Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy Chinese New Year!!! I Love Tainan & My New Companion!

1). What time do you have church now?
9am, just like it was in Ping Dong

2). How far are you from church?
I live within 5 minutes of walking from the church.... Which is funny, because both the church and our apartment are NOT in our area. Haha!

3). Tell me about your apartment.  Is it in good condition?
It's bigger than my last apartment.  Theirs air conditioning in every room.... not like we need it right now.  And I actually have a bathtub!
4). How large is your service area?  How far do you have to ride your bikes to get to where you need to go?  
My area is sooo much smaller than my last one. But we are in the city, so that's understandable. I'm not sure how far distances are, because Sister Park keeps getting lost.  Poor Sister, I'm trying to give her a chance to learn how to read maps, because she has never done it before.
5). How are you doing riding your bike in busier traffic?  Are you able to stay safe?
The traffic isn't too bad actually.  They just have interesting intersections that separate cars from the motorcycles and bikes- which is actually probably safer. :)
6). What are some things you like about your companion?  What are her best attributes?  In what ways are you the same or different?  Does she speak English?  How did she get the last name of "Parks?"
I love her because she is so humble.  And she is so cute!  She has a lot of Korean Quirks.... but I love them.  Also, I love her because she is always loving me!  We speak in Chinese.  Her last name is Park because.... idk....  Apparently in Korea they also have English last names. We both love food, but we both want to lose weight... we love to go to book stores.... She is really quite, I'm loud... yup...

7). How many investigators do you have in this area?  How many people attend church?  Is it more  or less than that of Ping Dong?
Can't really tell. It's chinese new years so... our investigators is close to.... ZERO  And as to church attendance, ping dong was bigger.

8). How's the Chinese progressing along?  Still gaining more vocabulary?  Able to read more Chinese? Yeah, for language study I read the BOM and I write letters to people in Ping Dong.  I'm still learning.

9). Did you find some good places to eat?  Tried any more different foods?  Have you tried stinky tofu yet?
Not yet... I did see some good mexican places! I'm trying to convince Sister Park that Mexican food is really yummy and we should try some. :)

 Now on to the actual email!

Hello Mom and other wonderful people of the world!

How are you doing on the other side of the globe?  I hope you are all doing fantastic and that you are still doing well on your new year's goals.  If not, you have another chance to start over on your goals.... because.... HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!  We will be entering into the year of 104!  As a missionary, Guo Nian is a very feared and dreaded holiday.... because it means that you will be served a ton of food, your waist lines will expand and all of your investigators and less actives are too busy to meet because they are also taking part in the yearly feasting.  I don't understand how a country with such skinny people can eat soo much food! Okay, well, not everyone is skinny, but most of the skinny people I know here can just eat forever and all the food doesn't affect their weight at all.... 

Sister Park and I really want to try running every morning this week and perhaps the week after in order to avoid gaining too much weight. Wish us luck!

So! Tainan!  It's different than Ping Dong.  Our area is smaller, since we are in the city and the people are more compact.  We are only over the east part of the city?  And not even all of it?  I'm not quite clear.... But all I know is that it's smaller than my last area.  Also, it's a bit more "international."  What I mean is I've never seen so many foreigners in Taiwan before! (Well... aside from the missionaries.)  In Ping Dong, seeing more than one or two non-Taiwanese people was abnormal!  But here I see up to 10 or 15 a day! It's just weird, because I'm not used to seeing people whose hair isn't black and their eyes aren't brown...  Haha!  Yesterday I passed by a TACO car!  How cool is that!  I keep seeing Mexican food!  I really want to try some!

Anyways, it's also a bit more chilly here than in Ping Dong.  And by chilly I mean that I was actually COLD here! That blew my mind!  But I didn't have anything thicker than one white sweater, because when it was cold, I was still waiting for my luggage to get transferred over.  Once I got my clothes, it wasn't necessary to pull out my coat anymore... because the weather got warm.... sigh.... I'll be prepared for next time it gets cold though!

So, as to investigators, recent converts and less actives in Tainan, it's been hard to get a hold with anyone due to Guo Nian, so I really hope that after Guo Nian our schedules will be packed!

One thing that I love about my new area is the service project that we have every Sunday!  Every Sunday we go over to a hospital that takes care of a lot of physically and mentally handicap people and sing to them and teach them how to sing.  I love going over there because you can see how happy some of them are, even though their circumstances must be frustrating to them sometimes.   Their spirits are beautiful and they really can bring a smile to your face.  I look forward to building friendships with them.  They are really special and beloved children of God.

I also love my new area because of my companion Sister Park!  She is so cute and funny.  As I said before she is from Korea and so we both use Chinese to communicate.  She is always looking out for me, and every morning, she insists on starting to prepare my breakfast for me and also on putting together our lunches so we don't have to eat too much unhealthy things throughout the day.  I always have to try and be really fast on getting ready so I can get to the dishes before she does so I can try and serve her as well! Haha! Also, she always makes sure I have a small snack before language study time.  So cute!  She is very humble, and you can tell she loves serving people.  Also, it's super cool to hear her speak in Korean. :D

Anyways, this week has been good, though I've been tired- not sure why... I'm adjusting well to my new area, and I'm learning to love it as much as I love Ping Dong.

One of the things that I'm so grateful for during my missionary service is being able to find friends wherever I go.  I believe God always puts friends in our lives wherever we are so we can always remember that he loves us.  Through our friends and through the people all around us, we can feel their support and their love and we can also learn from their examples.  I know that I am only who I am today because of the people around me.  My Mom has been a great role model for me and she's always been there for me.  My friends have supported me during my hard times in life and have also been great examples to me.  My companions have always pushed me to try my hardest and to always have trust in the Lord.  I am so grateful for the people the Lord has put into my life, and I know that he will continue to bless me through their love and examples.

I love you and miss you all.  Sorry if this email is a bit jumpy... My head is tired... hopefully I'll have the chance to take a small nap one day.... Haha!  

Happy Chinese New Year!  

Love, Sister Peng

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