Family & Friends!!
Alexa, I want to wish you HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY again!! I hope you had tons of fun at your party! I love you!!
I'M IN TAIWAN!!!! It is crazy!! I can't believe I am here. I feel like I am living in a dream! I have never been so happy in my life than when I got off the plane, went through immigration, and saw President & Sister Day and the Assistants holding a Taiwan Taipei Mission Banner.
At the airport, we took a huge group picture of all the missionaries that came in for both missions. President said he would send that out as well as our pictures in front of the temple and our group picture infront of the Grand Hotel. When you get those, will you also forward them to me please?
So, the airport..after I got off the phone with you we went and boarded our plan from San Fransisco to Taiwan! EVERYONE was down by the gate. There was so many of us. But I still didn't see Sister Lindsay or any of the Sisters' that served in Georgia with her...We boarded our plane. Sister Good and I were sitting next to each other. As we were watching others board, some of the last people on were Sister Lindsay! When we saw each other we had a little freak out from across the plane! It was so good to see her! Sister Good and her switched places for a couple hours about half way through the flight and we were able to catch up on everything! She is doing so good!! The 14 hour plane ride actually went really really fast, surprisingly. I was able to sleep for a few hours and the rest I was talking to missionaries and some flight attendants. Sadly, Sister Good and I sat right across from the flight attendant resting area door (dad, do you get what I mean?) and so there was only two chairs so we didn't really have an opportunity to teach someone.
When we got to Taiwan, we went through immigration and then got our luggage and headed out to meet our Mission President. We all gathered together, took a group picture and then headed to the bus. On the bus, we had to introduce ourselves in Chinese and President Day told us about the plans we would be doing for the next couple of days. It was the first time I had really used my Chinese in a while!
The bus took us to the Mission office where they fed us our first Chinese dinner and we got our temporary companions. Sister Hendricks and I were assigned. We then had interviews with President and we got to know each other and we talked about his expectations as a mission president. I already love and appreciate him so much! As a gift, he gave us all character, pinyin, and English side-by-side New Testament and D&C. President Day is truly a man called of God. He is so inspired and is going to be such an amazing Mission President. For the next two nights, we stayed in Temple Patron Housing. They have housing on the second and third floors of the mission office for those working in the temple that live far away. To be honest, I didn't sleep well the first night at all. I layed awake for ever and woke up forever.
My first full day in Taiwan was amazing!!
We met downstairs at 6:30 AM and the mission president and AP's ran with us to the Chaing kai Shec Memorial. It was really fun. It is in this gardened area where a lot of people go to "exercise" in the morning. We were given these temple tour pass along cards we were to give out while on our run. The first lady Sister Hendricks and I gave it to was named Tan taitai. She was so sweet to us. We were able to talk to her a little bit and explain the card in the best Chinese we could. She asked where we were from and all of that. The other people we talked to didn't really say much to us other than xie xie or wo zhi dao...haha. We then had breakfast made by the office Elders and the Temple Sisters and got ready for the day. Today, we took a tour of the huge chapel right next to the Temple, filled out some paperwork, got to call home for 60 seconds, and meet some more missionaries in the mission. Towards the evening, we had some meetings with the trainers. We then got randomly paired up with a trainer. I got paired up with Sister Van Tonder. With her, we went out and contacted for 2.5 hours. It was really neat! The first lady we really were able to have a conversation with, we were able to teach her how to pray and the importance of baptism. Contacting here in Taiwan is crazy! What we do, is we go up to a person and tell them who we are and ask them if we can start with a prayer. We explain they should close their eyes and say amen if they agree with the prayer at the end. We then teach them a lesson, invite them to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized, and then close in a prayer. Right on the street. It's crazy!! I was so surprised by the amount of Chinese I was able to say. We were able to talk to several individuals and receive many referrals. Another lady we talked to was from Shanghai, China! I was able to explain to her I lived in Shanghai when I was younger with my family. She is a Christian and we were able to place a Book of Mormon with her. She said she is always seeking for truth. She promised she would sincerely read the Book of Mormon. We gave her the mormon.org site because she was from Shanghai and soon going back home if she had further questions because there are no missionaries in China..yet :). Overall, we were able to place 4 Books of Mormon and handout several chuan dan (flyers/tracts). I loved the time we were able to spend on the streets of Taipei. We even were able to see the Taipei 101 building from a distance. The people here are absolutely amazing!!!!!
Friday was also a day full of adventures and fun! We had to get up at 5 AM which was really nice because I woke up at 4 AM so I only had to lay in bed for an hour. At 6:15, we all met downstairs and went to the place where Taiwan was dedicated to missionary work. We went with President Day and the AP's. There, we sang Called to Serve in Chinese and read the Dedicatory Prayer. President Day gave us some history and then we were invited to go find our own place with our companion and pray to 'rededicate' ourselves to missionary work and to give all of our time here in Taiwan to serving the Lord. It was a neat experience. Even though it was so loud around us, the Spirit was really strong. One thing I have truly learned on my mission is that Heavenly Father truly hears and answers our prayers. He watches over us day and night. He want us to be happy.
After, we walked up to the Grand Hotel and took some pictures. The hotel is HUGE and gorgeous! President told us to come and tour it on one of our P-days if we serve in Taipei because it is magnificent..We went back and gathered our things from where we were staying and went over to prepare for transfer meeting.
