Thursday, December 12, 2013

Contemplating Leaving

Today I fulfilled my TA-ing duties by helping with practicums. The first girl's tour started off a little boring, no clear thesis. But as she began to ask us response questions about the art, I began to feel the power and relevance that art has in my life and the personal revelation we can get from all things godly. She ended her tour with this painting.

Minerva Teichert

When I give tours of this exhibition, I usually include this one. Especially with children. We sit on our pockets and talk about where our ancestors are from and how immigrants are such a cool thing about America and how America is a big melting pot.

Tonight I really felt how hard it must have been to leave one's motherland in order to come to America, where the future was completely unknown and the language was foreign. The girl giving her practicum asked why we do hard things. And it hit me that they did this hard thing because they truly hoped and believed there was something better. The hard things would be worth the gains. Lately, I have been completely overwhelmed by the possibility of moving far from the Utah desert. But I thought about how people leave their homes, and they pray, and I feel empowered and I feel the sense of importance and significance from doing things that will be hard for me. 

But, how I love this desert land. Photo credit: The Faj Mahal 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I love this photo of me and Niels, looking like the best of friends.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


I got home a transfer ago. I hated coming down the escalator, scoping out my family. The missioanries I traveled with all talked to Vicky Chen's family in Chinese to show off their Chinese skills to their parents. I wasn't 100% sure Lars was Lars. Finn is big. My family thinks I'm a little more serious and a little more spiritual. They didn't support me praying over our Chipotle burritos on the way home from the airport. ALL (most) OF MY CLOTHES ARE MISSING.

Lars, me, and The Faj Mahal's elbow. Wearing a dress my beloved investigator/recent convert gave me after I told her I loved the material.

Aunt Jeni, me, Uncle Darrel, cousins Trisha and Kayla.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I'm home! Feeling directionless and purposeless. Yeah!

My homecoming talk will be on May 12th at the red brick chapel right by my house.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23, 2013, Final Message

Dear Faj, Mom, Kai, Niels, Finn, Lars and all my bestie cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma/grandpa, and friends,

Oh man. I can't believe I'm leaving my mission. It's the most surreal feeling in the entire world. I felt like I would be on my mission for 7 years, at least, so it's crazier than crazy that it's actually coming up. Faj, duh, would love it if Aunt Grady came to the airport.

Gah, don't even know what to write. And also only have like 13 minutes because we've got to catch an early train to Taipei. My mission president is the best and is letting me go visit zhongli before I go. So I have plans to hang with members and old investigators all day.

The past couple weeks have been great. Last week, we saw a lot of miracles and a lot of new investigators. Even though I wasn't perfect, I tried hard to stay focused, and it's hard to not stay focused because you're still just out doing all the same missionary stuff, every day. On Sunday, the entire Ma family (including grandma and grandpa) showed up to church. I was so happy to see all of them. We visited them last night, and they knew it was my last time to see them. We talked about prophets and temples. We had a cute, young grandpa member come with us - he really hits if off with the Ma grandpa because they are both aboriginals. After the lesson, they took pictures of me with them wearing a big aboriginal hat. The grandpa is so precious, and he told us that he's liking church more and more. This family is the greatest. So grateful I could meet them and get to teach them the gospel.

Chen jiemei got confirmed and she is doing so good. Really humble and has a lot of sincere intent.

I love teaching so much. My mission has made me realize even more how much I love teaching. And I really do love teaching people the gospel. It's funny because you teach the same things so much, but you really never get sick of teaching those things.

Oh, man. I feel so weird.

Anyways, I am so grateful everyday for my mission. Even when I have felt tired or stressed or whatever, I'm still so grateful every single day that I'm here and able to serve a mission. I feel like I've truly become converted to the Lord. I feel like before my mission, I had a testimony, but wasn't truly converted. Now I feel like I'm converted and I do things for the right reasons and I love to keep the commandments. They don't feel like a burden at all. I feel like God is more real and tangible than He has ever felt before. I feel like He truly is watching out for me and truly knows what is going on in my life and in everyone's life. My knowledge and testimony of God and the gospel is truly the most important, most special thing I have. I truly know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that because He lived and died for us, we might also live again. I know that this life is not all there is. I absolutely know that the Plan of Salvation is real and true. We will live again, with our families, eternally, if we just do what God commands. I absolutely know that the Book of Mormon is true. I absolutely know that Prophet Monson is the prophet on earth today. He is literally God's spoke's person. Having a prophet on the earth gives me more comfort and guidance than practically anything else. dear family, thanks for all your love and support. So much of my conversion has truly come from your examples, especially of your strength in trial. The examples you have set have made deep impressions in who I am.

Oh, man. Everyone help me be spiritual and not weird when I get home, okay? I love you all dearly.

Sister Natalie Christensen.

ps, kai, come to the airport! love you.
pps, niels. your letter was THE BEST. totally in my scriptures, and i have re-read it like 7 times.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 15, 2013

Dear Faj, Mom, Kai, Niels, Finn, and Larf.

This week, our investigator Chen jiemei got baptized. I'm really grateful that I've had the privilege of teaching her and getting to know her. She is soft-spoken and dignified. She seeks personal revelation and gets it and really has had a change of heart. When I first met her, she wasn't very faithful (according to her) and seemed like she had a lot of things to work through. I'm not sure if I thought I would see her get baptized. When we first invited her to set a baptismal date, she thought really long and hard about it. But, she has grown and learned so much. And changed so much. It's cool to see the power of God, and the influence the Holy Ghost has on people and how they can literally change. After passing her baptismal interview, she all the sudden started feeling really unpeaceful and uncalm and was really upset. We met with her about every day this week and tried really hard to strengthen her. By the time Saturday came around, she felt calm and ready and excited to get baptized. Her baptismal service was simple and sweet. So, this will be the last baptism I see as a missionary here.

We visited the Ma family on Tuesday night. I was feeling kind of strange in the lesson and like something was up and I needed to figure out what it was. I was trying to cover this other stuff, but at the end I finally asked them how they were feeling about baptism and the oldest son said that his parents told him he needs to wait until he is 18 to get baptized. BUMMER. They want him to focus more on school. That was a big bummer, but they're still doing good. This Sunday, they came to church and watched general conference. Luckily, they watched the session where President Monson talked about the fire in Vivian Canyon and they really liked it. 

This week we had a FHE with our mm leader (love him! so great and so supportive) and his 3 kids and wife and their 3 teenage nephews. We sharaded scripture stories, and I loved being with a bunch of loud, rowdy teenage boys. Made me miss you boys. kai, niels, finn, lars. At the end of the lesson, one of them accidentally exploded a squishy ball thing, so white goop exploded over everything.

This week, I went on exchanges twice. Once in my area with Taidong sisters, and once in Hualian with Sister Huang. I still love Sister Huang. She's one of the funniest people I've ever met in my life. Last night she was getting mad at us for flushing our toilet paper down the toilet (a lot of Taiwanese people don't flush their toilet paper) and we were like, "No way are we not flushing it!" She was getting all worked up and was like, "C'mon!" Oh, man, I'll do impersonations of her when I get home. She's the best. Anyway, we went to visit one of their investigators, Xu jiemei. She's one of my favorites - she's the one who told her husband they should get baptized because she wanted to be with him forever. She's pregnant, so we/they haven't met with her in a long time because she's been feeling sick, but we just stopped by the other day, and she was there and really happy to see us and visit with us. I love these Taiwanese people. I love sitting with them in their homes and chatting with them and then listening to their concerns and what's going on and then sharing gospel to help them. I hope I always use the gospel to solve all problems in my life. Before my mission, I think i relied more heavily on my own wisdom and on others' advice rather than on the gospel and God. The mission has brought some good changes. Anyway, she's been having some trials and has been really sad and we shared in Jacob, how the people came to hear the pleasing word of God, the word which heals and wounded soul. So beautiful.

