Monday, July 28, 2014

Typhoons and My First Baptism!

I had my first baptism this past Saturday! And it was so amazing! Tears just came to my eyes as I watched Yo-yo enter the waters of baptism. I can't believe that I took part in helping someone prepare for this sacred experience and covenant. Sister Koch and I sung "Lord I Would Follow Thee" a capella before the baptismal ordinance. It was just so special that the Lord allowed me to be a part of that.

Sister Koch and I had a realization this week. There is someone waiting for us to be found in Guishan. Why didn't he re-open Guishan this week (with the 20 new missionaries coming on-island) rather than the 6 that came last transfer? It definitely would have made more sense for him to that. But no, he re-opened the area 6 weeks ago. There are miracles awaiting us while we're still here. 6 more weeks of training! It's going by so quickly.

Miracle: We had exchanges in the beginnning of the week and a miracle occurred in a matter of less than 24 hours. There was a lesson set up that night. This brother, Ye DX had already had his baptismal interview and passed but then he called Sister Lee to tell her that he couldn't be baptized because he read something in the Book of Mormon. So we were going to find out what it was and see what was going on. When he arrived, he was so angry. He explained that a church member had some lessons with him about the church and Book of Mormon. Apparently the member just made him confused and talked about things that contradicted what the missionaries taught him. But he was also angry that the member didn't allow him to talk at all. Then Sis. Lee asked if we could sing a hymn and say a prayer to invite the Spirit. It definitely helped. Well we continued to let Ye DX explain his thoughts. In times like these, we were so grateful for having a peike (member at the lesson). He even wanted to go to Taipei to the temple to go find peace at that very moment. I could tell that he was distressed. Sis. Lee asked him a great question. "If you hadn't met this church member, would you still believe what you believe?" He said yes. Then I thought of a scripture I could share. Ether 4:12. What persuadeth to do good is of Christ. As we kept talking, something miraculous happened. He knew it was true. His eyes and face started to soften. He then asked if he could be baptized this Wednesday in the morning! What?! I didn't realize what a miracle that lesson was until after we ended. But Sis. Lee explained that he's been meeting with the missionaries since February and he's never taken things into his own hands like setting his own baptismal date! Their district even fasted for him to help him! It was the Spirit and everyone's combined efforts that allowed this miracle to happen. I'm just so grateful the Lord allowed me to witness it.

A typhoon hit Taiwan. But we're okay though. Taoyuan didn't really get affected as much but we required to stay inside until 1 pm, which wasn't bad because we were inside from 8-12pm anyway, haha.

"Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that the power to work is a blessing, that the love of work is success." -President David O. McKay

Missionary work is WORK! But there is no other work that I'd rather be involved in right now. Let's all learn to love work and be happy. It also makes resting something worth looking forward to.

Love you!!!
Sister Sagisi

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jiufen, So Fun!


Jiufen was so fun! I just said that in my title, but really, it was cool. It's comparable to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (for those who have been to Hawaii) except it's in the mountains. Lots of stores and really good food. The taro, I must admit is the best! I hope that I can go back again.

Last night, I had a feeling to go visit an LA. It was just a feeling, nothing special. But it came again when our lesson got cancelled last night. I told Sis. Koch about it. She asked if I was sure that I wanted to visit her because we wouldn't want to bother. I told her that I had her number and we could just call her to ask if we could drop by. We called. Turns out that the number was a wrong number. I told her that now we have a reason to visit because we have to ask for her correct number. We went. When we rang the doorbell, her twin sister answered! This is the sister that we meant to visit last time but instead, her sister (who we met) was home. We ended up having a lesson with both sisters there (and getting her number corrected.) My testimony for listening to small feelings is growing and I hope the Lord continues to trust me with these feelings.

Our investigator, Yo-yo, had her baptismal interview yesterday! This investigator is GOLDEN. She's in the pictures below. After every lesson, Sis. Koch and I talk about how golden she really is. I ask whether she's had an investigator like her before. And she says she's never. She's just THAT golden. We wonder whether she'll have some setback that may keep her from being baptized. But really, nothing. I feel so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to take part in teaching her. She really is ready for baptism and to make this covenant with the Lord.

