so haven't been progressing much lately, but they need the gospel soooo badly. So, we haven't met with them for a few weeks, but we finally met with them again, recommitted them to baptism, talked to them about reading, praying, etc. I told them we would start sharing commandments with them and promised them blessings. I felt like a psychologist during the lesson, because I kept being like, "So, I think you're feeling... blah blah blah." And the husband would be pensive, and be like, "Yeah, I think that's it!" It was awesome. I really love teaching so much. And I loooove the people I teach. Niels, I know right? It's so easy to love people here on a mission. I hope I keep having a lot of love for people like this. Anyway, I forgot to set up with them again, but the next day the husband called me to see when we were coming back. YESSS. And then I called him the other night and he wanted me to pray on the phone for his daughter to hear. DOULBE YESSS. Also, love that I say phone prayers all the time. Sometimes I even call my investigators (a select few) and sing to them on the phone. Who am I turning into?? Trevor, less inhibited, can I get a what-what!

We had interviews with President Day this week. He is 100% different than President Grimley. It is crazy. But, interviews were awesome. He challenged me to read the New Testament and know 1000 characters before I have interviews again. Yess, stoked. I love reading assignments and I'm trying so hard to read that little Book of Mormon in characters.

Sister Evans' Chinese is progressing and she's getting better and better at contacting, and will even contact by herself. Yesss!

Church - still so stressful. I wish you guys could see a video of me at church - I bet it would be hilarious to watch. I'm just all like running around, and trying to talk to everyone, and everyone is trying to talk to me. And Sister Chen described me as having a look of stress on my face, and she knows I have a goal of someone I'm trying to talk to or something I need to do, but I don't vocalize it, so I just look like a basketcase. True - I can't vocalize what I need to get done at church, so I end up being vague and bossy. Ha, poor Sister Evans. What a trooper.

Also, cutie Xu Hao Yun and her little 11 year old brother, Zhen Wei came to church with us this week! So happy! We biked to pick them up and then we all biked to church together. It was adorable. And I was cracking up because Hao Yun was in a sort of ticked mood (I think mostly because she didn't want to wear a helmet - I was like, "Wearing it is no big deal!" And she was like, "Um, yes, it is a big deal. It looks stupid.") And she banged her bike on the side of the door as she was bring her bike out the door way, and she was like, "Ah! I'm so angry!" And I was cracking up, because that's exactly how I am. And then she got mad at me for laughing, and I laughed more. Oh, love her so much. Love them both so much, except Zhen Wei thinks church is the most boring thing ever. Gahhh, so nervous about that one. Any advice? I'm bringing snacks next week.

Our recent convert, Li Qiu Feng is doing super awesome and even came back early from Hua Lian, so she could go to church with us. She's the greatest!

I love you all so much. I'm so grateful to have the gospel in my life and for this time I have to serve a mission. I love these Taiwanese people so, so, so much.

Sister Natalie Christensen

Ashley Mckell: wahhh, loved hearing from you! What's your address?? I wanna write you!
Ariel: AHHHHHH! Also, can't WAIT to get your letter.
Analyn: I love love love your letters. Sorry about the bad news you told me. Hope everything with California goes well. I'm not gonna write again til I get your CA address, so write me as soon as you're there, so I can write you back!
Nicole Valencia: Ah! I need to write you!! Have you moved to Salt Lake yet? I need your new address!
Coryn Cope: Missss you. Pretty sure it's my turn to write you, but you should write me again. I need an update!!
Sandovals: Hello! How are you all doing, especially Vycci? miss and love you all!
Grandma and Grandpa: THANK YOU for the note and money. You guys are the sweetest. Miss you and love you.
Trev4: YOU ARE SO COOL. I love you.
Emily Brown: You prob won't read this, but your letters are so inspiring.

Long Tan

With Li Qiu Feng

With Teresa

MTC buddy, Sister Burton

Biking to church

Sister Evans, Natalie, and a burrito

Delicious donuts

An embarrassing photo that eludes a proper caption

Sunday, August 12, 2012

12 August 2012 (Zhongli-22)

At Qiu Feng's baptism. Yeah!

Dearest family and friends,

This week was probably like the most up and down week I've ever had on my mission. I was all over the place. Thanks for all the letters. Niels, NIELS, spiritual crocs. So funny. The elders always quote our Chinese-dubbed church movies. I definitely showed that one for an unplanned english class. So funny. Glasses in the air.

Monday: We invited our dear Tsai Jiemei (a long time investigator because of family stuff) to an FHE at a member's house. I love being in member's home and learning the gospel from them.

