Sunday, September 22, 2013

Monday September 23, 2013

Monday September 23, 2013
Dear family,

This week I have been overcome with amazement and happiness at the miracles!! Last week a girl, Mandy, basically contacted me at the Carrefour, (see last weeks post) and this week she met with us. AND brought a friend when she did! She is so prepared. These people really exist!!

Also this past week we met with somebody we met on the street a while ago, but didn't call for a while, and she is ALSO SO prepared!! She accepted the baptismal invite in the first lesson, and we've met with her twice in this past week.

And then we met yesterday after church with one of our progressing investigators. She came to church!!! YA YA!!!! Usually she is working and so she can't come. I just realized how much faith she already has, and that she is right where she needs to be. She still doesn't know yet, but she is doing everything right to know. I know that if she continues, she will know. That has been a huge part of all these miracles. These people don't know yet, but they desire to know, and are willing to act. I know that if they act and ask with that real intent, Heavenly Father WILL answer their prayers. It's cool to see them so prepared, and to be able to know that Heavenly Father has them in His hands. He will answer their prayers! It's as simple as that.

The girl that we met on the bus and set up with
Missionary work is so up and down, but whenever I feel super down, Heavenly Father reminds me why I'm here. This past Friday or Saturday night I wasn't feeling super great as we were traveling home. Then we sat next to a girl on the MRT studying notes for an Economics class. My major is economics. At first I just noticed that her folder was cute, but then I realized what she was studying and I had to talk to her. Our stop came really fast and we didn't have time to do more than give her a tract, but all of a sudden all of my horrible, guilty feelings were gone, and I remembered: THIS is why I'm here. It sounds so simple, but it really hit me. Heavenly Father really provides."

Speaking of moon festival . . . we are swimming in You4zi and moon cakes!! Good thing I love youzi and moon cakes :) And my companion doesn't really like moon cakes . . . so they're aaalllll mine! Moon cakes' interior is bu yi2ding4 (not certain), but most of the ones that I've eaten have been a flaky pastry on the outside, and then the inside has a (cooked) egg yolk surrounded by this dark sweet paste. It's a salty sweet flavor, but I really like it! Oh and someone gave us a Hong Kong type (nai3huang2bao1) yesterday that was really different and tasted like cake batter!  

We've also had a lot of BBQ's lately-- which is the moon festival/autumn thing here. Some . . . are better than others. The picture of the squid is evidence of my adventurousness! Actually the squid wasn't too bad . . . the lamb is what really got to me. I don't think I like lamb. It's a good thing I'm not a picky eater. I've been grateful for it here lots!  

The picture with Sister Day is us making cookies with her last p day! It was a lot of fun. Oh that cookie dough was so good! It wasn't my favorite Brittni's-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe-but-without-the-chocolate-chips cookie dough . . . but it was pretty dang good! 

The green hats are youzi peels! That's the tradition--you peel it and then the little kids wear it as a hat. We're not little kids . . . but we thought we looked pretty cute anyway :) The man wearing it with us is the Bishop! 

When did Rachel become a tree hugger.  She belongs in Berkeley, CA with her brother


Sister Rachel Caroline Edwards

Monday September 16, 2013

                                                            Monday September 16, 2013
Dear family,

This week was good. We met some investigators and Less Actives that I haven't met before, and I loved them!! I didn't realize it until Sister Taylor pointed it out, but after a lot of these lessons, I came out saying "I LOVE her/them." I don't know why, but so many of these people, after just one meeting, I LOVE. It's been cool. We met with a XXX JM for the first time this week. A member had told us we should drop her, because the member didn't think she had any potential. I thought she was awesome! When we invited her to read and pray about the truthfulness of the BOM again, she said she had already asked God that question! When we invited her to read every day, she said she would!

We also met with a XXX JM this week. Because she's a nurse it makes it hard for her to get to church, but she said she's coming this next week, and she seemed pretty good! Definitely has potential. It's exciting.

