I have been called as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Taiwan Taipei Mission for 18 months. (Apr. 2014-Oct. 2015) This blog is a compilation of the weekly e-mails I send home, which contain my experiences, thoughts, and feelings in the mission field.
My highlight of the week was seeing my Recent Convert, Ye JM (Yoyo), at Taoyuan Stake Conference. We both just cried when we saw each other. The best part was being able to sit with her at conference. It brought back memories of sitting with her at church when she was just an investigator. She later told me that she got her Patriarchal Blessing! I am so proud of her! Nothing warms your heart more than seeing someone you helped bring unto Christ taking their own steps on their path towards eternal life. Oh, how I love her so much!
This week was Thanksgiving Day in America. That doesn't mean we can't celebrate it in Taiwan! We were actually able to have another Thanksgiving meal this week, this time with the Li Family. For our Spiritual Thought we went around the room and explained what we were thankful for this year. Among the many many things I'm thankful for, I shared how I was so thankful for the four months that I was able to spend at home with my family while I waited to report to the MTC. For the past three years since I've started college, I've only really seen my family about every 6 months, spending at most a month with them. But being home with them for Christmas and my birthday was just such a special time to strengthen our relationship before I left them for 18 months. I love them so so much. I am also so grateful to even be on a mission. My joy is so full, and so is my tummy.
At Stake Conference, we heard from many speakers. Among them were Pres. and Sister Day and Elder Sam Wong of the Seventy. He recently spoke at General Conference this past October. He emphasized how missionary work is to be done with both missionaries and members. He emphasized Pres. Monson's call to everyone that "Now is the time for the members and missionaries to work together to labor in the Lord's vineyard and bring souls to Christ." He also shared things that pertain only to this area of the world. I know that he is a man called of God. He is called to preside over this area, under the First Presidency and ultimately under the Lord Jesus Christ.
He shared with us a few stories and I'd like to share one of them and the things that he taught us. This is the story of the Rich Young Man in Mark 10 of the New Testament. This rich man must have been a very active member because he 'ran' to Christ to know about eternal life. He even knew about eternal life, so he knew doctrine. His parents taught him well in the gospel so he also must have been a 2nd or 3rd generation member. But he was not willing to sell his possessions. The word "possession" is very interesting. Our possessions, all we have is what can really "possess" us. The rich young man was not willing to give all he had to follow the Savior. Can we ask ourselves the same? Are we willing to do all we can to build the Kingdom of God? Are we doing our Home Teaching, Visiting Teaching? Magnifying our calling? Compare this with the story of the Widow in 1 Kings who gives her food to feed the prophet Elijah.
Love you all! Have a wonderful week! Sister Sagisi 夏姊妹
Thanksgiving Dinner with the Li Family :)
A taco bar!!!! It was soooo good. I was so happy :)
Chen JM treated us to lunch. She is so amazing. Everything she does is for her baby boy. She wants him to have the best education and to have a wonderful life. Even though she doesn't have fancy material things, she sacrifices so much for him and his future.
Lunch with the Li family. :)
We all look Taiwanese...Well, everyone else in the picture but me is Taiwanese. Haha.
My dear Yoyo and I at Stake Conference! Soooo happy I finally got to see her!!!! :D
No one told me it was acid rain! Coming from Hawaii, I'm used to the beautiful rain, especially when it just drizzles a little. But here in Taiwan, especially in my zone, Taoyuan, it's pretty much acid rain. Because of all the factories in my area, it's pretty dangerous... But it's OK, we're still alive. One of the main concerns that all the elders (and sisters) have is that they'll go bald. Well, after hearing that, I'm forever using my hood and placing a piece of paper in my helmet to avoid from going bald. Haha. Our short-term missionary, Sis. Christensen went home to Taibei! (I spelled her name wrong last week, sorry!) But before she went home Pres. Day wanted her to have an opportunity to go on exchanges with me and Sis. Zippro. So I had the opportunity to be senior companion for a day. On Tuesday, Sis. Christensen came with me to my area while Sis. Zippro went with Sis. Lin to her area. I'm not too sure if I mentioned that we lived in a four person apartment, so that's really convenient as well. At first, I was kind of nervous because Sis. Christensen doesn't know very much Chinese gospel terms but it ended up being one of the best days! We went English Boarding (where go and hand out English flyers telling everyone about our English class that we offer). We met some people interested in English class and even in church! I loved being able to cheer Sis. Christensen on and help her. She is so great and she has the light of a missionary. At the end of English Boarding, I told Sis. Christensen that we had to go because it was dinner time. She responded with, "No, what?! Do we have to?" She was enjoying herself so much and she loved talking to people. We found a new investigator as well! For dinner, we treated ourselves to Filipino food :) Seeing her spark just fueled my fire