Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2012 (Hualian)

Dear family,

Whaat?! My bedroom door is finally going to have a doorknob?! Shocking. Just kidding. I love how long that door hasn't had a doorknob.

Grandma and Grandpa - thank you so much for the Christmas money! It might take me a little while to cash it, because I need to figure out some special bank to go to, I think. But, thank you! You are the nicest, best grandparents.

Thanks for all the updates on the new Stake. Exciting.

This week was really great. On Monday, my new convert, Qiu Feng, came down from Zhong Li to hang out with me. So on Monday, we all ate with her, then we went shopping in the downtown part of Hua Lian. They have a bunch of cute little shops. In this one shop, I was dying. I wanted to buy everything. Vintage Taiwan posters made into postcards, all these natural paper notebooks, beautiful and expensive soap, vintage leather purse. Ahhh. It was like Anthropology. But, I think I'm maybe getting a teeny bit better at not being so materialistic. For example, I made no purchases.

Monday night, I ate the most delicious guoties - like the Chinese fried dumplings. The dough part was thick and flaky and crispy, not at all like the ones you buy on the street. Faj Mahal, I've been making a big list of all the stuff you need to eat when you are in Taiwan. 

On Tuesday, we had what we call War council. It's just a meeting with zone leaders to plan for the zone, but because the areas in this zone are so spread out, we got to do a group skype. Super fun. At first the delay was literally like 2 minutes. But then it got better and I forgot how fun skyping is. Tuesday night, we visited our investigators Xu jiemei and her husband, Chen dixiong. We have been praying for their hearts to be softened and that they would be able to accept a baptismal date. (The last time the sisters extended one to Xu jiemei, she didn't accept.) We shared the plan of salvation and had an awesome lesson about it. They had a lot of good thoughts and questions. Then we talked about baptism, and they took a while thinking about it and discussing it, but then they accepted. Xu jiemei said to her husband, "I want to be with you forever, so let's do this." or something like that. It was precious. When we left, and were out of ear shot of their house, me and Du jiemei were cheering as we biked away from their home. 

On Wednesday, I taught the advanced English class (yeah, my favorite!) and there is this awesome older man named Silence. He worked on navy ships for his career, and is really dignified. We started talking about American music, and usually people talk about pop stuff, but he said he loves Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Dolly Parton, and Simon and Garfuncle (sp?) and my heart soared. I was like, "You guys, if you really want to know good American music, listen to Silence. He knows where it's at!" And then we talked about Neil Young and some other awesome artists. I love teaching advanced english.

Thursday, we met a new possible investigator. She is American. She is here teaching English and is elegant and refined. She is Southern baptist. We ate dinner with her and talked to her about religion. I hope to be able to start meeting with her.

On Friday and Saturday, I was in Taipei all day, attending a semi-annual big leadership training thing, while my companion went on exchanges to zhong li.  I LOVED IT. I'm telling you, on my mission, I LOVE any type of church meeting, training, etc. We basically reviewed all of Preach my Gospel and the 5 lessons we teach. Most of the missionaries presented special trainings on different topics, which also means we did tons of role plays. I'm totally into role plays now, too. At the beginning of my mission, I HATED them, but now I think they are awesome. Me and beloved mtc companion Sister Winters were paired up for our training - our topic was teaching people, not lessons. We had 45 minutes, so I was super nervous, but it ended up going really well and it was super fun. (I love teaching.) Another thing I love that I thought was so dumb before my mission is analogies. We started off with being like, "We know the gospel is for EVERYONE, so obviously, it's going to work for everyone" and then made a little sister and a big elder put on Sister Winters' pink blazer to demonstrate our point and then talk about how even though the gospel is for everyone, we teach according to needs. We had role play stuff too, so we only taught for about half the time. 

The other missionaries' training was also so awesome. I took tons of notes and totally received personal revelation. Isn't it so wonderful that God is our Heavenly Father, who loves us and cares for us like we can't imagine? It's so awesome that we can receive communication and revelation from Him. 

On Friday night, I got to go on exchanges to Shi Lin (faj, are you going there? don't they have a super famous night market?) with Sister Winters and Sister Muhlstein (also in the mtc with me). We went knocking that night, and prayed to find a family. Like the second door we knocked on was a family who let us in. Part of the family was this cute grandpa you see in the pictures, who has this great talent of making paper cut outs. So he made cut outs of our silhouettes (he can do it really fast) and while doing it, he was singing jazz and bouncing around. It was so cute and funny. We shared a little message with them too. Although they didn't set up again, they said the sisters could go back and visit. 

Sunday, Xu Jiemei and Chen Dixiong came to church with their little 2 year old. All three hours! They are awesome and we loved having them at church. Their daughter was super well behaved, but busy, so I think like every parent who attends church with children, they didn't get a ton out of it. But I think it was a positive experience for them. 

That night we biked out to our branch president's house for dinner (SEE ATTACHED PHOTOS - yeah so beautiful. Towering mountains, covered with mist and fog and palm trees all around. So pretty.) Our branch president is super funny. He was kind of making fun of me the whole time - saying how I talk so much (he does too!) and then he was imitating me today at church. Oh, because he was saying how we get to rest on Sundays, and we were like, "are you kidding me?? Sunday is the most busy, tiring day for missionaries!" You're all stressed trying to take care of your investigators and make sure they actually come and feel comfortable and if anyone says anything remotely strange over the pulpit, you get super nervous and stressed. Anyway, the branch president was like, "Oh, yeah, today, like Cen Jiemei (me) trying to get me to meet their family.\, 'oh, hi president! this is the Chen family! they're really great! blah blah blah." I don't know, I was cracking up, because it's true -totally how I am. Church is the most stressful part of the week for me. 

I love the Heavenly Father and Christ and gospel more and more and more. I know I still have a long time on my mission, but it's going by so fast. And I'm getting a little sad. I'm trying to just soak it all up. But, last night I had a dream where I was home and I saw Chinese scriptures and started crying because I missed my mission. Dorky, but seriously, I love my mission more and more. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and alllll that that entails. It's simple. Read it, think about it, and ask if it is true and you'll find out. And it will for reals change your life. I love h ow simple that is, and telling people on the street because it's so simply and unpretentious. PS, contacted this awesome couple on the street, but out contact got abruptly ended when the man whispered something to his girlfriend and then bent over, grabbing his knees. Why? Because he gets diarreah really easily and they had to quickly find a bathroom. Haha, I love how open people are about that type of thing.

I love you allllll sooooo much. So, so much. 

Love, Sister Nad.

Kayla: your letter! huge and long. best! i love the idea of you wearing braces on both wrists. hilarious. love you.
Allison: i still think your house and hair are so cute. love you!
Kimi Kimi Kimi, i have a letter for you.
Courtney Pete: where are you?
Alicia Harris: you too. 
TARA. did you get the letter from me that got sent to logan's house?? (sorry)
ERIN. yes!!! i loved hearing from you. thanks for your updates!!! i'll write you back.
analyn! Always love your letters and advice. Thank you. Your girl names are cute. love you.

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