What a great week we had this week here in NanKan. :) I loved reading the family email and hearing about everything you did over the holiday week! So awesome that Dale and Cambria were able to come up for New Years and you were all able to celebrate together! The snow looks BEAUTIFUL! What a great year for sledding and skiing! Everyone also looks so grown up! Its crazy! So glad you had a great week! Hope the weather can get a bit warmer!
As for NanKan, Taiwan has had a much milder winter. I have literally served my mission the best time. The summer was really hot like extremely humid but not as bad as the year previous and the winter has yet to be 'unbearable' there have only been a few days where it was really cold outside--which I am so grateful for!!
First of all, HAPPY 2016!! It is so weird to think that 2015 went by all in the mission field. The time has literally gone by WAY to fast! I have loved every second--through the rough times and the good times! This week there were many miracles--a great week to start the new year! My life, and outlook has once again been influenced for the good and I am looking forward to this year and the things I will be able to experience and the lessons I will be able to learn from.
This week was full of miracles so...I will get in all that I can :)
Monday: Preparation Day: as was said last week, we went to lunch with Chen JiaTing from Tao3. After P-day, we had 3 lessons set up right in a row but with our luck, we got stood up and then cancelled on twice! BUT, we had a great 3 hours of finding. We met a man who despite the fact he didn't set up with us again, we had a short lesson with him about the Savior and how His teachings can and will change our lives. His wife is struggling with health--living in the hospital. We taught him how to pray and promised him through prayer, he can and will be comforted. We also met a man who owns a beer shop and he invited us to go back and meet his family. He has some interesting views on religion but was willing to talk to us. He said that when he was young, he went into a Christian church and decided to be baptized but he has never been to church, opened a Bible, or anything so he doesn't understand anything at all. He has two sons so hopefully we can help him more fully understand how the gospel blesses families.
Tuesday: Today was my first of many exchanges this transfer. We had a great district meeting talking about the importance of being bold and praying with people on the street. After district meeting, we biked to the TaoYuan train station where we exchanged with ZhongLi Sisters. Sister Wang and I came back to NanKan and Sister Cardon went with Sister Strong to ZhongLi. Sister Wang and I had a great time together! She is so adorable! I learned so much from her. She is just starting her 4th transfer of her mission and is from GaoXiong (in the other Taiwan mission). We had a few lessons with investigators and some finding time Tuesday night. The neatest lesson we had was with our investigator Zhang Jing Ping.(The former investigator). Today we retaught him the Plan of Salvation. He couldn't remember most of it but we really emphasized Christ's Atonement. Sister Wang and I and our member shared really powerful testimonies about the power of the Atonement and when we asked him about his relationship with Christ or what the Atonement meant to him, he thought for a minute, and then looked up and with full sincerity said, "I don't know. I haven't felt anything yet. I haven't gotten an answer." It was a bit heartbreaking but it was really cool because he was willing to express his concern and we were able to help him understand how he can have a personal experience with Christ's Atonement.
Wednesday: Sister Wang and I had a morning full of finding. We met a sweet older woman, 黃小姐, who is really open to discussing religion. She has never heard of our church before but from what we understand, she is meeting with another faith's "missionaries" right now as well...BUT, we invited her to begin reading the Book of Mormon. In the afternoon, we exchanged back and Sister Cardon and I went straight to District Dinner and then we had English Class. We met a new student named Tako (is her English name). She just returned to Taiwan from living in Australia for two years. We set up to meet her next week after English class and share more about the gospel but we think she lives in Tao3 so we will probably be giving her over to the Elders in that ward.
Thursday: We had a lesson with a recent convert, Duan JieMei, and had WPS. Thursday night we visited a member family who just returned back to full-activity a few weeks ago and helped her son a little bit prepare for a big College Entrance Exam that is at the end of January. We also went to go visit a potential investigator with a member in our ward who is preparing to serve a mission but when we got to his house, he was gone--his mom said he went to Taipei to watch the fireworks--we were sad because he said he would be home when we called to double check. BUT we had a short lesson with his mom and re-taught her how to pray. She said that many many years ago, like 15+, Elders used to visit their home and would pray with them. She said that then when they invited them to get baptized, they said they didn't want to. So, she remembered their purpose. :) As we spent the remaining time making street contacts, everyone kept asking us why we were still working and not having fun for the New Years..haha but it got people talking to us :)
Friday: New Years Day!! Sister Cardon and I had MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) in Taipei pretty much all day. So, we took the bus up and spent 9-5:30 in meetings discussing the changes of the mission. All Mission Presidents world wide received new videos from the Brethren in Salt Lake regarding the changes of missionary work that are going to take place. Many changes will effect our mission but we are excited for the changes. We will be having no more transfer meetings so similar to Bryan, we will be told if we are moving or staying and if we are moving, we have permission to use all public transportation by ourselves and we are responsible for getting ourselves to our next area. The thing that will be really neat is with exchanges now, the Sisters we exchange with will both be traveling to and from their area to ours and we will basically go on splits with them but all the work will be in our area. So, we will no longer be leaving our area to go on exchanges. At first this was a huge shock to everyone and there were tons of questions. But in the end, it will be really nice because we will have SO much more time in our area and we will be able to have so much more finding time to find the prepared! There will also be a worldwide Broadcast for all missionaries around the world on January 20th from Salt Lake so that will be really cool.