and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to go on exchanges with her. And yesterday, one of the sisters we met while English Boarding came to church!!! As she introduced herself in Sunday School, she mentioned how she met me at the train station and desired to come to church. What a blessing!!! Here's a miracle, the Jewish investigator, Eliyo set a baptismal date!!! I didn't realize how monumental it was until Sis. Zippro told me. Because she served in Colorado for a transfer and a half while she waited for her Taiwan VISA, she knew how immense that was. Yes, Eliyo set a date and he even came to church yesterday! He really has a desire to know God's plan for him. He was so humbled by the faith that we have in him to set a baptismal date. He's worried that he doesn't have the same faith for himself. But I know that God loves him. I know that it's no coincidence that Eliyo came to Taiwan. Maybe of all the places in the world, he needed to meet missionaries here. I also want to say happy birthday to my little brother, Jerrico! He's turning 11. Love you baby bro!!! There's so much I want to say but so little time. I will end with my testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. I know that the Good News that we have to offer to the world is the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him, we can all return to our Father in Heaven. God's plan for us is to be happy in this life. Through all the trials that mortality brings, He wants us to be happy and to have eternal happiness with Him in His kingdom. Happiness in this life and forever is all possible through Jesus Christ. I love you all! Love, Sister Sagisi 夏姐妹
Our Thanksgiving Dinner with the Liu Family! Mashed potatoes, Swedish meatballs, donuts...I was so happy!!!
Dear Mommy, Time just seems to go by so fast! I can't believe that I'm emailing you again. I thought I just emailed you. Haha. A lot of things have already happened since I last wrote. This past week we were in a tri-companionship again. So Sister Lin had a short term missionary (mini missionary) the week before but she was only here for a week. So starting last week again we became a trio and was over two areas. We also went on exchanges. Sister Lin and I went to Nankan with one of the Sister Training Leaders, Sister Miller. Then on Saturday we went to Taipei to do Temple Square Tours at the Temple. And while we were there we ran into the Assistants to the Mission President and they told us that another short-term missionary will be joining us this week! So since Saturday, we've been back to a regular companionship. So exchanges are usually when crazy and miraculous things happen. One of our lessons cancelled a few minutes before it was supposed to start. We prayed about what to do next. Sis. Miller told us that one option was that we could visit a family who lived nearby. She and Sis. Thornley tried to visit them before but only the children were home so they couldn't go in. Well this time they were home! All 4 children and the parents. They let us in and we sang a hymn then talked about temples. I really just felt the Spirit in that lesson. The cutest thing was that when we asked them to read 3 Nephi 18:21, they all read it together in unison (no one has ever done that before!) We also taught in harmony, even though it was the first time the 3 of us have ever taught, it just flowed so well. Nankan ended up getting 5 new investigators that night! That family is golden! Yesterday, I taught a lesson in English! It was so weird!!! So after exchanges outside of the train station, we met a Jewish man named Eliyo. He was born in Israel and grew up in America on the east coast. Though it seemed like all he wanted to do was debate, he was willing to give it a shot and to listen to what we had to say. So we set up a time to meet. Yesterday, we met with him. One challenge prior to meeting with him was finding members who could accompany our lesson (peike). Luckily, one of the wards at our chapel is English-friendly/foreigner friendly. They have English translators because some of the members do not speak any Chinese. Well, one of the English members was Brother Bell from London. Our other peike was Sis. Shen, who helps us out all the time. So I used my quad scriptures in a lesson for the first time!!! It was awesome. Well, the lesson went really well. We got halfway through the message of the Restoration but we have another meeting scheduled for this Wednesday. Eliyo is very willing to accept our invitations and commitments. He believes in God but his concern is that he doesn't know what it's like to know God's answers and how to discern what God tells him. I'm excited to share the rest of our message with him! We gave him a Book of Mormon and he says that he'll be more than happy to read it. Also, at church we had the ward's primary presentation! I forgot how much I missed those. Being in a Young Single Adult ward for so long made me forget how cute they are! The children make me smile so much, especially when they sing. It's reminded me of the meekness and humility that children have and how we must be as little children. During studies, I ran into this quote from Preach My Gospel. "True Christianity is love in action. There is no better way to manifest love for God than to show an unselfish love for your fellow men. This is the spirit of missionary work." -Pres. David O. Mckay It's so true! In order to do missionary work or actually to just claim yourself as a "Christian" we have to love everyone! It's the only way that Christ would have us live. Love, Sister Sagisi 夏姐妹
Fresh coconuts never tasted so good. Especially when they're $1 (american dollar).
