There have been so many neat experiences this week. Emails have always been so hard for me to express my feelings and the experiences I have had. (Sorry :)) The mission is truly an experience FULL of miracles and joyous times. I LOVE my mission.
As I have had to begin wrapping up my mission, I have had a lot of mixed feelings. I can't believe I have been serving the Lord for 18 months! This last week, April 1st, I hit my 18th MONTH MARK! So crazy!! I know I say it a lot but...time has truly flown. I am grateful I have a few extra weeks after my 18th month mark to continue to serve these wonderful people.
Rachel (張瑞綺): She is 25 years old and we found her while finding this last week on Tuesday. She is a college graduate with a writing major and in currently looking for a job. She has one older sister who is studying in Florida. At first we contacted her with sharing we have a free English class, then we explained our purpose and what our purpose is as missionaries. She seemed to have so much interest. We set up for Wednesday after English class to meet with her. Wednesday night came around, she attended our intermediate English class and then we had a lesson with her after. We taught her the Restoration. In this lesson, she explained to us that she has suffered from depression and is continuing to try and overcome it. She is not comfortable with herself and her biggest desires right now is to be prettier and lose weight...But, Wednesday night, we set up to do a temple tour with her on Thursday (Thursday, we were assigned to go up to the temple and be the Temple Tour Sisters for the day). Thursday, we had a member, 王姐妹, be our peike and we had a great tour about the Plan of Salvation, and the Temple, and then also shared with her the video clip by Elaine S. Dalton, Deep Beauty, which talks about we are all queens. She asked us really good questions during the tour including how we feel the Spirit and what it feels like and how she can feel it in her life. We set up with her again and met with her on Saturday. Li Su Mei (李素美）was our peike and was so perfect for her. Saturday, we taught her about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and her questions we once again so amazing. She was a bit confused about what she needs to repent of but she was willing to try! She explained more about her depression and Li JieMei was so perfect for her because she works with individuals who are working through overcoming depression and they have a lot of acquaintances in common! Li JeiMei gave her a lot of tips. The thing that Rachel said that was so awesome in this lesson is that she has tried so many different ways to overcome her depression and none of it has worked and now she just wants to use the power from God. She doesn't have much of a religious background at all. She has attended a church many years ago once but other than that, she knows nothing but she has a desire to learn of God and ask Him for help to overcome her current challenges! So neat. She attended some of church with us yesterday but left early because she was feeling sick. The humidity is starting to come on and it was pretty hot at church so I'm sure that played a factor. She left early this morning (Monday) to take a 5-day trip with her parents to Korea so we won't be able to meet with her this week but we will be out of our area a lot so it was a perfect week for her to be gone. I love Rachel SO much. She inspires me. I know this gospel can and will change her life.
DAD, this is mostly for you but also for everyone...So, Thursday, as you know, we were the Temple Tour Sisters. So, we spend the whole day up at the temple doing tours in the big chapel next to the temple all day. Well, in the afternoon, there was a family in the church sitting on the couches and we started talking to them. The dad, mom, and oldest daughter came to Taiwan for their daughters Senior graduation trip and the dad served his mission here and has never come back till this time. I asked him when he served his mission and he said 1990-1992. I told him that dad also served here. As I started calculating when dad was here, he asked, what is your last name? I said, "Haacke." and then he immediately said, "Paul Haacke" I was so shocked. DAD HE SERVED WITH YOU! Jared Hadden is his name. He said that you were never companions but served in the same district or zone. I was so surprised he remembered your name--especially your first name! He went on and told me a lot of experiences about his mission and your mission president and his wife and also experiences with you, dad. haha He remembers you and I learned a lot about your mission :) haha Well, just a little bit :) What a small world right?!?!? Well, he and his family is currently living in Denver, Colorado.
AND, Sunday night, we had a new member fireside where we can bring investigators, LA's, RC's, etc. to a fireside and new members from all over the Taipei area speak and bear their testimonies about how they came to know the church, etc. Well, last night we went and I was able to see Fan Zhu Song again!! Man, I love this man!! (My first convert)! He told me tonight his plans. He is going to work for the next 2 years to save up money and then he is going to GO ON A MISSION! AAWWW. So awesome!! I told him I will Skype him when I am home so he can meet my family! ALSO, Elder Zach Johnson was there. I first saw his trainer because I couldn't find him and then I went up to him, and was like, "Hey! I am Sister Haacke, do you remember me?" haha yep, I'm on awkward missionary! We reunited and talked a lot. He is doing great. He also asked about Bryan and how he is doing. He says his older sister, Miriam, is at BYU majoring in English. His family is doing great. It is so weird to be like grown up and seeing each other. I remember living in Shanghai China, with his family. We were both so young. The biggest memory I have with his family is going over to their house across the street and playing telephone in their living room...weird memory I know but it was memorable! haha :) He and is trainer asked me for any advice and all I could say was to live it up to the very end. So crazy! It was like we had a little China reunion for a little bit!
