Monday, February 15, 2016

It's been an incredible Chinese New Year!

Such a beautiful day! We sat there staring at the ocean for like an hour and a half. So serene.

First GuoNian dinner!

It's been an incredible Chinese New Year! It was different than I expected, but in a good way. I arrived in Taiwan a week after Chinese New Year last year so this was my first one. A lot of missionaries that were here for the holiday last year told me all about how Taipei turns into ghost town and the streets are just empty for a whole week long and the only interaction you get with people is when you eat dinner at member's homes and they invite their relatives and stuff you with food and don't let you leave until all the food is gone... Good thing Chinese New Year on the East Coast is a completely different experience! It was really lively all week because everyone came from Taipei to HuaLien to visit grandparents. We didn't find many people that lived in our area, but it was a really fun week. I was afraid we'd be walking the streets all day with no one to talk to, but we had the coolest experience the other night. We met this guy from China, and shared about the Book of Mormon with him. He was just SO interested and had so many questions to ask. He was only here for travel and when he goes back to China, there weren't going to be any missionaries for us to refer him to. We meet SO many people from China here in HuaLien, and the more I talk to, the more excited I get for China to allow missionaries to go and proselyte. More than half of the people we talk to that are from China want to keep meeting with us. Anyways, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him how to pray because that was the most we could do for him. Then we kept talking to other people and we met this other guy named Lin, and taught him about baptism and showed him a picture of Christ being baptized. His eyes were so fixed on the picture and he was so eager to meet with us again. Then his sister walked out of the 7-11 and we started teaching her too at the same time. And then the guy from China came back and started talking to Sister Haupt again to ask more questions! It was amazing. There we were in the middle of Chinese New Year talking to three people at the same time. As we shared our testimonies with these people, my heart was so warm. I felt like I could stay in that moment forever.

So beautiful!
The night just kept getting better, as we talked to a lady from TaoYuan shortly after. Her name was Chen. We asked if we could pray for her and she said of course. So we prayed and shared about Jesus Christ and then invited her to say her own prayer. She said she was Christian a long time ago and hasn't been to church or prayed in a long time, so she was really nervous to do it again. Nonetheless she decided to do so right then and there (outside of the 7-11 once again). As she closed her prayer I looked up to see a look of worry on her face, and I heard the words come out of my mouth asking if she was doing alright, and she began to cry. We sat there for about 3 minutes as she cried. Sister Haupt shared a simple sweet testimony that God loves her and knows her worries, and then Chen hugged us both and that same warm feeling in my heart grew so strong. I still don't know what was troubling her, or what she was feeling. But it was such a tender moment for Sister Haupt and I. It really reminded me that the things we do really can influence peoples' lives.

Skyping w/ Li Chong Wei!
So Sister Haupt and I have been working on developing more faith in our area, in our members, and in helping people to be baptized. We wanted to prayerfully set a goal of how many people we need to help be baptized in this area next month. After fasting and praying about it, we set the goal for 4 people to be baptized next month. At our zone meetings this week, we talked a lot about making inspired goals. If it is truly inspired of God that we help 4 people be baptized next month, we really believe we can do it under His direction. It was AMAZING seeing how God is already making it happen for us. Li Chong Wei has been gone for Chinese New Year, so we moved his date back to the beginning of March. And we've set many many baptismal dates in the last week and not to mention we got the best referral, Wang Yong Xiang. He was found by the other missionaries and he came to church yesterday and is so prepared to be baptized. I don't know why I haven't had faith my whole mission! It's so true that there are people being prepared in our areas. It's going to take a lot of diligence, faith, and love to make this goal.

Me, Yang Ming Fang, Sister Haupt, Sister Yao and Sister Li.
Yang Ming Fang is making so many friends already!
All the members love her so much :)
The best part of the week was Yang Ming Fang passed her first baptismal interview yesterday!! She gets baptized this Saturday! Seeing her progress towards baptism has been the most joyful part of my mission. I'm so excited for her. I just have to testify that faith can change lives. Faith and love is literally what has made the difference in this area. I'm so happy to be a missionary!

Sister Hendricks

Perfect day at the beach!
We were just enjoying a beautiful sunny day at the beach and these travelers became our friends!
Last P-day!  This is a 5-minute ride from our house! 
This has been the weather all week. You can actually see the sky~
​At Yang JiaTing's
This is our area's boundary line. Pretty fancy boundary line, right?
Our Bishop and his family!
Li JiaTing's vegetables and fish!
​All you can eat Hot Pot!
Sister Chen fed us curry :)

​This is what it looks like when you see someone you want to talk to, but there's awkwardly a bush blocking your path from sharing the gospel
 Some guy gave this to us on the street! My very first HongBao紅包~
I love my companion!
I forgot all about Valentine's Day until our roommates did this!

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