Sunday, September 29, 2013

Food, too much glorious food... September 30

Hey all! 
Mom I got your package!!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! Your package made my life this week haha. I have been holding onto the peanut butter dearly because I want to save as much as possible.

American Snacks from MOM!

We have had way too much food this week. It is nuts, the Taiwanese are far too generous when it comes to food. it's just a cultural thing. Even people we contact give us mucho food...its nuts! And you have to eat it in front of them or else it's considered rude. My tummy is going to explode. Oh and a ward member went to Costco and bought us chocolate chip muffins which I am stoked about but at the same time I'm like..."Shoot I'm going to gain 20 lbs from these." #taiwanmishlife #mishlifeingeneral? 

Costco Muffins!

So this week was special because I went to the Taiwan temple and got to give temple tours! We did mini exchanges with the temple sisters which was super awesome. And I went on an exchange with a native and the elders brought over an English speaking investigator so my temporary companion was like, "Since you know English better, how about you lead the tour?" Okay! It was awesome! Also, it was really, really weird teaching in English haha, I was tripping over some words..not a good sign. But it was cool, we ended up getting a referral from him and he's super interested in the Church. The temple is truly a special place. 
This week was also special because we got to go to a trainer/trainee meeting in Jin Hua and I got to see all of my MTC friends! it was so nice to talk to them all and realize that I am not the only one going through the stuff I am going through. I miss them all so much. I love my generation. There are some really special people in this mission. 

My Companion Sister Barden!

Funny things from this week: 
1. At district meeting someone brought all this fruit and I was starving so I ate a bunch. After doing so my district leader told me that the fruit I was eating was a crazy intense yeah that was interesting hahahah 
2. An investigator was wearing a face mask (when Asians are sick they wear's totally normal) so I tried to ask, "Are you sick?" "Ni you bing ma?" and she started laughing and walked away. "That's weird." I thought. Then a member pulled me aside and said, "Ni you bing ma translates to 'are you sick in the head?' like an insult." Yes...this is how I treat our investigators hahah great. 
3. When teaching the Plan of Salvation, I accidentally said, "In the Spirit World we wait until God gives us temptation." (I meant to say resurrection) The investigator was super confused for the rest of the lesson and it took us like 5 minutes to realize that I said the wrong word hahahaha. 
We met a lot of cool people this week. One was a lady we contacted on the way to a LA's house. We asked her about Jesus Christ and she started tearing up and telling us how he saved her life when she was at her lowest point in life. She said she was on the internet seeking help and she found and watched some Bible videos and they brought her peace. She was really cool. I hope we can meet with her really soon. Yesterday I was also able to hang out with a lot of the ward missionaries/young adults in our ward. We went to an FHE activity with them. They are so neat because all of them are converts who overcame a lot of trials and family opposition just to join the church. A lot of them ended up living with each other or with ward members because their parents kicked them out of the house. Some of them brought their families into the Church. They all have a deep desire to be missionaries. Ahhh so amazing. I will never forget these people. 

Lastly, remember how I told you a few weeks ago we contacted these Indians on the harbor? Well, we finally met with them! We we went into the appointment thinking they were Christian  because one of them said they were...but it turns out they weren' all. I think one lady's mom is a Christian but that's about it. They were super super Hindu and had no interest in our message haha. But it's all good. We learned some amazing things about their cultures and we shared about our culture. We ate amazing Indian food on the ground and ate with our hands and everything. They showed us pictures from their wedding. It was an arranged marriage and they told us about all the customs and symbols. Some of the things were a lot like our traditions. They were very very cool people. It really opened my eyes to how beautiful and diverse this world is. They said if I ever go to India they would show us around. Cool! 
I am learning that I have a lot of weaknesses. The mission literally tries every part of you: emotional, spiritual, physical, social, intellectual, it's really nuts. Some things I thought I was really good at..turns out I am not as good as I thought. It's been getting me down a lot lately -  feeling super inadequate. But when I did temple tours this week, my temporary companion said something very very inspired. "When Heavenly Father shows us our weaknesses, He shows us the personal path we need to take in order to return to Him." I like this. It reminds me that I need to take this as a learning opportunity. It shows me that Heavenly Father loves me so much that He is wanting me to use His Son's Atonement to strengthen myself. I think of my mission scripture, Ether 12:27. I know that if I take these moments of doubt as a learning opportunity, I can transform my inadequacy into times of growth. Now this is easier said than done but I am trying really hard. Heavenly Father loves His children so much. 