Tuesday: We had a lesson with ABC Angela. If you'll remember, the last couple lessons with her - she was just so stressed and overwhelmed about learning the plan of salvation and reading the Book of Mormon. The book of mormon was a little boring to her and really confusing and she was really stressed about all the names and things going on in it, etc. So I've been kind of nervous, hoping that she'd be able to have some connection with the book. So, when we say her on Tuesday, I don't even know what happened, but she was on fire. She brought her Book of Mormon and had a pink pen that she used to mark all the stuff that was confusing or any questions she had and a green pen to mark all the stuff she liked - she marked up a ton of stuff. She read all the way up to 1 Ne. 10. She was asking us a bunch of questions and asked a couple of questions about Lehi's dream and we told her that later ch. 11 would answer some of those questions and she was like, "I can't wait to go home and read chapter 11!" And she was saying how she can't wait to read the Book of Mormon on the flight home to the US. She was saying how she prayed to ask Heavenly Father to help the Book of Mormon make more sense to her and now when she reads the "yeas", she reads them as "yeahs!" Ha so funny and awesome. She also said that when she prays she'll ask Heavenly Father if He exists and the next day, she'll have a really, awesome, happy day and she's taking that as a sign of God existing. So cool. Then she started saying the closing prayer, but stopped and said to us that sometimes she feels like she says the same things in prayer. We told her that was fine, as long as she is sincere. Then I shared alma 37:36-37 about pray and counseling with God, and she loved it and marked it and was like, "So I can just talk to Him about anything!" And she wants her sister to meet the gospel and to start reading the Book of Mormon. You guys, YOU GUYS, I was so happy when I was with her, I almost burst into tears. Seriously. She is a rockstar. I also asked her if she's noticed a difference in her life since she's met us and she said that she's happy and sometimes feels the Holy Ghost. Oh man, so stoked. She's sooo good. She's totally strengthened my faith and testimony of the gospel and the book of mormon.

We had an awesome lesson with our investigator mom, Qian jiemei. Before she a little bit wanted to change her baptismal date later b/c of word of wisdom, but she's totally had a change, as well, and has totally been keeping word of wisdom and is really excited for her baptismal date. Wahh, so happy!

This week we also did temple tours and we got to see a bunch of other sisters, it was toooo much fun. My trainer, Wang Jiemei, who I adore, is the temple sister, so I love going up there and getting to see her.

And while I was in Taipei, I passed off this language test thing - so stressful because a bunch of other missionaries were there listening to me, and then stressful because they were passing around this paper with the move calls on it but I didn't want to look at it til I was done, blah blah blah, sorry so boring, but I found out I'm staying here another transfer! Wah, so long here, but I love it so it's okay. I was hoping my trainer could have a new comp because I am a very mediocre trainer, but oh well for her.

Friday night: Jia Yu (the one who got in the car accident), called me and told me that she didn't know if she could get baptized the next day because her teacher will let her come to church this Sunday, but then after this Sunday, she can't come to church until NEXT JULY. Gah, school here is crazy. She'll be in school every Sunday all day. I didn't know what to do, so I called our zone leaders, and one of our zone leaders talked to me about a bunch of stuff we could do. So, for now, she didn't get baptized on Saturday. We fasted for her and she fasted with us, and she's going to talk to her teacher again and she if her teacher will allow her to get baptized. At first I was so sad and depressed and frustrated because she's been hitting so many roadblocks, but after praying, I felt a lot more calm and when I called my zone leader back, he was like, "Your voice has more power now." Anyway, so I'll once again keep you posted on that situation. Poor Jia Yu, so sad and crying when we were talking on the phone.

BUT, Li Qiu Feng did get baptized on Saturday. And the baptism was awesome and spiritual and tons of ward members came. She talked about how she's so grateful missionaries called her and how the gospel has helped her and how grateful she is to know the plan of salvation. What a rockstar. After her confirmation, she said, "I feel power." Yessss, so rad. She's been inviting friends and family members to come to church with her. So cool.

PS, I've started studying Chinese characters, finally, so I can finally learn how to read the book of mormon. Actually become somewhat literate in this language.

I love you all so much, I can't even stand it.

Love, Sister Nad

Celia! You're leaving soooo soon! Wahh, I loved allll your updates! Tell your mom to write me. You can take my clothes, BUT you HAVE to send them back before I get home, or I'll have to wear frumpy mission skirts after my mission which will make me want to die.


Allison. I owe you.

Kimi. I owe you, too, but write me morrree! More pictures!

Ariel, send pictures. I love you!

Kayler, i love your letters. Send wedding photos.

Me and ABC Angela. I know I look pregnant. Don't mention it.

