Due to the news report of the "biggest storm on the planet this year", Typhoon Usagi, my question to Sister Peng was:
Are their any damages to your apartment from the typhoon? The "typhoon" didn't do anything... like ANYTHING. And we live on the 13 floor, so it's impossible for us to flood, since God promised Noah that he wouldn't flood the entire earth.
Dearest Mother and everyone else who is cool enough to read these updates,
How are you? I'm good. Frustrated. I've changed computers twice since the computers here keep freezing... grrr.... Time is of great value! Especially email time! It's like my favorite time of the week. Probably shouldn't be, but I'm not the perfect missionary.... Anyways, I just love people too much. Especially people I love... If that makes sense. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Wow, time really moves quickly... or slowly... or all of the above. I still feel like I'm in some sort of time paradox or something. I think when you are tired, time always moves in a weird fashion... Anyways.... This is the last week of September! That is so weird!!! It feels like it was just August. I would say that it feels like it was just June, but I don't really remember much of MTC life. It seems like a life time away....
Anyways, apparently the biggest typhoon of the year hit Taiwan this week. I don't know, I wouldn't have known it was the biggest typhoon of the year without people telling me that it was... Everyone was freaking out about it, canceling lessons with us, canceling schools and work... yeah... We pretty much got a sprinkling of rain and a bit of a breeze here in Ping Dong. I've seen worse rain storms in Utah... And I've definitely been through worse storms here. So yeah, don't worry about us, because nothing really happened. We haven't gotten too much rain lately. I've managed to stay mostly dry. Last Monday was when we had rain, and even then it wasn't bad, since most of it happened while we were in Carrefour, which is a large large large store thing that has like 5 levels of randomness stuff. It's like our Walmart, only Taiwan style. Yup, 24 hours of fun! Every Day! Only not for missionaries... we only get Mondays... Yup! Carrefour is where we normally buy our food stuff for the week, and any other thing we think we need.
This week was also the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival! So happy holiday! I don't really know much about the holiday, save the fact that everyone goes crazy for moon cakes, bbq, and saying how round the moon is. Yup. We were mostly on the Moon Cake receiving end of this holiday. I never imagined how many different moon cakes there were. I've had everything from ice cream to mushrooms. The most exciting thing is that no one really tells me what's in them. They just tell me to eat. I've liked all of them so far.... except the mushroom... that was weird... it was a green been moon cake with mushrooms in the middle... weird weird weird... Everything else was yummy! Especially the ice cream one. I actually just ate some moon cake today for a snack. We had Taro moon cake with mochi.
Yum!!!! So yup! Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival! Oh, we also did some "bbq" we went to a hot pot place and ate ourselves sick with the other missionaries, less actives, and investigators. Yup. I am NEVER eating that much again. It was expensive though, so had to get the money's worth.... not really... bad decision... Happy Mid-Autumn Festival....!!!! Oh, and the same day that we ate the hot pot we were invited to a members house to eat stuff as well. That was pretty okay. Interesting... but okay. We didn't really get full though, so Liu JM and I went to get mango ice. Yum! That day was a lot of food. Never again... but it was very yummy!
Talking about food, on Friday, Liu JM and I went to a Taiwanese restaurant thing for dinner, since we were super busy. So we both got bowls of rice and meat and we each ordered a soup. Since I had no idea what things were, Liu JM decided to order me an ancient Taiwanese soup called Fuo Tiao Chang.... Which translates to Buddist Jump Wall. That soup pretty much is stuffed full of randomness. It had taro, meat, bamboo, chestnuts, bird eggs, mushrooms, and a lot of stuff I’m not sure what they were... It's yummy, just a bit overwhelming. I ended up having to bring home my left overs, in which they added even more soup (which was funny, because then it made it look like I didn't eat any of it.) Yum!
So, the reason why we were so busy on Friday was the fact that we went to a Zone Conference. My First! Zone conference is just a conference where we meet together as a whole bunch of missionaries, and the mission president and his wife talk to us. This conference we talked about the steps of conversion, and what it means to repent. The discussion on repentance was based around a talk called "The Meaning of Repentance" A great talk that talks about the true meaning of repentance. Repentance in English has a somewhat heavy and a bit of a negative connotation. People sometimes feel like repentance means sorrow, punishment, guilt. But in the original writings of the Bible, written in Hebrew, they used the word shube, which means to turn back. Repentance is a turning towards God. It means that we turn away from our mistakes, our sins, and start doing the things the Lord wants us to do. The word for repentance in Chinese is Hui Gai. The character for "hui" is a combination of the heart radical and the radical for every day. "Gai" means to change. The word represents everyday changing your heart. Changing to follow the example of Christ. Changing your life, so you can leave the darkness behind you and step towards the light.
This week, we had the chance to go with the elders to give a blessing to a lady who will be going in for surgery for breast cancer. She is Buddhist, but her daughter's friend is LDS (she called us to go and give the blessing). You could see the faith the lady had, and that she really could feel the spirit. After the blessing, she was crying, and she was asking us why she was crying, and why her heart felt weird. She was feeling a change. She was feeling the impression of the Lord. We didn't go there to preach the gospel. Only to serve. But I think that had even more power. Service is better than words. Action is stronger than speech.
So anyways, I'm running out of time... Always running out of time.... One day, I'll have enough time to do things I want to do... Hahaha! Probably not! Anyways, stay strong, be wonderful! Come unto Christ!
Love, Sister Nicholle Peng