Monday, December 16, 2013

"If I don't move, perhaps the missionaries will disappear......"

Dear Mum and the World (I've decided to address the world as a whole, considering the fact that I don't want to disclude anyone or anything that happens to read my updates.  I love you all!),
Well, it’s beginning to look like Christmas..... Well.... not really...  Christmas isn't really celebrated here in Taiwan, and it's mostly seen as a foreigner holiday.  Sure some people decorate (very very seldom though), but they don't know why...  There are some churches who do do activities though, including our church, which does kind of give us the Christmas spirit.... but here, for missionaries at least, the Christmas spirit is more of just a Christ spirit.  We continue doing what we always do. We serve Christ through our work, and what better way is there to give a present to the King of Kings?
This upcoming week will be really busy though, since we get to attend our missionary Christmas activity that includes the whole mission, and we also will be attending the stake and ward Christmas activities, which should be fun.  We are also going to be "ching-ed" by the members (taken out to dinner) a lot... and man, most of them are choosing to take us to chi-dao-baos (eat till fulls) that are very very expensive and a bit overwhelming.... Because if you know Taiwan people.... They can put a ton of food in their almost nonexistent stomachs and waistlines...
Anyways, this week, we had signs of having a white Christmas!  Well... not the white Christmas that all of you are thinking of.... more of like the Taiwan White Christmas in which everything outside looks white from our apartment windows due to the fog/smog/air pollution/ wu ran.....  yup... not very appealing... especially when you know you have to go outside and be in it all day long.... yum....

So, this week was pretty fun/normal/abnormal/really really fast.  It started off on Monday shopping in a market (which we found by accident).  IT was super fun! There were a lot of people and a lot of clothes to buy and such.  Sister Schultz and I bought really cute bags that are water proof and can turn into shoulder bags or back packs.  They are super cute!  Anyways, we thought it was so fun, we went back this morning so we could actually get pictures.  We took pictures of the food part of the market, which was an experience in itself as well. :)

On Wednesday, we had an adventure of sorts.  We went to one of our secondary areas called Wen Dan.  It's very shang xia, which in other words is very country ish.  There is still a lot of people who live there, but it's less busy and big like Ping Dong City is.  We didn't have much success in finding people out there....  In fact, many people knew exactly who we were and wouldn't give us the light of day.  One of the funniest door contacting stories occurred out there though.  There was a woman who was cleaning her windows from the inside, and so we went to go ring her bell.... well... as soon as we rang the bell, she turned into a statue!  Even when we were waving at her and calling greetings to her she did not move.... I don't know if she thought that if she didn't move we wouldn't see her... or what.... but we were really confused and didn't leave for a couple of minutes.... She didn't move an inch!  We couldn't stop laughing after we left. :P Haha! Poor lady!
Thursday was not very good.... kind of really boring.... Sister Schultz was really sick, and we couldn't leave the appartment.  We think she caught a food virus or something.... Anyways, while she rested and such... I was left to doing whatever I could do in the apartment.... which meant calling a lot of phones.... I don't think I've ever calling so many phones in my life!!!!  I about went mad!  I still haven't gotten over my anxiety over phones... but I'm a lot better than I was!
On Friday the biggest thing that happened was the fact that we had a very very awesome lesson with Chen JM, our Chinese (like from China) investigator.  We had planned to teach just about the Plan of Salvation (Lesson 2), but ended up teaching about the Gospel of Christ (Lesson3) as well, since she just kept leading into it with her questions.  She just understands everything!  And she apparently really likes the Plan of Salvation because she likes the idea of progressing at every step and she really wants to go to the Celestial kingdom!  She is also really open to the idea of baptism, so.... Hopefully we have a baptism soon! We haven't had one for a while, but that's okay.  These people just need to be prepared, you can't just throw them into the water and hope that they'll be solid in the gospel afterwards.
Saturday wasn't a very happy day for me.... because.... the rain returned!  I hate the rain when I have to bike.... it makes me wet and cold.... and it makes my mosquito bites hurt.... but it's all worth it for the work of the Lord! We chose that day to go into one of our secondary areas as well (Chang Zhi), so we had a lot of biking... but that's okay, it wasn't too bad.  The morning was good though.  We had our investigator Family (Zhang Family) take us to a Japanese noodle place.  They ordered really really spicy soup for us, since we said we like spicy.  I was fine, for the most part.  But Sister Schultz swallowed some of it wrong and her eyes started tearing up and she was bright red! Haha! It was very very yummy.... but next time I think we'll order the Curry noodle soup instead....
Sunday was CRAZY! And so awesome!  We had 7 investigators come to church!  7!!!!! Granted, 4 of them were there for a school project since they had to talk to foreigners and interview them, but they stayed for all 3 hours of church.  On Saturday we also had other students who attended a baptism so they could also have interviews with us afterwards.  Perhaps the Lord is working with the schools to have people come in contact with our church. Haha!  But it's great to meet them, and it's nice for them to see what our church is like.  Hopefully they'll come back one day for an activity or English Class or even for church!
Anyways, having so many investigators at church was truly a miracle!  We've been seeing many other miracles in our work, such as being introduced to really golden investigators, lately.  And none of them are actually coming directly through our own efforts.  We keep trying so hard to find new investigators through contacting or service, but we've had zilch! Nada! Zero!  Instead, most of our new people are coming because of member referrals or from just showing up one day because they came to English class once before.... 
I really believe that the Lord gives us many miracles every day. And when we are doing his work or when we are doing what he wants us to do, he gives us even more!  The Lord is a very loving Father and he is willing to help and reward us when we exercise faith and do what is right. 

Sometimes it's hard to see why we have to do something, such as follow a commandment or go through a hard trial when we can't see the benefits out right.  Sometimes we try to make deals with God, telling him that if he lets us have the blessings now, or if he gives us a sure sign that things will turn out right, then we'll do what he asks.  But in fact, it's the other way around.  In Ether 12:6 it reads:"faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."
So have faith, and follow the will of the Lord.  I know, that the promises in the scriptures are true.  That if we keep His commandments, the windows of heaven will be opened unto us, and that we will have the blessings of heaven pour out upon us.  I know that the only way of increasing in faith is to exercise it.  So if you are facing a trial, or if you are having problems keeping commandments, have faith.  Read 1 Nephi 3:7.  Pray. Act.
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas season, and that you might feel the warmth of the Spirit in your hearts.  Don't forget the true meaning of CHRISTmas! Love you!!!

Love, Sister Peng

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