This week, we also met with a member's little cousin. She is about 12 and super, SUPER shy. When we asked her to say the closing prayer, she started crying. ah! stressful. But, she's really cute and the member says she has a strong desire to learn and have an eternal family. 

Two Hualian families had us over for dinner on Saturday and Sunday nights for little goodbye dinners. It was great to see so many members and get to hang out with them. I'll miss the power and authority I have as a missionary.

Li Qiu Feng, one of my bestie new converts from Zhongli came here to hang out with us. She rented a bike and has been biking and proselyting with us. It's so fun to hang out with her.

Little boys, missions really are the best. You'll love your missions.

I'm trying to care more about what God thinks about me than anyone else. I loved General Conference. I loved Elaine Dalton. She is such a powerful, empowering, ennobling woman. I love that she said, "I shall ever praise Him for the privilege of being a woman." Jesus Christ was the greatest champion of womanhood. The church and God holds women so high and empowers and ennobles them. I'm so grateful to be a part of this great church and have God as my literal Father in Heaven. Wah. We are so blessed and so lucky. 

I love you all dearly. See you NEXT WEEK. Crazy.

Love, Sister Nad.

April 8, 2013

Editors Note: Sorry for the delay in posting this. I have been in China where I do not have access to Natalie's blog.

Hey, dearest Mom, Faj, Kai, Niels, Finn and Lars.

I can't WAIT to see you guys. You guys all looked so cool in your camping pictures. I want to go camping. What fun stuff are we doing this summer? Lars, you looked so awesome with your pocket square. Seriously, you guys, are the classiest, coolest little brothers. 

Our investigators are doing good. But, our investigators are few, so we are really trying to be good finders and get more investigators. We have two new converts who are like 17 and 15 and we've recently been meeting with their older sister and their mom. Usually separately. The sister came to all of church yesterday and liked it. She's been really influenced by seeing her sisters pray and she wants to try it out. She is curious about whether this is all true. I think it's so cool that peope really do wonder if all of this is true or not, and that they can test it out and try it out and know that it is all true. All of it. It's so cool. We are so blessed and lucky to have the truth and to know the truth. Anyway, we went over to their house the other night and just read the book of mormon together with the two convert daughters and the mom. We would just take turns reading (Faj, I carry around my chinese book of mormon and a little english one in case I have to look stuff up. So when I read outloud, I read from the Chinese one. There are still a bunch of characters I don't know, but sometimes I get through whole verses without needing any help. Yay, becoming a little literate! But, writing, not as good. There's a few I know, but when I write letters, I usually need to look a bunch up.) Anyway, we took turns reading and discussing the things we read. The sister has been stuck on 1 ne chapter 2, so we read that together. It was the first time they had all ever read the scriptures together, and they loved it. They were like, "Whoa! We're already on chapter 3!" And then we all discussed what we learned and we all learned different things; one learned about prayer, one about faith, and one about the importance of keeping the commandments. I feel like the book of mormon and the Spirit totally did all the teaching. It was cool. Also, there really is power in the family. I have definitely taken that for granted - having a strong family that does spiritual activities together. Honestly, what a huge blessing. I testify that the peace and contentment we feel from the gospel is impossible to find in outside sources. 

On Tuesday, we visited the precious Ma's. They're doing so good, but keep them in your prayers, okay? Their parents and grandparents are extremely supportive, but they're still just kids, coming to church on their own and we want them to get really solid testimonies. We taught the ten commandments. When we taught about the sabbath day, we had the littlest one do an activity where we made him run all around. He was so tired and panting afterwards. Oh, I love him so much. On Saturday, we stopped by their house, and the kids and grandparents were there. The grandpa was cute - kept talking a lot and the boys were cracking up a little in the background. But, the grandpa kept thanking us and said he's wanted his grandchildren to become Christians for a long time. I invited him to come to church again, and he was like, "I'll come! To the doorway to drop my kids off." We all started cracking up. Ah, their whole family is so good; I believe in the future, they'll get baptized. 

This week, me and Sister Evans spent a day plus in Yuli on exchanges with the sisters. Me and Sister Wu (I love her! I tried on all her clothes and took a skirt home with me and ate a ton of her chocolate - ha! she's the best!) spent the day in Rui Shui. There is NO ONE there. Haha. Sister Wu and her companion are the first sisters to ever serve there. It's like a little country town with a couple mental hospitals. So everyone either works at the hospitals or are farmers. We rented bikes in Rui Shui (because we took the train there). Mine had tiny tires and hers had no gears, so we just biked really slowly around to visit 2 less-actives and one really stalwart member. It was really fun.  Oh, we did have a sort of lesson with this guy. We contacted this woman outside her house, and she let us in, but she wasn't interested in even talking to us. (I guess everyone there just lets you in their house.) She watched TV and her 30 something year old son was half playing the computer/half talking to us. He had met with missionaries before, but thought not being able to drink tea was too hard. It was awesome, because for some reason I was just really bold with him and told him like it is. I told him he was relying on his own strength and not on God's. And lightly got after him for paying more attention to the computer than to me and he laughed and listened a little better after that. 

This week, I also went on exchanges to hualian with sister parker (we live together, and have practically the same area). It was great fun. As we were headed to do service at a member's house, we ran into this Philippino guy who is a member but hasn't been to church since he's lived here. We detoured to take him to th church house, and when we got there, my companion and Sister Huang were teaching a lesson, but Huang jiemei was basically just taking care of our investigator's daughter who. let's just say, has a TON of energy. 

Our investigator C jiemei passed her baptismal interview, but praaaay for her. Ever since she passed her interview, she's been feeling really sad and dark. I think Satan is hitting her hard, so really remember her in your prayers. She's supposed to get baptized this week. 

Also, this week a child was trying to bite my thigh, and so was biting my skirt and I tried to get my skirt away and it totally ripped. Yeah. Started my mission with a dog biting my cutest skirt, and ending with a child biting a hole in my second cutest skirt.

A bunch of people were at church yesterday -= 5! The people we have are so good. Oh, man, love this mission thing. 

Love you guys dearly, 

Sister Natalie

pictures - exchanges in rui shui

Sunday, March 31, 2013

April 1, 2013

Have I told you guys that whenever I show people my family picture, they always do a couple double takes and then ask which one is me. Which is always after telling them I'm the only girl in my family. C'mon guys!!! Apparently I look super, SUPER different. Then they always comment on my "rock" brother. They think Niels is handsome. (Then I always say, "Yeah, he think's he's handsome." And then they always crack up.) Sometimes they think Finn is a girl. HA! And they think Lars is cute. Everytime it's the same. Faj, President and Sister Day told me I look like you. Precious. But, mom, if they had met you, they probably would have said I look like you because I think more people think we look alike.

You guys, I'm getting home this month. It's crazy. Sometimes I get a little sad. Like last night, I was thinking of some members who invited us over for dinner, but we didn't go because we felt like we should stay in our area and find. (See,not getting too trunky.) But, I just got sad all of the sudden and thought about how much I'd miss them and miss not living close to them. I already want to come back to visit all my friends. And do all the cool taipei stuff I've never done because I'm one of the few missionaries who's never served there. But, I'm also really excited to come home and see all of you and move on to the next phase of my life. And wear cute clothes again and bike wearing jeans. But, really, love my mission. And excited for the time I have left.

