Monday, September 30, 2013

4 Months Down!!! The mosquitoes are being well fed by Sister Peng :)

This week marks the the completion of 4 months of Sister Peng's mission.  Wow!  It's going both fast and slow!  Kinda like time warp.
Hello Mum! Hello Dogs! Hello Grandparents! Hello Aunts, Uncles, Cousins! Hello Friends!  Hello Strangers!  I hope you all feel loved! :D

I can't tell if this week felt long or short.  I can't really remember last Monday at all... or anything that happened this week.  This is why I'm grateful for the many sticky notes in my planner.  I write down the most interesting parts of my week, so that when I get to emailing, I have something to remind me of what I did. Otherwise... I would be totally lost... 

Pulling weeds!  Fun!
Anyways, this week was pretty good! Tiring, but good.  We had three service activities this week, which is probably why I'm more tired than normal.  The first one was just more "ba cao"-ing which means weeding...  Which in Taiwan is a bit more extreme since weeds grow like crazy here.  The second activity was just helping a member's mom move a whole bunch of really long heavy pieces of wood in her... garden?  I don't know what to call it... personal jungle?  Anyways... 
The third activity was our Earth Day service project where we picked up trash by the side of the roads near the church.  The first two service activities were not very fun to do, since it was hard work, the weather was very hot, and mosquitoes were EVERYWHERE!  No matter how much bug spray I put on, they still decide that my blood is what's on the menu.  They really like circling people to try and find places to land and get a quick meal.  And they will also follow you in groups of around 5-7...  The mosquitoes in Taiwan are very diligent.  They also have poison or something that makes their bites extra itchy and not fun.  I think this week I have accumulated at least 20 new bights... most of which are on my right elbow... not sure why.... Because I'm pretty sure I sprayed bug spray there.... sigh...

The Earth Day activity was okay.  I mean, picking up trash off the side of the road isn't too physically demanding.  Some of the stuff was a bit questionable... so the bishop said if it was too questionable, just leave it.  Haha!  Anyways, afterwards, Liu JM and I accompanied the ward to a hike to a waterfall.  I didn't think it was the best use of our time, fun, but not the best use of our time... But we had a less active who refused to go, unless we went as well.  And the ward needed to have her bring her car, so she could help a transport a couple of recent converts to the activity as well (they were short on cars)... So Liu JM decided that we probably should go.  So we went, hiked (which was so pretty and tiring!) saw the waterfall, ate pizza and went home.  I tried to use my time as wisely as I could, being at the waterfall, so I spent a lot of time talking to a man from Australia who is staying with a family in our ward for 6 months as he does his work stuff.  He is studying Asian Studies.  He's pretty awesome, and doesn't speak a word of Chinese.  So I was afraid he would be bored not being able to talk to people.  He has a pretty awesome accent!  Anyways, the trip was fun.  But probably left us even more tired than we would have been if we had just spent the time teaching lessons and such....

But as exhausting as this week was, it was okay, since we got our new beds from Ikea!!! Yay! They are so comfortable! I am really happy. :D  Apparently, many missionaries who have lived in Ping Dong have complained about the beds, but it wasn't until I said something that us sisters, and the elders as well, got new beds.  Super happy!  I've been sleeping very well. :)

Anyways, since I always have to mention food, this week I tried two new things.  Well, both of them were some form of a burger...  The first was at a place called "Eat Me" which was an American inspired burger place.  The menu was pretty normal, save one thing.  The Peanut Butter Burger.  It sounded... interesting... So I ordered it.  I mean, why not?  It's not something I can get in the States... Well, I could probably make it myself.  Since all it was peanut butter on a normal burger with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and mustard.  It actually wasn't bad.  Like a salty sweet thing.  Really, if you have the opportunity to put peanut butter on a burger, go for it. Haha!  The second burger was a Mos Burger.  I ordered a rice burger.  So instead of buns, it has two patties of rice and the inside was sautéed beef, and lettuce, grilled onions and sauce of some sort.  That was also pretty good, and something that I can probably make for a cheaper price... but yeah.  We've had to eat out a lot this week, since we've been really busy, and don't have the time to go home to cook.  Ah well... Being busy is a good thing. :)

This week, we did see some miracles! Yay!  One day, we went tracting for an hour, since our lesson fell through.  But during that hour, we found three houses in a row, which had people who said we could come back to share our message with them.  Too bad they were all men... so we had to give them to the Elders...  Right afterwards we went to Carrefour to buy meat for Sunday's curry dinner and also buy dinner for that day.  When we were picking out sushi for our dinner, a girl who was working there asked us if we were missionaries.  We said yes, and she said that a while ago, some elders came to her house, shared a little bit of their message, and never came back.  She really wants us to come over to her house and teach her.  Yay!  We really need new people to teach! :D  She is really cute, and hopefully we'll have a chance this week to meet with her.

Anyways, right now in Ping Dong we are all working to try and find new investigators.  We have quite a few investigators, but very few who are actually progressing.  Many of them don't really have a desire to learn... Don't know why they are still willing to meet with us... but we still teach them all the same and pray for them.  But the couple of people that are progressing are pretty awesome.  It's frustrating not being able to make people progress in the gospel... not being able to make them see why it's important for them to follow the teachings and example of Christ...  But we have to accept that they have their own agency to choose whether they want to accept our teachings, and do their commitments....  It's so frustrating!  You are trying to share with them a gift given to them from their Heavenly Father!  A gift that is most precious and will bring them everlasting peace and joy!  And they refuse it...  They have no interest...  And all you can do as a missionary is give them the opportunity to accept.

This work, the missionary's work, needs to be motivated by Christ-like love for it to have any
success.  The reason why missionaries go out to preach the gospel isn't to have the numbers of members in the church increase.  It's to bring people back to the presence of their Father who is waiting for them in Heaven.  It's to help our spirit brothers and sisters attain countless amounts of blessings only received through the gospel of Christ.  We share the gospel, because we love the people.  We want them to feel the love of their Father.  We want them to be able to have more peace and happiness in their lives!

Anyways, for a spiritual thought, I'll share the words from the hymn "When Faith Endures"

I will not doubt, I will not fear;

God's love and strength are always near.

His promised gift helps me to find

An inner strength and peace of mind.

I give the father willingly

My trust, my prayers, humility.

His Spirit guids; his love assures

That fear departs when faith endures

When we have faith in God, he is always able to help us.  We have faith that he is our Father, and we, as his children can endure any trial life hands to us.  If we have faith in God, he will give us his power and he will give us strength no matter what happens.  We need not fear when we know that God is always with us.  He is always watching over us, and willing to guide and comfort us.  We just have to come unto him with humble and prayerful hearts. 

I know that the Lord loves each and every one of us.  I know in our trials and dark points in life, when it feels like God has withdrawn himself from us, it is the opposite.  We have pulled ourselves away from him.  He is always there, with arms out stretched, waiting for us to come unto him.  Never forget your Father.  Pray daily unto him, and I assure to you that you will feel his presence.  You will feel his love. 

I love you all so much! It isn't easy being so far away from those that I love.  But I know this is the Lord's work, and that he has called me to Taiwan to serve him with all my heart, might, mind and strength. 

Be awesome!  God be with you till we meet again!

Love, Sister Peng

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