Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Who can spot the English speaker first?"

Wow! How is it already the last week of the transfer?!?! Where has the time gone? Next week I will have a new companion. That will be so weird. Sis Petersen and I have had a great time together!

Last week we went to Danshui on our preparation day, which was fun! We wandered around and bought some souvenirs, and took a boat ride around the harbor. Two girls from America who have been doing an internship here went with us- that was who sent you the pic of the super tall ice cream cone!

Tuesday was our day-long Zone Conference. We got training from President Day, the Assistants, the Sister Training Leaders, and the Zone Leaders. It was a spiritual feast and just renewed my dedication and motivation to serve the Lord. We also had exchanges this week with the sister training leaders. I stayed, and we ended up doing splits with ward members during the exchange because we had a few new investigators all set up for the same time. That was crazy! 

learning to play a traditional Chinese instrument
 There is an interesting phenomenon here, and it is that we can think we can tell just by looking at a person's body language and appearance who has lived in America/ speaks fluent English. It is a crazy thing, but people who speak English or have lived in the USA literally have a different look, even if you're just speaking Chinese with them or even just watching them! It is sort of like a game on the street to try to spot people who we think speak English and then test it out and see if we're right!

Exciting news of the week: Beta called us!!! He set up a time to meet this week! YAY! We are so so excited! Please pray for him! We have so much hope that he can get baptized!

Amazing miracle of the week: On Wednesday we were handing out pamphlets about our free English class. We passed a guy walking the opposite direction as us, and said hi to him, but he just kept walking. A few minutes later, he came up to us and asked us if we were Mormon missionaries! He said he was looking for a church to go to and wanted to come to ours! He asked who he needed to talk to in order to learn more....uh us!! We met with him the next day and taught him the first lesson and he said he believed Joseph Smith's experience and when he said the closing prayer, he just started crying! He set a baptismal date for 7/13, so we are going to do everything we can to help him make it! His name is L- please pray for him. 

drawing characters with the side of his hands
 All 3 of our Recent converts were at church yesterday! They are all so solid! One of my very favorite parts of the week is getting to take the sacrament and have a clean start. It is so important!

I finished the Book of Mormon last week and started over again, this time looking for mentions of God's strength and power. The scriptures I found fall into two categories- how to receive God's power, and the effects of his power. Here are some of my favorites:
How to receive God's power
-faith (1 Ne 1:20)
-have the Spirit (1 Ne 2:14)
-ask in faith (1 ne 7:17)
-humble yourself (1 Ne 13:16)
-be part of the "covenant people" (1 ne 14:14)
-keep the commandments (1 Ne 17:3)
Effects of God's power
-armed with righteousness (1 Ne 14:14)
-mighty miracles (1 ne 17:51)
-soften hearts (1 ne 18:20)
-revelation (1 ne 3:20)
-deliverance (1 ne 1:20)

I love the Book of Mormon!

I love you! Thanks for the prayers! I am praying for you too!
Sis Murri

Monday, June 9, 2014

Miracle teaching moments and a 7 course steak dinner

We met an amazing miracle investigator this week named K. We met her at a park, and teaching her has been one of the most powerful experiences of my mission. We told her why we were here in Taiwan, and she said, "Teach me! Teach me about your church- I want to know!" She just wants the Gospel. She wants forgiveness of sins. Her husband passed away last year from cancer, and she has a son who has some mild mental handicaps and is blind, so she was SO SO excited when we taught her about the plan of salvation. She said, "I get it! I feel so much happiness! I know where my husband is!" She told us that it had been a long time since she had really felt happy and said she knew that we were angels from God sent to teach her. I love her so much. She read from the Book of Mormon every night between our first and second visits, and even though she said she doesn't understand everything, she says she will keep working until she understands 100%. When we shared with her the scripture in Alma 40 about the spirit world, she said, "I hope this is true." The spirit was so strong when I responded to her, "It is!" The only potential issue is that she has a very Buddhist mom- even though K is 63, people here care very much about their parents' opinions, especially concerning religion. So please pray for her.