This week wasn't super eventful. The other sisters hid in our apartment and scared us so bad. We screamed and then a neighbor came to check on us. Sister Huang was like, "Oh, sorry, Americans are loud." Hah! I love living with Sister Huang. She's getting trained by Sister Parker (who I also love). Sister is either talking and going a mile a minute, or really tired. Sister Parker said she received revelation about Sister Huang. Sister Huang always wants to sleep, but if she's talking, she's wide awake. So if she's getting tired, Sister Parker just gets her to talk and then she's fine. Sister Huang talks to us about Taiwan culture stuff all the time. She was telling us how sometimes they eat baby deers or "bambis" and then said in English, "Very cute. Very yummy." ha! The other day there was a big earthquake.

Okay, rambling. Sorry. This week I went on exchanges to Taidong with sister Zhong. Sister Zhong told me that she used to be a big partier and wasn't interested in church or God at all, but someone (she doesn't know who) gave her phone number to missionaries. She thought it was annoying,but then started going to English class and eventually met with the missionaries. She said she was really influeced by one of her sister missionaries. She said that she felt like she was so angelic and so perfect and she wanted to know how a person could be like that. She said she didn't get baptized for her,but she feels like if she didn't meet her, she might not have been so influenced to get baptized. I think it's cool that that missionary had such an impact on her, just because of who she was. It makes me want to be a lot more Christlike.

 Oh, no, have to go to the bathroom so bad. BAthroom doesn't really have a door. Trying to hold it.

Anyways, this week after English class, I invited one of the guys to meet with missionaries and he didn't want to. He said he believed in Jesus Christ, but he needed proof. I got to testify of the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. You know how sometimes you have a dream, and like you're mad at your friend and then when you wake up, you're still mad at your friend? It's like your dream literally changes you a little bit? That's how the Holy Ghost works, I think. Just like in Mosiah 5:2, when the Holy Ghost communicates with us, He literally changes us - changes our nature, our disposition and helps us believe and know that Christ exists. It's hard to explain that influence, but it's sort of like a dream. He can literally help us change our very nature and gives us pure knowledge. I love what Joseph F Smith said, "When a man has the manifestation from the Holy Ghost, it leaves an indelibale impressiion on the soul, one that is not easily erased. It is Spirit speaking to Spirit and it comes with convincing force... The impressions of the Holy Ghost sink deeper into the soul and are more difficult to erase." Super cool. I'm trying to be ever aware of the enticings of the Holy Ghost, so I can put off the natural man.

This week, we thought we had a big miracle of talking finding a family. A man and his two children. He was really sincere and intent on listening to us. But, later we found out (not from him,but from the elders) that he is already the elders' investigator. Bummer.

We visited the Ma family and the littlest one said he's been teaching his friends at school about prayer and how to pray. PRECIOUS. Almost died when I heard. We taught 10 commandments this week and took turns drawing little pictures of the ten commandments. They're doing good. One of them has been testing but we're working really hard to help them hit their baptismal date.

Okay, got to GO. Love you all so much. Thanks for your love and support. God is so real.

Love, Natalie

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

I've noticed that a bunch of people here have scars on their faces from car/scooter accidents. Freaky, right? Also sometimes people take their huge dogs on their scooters with them. This morning, I saw a lady with a huge golden retriever sitting on the feet part of the scooter. Also, sometimes people let their birds hang out on the front of the scooter. And they still drive with the bird on their scooter. It's crazy and cool.

There's so many good things about being on a mission - all facets of being on a mission. Lately we love making fun of Elder Nelson for how awkward he'll be when he gets home. The other day he said to me, "That blazer is nice." I've been eating these dried fish skins that are sitting on my desk. They're not that good - it's like eating pretzels, you eat them just because they're there. We discovered divine coconut milk juice boxes this week. 

This week was really good. Running out of time, so I gotta write FAST.

Monday. Hiking and dinner at most hipster member's house. The Wan's. He cuts house and his wife used to be an artist. Their house is COOL. The floor is like big stone slab tiles. Their kitchen table is old, rustic wood. Taiwanese people are so funny because they always complain about how naughty their kids are, even when they're the best. They said they hoped their little five -year-old would be more normal when he grows up, but he's so cute and awesome right now. We played a game with them where we give them 2 options and they have to choose which one is more important. Their little boy kept choosing books over all other options, and then he choose all the church things. Aka, all the right answers. His parents were acting so shocked and were so happy with his choices. It was funny.

Tuesday night I went on exchanges for like an hour to help her meet an investigator- Megan, the American. Megan's car got a flat tire, so we last minute biked to her house. She lives at the top of this huge hill. We had fun booking it up the hill, getting lost and booking it up higher than we had to and then finally making it to her house. Had a little meeting with her and then called the district leader to say we were going to be home late, but ultimately biking faster than I ever have in my life, safely weaving in and out of traffic, and making it home in like SEVEN MINUTES. We were so proud of ourselves.

Wednesday. I feel like we see a lot of miracles from just talking to everyone. The other day, we had a plan to slowly make our way over to a former's house, talking to everyone we saw on the roadside. We ended up not having nearly enough time to make it to that former's house, but it was at least a plan and destination, so we decided to at least go that way, talking to everyone. I love talking to everyone, because it makes you do just that, talk to everyone, even though you might initially judge some people and wouldn't normally stop to talk to them. For example, we were biking in a more rural area (love this area!) and there was an older man - a farmer - in the field next to us. We stopped to talk to him. He's retired, but doesn't want to sit around watching TV, so he works on this farm. He talked about how he had a copy of the Book of Mormon. He mentioned, "Yeah, and those brothers! They're always arguing!" He said missionaries used to come and meet with him and his wife, but he never had a chance to come to church and him and his wife had a hard time understanding everything. But, he was really willing to leave his phone number and address and allow us to come visit him again. We also met a man right outside the family mart across the street from the church who wanted us to also meet his wife who owns the family mart. So we went in and chatted with both of them. They said their friend is our super active member, and that they could schedule with her to come and do a chapel tour and check out our church. So, of course we talked to that member about her getting in contact with them. 

Thursday. Contacting. Exchanges.

Friday. Zone conference. It was great. When we start meetings with president, he's just like, "Open up your scriptures to..." And then he just expounds the scriptures and it's so awesome. I love him. Him and Sister Day did a hilarious skit of a bad weekly planning session (but a lot of it was totally true - aka we need to be better at doing weekly planning). At the end of zone conference, he called me up to bear my testimony because it was my last zone conference (!!! :( ) and it was a really special, cool opportunity for me to bear my testimony then. I expressed how grateful I constantly am to Heavenly Father that He prompted me to come on a mission and that I finally followed that prompting. I bore testimony about how I've learned a lot about God's love for us. And then I bore testimony of how God will provide for our future as He has the past. I have more faith in the future than I usually have. I'm getting a little more faithful and I love it. (TARA, thanks for your letter. It was super inspiring. I have so much I want to say to you.) Then I went on exchanges in my area with a new sister chu. We got to drive back with President and Sister Day, which was the BEST. LOVE them. We chatted a lot. About their jobs, their real lives, how they gained their testimonies. President Day told us how perplexed he was by the low speed limits in Taiwan and Sister Day got mad at President Day for not stopping fast enough at red lights. Sister Day said she loves being on a mission because she loves us and she loves spending so much time with President Day. Precious. She said she doesn't want to leave. They're the best and so diligent and dedicated. They never complain even though they're crazy busy.