XXX is doing great! When we met with her this week, she walked in with lattes for us. We had to explain that we don't drink coffee. To which, of course, she replied "Why??" So instead of finishing the Plan of Salvation, we taught the Word of Wisdom! It went great. When we asked if she would follow it, she said, "Of course" (In English too). Yeah!! This woman has already decided she wants to be baptized. It's pretty cool. And even though we can only squeeze a few words in every time we teach-she talks a LOT . . . she still gets things and is willing to commit! She ALWAYS does reading assignments and marks her scriptures when she does too. She is awesome!!

We had a really cool miracle on the beach this past week! We decided to go contacting in a place Sister Taylor had never contacted before. Turned out it was the beach! Which sounds like it would have a lot of people, but it was surprisingly empty. We weren't having much success, and I was feeling guilty for spending most of our time just walking around looking for people, but we decided to go talk to one last girl, who was sitting next to the water on a rock eating a sandwich. She set up with us and even asked if she could bring her sister!! It was our only new investigator last week, but it was a very promising new investigator! We don't meet with her until Saturday, so hopefully I'll be back with good news next week. It was just so cool, because our seemingly wasted efforts turned out to have a very important purpose that we only knew in hindsight.

We decided to eat at Carrefour for lunch one day this week. It's kind of like a Walmart. They have a whole floor that is basically a grocery store. I was really undecided on what to eat. I wandered over to the bread section, and after looking around for a while I finally picked something. While I was looking, the bread lady came over and was really friendly and offered me a sample of moon cake. Then when I went to get the little price sticker to put on the bread, she started talking to me. After a minute I finally realized "Ah what am I doing? This lady was going out of her way to talk to ME and all I was thinking about was eating yummy bread!” I got her phone number, and when we called her she wanted to set up! Because of her schedule it's been a little up in the air, but she even calls us back when she misses our calls, so I think she is really interested! YYEEESSSSSS!!!!! Heavenly Father has REALLY been putting people in our path, and it is amazing."

We met with a less active Wang2 family. Sister Taylor has been meeting with them and trying to get them active since she first came to Dan Shui, almost a year ago. They have been improving slowly, but still haven't come to church. We dropped by this past week and ended up meeting with them for a few minutes while they ate dinner. It was a cool experience for me, because I loved them so much. I walked out of that lesson a little blown away. I don't know that I have ever loved someone and really wanted them to have happiness/the gospel that much that quickly. I just instantly cared about them. The mom and kids came to Sacrament meeting this Sunday!! They have quite a few problems, but they see what they need to do and they want it, and so I think they will make it.

As for your questions! Temple Tours are tours in the chapel that is right next to the temple. These tours are based on what is done on Temple Square. We go on tours with investigators that missionaries bring, or with people we get off the street. We walk around the building, stop at 2 or 3 pictures we pick out, watch a video, give them referral cards, etc. So, no new temple in Taiwan :)  I think they're pretty successful , who knows? How is the new temple in Provo coming? 

Peike, it means 1) a lesson with an investigator where a member is present, or 2) the member who is at a lesson with an investigator. So it has two meanings, either the lesson or the member at the lesson. RC = Recent Convert and LA = Less Active. Typhoons . . . Well, 2. But the only bad one was that first one in June or July (I can't remember).

 Language! It's very slow, I'm improving but it's still hard. I'm understand more conversations. Sometimes I'll understand almost everything someone is saying, and sometimes I can't even pick up the main topic! But it's better. Learning a language is so hard! But I really do love Chinese, so it's OK. Sister Sutton always spoke in Chinese, and I think that helped. When I first got to Danshui I felt like I could see the improvement I'd made. There are 3 language phases, the first is gospel language, the second is everyday stuff, and the third is characters. The hardest part is just making things stick. I guess that's obvious, but it's discouraging when I spend a lot of effort memorizing a word, and then a couple weeks later I cannot for the life of me remember it. Grr! Then it's awesome when I learn a word thinking, “I’ll never use this word.” Then someone uses it the very same day :) It definitely helps that they have language phases and pre-made flashcards for us!!

