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

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