First off, happy birthday to Alex and baby Mia!!! I can't believe Mia is almost ONE!!!!! I remember when i was taking care of her when she was not even 3 months old yet!! All the kiddos are growing up so fast! Big news, I got training calls on Saturday night. Yes, my worst fear...im training a newbie for the next 2 transfers. That means I get to spend another 12 weeks in Taidong...meaning i get to spend at least 6 transfers on the East Coast! That is over half my mission! yay!!! I'm so grateful i get to stay here. I love the country side of Taiwan. I won't even know how to be a city missionary when i get the chance to serve in Taipei. Anyways, I'm going up to Yilan for one night tomorrow and then up to Taipei Thursday morning for some meetings and I get to meet all the new missionaries. Friday I will find out who my baby/trainee is. Not going to lie, im really nervous and just a little bit stressed out. But all is well. Hopefully everything will work out and that my baby will like me. It's been a rough two transfers so im praying that these next 2 will go even better. On Sunday, we woke up at 4 AM and got to the church at 5 AM to catch a bus up to Hualien! We had district conference and it was so fun to see all the Jian members again! Then on Monday we had outdoor zone conference in Zhiben by Taidong. The Hualien missionaries along with President and Sister Day rode a bus down to Taidong and picked us up and we went hiking all day. We basically went up and down a million stairs and everyone's legs were shaking by the time we got back down. It was pretty funny. It was so fun to see all the Hualien missionaries on Sunday and Monday. I missed them so much! I got to see my mom/trainer. She is going home this week. I loved outdoor conference. We were just all dripping in sweat and having a great time. Sorry today's email is so late. The internet cafe by our house was closed this morning so we didnt get to email until now.
This week was great, even though we lost one golden investigator. Sister Thomsen and I wanted to make Taidong a standard of excellence area by the end of our two transfers together and we are SO close. We met our peike goal for the first time and even went over. We had 9 peikes this week. We are just lacking in baptism dates. Other than that, we pretty much made every goal.
Well our 9 year old investigator Cindy told us she couldn't meet with us anymore and can't get baptized. Her uncle, who is a Zhanglao jiaohui minister, told Cindy's grandparents not to let her meet with us or even come to English class! I was so sad to hear this. He got mad at her for meeting with us and coming to church. Cindy told us she really wants to come to church and to English and that she tried asking again but they said no. We got to meet with her one last time and it was so hard to say goodbye to someone who is so ready to hear and accept the Gospel. I really felt like i had lost my best friend because I became really close to Cindy. The best way to describe this feeling would be....I felt like I had lost someone like Kaitlin in my life. She literally reminded me of KEC everytime I met with her. She is someone i love so much. (So Kaitlin...always CTR! I never want to lose you or anyone else. this goes for all the kids.) I know that one day she will get baptized. I just really wanted to be there for it.
Shi JM, our Vietnamese investigator, is progressing very well. Her baptism date is coming up. It is sometimes difficult to meet with her because she works a lot but she can come to church on Sunday. I think she really has a desire to get baptized. Her Chinese is really good, but sometimes she has a hard time understanding. Yesterday we went over the importance of the Sacrament. I think it helped her understand it more. I'm excited for Shi JM to get baptized. She is so close and i know the Gospel will definitely bless her life.
Chen JM came to the District Conference with us. She was so excited to go. She is incredible. I learn so much from her every time we meet with her. She has read the BOM 6 times already!!! She has read the entire Standard Works. She keeps telling everyone she only has one more month until she gets baptized. Because of the Gospel, her life has changed 180 degrees. So cool!
Becky also came to District Conference. She was a little embarrassed when Tsai Huizhang called on her during the RC meeting before the conference. She doesn't like it when people talk to her about baptism publicly. Since she didn't pass this last interview, she especially doesn't like it when people ask her when she is getting baptized. We talked to her about how the members are just trying to help her and that we can all learn from their imperfections. She doesn't have the best attitude towards members. We are trying to change that. She just likes to judge people instead of seeing the good things about them. But I know that she will get baptized one day. She even told a member that she will get baptized just not for awhile.
