Sorry for the delay. College is getting crazy. By the way, the man that Vanessa is pointing to in the picture is our Uncle Van. He was in Taiwan for business and came to visit. -Lisette
…. but if your assigned area’s missionary work runs itself, don’t be afraid to take a few days to work in another area…. 😉
The front half of this week was just like usual… miracles, miracles, miracles!! We’ve stumbled upon an eternal truth: if there’s anyone in your ward who looks uncannily similar to your investigator, they are destined to be best friends. A few weeks ago, we asked one of our new converts to accompany us to a Book of Mormon reading lesson with an investigator. They hit it off immediately and clearly “spoke the same langugage.” As Dai Jiemei and I watched the two of them, it occurred to us that they look like they could be related! Weird. After we left that lesson, our new convert told us she could come to every single lesson we ever taught this investigator, programmed an alarm into her phone to remind her every week, and skipped home. This week, we had an opportunity to try out this new-found principle. Worked again! Our investigator is tall, thin, gorgeous, super-long hair, has more of a straight-up personality…. and happens to look exactly like our Relief Society President. Sitting across the table from the two of them was surreal — they could be sisters! And they were laughing and sharing funny stories from beginning to follow the commandments like they’d been friends since the dawn of time. So yes. The work is going swimmingly here in XinZhu.
So yes… back to the back half of this week:
Lots of change in the air. Mostly that the air is now dry and coolish. Fall is here! Unfortunately, I don’t see Girl Scouts selling Thin Mints, but somehow I know the leaves are changing color somewhere that’s NOT a tropical island. Then, President is shaking up how we do transfers. Yay! Saturday night we found out if we’re moving or staying. Dai Jeimei is moving and I am staying in XinZhu! Moves day will happen this upcoming Friday, which gives her a full week to wrap up things with ward members, investigators, pack her stuff, etc. Friday morning, anyone across the whole island involved in transfers will arrive at the mission office to welcome the new missionaries. They’ll receive their trainers and head back to their area and get them situated. The rest of us will get to know who our new companion or new area is and then go straight there to have WPS. This already feels like a much smoother transition than how it was happening in the past, giving more time and forewarning about what’s going on. That also gives us back our Pday!! So we actually have 6 pdays in transfer, instead of 5 (one being taken up by moving). Win!!
Saturday, we woke up and life was not good. Had a strange feeling that we needed to be in Taipei. We asked God if we could do that, and He said yes…. and then within twenty minutes, every single lesson and peike called us to tell us that had stuff come up and needed to cancel. So, suddenly we had no obligations in XinZhu. Called President and hopped on the train. We arrived at the Bu just moments before the President and his Wife then proceeded to have a good meeting with them. Then, they asked us if we’d like to come with them to a baptism in Beitou. We, of course, said yes, and proceeded to have the most incredible night of our lives. The Beitou chapel is up a mountain and has one set of Elders right now. That night, two kids of a recently reactivated member were being baptized. The whole ward turned out, and actually had prepared a potluck, the baptismal service, and then a missionary fireside. They were all astonished to see Sister Missionaries, but you could tell they felt loved and honored that not only the Mission President would attend their baptism, but that he would bring Sisters all the way up from XinZhu. Dai Jiemei and I spent the whole evening just loving the members there, letting them feel love and and appreciation. And, as if life couldn’t get better, the ward there is incredible! You could feel how much they worked together, that they really felt like family, and how much they loved their Elders. One of those Elders came on island with me and he was beaming the whole night, just happy as a clam in warm sand. It was downright magical and I can’t even begin to describe it in detail. Just know that it was awesome to feel like we were exactly where God needed us to be, doing exactly what He wanted us to be doing: representing Jesus and sharing the light and love of the Gospel.
The whole program ended too late for us to get home on time, so the President had us stay at the mission home for the evening, then drove us to XinZhu the next morning and attend Sacrament meeting in one of our wards. Strangely, my phone kept ringing off the wall. It was the Zhubei Sisters. We finally hit a break in our meetings and I called them back. She was also in a meeting, but she managed to spit out a couple sentences: “your uncle is here and he’s headed to XinZhu to find you” I hung up and wasn’t sure I heard her right… but I turned around, and there he was!! Turns out he’s in town for a couple weeks for work and with his miraculously intact Chinese, wandered his way out of Taipei and down to XinZhu to deliver some chips, salsa, and Trader Joe’s chocolate. 😀 Even better than seeing him was seeing how happy he was talking to the ward members. He served in Taiwan in 1976 (thereabouts) and in talking to the Stake President and some other solid members of the ward, he realized they were all baptized around that time. What a miracle! He was nearly in tears several times, seeing something he’d been a part of so long ago grow into something so strong and healthy. The ward members loved him, too, as they’re all Science Park geeks and my uncle is an Electrical Engineer. 😀 Pretty soon, they were all speaking in really gaoji technical terms that I didn’t understand in Chinese or English… so I just went about doing missionary work and let him be a member of the XinZhu ward for the day. 😀
So yes… that’s the week. Next week you’ll get to meet my new companion! I’m incredibly sad to see Dai Jiemei leave, but I know there’s another area of the island that needs the special spirit of love she brings to the work. Oh, sick, I sound like such a sister missionary. Ok. I’m done. 😀
Hua Sheng Jiemie