Saturday. Lessons, phone calls, exchanging back companions, member visit, etc.

Sunday night, we had a big miracle. We finally got to meet with an investigator Sister Ochoa and I contacted last transfer. He's getting married soon and we talked about the importance of families. We asked him if we could meet with him and his girlfriend, and he said that would be good. Last night, when we went to his little bread shop, their friends - a married couple - were there as well. They were all just sitting there, drinking tea and hanging out. We had a really wonderful meeting with them. They were super nice and friendly and all willing to commit to pray. They felt like they were our good friends. Ps, love when I make jokes in Chinese and people think I'm so funny. Best.

The Ma family is still doing really good. They didn't come to church on Sunday because they had to go to a cemetery, but other than that, they're doing good and progressing a lot. It's been a little bit challenging helping all of them progress equally and individually, but also together. We need to be better at following up, so we want to take more time to call them, visit them, and visit the oldest daughter at her work at a bread shop. The 14 year old is doing especially good. He writes in his journal daily, and also daily reads the Book of Mormon and prays. 

Our other really good investigator is Chen Min Feng. Her faith has grown so much; it's incredible to witness. She's taking baptism really seriously. At first, she wasn't sure if she wanted to set baptism, because she felt like before she wasn't ready, and she really wanted to make sure it was right. Recently, she's been feeling better and better about baptism. She said she feels good about it, and feels like she needs it. In order to help her hit her goal and to continue to increase her faith, we're going to meet with her 3 times a week. We're super happy that she's so willing to meet so often. 

Whew. Love you all so much. Especially Faj Mahal, Mom, Kai, Niels, Finny, Lars. Think of you and pray for you. The church is the best. The gospel is the truest.

Love, Sister Natalie

Zoe, did I tell you thanks for your letter a while ago? I loved it.
Emily Larsen. GOT YOUR EMAIL. love love love love you.

hiking detour.
beautiful cemetery 
delicious dessert. tortilla/crepe with ice cream and crushed peanuts inside.
fat noodles, my favorite.
waiting for zone conference to start.

Elder Farrell's trainee made this little star for him and put it on his bike. great chinglish.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 18, 2013 Last Transfer

I'm officially on my LAST TRANSFER. crazy.

Guess who my new companion is? My TRAINEE, Sister Evans. Yep, reunited! Crazy, right? This week was crazy busy. We did a last minute exchange on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we spent a lot of time on the train and I got to hang out with Taidong's Sister George. Then on Wednesday night, Sister Du sort of told me, but not really, that we were getting a move call that night. I was freaking out, so scared I was going to move because I really didn't want to move. But, Sister Du confessed that she found out she was going to move. (Can't trust missionaries with secrets, especially about move calls. She heard from another missionary.) Anyway, so on Thursday, we had the busiest day. I was crazy tired. We got lunch and dinner set up's when members found out she was moving, plus a bunch of set ups. We biked from one end of town to the other allll day and night long. We were wiped at the end of the day. Thursday night, Taidong sisters came to spend the night and Friday morning, Sister Du and Sister George got up super early to go to Taipei to get new companions. Yeah, didn't even get to go. Wahhh. 

Then like all the missionaries (like Sister Liao's new companion, elders in my district, and the zone leaders) started calling us to tell us who our new companions were. And, yeah, I was super shocked that I'm reunited with my trainee and I feel bad for her, because that'd be weird to go back with your trainer. Especially if your trainer is me. BUT, I did feel really good and peaceful about being with her again. I felt like a bad trainer, so I'm excited to have another chance to be her companion. She told me that she's always felt like she was a difficult trainee, and she always sort of wanted to do it again, or have another chance. Haha, funny.  So, yeah, companions again! Oh, OH! Yeah, and they didn't even tell me this until after the transfer meeting, but we're now splitting the area. So our apartment is a 4-person and I'm with Sister Parker and Sister Huang, who is getting trained. And she just came from DeGrey's ward. Finally I met someone who knows cousin DeGrey!! Anyway, they're in charge of Hua Lian and I'm in charge of Ji An, which is like the more rural country part of the city. Yeah, crazy. So the last few days have been crazy busy, just trying to get things ready to split and have more people move into our apartment and trying to help the Hua Lian sisters get all the information they need. Crazy busy.

On Sunday, we have district (stake) conference, so all the members of Eastern Taiwan came to HuaLian. The Ma family came and attentively sat through all two hours, but they got a little antsy the last 30 minutes. One little 9 year old gave an AWESOME talk about how her dad promised her he'd baptize her on her 9th birthday, but wasn't keeping the word of wisdom and wasn't baptized yet. But she prayed every night for it, and her mom was also full of faith and always told her to have faith and her dad ended up getting baptized and baptizing her. Precious.

The Ma family is so great and doing so good. Duh, I'll try to send a picture of them next week. We had a great lesson with them this week, where we talked about the Book of Mormon and our favorite stories. Then we read 1 Nephi chapter 1 together, and when Laban tries to kill Laman, they all had great reactions - half shocked/half cracking up. So funny. It was great. Zi Yao, who is close to being baptized, lives in Hualian, so she'll start meeting with the other sisters. This week will be filled with tons of finding because we don't have that many investigators in Jian. Saturday night, we found a couple new investigators and gave them Book of Mormons. I love explaining that the Book of Mormon will help them know God better and then I love when people are really enthusiastic and excited to accept a Book of Mormon on the street.

I'm sorry this email is so boring and non-exciting. I love you all so much. I'm really grateful I still have a transfer left to do this mission thing. The church and gospel are absolutely true.

Love, Sister Natalie

EMILY LARSEN. Hey. I heard you're home from Germany. TALK TO ME, GIRL.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 11, 2013

Editors note: I am here in Taiwan for a few days. Yesterday I went to church where Natalie served for 10+ months. She's a total rockstar there. Everyone loves her and was raving about how good a missionary she is and how much they love and miss her. I was able to have dinner with some of the members and a couple college student girls that she taught and were baptized. One of the girls was the best friend of one of my former students. It was a really cool experience. She wanted me to post some of my photos from the day.  Matt

Faj, I loved hearing and seeing all about you being in Taiwan. One of the elders in my district is companion-less right now and we had this great idea that you could be his companion for a day, but totally not allowed. But, it's been cool the past couple of days to know that you are here, too. The ward members keep asking if I'm going to see you. 

Sorry, this week I didn't write in my journal very much, so I'm trying to remember that things that happened. We're moving to a new apartment today, so most of our free time was spent packing and cleaning. Still have so much to do. Our new apartment is super cute, but we'll really miss our views of the ocean. And our new apartment is more in the city. More convenient, but not as beautiful. But, that's okay.

We continued to try to use the Spirit and prayer in our finding more this week, like last week. On Monday night, we found 2 new awesome investigators. I love trying to have faith and believe that when we're finding, we really are going to find people. Then we really do. And it's cool, because then the contacts are different and interesting. With one girl, we talked about the Book of Mormon and she was really willing to accept a copy and read it. With the other woman, we talked a lot about family because she is getting married soon. The gospel is truly for everyone. 

