Sunday, November 18, 2012

November 19, 2012 (Zhong Li)

Dear everyone,

Niels. For realz. Also, love reading your emails so much. I always feel suuuper inspired. Brobro, write me a poem. And a letter. Did you get that rad letter/card I sent you?

This week...

- family - saw Malachi McGee's baby for the first time. He's precious and I feel like he's full of the spirit. He's so cute. His name is Moses Michael McGee, which I feel is one of the greatest names of all time.

- recent convert Cai Jiemei, one of my besties/my Taiwan aunt took like 5 minutes teaching me how to say "qu", which means "to go" - a word I say all the time. But she told me that my pronounciation of that word makes it sound like I have a lisp or something. So funny. She was explaining to me how to put my tongue and pronounce it, so I kept trying to say it over and over. Chen Jiemei (old companion) was there, and started taking a video. Faj, you would love it. I'll show it to you when I get home.

- Yesterday we went to a rockin' stake conference! Elder Toronto and Elder Wilson of the 70 were there. My favorite was Sister Wilson's (his wife), talk on teaching our children to have faith. She had a list of a few things they did in their home to help their children grow up with faith:
1. Talk about the gospel in everyday conversation.
2. Ask them questions about how they and their friends react to situations or something. (this one I can't really remember)
3. Tell them the scripture stories, especially as they are going to bed at night. Help them realize who true heros are.
4. Her kids wanted her to give them foot rubs and back rubs at night, so she told them she would do it, as long as they talked to her the whole time. Faj, you'd love doing that one to Finn's feet.
5. Let them see you read and pray on your own (separate from family studies)
6. React with faith to challenges, and your kids will learn how to use faith to face challenges.
7. Be nice to the church members. Invite them over for dinner and fhe and help them when they need help. Never criticize or talk bad about other members, especially leaders.
8. When you're with your kids in nature, teach them to respect and love nature. Say things like, "Man, isn't God amazing? Look at that sunset!" The Faj Mahal was so good at teaching us to have love and respect for nature. Eternally grateful for that.

Elder Wilson mentioned how faith requires sacrifice. I love that. He also talked about how every effort we make is rewarded and every effort we put forth gives us more and more light. Every good choice gives us more light. Even though Kai is in a dark place right now, every good choice he makes and every effort he makes and every good influence in his life will give him light. I love that that is what the gospel is. It's light and everything good. I want everyone to be an active part of this church and gospel.

On the way home from the stake conference, I sat on the bus next to one of my favorite Taiwanese people, our mm leader's wife, Wu Jiemei. We chatted the whole time. I loved it. We talked about some of the trials in her life, and discussed faith and the gospel. I talked about Kai. She kept holding my hand. I love hanging out with her. I always learn so much from her. Whenever I'm with her, I'm like, "Tell me how you have so much faith!" "Tell me how I can love fasting and not want to die every time I fast." etc. I love chatting with her.

This last week, we also had a zone meeting and a training meeting with President Day. At the zone meeting, Elder Deal said, "It is a bondage to fear death." I think that's so profound. Another Elder talked about why we need to read the Book of Mormon daily until we die. He said "our memories get captured in these verses, on these pages." He talked about as we read it again and again, we remember revelation we've already received and we remember thoughts and feelings that are associated with certain verses. Every time I read a certain verse in 1 Nephi, I remember my mom and some personal revelation she received about that scripture and then shared with me years ago. I'm loving the Book of Mormon more and more. I am reading about Christ interacting with the people in 3rd Nephi and I love Him more. I love studying how He teaches and interacts with others. In some ways, I feel like I've never read the Book of Mormon before. It's cool.

Some investigator updates:

A super golden, beautiful girl showed up at the chapel on Sunday to go to stake conference with us. Faj, you have a student named Jason Ni in one of your classes, right? She's his best friend. (I know Jason from Zhubei.) Anyway, she has a bunch of member friends, and is so prepared. I talked to her on the bus ride there. She pretty much already keeps all the commandments. She said she pretty much believes this church is true. I gave her a Book of Mormon yesterday and we're meeting with her this week. She's sooo good.

