Wow what an awesome week! It's amazing how fast time goes by when you're just focused on learning and growing. There's still no word on our visas. All we know is that if we don't leave this week then we can't leave until after the black-out dates during Christmas - meaning we will be here until January! I don't think our visas will come this week, but I guess they could give us another reassignment before the black-out dates. But honestly I don't know, and I'm not really worried about it anymore! This week was SO good, and I know it's because I just didn't think about when I was leaving, or how "burnt out" I feel. Our first teacher, Sun Laoshi came and talked to our district and told us about this area she was in when she served in Taichung. She said it was a very difficult area and her and her companion faced a lot of discouragement the first week they were there. Then her companion told her "Sun JieMie, I think we need to 'move in' to this area" meaning they need to act as if they're literally moving in and LIVING in that area. She said it made all the difference in the world on their success.
I related that to my experience here at the MTC. I think I've made this experience harder on myself because I've been in the mindset that 'I'm about to leave', for the past 3 weeks. After Sun Laoshi shared that with me I decided that I'm 'moving in' to the MTC. It reminded me of this talk I read called "Always In The Middle" https://www.lds.org/ensign/
by President Uchtdorf. He talks about having a perspective of "always
being in the middle" and how it helps us live our lives a little more
meaningfully. Kind of along the same lines of living in the moment, and
appreciating all the blessings we have in this life. "Forever - is
composed of Nows".
Having this mindset has changed my entire perspective on my mission so far and it's helped me realize why I'm here. I realize that it's not about what I want. When I signed up to serve a mission, I knew I would be sacrificing a lot - but now I realize that my whole mission will be a lot of uncomfortable changes, and a lot of adjusting to different surroundings.
So this week, all of the Taiwan missionaries that are delayed/will be delayed for their visas got together to say a prayer. We decided to pray and ask for courage and motivation to continue to work hard, even though we are all eager to leave. I knew that the prayer wouldn't magically make our visas appear, but I think it did something ever better. The other day, Sister Good, Sister Kirkham, Sister Oviatt and I were walking through the French building to find one of our old teachers before class and we came across a man named Jose and his wife Hely. Jose was a 'gold tag investigator', meaning he is a guest at the MTC who heard about our church somehow and is here to learn more. There are gold tag investigators all over the MTC, which is awesome because they aren't actors or anything so it gives us missionaries the chance to have a real lesson with someone, not just practice.
So he came up to us in the french building and started asking us a bunch of questions about how we are learning Chinese in so little time, and he asked us about Joseph Smith, and we just started talking with this man for about 45 minutes, just answering his questions and sharing with him our testimonies and they were both so touched. And the whole time I was thinking to myself "man I wish I had my scriptures with me" and right at that moment, I looked over at the table and saw a Spanish Book of Mormon. In the French building. what!? So we showed him some scriptures and he asked to meet with him again, so tomorrow morning we are meeting with him again!
Today, we had to move out of our residence hall into a different residence hall because of construction. After we did our laundry, we were walking over to our residence to get our suitcases and Sister Good and I were talking about how awesome it was that we met Jose, and then we walked into 18M and there he was with Hely! So we went up and talked to them and asked them how they were doing, and we told Jose about how we all prayed together the night before we met him for motivation and help to get through our MTC experience, and we told him that meeting him was the biggest answer to our prayer and that we were so excited to teach him tomorrow. Then he got all teary eyed and said that the day before he met us, he was so sad and discouraged about something that had happened in his family. He said all he wanted was a sign - and he said that when he met us, he knew that God was watching out for him. It was so cool. Hely is so sweet too, she asked Sister Good and I to teach her Chinese, so we said we would do that for our language study with her every morning.
We are just so excited to meet with these amazing people. I can't wait to be doing this everyday on my mission. There's just something so powerful about sharing your testimony with people who want to listen. And although I know the work is going to be difficult in Taiwan, I know there will be people that need to hear our message. I'm so excited to be here and to be learning more Chinese and taking advantage of this time to start learning characters, and for chance to grow closer to my zone, district, and companion, and I'm grateful for the friends I've made, and the goals I've set! This gospel is so true. There's absolutely no way for me to deny it. I am so proud to be a missionary!
Well I hope you all have a good week and are enjoying to holidays! Read that talk by Uchtdorf if you get the chance!
Once we moved to building 3M, we lost our two roommates Sister Carlson and Sister Gardner. We will miss having them in our room!
Sister Crowell, Sister Payne and I. Going to Taichung soon! I will miss them when we go our separate ways (someday)!
I love these sisters so much! Sister Carlson (from Georgia) and Sister Gardner (from Pocatello) both going to Taichung
I love them! It has been so fun having them as my running buddies these past two weeks. We made the goal to run a 5k together once a week, and a mile everyday! Definitely couldn't do it without them. Sister Findlay (from Murray, UT going to Taichung) and Sister Andrewsen (From Draper, UT going to Singapore). Our new Sister Training Leaders!!