I feel like lately we've been meeting with new people who have already decided that they're not going to get baptized. So, that's been kind of hard, but at the same time, we have faith and hope that as they try the word of God and meet with us, their hearts can be softened and they can change. We'll see how it goes. Like, one of our new investigators decided to meet with us because she always rejects missionaries, but then always runs into them again. She feels like it's maybe destiny and wants to see. She's super awesome, has great questions, and is sincerely interested, but over the phone told me she decided she wouldn't get baptized. 

But, then we also have a ton of awesome people who are doing really good and progressing a lot. Example, the Ma family. Oh, man, they are so cute, especially the 10 year old. The 3 kids and the grandpa came to church again yesterday. I didn't see them because I attended the other ward, but Sister Du said that the grandpa wrote some scripture reference on his hand and then asked if he could have a copy of the Book of Mormon. AWESOME. Grandpa is still not a new investigator, because we haven't had a lesson with him. That's the hard thing about having family investigators sometimes - their schedules are all so different. 

We have a quiet, hesitant mom who is a former investigator. She said that her problem is that she doesn't have enough faith. We've been able to slowly see her progress and it's been cool. She said that she feels that she's received an answer to her prayer and that baptism is a good thing. I think she's getting more excited about it.

We have a little teenager, zi yao, who'll hopefully be getting baptized next week. She comes to church every Sunday, but is really scared of getting baptized because she doesn't want people to watch her. So we might just hold a super tiny baptismal service. 

We met with our American investigator. We had a wonderful member help our lesson - she's an RM who served in Chicago, so her English is great. We totally felt the Spirit in the lesson and me and Sister Du discussed afterwards that the times we felt the Spirit was when Lu jiemei was speaking and testifying. Her testimony is so strong and powerful. Whenever she testifies, I totally feel it. Oh, man, I want to be like that. I feel like so often when I testify, there's like no feeling - like I'm just saying things routinely instead of focusing on what I really want to convey or something. I don't know. I'm trying to work on that. I want people to feel it when I say it. This investigator really wants/needs evidence, so it was cool to just hear Lu jiemei testify and feel the truth of what she was saying.

On Saturday night, the ward had a going-away dinner party for Liu Ken Di, our old mm leader. He's going on his mission this week. The food was delicious and I love hanging out with our members. On Sunday night, we had a missionary fireside about families and the Plan of Salvation. Ken Di also gave a talk and it was sort of like his second going away party. He told everyone to wear purple, so that why a bunch of us are wearing purple in the picture of everyone.

This week, I ate so much delicious food. The most delicious was dou hua - it's like soy pudding stuff that I love and eat all the time. But this one had vanilla ice cream on top of the soy pudding, topped with honey, black sticky rice and these gummy/squishy things that they LOVE here and are hard to describe. We eat dou hua all the time and sister Du pointed out that every time we eat dou hua, I say, "This is so delicious, I could die." Ha. True. (picture included)

We've started setting baptismal dates with people for after I'm gone. WEIRD.

Love you all so, so SO much.

Love, Sister Nad.

Tara. can't wait.
Kimi. Duh. 
Allison. Also, duh, best idea ever.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 4, 2013

This week was glorious. I learned so much this week and I saw more miracles and awesome things happen this week than I have in like my whole mission combined. Not really. But this week was really great. 

On Monday the temple sisters came (Angela! the temple sisters are just the sisters who cover the area by the temple - they basically give people tours of the temple grounds and the chapel/church, so we just call them the temple sisters) to do exchanges with us. There was 3 of them because of some circumstances with transfers and one of them is going home this transfer. Anyway, on Monday it felt like when I was little waiting for cousins to get into town - Kjirsten to drive from CA to UT or Addison from TX to UT. Anyway, they got here and on Monday night, I went on exchanges with Sister Chen. We biked to a rural area - away from all the lights and noise - quiet country roads along dark rice paddies. Our lesson ended up not being able to meet with us, but we talked to her neighbor and had a good lesson with her about how the gospel blesses us and our families and we also tracted into an LA. It was fun to be companions again with Sister Chen and teach with her again and talk about the good old days when we were in Zhong Li for months and months together. At night, I slept on the couch and we moved her mattress right to the side of the couch and talked until, we think, 3 or 4 am. We were too scared to look, but we couldn't stop talking. It was great. I love her and so value her wisdom and advice. I'm glad we get to go home at the same time. 

On Tuesday, after hot pot and district meeting, I went on exchanges with Sister Ochoa. After we ate dinner that night, our lesson canceled and I told Sis. Ochoa I needed her help because I wasn't feeling super faithful/positive about finding that night. She was like, "It's okay! We just need to have faith and pray a lot." We had a contacting destination - A-Mart, like Wal-Mart, and decided to talk to everyone we encountered as we slowly made our way there. We really talked to every single person we saw, and started having immediate success. A mom and her son. A man standing outside a bread shop. He's getting married soon and we talked about how the gospel could bless his future marriage and family. We had a little lesson with him, and I totally felt the Spirit. Sister Ochoa and I tried to pray a lot - like every chance we had. That night, I really felt like I had the Spirit with me and I really understood the importance of having the Spirit. I know that that is true, but I could actually feel that having the Spirit with me - abundantly - and using the Spirit to try to know what to say to people made such a big difference. Once we got to the A-Mart, it was out of control - people started contacting us. First we contacted a man from Iran. He was so great, but said he wasn't into organized religion. I asked him if he believed there was truth, and if that truth could be connected to organized religion. He said that was possible. Then we pulled out the Book of Mormon. I love how simple and easy it is to testify of the Book of Mormon and if that is true, then Christ is real. He is super willing to start meeting with the Elders. As we were talking to him, this Haitian guy who I had ran into a few weeks ago at a restaurant (I just quickly gave him a card at the time), came by and called out to me and was like, "hey! I lost that card you gave me!" I started talking to him, gave him the website, and got his phone number to meet with the Elders. By that time, we said good bye to the Iranian and then this girl started talking to Sister Ochoa, and this guy started talking to me. Even though we try to always be together while contacting, this night there was no way! Too many people coming up to us. Basically we just talked to awesome, at least fairly interested people all night long. I was soaring. I felt like I could be a missionary for the rest of my life. Also, Sister Ochoa is from Mexico and I think her Chinese is extra beautiful. And while we were finding, the other sisters met with the Ma family and the three kids and the grandma all set baptismal dates!! Overjoyed.

On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Sister Taylor and Sister Ochoa - tri-pan, yeah! We found this cute woman on the side of the road, sitting on a bench. We stopped and had a lesson with her. Then we had lunch together and started heading back to the train station, when the Haitian came riding by on his bike. We stopped and talked to him again. We found out he met with missionaries before in Haiti and had been to church a few times but wasn't sure how he felt about Joseph Smith. Sister Ochoa bore such beautiful, pure and powerful testimony of the truth of our message. The Spirit was there so strong and it felt so sacred. We set him up to meet with missionaries the next day. 

We met with our soon-to-be-baptized, Zi Yao, and she is doing good. We watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and after she hesitantly asked, "Is this really true?" We were so happy she asked and knelt and prayed with her right then. We're hoping she'll get a sure answer soon. But she's really excited about baptism and getting more and more ready. We also met with Gao jiemei - she's feeling scared about baptism (SATAN), but we read the Book of Mormon with her about how bad things/feelings come from Satan and good things and good feelings come from God. She felt a lot better after meeting with us and our wonderful member. 

Yesterday, church was so good. So stressful, but so good. The 3 Ma children, and their grandpa came for all three hours! The ward members did so good at taking care of them, especially the grandpa. The older men in the ward were totally taking care of him and speaking in their native Aboriginal dialect with him. And all the young women (and a young man) told us that the teenage boy is super attractive. Yeah! But, really, it was great having all of them at church with us.

