Monday, March 31, 2014

Build a stake here- March 31, 2014

Wow, lots lots lots happened this last week...I don't even know where to begin.

Well first off: My baby is here! I am training Sister Williams, a very sweet 21 year old girl from West Jordan Utah. She goes to BYU studying Neuroscience. (aka genius) She is SOOOOOOO awesome! I could have not asked for a better trainee. She is so sweet and humble and willing to learn. She is really worried about the language but that's normal, she'll be fine! Training is a different experience. I lead everything now--places we go, schedule, lessons, setting up, phones...but it's okay! Sister Williams is a fast learner so she'll get there soon. Plus I don't feel all that stressed out...I think it's because we have the spirit in our companionship. :) It's really nice. 

Second: DENG KAI SHENG GOT BAPTIZED. Awww man he is a miracle. We barely made it back in time for his baptism! It was a miracle. We accidentally took the wrong train after picking up Sister Williams from Taipei. The baptism started at 7 and we weren't going to be back until like 6:50 and we had to bike her luggage over and everything. God wanted us to be at that baptism though so we got there right on time. Deng di xiong is cool and he is going to get the priesthood and be amazing. He is our miracle. 

Third: Since we were in Taipei all week and trying to get Sister Williams' dong xi together we didn't have a lot of contacting time. We were biking to the train station to pick up Sister Williams' bike and I had this tiny tiny feeling to talk to a boy washing his scooter across the street. At first I thought, "nah we need to get this bike." but then I remember something I read to Sister Williams during training. Some scripture about following the tiniest of promptings. If it weren't for that scripture I wouldn't have stopped. I said, "Yo, Sister Williams let's go talk to this guy about baptism." So we got off our bikes and walked up to him. I started with, "I don't know why but I felt like I should talk to you..." then we kept going and talijhng about the gospel. Turns out he was totally prepared to set a baptismal date right there on the street! It was a miracle! FOLLOW THE SPIRIT.
Fourth: English class was bomb. We had a Harry Potter party and we made coke explode with mentos as a "Potions class." The Taiwanese thought it was the funniest thing ever. Especially because it got all over my skirt. lol 

Ji An is doing really great. I love this place, I love my companion, I love this work. 

Please Pray for:
Sister Williams and me to find a family to introduce to the gospel.
Sister Williams to not be nervous about the language.
Sister Williams and me to bring back 2 LA Melchezidek priesthood holders.
We need to build a stake here!
Love you all,
Sister Tracy 

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm going to be a mom! (Missionary Mom)- March 24, 014

I'm going to miss these girls!  They are off to new places!

Nimen hao! 

First item of news: I'm going to be a mom! Yep, I am training this next transfer! Super exciting! I've actually known for over a week now (President told me at interviews) but I haven't been able to tell anyone other than my companion until now. I'm super stoked! My baby and I are going to have a blast! If there is anywhere I could choose to train it would be in the beautiful bountiful land of Ji An :) I head up to Taipei on Thursday to begin training and pick her up. I have only one goal for this baby--I want her to fall in love with her mission. How are we going to do that? I don't know---BUT We're going to do whatever God wants us to do and have fun every step of the way. The mission is a precious time. 

Second: They split up the branches last week so I am getting reassigned new boundaries/opening some new my trainee and I are going to be getting to know people together...even better! 

Third: THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS FOR KAI SHENG! So he didn't get baptized on Saturday cuz he relapsed last Monday (gotta be clean for a week). BUT As of Tuesday he has smoked ZERO cigarettes. The first day he smoked zero (last Tuesday) he called us up and was like "Zhong Jie Mei! Wo jintian meiyou chou yan! Wan quan mei you!" IT WAS AWESOME. Sis J and I were jumping on our beds yelling "Gong xi gong xi!!!" And if that weren't awesome enough, yesterday at church he comes walking in--new haircut, new suit, helping the elders carry in bread for the sacrament. I had to do a double take. I was like "Kai Sheng!! You are going to make an awesome priesthood holder!" He just smiled and said, "I can't wait to be baptized on Saturday!" Nothing is greater than seeing somebody's life improve through Christ. 

Fourth: Li Shi Hao also relapsed. We are still working really closely with him. He went 4 days without smoking though which is a HUGE improvment. He goes to church every week now though and goes to all the activities with his kids. Church members are very close to him. He's got it. 

Fifth: MIRACLE of MIRACLES -  remember those three kids that got baptized my first week here? We are working super hard with the mom and she by a complete miracle came to church yesterday. Sis J and I were also freaking out. Who thought that somebody coming to church would ever be so exciting? She's so close! 

Sixth: English class is the best thing ever. We had 5 of our English students/investigators get baptized this last week! I love them all and will never forget them! 

Our awesome english class students being Baptized!