Well, until next week! I love you all! 
Sister Tracy

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How Viktor Frankel Saved Me This Week- September 23

Heya Familia and Pengyous (family and friends) 
This week was hard...but good...but hard. But its all good! Here's a list of stuff I'd like to tell you about: 


1. Good Ol Chiang: 
This last Pday I went to Taipei (in JinHua where the temple is) and Sister Barden and I went to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. Super awesome! There was an incredible view from there! And the statue was pretty neat. There were also these guards (Asian version of the Buckingham Palace guards in London). I got a few pictures of them changing the guard. Cool stuff! We also ran into a few Elders from our ward. So good to talk to other missionaries in English!!!!! Talking to people in Chinese all the time is such a work out for my brain - gahhh. Also we met a cool family from Provo. The dad served in my area years ago when there were like 5 ward members. Now there are like over 100 and more to come! 

2. Exchange #1: I went on my very first exchange this week! SOOO MUCH FUN. I exchanged with my sister training leader, Sister Brown from Ogden. She's been here for a year. Oh man, she is seriously my kindred spirit. We had such a good time talking about life, she's a thinker. Her apartment is also super huge. And she just went to Costco so my breakfast that morning was basically all Costco foods that I haven't eaten in forever in a bowl: muffins, Honey Bunches of Oats, Nutella, bananas (Mom can you send me cereal one of these days? I miss it so much). SO GOOD. We worked out in the morning and, after running, we jumped into this huge group of old people and did Taiqi. Super awesome. Also being with her made me realize how free we are as missionaries. We just walked around buying smoothies and contacting all along the way. We made notes and candy for LAs and it was just really chill and fun. Very different from mission life in Jilong. 

3. Events: There have been a lot of parties going on in the past week! Taiwanese people love to celebrate and eat food. Our ward had an activity where we made pizza. (I never thought I would be eating, let alone making, pizza in Taiwan) It was soooooo yummy! And the ward members were so funny. They were like, "Hey! You can eat American food tonight! You probably eat this a lot in America!" lol...not really but thank you. Also my ward has a really cute tradition. Every 3rd Sunday of the month they celebrate everybody's birthday for that month right after church. Everyone brings all this amazing food and they sing Happy Birthday in Chinese and English. Taiwanese cake is about the best thing I've ever eaten. I've also been invited to a bunch of family dinners in the past week. It was the moon festival (4 day holiday) so they invited us over a lot. I can use chopsticks properly now! Weird things I've eaten this week: Snake, Squid, Duck, Duck's blood (an accident once again!). Squid was really good...but I can only take a bite out of them or else I get sick. Otherwise I'm basically a vegetarian here ha-ha. 

Pizza Night!

Moon Festival Parade 

4. Cool People: Weve met some cool people this week while contacting. Lin Wan Yu is a super spunky 15 year old who loves foreigners. She found out i was Italian and FLIPPED OUT and started hugging me and saying "I love your blood! So beautiful!" I think she meant I ove your bloodline? haha idk. But weve had 2 lessons with her so far and she is great. We also met a group of Indians here for work! They are awesome and they speak English! We had an amzing convo with them and it turns out one of them is Christian and interested in our message so we're going to eat with them soon. They invited us to celebrate Dwali with them and eat nan and Indian food. AWESOME. Also we met this cool lady with tons of faith and she gave us a bunch of moon cakes. Another man gave us all of these Taiwanese chips or something cuz he loves the missionaries. We have so much food lol. 

