Family and Friends!
I'm glad to hear everyone is doing great at home! It seems like you have all been really busy!!
Bryan, it sounds like you are doing great and continuing to learn a lot everyday! Let us know about your new companion and everything! Love you!
As for my week, it went by extremely fast.
Last Monday for Preparation day, we were able to meet up with several other missionaries in our zone and ride our bikes to the beach in Zhunan! It was about a 45 minute bike ride one way from TouFen. It was a lot of fun! We went to celebrate Sister Lindsay's birthday! Monday night we had a lesson with one of our less-actives and it sadly didn't go very well...she basically told us that if she needs us, she would call us. :/. She knows the right thing to do though so hopefully she creates that desire to become active.
Tuesday, we had zone meeting in Zhunan from 1-4 after studies. Zone Meeting was really good! Our zone leaders, Elder Stewert & Huang are so inspired. (Elder Stewert's uncle is my stake president from home!) We talked about having bold baptism invites, working with members, and the mission vision for the month of March. The Sister Training Leaders, Sister Smith & Murri, also talked to us about our peike's and preparing them more for the lessons they are helping us with.
One thing I really learned from our zone training was the importance of showing our love to those we serve and how we can help others want to inherit the Kingdom of God. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It all starts with us as individuals. We first need to create our own desire to inherit Celestial Glory or to forget ourselves and just serve those around you and then they will follow the example you set for them.
After we got back from Zhunan, we went to dinner and then went English Boarding with the Elders at a Night Market. It started raining pretty hard so I got soaked and there wasn't very many people there. After, all of our lessons got cancelled and so we went to a 7 and did phone calls to potentials and less actives.
Wednesday, after studies, we had a great lesson with Chen JM! It is the Indonesian who randomly came to Church last Sunday! Akin was our peike and she was absolutely amazing!. We shared the Lesson on the Restoration with her and she loved it. We had her read Joseph Smith's First Vision in Indonesian and after her eyes got big and her jaw dropped. She thought it was a really neat experience. A little crazy though. She thought how could this happen to such a young boy..She understood everything and agreed to reading the Book of Mormon. We also invited her to be baptized and she said she would if she knew it was true but she is going back to Indonesia for a month this coming week and so we won't be able to meet with her :/. Wednesday we also had our Weekly Planning Session. Wednesday night, we had our English Meeting and then English Class. Since it was raining, there wasn't many people there but it was still fun.
Thursday, we had Zone Conference from 9 AM to 5 PM. We had it in MiaoLi. MiaoLi is such a beautiful place. We met the Zhunan missionaries (Our Zone leaders and Sister Keung & Lindsay) at the train station to head to MiaoLi. Funny Story, we got on the wrong train and we almost went out of our mission boundaries into the Taichung Mission but Elder Huang realized and we hurry and got off and took a Taxi back to MiaoLi...We fortunately got to Zone Conference on time. :)
Zone Conference was really good! President Day, The Assistants, Zone leaders, and Sister Training Leaders all had great messages. We talked about 4 languages-the Language of Love, Spirit, Gospel, and Chinese.
To start the meeting, we sang and opening song and President Day welcomed us. He then turned to me and said, "Sister Haacke, how are your piano skills today?" I told him they were alright. He then asked me to go play a solo on the piano to invite the Spirit. Later on during the conference, during the Language of Chinese section, there were members from the MiaoLi ward that came and we each, as a companionship, went into a room and role played the Plan of Salvation lesson with the member. President Day came and asked if he could come and sit in on Sister Fisher and my lesson. So he did and he gave me some really good pronunciation tips. After this role play, I turned to Sister Fisher and I said, man, President Day and really picking on me today..haha for a minute it made me a little nervous but at the very end of the conference, President Day was saying some closing remarks and he brought it up. He said something along the lines of, "I'm proud of Sister Haacke today.I listened to Sis. Fisher and her Plan of Salvation Lesson she probably was extremely nervous that the Mission President wanted to listen to her lesson but she was willing to make mistakes and then to be corrected. She was brave, bold, courageous..." He went on to say that it is great to see that as a mission president and that it makes him really proud. It made me have so much comfort knowing that even though my Chinese is so broken and there are times when it doesn't even make sense that it is okay.
