Hello from sunny Taiwan! This first week in Tucheng was a string of one weird adventure after another. First of all, my companion Sister Hsu. She is a bundle of laughs and I don't think my stomach will stop hurting from laughing all transfer. Tuesday we ate lunch and then were going back to the apartment to do our weekly planning session (we eat most meals outside). I was in front and when I got home I looked back and no missionaries. I went down a couple other streets looking for my two companions, fearing that they might be lost, but to no avail. I am famous for losing my companions but Sister Hsu knows how to get home so I started getting a little worried. And then I saw Sister Hsu and Sister Chen (the short term missionary) walking down the street..Sister Chen was pushing both bicycles and Sister Hsu was carrying this huge wooden thing. At first I thought she had gotten in a bike accident and knocked something down but as I got closer she said, "A mirror!" She had seen a huge mirror in a pile of trash (framed in wood) and stopped her bike and went back to get it. Our apartment only has one mirror (in the bathroom) and with 4 sister missionaries that just wasn't going to be enough. So we took the one to our apartment, took the mirror out of the broken wooden frame, and then once again walked back to take the broken wooden frame back to the pile of trash. It was one of the funniest things of my mission. :)
Speaking of the "short term missionaries," the west stake did an activity that let the YSA go with the missionaries for either 3 days or 7 days. This past week we had one for three days and one for the full week. The idea was that through this activity the YSA would have more of a desire to serve a full time mission. We lucked out, though, because besides the fact that both of them were my good friends from Xindian, they are also both returned missionaries (one served in Taichung and one served in Taipei). So it was a week of awesome, awesome training from two really excellent returned sister missionaries. I learned so much and I told Sister Su, one of them, that she was the companion I had prayed for my whole mission. I am so grateful that in my last transfer the Lord gave me this amazing opportunity to learn so much about how to share His glorious gospel with the Taiwanese people.
Sister Su told me that I should write a book entitled "The Return of Sister White" because of the reactions of everyone in the ward when I told them that I was back. Their shock only deepened when they heard that I had moved back here and I wasn't just on exchanges. I heard two comments the most: "You're back! Really?!" and "You've gotten skinnier!" I guess all that bike riding in Bade was good for something, right?
The Lord has really given me a huge blessing to come back to Tucheng and see all that has happened in the last half year. Some of the investigators that I taught while I was here are now active members with callings, and Sunday I saw Brother Zheng (I taught him and his wife and they were both baptized while I was here last year) passing the sacrament. On Saturday I went to the Yeh family's house (I taught them while I was here and they got baptized after I left) and when Brother Yeh walked in he smiled really big, shook my hand, and said, "Thank you so much for teaching us the gospel! I already have the priesthood! In fact, I have to go to a meeting today!" all the while grinning so big. (I am sorry my english is getting more and more like native Taiwanese missionaries' english!) It was so funny to see him so excited to go to a meeting. And Sister Yeh and Sister Gao, who also got baptized a couple of weeks after I left, are ward missionaries. It is such an awesome blessing to be able to see these people progressing in the gospel! And for that I am so grateful to the Lord--He is so merciful.
Chinese New Year starts this Friday, which means eating lots of strange things at members' houses. But I don't think I will think things are as strange as I thought they were last year. Today, for example, for lunch we ate fried rice, frog legs, fish, intestines, and vegetables. And that is a pretty normal day. I have gotten used to most of these really strange things that for some reason Asians like so much to eat. :)
One final thing before I end this email. We took some new members up to a fireside last night in Taipei, and they gave some of the stake "short term missionaries" a chance to speak. One of them that spoke was our companion, Sister Chen. She said something that I thought was so interesting: most things in life are not about if you want to do it or if you like to do it but if you should do it. It doesn't really translate that well from the Chinese but you get the point. I would elaborate on it but that would take all the fun out of it. Just think about it for a while and come up with your own elaborations, I guess.
Hope you have a wonderful week! Happy Chinese New Year!