Sunday, April 11, 2010

December 8--Welcome to Taiwan!!!

Dear friends and family:

I am now officially in Taiwan. I made the flight safely, gave out about 10 pass along cards on the way, and got one contact (that we will call soon) when we stopped over in Japan--a mother and her daughter. I will tell you how that one works out. :)

So on the plane flight over I read the emails that I sent out in the MTC and realized that I am a bit overdramatic sometimes--and I probably share too many of my personal weaknesses in my emails. Sometimes I forget how many people are reading these and I go a little overboard. So I will try to tone them down from now on. I certainly don't want to offend anyone with my emails!

A couple of items of buisness and then a faith-building story will be the contents of this area. If you don't care about my area or my companion, just skip to the story at the end.:)

My new area is called Shindian--it is less than an hour south of main downtown Taipei. My mission president said it has about 250,000 people in it (and two wards), so I have got my work cut out for me. :) We live in a small box conveniently located right above the subway, which makes for easy transportation if we have to go up to Taipei. My trainer's name is Sister McGhie from Seattle--she has been in Taiwan for almost a year and this is the first time she has been senior companion. I really like her--and she enjoys my sense of humor, which is a plus. :)

My regular preparation day is Wednesday, but this week it was moved to Monday because of transfers. So I won't write again until next Wednesday. If you want me to get an email on my preparation day, you will have to send it before 8 pm Tuesday night since I am 15 hours ahead of Utah, or something like that. And I have an hour to email here, so my emails might get long--if so, just delete the boring parts and read the remaining paragraph. :) I just enjoy writing too much to not tell everyone about the adventures I have on my mission!

So now even though I said I would try not to expose too many of my weaknesses, I would like to tell you what the first few days were like for me. I will just keep it to the toned down version. When we first got to Taipei, it was Wednesday evening, and we had been flying for a really, really long time. The first couple of days were spent in the mission home, where we were given orientations, interviewed with our mission president, and had some experience contacting. The mission home is located right across the street from the temple in the middle of downtown Taipei--and the temple, by the way, is beautiful.

Friday we were assigned to our trainers and went to our areas. The first couple of days I was, I will admit, a little overwhelmed. Preach My Gospel says "talk to everyone," but how was I ever going to be able to talk with everyone when I passed 1,000 people in about 10 minutes? I really freaked out on the subway-how was I ever supposed to be able to choose to whom I should offer the gospel and their eternal salvation? Plus, my chinese is kind of in the "non-fluency" range right now. Needless to say, I was freaking out for the first couple of days. This morning, however, I was studying Preach My Gospel and I realized that "talking to everyone" is a little different in Taipei than it is in North Dakota. This is the Lord's work, these are His children, and He will let me know when I need to go where and with whom I need to speak. This is definitely not my work, and the Lord has promised that as I seek His help through my prayers and obedience, He will lead me to those who are prepared or He will lead them to me.

Since we were in a threesome for the first couple of days, and there are only two beds in our 1-room apartment, I was on the floor for the first couple of days. Here I was, fresh from America, completely jet-lagged, overwhelmed, and scared out of my mind, sleeping on a mat on the floor using my dirty laundry for a pillow. Of course my towel was lost somewhere along the way, and there way no room for any of my stuff so I am still living out of a suitcase. The first morning I woke up jetlagged, unable to sleep, and realized that i had two decisions--use my discomfort as a "zheko" (excuse) or I could follow Jacob's example and turn my discomfort into an altar of sacrifice and thanksgiving. At least I wasn't sleeping on stones! I decided then that this mission was truly the Lord's--and I wouldn't complain about things I couldn't change. This mission, as a tithing on the first 21 years of my life, will be His and will be spent according to His will.

And now for the faith promoting story. Yesterday we were still in a threesome (my trainer's old companion left today to go home) and so Sister Newbold was making some phone calls to some investigators (using a public phone in the subway) while we were supposed to contact people. Let me just give you some background: I have wanted to go on a mission all of my life. When I was 9 I was a missionary for halloween-because even then I wanted to go on a mission. I have prepared and planned for cramped apartments, cold showers, infestations of bugs, riding a bike in a skirt (which is more awkward then I ever could have imagined, even with a bicycle slip!), awkward companionships, weird food, and hard languages--but talking to people in the subway as they are rushing to catch their train about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ?! For some reason that thought causes me more fear than all of the others combined.

So after mentioning to my companion that I was terrified, and with her encouragement, we went to work. Each time we finished talking to someone (and by "we" I mean "her"), she would tell me that it was my turn, and I would stand there for several minutes telling people hello. My fears reigned supreme until the Lord let me know that He did not give me the gift of tongues so I could stand in a corner and smile at people. Well, I tried to talk to a couple of people, but soon we left and, feeling like a failure, I got on the bus. There was a woman standing next to me and I tried talking to her in Chinese, but she was ting bu donging (she didn't understand). Finally I realized that she was a very Asian looking Phillipino, and so I started speaking to her in English. I told her who we were, and she looked totally uninterested and turned away from us. I was about to leave it there, but my companion told me to keep talking to her. Well, what did I have to lose, right? So I told her about the Restoration of the gospel and the Book of Mormon, and asked her if we could set up an appointment with her. She got really excited about the Book of Mormon and gave us her number and address and we will set up an appointment with her this week. I guess the Lord wanted me to know that if I won't use the Chinese He has given me, I can use English--but I have been called to preach the gospel and not just smile at people!

Well this was a long email. For those who are still reading, I hope all is well with you. Two of my sisters get married this month-Jocilyn gets married this Friday. It is a little unbelievable but I am grateful that I am across the world instead of still at the MTC in Provo while my sisters get married 45 minutes away. :) Until next week,

Sister White

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