Guonian dao le! Hui pong si.

Sorry for the tardiness of this one. -Lisette

Oh. My. Heck. All that weight I lost from Day 1 of the MTC… I think I’ve found it. It’s waiting for me behind every door in Tao Yuan. Guonian is here with a vengence. And unfortunately, Elders stomachs set the precedence for how much missionaries are expected to eat. Good heavens!

Looking back on my first week in my new area, it’s all at once exactly the same and completely different. We do the same thing every day — missionary work. A mix of contacting people on the street, visiting members, and having lessons at the church. There’s incredible food and people still give me funny looks. But it’s different. The place has a different feel, different heartbeat. Not bad, just different. It’s almost like de jia vu… where you feel like you’ve done this before, but something’s different. Maybe I’m just crazy. It is colder here in Tao Yuan. Thank you, family, for all the clothes… jackets, coats, etc. Wouldn’t be alive out here without them.

I’ve learned two things about myself this week — first: I am not capable of eating as much as I used to. Asia pretty much shuts down for the week of Guonian which makes missionary work nearly impossible. The members, though, step up to the plate and pass around a “feeding schedule” for us. We have a “qing ke” for every meal this week… and for several days before and after. It’s pretty much the best way to start a move into a new area because in one week you’ve been to nearly every member’s house, really gotten to know them in a no-stress environment, etc. And there’s all kinds of legit Taiwanese food. Genious!

Second: I much prefer the company of Taiwanese to the company of Elders. Weird? Yes. Unexpected? No. So far, the Elders tend to clump together and just talk Mission Gossip. Yang Jiemei, my native companion, isn’t super interested and I am new… so I have no idea who the people we’re talking about are. That leaves us to guanxi the members. The converstation is much more exciting, interesting, and geng hao… in Chinese! Even better, Yang Jiemei and I’s first day together, we realized we needed to be taking gifts to each “qing ke.” We put our heads together and prepped some Hong Bao with a scripture from John and a Referal Card for each family. So far, the members have been delighted that the two of us are culturally aware… and we’ve made the Elder’s quite jealous. After lunch a few days ago, one Elder asked in a panic if we had any more. I just laughed at him and told him the Parable of the Ten Virgins comes to mind. They are all now out trying to find a store that’s a) open b) sells hong bao that they can give to their “qing ke”s without us. It still puts a smile on my face…. 😀

So not many stories this week…. lots of eating. Next week I’ll send you all the photos and introduce the new Wards a bit to you all. Until then, just know that Tao Yuan is not the place for doing fun things on Pday. So there’s going to be plenty of time to write you all back… ;D God really does love you all!

Much love and Hong Bao!

Sister Oler (officially, from the pulpit, in Chinese… Hua Sheng Jiemei. Love it.)

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