5. I'm awkward: Sister Barden had me make phone calls to potential investigators this week. Its hard to talk to random people on the phone in another language. Basically every phone call goes like this: 
Them: Hello? 
Me: Hi! I am a missionary! I am Sister Tracy! I want to share an awesome message with you this week! Can we meet if you have time? What do you think? 
Them: qwelfwqilefuhqwiopfnfnljr no time weilfnawleuifnlawe I laeirubnleibgiilg none leirgnerilgner who? weflqnefknwe okay 
Me: ........ Uh what? 
Then they hang up. It's actually kind of hilarious ha-ha. 
6. Lessons: lessons have been pretty awesome this week. This week we taught this less active family about redemption and forgiveness. One lady told us she had a hard time keeping commandments lately. She was afraid to pray to Heavenly Father about it. In very broken Chinese I told her about the time I accidentally hit Dad's rental car pretty badly. I told her I went to my mom super afraid to tell my dad. But my mom told me to just get it over with and tell him or else I would feel burdened. I went and told dad and I expected him to yell at me but instead he just hugged me and said, "I am glad you are okay. That is what matters to me most." He was immediately forgiving and I am so thankful for that experience because I know our Heavenly Father will always forgive us when we have the courage to say I'm sorry. And it's a wonderful feeling. The lady started crying! I was like, "Wow, you could understand my story?" "Yes...thank you. I will pray." Makes me feel better about the language and I am so grateful for that experience and how it was able to help this woman. 
7. Viktor Frankel: So as I said earlier this week was not easy. I had a dark cloud over my head this week. A bunch of things have put me in a downer mood lately and caused me to feel like I am trapped in a box with no way out. As I was running and pondering in my head I thought about something Sister Brown told me on our exchange--"Ask yourself questions every once in awhile, it helps you find the answers." So I did just that. "What if I really was trapped in a box? What would I be able to control?" I made a mental list. This made me feel a lot better. I realized something important that I had forgotten, I have control over many things. I could have everything taken from me and I would still always and forever have my attitude. I control the way I see things! This is something I studied and pondered a lot about when I was reading "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Frankel. I began to feel light as I thought about this concept of controlling my attitude. I did a lot of studying about agency. What a gift it is! Perhaps recognizing the gift of agency is something that Heavenly Father really wants me to learn about right now. I made a commitment to Him and myself on Saturday that I would make a constant effort to look on the bright side and respond positively to everything and I felt so free. If you're ever feeling down make a list of things in this life that you DO have control over. It's the most liberating feeling. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25) I promise that this life is all about joy. Happiness is not only the destination but also the journey. 
8. Taiwan people: Can I just say that I love the people here? I love them! I call them "My Taiwan Peng yous (friends)" It makes them laugh with me...or at me..? or both idk. These are very faithful and special spirits. 

Well until next Pday...I love you all! Be happy! Have joy! 
Love, Sister Tracy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Liu Han- September 16

Nimen hao! 
Well, I've had quite the week! Last night I made a list of things I wanted to tell you guys about so here it is in all its glory! 

1. It is HOT outside. Idk why...rain season is coming up very soon. (YAY SEATTLE) But there has been A LOT of Liu Han (Sweat--literally means flowing salt--I am learning that the Chinese are very literal.) The other day I had the most uncomfortable lesson with a member. She is an old lady named Chen Ai Yi and holllyyyyyyyyy crud her apartment was BOILING. I've legit never sweated more in my life. she never turns on the AC. And then (oh, yes it gets better) she asked us to cut her toenails. companion and I were sitting there, taking turns reading the story about the tree of life in the Book of Mormon in broken Chinese, cutting this lady's toenails, dripping in sweat. Oh, this work is hilarious haha. We are never going to forget that experience. 
2. On Monday/PDay we went to the National Museum at this palace in Shi Lin. Awesome view of the Taiwan mountains. There were some other cool things I took photos of. They had super old scrolls and ancient Chinese character cave writings--cooooool! 

