I just remembered that I forgot my camera cord so it will be yet another week without any pictures. Too bad, too, because I was going to send you some pictures of our investigators that are preparing to be baptized. Oh well.
Speaking of investigators, we are teaching a 16 year old girl right now that is getting baptized this Saturday. We are excited beyond all reason--the other day when she was in for her baptismal interview we were sitting in the church waiting for her and I almost started crying, I was so happy. She is really amazing and has had an incredibly hard life--she has lived with her aunt since she was 6. But her faith is so strong and we just love her so much. It is really fun to teach her because she will share with us scriptures that have changed her life and why she loves them (most people in Taiwan really have a hard time understanding the scriptures--and she is only 16!). This will be the first baptism that I am present for of someone that I have helped teach so I am really really excited! Whenever I think about her I remember why I came on a mission--her life has changed completely because of the gospel of Jesus Christ and it has brought her so much happiness!
We have another investigator that is getting baptized in 2 weeks and she just told us yeterday that she is moving to Xindian, my old area! My companion and I wept a few tears over that one but our mission president said that we could attend her baptism (it will be my companion's last Saturday on island before she goes home).
I have had some random experiences involving my bike the past few weeks so I thought that I could just include a lot of random things in this letter--kind of like an all you can eat, where I provide the stories and you pick which ones you want to read or remember. :)
First of all, my reputation, as always, keeps me on my toes. I really thought that I have "chilled out" a lot since coming to Taiwan, but apparently I haven't made as much progress as I might have thought, because the other day my district leader said he and his companion decided that they should call me "Sister White Handbook" (after the Missionary Handbook of missionary specific rules). I laughed so hard I couldn't even think of a clever response. Oh well.
Secondly, riding a bike is really fun. It keeps me healthy, we get to do a lot of scooter contacting, and I have really learned how to balance on my bike as I hold the handlebars with one hand and hold my skirt with the other. But sometimes riding a bike is less than convenient. The other day we were going to visit a part member family about 7 km from the church up this huge mountain. All 4 companionships in the ward were going and we were going to eat dinner with them and present a FHE (actually the 2nd counselor in the bishopric presented the lesson). I wasn't too worried...but then I remembered that we were late (our MM meeting went over...) and the elders were leading because we didn't know how to get there. We were practically racing to get there and all of a sudden I started having an asthma attack on top of this huge bridge. We still had about 5 km to go and I knew that there was nothing else to do but keep following at top speed or else we would get lost! Well, I made it, and only a little less for the wear, but I really think that angels were pushing my bike up that mountain.
Oh, and speaking of random experiences, the back light was stolen off of my bike twice in one week. They unscrewed the whole thing both times and just stole the light when my bike was parked in front of the church. I was pretty annoyed--who would unscrew and steal a bike back light? But everything is really cheap in Taiwan so it was not a big deal and I got one that I could take off every time I go inside, so it can't happen again. :)
And finally, the Lord is really guiding my companion and my efforts here in Tucheng. The other day we had our day all planned out and we were excited because we had a lot of lessons scheduled. We always try to pray and ask the Lord to change our plan if He needs to--and this day 3 or 4 people changed their lesson times so that we were able to go to more places and teach more people and have the right members present at the lessons. It was amazing and incredible because we presented our plan to the Lord, having done all that we could within our limited powers of thinking, and He took it and made it something beautiful and miraculous. I know that the Lord does that with our lives too--as we present our "stones," like the brother of Jared, the Lord can touch them and make them shine and make our efforts and abilities sufficient to accomplish His purposes. Isn't the Lord amazing? :)
I hope all is well with all of you. Keep smiling, keep swimming, and keep the faith--and if you ever think about excercising more, try riding a bike. :)