We taught Xuting, a recent convert. She was baptized a few months ago. :) I remember teaching her when I first got here. My Chinese has improved so much, haha.
I'm sorry it's so blurry! But Sis. Christiansen is our new duanchuan (short term missionary.)
Hi Mommy, This is my letter to Pres. Day this week: Don't you just love miracles that top off the week? These are the miracles that happen on Sunday, the very last day of the week. Yesterday, we had three Filipinos at church. I have such great respect for them because to Sis. Zippro and I, they aren't 'inactive.' They would be at church in a heartbeat if it weren't for their work schedule. They leave their families in the Philippines to work in Taiwan and to provide for their families. One of them, Bro. Romeo, an RM, brought his girlfriend for the third time to church and she wants to meet with missionaries. The other, Sis. Barila, comes whenever she can. After the lesson in Gospel Principles, she wants to start doing family history on familysearch.org. But in order to do that she needs an LDS account and she doesn't know her member record number to make one. We're going to work with the bishop and ward clerk to see how she can get it and also to see if her records and temporarily transfer here to Taiwan so that she can get her Patriarchal Blessing. I am slowly realizing my reason for being here in Taiwan and I know that it's no coincidence that the Lord called me to a place that has a lot of Filipinos! This week, we've actually met a lot of Indonesians and Filipinos. It's so hard to communicate with the Indonesians because they are limited in their Chinese and English abilities. But I want to help them out so badly. I want them to feel the Spirit and know that we are representatives of Jesus Christ. I'm still learning how to do this despite the language barrier. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I can't communicate as well with the Filipinos even though I am full Filipino. I wish I had been fluent in the Tagalog language before. But I know that after my mission this is no doubt a pursuit of mine. I know that I'm called Mandarin speaking so that is what I'm focusing on now. I know that if the Lord needs me to communicate in another language, He will allow me to do so through ways that I already know how to do. I don't know what happened this week! Either we can't find a sister peike, we get fang'd, or our investigator cancels. This has definitely been one of the most challenging weeks. But regardless, Sis. Zippro and I are able to see those tiny miracles in each day. Sometimes, though, it's hard to not think, "what did I do wrong? Why is this happening?" However, I can sense those times when I know it's nothing that I did but rather it's the agency of others or it's probably just a trial from the Lord. One investigator, He JM, probably the most sassiest lady I have ever met invited us to her house only to drop us. She explained that having a God who gives us everything we have is just something that she can't fathom. We spent the last couple of lessons focusing on God is our loving Heavenly Father and on His Son, Jesus Christ. She said that it was just a personal problem for her to accept that. She knows we love her and she loves us too, but she just doesn't want to waste our time anymore. She didn't want us to be disappointed either. At the beginning of the lesson she wanted to give us back the Book of Mormon but at the end, she allowed us to leave it with her. Today during studies, I read the conference address by Elder Perry, "Obedience to Law is Liberty." I learned so much more about the gift of agency. I know that God gave us this gift because He loves us. And likewise, we let He JM go because we love her and she has her own agency. I know that God has a plan for her and maybe now isn't the time. But I have hope for her! I'm not too sure if you remember, President, but I told you how learning Chinese was the last thing on my list. It was something that I never wanted to do or even imagined doing. Back in high school I told myself (and everyone else) that if for any reason I needed to learn Chinese, I said that I would hire a translator. I don't know why I didn't want to learn it. I think that it's because I knew it was the hardest language and I didn't want to put myself up to the challenge. But I am so grateful for the Lord's trust and Him allowing me to reach my full potential. Look at me now, I'm teaching in Chinese! It's a miracle! It's a blessing! It's only going to get better from here on out. During personal study today I read this scripture in Abraham 4:21, emphasize added: And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good. God has a plan! In addition to the Plan of Happiness that He's given us, we know that from this scripture He is a planner! It's so important to always have a plan. In missionary work, if we don't have a lesson plan or a plan of what we want to accomplish this day, we won't be successful at all. I love planning! Granted, sometimes what we plan doesn't go through or new things come up. But if we have a plan and we put in our effort, the Lord will help us along the way. Love you!!! Sister Sagisi 夏姐妹
I don't know if I sent this picture the last time. This was the last Sunday with Sis. Smith, my last companion. We were matching and we wanted to take a 'Family Picture' in our apartment :) Love her!
Our crazy ward.
This is a better picture! This is almost all of the district. We are missing another set of elders, though. To the left is Sis. Xie who was a short term missionary this past week. To the right is Sis. Lin who is the third member of our Trio now. And those are our Elders, Willes and Jensen.