I love you! 
Sister Rachel Edwards

Sister Taylor and Sister Edwards
Special effects with make-up

I ate a guava with my lunch that day, and a little guava seed got stuck in my teeth.  I couldn't  get it out! As we were walking to the bus stop, I remembered having used my hair as floss before, and it worked.  So I got a piece of my hair, twisted it up, stuck it in my mouth began sawing, and then I was holding a detached strand of hair and had guava AND hair stuck in my teeth.  I was a little in shock, but mostly just laughing really hard.

September 13, 2013 Outdoor Zone Conference
It's fun being with so many missionaries, especially doing something fun together.
Sister Wray and Sister Barden -they are in my generation and I feel really close to them.

Sister Taylor considering going back to school.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Monday September 9, 2013

                                                                                                Monday September 9, 2013

Dearest Loved ones!

"This week has been good! We just had a miracle this morning when the girl at the email place desk asked US about trying out our church!! It was so cool! I'm LOVING Danshui! I don't know if it's the people here, or Sister Taylor, but it is EASY to get people's numbers! And I know this doesn't seem like a big miracle, but the other night I called a referral and they set up with me!! It was a miracle for me! I hate calling, because I don't understand what they say so much of the time, which results in really awkward and confused communication . . . but I did it! And being in a city with a university that is about to start school . . . is a HUGE blessing! We went to Dan4jiang1 University this week (I think it was this week), and it was so FUN contacting people! And so many people were willing to give us their numbers! It's funny the way Sister Taylor and I contact--I think we might almost smile TOO much, and we get to the point almost too fast, just because when we're both in it, we just go for it! But it sure is fun. Although we don't even go contacting that often on the street because Sister Taylor is so good at getting set ups with RC's, LA's, and referrals, and traveling to a lot of people's houses takes forever (which does make for good contacting on buses though!)

Would you want contact with this person?

I LOVE the ward in Danshui! The members are so good to us. We had an investigator come to church for the first time on Sunday (woo hoo!!) and the members who knew her from helping peike were so friendly. Also . . . miracle! . . . we had a girl randomly show up to our ward on Sunday to check it out! She didn't speak Chinese, she was Malaysian. One of the members immediately took her under her wing and translated the whole time. Another member, who had served in the Singapore, Malaysia mission also went over and talked to her. It was so cool to see.

I think these must be random pictures of members of the ward that Rachel is growing to love.

The investigator who came to church is YYY. She is progressing really well! It's hard to teach too much too quick because she likes to talk a lot . . . but she is doing really well! She ALWAYS does her reading assignments and keeps her commitments and has been telling us about her answers to prayers! The only thing I'm worried about is that she is doing this for her daughter. Her daughter told her that she needed to find a religion, doesn't matter which one, and stick with it. So the only thing I'm worried about is that she doesn't understand the importance of really knowing it's true, not just good, but TRUE. But she's great!

We all love having someone put their arms around us

This week we had a really spur of the moment run-in with a girl named XXX, whose information we got, and set up an appointment with her. Actually we ran into her. We were rushing across the street to buy something from the bookstore, and she just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. We were STOKED. When the time came for our meeting she didn't show! We were all disappointed. Then she called us the next morning and told us that her work had gone overtime and she was sorry! We couldn't set up another appointment right then because she didn't know her schedule but I think she has real potential!

We spent all Saturday at a wedding reception. The bride is a Danshui ward member, and Sister Taylor was helping with the music, Afterwards a member introduced us to a family she had brought who were GOLDEN! They are LOOKING for a church, and were super interested! They did a temple tour, and we went with them. They wanted to go to church the next day.  They live in Zhonghe  so I hope the Zhonghe missionaries were able to pick up on them. It was so cool to see such prepared people.

Temple tours this week are good! I'd never done them before. I'll be honest I wasn't that excited and I didn't want to do them. But it turned out to be really fun! The first one I lead went horribly, but the next time I'll know how to plan so that disaster won't happen again!  The other tours were fun! I realized that I really like smiling at people."

