I think you must have been praying for me extra hard this week because I've had a wonderful week! The jet lag wore off a little and I think that helped a lot :)
First of all, happy Father's day dad!!! If I got it right, it should still be Father's Day in Utah. I wish I could send you another card, but I still haven't even gotten stamps. You are the best Dad in the world and I love you! I hope it has been a wonderful day and that you eat a piece of cake for me.
Also Happy Father's day to TWO of my brothers! Happy first for you Jeff!! I love to show people my picture of Emma. Every time we have a lesson with someone for the first time (which has been a lot in the past week since we're new) we share family pictures, and I love it because I love to show off my family :)
Before I forget, with the iPod situation, any music whose purpose is to invite the spirit and not to entertain is ok, so I believe all the music I put on before I left is ok.
Ok mom, here are my best efforts at your questions!
Rachel, I’m just curious how your day goes. How were you met at the airport? Mission president and his wife (and his mom who is visiting right now) and the AP's met us How long were you at the mission home? I was at the mission home from late Wednesday night until Friday afternoon. What did you do while you were there? Um . . . I don't even know! Called you, just other orientation sort of stuff. We also did go to the site of the dedication of Taiwan at the . . . Grand [American?] Hotel. How are you doing in the weather? I love it!! I love the heat and humidity!! I think part of it is that it hasn't gotten too hot yet, but I just like the sticky feeling. I know most people hate it and I'm not sure why I like it, but I do! Are you dying or is the heat and humidity ok? How does it compare to Jerusalem? It's still cooler. I think. Did you get a bike? Yep! I still need to spray paint it nasty looking, so it doesn't get stolen, but I love it! Except . . . a lot of my skirts have a really hard time with it! They either fly up while I ride, or, (more common) they ride up while I ride! Aarrrggghh! But it's really fun riding around. I had a moment riding home last week where it was raining, it was late, I mean for a missionary. . . and I wanted to laugh out loud, because I realized I am living my dream! I am a missionary, in TAIWAN, learning Chinese (or at least trying), riding my bike home in the rain! It was wonderful. We do personal study from 8 to 9, companion study from 9 to 11 (it's longer during training, after training it will just be til 10), and language from 11 till 12, and then we often continue to study through the lunch hour until 1, so we're usually at our apartment all morning. We have one cell phone for the companionship, but Sister Sutton handles that because the only time I can use the phone is talking to other missionaries who also speak English, which not all missionaries do, we have native Taiwanese missionaries who don't or are learning English. How much Chinese do you and your companion communicate in? The idea is to SYL all the time (speak your language), but since I still don't know so much we can't for everything. We do our best. You said in your last letter that you only taught in the member’s homes. We actually usually teach at the church, not at member’s homes or at investigators homes. But when we first got here a lot of members were inviting us over for dinner. Also we do teach in "members" homes when we visit less actives. But our members are AWESOME!! We have yet to have a lesson with an investigator without a pei2ke4, which is a member who comes and teaches with us. Also we have members (especially one) taking us to less active's houses to teach.
Wow, that was so much easier to answer your questions that way!! Ok. Some miracles from this week! A little background first. So we went to Costco with some members last week, and we bought some bread, cheese, and deli meat to make sandwiches (which, by the way, I got Havarti cheese). Then we were making sandwiches later in the week for the first time, and I remembered I forgot to buy mustard!! Ah . . . worst day ever, right? I went to the fridge, opened it up, and there was a bottle of mustard!!! What??? How?? Chinese people don't even use mustard, especially because they don't even eat cold cut sandwiches at all. It was definitely a miracle.
Another happened yesterday. We'd . . .had a bit of a discouraging lesson with the elders and a member at a less-actives house (where they actually asked, "Why can't the elders just teach?") and I was wondering what in the world I was doing- this place would be better off if I weren't here. But as I talked with my companion, I started to feel better and remember that discouragement never comes from God, it is always a tool of Satan. Our spirits lifted, and we said a prayer over our goals for contacting . . . and then I think it was the first person we talked to, a mom with two little kids, was interested and set up to meet with us. And then we met several people who were at least somewhat interested. This might not seem like a miracle to some of you, but to me it seemed like HF was like, “Thank you for trusting me,” and then blessed us.
I've been thinking about hope a lot lately. The definition in PMG describes it as having an abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill his promises to you. I think this is really interesting. I've been trying to figure out how it is different from faith and what having hope means, and I've been trying to have more hope. As a missionary the Lord has made a lot of cool and unique promises. Especially enlightening are the results of having hope that PMG lists: confidence, enthusiasm, optimism, and patient perseverance. Wow!! What wonderful wonderful things to have, what important things! I've been really trying to trust the Lord and his promise, and the inspiration of my call. I'm not always successful, but I have definitely seen the blessing of the hope. I'm usually pretty happy! And I personally believe, especially right now, my smile is one of the very best things I can share. So that's what I've tried to share the most in Taiwan--my smile, excitement, and sincerity.
A couple of days ago I had the very exciting privilege to try . . . a thousand year old egg!! This is a Chinese treat. A rotten egg :) It wasn't bad! The flavor was so different from anything I've ever eaten in my whole life that I almost wasn't sure what to think, but I liked it! I also tried Mango bing which I'd hear so much about , similar to a mango snow cone, and it was also delicious!
Thank you so much for your letters! I know I don't respond to individual things very well, but I do love to hear everything you are all telling me! I love you!
Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards