Monday, November 25, 2013

NOTE: I have a Christmas gift request

I have a Christmas gift request.
People have been asking me what they can send me well, It would be really cool, if everyone could do me a favor in the spirit of Christmas.
If you would like to, can you mail me your favorite LDS talk? Or maybe a few quotes? And if you can find chinese translations too that would be wonderful!  I have been wanting to study the prophets and apostles words more and I would love a collection. When you send it to me, feel free to highlight your favorite parts and say why you love the talk so much.
This is my Christmas wish :)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

you xinxin you banfa- November 25

Well nimen hao! 
So much to tell you all... 
~Heavenly Father needs me here in JiLong a little longer because I stayed in my area. Sister Barden got transferred to an area in Xin Zhu called Zhu Bei. She's about 1.5 hours away from Jilong. I really miss her. We will be friends forever. 

~My new companion is Sister Zippro from Farmington, Utah. She served in Taidong (realllllly far south) for about 3 months. Its really different from JiLong. So she has been on island as long as me. This is really rare...Usually, President will not put two missionaries from the same generation (people who have been on island for the same amount of time) as companions. One usually might have more experience. And Sister Barden was here for a really short time before too. I wonder why Heavenly Father wants really new foreigners in JiLong right now. There must be a purpose but I haven't figured it out yet. 
~Last Monday a member took us to a really famous market in the mountains (in our area) called Jiu Fen. It was soooo incredibly amazing. It was like Pikes Place Market on steroids in the mountains. I took a million pictures that I will forward. Also...I bought an ocerina. Yes, bucket list item crossed off. I carry it around with me everywhere and  play Legend of Zelda 
songs. It's awesome haha.


The duck hat
We decided that if I were a Buddah, I would be this one. The one who is always sleeping hahaha

Ocarina Store!

We went with a member in our ward, YiTing.

~We also had our Thanksgiving English party last week and played lots of games. The Elders went all out and decorated the room super pretty. They also made mashed potatoes and corn and apples and all this yummy goodness. It was amazing. An elderly couple in our ward also cooked a huge Thanksgiving meal for us this last Thursday. It was amazing! She even made the marshmallow sweet potato thing that you always make, mom! And the way she made pumpkin pie was awesome cuz it wasn't from a can. It was made from legit pumpkins from the market. We didn't have a turkey...but we ate chicken. I will never forget the way that Wang Nai Nai "cut" the chicken. She didn't really know how to do it so she basically ripped it apart with her bare hands. You could hear the cracking of the bones and everything. It was nuts! 

~Once everyone found out that Sister Barden was moving last week, everyone showed up at the chapel last Thursday to say good bye. She is an incredible example of love to me. SO many of our investigators showed up and said what a difference she had made in their lives. It was so touching to see. There is so much charity in our ward. 

Me and my fav sista, sister chamberlain

~These last few days have been really difficult. I've had to lead in making the schedule and getting us around and teaching. My Chinese has gotten better but it's still really hard. I mess up a lot. There are just a lot of new challenges. I misunderstand people a lot. I barley know how to teach. I have to try harder to listen to their words and the Spirit. I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. I have never put myself out there more in my life. My weaknesses are clearly exposed. It's scary. However, despite these fears, I look back on Ether 12:27, my mission scripture. "I will make their weaknesses into strengths." Heavenly Father will help me. I know this. Maybe the purpose of being in this situation right now is so that He can help me fix these weaknesses. He wants to push me this transfer. I can tell. I am going to work harder than ever to learn this language and learn how to teach better because I love these people with all of my heart and I want to be the best missionary I can be for them. It's gonna take more faith on my part but it's xinxin, you banfa (With faith, there is a way) 

me and yu xuan yu--our recent convert. she is honestly the most unforgetable person ever. i will always remember her story of how the gospel changed her life.
me and yu mama. (yu xuan yus mother) she is getting baptized on the 7th of dec. i love her!

me and this old man who attends our english class. he kind of scares me but he's cool!
Bye Sister Barden!

Till next time :) 
I am thankful for all of you! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ni keyi bang wo paizao ma? (Can you help me take a picture?) - November 18

Hey everybody! 