3. This week we found ourselves with a few awkward pockets of time in between lessons so we decided to go crazy and pass out a ton of Free English Class pamphlets. (Idk if I told you guys about this part--The missionaries teach English! It is a good way to serve and meet potential new investigators. I teach the beginner class--super hard considering I don't know Chinese but somehow it works and I end up learning a ton of Chinese from my students haha. It's so fun) Anyways--I LOVE passing out these flyers because it's hilarious. I basically jump in front of people and say in the most enthusiastic voice I can muster up--"HEY! FREE English class! Its awesome! I am a foreigner and I can teach you!" They think its hilarious for some reason. The best is doing this to high school aged boys cuz they get so nervous for some reason lollll. But we passed out A TON so, hopefully, we'll have a good turn out. You never know though cuz these kids study soooooo much. They have school all day, every day basically. 

4. We ate at a member's house and they are so sweet. They made us (the elders and us sisters) American food!--Chicken casserole, green beans, oranges, brownies, potatoes. So sweet of them. 
5. We had an awesome combined Zone meeting this Friday. We went hiking in the Northeastern part of Taiwan. I took some pics. One of the best hikes of my life! SOOOOO GORGEOUS. And it was awesome to see a few of my MTC homies. 

6. My companion and I had a cool miracle last week. We were trying to find this lady's house (a less active that the bishop referred to us) and we got completely lost. Navigating in Taiwan is hard when you can't read Chinese street signs. We got off the bus completely lost and my trainer broke down saying "I cant do this" We decided yes--we can't do this--but we are doing God's work and He can do this so we turned our trust to Him to navigate us. He did :) A nice angel of a man from the bus ride earlier was riding his scooter down the hill right after we finished saying a prayer for help. He got off his scooter and said "I can help you, I will circle the block and look for this street and house." Then he jumped on his scooter and rode around. Angel. He came back and showed us the way to her house. We were worried cuz we didn't know her room number or anything but when we got to her street she was outside. "I had a feeling to come out here and I don't really know why." she said. Miracles happen in Ji Long. We had an incredible lesson with her and are meeting with her again tonight. 
7. I saw a lot of Buddhist temples this week as I've been traveling. They are crazy intense. HUGE golden Buddhas and Monks lighting incense everywhere. There are a lot of crazy superstitions around here. A lot of our new investigators have crazy stories about ghosts and devil spirits. Bai bai (Ancestor worship) is a very traditional thing here too. I always see altars in all of these houses. The other day my companion and I got lost knocking doors and found a house with tons of these mini shrines and inside them were jars of dead animals. We saw this old lady once at a group of shrines banging her head against the concrete because she claimed to be possessed by a spirit. It was terrifying. Our investigators who come from these types of backgrounds always tell us how grateful they are for the Gospel and the peace it brings. 
8. Last night we ate at the Dong family's house. (members). SO sweet and awesome! I had my first real Taiwanese traditional family meal experience. You sit at a table with a ton of bowls of veggies and Chinese medicine veggies and fish (literally--two dead cooked fish) and they give you a bowl of rice and soup and you dig in. You have to eat all the rice at a certain pace otherwise you can offend them pretty easily. I'm pretty sure I ate octopus last night. and probably duck's blood...idk I was too afraid to ask. But it was pretty yummy! (not the blood) they kept putting all this food on my bowl for me and I was like "Ahhhhhhh Chi bao le, Chi bao le!!!" (I am full!) People give us so much food here haha. It's a sign of love though so I am grateful. 
9. We have 3 people with a baptismal date! It's going to take a lot of patience though because they all have family opposition (common problem here in Taiwan because families are very traditional). So that will require patience. We also have 5 amazing investigators who are very close to baptism (also have family probs) so we will need to be patient. I LOVE the investigators we have. They have sooo much faith and you can see the Gospel literally changing their lives. One lady in particular started following the word of wisdom and she has seen miracles. Her husband has been less abusive and more willing to let her receive baptism. And he's letting her meet with us. Before she would have to sneak out and meet us in kind of hidden away places like Starbucks or other American restaurants that no one goes to. But we literally see miracles everyday and it's incredible. 