A girl named Zhu An we've been meeting with for a long time. She's so cute and wonderful. She's doing really good, but is scared she can't keep all the commandments forever. She has been reading and praying. She said lately she has been getting a lot of feelings that she wants to get baptized. She has been feeling that the Book of Mormon is true. She's keeping the word of wisdom, even though she loves her tea, and seeing the blessings that come from it.

Xu family - we just met with the mom and son last week. But now the dad and one daughter have baptismal dates, as well. We're excited about them. We'll see how it goes.

Our LA, Ping, is doing sooo good. She's been to church every week since she came the first time. She's so funny and we LOVE hanging out with her. She had to RUN to catch the bus to stake conference. It was so funny and so stressful. If we call her aunt or say anything remotely referencing her age, she gets TICKED. It's hilarious.

I love you all so much. The gospel is the most important thing to me. I'm excited to follow the commandments more fully my whole life. I feel like before my mission, I was sometimes casual in keeping commandments, but I'm understanding more how important and wonderful commandments are.

Love, Sister Nad.

Celia: whew, finally! So glad to hear from you. Glad that you guys are all doing okay. How's the rest of your family? How's work? Yep, Steve and Ariel are in ny! You guys should hang out sometime.
Allison: thanks for your big update! love hearing about everything! oh, allison, IMPORTANT, ugly pictures of me are getting tagged on my facebook. UNTAG them pronto, please! thank you a million times! I think I sent you a letter a couple weeks ago - did you get it? Also, would you hair be like hombre? I'm not sure if I can picture what it would look like, BUT I 100% trust your style judgment (aka, sending you my pre-going-on-a-date pictures to get your approval). I bet it'd be so cute, and then you wouldn't have to keep it up at all, right? You could just cut it off later if you didn't like it.
Tara: Are you still in the wilderness?? I'm going to start writing you back today!
Erin: Did you get my letter?
Emily Brown: I love your emails. Every time you talk about your Russian members, I picture little old fair-skinned, smiling grandmas. I love the images I have of your mission.
Kjirsten: love you writing you today too.
Aunt Jeni: You're the best.
Aunt Bonnie: How are you?? Miss you.
Kimi: writteee meee. love you guys.
ALICIA HARRIS: I've been thinking about NAtive Americans lately. Did you get the letter I sent forever ago?
COURTNEY PETE: do you read this? I misssss you. Write me an udpate.

look at the grandpa/magnifying glass in the background
love metro pictures. aka armpit pictures.
Chen Jiemei - verina do you look at this? your sister wears scarves now!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 11, 2012 (Zhongli)

Oh, man, I'm so excited about all these new little missionaries! Verina (Sister Chen's little sis and Niels' friend) got called to Taizhong, Taiwan! And Lydia, congratulations! Oh, man! I am SO excited for you. You are such a rockstar. Also, I need your home address. Niels, email Lydia, and get her address for me. Thanks!

I have been thinking lately about how we are truly all the same family. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. I know that that is true, but I'm starting to feel that it is true more and more. I've also been thinking about the end of the world (haha, sort of kidding, but also serious), and how we really do need to prepare the world for the second coming and do our best to purge the world of wickedness. Ha, that sounds extremist and scary, but missionary work is the best way to do it. Even when I'm tired or stressed about mission stuff or anything else going, every day I feel hugely grateful that I have this chance to be a full-time missionary.

This week we contacted an American outside of the church. (Contacting people from other countries other than Taiwan always feels so different. And sometimes scary.) We started talking to him about God and he wasn't sure if he believed in God or not. He talked about how he thinks God is maybe a woman. We testified that through the Book of Mormon, we can know exactly who God is and that He is a man, and because He is perfect, He has all the good qualities you can have. We testified of the Book of Mormon, and even though he wasn't interested, he did say that it seemed pretty clear-cut and straight forward. Read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. But, when we invited him to meet with missionaries, he said something that broke my heart a little bit: "You know guys, I'm 57 right now. I'm over this kind of thing." It was so sad and strange to see someone - a little human - who thinks he doesn't need God or that there's an age to be "over-God." To want to have nothing to do with someone so great and good and who loves us and knows us and desires greatness for us like we can't even begin to comprehend. I testified of God and that our message fits everyone, regardless of age and I told him even if he was 87, I'd still contact him. It's never too late to start believing in God and trying to figure out for yourself if He is real or not. And once you find out, oh man, how much greater is your life going to be!

