Sunday, February 23, 2014

You are great!- February 24, 2014

Hey everyone! Thank you so much for the Happy Birthday wishes! It was an awesome week! I can feel your love from halfway across the world :) 
Sister Johansen, my wonderful companion!

Cool things from this past week: 
~RUNNING. I am so so so so happy because God sent me a companion who loves long distance running and the outdoors and exploring. So my beautiful comp, Sis Johansen, and I have decided to get up at 5:50 and go running all around Hualien every morning. IT'S A BLAST. I've seen the most beautiful things here. This place is seriously the best of all worlds. We've run by oceans, canals, parks, mountains, everything. It rocks! I love this place. I am telling everyone that I want to die here. I want to die and retire here. It's paradise. 

Beautiful Fields and Mountains

A cemetery in Taiwan--shrines for the dead

~Book of Mormon. I finished it. My testimony in it has been reaffirmed. I know that it is a true book and it can change lives. I encourage everyone to read it! A power will flow into your lives like you've never imagined!

~I am now reading the Bible all the way through. I bought a cute mini Chinese/English Bible and I am loving it! I'm starting to get into reading characters! :) So much fun.

~Packages. I got a bunch this week! Thank you family, Nina, the Hsu Family, and the Merrell Family! I have soooooo much chocolate and trail mix and literally I have 4 jars of Nutella. I will never go hungry again!
note on mail: now that I live in a faraway place its going to take even longer for me to get mail. So don't be surprised if I don't respond for a few months.

~Qiao Men. Sis Johansen and I have had the wackiest adventures this week qiao mening (knocking doors) Contacting here compared to contacting in JiLong is completely different. This is because most people here live in houses and large plantations and not a lot of people are out and about on the street. JiLong is a HUGEEEE city with tons of people on the streets. You just have to jump on people. Here it is a lot more lax. I like it a lot more. We went up to this village in the mountains the other day to contact. SOOOO much fun. Lots of animals (dogs, cats, pigs, birds, cows) were everywhere. We've had a lot of success in finding families up in those mountains that want to hear the Gospel. Lots of miracles on the way! 

A random cat
We contacted these woodshop people. So awesome. 
A dog that follows us, I named him Spunky

~Birthday. My birthday was really fun! My companion made me a banana milk shake and we ate star fruit. Also, at night my companion secretly got a few of the young women to buy a TARO CAKE for me and throw me a surprise celebration :) My favorite! Later at night I opened my packages. It was a great day :) 

Taro Cake! Yummy

My birthday dinner! The elders in our district made these realy random balloons and threw them on me!

~JEFFREY HOLLAND! So on Saturday we traveled for 5 hours to get up to Taipei and meet JEFFREY R HOLLAND. It was a miraculous experience that I will never ever ever forget. First thing we did was all the missionaries in Taipei got together and we stood in this auditorium in the Jin Hua chapel. I got to lead the music for the meeting. We sang "Hark All Ye Nations" as the general authorities walked in. First, Sister Holland walked in, then all of a sudden he was there. Elder Holland. My heart immediately lit up. I just had this overwhelming feeling--the same feeling I had after finishing the Book of Mormon this past week--the same confirmation feeling of the Holy Ghost--Yes, this is a man of God. We all took a mission photo with him and the general authorities--Elder Hallstrom and Elder Wilson and Elder Gong. So cool! Then we got to shake their hands. As it was approaching my turn to shake Elder Holland's hand I was frantically thinking in my head, "Oh man, this is a once in a life time chance to say ANYTHING to him. What should I say?" Suddenly it was my turn and I looked him right in the eye and said, "Hey! You're great!" He laughed and said, "Actually YOU'RE great, Sister Tracy!" ha-ha cool. I also told Elder Wilson that his glasses were cool. They were...The meeting with them was so inspirational. Something that really hit me hard was when Elder Holland was talking about the blessings from a mission and he pounded the pulpit and said, "You have NO IDEA. Literally, NO IDEA what the Lord has in store for you all." He also made a big point about how the leaders of this Church have given their lives for this Gospel, "This is not a fairy tale. Do you think we would give up all these things for a fairy tale? No. This gospel is true. This mission is not a fairy tale. This mission is REAL LIFE. It is the realest life you are ever going to live because this is the closest to living the truth that you are going to get to on earth." It is was really powerful. He talked a lot about being converted. I'd say that was the real take home message. What it means to be converted. What it means to align your will with the Lord's, it means living a life that actually matters. 
At the end of the meeting I was sitting on the stand and Elder Holland came up to me and shook my hand to thank me for leading the music. He whispered in my ear, "Remember Sister Tracy, you really are great." Hands down, coolest moment in my life. 

A sign they made for us at the Elder Holland Mission conference

This mission is the most precious time of my life. Its turned my life right side up. This Gospel can do that for everyone. 

The Hualien Chapel!

Love you all!
Sister Tracy 

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