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.
|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:
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
Love, Sister Tracy