wai guo ren and a xili hui

I have four pictures to put put up, but I don’t currently have access to them. When I get them, you shall see them. Lisette

Apparently I needed to huigai for what I said two weeks ago about Tian Mu having too many foreigners for my taste…. because this week has been International Week for Tan Jiemei and I! Everyone from some Greeks, to some Gambians, to some Bostonians, to some Estonians, to some Germans, and this cute kid who’s dad is South African, mom is German, and she goes to a local Taiwanese elementary. Blonde hair, blue eyes, fluent Chinese.She’s pretty much the poster-child for Tri-lingual kids.

This Greek family we actually met my first week on island, and have run into them (in strange parts of town) at least once a week since. We’ve finally managed some information coordination, and got them hooked up with the English Ward Mission Leader — who also happens to be heading up the Community live Nativity that’s held every year at Jin Hua Jie Chapel. The mother is adorable and takes such good care of us, always delighted to happen upon us…. even in the pouring rain. Haha!

The Bostonian actually lives in our building, with another friend who’s ABC from Ohio. They’re both twenty-somethings, graduated, working on some personal goals and livin’ on the cheap in Taiwan. Not a bad way to go! It is strange to come home from a full day of speaking Chinese and hear English on our street, though…. Speaking of coming home in style… Tan Jiemei and I have taken it upon ourselves to go all out with Christmas decorations, and use our apartment door as a finding tool. We put some cute ornaments on it, then taped the Nativity invites to the door, with a note scribbled in dry-erase marker that says “take one and join us!” Don’t worry. It only took a day for one to go missing! Cheng gong!

The Germans I adore. We met the mom in the park and she told us something we hear quite a bit from foreigners: they used to be super renzhen about Church before they came to Taiwan. Weird? Yes. So we asked her about her background and her experience here in Taiwan. It was an enlightening conversation and she’s very aware of the promised blessings of keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, raising children with Christian values, etc. We gave her a pamphlet on the Restoration that has two pages on what Church Services are like and she loved it. She’s headed out of town (to Germany and South Africa for a short holiday), but she’ll be back before the Nativity and is definitely coming. Sweet, I know. 😀

The Estonian was short lived but gorgeous. A model. Ran into her as we were escaping a crazy man we met chao menning…. yeah. Story for another day. Maybe not until I get home…. sorry Dad!

Now…. the Gambians. This y’all will love. Coming out of the Hospital, visiting a referral from the Elders (also a classic story… but not one for sharing until I get home), Jin Jiemei (miracles happen on exchanges, people!) and I saw these two incredibly cute black kids hanging on an incredibly tall black man. He was all smiles and we struck up a conversation. He was celebrating the elections going so well in his country. He briefed us on the political situation, we briefed him on our religious situation. He was so excited! He told us all about how Muslims and Christians in his country all celebrate each other’s holidays because at the end of the day, we’re all God’s children. He himself is Muslim, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, and gives his Catholic friends morning calls so they can make it to Mass on time. Legit. Also, to make up for the fact we’ll be doing Temple Tours all day Saturday, he’s coming up to Jin Hua Jie and taking us to his Mosque for lunch.

Last night we ended up at his brother’s house, with what consisted of kids from three different families, the adults associated with those kids, and us. Two hours later we were completely stuffed (in hind-sight we should’ve brought some Elders to help us polish off those last three pieces of chicken….sorry boys! :/) full of kaldoo and knee-deep in good conversation about how to treat others and the value of international friends. In fact, this is actually what I want to share with y’all today: the 14 principles of human relations:

Have self-confidence
Understand the viewpoints of others
Make yourself the friend of all
Admit when you are wrong
Never make promise you can’t keep

Respect and courtesy are important
Explain thoroughly
Love. Listen. Learn.
Avoid argument
Try to be approachable
Insist on selfless service to community
Others first — self last
None shall be happy without truth
Stress the positive always

Our friend said if you can implement each of those at least once a day, you will truly live a happy life. I totally agree. Zhe shi wo de fenxiang. 😉

In other news — we had my first xili hui (uh… baptism)! She’s 14 and solid. Quite the hilarious kid, but still a kid… something I had to remind Tan Jiemei of a few times over the course of our meeting with her. The whole ward turned out, we got her some girly (much to her chagrin) flowers, and she’s getting confirmed next week. The Gospel’s true people, and will change your life. Now… I’m off to sort out how to run a computer in Chinese, so maybe we can get some photos going on. Jia you!

Sister Oler

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