Well the end of this transfer is quickly approaching. This Friday I may have a new area and a new companion. And I will no longer be a trainee! I am a little bit fearful for the future but at the same time I am calm because I know that whatever happens it will be according to God's will because President's decisions are inspired. I have a big testimony about this because I feel that me being here in JiLong is inspired. I have learned beautiful lessons about love, obedience, and the Spirit. I absolutely love the people here. Can't wait to see what else is in store. Life is such a trip, right? Well I took a bunch of pictures for you guys (this being the last week and all) so my email will be brief. But I hope you all enjoy the pictures! Until next week. Jia You! 

This is us with with Wang Yi Ting. She is our awesome new investigator getting baptized in 2 weeks!

This is me and Du Jie Mei with our Less Active--Wang Nai Nai. She is super crazy and passionate! I love her.

This is our investigator Yang Yi Xuan. She took us to a Hot Pot. Her life is so hard, she is literally Job. So faithful, so many hardships. I will never forget her.

This is me and our 11 year old investigator Li Qian Rou. We visit her at her mom's cell phone store every saturday. It is a small area, we have to sit on the floor and teach her. Its really loud and crowded but the spirit is somehow always there really strongly when we teach her. I love this girl!

 Me at the temple. I love this place.

TEMPLE DAY! Day full of miracles. We gave a tour to this 22 year old boy. He was just about to go through the temple for his personal endowment. He's been a member for a year now, only member in his family, been working at a super intense job, all just to go on his mission. He was going through the temple by himself. He told us he was going to Minnesota. My companion is from Minnesota so she was super excited and gave him all these names and answered his questions. As he was leaving he thanked us a lot and said, "I feel a lot more comfortable about whats in store for me. Thank you." I believe we were meant to be at the temple today just for him. What a rock star!

BAPTISM! The Elder's have been teaching this kid for a while now and he finally got baptized. I LOVE HIM. His name is Brock.  He is the little asian brother I never had. 

The Young adults held an FHE activity and invited us to share a message. They made so much yummy food. Soup with a bunch of fish and dumplings. They never stop eating here in Taiwan.

My District wearing our cool new belts at District meeting. We were given a new rule where we have to wear these neon green belts when we ride our bikes down the street. We are just so attacted to them that we never want to take them off!

Night market again. I love walking down these roads. Now that I can understand people better its really funny. People always are like, "Foreigners!" "Whoa look at her skin!" "Her eyes are green!" Once I was walking down and nearly scared a lady to death because I was so much taller than her. Also because I was wearing a red scarf. Red is a really awful color to wear in Taiwan because they always associate it with blood. A color that ghosts like. Yeah ive had to stop wearing red latley because its not good for contacting.

This is Asia alright. This is a famous night market by Li Qian Rou's house.I stick out like a sore thumb here.

JiLong view from the chapel. I will never forget this place.
We had dinner at the Miao Jia Ting and they gave me a shrimp and taught me how to crack it open and eat it. You have to crack off the head, then peel off the  eyes and legs and everything. Sister Miao thought it was so cool that it was my first time doing it so she took a picture. "You're mother will be proud!" she said. Mom, are you?
Love Sister Tracy 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stuff's getting real- November 11

Good things from this last week: 
--My companion and I went shopping last PDay...yes, we gave in. We are sick of our clothes. It felt so nice to shop!!! even if I did shop at a thrift was still shopping and I was stoked. I bought a shirt and a new skirt. I decided that at the end of every transfer I will reward myself with a gift so this is my gift. Happy birthday to me! 
--I had my interview with President last week. Every 3 months we have interviews with him. It was nothing scary, we pretty much just set goals so that I can be a better missionary. 
I think my Mission President made this quote.  He is the best!

--I extended my first baptismal invite! It was super awkward but its okay because she still said yes because our member present re-explained everything! Yay for members who actually know chinese!
--We have a new rule in the mission. At night, for safety reasons we have to wear these super bright green vests. They are silly looking but I love them. I took a pic of my companion and me wearing them this morning.

