Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Year Mark and Elder Holland!


Happy Birthday Megan and Eveie! yay! 

Ahh i have no time today, but here is a quick update. I'll try to send pics but it takes forever. Lets just say this week was one of the most stressful/best weeks ever. Going on exchanges and trying to figure things out for President Day. He really trusts me but that gives me more stress and pressure. eeks. Anyways, I GOT TO SHAKE ELDER HOLLAND'S HAND and 3 other general authorities. Wow what a good Saturday. All 201 missionaries were waiting patiently all ready for Elder Holland to come into the gym to take a group picture. When he came in, we sang Hark All Ye Nations that we memorized last week. Then when he shook my hand, he said "How are you? You look great!" So cool! When he walked in, i felt the spirit so strong. It was crazy. His talk was so powerful I don't even know how to explain. We are so honored to be able to have him speak to us missionaries. some key points to his talk that I loved: 

- We are God's investigators. What we expect out of our investigators is what God expects out of us. We got to live what we teach! 
- Preach My Gospel was not made for our investigators. It was made to convert us missionaries. It was made for US. Basically missions are more for the missionaries to be converted than for us to convert others. The general authorities want us to go on missions so that when we come back, we are even strong members of the church and become converted. So cool. i loved that perspective. They are investing in us! we are the next generation to take on the work. 
- We give everything up and dont take anything back. We give everything that we have to do the work and dont go home with anything or any regrets. When we go home, we will be given back everything we gave up and be replenished so now is the time to sacrifice EVERYTHING. God will give it all back to us. This made me think of ballet, school, friends. soo good. 
- Your mission is real life. Salvation is not a cheap experience. Hearing that from his mouth and him being so bold about it was so powerful. We are disciples of Christ so we have to walk where He has walked. A little bit of our mission is to be spent in Gethsemane. We can't resist the suffering. We have to meet it and embrace it because it will make us more like Christ. 

I didn't want the night to end. I couldn't sleep before because I was so excited. I will never forget this experience! Once in a life time. 

Oh and I hit my year mark! I got to celebrate with my companion. We both came on the island together. We went to this expensive italian/american restaurant that was NOT worth it but it was good. Still fun. and it was SUNNY. The day before, it had rained and rained and rained and we had to bike over a huge bridge to do exchanges in Zhubei. We were wet all day and I couldn't feel my toes! Oh i love taiwan! Today we are going to find the beach on the west coast!!! :) 

Oh my, what a wonderful weekend! I loved hearing and seeing Elder Holland along with the other general authorities! It was so good and inspiring and spiritual! I needed it! I still think about and read over my notes from that meeting. What a huge blessing. 

As for the work in Xinzhu, it's been going better than it has. We found 7 new investigators this week! We found this really prepared 14 year old girl Lin JM. She set a baptism date with us and she came to church. One thing we are worried about is that her family will fandui her getting baptized. We met her dad briefly but we want to meet her mom. She said that she asked her parents if she could go to church and they didn't seem to mind. She is so awesome and I can see her progressing fast! 

We are hoping to have a baptism this Saturday. Chen Yan Xian is the 9 year old boy the elders gave to us last week. We scheduled an interview with him for last Saturday but he didn't show up. We have reminded him everyday prior to the interview and he still forgot. His dad knew too but he also forgot. His dad has some health issues so it is hard for him to remember anything we tell him. Yan Xian's mom is from Cambodia and I had a chance to talk to her on the phone last night. She seems really nice and I want to meet her one day but she is always working. Yan Xian is basically just a 9 year old kid that can do whatever he wants and his parents don't really do anything with him so it's been challenging to make sure he is at church. He is coming to an FHE tonight and after we will do his interview. 

Our other progressing investigator, Ou Chen Bo Yan, wrote a letter to his dad expressing how much he wants to get baptized and how the Gospel has blessed him. He finally wrote it! We gave him a goal to finish it by Friday and give it to his dad by yesterday. We called him last night but he didn't answer. His mom is our LA that we are trying to work with as well. We are just praying for a miracle that his dad will let him get baptized. He is so prepared and really wants to get baptized. He reads and prays everyday. We also gave him a 14 day scripture homework thing. He is awesome and hopefully he can get baptized next week. 

I love this work and I love being companions with Sister Bennion. She is such a great missionary. We really want to see Xinzhu light on fire! We are hoping to get more baptism dates. We set some dates but sometimes the people die quickly. We want to find more prepared people who actually want this. That is our goal this week. I love being a missionary! 