Well this work has still been very challenging for me and my companion. We are both very new missionaries. Idk if I told you guys this but my trainer is training on her 3rd transfer which is very rare for a foreign missionary. But she is incredible. It's easy to get stressed out but we've been learning a lot from each other and love each other very much. I have learned a lot about charity this week. I have never felt so inadequate in my life, not knowing the language, not understanding a lot, not being able to teach the way I want to--but it's teaching me patience and humility. As hard as everything is--I know that there is a reason I'm here and I am thankful for every hard experience because every trial has a purpose and I am learning so much. 
Hey I got a ton of letters this week and I was STOKED! Thank you Mom, Mallory, Sam, the Walthers, the Palmers, Nina, Abby Elggren, I love you all! Those letters made me soooooo unbelievably happy. They were tender mercies from the Lord because I got them in the times when I was at my lowest point. THANK YOUUUU!!
K gotta go. Love you all so much
Sister Tracy

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Treasure the miracles- September 9

 Nimen hao! 
Well not a lot of time to type this morning but I will send another email with pics later! 
Some things I have learned about Taiwan:
  • Cockroaches are everywhere and there is absolutely no way of avoiding it so I have just kind of learned to deal with it. Like we don't even bother to kill bugs anymore - I'll see a giant cockroach and think nothing of it. IT'S THAT BAD!!
  • So, I got my bike! Biking in Taiwan is insane. My trainer was like "Okay let's go!" and I was freaking out cuz there were like 10,000 cars and scooters not obeying any traffic rules and swerving everywhere plus I was wearing a skirt so that was hard. Pretty much flashed everyone in JiLong--whoops. I decided that biking through Taiwan streets is a lot like the EAC from Finding Nemo. Buses are killer whales. Cars are Giant Turtles. Scooters are schools of fish. And I am Marlin and my companion is Dory because she is completely confident about riding through the streets. You basically just follow everyone and try not to get eaten by the bigger fish. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME NOT TO DIE ON THE ROAD!

  • They have a Starbucks here that no one ever goes to so, whenever my comp and I need to chill out we go there and eat our lunch and dinner.
  • I went to our bishop's restaurant this week for dinner and I had absolutely no idea what I was eating.
  • In fact, for the past week I have had no idea what I am eating unless I buy crackers from the 7/11.

  • The 7/11s here are INSANE! Huge stores with copy machines and lots of random goodies to eat.
  • The internet cafes always blast American music.
  • It's super rude to talk too loud on the bus--found that out the hard way.
  • The Moon Festival is coming up and we are going to eat lots of fruit and moon cakes.
  • People give missionaries so much food.
  • The Young Single Adults love feeding us questionable foods.
  • Everyone keeps speaking to me in English and I keep trying to speak to them in Chinese and its really lol.
  • I FOUND PEANUT BUTTER at a random bread store! It was super expensive but super worth it. I carry around the little jar with me everywhere. Mom can you send me more peanut butter in the future? and snacks cuz the only snacks they have here are questionable...

Some things I have learned about the mission: 
This week was really rough, not gonna lie. I have decided that the mission is officially the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I have never in my life felt so uncomfortable, so emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. So stressed. It's been very hard. I've also never felt so insecure in my abilities. There have been difficult times, not gonna lie. The thought keeps coming: "Is this really supposed to be the best 18 months of my life?" 
Though its been hard, I still find that I am not willing to come home. I am not willing to give up because this isn't my work, it's the Lord's. And I find that it is true--when we really do put our trust in Him--He ALWAYS listens and provides. After every single trial I've had here, when I pray to Him for strength and align my will with His, He always brings me out of the dark. 