We have had huge success with our dear Ping. She's the one who joined the church in New Jersey. She came to church last week for the first time (here) and loved it. She attended institute this week, came to church with us again on Sunday, and even went up to Taipei with us last night to attend a special meeting with Sister Reeves and Sister Cook of the General Relief Society and Young Women presidencies, respectively. Anyway, the meeting was awesome. They asked the congregation to raise their hand if they were first generation member, and it was pretty much everyone. It was super cool. I love these little Taiwanese people. They're so stalwart and wonderful.

We had temple training with all the sisters this week. Best ever. Loved seeing all the sisters and getting to eat with them and talk to all of them.

We've really been trying to talk to everyone, and just be better at getting to where we planned to contact and make sure we follow through with our plans and we've seen a lot of success from it. This week, we were at a Carrefour parking lot (just like a Shopko), and we talked to this woman and her son. We didn't talk to her very long, but she wanted us to come visit her and really wanted to set up with us. Then she came to her set up, brought her little boy. Said she really wanted to have Christianity in her life and set a baptismal date. Lately our mission president (by the way, love him!) has really been pushing for families. We've been seeing so many miracles as we've been trying to focus on finding families. (something I hated before my mission - the use of the word "miracles". Use it all the time now. Yeah, changing so much!) We also contacted someone walking outside of the church and we talked to him for like two seconds and we were like, "could we come visit you and your family sometime?" him: sure. Us: Sunday? him: sure. Us: 10? Him: sure. It was really cool, so we went to visit him and his family, a little unsure because it was such a fast contact. But, total miracle! It was him and his 16 year old daughter. He really wants her to join a Jesus church and she is really open to it as well. Her mom doesn't want her to just join any church, but to really feel like she believes that what she is learning is true. So happy she said that, because some churches will do mass baptisms, where just hundreds of people will get sprinkled with water and it counts as a baptism. But, we know that baptism is a sacred, holy ordinance, a literal covenant with God. Anyway, she was awesome and came to church for 2 hours on Sunday. She even participated in Sunday School. Also, my companion randomly called up this mom we met to invite her to church on Sunday. She and her little daughter totally came for all 3 hours and they totally liked it. Even her shy little girl went to Primary and had so much fun.

Sidenotes: the Elders have discovered my lazy eye. I told them how when I'm talking to Niels, he'll just be like, "Hey, I"m over here!" as he snaps his fingers at me. They loved that, and have loved telling me the same thing. Also, Elder Deal told me the other night, he was the "chapmaster." They knocked this door and Elder Deal (a new missionary), said, "Uh... What's my name?" to the guy. The guy started cracking up and was like, "Oh sucks to be you guys!" Then Elder Deal got doored as he was biking home. Ha, so good.

Oh, man, almost out of time.

Love you all so much. This church is true. Jesus is the Christ. Through Him we can be saved in every aspect. Heavenly Father lives and loves us.

Love, Sister Nad.

allison: I LOVE you. thanks for the update.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4, 2012 (Zhongli)

Dear everyone!

Since I just wrote on Wednesday, I feel like I have nothing to write now.

Also, my journal writing has been lacking because our house is a riot. Seriously, four of us girls live together (did you know I STILL live with Chen jiemei?? I love her so much and I'm glad we have a reputation for being together for 6 transfers now). So, every night we chat and crack up and rush to get to bed on time. Also, our house has two phones, but one line. So me and Chen jiemei think we are hilarious whenever we are talking to district or zone leaders. We are ALWAYS both on the phone. While Chen jiemei is talking, I whisper things in the background, like about what they're saying or say things like, "Go towards the light!" The elders get all creeped out and it is awesome!

