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??

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