I had stinky tofu (finally!) A member bought some for me to try. It really wasn't that bad. It smells REALLY bad. Really bad. And it tastes like it smells but it's not that bad. Haha. Overall, it just tastes like really garlic-y tofu.

It was so nice to see familiar faces. We did temple tours again this past week. I was able to see Sister Roy, Sister Van Tonder, Sister Branch, Sister Phelps, Elder Greenhalgh, Elder Cheung (from SOAR) and Elder Payne. I think building friendships and seeing old friends on the mission is just really rejuvenating.

Spiritual Share:
I think about the prophets of old and those int he Book of Mormon. Often times, they are telling the people to repent. Our prophet, Thomas S. Monson still does the same in our days, but he just does it in his own way.

This talk that he gave at General Conference, " Love-The Essence of the Gospel" was definitely one that I needed. There are so many examples in my life who exemplify love. Pres. Monson gives some great insight. He talks about how we will never regret doing anything good. We will never regret helping something in need. Often do we regret not being nice enough, not smiling enough, not serving enough, or even just not thinking of others first. I never want to live with this regret, especially on my mission. Let us all love more- speak kinder words, have happier thoughts, smile, forgive more, be more light-hearted.

Love you all,
Sister Sagisi

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gratitude and Hard Work

It's been a short week, especially since we just emailed on Wednesday, but needless to say a lot of things have happened! I don't know where to start.

When we put our best efforts in, the Lord never forsakes us. The Lord has never failed to provide us with a peike (lesson taught to investigators with a member present), even if it's just an hour before our lesson. This actually turned into a very funny story. We were looking for a peike, calling many members and looking through our resources (ward list, etc.) and no luck. Then Sister Koch finds the YW calling peike list and she calls Wu J.M. She asks for the mother in home and she was able to find a peike! Success. So we arrive at our lesson with our investigator and wait for our peike to arrive. Turns out that our peike was our relief society president (who we were trying to avoid having peike because she just peike'd for us the day before). Well, we later found out that Sister Koch called the daughter of our RS President and we know our RS president as Lu J.M. (her maiden name.) Well, I'm so grateful that the Lord always provides for us, just as long as we try our best.

As we were heading to a lesson, I got stuck behind some cars and I suddenly lost Sister Koch. I continued heading down the road and I don't see her anywhere. When I get to the end of the road, the only options are to turn left or right. It didn't look right. We had previous discussed that we were going to head down the road and turn right somewhere. I don't remember going to end of the road. I turned back around and thoughts came to my head. "I don't have the phone, she does...I can't call for help...She also has the map...We have never discussed situations like this...Do I head back home?" All these thoughts came. But at the same time, I immediately thought to say a prayer in my heart: to help me know what to do and how to find my companion. Just seconds after ending, I see her riding down the road! The Lord has allowed me to rely on Him more since I've started my mission and it's made all the difference.

We went contacting. No luck. It started to rain. We decided to relocate. Sister Koch asked me where that "prepared individual" was. All I said was, "we could go down that road." Then I told her that we could park our bikes in a general area and walk around. At the moment, it started to rain a little harder. There was a brother in the area who was being dropped off by one of his friends. He saw us and told us that we could park our bikes in front of his apartment and go inside while the rain dies down. We told him we couldn't because no one else was there. We explained who we were and he decided to wait with us until the rain ended. We ended up having a lesson with him outside. He was about to eat his dinner and I asked if we could say a prayer to bless his food. And that's when it all started. We found out that his father passed away years ago. His name is Ryan and he's 25 years old. I could tell he has deep questions of the soul. He says he doesn't believe in God but believes in faith. He doesn't knwo why a God would exist in this world that is pretty much ran by man and it seems like we do everything ourselves. I wanted so badly at that moment to teach him everything I knew! But luckily he has interest and we have scheduled a time to meet with him. I'm not too sure if he's a prepared individual, but he surely has questions that he's seeking answers for!

