Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tuesday October 15, 2013

                                              October 15, 2013
Dear Family,

I think perhaps the first thing to report is that not only am I still alive, but happy too! Last week was crazy with Sister Taylor heading out, preparing to train, and going to Taipei almost every day. It was also a week of revelation for me. Sunday night I made a comment to Sister Barden, a roommate from Jerusalem that entered the MTC the same day that I did, about not wanting to train, and why.  She grabbed me, looked straight into my eyes and said some strong words. It really made me think, and I was grateful for the things that she said, because it made me realize what I needed to do. Because of the resulting change of attitude, I was able to feel the spirit speaking to me, and recognize the Lord's hand in this calling. The revelation began to come, and I was able to change.

I felt a lot better when Thursday came around, but I was grateful for your call that morning President. I know there will be times where I rely on the assurance that you gave me.  We haven't even had one week together yet, but I love my companion. My new companion is Sister George, from Idaho (kind of) and she is awesome! I'm excited for the time we’ll be working together. She lived in Shanghai for high school, so her Chinese is pretty good already. She went to BYU Idaho, studying English education, wants to be an English teacher in an international school, and Mandarin. She is wonderful!!

I think I will learn more than Sister George will!  She has helped me, especially in my attitude. Lately it's been hard to want to go out and work, but these past two days has been a lot better! I'm excited for these next few months! I think we are going to see a lot of success together, and I think we'll have a lot of fun while doing it!

Sunday night helped us both get pumped up and excited to go out and work. We went contacting and had four lessons on the street in about an hour and a half. One of them was with  Xie4 Jiemei. Xie JM's lesson was a miracle. She is prepared. After she closed our lesson with a prayer, I told her, “I really believed God was watching over her, and that it was arranged by God that we met her.”  She got a little teary-eyed as she explained that day she'd been a little depressed-sad sort of. Then she met us, excited missionaries. She was really touched. We met with her on Monday, and she is golden. She is wonderful. She set a baptismal date too! As long as her mom doesn't oppose. It was so cool. I could feel God's love for her. I guess this technically counts as this upcoming week, but it was too amazing not to report!

Li Lu san was also this week (yesterday), but I am so excited for her!! She recommitted to keeping the Word of Wisdom, and more diligently studying the Book of Mormon. She had already been taught all the lessons when I first got to Danshui.  We've just been reviewing different principles with her.  Last night we reviewed repentance and baptism, which was PERFECT for talking about recommitting to keep the word of wisdom and overcoming temptation.  We also set a new baptismal date.  Perhaps the best part was that she will be working afternoons next month . . . so she can come to church!!!! YAYAYAY!!!!! I'm SO excited!

I’m grateful for the experience of last transfer. I feel like it was so inspired--some things about it were hard, but many more were wonderful and I learned so much!

We had a ward activity. It was so fun! Our ward did a float for a huge parade in Danshui! The parade was supposed to be last week, but because of another Typhoon it got pushed to this past Saturday. We passed out SO MANY tracts!!! I'm wondering if (and hoping) that tonight we will have lots of new students at English class. Oh! I also was made English Class Leader, last minute because they forgot to assign that out already. I don't know when they expect us to do all the things they want us to do, but we'll see.  

Getting ready for the big parade.

The parade! I love Taiwan. And I love the members in our ward. A part of the parade is a 30 second performance, in which we had a little cheer that went like this: "YE-SU-JI-DU" (this said by one person) "YE! YE! YE!" (Response by everyone). "YE-SU [something something something--sorry I don’t remember this part]" "ZAN! ZAN! ZAN!" "YE-SU-JI-DU" "HOU QI SHENG TU JIAO HIU" "YE-SU-JI-DU" "AI NI! AI NI! AI NIIIIIIII!" We were chanting to the crowd "Jesus Christ loves you loves you loves yoooouuuuu!!!" Ha ha SO funny!!!! It was a lot of fun. Although we were pretty tired by the end of the day (my poor companion almost died).

Finding good food:

    Taiwanese sandwich thing. gua4bao1 in Taiwanese and yi4bao1 in Chinese

Lately I've been thinking that I think the biggest thing I've learned on my mission so far is just how much Heavenly Father loves His children. Sometimes He gives me a little taste of what that feels like, and I am overwhelmed. Love is very powerful. Every time I'm going through some sort of trial on my mission (which can't be too many, I know, because I haven't been out that long), my answer is ALWAYS to love. To really love others, to focus on them, and also to love the Lord and rely on the power of His Atonement. And it works. I am gaining a greater understanding of the great commandments: 1) Love the Lord thy God, 2) Love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the answer to life! But living it is a lifetime process :)

A little while ago I was thinking a lot about aligning our wills with the Father's, and how this is the process of "becoming one". It was really interesting to take a look at the prayers the Savior says in the Garden-- especially the difference between the first and the second (I think this is in Matthew)-- and how this relates to the Savior's own process of becoming one with the Father. But that's another point for another day :) The point I wanted to make today, is just the role that love plays in this. The Father and the Son ARE love. Their every action is motivated by the deep and incomprehensible love they have for every soul. When we are able to feel this love, our will becomes one with theirs. Our goals become aligned with theirs, and everything else falls into place. SO many problems or worries or questions or . . . a whole slew of different things, fall away when we are filled first with love for God and second with love for others. Charity really is the greatest of all the gifts of God. So as a missionary, I invite all of you to strive for charity for everyone around you, and use that love as a motivation to share the gospel! I will also be trying to do the same :)

I love you!!

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