Thursday, April 15, 2010

16 September

Hello everyone! The good news for this week is that I am still alive. Some of you have mentioned that you love reading my bike riding stories/adventures--I am sure they will make me laugh when I get home but for now I just want to die! :) We went to President's interviews this last week and President Grimley asked me how I was doing. I told him that I felt like I was going to die--that every day my biggest dream/desire is just to sleep and I didn't think I was going to make it any more. He said, "Well, we want to make sure you get off the island alive! You can sleep the whole 18 hour plane ride home!" and then told me to try to go to bed at 10 instead of 10:30. He is really an awesome mission president.

Speaking of interviews, I hit my year mark tomorrow which means I only have six months from today until I go home. At interviews President Grimley asked me if I wanted to go home one transfer early--so Feb. 2 instead of March 16. I laughed and told him not to give me that temptation--and then keep thinking about how nice it would be to go home and sleep in February instead of in March! I think it was really weird that he asked me--but I guess he asked every missionary who is going home in March. Because of the Chinese New Year, many of the Taiwanese missionaries scheduled to go home with me will go home one transfer early so they can see their families. So I guess president just asked everyone. It was weird, though.

Speaking of weird, I have lots of weird stories for this week. The first is about H1N1, or the swine flu. I guess there has been a recent case of H1N1 here in Taiwan (there have been like 3 cases so far) and so there has been a big scare and everyone has been taking precautionary measures (sometimes they go over the top here :). There are signs everywhere about how to avoid H1N1, and many more people than usual have donned the green doctor's mask (lots of people wear those here). So last Sunday we were going to church and we walked in the door and there was a member standing there holding a bottle of spray hand sanitizer, standing next to a table with a box of green doctor's masks. It was her job to spray everyone's hands as they came in the door to church, and no one got past her! Two little boys came running in and she chased them down and blocked them off and sprayed their hands before she let them go up to sacrament meeting. Then a father came in holding a little baby girl and the member sprayed his hands but he was late so he started walking quickly up the stairs. And the member chased him down and sprayed the little child's hands, which were resting on her dad's back because she was sleeping. It was really funny and my companion and I laughed about it for a long time. And then we took pictures donning the green masks and hand sanitizer.

Speaking of sacrament meeting (how many paragraphs can I start with 'speaking of'?) as sisters my companion and I switch off every other week between the Bade ward and the Taoyuan ward. So we went to the Taoyuan ward two weeks ago (with the hand sanitizer) and so this past week we went to Bade. When we went back to Taoyuan that evening to meet with some investigators, we were shocked to hear that someone had been proposed to at church! Our MM leader just got back from his mission in California and his girlfriend (who is a member of the Bade ward) just got back from her mission in southern Taiwan. His family was scheduled to speak in church that day and so the bishop also asked his girlfriend to report on her mission in their ward that day. So then after they all spoke and the closing song and prayer had happened, everyone was about to leave when the first counsellor got up and asked everyone to stay for a minute. Then our MM leader got up and started reading this letter to his girlfriend and crying (and all the women in the ward were crying too) and then proposed to her. And she looked around at the ward and said "In front of so many people!" and then said yes. Only in Taiwan! My companion and I were really upset that we missed it--but, that is the life of a sister.

Speaking of "only in Taiwan," this past Saturday our stake had a "Sports Day" where all the wards came and competed in running, dodgeball, tug of war, etc. They asked the missionaries to come so we brought some of our investigators and they had us missionaries be a team and compete against the other wards. In addition to being incredibly hot (two people passed out and they had to take them to the hospital), neither my companion nor I have run hard core for a long time and so we were terrified to see what would happen. Well, I guess the "death speed" bike rides have done something good for us because we both ran really fast. And have regretted it ever since, because at least for me my entire body is in agony every time I laugh, breathe, ride a bike, or walk. Just a little bit of an irritation! :)

And finally, one piece of good news and one last story (a little more on the serious side). Liu Rui Yi, and investigator we have been working with this transfer, got baptized on Saturday! And Achin (the Indonesian) is on track to get baptized in two weeks. It is weird to me to have so many baptisms in a transfer (more than my whole mission!) and it really is a testimony to me that this is the work of the Lord and He will do what He wants--and sometimes he lets us get to see the sweet, sweet fruits of our efforts and His magnificent power in action.

And the story. This is about my awesome companion, Sister Olsen. One thing I have come to understand about companions is (a lot like marriages) if you don't get along with your companion everything seems miserable, no matter how great your circumstances are. And if you do get along with your companion, no matter how bad your circumstances are, life is great. Well, my companion is awesome and I thank Heavenly Father every day for her example and how fun it is to be with her. Lots of times as a missionary it is easy to get caught up in the numbers and look at people as "potentials" or "not potential" in terms of listening to the gospel and forget that we are doing the work of the Master, and when we come home at night He really doesn't care how many set ups we got. He just cares if we are doing His work. And my companion is a great example to me of this principle.

The other night we were sitting on a bench eating dinner (really quickly because we were didn't want to be late for our next appointment) and this old man sits down at a bench across from us. I keep eating my dinner because we are in kind of a weird area of town, next to a nursing home for severe cases, and going to be late and so I am trying to eat as fast as I can. Plus, I rarely contact men--and he probably wouldn't even understand Chinese. And then my companion goes over and starts talking to him and asking about his children, etc., and all of a sudden I got it. Missionary work is so not about the numbers. I saw my companion doing what the Savior would have done if He was here--talking to the man and cheering him up and helping him to feel the love of God. And I was humbled and resolved even more to do the work of the Master and not worry about results.

So that is my spiritual lesson of the week. Isn't my companion awesome? And missionary work is really great too. Hope you are all well--

Sister White

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