For instance, this week when we were finding, I was having a really hard time. It felt like I did not recognize the Spirit when trying to approach people. EVERYONE I talked to would reject us. And whenever my companion talked to people first, they would accept. I felt like I didn't have what it took to be a missionary and have a discerning spirit. That night I said a very heartfelt prayer that I would be able to really have the Spirit to be with me and that I could find at least one person to listen to my message and accept it. The next morning I had personal study. I went to Heavenly Father with a question and as I read the scriptures I found an answer. I really felt God's love for me through studying the Book of Mormon. I felt like I was having a personal conversation with Him right then and there in my apartment. That day as we were on the bus I decided to talk to this lady and just be myself and not compare myself to my companion. I didn't care that I couldn't understand her very well or speak very well. I just tried to be genuine. I just tried to keep it real and have a nice conversation with her. I felt a good feeling about giving her a Book of Mormon. I told her about my experience that morning and how the scriptures relieved my stress and became really personal for me. She very gratefully accepted the Book of Mormon and appreciated my story. We are meeting with her next week. 
Miracles happen. Every day. Like, I talked to a lady in Taiwan, in very broken Chinese, about God, on a bus and --she actually accepted...that kind of stuff does not happen on a regular basis! But hey, it's God's gospel--it really brings miracles! 
I am learning that this really is going to be the best 18 months of my life when I take moments each day to recognize the miracles I've been experiencing. Truely--it blows my mind. I will forever be grateful for these experiences. This is where I find happiness. This is why I haven't given up yet. I will treasure these moments forever. 

Until next time, 
Sister Tracy :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

I'm really in Taiwan!- September 1

WHOAAAAAAA. Okay, amazing stuff is going on right now! 
It is currently 5am on a rainy Monday morning in Taiwan and I am sitting in an internet cafe with a bunch of Asians who only speak Chinese and they are playing League of Legends like hard-core gamers. Hahah awesome.

I have soooo much to tell you all but I do not have a lot of time (welcome to missionary life) SOOOOOO I will limit it to the 5 most important things: 
1. The Long Trip to Taiwan: 
It seems like so long ago I was at the MTC because so much has happened...but here's my recollection. We all woke up super early and packed and checked out. I was temporarily separated from my companion by accident because she got stuck on the other bus over to the train station. Soooo I was alone with a bunch of elders for 4 hours...yikes haha. But it's okay! after a long journey to the airport we finally met up.  It was so weird not being absolutely surrounded by missionaries any longer. I was that -- "What have I gotten myself into?" feeling. Once we got to LAX it was an even worse feeling because few people even knew who missionaries are. Whenever I tried to talk to someone and be friendly there would be one of either of these responses: 1. They'd smile and not really talk back OR 2. They would completely ignore me. It is disappointing how having the name of the Savior branded on my chest makes people feel uncomfortable. No matter they learn more about the Savior they'll realize there is no need to be afraid whatsoever. During the layover I got to call mom and I had a wonderful conversation with her. I miss you so much mom. I miss talking to you. We boarded the China Airlines airplane--SOOOOO ASIAN!!!! (shocker!) Everything was purple and everyone was Asian. They gave us slippers to wear on the plane. And lots and lots and lots of rice. lol. I basically slept for the entire plane trip. No joke. 14 hours of sleep #mishlife When we landed it was 9:20pm and immediately as I stepped out of the airport it was like WHOOOOOOSH HUMIDITY. Even the inside of buildings are humid. It took awhile but we finally got out of Customs and met President and Sister Day and the Assistants. I LOVE THEM. They are super southern and sassy. But amazingly spiritual and uplifting and smart. We went to temple housing and that was crazy too cuz no one speaks English. 

2. Taiwan! Home sweet island 
Well here is some stuff I have learned about Taiwan 
--They do not flush toilet paper down the toilet. You have to put your used toilet paper in a trash can. 
--It is really humid. 
--Rainy season started the day we got here. It rains A TON. in fact it flooded yesterday and we had to wade through 3 feet of water. 
--The people here are incredibley sweet and polite. 
--There is food everywhere. Everyone always has food on them and everyone ALWAYS stuffs you full of food. 
--Old people love Taiqi. 
--Not too many people can speak English (in my area at least). 
--It reminds me of Seattle only more humid. 
--The temple is the most beautiful thing in the world (we get to go next month!) 