5 August 2012 (Zhongli-21)

Eating at hot pot with companion, and soon to be baptized, Li Qiufeng

Dearest everyone,

Niiiieeeels. You're so cool. I just sent you a letter. Write me back when you get it.

This week wasn't super eventful. We ate delicious hot pot for p-day. Faj, the hot pot here is divine. If you come, we'll go. We had an hilarious district meeting, as always, and one of the Taiwanese elders made gaucamole. Okay, those sentences were all so boring. This last week, there was a big typhoon, so we stayed inside all Wednesday night and all day Thursday. It was mostly boring. Then Chen jiemei convinced me to call the elders and play a prank, and be like, "Hey are you guys going to be at the church in a sec?.... Oh, you didn't get the phone call yet? We're supposed to go out in 10 minutes!" So I called Elder Tay and then he hung up the phone before I could tell him it was a joke. So, then I spent the next 7 minutes trying frantically to call him back. He kept not answering, had to call another elder to get a hold of him and also had to confess to my zone/district leader, who said, "You're fine, but, you need to get a hold of him." So, I felt like a big idiot and felt sooo guilty and then finally one of the other elders told me that the elder I had called was pranking me by not picking up the phone. Worked. The elder said when Elder Tay answered the phone he was just like, "Is Sister Christensen freaking out right now?" Anyway, that was the most exciting thing that happened while we were inside. We were all mostly bored.

Oh! And speaking of awkward phone calls! On Wednesday, Sister Chen and her companion were getting fed at Pizza Hut by this member and Sister Chen was like, "I think you could come! You're friends with them and I"m not sure whether they meant to invite you or not and blah blah." So she wanted to call them to see if we were invited or not. MOST awkward phone call ever. Before, Chen jiemei was like, "I'll just say that we're with you right now and..." And I'm like, "Do NOT say that we're together, then they'll feel obligated!" So, she gets on the phone and first thing she says is that she's with me right now. And then the phone call ended with Chen jiemei being like, "Oh, yeah, so actually, they're going to be in the same area as pizza hut this afternoon, so..." Gah, I was DYING! I curled up on a ball and was lying on the floor because I couldn't handle the awkwardness.

Yesterday, our new investigator came to church with her little weiner dog. And when we prayed with her, she was having the dog fold his arms. So funny. Then we tied him up outside during all of church. Yesterday, I taught the law of chastity to our 7 year old investigator, and it was so awkward and so funny. His mom was helping out so it wouldn't be too awkward. The lesson included phrases like, "Can a boy and a boy have a baby?" etc. And the elders overheard part of the lesson and after they were like, "Were you teaching a child??" because we kept using really awkward phrases like the one above. haha. Also, last night we were contacting this woman on the street and she was like, "I have an American friend who lives here. And I feel so bad for him, he's really lonely and single and really fat, but maybe you could be his girlfriend?" hahahha.

Okay, so the best news of the week is that Li Qiu Feng passed her baptismal interview and will be getting baptized this week! She's a super miracle for me. I had a feeling to look at the formers in the area book one day, and she was one of the many formers, but she stuck out to me. So I called her and since we've been meeting with her, she's just been so golden and so awesome. She has a great testimony of the plan of salvation. I love her so much! And cutie car accident, Zhong Jia Yu also passed and will be getting baptized this week! Church is so stressful on a mission, can I get a what-what?? It rivals the mtc laundry room. Anyway, yesterday, I was anxiously waiting through most of sacrament for Jia Yu to come so she could get her interview from the zone leaders who had to come from sorta far to interview. She finally showed up, passed and can finally get baptized. And the zone leader told me that those 2 girls are both super amazing and super prepared. They totally are. I'm stoked for them to get baptized.

I love you all so much! Send me more letters - I love hearing from all of you!

love, natalie

Celia, once again, thanks for the update! So stoked for you guys!
Allison! Yeah! Thanks! I just gave the faj mahal your email address, so he can email you/call you and give you my fb password. If you already changed the password, then he'll get the new password from you! Also, I want him to help me get warby parkers, so if I need some advice or opinions, I'll for sure talk to you. Love love love you.
Ariel, miss you. Still need to write you back!
Kimster, still can't believe livy is one year! Write me more updates!! Send me more pictures!
Trevor, Middle East? You are cool. I miss you.
TARA JIBSON, i still need you to write me.
ALICIA HARRIS, I sent you a letter! If you've already moved, go to your old house and get it!
kayler, thanks for your huge letter. loved it so much i could've died. so cute the you and the faj mahal went to lunch.

Us and Sasha, our London investigator who just moved back to London