It's hard to believe that we just completed our 7th week! Time really does fly by here. Sometimes the thought comes to my head "I'm a missionary" and it just blows my mind. What happened to that college freshman fresh out of high school? One year later, I'm in a different place, doing different things. Time waits for nobody.
We got a new district in our zone on Wednesday! It was fun for Sister Good, Elder Davidson, Elder Tan and I to give them an orientation. Two of the sisters - Sister Li and Sister Giang are getting fast-tracked, and the other two Sister Haupt and Sister Komatsu are both going to Taipei! And then we get another district this week as well!
We all got a letter from our Taiwan Mission President this week, asking for us to be prepared to teach the whole first lesson, and preferably the second as well. It was kind of a slap in the face. We only have two more weeks! I felt a little stressed out this week having that on my mind. Our teachers gave us a lot of helpful demonstrations for teaching the first lesson, but it just made me feel so far behind and inadequate. It was very overwhelming - the feeling of being stuck. Feeling like there has been little to no progression in my language study for this past week. It may seem like so little time, but I feel like my time here is precious and I'm worried that I haven't given everything I've got to my studies. Sister Good and I made a goal to master the first lesson by Saturday, and we decided to SYL for the rest of our time in the MTC. My mouth already hurts just thinking about it..
A teacher of mine, Wang Jie Mei, was telling me about her experience in Taichung on her mission. A time where she felt that similar sense of being somewhat stuck and lost for 9 months of her mission. She told me that those difficult times are key to our growth, because it is in those moments when we realize that we can't do anything without the Lord. We become humble during those times, because that's when we feel like we have nothing left to be proud of. She said that it taught her a lesson:
A Shepherd cares for his sheep. He loves them and provides for them. Whenever a sheep runs away, he carefully brings it back to him. However, if the sheep continues to run away, the Shepherd proceeds to break the legs of the sheep with the intentions of preventing it from running away. It's a difficult time for the sheep - painful, confusing, worrisome. But the sheep is never neglected. The Shepherd carries the sheep around with him - he nurtures it and cares for the sheep until its legs are fully healed. By the time the sheep's legs are healed, it won't leave the shepherd's side. It learns to rely on Him and trust in Him.
I love this analogy. Likewise, we are sheep. We tend to turn away from our Savior. But the more often we leave, and the farther we wander - the harder it will be for us to come back to Him. We have to experience the pain and the anguish that comes from the consequences of our choices. We don't always notice it - but it's during those times that the Lord is closest to us. He wants us to trust in Him and rely on Him.
My other amazing teacher, Mai Jie Mei had a really good talk with me. I told her I was struggling and that I wanted to find a more effective study approach. I was also experiencing frustration and discouragement, so she directed me to a scripture that helped her on her mission.
Me, Sister Good, Sister Komatsu, Sister haupt, and Sister Giang
Our new sisters!
Sister Oviatt, Sister Kirkham, Sister Good, Sister Crowell, me, Sister Payne, Sister Komatsu, Sister Giang, and Sister Haupt
Our zone is so big now!! And we have another district this week on their way!
Elder Ostler, Elder Mertz, Sister Crowell, Sister Payne, Me, Sister Kirkham, Sister Good, Elder Avery, Sister Oviatt, Sister Haupt, Elder Davidson, Sister Komatsu, Elder Tan, Elder Harmon, Sister Giang, Elder Jones, Elder Scovel, Elder Clawson, Elder Tolman, Elder Stevens, Elder Nelson, and Elder Cin
Me, Sister Good, Elder Tan, and Elder Mertz -SNOW DAY!