1) So, what am I giving you for your birthday present?We are going clothes shopping.... so probably clothes.... haha! Or food, like pancake cake things.... oh! And I'm buying a Buddha fruit, because they are my newest discovery of being some of the best tasting fruit on this side of the world, and they are expensive... :( Because they are soooo yummy! Half a kilo is like 67 yuan.....
2). How has this week been? Still lean pickings for investigators and church goers?
This week has been okay.... still trying to hunt people down... since some people still believe in celebrating a full 15 days of new year....
3). Did you eat anything special or yummy for the New Years this week? Did you get more meal invites? How many?
We ate hot pot (Sichuan Spicy hot pot, since my companion LOVES anything that threatens to burn your tonsils out.).... other than that... nope. So, I didn't gain any weight during guo nian! Yay! Now I can just work on losing it.... I'm teaching my companion about healthy eating and how it doesn't mean we have to eat carrots and tomatoes everyday, because that will turn us orange.
4). Did you get any red envelops from members and such?
We got one red envelope with about 200 kuai. Not really sure if we are allowed to take money from people, but they insisted and then they specifically told us to go buy food with it, so I guess that's okay.
5). What is the best thing about Tainan, your companion and your ward thus far? Ummm.... Tainan: food Companion: She's Insistent on making sure I eat yummy food. (she makes my breakfast and sometimes my lunch and makes sure we stop at a lot of food carts where old people are working so we can make them happy....) Ward: They feed us.... Yup....
6). Do you have a comfortable bed?
My bed is so comfortable! Now, I wish the mosquitoes would leave us alone while I sleep like a rock...
7). Did you get your bikes fixed?
Yup! I just have to get a bigger bike box, and my bike will be perfect!.... well, as perfect as it can be. Tell people not to get the mission bikes and to get the other brand....
8) how is your Taiwanese coming along?
Ti a bo..... ting bu dong.... my taiyu is TERRIBLE! Haha!
Hello Mum! Hello world! What's the weather like in your part of the world? This morning I was greeted by very cold rain and no sun.... Our thermometer says 20 degree Celsius.... not sure what that is.... but I'm pretty sure that when I go back to the states in the middle of the winter I'm going to be FREEZING! I know what you're thinking. Nicholle can be cold? Impossible! Well.... Yup.... I'm cold.... In Taiwan.... Which is supposed to have a tropical climate....
Anyways, as my Mom posted in her email to me, this is my last week of being a teenager. Weird.... I'm pretty sure I won't feel much different. I hope that I will become a bit more mature and confident.... but... yeah.... age is just a number. Haha! It's also weird to think that my next birthday will be back at home. I'm almost at my half way point on my mission! WEIRD!!! Time weird me out..... it never seems to run in the way you would expect it to. I've really learned that I need to take time to soak in the good moments, and also in times of trials to remember that hardships are only temporary.
Well, this week has been great and hard all at the same time. It started out wonderful. Monday was filled with the normal missionary P-day activities of emailing, buying stuff, window shopping, and fixing bikes. And then Tuesday we had a wonderful ZTM in which we talked about the importance of Faith, Prayer and Continuous Progression. I really felt charged by the spirit. Also, I learned that my translating skills really need work and that Sister Park really needs to be patient with me. Haha! I just get distracted by what I'm saying that I forget to listen for what the other people are saying and so pretty much I just end up translating and summarizing the important parts....
After ZTM I went on Sister Exchanges with Sister Adams. I had so much fun with her, and I learned a lot. Sister Adams is an amazing missionary, and she is great at getting people to talk. We visited some awesome people and we had a lot of adventures, since she is also knew to her area as a Sister Training Leader. On Wednesday, while I was still with her, we had a very interesting lunch which pretty much spanned the most part of the day. We kept stopping at places, and grabbing a small thing to eat before moving on, or visiting people. I had Mango Dou hua (which is a sweet tofu soup thing), Chinese pudding (which is more like jello) and stuffed pancake like cakes. So, not the most healthy lunch ever, but it was fun. Also, in the morning she introduced me to Buddha fruit, which is super sweet and super interesting to eat. It really makes a mess. Ah well, it's so yummy!