--I passed off Phase 1 this week! In the mission we have 3 phases that we need to pass off for language. Phase 1 included a ton of gospel phrases and words and definitions I needed to memorize and a lot of practice teaching. I'm not perfect at it by any means but I still passed it off and I am super relieved. Phase 2 is next and it includes 2000 flash cards I need to memorize. hahah something tells me this phase will take a little longer but I'm going to do my best!
--A member fed us AMAZING food last week. It was this amazing salad. Super cool things were inside like things that grow on trees and then just all this fresh Taiwanese fruit that you can't buy in the states, like dragon fruit and lizi and stuff. The members also gave us more Costco muffins--still haven't finished last week's muffins either haha.
--A man came up to us after a night of contacting and said, "I am looking for Jesus Christ's church. I have heard about you missionaries. I only have 3 minutes but tell me about your church right now." It was nuts!!! I have never taught the 1st lesson faster in my life! (Thank you Chris Fryer for your 2 minute lesson drills). At the end we bore testimony about the Book of Mormon and he said, "I've never heard anything like this before. It hit me hard. Thank you." No thank you mister!
--My companion was asked to help the Primary with the piano for the Primary program. So yesterday at Church I attended Primary. I sat next to our investigator's 4 year old daughter and sang Primary hymns in Chinese. Oh my goodness, it was the most adorable thing of my life. It is so funny how no matter where you go in the world, the Church is always the same. There was the kid who sings at the top of his lungs, the stubborn girl who refuses to stand up and sing or give her talk, the kid that gets so nervous that he cries and runs away, the kid that YELLS in the mic, and the sweet spirit that accompanies these children when they sing "I am a Child of God." I loved it!
Well those are just a few fun things about this past week! This past week has been really hard. The end of this transfer is coming closer and closer. A goal president asks us to set is that by the end of our 2 transfers, the trainees should be ready to train (regardless of whether they get called or not). So this past week my trainer has been giving me more of the responsibility including leading lessons, leading how to get to places (which is really hard to do in Asia when you can't read the characters), leading English class, setting up meetings over the phone, planning out our's all been really really hard. I felt really lame this week because I kept saying to myself and my trainer "I don't know how to do this." Everyone kept telling me let the Spirit guide my actions but honestly I wasn't feeling any guidance at all. I felt like I was just left on my own to do these things. I have read and prayed a lot about the Spirit this week. I have had to remind myself that the Spirit is a subtle feeling. It is a feeling of goodness and if we do not act on it right away it fades. When we immediately act on the Spirit it will keep coming back and we need to keep following and acting on that feeling. The more we act on it, the more it comes back. I made a goal one day that I would never ignore a prompting and soooo much good came out from it! I was able to contact like 50 people in a few hours. This is how the Spirit guides. I am learning more about that every day. At the end of this transfer (NEXT WEEK), I want to feel confident enough that I can do this missionary thing. Gotta keep praying, praying, praying and following the Spirit.

This week we made a bunch of gratitude turkeys with our investigators.
Thats right, we are bringing Thanksgiving to Taiwan!!

Well that's my news for this week!! Till next time I love you alll :) 
Sister Tracy 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Making Taiwan's Earth Quake- November 4

Nimen hao! 
~That's right, you can probably already guess from the title that this last week Taiwan had an earth quake!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHH. It was actually super epic. It happened last Thursday when we were in the middle of this spiritually powerful lesson with an investigator. We were in the chapel (keep in mind that our chapel isn't actually a chapel, it's a 12 story business building) so we were 6 stories above the ground. We were talking about God's power and existence and then all of a sudden the whole room started to rock. We just kinda sat there in a daze (which is probably what you're not supposed to do in an earthquake) while the room continued to shift around until finally it stopped. My heart was racing for a second. It probably lasted 15 seconds. Our investigator was like, "Whoa! was that God trying to tell me something???" Hahaha yes. SO awesome. 

Our investigator's sweet jacket!

~Oh and the Earthquake happened on Halloween--extra scary! People here don't celebrate Halloween very much. Like, they are aware of the holiday and still put out candy and themed things but no one dresses up and little kids don't trick or treat. This town and Taiwanese people in general are very superstitious so they don't really like the holiday too much. But my companion and I decided to dress up--kinda. We wore matching outfits ha-ha. And we bought this really yummy pumpkin bread from the bakery nearby. I will send some pics. 

