Monday, August 25, 2014

Angels in our Mission

Hi Mommy,

My heart mourns for our two beloved Elders and angels, Elder Thredgold and Elder Xiong. I had to take some time to just sit and just take everything all in after hearing the news. Elder Thredgold was my very first Zone Leader in the MTC and I learned a ton from him. Sister Roy, in discussing this whole incident, shared this with me, "The news stories say that Elder Thredgold's parents said that their son was having the time of his life and smiling so big, like he never has smiled before. So this is probably his favorite thing to do. Elder Xiong was an orphan so he is with his parents again." This is very comforting. But the antedote for my sorrow was just finding, teaching, and testifying the truth of this gospel. Right after I took my few minutes of just thinking and absorbing it all in, I got up and headed to talk to the first person I saw (and his dog).

In one week, so many things happen in the lives of our investigators. We met with Sister Wang. She told us about how her eldest son died 8 years ago from cancer. As she shared this with us, I could just feel the pain in her voice. She talked about how it's hard for her to do things. She goes outside mainly to sell her fruit. She also takes medicine I guess to help you cope with her pain. I could tell that she's been dealing with this for 8 years and maybe now is the Lord's time to allow her to find peace and freedom from this. We didn't have much time to share, but we gave her out Restoration and Plan of Salvation pamplets to read in preparation for our next meeting. She explained how her son was a Christian and introduced her to Christianity because she's a Buddhist.

We met with her two more times this week. She committed to coming to church the second time and she said that she'll have to ask her other son if he can bai-bai (worship ancestors) for her if she gets baptized. After the second time, she gave us a call to tell us that her husband fanduis (opposes) and that she couldn't come to church. When we asked her if we can still visit her, she said that she wouldn't have time because she has to sell fruit and bai-bai. We had previously asked a church member to get in touch with her because she was supposed to be giving her a ride to church on Sunday. This church member was able to talk to her and Sister Wang even agreed to still allow us to go and visit her with our peike. Satan is so strong and he knows who the vulnerable people are. He knows that this gospel and help Sis. Wang so much. I just hope and pray that the next time we do meet with her, we can have the Spirit to say everything she needs to hear.

Jeff shared the most beautiful testimony about the Book of Mormon! He explained how when we first met him, he just thought it was some ordinary book. But as he read it, he came to know that it's more than that. He wants his life to be like that of Nephi's and have his courage. We will have to move his baptismal date because he couldn't come to church this past week, but he is so amazing! I'm so excited for him to keep progressing!

"When our testimonies are strong and we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our choices will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, they will be Christ-centered, and they will support our desire to endure in righteousness." -Elder Richard J. Maynes

Sister Sagisi

Just me and my Book of Mormon on Turtle Mountain (direct translation for Guishan). Gui means turtle and Shan means mountain. 

This is called Pig's Blood cake. It's quite delicious. It's covered in peanut crumbs...or something like that. 

I love this car. I had to take this picture for Sister Van Tonder.

I was actually going to hold this lizard and take a picture with it. But as the little boy brought it closer to me and tried to hand it to me, I totally chickened out and just told him to old it for me. Holding a lizard is something that I could live without doing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Destiny Is Determined...

Hi Mommy,

I went on exchanges with Sister Lee this week and I feel that her Spirit and missionary service is exactly what Guishan needed. She brought a change to Guishan that has changed the way Sister Koch and I do missionary work here. Let's see, right when Sister Lee and I got to Guishan, we already had two street lessons. One was with a young girl, Gao JM, who is a Christian. I noticed her when I was biking and I just biked right past her. However, Sis. Lee stopped to talk to her. Funny story actually. I turned around to see where Sis. Lee was and I saw her talking to the student who I passed. But right where I stopped, I met this man, Huang DX, who is a Christian. After introducing myself, I told him that I'll be right back with my companion. Well, there were our first two lessons! And they became two new investigators! We never know who is willing and ready to hear the gospel of Christ. Sis. Lee taught me to talk to everyone, literally.

When we got to our next lesson with two students, everything just seemed so hectic in the beginning. While getting settled, people were calling us on the phone. But as our taught them that God is our loving Heavenly Father, I could feel the Spirit join us. We taught with unity, taking time to pause, think, then talk. It just felt really natural teaching with her.

Later that night, we went to our WML's house, Lu DX because he had to give us some lists. While we were there, we asked him for some good contacting places and he gave us a list of parks. We, together with him, prayed for inspiration in which park to go. We felt one specific park felt right. On our way there, we had one lesson. And when we got to the park, we talked to the first person we saw. She was smoking a cigarette but as we were just having small talk, she explained that she didn't think we'd talk to her because she was smoking. Well, we asked if she had 5 minutes of her time to share something. She immediately put out her cigarette and we had a wonderful, Spirit-filled lesson. We scheduled for another lesson, gave her a Book of Mormon, and the next day she even came to English class!

I learned so much from Sis. Lee. I learned to not be afraid to just say "hello" to people. I also learned to be direct in sharing something I feel prompted to share. I also learned to bust out the Book of Mormon, share scriptures, and just use, use, use, the Book of Mormon!

