Hello Mum! Hello World! How are you doing on this lovely spring day? Well, it's actually feeling a lot like summer now.... Can you believe that this is the last day of March? I can't! I can't believe I passed my 10 month mark this week! I've been a missionary for 10 months!!!! Weird.... I still feel like I'm running/biking around and not knowing what I'm supposed to be doing... Ah well.
I've been doing really well lately. Though, I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with the heat.... cuz... it's HOT! And the mosquitoes are really happy... I'm thinking about cutting my hair... like making it short.... Like, to my chin short.... Perhaps it would be easier to manage than the mass of tangles I try to put into a pony tail every day...
As for things needed to be reported... Well, we have 4 baptismal goals (we gave 4 people baptismal dates). One looks like she might hit it... she just has fan dui (opposition) from her mother. But thankfully she is over the age of 20, so if she wants to be baptized we don't need parental permission. Two of the others have spouse and/or in-law fan dui... Taiwan is very traditional, so what the husband's side of the family says must be obeyed.... And the last one is Kathy. She's still waiting on her answer, and is very busy. She doesn't want to be baptized and then not go to church regularly. She says she would feel very bad if she became inactive, so she really wants to make sure this is the right church before she gets baptized. We are just encouraging all of our investigators to have faith, and to pray always...
Oh, also, this week we had companion exchanges, and so I got to lead the area here in Tainan 2nd ward. Sister Adams, I was with her last time as well, came down and we had a blast and a day full of miracles! She is truly an example to me as a fantastic missionary! She gave me some advice because I shared with her my feelings of being inadequate as a missionary. "Have confidence in yourself." I was also praying that night, thankful to have Sister Adams' help when a sentence kept running through my head. "Thou wast made to be a leader, but thou must first have confidence in thineself." I know I need to work on confidence, in myself but also in the Lord. He is my Father. He knows me, he knows my potential and he loves me. I know that if he has faith in me, I should also have faith in myself so I can become the person he wants me to be.
So this week, I thought I would do something a bit different. I'm going to give you a rundown of an average day as a missionary in the Taiwan Taichung Mission. Enjoy!
6:15 The Alarm goes off. I'm already awake. Light pours in from the window and there are birds chirping outside. It's hot. My covers seem to have gone through a war and are tangled around me. Apparently our air conditioning unit is not doing its job...
Ugh, I'm already sweating and I haven't even done anything yet. I roll over onto my knees and try to focus my thoughts long enough to pray.
6:30 I'm outside running. It's hot and humid, making running almost unbearable. I'm sweating like there is no tomorrow. I muse on the fact that even if I decided to sit down on the tract, I could still sweat enough to feel like I got an adequate work out....
7:05 Back at home and in the showers. I love showers! The cold water feels so good. I dread leaving it behind.
7:15 Ugh. I'm sticky again. Why can't I have more time to take another shower?
7:30 Breakfast time. My breakfast contains a concoction of oatmeal, apples, bananas and some sort of flavored calcium drink powder. Yum! My companion on the other hands is munching on a mix of calcium, apples, bananas, kiwis, tomatoes and cereal....
8:00 Personal study. I rummage around my stack of Liahona Magazines, trying to find an article I've yet to read. Then I turn my attention to my Book of Mormon. I'm studying 2 Nephi which contains the words of Isaiah. Nephi says that the words of Isaiah are plain and easy to understand. I pray for the day that I can actually relate... I start preparing for the days lessons. I think about the people I am going to meet that day. I pray for them and pray for guidance to know what my companion and I can share with them to bring them closer to Christ.
9:00 Companionship study. Sister Park and I sing a hymn, pray, and then recite from memory (using Chinese, English(me) and Korean(Sister Park)) our mission scripture (D&C 50: 13-14), the missionary's purpose, and Joseph Smith's First Vision. We read from our handy dandy white rule book, refreshing our memory on the many rules and guidelines. Then we begin to share what we studied and planned during personal study. I try and explain what I learned from Isaiah in Chinese. Sister Park goes off on a speech about how she is grateful to be able to read the scriptures in Korean and about how much she loves me. Time is up.
10:00 Language Study. I stare at my Chinese set of scriptures and a stack of flashcards, hoping that I can make sense of what they are saying. If I focus I can pick out the main ideas of what the scriptures are talking about. If I don't focus it looks like a bunch of ancient writing that can only be interpreted with the help of the Urim and Thummim or the Rosetta Stone.
10:30-9:00 pm Time to work! We bike all over town going from house to house teaching lessons. Sometimes we teach in the Chapel or at restaurants and cafes. The Sun is so hot! Sister Park is worried of getting a tan, so she insists on wearing long sleeves. We pull up to stop lights and start talking to the people riding the motor scooters next to us. A mom with a child is willing to take a free English class flier and another flier about families. A college aged girl receives a message about "New Beginnings." A nice lady tells me that she doesn't talk to Mormons. Ah well, you can't please everyone. I love teaching lessons and meeting new people. I'm making new friends. I'm sharing about something that has truly blessed my life and brought me happiness. It's when we are teaching that my own testimony grows and becomes strengthened. I know this is the work of the Lord. I know the messages we share are true. I may be tired. I may be hot. But I'm happy. I'm grateful to serve. And I love my God.
9:01 Home. We collapse onto our knees and pray, ready to begin planning for the next day. Planning is easy if the next day is already filled with scheduled lessons. Other days we stare at blank pages and pray for miracles. We plan ways to try and find people to teach. We think of ways we can serve others. Finally our plan is filled. We get back onto our knees and pray for the Father's help and guidance for tomorrow. We share with him our gratitude for the day's miracles. We are so blessed.
9:45 Prepare for bed. It feels so good to wind down. I take a quick shower, brush my teeth, read another Liahona article, stretch and finally pray.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this week’s letter. I took a long time typing... my typing has digressed... grrr... It's going to be bad when I go back to college and have to write reports....
I love you guys so much! Thanks for your support and your prayers! I hope you all do something amazing this week! Jia You!
Love, Sister Peng