The new theme from the Brethren is to Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts. In MLC, we focused mostly on the importance of teaching repentance and how essential this is to the retention of keeping converts. It made me really excited because this is an area in my missionary work that I could really improve on. Sister Jergensen gave a great training on Repentance and used a parable John 2 that I will share at the end of my email. Overall, a great day!
Friday night, we returned home around 7:30 and went straight to a members home. She is from China but has lived in Taiwan for several years now. Her parents come to Taiwan for 6 months every year. They would love to move here but they don't have citizenship so they come for 6 and then go back to china for 6 and they came just a few days ago! Han JieMei, and her mom Liu JieMei were baptized last year together and Han JieMei's dad wasn't but she has been praying really hard the last 6 months that when he came this time, he would accept the gospel! We went and met him! He is the sweetest man but can I tell you, the China accent is SO hard to understand! They pronounce everything differently and like slur and have deep accents so Sister Cardon and I have to pay really close attention. It took me a few minutes to start understanding him but it will be something we get used to :) Anyways, he is SUCH a prepared man! Tonight, we taught the importance of Prayer, Scripture Study, and Church. Being from China, Han DX has not much background in religion so we are starting from the very simple concepts. He was really willing to learn and has lots of good questions! I am so excited to begin meeting with him!!
AND, Lilly (Han JieMei-the member that lives here in Taiwan) also invited over her neighbor who is a bit older and lives alone. Come to find out, her neighbor, Yang JieMei, is a long lost Less Active! As soon as she met us, she kept saying how when she lives down south Taiwan, she was baptized into our church (she kept using the old name for the church) so she was baptized a long time ago but then when she moved to NanKan, she just stopped going!! SO, we found a new LA through the help of our member! haha Miracles!!
Saturday: We had a morning full of finding. Met some really prepared people who all don't live in our area so we got to send some really promising referrals. Afternoon, we went to a wedding reception for someone in our ward. We went with Han JieMei and her parents. It was really cute :) After the reception, we met with a potential investigator. Zhang JieMei is absolutely adorable. She is probably about my same age and just recently quit her job to spend some extra time with her family while she finds a new one! So, she has all the time to meet with us! She has some Christian friends and so she has always been really curious about Christianity but they have never invited her to go to church with them or anything so when she met us! She thought, why not!? haha She really wants to be Christian but she is a bit nervous about what her family will think. We told her to slowly start talking to them about it and to pray to receive help from Heavenly Father :) We also taught her simply about Prayer, Scriptures, and Church and invited her to be baptized. She set a baptismal goal for February 13 she is willing to work towards! We also went and visited a recent convert, Ding Ling, her and her mom got baptized together but she goes to school up in Taipei and only comes home on the weekends. We talked about faith and repentance. They just got their temple recommends so they will be able to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead soon! Ding Ling asked us more about what we do in the temple. After we explained, her mom went off about how she needs to marry someone who is also a church member and how she really needs to think about who she is going to marry and date him for a longtime! haha It was really funny because Ding Ling was like, "Mom, I know." it just reminds me of when I was a teenager like her. :) But back then i didn't know what I was doing, haha Thanks mom and dad for raising me well and being patient with me. :) Love you guys :)
Saturday night, we met a man-Zhang Dixiong. He is really interested in Christianity and just barely started working for NuSkin SO I think that is something that is also making him a bit curious because NuSkin being in Utah. He is willing to meet but can't meet again till next Sunday because of meetings in Taipei all week!
Sunday: WE HAD 2 INVESTIGATORS COME TO CHURCH TODAY! Our area has been struggling with this for some time so this was HUGE today. Han DiXiong came today and loved it. He even participated a lot in Gospel Principles where we talked about Heavenly Father-a perfect subject for him. And sadly, our other investigator accidentally went to the wrong ward...haha. With our church now starting at 8:30, the first two hours we are on the second floor in auxiliary classes and Sunday School and then our last hour, we are in Sacrament Meeting. Another ward starts their sacrament meeting at 9 so he went to that on accident and didn't really understand anything BUT, he had the experience and is going to come again this next week hopefully!! We had quite a few half active half LA people also attend church today which was really nice!
After church, we went and visited our RC's husband/dad. He has some crazy views about religion but he is really willing to learn. We committed him today to completely give up alcohol! We were really bold but it is what he needed! We also meet with that new dad-beer shop owner from Monday and his two small sons. His wife didn't seem to have much interest but he was willing to meet. We talked mostly about the scriptures and why we are given them. We will see this week if he truly has interest or not.
Sunday evening we had dinner with Luan JiaTing. The husband is a member but his wife isn't. He just barely came back to activity and so it was nice for me to be able to meet them more. The Elders in our ward are hopefully going to try and start meeting with Luan JieMei and sharing the gospel with her. She will come to church every week with her husband to Sacrament Meeting so that is pretty big! Sunday night, we went and visited some less actives and then met with some of the Filipinos in our ward! One of them named, Alster, lives in the Bambang district (Bryan's first area) so it was cool to talk to him about that! They are so respectful and they would call us Sister. Almost every sentence when they were talking to us, they would say Sister. :) And they call themselves Brother and then their first name. It is so awesome!
And lastly, quickly, this is part of Sister Jergensen's training: She did a training about the first miracle recorded from Christs' Ministry and related it to Repentance:
It is when there was a wedding in Cana and Christ showed up and there was no wine at this wedding. Wine is like comparable to food at a wedding reception today.
Sister Wang and I.
I love Taiwan!
New Year Eve dinner.
Lilly and her son and another member at the reception.
Us visiting Lilly and her parents and her neighbor.