I just have to start by quoting the opening paragraph of the email that Sis Pieper is writing to her family, because it's pretty funny, and absolutely true:
"Our days have been full and rich lately, mostly because Sister Murri (bless her little brain) likes to think, and we are on a futile (essentialist) quest to discover the Taiwanese mind."
Isn't she poetic? I should also mention that she's 27, is applying to study for her PhD, and has lived all over the world and speaks several languages. And she likes quinoa, ginger tea, and having deep discussions. So basically, we're having a blast!
This week our adventures included a trip to an art museum, the XinZhu zoo, a daoist temple (which also included a sacrificed apple that the keeper of the temple gave us to eat. Yum), and asking literally everyone we meet about Taiwanese concepts of god, the spirit, what makes an ideal family, and pretty much every other topic you can imagine.
We have been considering lately how cultural traditions and norms such as "face", "bu hao yisi", and filial tradition, as well as the influences of character meaning and even art play into their understanding of the Restored Gospel. We have learned SO much, and as we've started implementing small changes into our teaching and proselyting, we've seen an increased ability to connect to people. The Taiwanese people don't have much care for where we go after we die, the need for prophets, the concept of sin and forgiveness...their questions of the soul are just different. And we are determined to figure them out! In the prayer given in 1921 for the dedication of China for missionary work, President McKay asked that the missionaries sent to the Chinese realm might "have a keen insight into the mental and spiritual state of the Chinese mind". This is our theme paragraph because we are bringing it to pass!
This week was pretty busy with two exchanges, traveling to Taipei for temple day this morning and a STL meeting last week, and specialized zone training. Z and L are solidly progressing, and we have a lot of faith that they will be baptized in Feb! As for new investigators, we are still on the low side. I think 9 months ago that would have made me super stressed out, but being on my mission has helped me to realize that as long as we as the tools are doing all we can to be diligent, obedient, and qualified for the Lord's assistance, He will supply the materials in His own time- and until then I will be happy to just continue doing His work to the best of my ability.
I have learned a lot about prayer this week. Prayer really is a form of work- I've noticed lately that my prayers have fallen into more of a routine than a powerful tool. So I'm working to change that.