For my 18th month mark, Sister Wong made us all lunch. RuiCong, TingXuan, and the Elders. We ate upstairs of our apartment. Sister Wong is so good at making food. I am trying to learn from her...haha...I am so lucky to have such an amazing companion! We also went and got this really good pudding for dinner.
Saturday, we had an activity at the church. We played board games. The turn out wasn't too much because there is a Taiwan holiday this weekend all the way until Wednesday. This holiday is basically everything is shut down, and everyone goes back to their home town and goes and cleans the graves of their ancestors and worships them. So, many people are gone. But, Yang Zhong Yan, an investigator who got baptized last year but never got confirmed came! She is starting to really change and progress. She is actually an investigator who lives in LuZhou, the ward that also meets in our building but she wants to be visited by Sisters, so we have special permission to teach her. She has many different things she is working through! But, she is starting to be much happier and it is great! AND, last night at the new member fireside, our zone leaders came up to us and said she attended their ward up in Taipei Today!!!!! She has a big problem attending the LuZhou ward and has asked us several times if she can go to the chapel by the temple. We are still in the process of having her come to LuZhou but this is the first time she has gone to church since last November! SO IT WAS HUGE! Despite the fact it wasn't in the ward she is supposed to go to, it is an amazing start!
We had a crazy experience with our investigator, Liu Zu Mei this week. We went and picked up pizza and ate lunch with her and then a member came after lunch to be our peike for the lesson. Sadly, in this lesson, Liu JM told us she no longer had interest in learning about the church. She wants to be our friend but, she doesn't want to learn any more :( We saw her yesterday in the park while finding and she was super excited to see us. (I was also super excited to see her) so we talked for a few minutes but hopefully she will slowly gain her desire to learn more about the gospel.
Zhou Min Yu and her boys were down south for the holidays this weekend so they couldn't come to church so we will continue next week with them.
Leann and her son Ray are super awesome. Leann only came to our lesson this week but she is showing a lot of interest. The hardest thing for her is that church is at 8:30 AM and she says that is too early for her on Sunday, her only day to sleep in, but she says she will 慢慢來 and come to church soon!
We met with a referral who is an atheist this week and basically did a psych test on us...interesting experience :)
We also had lunch with Lu JieMei, Bishops wife, and their youngest son on Tuesday. I love the Taiwanese people SO much!!
Last Monday, we went to DanShui for preparation day.
So much happened this last week. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities I have had on my mission. I have loved every second SO SO much. I am looking forward to the next 2 1/2 weeks. Seeing what they will bring. Time truly flies. I am in pure shock that I am coming to the close of my mission. I just can't think about it and then I am okay. It is pretty crazy and weird though.
I know this church is true. I know Christ lives. He is my Redeemer, my Savior, my Older Brother, and my Friend. He loves us. He knows us. Through Him, we can overcome all things. I finished my study in the Book of John this last week. I love the last two verses of John 21:
24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did,the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
Christ did so many things on the earth that we don't have a record of. But, I am so grateful for the records that we do have. The records that we have right now are all that we need in order to learn and pattern our lives after the Savior. Coming unto our Savior is a thing we must do over our entire life. We must be diligent. Keep the Commandments. Repent Daily.
I love my Savior so much. He is my Rock. Just like the Lord commanded the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in Alma 27 to leave their lands and depart to the land of the Nephites to find safety, the Lord is protecting us. Heed to his council. Listen to the promptings of the Spirit and we will be directed in all things.
I love you all and hope you all had a great conference weekend! I am excited to be able to watch it this coming weekend! Have a great week!
LOVE YOU ALL!!
DanShui...the Weather was beautiful!!!
Lunch with LiuZuMei.
Jarden Hadden and his family.
Stephanie and Trent got married the day we were at the temple doing tours!
18 month little celebration!