Are you still working on phase 2 of your language learning? Yup. I have two boxes of flashcards with 1000+ cards in each... Almost done with the first box though. I'm actually further along than my companion....
What is your favorite thing about your new companion? She is very spiritual.
Hello Madre and everyone else who finds my wandering thoughts amusing,
How is everyone? Well... I'm doing okay. I just wrote a lot of my email... and then it got deleted because this computer wants me to learn patience and decided to freeze on me. Not good.... Anyways I was doing better. All good...
So, how's the weather? Is there snow? I miss snow... snow is a foreign concept here. Probably since it's "cold" here when it's in the high 70's (F)... Members keep telling us to bundle up.... but it's the first time that I've actually enjoyed the temperature here. :P Anyways, it looks like that we might have a white Christmas here afterall. Not from snow, but from pollution. Every morning I look out of the window and the air is white.... like... a really milky white... Probably not the most healthy thing ever, but as missionaries, you just got to deal with it. Most people here wear medical mask things over their mouths (either paper or cloth ones) when they travel or go outside... missionaries aren't allowed to do that though... so... yeah... I just try to forget what I learned about fog and air pollution in my Enviromental classes...
Well, this week has been... long? short? tiring? interesting? good? stressful? All of the above! Missionary work is still going on here in Ping Dong, which is really good, because I'm always afraid that I'm going to mess something up... Haha! This week has flown by, but also feels like it's been forever. And that's probably because missionary work always feels like being on a rollercoaster with it's ups and downs.
Right now me and my companion are struggling to hit the key indicators (goals set by the mission to identify how well we are doing in the work such as how many lessons we are teaching and how many people are coming to church). We've just cleaned out a lot of our old investigators who weren't progressing and now we are on the hunt for new people to teach. We are trying to be patient as we try to find those people that the Lord has been preparing to come unto him... but most of the time, when we find those people, we have to help them get over a few of their challenges and obstacles...
So, We are still teaching Amber, our American investigator. She is doing well. She is very, very pregnant though. Like, 8 months pregnant. Like, when the elders told us that they saw her at the park, and we asked how she was, their answer was "pregnant." She is also having to deal with her 17 month old who is sensing a change is happening in the family. And the only person he wants to help him is his mom.... who is the person who is least able to help him and hold him because she is pregnant. Amber wants to be baptised, but she has to come to church more before she can do that.... so... we are trying to help her build faith in order to come. She's just hesitant, because she'd have to bring the 17 month old (who is a very active little boy)... by herself and she isn't sure she can.... But we'll get her to church! It'll just take prayer, and a lot of member help.
We are also now teaching a 10 year old girl named Kelly who is super adorable! I've decided I love teaching kids. They just understand! They have so much faith in Christ and their Heavenly Father. When we asked her about her favorite part of church, her answer was "I like when they said that Jesus loves everyone and wants to protect us." So adorable! And you can see the light in her eyes whenever we teach, and she gets so excited to learn more. Her parents on the other hand... have more interest in us teaching Kelly English... They say we can teach about the Gospel, but they also want us to teach English.... Which... is not why we are here in Taiwan. We are hoping to have the parents sit down and listen to what we share as well... but, they are always busy doing their own thing downstairs... sigh....
Yesterday was a bit interesting teaching lessons though. So, first: background. Our bishop has set up a program where every Friday and Sunday we go on splits with the members... Well, yesterday we only had one member show up, so we had her help us in a lesson... She is a really sweet old lady... but... she kept asking the investigators (who we met for the first time yesterday) if they could see the angels surrounding us as we prayed....(of which, I saw none of.... :P ) And pretty much she scolded them for not believing in Christ.... Hopefully the investigators are still willing to meet with us and are not to weirded out or offended... The member was trying to do her best at missionary work though... She probably just needs a little bit of training as to best introduce the gospel to those who haven't heard it yet....
Oh, and yesterday was a bit interesting for going door to door contacting. It's crazy how many men in Taiwan think it's appropriate to answer the door when only wearing their underwear.... We were contacting a street, where the majority of the doors were answered by men... and a majority of them seemed not ashamed at all for answering the door in nothing but their boxers.... Yeah... cultures are a bit different here.... We did our best to keep every door approach as quick as possible... It was sooo awkward....!!!! So, people, keep in mind. The next time your door bell rings.... PUT ON SOME CLOTHES!!!!
So, my time is running a bit short. Sorry, I feel like lately these emails haven't been very good. My brain just always feel drained lately, and I haven't had the time to really have a refreshing rest.... But that's okay, I'm tired, just how a missionary should be.
But, before I sign off I will leave you all with a spiritual thought.
41 ¶And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
The book, Jesus the Christ (page 561), explained how the angels in heaven who make an accounting of the sacrifices made by men count not by quantity but by quality. How many times in our lives do we do things, not because we sincerely want to do what God wants, but we do them because we want people to praise us for our good works? I worry about that everyday. Why did I come on a mission? Did I do it truly because I wanted to help the Lord? Or was I afraid that if I didn't continue on with my plans to serve that other people would think down on me.... Am I serving with all my might, mind, and strength to the Lord? Or am I trying to just make sure other people see me as a "good missionary." I think somedays I get caught in the trap of "working for the praises of men" rather than trying to please God.
It's funny how we humans care so much about how other people think of us. We start comparing ourselves to others, trying to make sure we aren't the worst, and trying to make ourselves look good in the eyes of others. We become self conscious.... when really, what other people care about doesn't really matter. What really matters is what our Father in Heaven wants. How he sees us, as his children, is much more important... but we often forget.
Anyways, I'm not sure where this spiritual share is going... Perhaps what I just want to say is: Don't forget your a child of a King. Only he has power to truly judge you, and he will do so with love and mercy. Don't worry about what other people think. Be you. Choose the Right. Because that's what the Lord would have you do.
I love you all! I hope you are doing well. Be a missionary. Ever day. In every thought, word and action.Love, Sister Nicholle Peng