Monday, March 2, 2015

First Week in Taiwan!

Nieman Hao!

Flying over Japan!
I don't even know where to begin! This week has been so fantastic. I feel so blessed to be here in Taiwan to serve the Lord and His children. I'm still in the process of overcoming jet lag, and getting used to a new way of living, a new mission, as well as trying to understand the language of CHINESE, etc... But I cannot express how much I love Taiwan! I never want to leave this place! I'm so glad I am finally in the place that the Lord called me to be. I learned a lot from my experience in Georgia, and now I'm prepared for what this new experience has to offer me. It is so crazy to think that I am in Taiwan... but I'm here!

Our first few days were at the Mission Home across the street from the temple. We had lots of orientation, training, transfer meeting, etc. Our first morning, all the new missionaries, the Mission President, and the assistants all went running to the Cheng Kai Shek Memorial. The weather is perfect for running, and I LOVE humidity despite what it does to my already bushy hair.

Transfer meeting was so fun. I'm pretty sure we are the best mission in the world because I don't know who else would do this, but basically we have transfer mtg not in the chapel so we can clap and cheer. They call up the new missionaries one by one and talk about them and their interests etc., with a big picture blown up of their face on the wall and then they do the drum roll to see who their trainer would be. Haha, it was a lot different than I expected. It just feels like we are all family though. My companion is Sister Stevens, and she's from Idaho. She is so awesome, I'm so excited to be her companion! Her group was the last to arrive in Taiwan before the visas started having problems. Our area is in the Central Zone of Taipei in a place called Song Shan, which is right in the middle of the city.

It's so different from Georgia in so many ways. I'm so much more exhausted at the end of the day after biking around in the rain and humidity, rather than taking a couple 5 minute naps in a car where I can control the temperature to my liking. I can't understand what people say to me about 99% of the time. It's like the MTC all over again except it's not a role-play so every time I mess up in a lesson, it's not like it's just my teacher pretending to be an investigator. It's an actual person who needs to hear what we have to say. I went from feeling confident in walking up to people or knocking on their doors and teaching them, to being so afraid to even open my mouth.

My mind has taken me back to the time I was filling out my mission papers about 10 months ago and I had a feeling come over me that I would be learning a hard language. At the time, it seemed so little of a challenge. I had no idea it would affect my work as a missionary this much. I've felt like I can't even be myself because I can't say what I actually want to say to these people. That's been the hardest part - not feeling like I can be myself. Not feeling like I'm actually helpful in anyway.

Luckily, I have the most patient and loving companion. Sister Stevens has been so helpful in my transition and I'm so grateful for her. She told me about a time she was having similar struggles, and she felt like all she needed to do was learn to love these people. Of course still study the language diligently, and work hard, but really focus on loving these people. And don't get discouraged, just let the Lord help you and learn to rely on Him to know what to say. It's so interesting. I feel like I need to learn just that. I need to learn how to rely on the Lord so much more. He needs to guide me in everything I do - all the way from which door to knock on, down to helping me speak. After having a small panic attack, and talking to Di Jie Mei (Sister Stevens) I felt so much better.

The one thing that wasn't different from Georgia was the feeling I felt at church. I felt a better understanding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints being a universal church. The gospel is the same everywhere. The bishop invited me to share my testimony. Initially I was terrified but then I realized that I know how to bare my testimony. It didn't require me to listen to anyone else. It was refreshing and it definitely boosted my self confidence.
I am so happy to be here. I am so excited to serve these people. I know that we need to have charity before anything else. We need to love. And I feel so blessed that I can show my love to these people and serve them. I am so grateful for this opportunity!
Sister Hendricks

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