Sister Chao

My 8th transfer


Wow time is flying by. I'm on my 8th transfer. I got a new companion! Her name is Sister Bennion. We were in the MTC together and came to Taiwan at the same time. I love her and was so excited she is my new companion. We are going to do great things in Xinzhu. Dad, on Sunday  at church this guy game up to say hello to me and knew my name before I told him. He said Sister Chao where are you from? and I said California. He was like are you Spencer Chao's daughter??? Alma Chao's sister??? and I said yes! and He said he is Elder Lu and he served in fremont in 1999 or something! What the heck?! he still remembered me?!? i was like 7. he is married and lives in provo now. he is just visiting his dad in xinzhu. small world. so cool right? anyways, it was the coldest it has EVER been in xinzhu on monday and tuesday. it got down to 6 degrees C during the day. I was so freezing. the wind was killing me. but today it got warm again. it is supposed to get cold again on wednesday. nooooo. couldnt sleep since it was so cold. pray for sun! 

Wow, this week was probably the best week I've had in Xinzhu. We saw so many miracles. I wanted to make Sister Ashcraft's last week the best week of her mission.I prayed hard everyday and the Lord really did bless us. We found 5 new investigators and set 2 new baptism dates. We also found one peike everyday. Our numbers have really gone up this week and I hope to keep it up. I was so surprised/excited to see that Sister Bennion was my new companion. I'm so happy to be able to work with her. She is awesome and I know we are going to see so many miracles in Xinzhu. We both have the fire to find and to teach. We want to improve this area and get the members more involved. We had ward council and brought up that you suggested that the leaders of the ward should arrange for people to go out and do missionary work with us, whether that's finding, visiting LA's, or peike. We have 3 people who are planning on working with us next week. I'm so excited! The ward is really improving on helping us missionaries. 

We had a member call our investigator Deng JM and invite her to church. She was originally not planning on going to church but she ended up coming! She only stayed for Sacrament meeting, but that's better than nothing. Deng JM is still not really sure about baptism but she has a date. She said she doesn't really want to get baptized but would still be willing to learn from us. Hopefully she will have a change of heart. 

The elders gave us two of their investigators. One is this 9 year old boy Chen Yan Xian they have been working with for awhile. They have been struggling on getting him to church, but after I made 4 phone calls the morning of church, he came! He is now ready for a baptism interview this Saturday. What a miracle. I'm hopeful he will get baptized on the 1st of March. The hardest thing for him is waking up and going to church. We were able to set a new baptism date with him. I know he can make it! The other investigator is a 13 year old boy Ou Chen Bo Yan. He is ready for baptism but his dad fandui right now. The elders invited him to write a letter to his dad expressing why he wants to get baptized, but he never did it. We went to go visit him and his LA mom on Saturday and I invited him to have this letter done by Friday. We will follow up on it. He is awesome and so ready! We set a date for March 8th. 

One cool/scary experience that I had with Sister Bennion. We were at a stop light and right when we got there, we saw this OLD man fall and trip. It was scary but my first instinct was we HAVE to help him. I hurried and got off my bike and helped him. We had to lift him up and a lady saw and helped too. She said that he is 99 years old and lives by himself. He couldn't hear anything and we helped him back to his apartment. His apartment was so dirty and disgusting. I wanted to help him clean it but we were late to our other appointment. We told the guard to call his family. I really want to go back and help him but I don't know how we can. He lives in a gated apartment complex. I'm so grateful we were able to be there and help him. It was so sad to see him in pain. Maybe we can go and clean his apartment. 

love you all!
sister chao

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What a huge surprise!


First off, what the?!! Gugu and shushu came and surprised me at church!!!!! Best day ever! So i got to church and right before sacrament meeting, this guy told me that someone called the church phone and he answered and he was like "your gugu and shushu are coming to church today to see you." when i heard that i said there was NO WAY since shushu lives in china and gugu doesn't go to church. I was super confused and ignored it. then as i was sitting in sunday school, i see xiao gugu's head through the window of the door! I went out with my companion and gave them all a hug. first boy i hugged on my mission. haha. i think it's okay though because he is family. :) wow! I was so excited! she gave me SO much bread and fruit. i was fasting so i ate it after. She asked me if i wanted to go to lunch and i said i couldnt since it was sunday, i was fasting, and i didn't have permission. exact obedience right? They drove two hours in the pouring rain to see me for about 15 minutes. so cool. she hurried and put a hong bao in my pocket. of course she would. tell her thanks. they are so great and the sisters and I pretty much finished all the bread. we were so hungry. haha. Yay!!!! 