One miracle that we saw this week was during finding right before we had to go home. We were just walking down this street and it was almost time to go. Then we see this lady, Susan, walking and we go up to her and talk to her. She had just moved back to Taidong from Xinzhu, where she lost her job. She basically expressed to us everything she was feeling and she told us she didn't want to be Buddhist anymore. She said that she has been on search of a new religion. She said that right now she is in her own personal hell. She feels miserable and unhappy and she asked us how we were so happy. I told her that the Gospel will give her this happiness. We just shared our testimonies with her and she started to cry. She said that she has met 2 sisters in Kaohsiung before who shared with her the Gospel. I don't think they were missionaries. We met with Susan the next day after English. We tried giving her a BOM again but she said no. She doesn't want her parents to find out and be mad at her and throw the BOM away. That is the main problem we have with her. She won't take the BOM so how is she going to develop a testimony of it if she doesn't read it? Also, it is really hard to find time to meet with her. She asks a million of questions without letting us answer them. But I love her so much! She is someone who Heavenly Father put in our path that night so that we can teach her the Gospel and help her out of her misery. Hopefully she will patient and listen to what we have to say.
Another miracle of the week. We went knocking on some doors one night and we happened to knock on this 17 year old's door. Chen JM is in her last year of High School. She is getting ready to take a big test for college. The best part is, is that she is a member's friend. The member Jiang JM is in 2nd branch but they are best friends at school. Jiang JM actually invited her to a few church activities. When we went to go teach Chen JM, her mom happened to be home and she sat in on the lesson too. In the end, her mom also agreed to meet with us the next week. Jiang JM was a great peike. She told them how she was going to serve a mission next year! Yay! It would be if we could teach her whole family.
We went to go visit an LA Luo Hui Zhu. It was our first time visiting her. I must say, it was a really interesting visit. When we got there, she told us that she has not been happy lately and she didn't feel good. She told us that it was because witches were constantly cursing her. I didn't really know what to say. She told us that she started going to a different church after she had joined the church in Hualien and moved back to Taidong. She asked for a priesthood blessing and since we were close to Ho Huizhang's house, we called him up and he was there in less than 5 minutes. She explained to him her situation and he gave her a blessing. I was so glad he was home and hadn't left for Hualien yet. Definitely a blessing. She told us that she would go General Conference. I know that coming back to church will really help her have the spirit back in her life.
We also went to go visit an LA Lai JM. She used to be the YW president in our branch. Her daughter is actually in the Liahona this month or last month. They have been inactive for quite awhile. She has a such a strong testimony and knows the church is true but she has a hard time with forgiveness. Someone in the branch offended her and so now she has a hard time going back. Her husband just got baptized this year and she said that there has not been anyone visiting him besides the missionaries. They love the missionaries and she has had a few sisters in the branch come visit her. She was going to visit her daughter in Kaohsiung this last weekend and said that she was going to go to church with her there. I hope I can get her whole family back at church. She tells me she wants to come back but the hardest thing is actually opening the door to come to church. We told her that we need to forgive others just like Heavenly Father forgives us. That is why we have the Atonement. She cried during our visit with her and we very interested in Tang JM's story on how she came back to church. I think it helped her a lot.
Well, I was really surprised to get the call from Elder Lindley last Saturday telling me that I was training. I'm not going to lie, I'm a little nervous and scared at the same time. Sometimes i feel like i just got to Taiwan. But I know that this is Heavenly Father's plan for me right now and that He knows I can do it. I just hope I can be a good trainer and example to my new baby. I can't wait to go up to Taipei for the first time since I got on the island! Crazy! I'm so grateful that I will be spending another 2 transfers in Taidong/East Coast. I'm lucky that I get to spend over half my mission on the east coast. I have learned so much during my 2 transfers here with Sister Thomsen. I think this has helped prepare me to train.
Okay love you all!!! im sending a bunch of pictures!!