~Our apartment is super sketchy! Last week we had a gas leak and discovered we had no way to turn off anything and no CO monitor. So we frantically called the district leader, zone leader, assistant, and then the President (all after 11pm whoops) and eventually the solution was to go to bed with the windows open so we could circulate some air and not die in the middle of the night. Well, the next morning we woke up alive but I realized I was incredibly itchy and I found over 100 mosquito bites all over my body! Our windows have no screens so all of these bugs got in. Then yesterday the water shut off. So we bought ginormous water bottles and stood in the bathtub and dumped them on ourselves to shower. Oh my goodness--my life is an adventure... 

They fixed our gas leak with this white goo.

-We went to a National Geographic History Museum last PDay with my district. SOOOO COOL. They had all of these beautiful photographs up. Its amazing how beautiful and unique different regions of our world are. I love our world. 

A funny sign at the MRT (train station). this is basically my motto now.

--Went running in the morning and this man came running after me holding two pamphlets. "Wait wait!" He said. SO I stopped. He handed me these pamphlets about this asian martial arts and said, "I have seen you running every morning. You are very strong. I think you have what it takes. We invite you to join." He handed me these two pamphlets and bowed then ran off. SoI basically got invited to be a ninja. Well, my mission here is complete. I can come home now. 

--Our investigator finally set a baptismal date! Her husband is still opposed but we told her if she keeps the word of wisdom and sets this date--she will get baptized. We are sending the elders and a member of the bishopbric over to her house to talk to her husband. Ahhhh I am praying my guts out for her! I have so much faith in her though!
--Our adorable 11 year old investigator was able to come to church for the first time in months! Her mom finally let her come! Oh my goodness it was a miracle to see her there. We prayed intensely for her too and hope that she will be baptized too!
--There is this mother in my English class named Vivian. At the end of English I always show a spiritual video and share a thought. She asked me (this was about 3 weeks ago) if she could bring her Christian friend. So the week after this mother brought her friend Olivia (also a mother). I asked if we could meet with them and they said yes! Last Monday we went to Olivia's house. Vivian came too! They brought their kids and it was wonderful teaching two families. We ended up having a long lesson with them: Shared L1 and L2 and talked about temples. Well, this last Wednesday they brought 3 co-workers to English class and guess what--THEY ARE ALL MEETING WITH US TONIGHT AT OLIVIA'S HOME. I am sooooo excited! We are basically teaching a seminar tonight. Ha-ha sweet.
--We had a lot of contacting time last week. We were at the harbor and we walked up to this one girl (probably 25 years old). We said "hi" and talked for a sec really casually. I asked "Hey, how is your day going?" Her smile started to shake and then turn into a frown. "Not so good actually..." She started to cry and tell us about her troubles with work and her boyfriend and family stuff. "This is so strange I am so sorry for crying. I just feel like I can tell you guys this stuff for some reason." We gave her a hug and shared a message about prayer. She said she felt like God had forgotten her. We invited her to church and she said, "Okay I will come." SHE CAME! And guess what--she LOVED IT. People were so nice to her and loved her and she felt it! And afterwards she said, "I know God hasn't forgotten me now because he sent me you two angels and to this place where I have never felt more love in my life." Needless to say we were thrilled by that response. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and she is thrilled to read it. And she has a lot of time to meet with us so we are just super thrilled to share this message with her and see what God has in store for her life! 

A few of our investigators

I say this every week but I absolutely love these people and I know this is where I am supposed to be. It is still hard sometimes but that's just the way life is and it's how you learn anything so it's all good. These are my Taiwanese brothers and sisters and I will never forget any one of them. I've started this new tradition in my journal where each day I pick a person and write about something I will never forget about them in my journal. This mission is helping me learn to love people more. Love them as individuals. My companion and I were talking at dinner the other day about the people we serve and what we love about them. I felt a strong feeling within me say, "Never forget these people." I've made a commitment to never forget them. Look around yourself everyday and pay attention. Pay attention to the beauty around you and the people who absolutely love you and who you love. Don't forget that. They are an important part of life--your life. Cherish ever day. Time moves quickly. That is what I am learning. 

Extra pictures- Squid and whole fish

Clock store for MOM
Well this is long. Gotta send some pictures your way too and they take forever to load. 

Till next P Day!
Sister Tracy