We are still working with Z JM. Her baptismal goal was the 15th, but this week, Sis Petersen and I have both been feeling like she is not quite ready. She could definitely pass a baptismal interview, but we want her to wait a little to make sure she will stay strong in the church. 

We started teaching a family this week!! There is a mom and dad and a 10 year old girl and 8 year old boy. They are a super amazing family that we met through English class. Their family just has a really strong feeling, and their kids love church. We really hope they can all get baptized together on the 29th!

 This weekend, a member took us and the elders and a bunch of other ward members to a SUPER fancy steak restaurant. There were seven courses.

1. Appetizer: a few delicious shrimp (you know it was a good restaurant if I liked the shrimp...) with some green beans and a mustard sauce with a little tomato
2. Antipasto: a baked flaky pastry with this beef filling on top
3. Salad: fresh fruit with a dipping sauce
4. Soup: beef meatball and tomato broth soup
5. Main: the most beautiful and perfectly cooked steak I have ever eaten in my entire life
6. Drinks: herbal tea
7. Dessert: brownie with vanilla ice cream

Yeah, it was so good. When I take you all here we will go eat there since it's only about 15 USD per person.
view from the Taipei 101

Last p-day we went with the elders and W (a young woman who speaks perfect English and is preparing to go on a mission) to the Taipei 101, the 3rd tallest building in the world. That was pretty cool! Today Wu Mama is taking us to Danshui, so that should be fun!

 Being on my mission has made me appreciate the ordinance of the sacrament so much more. It really is such a peaceful time to renew the covenants we made at baptism and just receive a clean start. I also read a quote from the book “Our Heritage” that I really loved. It is by a survivor of the Martin handcart company about his experience: "We came through with an absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay." I feel like that with my mission sometimes! It is definitely the hardest- and sometimes the most frustrating- thing I have ever done in my life. But it is the best thing that has ever happened for my life, and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Another interesting English translation
 Sis Murri
junk mail is universal...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Dreaming in Chinese, getting out of the city, and teaching US geography

First things alarm went off this morning and when I woke up, I realized I had been dreaming in Chinese! That was really exciting! 

This weekend in Taiwan is dragon boat festival, which pretty much means people gave us a bunch of food. There's a whole history behind it, but it's too long to explain here, so you can just google it :D

Last preparation day (Nicole's day off) after we emailed, Wu Mama (a wonderful lady who is so kind to the missionaries) rented a car and driver and took us up to the northeast of Taiwan! It was SO beautiful! Mountains, wide open sky, the ocean, greenery.....ah! It was a nice break from being in the middle of the city. We went to JiuFen (a famous outdoor market right on the coast), a pretty waterfall, YehLiu (a national park thing with super cool rocks) and TianMu Wharf. It was so beautiful and peaceful! Most of the pics this week are from our Monday expedition.

 We are really working with Z JM (she is the one whose house we helped clean a few weeks ago). She has a baptismal date of the 15th and we really think she will make it! She came to church and did a temple square tour with us this week. She LOVES the commandments! Which is awesome!! She is doing super well with the word of wisdom and is just progressing really well. She is super sweet and says the most sincere prayers. 

This week in English class, the students wanted us to teach them about America, which made me realize how much I don't remember about the US and geography. Our map was kind of a mess. I think I was better at the states when I was 5 and liked doing that USA puzzle. We asked them if they had any questions, and one of them asked, "Why is NY called the big apple?" We were like, "eh..good question. No clue"

This week I read this in “Jesus the Christ” (a book written by the Apostle, James E Talmage) about the instance where Jesus said, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God's" Elder Talmage says this: "Every human soul is stamped with the image and superscription of God...and as unto Caesar should be rendered the coins upon which his effigy appeared, so unto God should be given the souls that bear His image. Render unto the world the stamped pieces that are made legally current by the insignia of worldly powers, and unto God and His service yourselves- the divine mintage of His eternal realm." I love that so much! It made me think of the scripture in Corinthians that says that we are Christ's and Christ is God's, and the scripture in Alma about having His image in our countenances. We are spiritual beings- His image is already in our countenance because we are created in His image. We just have to be pure and not get in the way of that. 

Sis Murri