I don't even know what or how but I can't even explain what has happened these past few days! Just that we've been blessed with so much success! This week, we went from having 1 investigator with a baptismal date to having 6! We've also found great success in teaching. The Lord has also been blessing us with finding peikes.

Although we set 5 new baptismal dates, our 1 investigator with a baptismal date 'died.' We met with him one last time. We talked about his beliefs once more before he decided not to meet with us anymore. One of his greatest challenges was believe that there's a God. We shared the 'Earthly Father, Heavenly Father' video in hopes that it might have an effect on him. However, just when we thought he felt the Spirit, he still didn't believe. He said that he liked the video effects (because for his business he makes and shoots videos) and he also liked the comparison of an earthly father to a god. But still no change. As he shared how he doesn't believe in a God and how he only believes that  we make our own choices to get success and it's all based on faith in ourselves, I realized that he hasn't changed since we started meeting with him. And that's when I realized it wasn't his time right now. He explained how sorry and grateful he was to have met us. Before he left, I had some time to say a few words to him and I just explained how I, too, was grateful to meet him and I understand that now may not be his time but maybe in the future. And he agreed. He said yes, maybe in a few years he might believe. But I won't lose faith. I know that the Lord has a special plan for him.

Our investigator, Luna, came to church! Although she didn't partake of the sacrament, she stayed for the last half hour of sacrament meeting to the very end of Relief Society. The ward is already guanxin-ing her (I don't know how to say it in English, haha but it's like being her friend and talking to her and stuff) and they think that she's amazing!

We have 2 investigators scheduled to be baptized on the 20th of Sept, Vicky and Luna. And we have 2 on the 27th of Sept, Huang DX and Guo DX. Then on the 6th of Sept. we have our dear Jeff. We are working with the zone leaders because right now he's living in Taoyuan because of work. But when school starts, he'll be back in Guishan. He is golden! He loves the Book of Mormon. And he really wants to shoot for his baptismal date.

Guishan is doing so great! I love this place, the members, and the people here so much!!!

Chinglish Moment: There is a car sales business called SAVE. 'SAVE' stands for Sinjuang (I think it's the name of the company/business) Automobile Value Evaluation. It makes me laugh each time I pass by.

Spiritual Share: "...our destiny is not determined by the number of times we stumble but by the number of times we rise up, dust ourselves off, and move forward." -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Sister Sagisi

We call this Love Park. Actually, I think it's the name of the park anyway. Haha.

This dog...I wanna say it's doing a "Filipino/Taiwanese Squat."

Hu Family. They took us to go eat really good street food!!!

Sister Miller's 20th birthday!!!

The Elders in our ward had two baptisms! :) We are so happy for them. Sister Luo and Sister Cai.

​I forgot to explain this picture! So this is Crismon Lewis and his wife. Crismon was my co-worker back at BYU and we'd spend our lunch breaks talking about his wife and me going on a mission. Well, I can't believe of all places we re-unite in Taiwan and I finally met his wife! He's studying at the University in Taipei. I think it was a tender mercy that I ran into them here!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

BaBa Day!

Hi Mommy,

We have an investigator named Jeff who is about 18 years old. We met him a little less than two weeks ago. When we met with him this week, he had already read up to 1 Nephi 15! He explained how he had been reading in his spare time. We asked him what his favorite part has been. He explained how he really likes Nephi. He had the courage to slay Laban, forgive his brothers, and just be faithful. As I sat there in the lesson, I just felt the joy of someone who had been undergoing their own conversion. In the lesson, he explained how he wants to work really hard throughout the week so that he can get Sundays off and attend church. (He wasn't able to attend yesterday, but he was very sorry that he wasn't able to make it.) He also invited his friends and older sister to church two Sundays ago. He's already sharing the joys of the gospel! When his mom told him that he doesn't have to go to church because he already has his own religion (Buddism), he explained that it isn't his own religion and he wants to learn about our church. I'm praying for this young man so much! He's afraid that his dad will oppose. It seems his dad and church attendance are the obstacles right now, but everyday, I'm praying that he will keep progressing.

Another one of our investigators, Luna, is progressing! We met with her this week and also invited her to come to the temple for a temple tour since we would be the temple tour sisters. When we invited her to baptism at our lesson, it seemed like she couldn't really say because her mom was right there. But she has such great questions about the church. It amazes me how much faith she has to wonder about certain doctrines and to be willing to ask.

The meetings that we had last week were so rejuvenating! I think they were exactly what I needed to take on this new transfer. Guishan is rising from the dust and I can feel it breathing! Now, it just needs to come alive and flourish. That is a goal of mine this transfer. Although I'm not too sure what will happen next transfer, I just want to leave Guishan in great conditions for my breaker or for whoever will be coming into Guishan next transfer. This place has so much potential and the people here are just so amazing.

