1). How is Chinese New Years going? Is there a lot of excitement in the air?
New years is okay.... just a lot of busy people.... not really excitement.... just everything is closed- like a lot of food places and bike repair shops- which makes us sad, because we need to get our bikes fixed.... (i need a kickstand and Sister park needs brakes.... her's is more important!)
2). How many meals have you been invited to?
8.... and they've all been really good!
3) do they celebrate Valentines Day in Taiwan?
Yup, they celebrate it three times. They celebrate America's, there's and Japans.
4). What's the best plans you have for the Chinese New Year season.
Uhh.,... I don't think there is any.... all we do is wander around until someone is willing to talk to us
5). Are you still loving Tainan and sister Parks?
6). What is your favorite fruit lately? Favorite drink? Favorite mom Hee,Hee,Hee.
Favorite Fruit: Guava. Favorite Drink: Hot coco..... Favorite mom???? I'll have to think...... HAHAHAHAHA!
7). What is your impression about your ward?
I don't really quite know them.... they are pretty good.... I still really miss Ping Dong!
8). At you finding your way around the city now? Has sister Parks learned how to read the as yet?
We're doing better. Still get lost. I'd be willing to take the map and give navigating a try, but I don't want to make Sister Park feel bad.
9). Do you walk or ride your bike to church.
Hello Mum and World,
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!!
Yup, welcome to the new lunar year of the Horse! I know it's not really celebrated in the states, but here it's somewhat of a big deal. And it's celebrated in the Taiwan fashion of celebrating everything: EATING. Yup, also cleaning, but eating is much more emphasized. Oh, and also bai bai-ing (worshiping) ancestors.... which we don't partake in, but there's a lot of people burning things outside and setting off fireworks and chanting.... so.... yup....
Anyways, as to missionary work.... it's been hard.... and only somewhat successful. All of our investigators, which I haven't met yet, are GONE or BUSY due to the New Year..... So, we've been spending a lot of time finding.... And then the people we meet are also busy. Sister Park is taking it harder than I am. She feels bad, because she is leading the area, but we haven't had much success. I keep telling her after Guo Nian we'll have more success, and that we just have to keep pressing forward and keep doing the best we can.
We have had some successes with this last week though! We were Less Active finding and met a Sister Liu who was willing to have us come in and share with her and her daughter. Sister Liu has been inactive for 10 years, because she moved to China for a long time, and then came back and when she went back to church, she said she felt like a stranger. So we are hoping the ward will start "guanxin"-ing her (take care of/welcome/make her feel loved). Her daughter isn't a member, but she is willing to hear the gospel, which is fantastic! So we are going to start reviewing things with Sister Liu as well as start teaching her daughter. Hopefully we'll be able to get them to keep coming to church and keep building their faith in Christ!
Also, we've been visiting a Ms. Liu who is an investigator, who has a very sad life story in which resulted in her discontinuing any family contact since the beginning of last year. Anyways, since she hasn't had any plans for Guo Nian, we've been able to go over and visit her and "guanxin" her. Our last lesson with her was really good! We went over, and she started off again about how she feels very lonely and sad because of not seeing her family and not feeling loved by them. But also, she kept saying it was very interesting, how in the last year she has had several missionaries (us and some other churches) come to her door and guanxin her and share with her. She thinks it's God's way of taking care of her and letting her know he's there for her. Then, we taught her to pray to Heavenly Father. It was so amazing! As soon as she started to pray, she started crying and she kept looking into my eyes and saying "I don't know what is happening! What is this feeling? Why am I crying?" She kept praying for a few minutes, and then when she finished she kept marveling at her feelings. I explained to her, she had those feelings because the Holy Ghost was communicating with her to tell her that Heavenly Father does really care for her, and she only had to invite him to show her his love. Well, after that, she said that she WANTED to pray every day, and she WANTED to come to church. And she said, if she continues to feel such feelings as she did at the moment she was praying, she would get baptized! I really hope she does learn of the Gospel's truth! I really pray she feels God's love for her.
We also had success contacting in a park. Sister Park and I ended contacting two families at the same time, and they were both willing to have us meet with them some other time. I really hope they are willing to hear us share.... we need new investigators... also, I contacted 2 Americans and then they were contacted the very same day by the elders. Haha! Our area is sooo small! Ting Shuo (I've heard) that our area is one of the smallest in the mission.... I wouldn't be surprised.... Since, we keep accidentally finding ourselves in places that are not our area.....
Anyways, other than missionary work, all we've been doing is eating. We've eaten a lot of yummy food, and we still have today and tomorrow to keep feasting.... O.o sometimes I see the members bring out the food and I'm like: "I really hope we don't have to eat it all, because they made enough for an army.... and THEY AREN'T EATING!" I don't understand Taiwan customs.... they just don't eat that much when they have guests over.... and it's annoying, because they keep telling you to eat all of it and you were full like an hour ago.... Haha! And then they say that you have to eat it all, or you can't leave. Sister Park and I are grateful for the Elders though. They want to gain weight, so they've been stuffing themselves. The food is soo good, and actually healthier (for the most part) than what we get to eat on a normal basis, but the massive quantities of it makes you feel like you’re going to explode. Haha!
So, with it being a bit more difficult doing missionary work these last few weeks due to New Years, me and my companion have had to focus on the fact that it's impossible to be perfect. We can try our best, but we are always going to fall short, because we are only human. But, we know that there is someone who is perfect, who is always waiting to give us help when we need it: Our Heavenly Father. If we rely on him, he'll help us in our imperfection. He'll make sure things work out in the end. I keep telling my companion, and myself, that this work is the Lord's work. We must rely that on His timing, and we must have faith that He will guide us in our day to day efforts. Sometimes, we as mortals get impatient. We hate waiting. But the Lord sees everything in an eternal perspective. He knows when the "right time" for things to occur is. So we just have to work hard, do our best, pray, and follow his guidance through the Holy Ghost, and we will see his hand in our lives.
I'm so grateful every time I get to email home. I do miss you, but I know that right now is the Lord's time. I'll never regret making the decision to serve the Lord for these short 18 months, because I've already gained so many blessings from them. I really pray that all of you are doing well. I hope that every day, you desire to come unto the Lord. And in doing so, you will find that your faith will grow. He is always knocking. You've just got to open the door to let him in.
Love, Sister Nicholle Peng