Hai Huozhe!

This has got to be my favorite. Merry Christmas! Lisette

I’ve survived quite a few things this week — more food than one person can possible digest, packing into the wee hours of the morning, sending my Trainer home, and (so far) having a great relationship with my Breaker. Yes, Breaker. Apparently your Trainer’s job is to show you how missionary work is supposed to get done, the golden standard if you will. And your Breaker is there to remind you of one thing: there are multiple approaches to doing missionary work, none of them good or bad per se… just different. I fully expect to find my groove this transfer, that delicate balance between Sister Oler and Vanessa I’ve been searching for.

Her name is Gao Jiemei and… *drum roll* … she is my Stake President’s niece. For those of you in Texas who know her English name, she’s doing great! She loves all y’all and we get this strange feeling we’ve met before. She’s only got the rest of this Transfer and next before heading home. Good thing I’m already a pro at prepping renzhen missionaries for life after the mission. 😀

This week, as I was telling Dai Zhanglao, my District Leader, has been a strange one. Anticipation of change hung in the air, and I ended up saying lots of good-byes. Emotional to say the least, but still some good opportunities for missionary work. Our Zone Vision this transfer is focused on Christ-like Attributes, and as part of that making a “to be” list instead of another “to do” list. It’s a fitting focus as I thought about moving from Tan Jiemei to Gao Jiemei… and what that would mean for this version of missionary work I’d become hai xiguan-ed to. What would I want to keep? What would I want to change? Who is Sister Oler? How does she accomplish missionary work?

So say the least, it’s been a week of thinking. With plenty of time to do it… and in really cool places! (thank you, Tan Jiemei for having such cool friends). We went to lunch at a restaurant called The Top… mostly because it’s literally at the top of Yang Ming Shan. It was cold and rainy that day, but the exceptional view trumped everything. We were taller than 101 and could see most areas in the North Zone. Strangely, from the bottom Yang Ming Shan does NOT look that tall, more like a over-grown hill. I was reminded of a General Conference talk where the speaker told us whenever his family went hiking they made a point to turn around and see how far they’d come. Then take a deep breath, immediately turn back around and keep hiking up. To summarize, this week has been a lot of turning around. Not looking back, not wishing it were different, not regretting anything… but just seeing how far I’ve come. Today, I took a deep breath, hugged Tan Jiemei goodbye (for the last time! ;)), and kept hiking up.

We all have these moments in our life — where we’re granted a different view, a view of how far we’ve come, a chance to evaluate. Don’t skip them. Don’t waste them. They only come every so often and should be cherished. Sometimes, the view isn’t pretty. I’ve seen that view, too. It takes quite a bit of humility even more prayer to see that view and decided to do something about it. You won’t know how, but that’s what the prayer is for. God knows how to change you, how to change your view. He has the view from The Top and will guide you there… if you let Him.

Christmas and the kuai dao le de New Year are an excellent opportunity for this reflection. Wherever you are this Holiday Season, whoever you are with, and whatever you are doing, take some time to yourself. Turn around. Evaluate. If you’re headed in the right direction, turn back around and keep hiking up! If you’re not headed in the right direction, accept it. Get on your knees and ask God for help. I testify that He will answer you. He will ampai your life; He will send you people you need when you need them.

And with that — Merry Christmas from an Internet Cafe in Tian Mu!

Love,

Sister Oler

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