Danshui is wonderful and  . . . BEAUTIFUL. This is a hot tourist spot in Taiwan. One day I WILL return, and I WILL swim in that water that is calling out to me! Thanks for your letters!

Love, Rachel

Love the booties

Random pictures that I thought would be fun to post.  Beautiful land

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Monday September 1, 2013

Monday September 1, 2013

Hi Everyone,

"This week has been . . . insane, and in a most wonderful sense. Moving helped me realize how much I loved the members of the ward I was close to, the investigators we were working with, and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, Sister Sutton!! I was actually surprised how full my heart was- I just didn't realize how deeply everyone was planted in my heart. Thursday night one of the members (who really made a huge difference in my life the past two months) threw me a mini going-away (surprise!) party. I felt incredibly loved. And one of our investigators was there, XXX JM I love her so much!! She's moving to Taoyuan . . . so those sisters had better take good care of her!

Speaking of XXX JM she is progressing so well!!  She's keeping anxiri and the Word of Wisdom! She participates in everything and is still looking to baptism. I don't think she has a complete testimony, but she will definitely develop one if she continues the way she is!! XXXJM is Sister Sutton’s and mine miracle.

Last week we had another cool miracle! Sister Sutton and I were riding are bikes to a far- away place, and the appointment we were riding to cancelled. So we decided to start contacting on our way home, we said a prayer, and started out. Sister Sutton later told me that after the prayer she heard a voice say look behind you. When she did she saw a girl there. As I started pedaling off I heard Sister Sutton say something behind me, so I stopped. She rode up to me, and pointed out the girl behind us. At that point she had turned and started walking up the big hill.  I said, "Let's follow her!" We ended up talking to her on the street, and when we asked when we could meet with her again, she said “What about right now?”  So we went to her home and taught her the first lesson!! We couldn't believe how perfectly everything worked out--how much Heavenly Father had directed us. It was a miracle.

Oh Sister Sutton, I had the best trainer ever! She was so perfect. I miss her. 

Danshui is my new area, and Sister Taylor is my new companion! She's from Los Vegas. Changing was crazy--it feels like I'm starting my mission over, except with a little more experience this time. I'm still figuring out how to do things with Sis Taylor in Danshui, but it's awesome! 

I'm excited about my new companion! Sister Taylor is quite different, and I love seeing a new and different way to do missionary work! Her confidence and ability to just start talking with people definitely helps me relax and talk with people too. I'm excited to work with her. Sister Taylor is an awesome missionary!! I feel like I'm already learning so much from her that I want to permanently keep doing, and it's easy to see the awesome relationships she has with other people. She is so good!

Serving with Sister Taylor in Danshui has been crazy and wonderful so far!! Saturday Jean was baptized . . . and it was definitely a baptism I will NEVER forget. Our "font" is a little mini swimming pool thing, and Sister Taylor and I set it up on Saturday- something neither of us had ever done. As we found out later, it turns out that you're supposed to turn the supports after snapping them in place, but we didn't know this, so we didn't do it.  Jean (who is scared of water by the way) stepped into the font, yelping as it was. The bishop began the baptismal ordinance. He finished the prayer, down Jean went, and down the "font" went as well!!  A huge wave of water cascaded out as everyone scrambled to grab the sides of the font and hold it up.  BUT…she made it! Witnesses said the baptism had been a success!! I know a baptism is supposed to be a spiritual experience, and I feel bad it wasn't quite what I would have imagined . . . but it was definitely memorable!! This Jean is SUPER awesome. I met her Saturday at her own baptism, but I feel like I really hit it off SO well with her. This entire ward . . . I already feel at home! I think this is because of Sister Taylor and how much she is a part of the ward, and the easy way she talks with people. Sister Taylor helps bring to the surface the out-going side of me and I’m not so nervous. The bishop is INCREDIBLE!! I'm so excited!!!"

I love you!!  Sister Edwards