When I was with Sister Adams, she really taught me the importance of always being ready to talk to people, no matter where I am at and no matter how inconvenient it is to talk to them. She is always ready to share about the gospel, and she is very bold.
Anyways, the last part of the week was... hard.... it was a combination of lack of lessons, my attitude and the over-stressing of my companion. After a good companionship inventory, we got things worked out. I need to make goals to be more expressive in my emotions (since apparently I don't show any emotion except for when I am happy) and more opinionated and my companion needs to focus on the bright side of things and stop being so apologetic when things don't go smoothly. I really believe that having a companion is a good thing. They really help us learn and improve ourselves and they are also a much needed support. Sure, we've had our frustrating moments, but later we've learned that most of it is due to lack of full understanding (mostly due to the fact that we use Chinese to communicate and our Chinese is not perfect). This week, Sister Park's and my relationship has been tried and tested, but in the end we still love each other. :)
Oh! I almost forgot, we also had mission president interviews and planner and area book checks on Wednesday. It was nice to see President Blickenstaff. He and his wife are soo busy! But I am so thankful for all they do!
As for investigator wise.... it's been slow... Oh! We did give a baptismal invite to an investigator named Eileen (she insists on using English when meeting with us, even though Sister Park can't understand and we are still speaking in Chinese)! And she did accept after we helped her understand that the date we gave her is a goal, which can change according to her needs. I really hope she can be baptized... Though, she needs to get her life's priorities straight first. She says she can't come to church due to her volunteer work at the library.... so, we've also invited her to see what she can do to resolve that problem. She believes in the Book of Mormon (or as she says the Word's of Mormon) and she really has a testimony of God as her Heavenly Father. The fact that she accepted the invite is progress in itself, since we tried two weeks ago, and she said she couldn't ever accept baptism due to her family's background in Buddhism.
Also, this week was great because yesterday was Sunday and we could do our singing service at the hospital. It always makes me so happy to go and serve there. The patients there are all people who have severe mental or physical disabilities, but you can't help but see how happy they are despite their circumstances. One of them is actually a member of our church. She was severely injured after a car accident. Her body wasn't able to ever recover fully and she also has problems communicating. But, her cognition is all still there. She is fully aware of everything and she is still herself, though her body can't express it. Sometimes I can't help but marvel at her faith and her patience. Even though she is wheelchair ridden, and most people when they see here they think she is mentally handicap, she is still so happy and forgiving of others. She is perhaps one of the strongest women I know. And I know it's all because of her faith in Christ and her attitude and perspective on life.
So, this week I also had a very good experience. Perhaps even an amazing one. So, I finished reading the Book of Mormon again. And as I finished, I came across the most commonly shared scripture by missionaries. Moroni 10:4-5
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. 5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
Well, I personally, as I have done many times before knelt down, and put Moroni's promise to the test. And once again, I can testify, The Book of Mormon is filled with the word of God. Through it, we can come closer to the Lord and learn of his doctrine. I know the Book of Mormon was written for me, as well as for all of God's children. So I testify, that if anyone was to read the Book of Mormon and pray with "a sincere heart" and "real intent" They will also feel of the truthfulness of the book.
You might ask why it's important to read the Book of Mormon, or to even know of its truthfulness. But I can testify that through the Book of Mormon, you may know that Christ lives, and that God is truly our Father in Heaven. And through the teachings of the Book of Mormon, the Bible and modern day prophets how to return home to be with Heavenly Father, and I promise that the knowledge you will receive the testimony which you will develop will be able to give you everlasting hope and peace in this world and in the next.
I invite everyone to read the scriptures and to pray. Even if you have already developed a habit of reading the Book of Mormon, to kneel down in humble prayer and ask of its truthfulness. I know that the Lord will answer, and that you will feel His love and have his direction.
I love and miss all of you. I pray that you are all doing well, and that you really work towards coming unto Christ. For he is our Savior our Redeemer and our utmost trusted and loyal friend.
Love, Sister Peng
Moroni 10: 32 "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. "