Next, yesterday was the COLDEST day ever. It was pouring rain and the rain was ice cold and the winds were crazy since i live in Xinzhu. Wind, rain, cold = i cant feel anything im so numb. of course we had no appointments either so we were outside all night. Best thing though, this 60 year old member lady was with us for an hour outside. bless her heart. she is such a trooper! she rode her bike too and didn't know how to get home after so we took her home. The winds were so strong she couldn't pedal. She seriously made the night so fun. just watching her and seeing her sacrifice to be with us was just so great. I love her! Then she made us ginger soup with tang yuan in it. Its almost Yuan Xiao Jie...this friday! eat lots of tang yuan! yumm! go buy some and cook them okay? or make them. there are a lot of lanterns up. anyways, all of us sisters got home and were soaking wet. i took the hottest shower ever. haha. good thing we have hot water. i love being on a mission! really though...i do! 

The transfer ends this friday. I go up to taipei twice this week again. I'm nervous who my new companion will be. 

Since Wednesday, we have seen a few miracles, especially with our members. We had a peike in line for a Vietnamese investigator and our peike was also Vietnamese. It was perfect. However when we got to our investigator's house, no one answered the door even though we could see her light on. We rang the doorbell again and we were praying that she would answer. This peike of ours is an LA and we really wanted her to help our investigator. Unfortunately, our investigator ignored us so we decided to go find an LA. The LA's name is Li JM and is Elder Hagedorn's grandma! Her address was a little hard to find in this huge apartment complex. But at last we found it! We went to go visit this grandma and she was so nice and hilarious. She kept forgetting our names so she would ask us 3 or 4 times throughout the visit. Our peike even shared a scripture she had prepared. So cool! I'm loving this "no cancelling" peike thing. It's great! 

Another cool story, we had a member who is a RM chuanjiao with us on Saturday. She was able to knock doors with us for 2 hours. She was SO great at being bold and knew exactly what to say. I loved it! Even though we didn't find any new investigators, we had really good lessons. What a cool experience. 

And another cool member story (they just keep coming). We asked a member to help us peike a lesson last night. When we got to their house, they were not home so she knocked some doors with us in the freezing rain and wind. It was ridiculously cold and she had biked to this person's house. She is about 60 years old too! She is such a trooper and so xinku. But she was so happy to chuanjiao with us. Just seeing her biking and out in the rain with us made me love her even more. She feels like we are her own children and said that if we could do it, she could too. At the end, she didn't know how to get home so we biked home with her. The winds were so strong sometimes she couldn't pedal. But together we all made it safely to her house. She was so happy despite of the weather and it just made me so happy even though we didn't have any lessons. I know it is so important to develop good relationships with our members. I'm so grateful for her sacrifice. 

Lastly, a miracle happened at church. One of our members who is also an RM told us that she wanted to dedicate time every week and chuanjiao with us! When I heard this, I just gave her a huge hug! It had been difficult for us to get people to come out with us a few weeks ago and this week we had a few members help us. We've been sharing with all our members that we really needed their help. So we are eating dinner at You JM's house this week and she will be telling us her schedule. Yes!!!! I'm so excited that our ward is more willing to help us. I know that when missionaries and members work together, we will see Zhu 1 grow. 

After the meetings in Taipei, we had a lot of finding time on Saturday and Sunday. However, we've been struggling on finding investigators. I fasted that I could be able to help Zhu 1 and find prepared people who are ready to accept the message of Jesus Christ. Also, 2 of our baptism dates had to be dropped this week since they weren't progressing and were ignoring us. I was sad to drop them but I know that just leaves more room for the prepared. It's been a little rough/frustrating for me not meeting the standards of excellence this transfer, but I know Heavenly Father is just trying my faith right now. It's going to happen though!!! I just need to be extra diligent and always be finding. I'm hoping this week will be more successful. I want to make Sister Ashcraft's last week the best week of her mission. I know we will see miracles. 

Love you all!
Sister Chao

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guao Nian is FINALLY over!


I'm so glad to say that New Years is finally over!!! I've eaten so much food this past week, I feel like im going to explode. But it was all really delicious. :) No one was on the streets and everyone we talked to was like we are too busy. It's okay though. Now they can't use the guo nian excuse. We basically went finding all day every single day since no one wanted to set up with us. It was fun. I went on 3 exchanges this past week and a half too. No more exchanges until next transfer! Actually I have one tomorrow night again but thats it! The transfer ends next Friday. I will be getting a new companion since Sister Ashcraft is dying (going home). 

