Well, it’s true! I’m still in XinZhu and loving it. 😀 This transfer I have Wang Jiemie — she’s from TaiDong and an absolute gem. She was actually in ZhuBei when I first moved to XinZhu, so we’ve been on exchanges before. I told her to correct my Chinese whenever and wherever she wanted to… and she’s taken me up on it! YAY! And I’m now in a position where I can a) take correction b) know enough to be able to learn quickly. It’s AWESOME! But… before that, there were quite a few adventures to fill y’all in on:
Friday morning, we met up with the ZhuBei sisters, the ZhuSan elders and one straggler from XinFeng at the train station. The night before Dai Jiemei and I sorted out the train schedule (thank you, Zone Leaders) and made some decisions based on our vast base of acquired experience. 😀 Everyone arrived smoothly, we bought everyone’s tickets for them, got them on the right platform, and while we were waiting for the train cracked open a bag of granola bars for breakfast. We talked with some locals and shared breakfast with them, too. 😀 They helped us take a snapshot then we got on the train. You’ve never heard a louder morning commuter train in your life! I just sat back, closed my eyes, and let the happiness and excitement of a roadtrip wash over me.
I absolutely love my life right now… and the best part is, it never has to end. No, no. I’m not one of those eternal sister missionaries…. but perhaps the most important thing I’ve not only learned but internalized (xue hui) is how to keep yourself on the right page with God. And as long as you know how to do that, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing or where you are. Check in with God and He’ll let you know if it’s where He needs you to be, or whether there’s a better place.
Pumpkin Bars in Asia?
Turns out my new companion is moving from covering the Temple, so she had to do some training with the new Temple Sisters. Which translates to: I had a few hours on my hands to wander around Taipei. In the course of visiting some friends from Tian Mu who work in the JinHua Chapel offices, this crazy lady flagged me down and asked me to help her out. With what? at 1:30 show up at the Temple President’s house and help her take some photos. Sounded harmless, so I obliged. What it managed to do for me was get me into the Temple President’s house and belly-up to the bar just in time to taste-test the Matron’s pumpkin bars. WIn! We chatted about Asia, how the Temple is really the goal we need to be setting everyone’s sights on, and what it feels like to be going home. It was great, especially for the sister who was taging along as my companion for the time being. The whole situtaiton just made me smile and reaffirm how much God loves us and knows us individually, and if you’re doing the right things at the right time God can put you in a situation that both satisfies your needs and those of the people around you simultaneously.
Forget GLEE, Ward Choir is where it’s at.
Wang Jiemie’s first night in XinZhu we went to a barbecue. Win. Her second night we wandered over to ZhuBei for a Stakewide “Ward Choir Off”…. that’s about the only way to describe it in English. Each ward choir had to sing two pieces, one of them had to be Count Your Many Blessings and the other one could be of your choosing. Count Your Many Blessings you could do anything you wanted to personalize it to your ward choir. It was incredible!! Not only was it so good for Wang Jiemie to see everyone she knows and loves from ZhuBei, but it was great fun to quiz her on her new area’s members’ names (all three wards worth!). Each choir had a completely unique sound and watching them prepare for this over the last month kindled so much love and sense of “oh, I can sing!” across the whole stake. You could feel it and the Stake President was just beaming all night.
…. have you used the Atonement recently?
I seem to be asking lots of people that… and they all start out nodding vigorously, but as I explain that using the Atonment includes forgiving themselves, they stop cold. So, I’m going to ask you. Last week, all those things you don’t feel you did really well at, have you asked God to help you be better? And then have you moved on? It’s only after you forgive yourself, you don’t let these things weigh you down that God can consecrate that bad experience and use it for your good.
Sorry if this seems really disjointed today… lots of wrapping up and lots of fresh starts this week. Kind of like learning to drive stick again — lots of stops and starts and occasionally, killing the engine. Ah well. Just put it back in gear and go. 😀