Sunday night, we were at our mm leader's house, and after we on the college campus by his house. We prayed sincerely and faithfully and were able to meet a really awesome girl and have a lesson with her. She was like, "I don't know how to explain how I'm feeling... I've run into missionaries a lot before. Is it destiny?" Or something like that. Yeah! she seems really prepared and we're excited to keep meeting with her. 

This week was so good. I learned so much about the Holy Ghost, pure testimony, and about my weaknesses. 

Sorry. So rambly. love you all IMMENSELY.

love, sister nad.

Ps, forever ago, we were eating at this all-you-can-eat restaurant with the elders and members and one of the elders innocently commented on how I was eating a lot of food (stressed/chapped) and then he dropped his ice cream cone on the floor. It was awesome. 

temple sisters
eating stuffed squid and stuffed french toast. 

kayla kayla kayla write me write me write me.
angela: your letters ROCK. I looooved all the pictures! Gah, I'm so excited to see you again. praying praying praying you'll get into BYU. If you don't, Heavenly Father totally has other awesome plans for you. All the elders are so jealous that I have such an awesome investigator/recent convert.
KRISTIN. Do you read this? I got your package. YOU ARE THE BEST. I wanted to cry with joy when I saw so many 70% chocolate bars. Seriously. I love you so much. Writing you a big letter soon. And I loved your life updates as much as the chocolate. 

February 25, 2013

Editor's note: I have been in China the past two weeks where Western-based blogs are blocked. Sorry.

Thanks for all the emails! Faj, especially loved the second to last picture of everyone eating on the street. You, totally acting like a millionaire author again. Mom, email me again about the pierced ears thing. Kai, yes! I love when you email me. Love you. Niels. STOP. So glad I'm the oldest child so I don't have to live up to my brothers' standards. Finn. WRITE ME. Lars. You rock. Thanks for the email. Next family home evening, maybe you guys should all write me letters. 

Tons of hilarious things happened this week that I can't put out in public email, but I'll tell you stories when I get home.

I went on exchanges to Taidong this week. The way we do exchanges is hilarious and stressful. Because Hualian and Taidong are like 3 hours from each other, we take trains to this city halfway between and then switch companions/trains there. But, once we get there, we have literally one minute to get off our trains, find our new companion and get back on the train. Every time it's so stressful and I'm so disheveled, especially when I get confused and try to get my companion and I going on the train in the wrong direction. I loved hanging out with Liao jiemei in Taidong. She's so classy and fun to hang out with. I am obsessed with her hair, and we talked about shopping and haircuts on the train. And how we've learned to plan way better because of our missions. Du jiemei rocked Hualian while I was gone. They got 3 new investigators, 2 of which were from elder referrals, and they all sound really awesome. I'm excited to meet them this week. 

Remember that family we knocked into last Sunday night? They are still awesome! When we went back to their house, the grandma didn't meet with us, but the 2 boys and girl and the boys' mom did. The boys' mom is a Christian and doesn't personally have a huge interest in our message per say, but she is really encouraging of the boys meeting with us. We didn't have any time to extend baptism because our peike (the member there) talked a bunch, which was also awesome, but we have high hopes for them, especially because the 2 boys totally came to church on Sunday!! More on that in a second.

Saturday night, the elders had a baptism. A little boy whose father is inactive. The baptism service was one of the most stressful things of my life. Coryn, didn't you have a baptism where you went into the bathroom and cried really quick? That's how I felt after this baptism and it wasn't even mine- ha! Anyway, one of the elders whose baptism it was has been in the hospital all week because he got bit by some chigger and had a super high fever and it made his liver all weird, but he's on meds on is going to be totally fine. So, not the elders' fault that the baptism was a little out of control. And President Day and Sister Day were there. And I was stressed for all the investigators there, including the elders' new Ukrainian investigator, but I asked them how he liked at the baptism and said he was like, "Can I get baptized, too? Like after I take the lessons with you, can I get baptized?" Yeah! So cool. 

A bunch of people came to church, including our 14 year old Zi Yao and the 2 Ma family boys (the ones I referred to in the paragraph above.) Anyway, they were so cute. The 10 year old said he really liked primary and thought it was really fun. They came for all three hours. I sat next to them in sacrament meeting and towards the end, the little boy was getting really antsy, and I thought he was just really bored. I had already given him paper and pen to draw, but he wasn't using it. Anyway, after sacrament meeting, it turns out, he had to pee really bad and was waiting for it to be over. I felt so bad and told him he could've gone, and he hit his older brother (nicely) because he said he couldn't go til the meeting was over. Ha, poor little guy. Sundays are the most stressful, busy day ever. Everyone is calling your name and trying to get you at all these meetings, and you're trying to take care of all your investigators and help them meet members and then you have to meet with people after church. Whew, I was so tired after church on Sunday. 

On Sunday night, we had our last family home evening with our ward mission leader and the youth in the ward. Well, our last one with our mission leader. He's going on a mission to Taizhong next month!! DeGrey, you might meet him. His name is Liu Ken Di. Actually, you'll for sure meet him. Also, DeGrey, I asked my friend who is going to school in Taizhong to find out what area you're in. The other day, I got a referral from Zhang Hua and I was so excited because I was like, "Yes! My cousin sent a referral!!" And then it was from a sister. Bummed. I still hope we send each other a referral someday.  

Sunday night, we went to Lu family's house to eat. Love hanging out with them. The father and dad have a cute/funny father-daughter relationship. He's always teasing her and she secretly loves it.

Well, I can't think of anything else to say. Oh, temple sisters are coming on exchanges today - including Sister Vicky Chen, my bestie companion, so I am SUPER excited. Well, I love you all dearly. I think I still don't realize how cool it is that I am a missionary, (like you Niels, I feel like you totally get it), but I'm grateful every day for this experience and for the power I have because of my calling. I'm grateful that I have a testimony. I tell people it's the most valuable thing to me and it's true. If I didn't have a testimony, I really would feel lost. Everything that is important to me rests on my testimony and whether or not this church is true. Read the Book of Mormon and pray about (even if you already have) and God WILL answer you, I think that's so sublime - I don't even realize how cool it really is. Oh, we have a new investigator, an American. She's wonderful and smart and sincere. She's a Christian - she says her testimony is based on evidence. We had an interesting lesson with her. She's open-minded, but also not sure at all about the Book of Mormon. I couldn't emphasize enough that everything rests on the Book of Mormon - I'm so grateful to have it to use. It really is the basis of everything we share. And thank goodness the formula for finding out it's truth is simple and reliable and true - for everyone, no matter how smart or unlearned you are.

 I also realized how much laughing helps me. I've been crazy stressed lately (I know I"m always stressed, I'm REALLY working on it), but last week a bunch of funny stuff happened and it helped me feel way better and way more light. I believe Heavenly Father knows exactly how to help us. 

I love you all so dearly and think of you and pray for you often.

Love, Sister Nad

KAYLA. write me. write me.
Allison. Your house, YOUR HOUSE. Is sooo cute. Love the kitchen. Ooo, can't wait to see all of it. Thanks for the lengthy email and all your support in my life. Thinking about the anniversary pictures thing - probably would be so cute! I'll keep thinking about it. Ps, duh, I TOTALLY want to go to Alaska.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February 18, 2013 (Hualian)

Hey guys!

