Thursday, April 15, 2010

9 December

Hello from a tropical island! The past few days the weather has been abnormally warm and my companion and I laughed this morning that I was wearing short sleeves and riding a bike in the middle of December. Nothing like the Utah snow...but I must admit, I am so grateful that I don't have to ride my bike in the snow! We are really so blessed!

I can't believe that Christmas is almost upon us. Since it still feels like the end of summer in Utah (nothing at all like last December's freezing rainy days) I sometimes sing as I am riding my bike "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas." But let's admit it, I really am not. I am so grateful to spend another Christmas here in Taiwan among the people I have grown to love so much! Let's just hope I don't get transfered--since the new transfer starts the 21 of December!

I have lots of exciting stories this week. The first is a rather funny story from the rather funny Relief Society president in the Taoyuan 2nd ward. Sister Mao (remember the one who asked me if I had clothes?) was at a baptism the other night and they had asked the missionaries to sing for the special musical number. After the baptism she pulled me aside and said, "Sister White, your singing was beautiful. You are so talented, it is scary! How are you ever going to find a husband that isn't intimidated by your abilities? Can't you make yourself a little dumber?" I laughed for a really really long time after that one. "Can't you make yourself a little dumber?" :)

We have been working on the decorations in our apartment. We wanted a bigger Christmas tree but didn't want to spend any money, and one day I saw a green coat left by another missionary. Well, I looked at our 3-foot stand up fan, looked back at the coat, and a Christmas tree was made. The one I made looked less like a Christmas tree and more like a coat sitting on a fan, but my companion fixed it and it looks pretty cool now. We put a brown skirt on the bottom and wrapped the "tree" with long raffia paper and stuck pass along cards on it. It actually looks better than I am describing it--I will have to send pictures next week. It is pretty exciting. :)

Last Wednesday was my "year on island" anniversary and so my companion and I went with 2 members to Xindian--the place of my "birth" and went to this beautiful lake. With permission from the assistants we rode in a paddle boat. It was fun but the main reason I wanted to ride in the boat was to take pictures of the other side of the lake. :) It was exciting to go back to the place of my birth and realize that I have grown so much since then! Just like a baby grows so much from when she is born until she is a year old! :)

I have a couple of short stories to share. Yesterday I called one of our new members, Rui Yi, and asked her what she was going to be doing at 1pm (she works from 4pm-midnight every day). She said, "I don't know--read my scriptures maybe?" It was a beautiful reply--and not just because I am a missionary! And then the other day we were getting off the train to go to our English class at the church and as we were walking toward the exit, this man walking next to me offered me his business card. My first inner reaction was irritation--I really didn't want to buy whatever--but as a missionary I smiled and graciously took the card. Then he said that his daughter had come to English class a year ago, he knew we were missionaries, and he said we could call him and talk to his family about the church/reinvite them to English class. It was exciting--he wasn't trying to sell me anything at all! The Lord really does place you where He wants you.

He Xiang Rong, our little 8-year old investigator from a less-active part-member family, got baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. Our MM leader suggested that she go up to bear her testimony on Sunday, but she was scared so I said I would go up with her. It was so cute to hear this little 8-year old's testimony--mostly about how she had to go under 2x because the first her foot came up. And after a bit of prompting from me (because when she got up in front of everyone she just stood there and said, "I don't know what to say!") she also said that she knows that Heavenly Father loves her. She is so adorable and I will try to send pictures next week.

And finally, as my own testimony, I know that Heavenly Father loves us and He answers our prayers. Last Sunday I was having a really hard day and feeling like a useless missionary. I felt that I had too many responsibilities and I would never be able to fulfill them all (it didn't help that one of our new members told her 18-year old investigator daughter that if she didn't get baptized she couldn't live in the house anymore and she left church crying, and because of a problem I brought up in MM meeting half the ward in Taoyuan was asking why our investigators in Bade didn't go to church if we weren't there, and it was fast Sunday but we had to wait a couple of extra hours to break our fast so we were starving) but I was excited to take two of our new members up to Taipei to attend the Christmas missionary/investigator fireside because I had been asked to play the organ. Well, I got there and sat down at the organ and one of the assistants (the very one who had asked me to play) came up to me and said, "Sister White, we don't need you! Someone else is going to play the piano."

What?! They don't need me? That was pretty much the last straw for me. I was having a pity party and asked the Lord if He needed me and if I was doing His work or if I was just wasting my and His time. Well, as we headed home from the fireside we went to get a ticket at the train station (which was very crowded because it was Sunday night) and all of the sudden this woman walked up to me and said, "Do you remember me?" Well, no I didn't but I wasn't going to say that. After looking at her for a minute I suddenly realized that I had gone on exchanges with the other Taoyuan sisters and we had gone to her house. She was less active--hadn't been to church for 3 months because she had been offended by some of the members--and I very straightforwardly had told her that it was ridiculous that she was putting her salvation in jeopardy because of other members and that she should return to church and receive the blessings that were waiting for her there. She said, "Sister White, I go to church every week now!"

What a tender mercy! I know that the Lord prepared a way for me to feel of His love and know that I am needed and the work I do is His work. The Lord is so merciful!

I love you all. Have a wonderful snowy day!

Sister White

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