Monday, November 16, 2015

Doesn't feel like November down here!

Greetings from the East Coast!

Sister Stevens & I
I have just got to say I am really loving this area! It is so beautiful and the mountains remind me so much of Utah. I've decided that Taiwan is like a mini Utah and HuaLien is like St. George. It's a smaller town, very warm, very beautiful, and most people here are tourists, older people, or families that are visiting their grandparents. So when we meet people that live here, it's so exciting. Also, we had our first two exchanges this week and I went to TaiDong which is 2 1/2 hours south of our area by train and it is SO BEAUTIFUL and SO SO HOT. It's the area that's the most South of our mission. We have 3 sets of sisters down there. My first exchange was with (drum roll...) Sister Stevens!!! It was so much fun doing missionary work with her again! It's so cool to see how much both of us have changed for the better over the past 6 months. It really was so fun and I learned a lot. The next exchange was with Sister Lindsay!! She's in my generation and we actually served in Georgia together while waiting for our visas. They live in the most deserted area in the whole mission. It is the area that struggles the most because it literally feels like you're in the middle of nowhere and it's as hot as a desert. But we had the faith to find these amazing prepared people. We were biking down this long, empty road and it was just silence. Seriously, it's like being in a complete opposite mission to Taipei. And every time we saw someone, we'd bike after them and talk with them. We got 2 people to accept baptismal dates which is so so good for their area! It was really fun.

This week just FLEW by. Every time we have exchanges, it just makes weeks go by faster. But we're expected to do 2 every week if possible. It's pretty tiring but it's a lot of fun. We have to wake up
at 4:30am to get to the train station by 5:30am and then travel and then work all day, and then do the same thing the next day, and do that whole process twice! It's the most tiring thing I've ever done but I just love it. I know that God has put me here to challenge me and to give me a chance to grow.

I can't count how many apples we eat/day
I don't think I've ever been so excited about missionary work every morning when I wake up. Sister Griffin and I share the same love and passion for what we do and I know that the faith we have in this area has made a big difference. It's been really cool to see that God has stepped in when we did
Apples & colored bread?!
everything we could. I can't even count how many times in my prayers I would say "please give me the strength and energy that I don't have at the moment", and He really has helped us. I think I've experienced at least 3 time warps this week. The craziest time warp was when Sister Lindsay and I were biking to the train station to make the 6:25am train (our expensive tickets already paid for with no way of being refunded, and no way of getting back to HuaLien for hours if we missed it) in literally 5 minutes and booking it through the platform as the bell was ringing indicating the departure of our train and jumping on the train with seriously 10 seconds to spare. I have never biked so fast and ran so fast in my life. We collapsed onto our seats and all of the older Taiwanese people just laughed and clapped for us. It was one of those moments that I really know I did not do that on my own. haha it just makes me laugh thinking about it.

Sister Griffin & I - that's me in the back
Sister Griffin and I had some finding time together this week, and we just met so many people that were so lonely, or disabled and my heart was just softened. We have a recent convert in our ward that is half paralyzed and has constant, terrible stomach aches and is just so lonely. We take her out for walks on her wheel chair and buy her fruit and sing for her, and it's probably my favorite part of every week. I have just realized that there are so many people that live these hard lives that I will never have to experience. It's been really moving to me this week and has really made me so grateful for the life I live, the health I have, and that I get to spend so much more time serving people and so much less time on myself.

Well, all I can say is I'm just so happy. There is nothing more amazing than the experience I'm having. I feel like this transfer has been nothing like anything I've experienced my whole mission. I've grown such a love for this work. I've never looked forward to going out and working so hard in my whole life. And it's because I know it is so true. I know the work we do is changing lives and it's changing mine. 

Hope you all have the best week ever! Love you all!

Sister Hendricks
 Train ride to and from Taidong

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