At the very end of Zone Conference, President also announced the Church's Easter Initiative, Because He Lives. I am SO excited for this initiative! I think there will be a lot of success come from this Season where we celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
On the train ride back, I was able to talk to Sister Smith for a little bit! She is doing really good! She is currently serving in XinZhu. She is absolutely amazing and doing so good!! She is a huge example to me.
Thursday night we had some time we were able to qiaomen and we met a lady, Huang XiaoJie, on the street. She was in the shangzi we were tracting because she was dropping off her brothers 3 yr old daughter at her house. She is so sweet and agreed to meet with us!
Friday, after studies, we had service at Zhang JieMei recycling center. We helped take apart some more bikes. After, we came back and did some more qiaomen. We didn't have much success but we were able to meet Fan XiaoJie who was waiting for some people on the street. We were able to give a chuandan and pray with her. She was really interested in the English classes. Unfortunately, the people she was waiting for came and were all super drunk and started talking to us in Taiyu so we decided to leave. We had MM meeting with our ward mission leader and planned for the Branch FHE on Sunday night.
The neatest experience I had this week was Friday night. Sister Fisher and I were on our way home and we took a different route than usual. Out of no where, this college-age young man rode up on his motor scooter right beside me and asked where I was from in English. I told him America. We stopped and I told him about our free English class and that we were missionaries. He told us he was Christian. We then went on to tell him about the Book of Mormon. He had heard of it before from his friend but didn't have his own copy. We were able to give him one and set an appointment up for this coming Tuesday! What was also really neat was when we were giving him our phone number, he called us from his phone right then and there! There are so many times where people give us fake numbers if they don't have interest but don't want to be rude! About 15 minutes after we said goodbye to him, we got a text from him thanking us for giving him a Book of Mormon! Sadly, we don't have texting so we weren't able to text him back but, I am super excited we are going to be able to begin teaching Feng XianXiang!! We called him Saturday night and invited him to church but he had work. He was really sad he couldn't come. Things are looking really good with him!! Experiences like these it what makes everything worth it on a mission. There are days where missionary work is extremely challenging and where it seems as if no one wants to listen to you BUT, these small miracles everyday is what makes EVERYTHING count!
Saturday, we had a great lesson with Gan JieMei. She is so self-taught! We had an amazing lesson about the Word of God. We read the Tree of Life with her and talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon. She finally studied from the Book of Mormon this week too! When she told us this, she also told us that everything is starting to make sense and that through the Book of Mormon, it is helping her more fully understand the Bible! We also had a lesson with Guan Pei Jun, a less active. She is really sweet. Saturday night we went to a nonmember family home for dinner in the Elders area. Their 16 year old son is a LA and the rest of the family are nonmembers. The Elders are trying to start teaching them. Dinner was really good! And their family is so fun!
Sunday, Church was really good--still didn't really understand anything. Chen JM was at church and there was a teenage girl there with Zhang JieMei. Her name is LiangManTing and she is Zhang JieMei niece! She is interested in the church and wants to start coming to church with her aunt! We were able to meet her and get to know her a little bit. After church we had a new member lesson with Amy. She was baptized about a year ago but just recently told us she never got the new member lessons so we started teaching her those. After, we also had a lesson with Wu Mei Yu. She works for NuSkin and is so sweet! We talked to her about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We went into this lesson and after having to either decide to drop her as an investigator or what because missionaries have been meeting with her for a long time BUT SHE SET A BAPTISM DATE!!!! For April 25th!! She is going to be out of town for the first part of April! we are SO excited and hope that it will go through! She has had a baptismal date before and we don't really know what happened but we hope that April 25th will be her day! Sunday night, we had our Branch FHE. It was a potluck dinner--which was really good--and then we had some activities. We had the lesson and we did some role plays practicing inviting our friends to church and to activities. We then played Poison Dart Frog for the activity. Everyone here gets so in to it! It is so funny! There was a really good turn out! LiangManTing also came to the activity tonight so we were able to talk to her and get to know her a little bit better!
Overall, this week was really good. Every week seems to go by faster and faster! IT is crazy!
I love you all so much! Have a great week!!
At the Beach!
Dad, what was your surname when you were a missionary and the character?
P.S. Don't forget about those ancestor stories :)
PPS. Did you ever get my package from Colorado?
Akin, Me, Chen JieMei (Yellisha), and Sister Fisher.
On the train.
Walking back to the train station from Zone Conference.
Our Zone at Zone Meeting on Tuesday.
Yes, we have fun during service!