Today we are heading to Jiufen! I am so excited. I hear nothing but great things about that place. It's in Taipei. It's in the mountains somewhere and it's the "Taiwan experience" that I've been waiting to have since I've been here! So stay tuned for pictures next week :)

I asked for the Philippines. I feel like everyday, the Lord is helping me realize that Taiwan is more like the Philippines than I would have thought. I can eat as much Lychee and Mango as I want. They have really good food (similar to Filipino food), and the people remind me so much of Filipinos. They have chicken feet, fish, okra, kabatiti, and lots of other vegetables! I feel like I'm home more and more!

I just have one picture to share this's of a yellow watermelon. Amazingly enough, it tastes just like a regular watermelon, haha.

Miracles occur when we are grateful. I believe that the Savior was always grateful. Though He suffered so much, more than I could ever imagine, I believe He "saw through the eyes of faith and [looked] beyond [His] present-day challenges." -President Uchtdorf. He knew His purpose so whatever circumstances He was in, He was able to look forward with faith and let the Father's will be done. Let us follow His example.

Love you!
Sister Sagisi

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A God of Miracles

Dear Family and Friends,

I forgot to talk about exchanges in my last email! But we went on exchanges when we had to do temple tours. I went on exchanges with Sister Chao, one of the temple sisters (which is equivalent to an Assistant to the President). She is absolutely amazing and I am going to miss her so much. She's on her last transfer and after this she'll be going back to Provo to finish up her last year at BYU...which means that I won't be able to see her. But I learned so much from her and I'm so grateful for the short time that I had with her.

As part of my Practice Teaching (lesson 1 of the missionary lessons, which is the Restoration), I was able to do it with one of the sister training leaders in our area, Sister Johanson. She and her companion, Sister Lee recently baptized a sister, Shuting and she asked me to re-teach the first lesson because that's what the First Presidency is asking missionaries to do now. Missionaries now have to teach all 5 lessons before and after baptism. Yay for hastening the work and member retention efforts! So as I was teaching, I could just feel the Lord putting words in my mouth and things that I had studied before suddenly came to mind. It was the best teaching I had ever done! I testify of the gift of tongues and how the Lord gives it to you when you need it to bless His children.

While riding on my bike, I accidentally lost control and swerved a little. Next thing I know, my handle grip bumps into a black car who comes up next to me. I try to gain my balance and I end up pretty much wiping his car with my arm. We both didn't stop and sooner or later we were both back up to regular speed. What amazes me was that I didn't freak out or fall or even stop my bike! I just knew that everything was under control. I knew that it was a little tender mercy of the Lord to let me know that He's watching over me.

For Independence Day, we went to McDonald's...of course. Also, when we went to get lunch, we ran into some workers at Coco, a drink place. They bought us free drinks, too! I don't know what they were celebrating but I was glad to be a part of that. (See picture)

Another miracle, as we were visiting a less active member, we noticed that her shop was closed. Right when we were about to turn back, a moped pulls up next to us and the lady asks us who we're looking for. We said "Jiang JieMei. We're hoping to eat juabing (a really good pancake thing) at her shop." Then she points at her nose and says "Shi wo! (That's me!)" How funny! The Lord truly blessed us that time.

I absolutely love our ward. They are so supportive of the missionaries. When we had dinner with our Relief Society president's family, she expressed how when we bore our testimonies that very first Sunday, she thought to herself, "Things in Tao-1 will be different. Good different." Just hearing her say that makes me think about how the ward already viewed us from that first day. They can feel, from our testimonies our desire to get this work moving and to really do our best. I can feel the trust they have us.

Zone Conference and Specialized Training was just full of the Spirit. I don't feel adequate to be here in Taoyuan. Neither do I feel adequate to be here on a mission. But the Spirit taught me, yesterday, how much the Lord loves me and sent me here to see my full potential. He has never left my side and He never will leave my side.

"God is a God of miracles. One of His miracles is you. His other miracles happen through you." -President Day

I love you all,
Sister Sagisi

p.s.-The picture of the sign is really funny.