Thanks for all the rich emails. I love hearing from everyone. Niels, your email was the shortest. Nine months on your mission?? Crazy. Lars is huge. Also so handsome and adorable at the same time. Lars, are your cheeks still soft? Won't that be sad when Lars starts to grow hair on his face and won't have soft cheeks anymore?

It's still been New Year's all this week. We've still been eating a ton. And even more, since we're always secretly serving each other up with more food. Always so funny until it happens to you. Sister Du and I even went on splits this week so we could attend more dinner appointments. It's funny, because we all love eating Taiwanese food, but a lot of our meals have been American food because they say, "Oh, since you've been eating Taiwanese food all week, we thought it'd be nice for you to eat American food!" But everyone has that same thought. It's been really fun to eat with and hang out with our members. 

This week was really slow because of new year's. Not a lot of investigators could meet. We did have a chance to meet with the mom of the Chen family. We talked about faith with her and read part of Alma 32. We had a really nice discussion with her, and when she said her closing prayer, she prayed that her seed of faith would grow into a huge tree. Yes! Awesome! Loved hearing her apply what we had just shared with her from the Book of Mormon. Her and her husband are doing really good, but because of new year's and stuff, we haven't seen them for a long time, so we're going to re-set a new baptismal date with them and get them working towards that again.

Sunday was a total miracle day, which was a HUGE blessing, because I feel like the work has been going kind of slow. On Sunday morning, Zi Yao, our 14-year-old, biked to church - her first time! The night before we did a tour of the chapel with her and her mom. (Her mom is super great, but is interested in the church for her daughter's sake.) It went really well and when we talked about her coming to church, Zi Yao was like, "I'm so tired. Can I just come next week?" And I was like, "That's what you said last week." Thankfully her mom is super encouraging of her coming to church, so she totally came and since me and Sister Du go on splits for church (because we cover 2 branches at the same time), I didn't get to see her at church. But she said she liked it and liked the talks during sacrament meeting. Awesome. Our member has also been bringing her niece to church and we got to meet with her finally. She's 14, also. 

Then after church and doing our studies, we went to dinner at a member's house. Ate a ton, and then had planned to knock somewhere in that area. We were biking over to a neighborhood to knock, but ended up talking with a couple people on the side of the street. We had a lesson and they set up to meet with us again, so that was really awesome. Then we started knocking in that area. There was a door I wanted to knock on, and when we knocked on it, this cute grandma answered and immediately invited us in to sit down. There was already fruit on the table - it felt a little bit like they were waiting for us. We went in and sat down and the grandma called down her three grandkids who live with her to come down as well. They are Aboriginals (a lot of Aboriginals live out here on the East Coast) and they were so happy and so nice. They are Christians of another church (there are tons of Christian churches here!), which is usually a problem because they're either really attached to their church, don't like us or both. But this family - the Ma family - seemed really interested and open and willing to learn. The grandkids were a teenage boy and girl and an 11 year old boy. The teenage boy has noticed our church and has wanted to go check it out. Anyway, the little boy said he liked to plant and grow things. Precious, right? Anyway, we quickly shared the Book of Mormon with them, by using the pictures in the front to introduce it - one of my favorite ways to introduce The Book of Mormon, Arnold Frieberg and all. I told them how it was an ancient record of ancient America's aboriginal people. Cool, right? The Book of Mormon is the coolest. Then we shared a verse in Alma 32 about growing the seed of faith, because the grandson loves planting. They were super warm and super quick to say we could come back again. Last night, we were so overjoyed and excited to find so many awesome people. We got more new investigators this week than we've gotten in a long time. 

Well, I love you all so, so much and pray for you often. I know that the gospel is the most important thing in the whole universe and I'm grateful to know that when I hear about crazy bad scary stuff happening in the world. I'm grateful I have this chance to meet so many awesome people and see their growth and change as they accept Jesus Christ. I'm really grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary. I feel like I've changed sort of a lot and I love the changes I've had. Anyway, love you all dearly.

Sister Natalie

celia, celia! I was so happy to get an email from you and hear about how you guys are doing. Love the haircut business. SO happy you'll be in Utah in July. So happy! I miss you and your family. Also, thanks a million times for sending pictures of vags' baby. I love her! Precious.Thanks, also, for the update on my clothes. Also, I love your mission stories. You rock!
Allison! yay! So good to hear from you again. Your house is super cutie. I'm excited to see it when I get home. 
Addison, let's go to Austin the summer I get home. (ps, i'm not allowed to email directly to cousins.)
Tara: did you get my letter??

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013 (Hualian)

Dear everyone,

One of the most exciting things that happened this week is that my cute little ABC-from-Boston, Angela, got baptized!!! She is such a rockstar! She does her personal progress (!!), gave a talk in church, cried in her testimony (and told me she used the phrase "haters gonna hate" multiple times in it - haha) and recommended a conference talk for me to read/watch. Yeah, she blows me away! You guys would love her. I'm so grateful I could meet her and start sharing the gospel with her. She's the best.

This week, we had our zone meeting. The zone leaders asked me to share an experience to pump everyone up about finding miracles and having baptisms, probably because I need to strengthen my faith that the Lord really does have prepared people out there. And I shared about Yin Ru, who I met in Zhong Li, and I really loved being able to think back on that experience and how prepared she was and how all the experiences she was having in her life were preparing her to receive the gospel. I felt a sacred feeling as I was talking about her. I know that God helped me meet her and I also know that Heavenly Father is real and He is literally our Father, who loves us. I"m so grateful for my mission and the things I've been learning. This experience is so valuable to me.

I had a new sister here on exchanges with me this week and we got to teach the Chen family who we haven't had a chance to meet with forever because they've been out of town. We taught them the Restoration and explained what the Book of Mormon is, because we still haven't. I love teaching them because they are so earnest and their desire is palpable. I tried to make sure I strongly extended the invitation for them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and they firmly and willingly commited to do it. I'm so excited to hear what they think. It's so great all the things we can promise investigators, because they come from God and not from us. The Book of Mormon is totally true, and we can read it and pray about it and get an answer. And God knows us, so He knows how to answer our prayers in a way that will let us personally know that it is true. I do know the Book of Mormon is true.

We also met with our young women, Zi Yao. She's doing good. She reading and praying, but hasn't come to church yet. Working on that.

Because of Chinese new year, our finding has had a lot of people from out of town, which is still great. We did find some good elder referrals this week, though.

PS, Niels, you rockstar, doing all the zone invites.

This week, we also went out contacting with the young women. We were unsure on the details of this activity and when we got to the church, there were six young women there. Me and Du jiemei couldn't separate, so we basically ended up not contacting very much, in order to keep all the girls in sight and sound. But we had the girls split into companionships and then helped them contacting. Actually, we went tracting. They were really cute and funny. Once, one of the girls hesitantly rang a doorbell and then ran a few feet back from the door, squeling and nervous. So, yes, it was really funny doing missionary work with them.

