Hello everyone and welcome to the last transfer of my mission! Even though none of you are here with me I feel like you all know an inordinate amount about my life and so it is almost like you got to experience my mission with me. So here is for the shocking news of the transfer:
And even more shocking: I moved back to Tucheng!!!
And even more shocking: We are in a threesome right now, with another sister coming on Thursday. Two of them are Taiwanese "short term missionaries", so it will only be for a week. But the most shocking news: they are both from Xindian, my old area!!! And I know both of them!!!
I definitely thought I would stay in Bade until the end and I was really shocked when the news came. I was excited to go back to Tucheng, but lets admit it, it was a bit anti-climactic. However, I was excited to have a Taiwanese companion (Sister Hsu, with whom I have gone on exchanges), because I have not yet had a Taiwanese companion. When I was set apart my stake president told me in the blessing that I would have many Taiwanese companions, and I thought it was somewhat odd that I didn't have one throughout my mission. Even in hoping for a Taiwanese companion my last transfer, I knew that would only equal one Taiwanese companion and not many. But I figured the Lord had fulfilled that promise in another way so I didn't worry about it.
But now to come here to Tucheng and have 3 Taiwanese companions is something that I never, ever expected. The Lord really does fulfill His promises even when it might seem that the time is past and it is too late!
Coming back to Tucheng was a very surreal experience. A new member from Bade drove me here and it was really weird to drive from my old area to my other old area, since Tucheng and Bade are both very big areas so even though they are far apart they still border each other. And even weirder is that Xindian borders Tucheng. I don't know why that is so weird but it is.
The last few days in Bade were very hard for me. I told everyone that I hadn't quite prepared my heart...I really thought I had 6 more weeks to "die" slowly. But when the call came on Friday night (and it came from the assistants, which was good because I might not have believed my district leader) as a missionary I said yes. I think much of a mission is about saying yes to whatever God asks you to do, even when He doesn't tell you why. Because He often doesn't tell you why.
Last night we went to dinner at a member's house--the member's house we went to for Thanksgiving. The Bade ward has started a tradition that when missionaries move they invite everyone to the Lin family's house and eat together and take pictures and cry. Well, the members cry but usually the missionaries (they are men, right?) don't. So last night there were 30-40 people there all gathered in the same room--which means no place to go without touching someone else, as Taiwanese houses are really not that big--and after we ate the 6 of us missionaries sang to them and then the three of us that were moving bore our testimonies. I was last and, although I had kept the tears in all day, they couldn't be restrained as I felt the true love of Christ for these dear Bade members. And then Elder Gong, my zone leader and the missionary who each move call pretends he is crying (which only infuriates Sister Lin), started crying too! Everyone in the room was crying, which was sad of course but I was really happy (and Sister Lin too) because I won because Elder Gong was crying. That is probably kind of sick that I was happy he was crying but you need small victories, right?
I truly loved Bade and will miss the members, investigators, and especially riding through fields of sunflowers. Going there was like paradise and I will never be the same because of the time that I spent there.
And now it is time to spend my final six weeks working with all my might in Tucheng. If any of you want to update me on your life (Thanks Tadd for the scripture today) I can read emails from you. And I might not get the letter on time. :) So feel free to email me! Or else in March I will find you! :)