I'm emailing today since our pday got switched to Wednesday for this week only. We had temple day today!!!! I had to get up at 4:30 AM and take a taxi to the bus station...my tire has a hole in it. It was raining last night and when I got home and parked my bike, there was a loud noise coming from my tire. What good timing right?! Not! We couldn't go anywhere to get it fixed since it was still New Years. No one was opened. And it had to be the night before temple day. Currently my bike is getting fixed while im emailing you guys. BUT I was SOOO happy to go to the temple this morning even though I'm super tired. It was my FIRST time in Taiwan FINALLY. Since ive been serving in the east coast all this time, i never got to go. What a great day. I love temple. We had brownies at the Bu afterwards. Dad, I think I saw your friends from the chinese branch when i was little. Brother and sister Li? Im not sure though. they were in the same session as me. We also got to see the NEW video. yay! It was kinda weird but cool. 

Good news...on Feb. 22, an APOSTLE, someone from the seventy, and presiding bishopric is coming to Taipei and giving us a devotional. cool huh? ALL the missionaries in the taipei mission get to go. We get to shake all their hands too. yay!! I'm so excited. 

Not much else happened this week. Last week had amazing weather. I got sweaty one of the days! It turned cold and windy again yesterday. Hopefully it wont last long. 

How was everyone's new years? Did you guys all eat a lot? SEND ME PICTURES. 

okay the part of the update on the work:

Sister Ashcraft and I have noticed that on all the exchanges we go on, the sisters all have the same need, which is being more bold with introducing our purpose especially baptism. We find that they will mention it real quick and then switch the subject. After each exchange, the sisters would always say that they want to be more bold in introducing baptism. I think they are doing better with it but we will continue to work on it this next month/transfer. They are all great missionaries though. 

As for Xinzhu, we went finding a lot. We only found 3 new investigators. I was a little bummed because I know we can do better. However, during one of our qing ke's at a member's house, we were able to start teaching our member's grandson. He is about 30 years old and doesn't believe in God. He is a little difficult to teach but I know that his faith can grow. We invited him to read and pray, which is really hard for him to do. 

We found a miracle boy this last week. He is 14 and he accepted a baptism date! He was so willing to do everything we asked him to do. He seemed like he really liked our message. We have a set up with him this Sunday. I'm praying that his mom will let us meet with him. I don't want another family fandui. I know it is out of my control, but I'm still hoping for the best. We have met so many AMAZING youth, but their parents won't let them meet with us. Let's hope this one will continue to be a miracle investigator. 

We also decided to go visit this LA Yao JM during guo nian. We were by her house and decided to knock her door. She was home and wasn't doing much for guo nian. We asked her if we could serve her in any way and she said no. But I could tell that she needed help with something. I finally got it out of her and we were able to help her clean up and paint this new apartment that she recently bought and is re-modeling. What a miracle. I think this helped her trust us more. She promised she would come to church but she didn't come. I'm hoping she will come next Sunday

Our investigator with a baptism date for the 22nd dropped us. Huang JM texted us on Sunday saying that she wants to investigate her other church more. She has been talking to the other church the whole time she has been meeting with us. We were really sad to hear the news. She was really great and we were planning for a baptism. Maybe she will change her mind. 

We have another investigator who has a baptism date for the 15th. Luo JM has come to church over 5 times but she is just afraid to commit. She is also really hard to meet with. Basically just afraid of any sort of commitment, so that's been hard. I know she is ready for baptism. She keeps all the commandments. We are hoping she can get baptized soon! 

Lida finally got baptized during Guo Nian!! It was such a good baptismal service. She has such great faith and it was good to see her so happy. What a great day. 

We are currently struggling with getting people to church. Our investigator pool isn't that big so we spend a lot of time finding. It's been a little difficult for me personally not seeing anyone at church or looking at our board and not seeing very many people progressing. I know Heavenly Father is really trying my faith right now. It's so different than Taidong but I remember when I first got to Taidong I felt the same way. But when I left, I felt so happy with the work that happened there. I remembered it took about 2 transfers for it to turn into a standard of excellence area. I want to do the same here in Xinzhu. I know it may be difficult at first but I know the fruits of our labor will come. I really want to make Xinzhu 1st ward a standard of excellence area. I want to reach all the standards of excellence with each key indicator. I know there are prepared people out there. I just need to find them, also find the people that will STICK. It is taking a lot of prayer and patience. I'm learning a lot though. 

Okay love you all!!! 
Sister Chao