This week, Chinese New Year's started. Fun for everyone besides the missionaries. No, it's actually really fun for us, too. I've been eating SO MUCH. The members are providing every meal and since the sisters cover two branches, sometimes we try to go to two meals, in order to have a member visit and share a spiritual messagae. Saturday - got fed lunch (those members were trying to convince me and the elder we were with to get married - we are not at all compatible, more on that later), after that, our mm leader brought doughnuts to mm meeting, then we went to a dinner appointment at a big Buddhist event thing (really cool, but stressful because they were interviewing us and asking us what we knew about the event which was basically nothing), and then went to another's member's house to say hi and they made us eat more. Niels, cracked up about you and your comp putting food on each other's plates. The elders kept making comments like, "Oh, Sister Christensen hasn't eaten the pig's foot yet" and then the hostess is like, "Oh, here! Eat one!" But I somehow avoided it. But, yeah, best game ever. Anyway, then last night we went to our brach president's house (the loud one who I get along really well with) and he and another member there were asking me if I'd marry a taiwanese guy, and I was like, "No way. Language barrier." And then they went OFF on all these Taiwanese guys I could marry, including the poor little shy recent new convert I was sitting next to (he felt way uncomfortable) and ended off with the same missionary the members teased me about the day before. Then we did a lesson about how the Book of Mormon answers allllll our questions and of course President Pan's first question was, "Why does Cen jiemei (me) not like Taiwanese men?" We did find a lot of good scriptures to answer that, haha. Also, I LOVE Taiwanese people, for the record.

Also, my clothes so ugly. The other day, our mm leader was telling us we needed to dress nice for this dinner and I was like, "Yeah, okay, impossible..." and Elder Miller was like, "Sister Christensen, that skirt is actually one of my favorites of yours." And I was like, "Really??" And then he just smiled and nodded, the way Niels does when I ask him if my outfit makes me look fat. That skirt is the one that used to be a dress, that I cut into a skirt and now the elastic is huge and I have to clip it on the side for it to fit. Yeah, classy.

Yesterday in church, I sat next to a little boy who yell-singed. It was so cute. And the best was that he wasn't even trying to be cute or cool or funny - he just sang like that. It made me think of going to church with Steve and Ariel. Steve always sings really loud and it makes Ariel kind of embarrassed but we all secretly love it.

Oh, man, totally out of time. Love you all soooo so so much.


contacting with the young women. So many peace signs. Also, all the girls clustered at one door - really happened. Poor person being contacted.
Chinese new year celebrations
Us with a potential investigator - a member's niece.

Uncle Phil - Thanks for the email! I'm excited to check out your profile!
Danny - Also loved hearing from you and I"m also excited to check out your profile! How's the new baby?
Crachel- cutest names ever in the whole world. Oh, man! You guys! Cutest. Thanks for the email; I know you're crazy busy.
Kjirsten - Thanks for your letter!!!! It was so honest and beautiful. I have been re-reading it. I'm so excited to talk to you for a really long time when I get home.
Kayla. write me. heart you.
Cousin Addison, thanks for the email you sent. Love you!
Erin. thanks. wrote you!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

November 4, 2013 (Hualian)

Dear family and friends,

You guys are all the BEST. Mom, thanks for the email. I'm getting home on April 27th. Yeah, did you guys hear that?! Ariel, why are you coming out in March and not in April? Kidding. Faj, I love all the mountain, snow, and ice climbing pictures. Utah and Tibet are the coolest. Yes, Wang Jiemei is a member in Hua Lian. It wasn't my old companion, Wang jiemei, right? If it was, then she's in Taidong. Kai, thanks for emailing me - employee of the month, seriously. What a rockstar.

I survived this week getting fed by members, my companion and eating some cheap store bought noodles and brown rice. 

This week was mostly good. Du jiemei got sick (what is up with us?? Faj, I need some immune boost and if you want, you could also send me some burt's bees chapstick, just the normal flavor/kind - the kind you apply with your finger would be good - just one is enough) and so we were in for a day. We had interviews with President on Friday - in Taidong, which is like a 3 hour train ride from us. Interviews were good. President Day called me to repentance for telling him that I was intimidated to be surrounded by the most awesome missionaries ever. He is the nicest man alive and has the gift of discernment like no one I've ever met. Sister Day brought us chocolate chip cookies. Divine. Forgot how delicious chocolate chip cookies are.

The missionaries serving here really are the best. The elders gave us a ton of referrals this week. We also had a lot of success from trying to talk to everyone - always sort of awkward, because you stop your bike by someone walking on the side of the road and sometimes they get a little bit freaked out - and getting a lot of phone numbers from that. 

We have an awesome sort-of new investigator named Zi Yao. She's 14 and really shy and not super expressive, but she seems to really like meeting with us. We shared about the restoration of the gospel with her this week, and taught it by stacking paper cups and removing the bottom ones to show what happens when we don't have apostles and church authority. I'm telling you, I love little analogy things now that I'm on a mission. She also biked in the rain with us (taiwanese HATE the rain) to go to a church activity. She feels like her life has been happier since she's been praying and she likes reading the Book of Mormon. Texted us on Sunday morning to say actually she wasn't coming to church. So, other than that, so far so good. She's cute and awesome and I think warming up more to us. 

One day we stopped and talked to this Filipino woman and yesterday went to visit her. She's a total miracle. I feel like she's super prepared. She loved having us come over, and tried to pay us for coming over. Cha right. She loves Jesus Christ a lot. Before we left, she wanted me to sing with her. So we sang Amazing Grace and Nearer My God To Thee, even though little mosquitos were buzzing around me and I was inwardly freaking out. She doesn't have a book or mormon yet, but she's excited to read it when she has one.

Last night, as we were biking sort of far to a more rural place, Du Jiemei biked over a metal wire and it stuck in her tire. We asked the house owners if we could leave the bikes there and then continued walking to a referral's house. The roads were dark and there were scary dogs, but it was so peaceful and nice to walk for a change, past dark rice paddies and an occasional house. My companion and I chatted the whole way. My companion talked about her love for Korean drama. So cute. The referral wasn't there, but there was a beautiful little private art museum next store that I want to check out on a pday.

One night this week, when we were knocking, the doorbell with the intercom speaker thing was inside of their mailbox. I ended up sticking my head partly in the mailbox and talking to the girl who lived there for a while - asking her if she believes in God and what she thinks her relationship with Him is. I really love moments like that on my mission - talking to people in quirky ways about God- who He is and His incredible love for us.

Love this church, love being a missionary.

I've tried to stalk pretty much all of you on, (not as fun as facebook), but pretty much none of you have a profile. Except for you Niels, which I loved. You should make profiles! 

Love you guys!

Sister Nad

Josh and Dee: I still love you guys.
Rob and Crachel: you guys!! miss you guys! how are your twins? Kayla sent me the cutest picture of them and Collin. What are their names??
ANGELA: Are you BAPTIZED?! Wah, your last letter was the BEST. You, teaching about the Holy Ghost better than the elders! Wah, so proud of you! You are the best and I love you so much! 
Ariel: STOP IT with all your pictures. Just kidding, keep sending more and more and more. I am totally framing that black and white photo of you and Steve on Christmas. Ahhh, so beautiful. You guys, YOU GUYS. Love you both so, so, so much. Keep writing!! Did you get my letter?
Kimi: Still love you. Did you get my letter?
Allison: How are you doing? Dying to see some house pictures. And more!
Trev4: I was going through my old planners and I'll write little notes in my planner or on sticky notes of things to tell people on p-day when I email and I found this one in an old planner of these key points to tell you: - good soul - beard - so talented - photography - i might accidentally say words in chinese when I get home. Ha, so cryptic, right?? I have no idea what I wanted to say about the first four. Anyway, looove you.
Tara: Letter coming your way! Written it, it just needs a stamp! I'll get it in the mail today.
Alicia Harris: where are you?
Courtney Petersen. You too.
Celia: did you get my letter? Also, are my clothes at your parents? Should I have someone in my family go pick them up because I don't want your family to have to move them. Can't wait to wear cute clothes again.