I made it to Taiwan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happiest day of my life! Currently I'm sitting in a snazzy internet cafe and pop music is playing on the loudspeaker...I actually feel quite "babylon-ish"...most of these songs are pretty bad.
We got up super early after getting no sleep and traveled all day long, but the 15 hour flight was actually not as bad as I expected. I was going to be really motivated and study lots of Chinese, but they kept the lights off most of the time, so I think I slept for 7 hours straight. Got to take advantage of being able to sleep while you can! It was actually quite lovely, and I have had zero jetlag, so that has also been a blessing.
We stepped off the plane and WHOOOOSH humidity. Crazy! President and Sister Day met us at the airport and we got on a tour bus and went to the mission home which is across the street from the temple. We stayed in temple patron housing for the two days we were there. The next day we ran down around the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial (there's no way I spelled that right...oh well). I loved loved loved getting to be out on the streets around my favorite people in the whole wide world (the Taiwanese!). Over the next two days we did trainings and orientations and meetings with the mission president. He and his wife are the perfect mix of sweet and kind and caring and down to earth and obedience minded...I love them to death. We got to go to the place where Taiwan was dedicated for missionary service and read the dedicatory prayer. President Day also gave us the opportunity to say our own prayer of dedication to turn our lives over to the Lord.
Finally Friday morning came, and that means transfer meeting! Most suspenseful thing ever!! I have been assigned to serve in.....wait for it.....
Song Shan! I am in the heart of TAIBEI!!!!! The Taibei 101 is in our area! I was really surprised- I didn't think I would stay in the city AT ALL, but I love it!!! My trainer is Sis Petersen. She is great! She has been here in SongShan for 3 or 4 transfers, and I will actually be her last companion because she is going home in 12 weeks! She is really good at working with the members and has a lot of great ideas. We are actually in the midst of renaming my New Missionary 12 Week Training Program because she feels like it is just counting down to her return home and doesn't want to get trunky. Instead of numbering the weeks, we whited them out and named each one after a food. This week is the chinese words for guava and apples. Fun stuff. We have an amazing area with a FANTASTIC ward. They just fellowship our investigators so so so much and they give us fruit and bread every week for our breakfast. There is a lady named Wu Mama who takes really good care of the missionaries and gives us too much food and just loves us. We share the ward with a tripanionship of elders. We don't bike here- we just walk and take the bus, which I was sad about at first but I love it now because we get to do a ton of street contacting, which is one of my favorite things ever. Basically, we just say hi to everyone on the streets and talk to them about the gospel and teach them how to pray and invite them to meet with us. Teaching someone to pray who has never ever talked to God before is one of the sweetest things! I knew the people in Taiwan were ready for the gospel, but I had no idea HOW ready they were....they are so open and willing to talk to us, and even if they aren't interested, they are still really nice. On Fri, for example, we went contacting for an hour and a half and taught three lessons on the street and got two new investigators! God is keeping His promise that he will go before our face and prepare people by pouring out his spirit on them. We have 12 people investigating right now- 5 have baptismal dates, 4 are really progressing, and the rest are continual investigators or just haven't committed to baptism- basically we are really busy! Yesterday we taught a sweet little 9 year old girl whose mom is less active and dad is not a member of the church, but her mom wants her to be baptized. She is so excited and already has a testimony, and is getting baptized at the end of the month. Her English name is Sharon and she is super sweet. Yesterday at church I got to meet a lot of the members.
I understood probably 40% of what was going on at church, and about 30% of what people on the street say. In lessons I can usually get the gist of what is going on, and I teach what I know and testify and invite. Everyone says that my Chinese is really good for just being here, and I know that's a blessing from the Lord. I am REALLY seeing His hand. I don't feel AT ALL overwhelmed with the language or the culture. Ever since I've been here, I have felt so calm. And so happy. :D I don't feel like I stick out. I'm sure the Asians probably think I do but whatever. :) I know that I can't understand a lot of what is going on, but I just do what I can and try to speak and talk to everyone and we are seeing MIRACLES. This area is so so so ready.
|her apartment is above a scooter shop-the one with the papers in the window|
Now onto things I've learned about Taiwan! I had them all written in my journal, but I think I can remember most of them!
-if you want cold water, you have to ask for ice or else it will be warm...not lukewarm, warm
-they don't really drink stuff with their meals
-we can't drink the water here (no one can) because it's not clean. yay water bottles and water filters!
-Taiwan has deliciously yummy food and drinks (my fav is wintermelon tea) and fruits. Basically my stomach is in heaven.
-every meal we eat is rice and some kind of meat and veggie
-medical masks are in...I guess the air is bad?
-100% humidity is a real thing, and it makes your papers all wavy and your hair all crazy
-there are no self adhesive envelopes here because the humidity makes them glue themselves shut
-it is super cheap to live here...we get 7200 NT a month (divide by 30 to get the USD). A meal is around 90 NT, which actually is a lot more expensive than most places in Taiwan
-it doesn't matter if you go all the way around the world, the church still has the same carpet
-most places here don't have carpet
-there is an art to eating slowly enough that people don't give you bucketloads of food but also quickly enough that they know you like it! If your bowl is empty, you WILL be given more food and be forced to eat it
-Taiwanese children are the cutest things on the planet
I love it here! We are working hard and seeing miracles! I have never been so happy in my whole life!