3. My new area and companion! 
I have been assigned to a lovely place called Ji Long. It is at the VERY VERY VERY north tip of the island. About 45 minute drive from the temple and mish HQ. We live in an apartment right by the Harbor. The harbor is really really cool and there are a lot of pretty views there. It reminds me soooo much of Seattle. It is also a low income area. It is very sad to see the poor on the street. It is a very safe place though as long as you stay in the right area. There is a really cool hill with a HUGE rainbow temple and when you go up there you can see a great view of the ocean. And there aren't too many mosquitos up here so that's good! 

My new companion is named Sister Barder. She is a sweet 21 year old girl from Minnesota and she also went to BYU and BYU Jerusalem. She became a trainer immediately after her 2nd transfer (which is really hard and rare). She works extremely hard though and is such a spiritual soul. She is very very very sweet and loving to everyone. She is a huge example to me. She is also very organized and if I am running behind schedule I can tell she gets a little stressed. I am trying my best to keep up--sometimes I feel really bad but she is still very encouraging. We work really well together. 

Our Apartment!
Typical Breakfast- Weird Fruit and Oatmeal! 

4. Our sweet investigators 
The best part about missionary work so far is the people we teach. We've taught 2 less active grandmothers. They absolutely love sister missionaries. They like it a lot when we sing English hymns to them and videos. Its hard to get them to make commitments though; they almost always have an excuse (and Sis Sperry!!! one of them is a dog excuse! Wang Nai Nai says she can't go to church because she has to tend her dogs). So it will be harder to help them with commitments but we'll work it out. Another girl is Chen Zhen Yu. She has been an investigator for awhile and she LOVES everything about the Church. She came to a fireside with us yesterday in Jin Hua. She wants to be a missionary. We gave her a Chinese PMG (Preach My Gospel) and studied it with her and she got soooo excited! We also teach a ton of children with the most powerful testimonies I've ever heard. What breaks my heart is that a lot of our investigators have the strongest desire to be baptized but they have family opposition so they can't. Yesterday at church a 17 year old girl burst into tears and told us that her parents told her that they think she is sick in the head because she believes in the Gospel. But she is so strong and desires to be baptized immediately when she turns 18. We also had a miracle contact the other day. We were walking down the street (well...wading through the flooded streets) and my companion had an impression to stop this girl. So we stopped her and taught her the 1st lesson. My companion forgot to bring a Book of Mormon. Earlier that morning I almost didn't bring one cuz it made my bag heavy but I felt that I should, so I did. I pulled out my Book of Mormon and in the best Chinese I could muster I told her my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book. She started to cry and said, "Last night I prayed to God for the first time in years and asked Him to help me overcome some challenges I've been having lately. I think this is my answer." As we were teaching, my mind stepped away for a moment and I thought, "How strange and beautiful is this moment! Two young white foreign girls, soaking wet in the middle of this street, wearing giant rain ponchos, pulling aside random people and teaching them about God and Jesus in the middle of all this crazy commotion--it seemed so weird but at the same time so miraculous." We are meeting with this girl on Tuesday and I am sooo excited! 

5. Trials have a purpose 
Yesterday I went to church! We actually don't have a chapel...our church consists of the 5th and 6th floor of small business complex. There are about 100 people in the ward. All very very very kind and super hard working. I was asked to share my testimony yesterday. I felt the Spirit so strong. All throughout the day it was hard--not gonna lie. I feel like I am trapped in a glass box sometimes. The people can see me and talk to me, but when I try to talk back they can't understand me and likewise, I cannot understand them. It's like "eiunerlwuinwelgn Gospel erngielngiesn Jesus Christ lwjifnaljfin Prayer erliunergluin." It's really hard. I had a moment during church thinking: "What am I doing here...I have no idea what is going on." However, I have learned from my companion that every trial ALWAYS has a purpose. There is always a reason why you are going through what you are going through. And the Lord has not set you up to fail. The Lord has not set me up to fail in Taiwan. I must keep going. Something in me keeps lighting a fire--there is a great purpose for this work--I can't give up. 

Love you Family and Friends. 
Keep it real :) 
Love Sister Tracy