This week we said bye to Cai Yin Ru, one of our besties. (She's scooter contact girl.) I recorded her telling a little bit about her conversion story and how she met missionaries. It's really cute. She's moving to Taizhong mission, (degrey, maybe you'll meet her!!), so we won't be able to meet with her anymore. She wants to get baptized down there so her family can attend, which is awesome. Also, she and that guy are totally hitting it off. Yeah, missionary work! I really love her and really miss her, but happy that she's so golden and loves the gospel so much. The gospel really has changed her life and views so much. She said before she met the gospel, she didn't want to have children because she felt the world was too scary, but now she really wants children because she feels like the gospel will totally help her have a happy, peaceful family. yeah, so cool!

This week in ward missionary meeting (one of my favorite things, for real!), we were talking about how we needed mini missionaries, because there's a couple areas they might have to close. Me and the elders started suggesting older women in our ward and our mm leader was taking it seriously: "Uhhhh... Yeah, maybe. Would she ride a bike?" Hilarious. We were cracking up.

Also, this week, our LA that we've been working with for a long time, Ping, came to church! Stoked! She's the new jersey one who hasn't been to church since she's been back here in Taiwan. She had a good time and totally made friends and loved it. We were so happy. I want to be better at helping LA's when I get home from my mission. I feel like they just need some extra love and encouragement and then they're totally willing to come back to church.

NIELS. Biggest rockstar missionary ever ever ever. i love reading your emails. You are so committed and dedicated to this work. Admire you so, so, so much.

Sorry, really, not that much happened. Oh, the pictures are just a bunch of missionary pictures. After we went to the temple, a bunch of us went out to eat together. My trainer goes home this week. Totally sad! She visited my ward yesterday and bore her testimony. Eternally grateful she was my companion - I seriously learn so much from her whenever I am with her.

I love you all so much. I love the gospel and I'm so, so, so, so grateful that the gospel is a part of my life, and becoming a bigger and more important part of my life.

Love, Sister Nad

Kimi: FINALLY! just kidding, bestie. But, thanks for the emails and I loved seeing little Liv and her black little nose. Cutest.
Ariel/steve: safe???
celia/benson: safe???
Josh and Dee: check last email for my shout-out! love you guys!
Allison: letter going in the mail for you today!
Allison: letter going in the mail for you today!

me and my trainer, wang jiemei. (top photo)
also, the picture of me with flower shirt and she's wearing a purple shirt is xin zhun, one of my very first investigators/baptisms from zhubei.

October 31, 2012 (Zhongli)

Dear all,

Sorry for not writing on Monday - our pday got changed to Wednesday so that we can go to the temple today. I need the temple right now. So stressed about new york and the east coast. Stressed about global warming. Stressed because I'M STAYING IN MY AREA ANOTHER TRANSFER. (dyyyyying.) Love the area, love the people, but you know, YOU KNOW. Stressed about other things. Anyway, so I'm grateful and excited I have the chance to go to the temple today.

Guess what? One of my all-time favorite Taiwan people, Wu jiemei was Mimi Warnick's trainer!! yeah, so cool! Her name is You Hua Li - mimi will totally know her! I'm going to write mimi about it, but tell Mimi that her husband is now the most strong, active member.

My poor ward has to have me for another transfer. Wu jiemei took us out for dinner because they thought I'd move, but nope! So, embarrassing, psyche!

Okay, this week we had the best baptism! Cai jiemei (also one of my favorite Taiwan people - gah, they're all my favorite!) and little Bo Yu, her 8 year old son got baptized. (Faj, her husband is from hong kong, so I feel like our missions are connecting a little bit.) Cai jiemei has waited forever to get baptized. She was so ready and the baptismal service was so lovely. We sang "I like to look for rainbows" as the opening song. Someone saved me from having to play the piano. I introduced Cai jiemei, emphasizing that since I've been here foreeevvver, I've gotten to know Cai jiemei really well. Then they had the baptism. Bo Yu had to get baptized twice because the first time his leg came up. We chatted with Cai Jiemei while she dried her hair (ps, I always try to let investigators have a moment alone in the bathroom after their baptism because I think it's probably a powerful, spiritual experience and also, because of your experience Ariel). Then we went back upstairs, Cai jiemei bore her testimony and ended by firmly declaring that she will endure to the end. Ooo, I get chills thinking about it. Bo Yu read his testimony in a monotone: "I'm so excited to keep coming to church every Sunday. I love learning about following Jesus' example." etc. I was cracking up.

