Dear friends and family,
Hello! I really never know how to start these emails--as much as I like writing sometimes this mass email thing gets kind of awkward. But just know that for all 3 of you who emailed me this week, I really do appreciate your emails. I love reading about how "normal" life is going, even if it seems mundane to you! One thing I have learned to appreciate as a missionary is the minutes and hours that seem mundane but that add up to making us heirs of eternal salvation.
I like to call this past week "miracle week" because I felt as though the Lord opened my eyes to so many miracles. Really miracles happen every day here but my eyes are not always open to them.
So last Wednesday was our temple preparation day, so we went up to Taipei to go to the temple. It was wonderful, as always, but unfortunately it was incredibly hot inside the temple, which is always a big distraction. (Sometimes I don't know why I was sent to such a hot country! Maybe one day heat won't distract me...). So we were riding the metro back to Tucheng and since it was still preparation day I was writing a letter. The metro was pretty packed and so I was standing up, writing a letter, when I heard the man next to me start talking really loudly about "Latter-day Saints." Well, I took the bait and turned and asked him if he knew about our church and if he had seen missionaries before. He said he had met missionaries before, but they had already gone home--20 years ago! I asked him if he was interested in meeting with the missionaries again and he said yes and gave me his information! I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that the Lord can place his prepared people in our paths even on preparation day when we are not actively looking for them.
And then on Friday we had to go up to Taipei again because it was our turn to be temple tour sisters. It takes almost an hour to get to the chapel in Taipei from Tucheng and we have to be there by 12:30, so we planned on meeting with one of our investigators, Sister Zhang, at 10:30 and then leaving right after. Well, we got to the church and she never came, so we called her and she said she couldn't come. We were really disappointed--at least I was really upset--because we have been meeting with this investigator for a while and she has come to a point where she is not really progressing so we were hoping to help her start progressing again. Anyway, my companion still had to do some language study so we did that for about 30 minutes and then left for Taipei. On the way I had this incredible craving for Subway (we don't have any in Tucheng) so we stopped there for lunch. After I got my sandwich I was waiting for my companion and I saw these two women staring at me. I said hello to them and one of them said, "I'm a member!" And then she told me that her sister was not and used to be an investigator but hasn't met with the missionaries in a while. So I gave her our information and suddenly her sister said, this is a miracle! This is the first time either of us have ever been to this Subway, and neither of us live here in Taipei. We just randomly went to this Subway today and ran into you! And I thought to myself, if our investigator hadn't stood us up we wouldn't have been here at this time! And the craziest thing of all--their last name was also Zhang! So the Lord is intimitely aware of our situations and He puts us where He needs us, even if we don't know why certain things happen.
And finally, we have an investigator who is really trying to quit smoking. She smokes a lot--up to 3-4 cigarettes per hour!--but recently has called us every day and asked to meet with us so we can help her stop smoking. The other day she said that she had been reading in the Book of Mormon and she read to us Mosiah 3:19-27. She said that she knows that this scripture is true because that is how she feels--a torment of fire and misery all the time because of her sins. Isn't it amazing that through the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ, all of us can repent and be forgiven and washed clean!
Hope you are all doing well. Taiwan is getting really hot and really really humid--fun days are ahead! And this is the last week of the transfer, so next week my email day will be Monday. Love you all,