I saw a snake!!! So Thursday night, we were biking home along the bike pack. It was a dimly lit bike path that runs along the Nankan river (it's very nature-y). But I see my companion swerve to the left of the path and points at something on the ground to the right. I coudn't make it what she yelled but a few seconds later, I clearly kenw. As I passed, a black/dark squiqly thing on the ground slivers real quick and I know at that moment I knew it was a snake! Although it was just a split second of passing it, I just screamed "Oh my goodness" x4. I was so freaked out. I want to say that it was at least a 7ft snake. Well, my heart was beating fast the whole way home. There's nothing I hate more than snakes.
CHINGLISH: No Chinglish moment of the week. I'm sorry! I forgot to write them down.

SPIRITUAL SHARE: "As we draw near to Him, we realize that mortality is meant to be difficult and that 'opposition in all things' is not a flaw in the plan of slavation. Opposition, rather, is the indispensable element of mortality and strengthens our will and refines our choices." -Elder Timothy J. Dyches

I love you, Mommy!
Sister Sagisi
I love my ward! This is our Father's Day activity. They had about 7 tables of food! So good!

This is a Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon is AMAZING!!! It's from Cozi Burger in Taipei. It's called the PBB Burger. And I will fly back to Taiwan just to have this again. Please take my word on it, this burger is amazing...probably the best burger that I've ever had.
Passing on the Koala bear to Sister Van Tonder. We miss our MTC district and the missionaries who went to Australia!

Sister Roy, Sister Lee, and Sister Wray! Sooo happy to see them! Especially Sister Roy!!!! Best friends in Taipei!

Our stake president fed the missionaries. Mommy, he knows Sister Chantrell. His name is President Tsai (Cai). They have a wonderful family! They have two missionaries out in the field right now. One in London and one in Brisbane, Australia.

At zone meeting! The triangle of elders stand for Faith, Hope, and Charity. All three work together.

I love our ward members. They feed us until we can't walk anymore...which I guess isn't a good thing. Haha. There is Sandra, Sis. Wu, Sis. Chen, and an invistigator, Sister Lin.

They really value Fathers here! What a wonderful Father's Day Activity. It's on the 8th of August because it's 8/8 and the number 8 in Chinese is 'ba'. So 'Baba Day'. Isn't that just clever?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Better Each Day

The Lord bestows tender blessings everyday, we just have to be on the lookout for them.

So this week, there was an old lady who completely rejected our message, but then acknowledged that she sometimes goes to a Christian church. As we walked away, she called us back and gave us a pear! The people of Taiwan don't slam doors in your face, they simply say "bu yong" (don't want, don't need) and give us food. The people here are just so sweet! 

We had a lesson with a member from our ward this week. When we got to her house, we had already prepared to share a talk that was in July's Liahona magazine. It was about the Atonement. Since it was a short article, we decided to read it together. As we were reading, she just starts crying. When we finished, we just sat for a few minutes in silence. Then in between her sobs, she starts explaining her feelings. She explained how lonely she feels. She's divorced with 3 grown up children. She is currently looking for a job. She had something go wrong at her old job, international trade, and she doesn't know what kind of people to trust. She understands that life has challenges but she doesn't know why she's faced with this unbearable challenge. She can't sleep at night and sometimes she wishes she could just die there.

I wanted to embrace her and just hold her. I could feel the pain and sorrow that she had. Tears just rolled down my face. Sis. Koch had a wonderful idea of saying a kneeling prayer together. That lesson just testified to me how everyone needs our Savior and when we don't know what to do, He does. She is such a strong woman and the Lord knows exactly who she is and what she's going through.

Sometime last week, we had a lesson with a family and had asked a Chen JM from our ward to peike. I think it was before the lesson or it may have been after our lesson that she told us powerful experience she had. She said that she and her family were praying for a missionary experience adn that they wanted to be more involved in the work. Not long after, we called to ask her to peike. I knwo that our ward members want to be doing missionary work and sometimes they just don't know how to find it. But she expressed how we were an answer to her prayers!

CHINGLISH: I'm going to try to incorporate this section in every email. Oh the funny things I read in Taiwan. This week we found this on a guy's shirt: "Minnie is well known was Mickey's girlfriend."

"It is our duty to try to be perfect, improve each day, and look upon our course last week and do things better this week; do things better today than we did them yesterday." President Lorenzo Snow

Let's strive to be better each day! Love you!
Sister Sagisi

Sister Huang treated us to dinner at this restaurant called "Exotic Cuisine." Haha. So it's also the Luna Calendar's Valentine's day and the place was booked with couples. And in the background all of these ENGLISH love songs were playing...what a romantic, I mean spiritual evening.

The view from Turtle Mountain (Guishan). I almost collapsed when I got off my bike. My legs...were in such pain.

Sister Johansen just completed her mission! We will miss her!

 English Class party! It was a pioneer day theme!

 The district! It was an interesting you can tell from this picture.

 The Australian missionaries will appreciate this.

 Fabi will appreciate this...I'm so grateful that is not my bike.
 Pancit...guava with li hing mui... WHAT ELSE COULD I ASK FOR?! I love Taiwan!!!