I wish I had more time to write, because there's just so much to say! We have been so productive this week and went by so fast. We woke up this morning to go for a run and while we were running Sister Stevens asked me what I was most excited to email my family about today, and I completely forgot it was P-Day. I guess that's a result of forgetting about yourself and not having so many pity parties.
Sister Stevens and I
To answer a lot of your questions, my companion has been on island for about 8 months. She can speak Chinese very well. She's not "fluent", but the fact that she can ask for directions in the city of Taipei and understand where to go from there is pretty impressive. It's hard navigating around on a bike, but she's helping me learn how to and I've done a lot of navigating this week to help me practice for our exchanges coming up and also for the future possibility of me taking over the area after I'm done training. Sister Stevens is comfortable with talking to everyone too which is awesome. She's such a great trainer. She wants to do the right thing and go where the Spirit guides her and she is very very bold and will talk to anyone in our path. I've learned a lot from her in these few short weeks.
Rice & Fruit :)
We have a few investigators but none are progressing. Vincent and Samantha (lots of Taiwanese people have English names) have both been on date for baptism but Vincent is getting over his smoking addiction, and Samantha is very hard to get a hold of her. We have very inconsistent meetings with her, but she wants to be baptized. It'll just take more effort on their part. We have around 3 or 4 other investigators that are also hard to get a hold of. It's so different from Georgia. But it just makes it so much more rewarding when we find someone who will listen to us.
I made a commitment the other day that I would talk to everyone that came in my path and I was so determined to go through with it. It doesn't seem very difficult, but when you start talking to someone, and they respond in some language that doesn't sound like anything you've been studying for the past 5 months, and your companion just sits there silently, then it's difficult. But soo rewarding! I've seen so much improvement in myself this week once I put my worries on the shelf and really prayed for the courage to work hard.
We contact people in several different ways. We use Facebook everyday for an hour usually to contact members and do a daily post. I can only be friends with my companion, our ward members, and investigators in our area. We do a lot of street contacting and use a lot of fliers to start conversations. We have an English Class flier, a Restoration flier, and one about families. We have so many others, but those are the main ones we use. We also knock on doors, which is so different to Georgia. I haven't seen a single house here (probably how it is in the city) so we go to buildings that are like 5-11 stories high and we ring the doorbell at the bottom and either they'll just unlock the door for us to come up, or they'll speak to us through a microphone where we try to say something that will get their attention before they say "xie xie, xie xie, xie xie bu yong" (thanks, no need) and then hang up, or "xie xie, xie xie, xie xie, mei you kong" (thanks, no time). And then of course, there's the classic stoplight contact where we pull up to someone on a motor scooter next to us and according to how much time is left on the light (sometimes it's around 90 seconds), we'll try to teach a lesson or give a flier. That's super hard too, because Sister Stevens and I will go to two different people. So it's just you and some Taiwanese person, and one language. But it works out!
Our ward is awesome. It's one of the best according to other missionaries. The members LOVE the missionaries, and since Sister Stevens and I are both pretty new to the area, we've spent a lot of time getting to know the members. Wu Mama is a member that has a dinner at her house every Sunday night and it's just the best food I've ever had. They don't really eat dessert in Taiwan, instead they just have fruit after every meal. They also don't really have drinks during meals, which has been weird to get used to. usually they'll have the course with rice, and then once your bowl is empty, you have soup or broth which is kind of your drink, and then you have fruit. The members are always willing to feed us, but we mostly just eat out since it's like a dollar for a meal. We'll eat breakfast at the apartment though - usually just eggs, fruit, or oatmeal.
English class is awesome! The class I teach is GaoJi Ban which is Advanced English Class. So my students are really good at speaking English. We do a lesson for an hour, and then we do a spiritual share for 30 minutes using the Book of Mormon. It's so great giving them the opportunity to feel the Spirit and learn from the Book of Mormon once a week. A lot of investigators come from English Class. We met a really cool lady last week who stayed after with us and we had a lesson with her. It was a super cool experience.
Sister Trouble took us out for lunch!
This week was just black and white to last week. Not that last week was necessarily bad, but to be honest it was super difficult to adjust. But I have never felt the power of the Atonement in my life so strong. I have completely changed my perspective. The language is so hard, and I've found myself on my knees more than a lot this week. But I've decided to let this experience change me. I feel so much more determined to learn Chinese and I have found so much more faith and confidence in myself. I've learned that it's not at all about learning to speak fluently. It's about being able to communicate the things that these people need to hear, at the time they need it most.
Miss you all!
Special Needs Service!
Dinner with Bao Jiating!