I told you about how we met a hottie mchotterson that we are setting up with our investigator Yin Ru, right? Oh, man, they haven't had time to meet yet, but they've been corresponding, and Yin Ru loooves him - aka loves us more than ever! She already loved us, but every time she calls us, she expresses how grateful she is for the gospel, meeting missionaries, and meeting this new guy. And one day she'll thank me for encouraging to switch her little profile picture from a cat to a picture of her. haha! And she asks us questions about the temple and eternal marriage. Oh, she's so cute and funny. We love her. Bad news! She's moving to Taizhong soon. Degrey, maybe you'll meet her. So she's not getting baptized with us.

This week, we discovered a cockroach in Sister Crofts' luggage. Four girls living together plus flying cockroach equals so much screaming. I started recording them trying to catch it because it was hilarious. Showing you all the video when I get home. Everyone was freaking out. We were yelling louder and louder and louder.

In Sunday school, our recent convert, Qian jiemei bore her testimony about the spirit world. She said that she and her little boy chat every night before he goes to bed. So he was laying in bed and she was chatting with him, and he was like, "mama, I don't want you to get old. Because then you'll die and I don't want you to die." She said he was only five at the time, and he started crying. She didn't know what to tell him because she didn't really know what would happen. She said she told him, "Don't worry! I'm going to be pretty forever! I won't get all old and wrinkly. I'm not going to die!" But, she said it made her so sad because she didn't know. But, now she can tell him that even if she dies or something bad happens, it's all going to be okay because she's going to see him again and they'll live together forever in a really happy place. Precious. Telling people about the plan of salvation was a huge motivation for me to come on a mission. Also, I've been all stressed about the end of the world (Faj, are you cracking up? I'm serious) and the storm in new york, and I always tell our investigators how our lives aren't stable and things could change in two seconds, but our relationship with God won't change. He'll always be there, and that's why we need Him and we need to live the gospel. Some get it and some don't.

We've been meeting with an awesome LA, who got baptized in your mission, Niels. She has all these fliers for activities at the Morristown meeting house, and I think of you. Whenever we meet with Ping, we walk through crowded, scooter and pedestrian filled streets to find a little local place that Ping loves. Hot soup with pork, dou hua. Last week it was ice cream from a gas station. I love hanging out with Ping. She's wonderful and takes us to eat delicious food.

All right, I think this is what I've got for this week. Stay safe. I love you all more than I can even express.

I forgot a story. We went to zone conference and had to go out and find with a new companion. So me and Sister Laumatia got put together. We had this feeling to just go knock at this one house. So we did. Actually not even really a feeling - it was just something we did. Anyway, the woman there was interested in religion and had a lot of questions. She let us come in. Sister Laumatia offered a beautiful, sincere, humble prayer. The woman started crying and said she didn't know why she was crying but she felt so happy and so touched. She said no one had prayed for her before. Before the prayer, she was talking a lot and had a ton of questions. After the prayer, she was so still and calm. It was a powerful and awesome experience for me. And before we left the woman insisted on giving us persimmions. As she gave us the fruit, I could feel how grateful she was that we had prayed with her and for her. It was such a cool experience.

the pictures i just emailed:
us with investigator, jovi.
me and sister laumatia with our fruit.

Love, Natalie

Ariel, Steve, Celia, Bens, Annie, Yahya, Khalil - are you guys safe?? So stressed for all my new york and new jersey besties!
Ariel: thanks for the million emails and pictures. looooved them. Also, duh, cannot wait to visit you. Also, seriously, moving there when I graduate. So set on it.
Allison: Thank you tons for the rich updates on your life! I loved your emails!! Thanks for sending them. I will write soon!
Trevor: brobro
Emily Larsen: Are you getting these? thanks for the email. love you so much.
JOSH AND DEE: I love bananas so much I could die. Seriously, looove you guys and loved hearing from you! can't wait for dinner, kisses from landon, and will i get to hold lily by the time I get back??