Sister Peng sent a few really cute pictures; however, my computer doesn't want to cooperate with the downloading of them so I will add them later when it is more cooperative. Thank you for your understanding......well, guess you really didn't have a choice. Merry Christmas All!!!
Hello Mom and Everyone else!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! I can't believe this Wednesday is already Christmas! Though, it's beginning to feel like more and more like Christmas since the members are really putting forth the extra effort to make it feel more like a traditional American Christmas. Christmas here, for the missionaries at least, is a bit different. There's no big hoopla about it. We just keep on doing what we've been called to do. Preaching the gospel. Serving others. But that's all good to me. :)
Well, last week has been a super crazy one! I can't believe it's already over. And I especially can't believe it was only one week! It feels like we did at least two weeks worth of activities and eating all in the period of a few days.... I don't even really remember what we did for most of Monday through Wednesday.... All I remember, since I do have pictures is that it rained a lot.... The Rain is back, which didn't really make me very happy.... ah well.... And the weather got cold (which did make it feel a bit more like winter at least).... But other than that, those days seem so long ago!
Thursday was crazy and made Sister Eliason and I very tired, due to the MISSION CHRISTMAS ACTIVITY!!!! It was sooo fun! All of us missionaries in the Taichung mission got together and we all went to Sun Moon Lake in Nantou. Sun Moon Lake is supposed to be very pretty.... but it was all fogged over (at least it didn't rain). But that's okay, since there were a lot of cute shops selling Aboriginal tourist items and really pretty things. So all of us missionaries just kind of wandered around, bought stuff and socialized with missionaries we haven't seen for a long time. Like I got to see Sister Eliason, Sister Anderson, Sister Mancia, all of the other people in my MTC generation, Elder Dawson, and Sister Whitney Mangleson (Fron Startalk, also Elder Dawson's friend). It was super fun! Also, we then went to Taichung for linner (lunch and dinner combined in one meal) and for our devotional. For Linner we went to a giant Chi Dao Bao (buffet), that had everything from Steak, sushi, mongolian grill, fried things, ice cream, and Taiwan Shaved Ice. There was sooo much food! Thankfully, Sister Schultz and I could control our selves for the most part, because we knew what Friday would have in store....
Friday was a day of stuffing your face so you wouldn't make members feel bad... We got chinged (taken out to eat) twice in one day... And both of them were all you can eat hot pot buffets.... They were both really good, but by the end of each meal we felt like exploading! Our plan was originally to try and not eat too much at the first buffet, but it ended up being a buffet where you order things and they keep bringing food to your table.... So the member we were with, knowing that we couldn't read the menus decided to order EVERYTHING..... and she kept telling us that it all had to be eaten... O.o The buffet was of the normal variety where you can choose for yourself what you want to eat, so it was a bit easier to just grab what we knew we could eat.... But both of the places were pretty pricy, so we had to make sure we found a balance between eating enough to not make the members happy and not too much to make us expload.... it was crazy! But sooo good!
On friday we also had the opportunity to share the Christmas Nativity story with a group of 30 children since an investigator invited us to their party. It was a fun experience, though the kids were a bit chaotic....
On Saturday we then went up with the some members to do a service project at a branch of the Red Cross that takes care of special needs people. That was fun. Missionaries where invited from our stake to go and help provide the entertainment. Our district did the Nativity story, and other districts sang songs and did other performances. It was nice to make the people in the hospital smile and bring them a little bit of Christmas joy. It's always nice serving people, since it makes both you and those you are serving happy. :) During the evening was our Ward's Christmas party/potluck which was very yummy and was a very good opportunity to meet new people. We also watched a movie (The Fourth Wise Man) which had a very good message concerning the scripture found in Matthew 25:
35 For I was an ahungred, and ye bgave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a cstranger, and ye took me in:
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
39 Or when saw we thee asick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
What I like about this scripture is about how easy it is to give back to the Lord, who has given us so much. He just asks that we serve others! So as we celebrate the Lord's birth, what are all of you planning on giving for his birthday? What do you give to the King of Kings? The Lord who is creator of all? What can we give, aside from our love and our service? And so, that is all he asks of us. This Christmas season, I invite all of you to take some time to not focus on the material part of Christmas and focus more on the spiritual part. Think of the giving, not the getting. And focus on the True meaning of CHRISTmas.
To tell the truth, of course I wish more than anything to be back for Christmas with my family and friends. But on the other hand, I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas then doing so here in Taiwan as a Missionary. I know I am doing the Lord's work, and I know he is taking care of me. I'm beginning to understand more about the true feeling of the Spirit of Christmas. And I believe that this Christmas is bound to make all of my future Christmas's to have more meaning.
I hope all of you are doing well and that you are having a great holiday season! I miss all of you and love all of you with all of my heart! Don't worry about me missing out on the "fun" parts of Christmas, since the members here are already taking care of that. Haha! The people here are so nice. One day, I'll have to take you guys to meet all of them. :)
Thank you for all of your support and love! Merry Christmas 聖延節快樂!