Transfer meeting was SO much fun! President and Sister Day make it like a party! At transfer meeting, I was able to see Sister Smith!! She is doing SO good! I was looking all around for her and right when she walked in the door, we saw each other, and I ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug! She has changed so much! It was really good to see her. The first thing they did in transfer meeting was have the new missionaries give a small introduction of who they are in Chinese and then President Day gave said some more things about us and then he announced where we will be serving and who our trainer is!
I am serving in the TouFen area (Western part of our mission) and my trainer is named Sister Fisher! I absolutely love Sister Fisher. She also was a visa waiter. She visa waited in Salt Lake South. She is a fairly new missionary. She is just starting her 4th transfer in Taiwan. However, her Chinese is really good! She has spent a lot of time studying and memorizing words. She is a great example to me. The mission has a language study plan that requires a lot of memorization and study. The first phase is all these phrases, words, scriptures, and grammar we have to memorize for the 5 lessons. It is in this huge book. It will take a lot of faith to memorize all of it. I am hoping to get it done by the time I am out of training in 12 weeks so I can start Phase 2 but we will see what happens.
After transfer meeting was over, we had a meeting about using family history, took pictures with President, and then we were off to our areas. Sister Lindsay is serving in a neighboring area as me and so we took the same bus back to our areas from Taipei. We first took the high speed train to the Taipei Bus Station and then rode to TouFen. Taiwan is beautiful! When we got to TouFen, the Elders were so kind to come carry my luggage up 4 flights of stairs to our apartment. We live on the 4th floor by ourselves. We spent an hour finishing our WPS (weekly planning session) the parts we didn't finish on the bus, had dinner, and then met with our Ward Mission Leader, Jeffrey, at the church. After, we went to a less actives store, Liu Jie Mei and helped her close up shop. Every night, except for Sunday around 8:45 we head over to her store and help bring in the racks of clothes, teach her a phrase of english, and share with her a scripture. Friday night was really funny. Everyone here asks to see a picture of your family. She was so cute. Everyone also asks how old you are, mom and dad. It's kind of funny. They are also so surprised that you have 5 kids. Then they explain how everyone from America has so many kids..haha.
Saturday was my first full day in TouFen. We got up and did our morning routine. Since I am in training, we have 4 hours of study in the morning and then we hit the roads. Riding a bike in a skirt is a lot easier than I thought it was going to be! On Saturday, we were supposed to have a lesson with one of our investigators with a baptismal date, but she called and cancelled on us. We actually haven't met her yet. The Elders contacted her and taught her a lesson on the street. She accepted baptism and went to church last week and is reading the Book of Mormon. Hopefully this week we will be able to come in contact with her. We also had a lesson with Gan Jie Mei. She is also an investigator. She is Christian. When we got to her home, her mom's friend was there so it was a little hard to teach her a lesson. We were going to talk to her about the Tree of Life and reading the book of Mormon but we ended up doing a small 'get to know you' and sharing a scripture. Here, I realized I really can't understand anything!!! I just sat there...haha
We spent the rest of the day knocking doors and we spent an hour on the computer. Our mission just became a FaceBook mission so I will be setting that up in the coming week.
Saturday night we had a huge miracle. We were knocking doors and the first door we knocked in this one area, a lady answered the door and we were able to pray and talk with her about Jesus Christ. Her friend also came to the door and we were able to set up a return appointment with them for Tuesday. We were also able to contact a young man who was just returning home from buying some things. We also set up a return appointment with him to talk about families. We were able to make contact with a lot of individuals most of them said they were Buddhist but talked to us because we are American.
Sunday was really neat. We share a branch with Elders Marks & Dixon. I wasn't able to understand almost anything but the Branch President asked me to bear my testimony. It talked mostly about families, the plan of salvation, and attending church. After church, I was able to meet some members and we were able to stop by Akin's home. She is a recent convert from indonesia but cant come to church because of her work. She takes care of older people. She is currently in taiwan for a 3 year work agreement. She is so cute! We also had a lesson with Wu xiao jie and talked to her about temples. She is an investigator but really wants her daughter to get baptized because she feels like the church has a good influence on young people. We knocked doors in a couple different areas but didn't find much success. We had dinner tonight with the Elders and the Yang family. Yang Di Xiong is the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency. The food was good but it is definitely going to take some getting used to! :)
I absolutely have loved the last couple of days in Taiwan. Missionary work here is awesome. Another funny thing we do is that when we are waiting for a light to turn green, we stop next to a person on a scooter and start talking to them. Normally, as soon as the light turns green, they head off so we only have a short minute but contact with everyone is really important! I honestly have never been happier in my life! Missionary work is absolutely amazing here. It is SO hard but amazing!
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!
Thanks so much for all you do!
Sister Good and I on the plane.
The group running to Chaing kai Shec Memorial in front of the memorial.
Our first dinner in Taiwan.
The missionaries from my district in the MTC that came to Taiwan with me. This is taken right after we got off the plane in Taiwan.
Sister Lindsay and I on the bus headed to the mission office.
Sister Hendricks and I during our morning run our first morning in Taiwan.
Transfer Meeting, us and Sister Jensen (my STL when I entered the MTC).
Sister Fisher and I and her previous companion.
Dinner Sunday night with the Yang family.
Me and the grand hotel.
Sister Lindsay and I in front of the grand hotel.
The grand hotel entrance.
Sister Van Tonder and I.
Our bus ride to the dedicatory place and Grand Hotel.
Me with this a memorial by the place where the Dedicatory Prayer took place.