Seventh: We had a duan chuan activity last week. (The youth came with us for a day to do missionary work) The first part of the day was rough because we got stood up and rejected a few times) but I said a super hard prayer that these girls would be able to see a miracle. We went knocking and the first door we knocked a SUPER golden new investigator opened the door and the girls got to bear their testimony and we invited him to baptism. Afterwards the girls were like, "WOW missionary work is so cool!" It is. :) 

Youth came with us to chuan the jiao (spread the church)

Eighth: I have been super sick all week with a ridiculous head cold. My voice gave out several times during lessons. If you don't already know, Taiwanese are BIG into herbal medicines. If they sense you are sick or hurt or have acne or anything they WILL give you a medley of herbal medicine suggestions. Let's just say in the past week I've been given ground up mushrooms, a chain of dr mario pills, packets upon packets of powder, herbal aroma remedies, you name they work? Kinda. 

Medley of herbal medicines I collected in a day of contacting

This week was awesome. LOTS more to come. 

Fun Party!

So many Asian children!

Please pray for:
Deng Kai Sheng
Li Shi Hao
Zhang Bo Lin
My future trainee

Love you all!
Sister Tracy 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

7 miracles- March 17, 2014

Nimen to the hao da jia! 
This last week was a week full of miracles! 
1. We have this 27 year old male investigator named Deng Kai Sheng. He is a walking miracle. He just showed up at the chapel one day and told us God led him to us cuz he needs to make a change in his life. We were like, "Alright, yeah!" So we've been meeting with him a few times every week and he goes to every activity and is super cool! Right now he's in the process of overcoming smoking. He went from smoking 5 sticks to 1 stick in one week!!! We are working so hard with this guy. We even made these colorful fake cigars with gum and scriptures inside. He says praying every day, reading scriptures every day and going to church activities help him not smoke or have that uncomfortable feeling when he doesn't smoke. What a guy! His baptism is this Saturday so we need everyone to pray for him cuz he's gotta go this whole week without smoking. He can do ittttttt! 
2. Li Shi Hao is a man who is divorced and he wants to be baptized so bad so that he can be sealed to his family. He also has a smoking problem. His kids have already been baptized. He's been through 6 sets of missionaries. Yesterday we read Mosiah 5 together and told him, YOU CAN DO THIS. We all set a baptism date and a baptism interview date. He's gonna do it! Everyone pray for him too! He needs to go completely off by the 22nd. His date is the 29th. 
3. We had stake conference this weekend and the whole east coast gathered in our chapel. Which means we had 10 sisters sleeping in our apartment over the weekend. IT WAS A PARTY. What an awesome bunch of people I will never forget. They made some big changes down here in Hualien. They are getting ready to split the stake and our branch into 3 branches. So we have a new set of people to look after. It really impacted our area. Its like we are opening a new area almost. Lots of work to be done. 
A view from our apartment of Hualien.

4. We got to go to a primary activity with our RCs and it was great!   We played the game Ooga Booga and the Ninja game. The kids thought it was the funnest thing in the world. They didn't even wanna stop to eat cookies. Sis Johansen and I know how to bring the party. 

5. We also went to a YSA activity with Kai Sheng and watched 17 miracles. Best was in English. It was a nice tender mercy to sit back and listen to English for awhile. 
6. I've started learning how to read characters. I was able to read a whole page from the Book of Mormon the other day and understand it! Wooooo! this language is the best! 
7. This last week Sis Johansen and I went contacting and we saw a man sitting in an alley cutting up a piece of wood with a saw. We went over and invited him to baptism and he was like, "you are brainwashed" and was making fun of us and bashing us and stuff. We took a moment of silence to try and listen to the Spirit to know what to say. I had a thought...give him a picture of Christ. So we pulled one out and I was like, "I know you think we're crazy but just take a second to think about who you are, where you are, and what you are doing. You are a man sitting on a brick cutting up a piece of wood all day. (pointing to Christ) This man knows you're better than that." He sat there in silence for a second and then took the picture and stared at it for a long time. Finally he said,  "I think I believe this." 
Pray for this guy too. His name is Chen Yue Han.

We saw this house with rice patties, while contacting.

So stoked for this next week. We've got lots of miracles to look forward to. PING AN. 

More Pictures from this week:

i love my zone.

We hung out around the canal and decided to be dragons at the temple

We ran into our english student (the asian man) He is the coolest dude ever. His name is Silence.

                                                My recent convert is obessed with taking photos with me, she is so great!


Sister Tracy 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What I love about being a missionary- March 10, 20114

Nimen hao! 
Stuff is good! Not anything super special to report other than I did a lot of exploring this week and had a lot of fun and we have a lot of amazing people getting ready for baptism! 
This last week my comp and I got really sad cuz I officially hit my 1/2 mark and she hit her year mark we made this list and it made us feel better. Thought I would share it with you all: 
Things I love about being a missionary 
~Learning to put others before yourself--but actually... 
~The satisfying feeling at the end of every day 
~Victory bike rides home 

~Developing a skill (especially Chinese) every single day 
~Eating whatever I want for meals 
~No money stress whatsoever 
~A full hour every single day to study the gospel 
~Having a cirlce of friends no matter what (District) 

Hanging out with my District

~No cell phones. You have to be where your feet are 
~That tremendous leap in your heart when someone says "Yuan yi!" (I'm willing to keep that commitment!) 
~Looking out over people at sacrament meeting and seeing how I could help them 
~The expanded perspective I have of people's infinite potential and worth 
~Having something to do everyday 
~Being with people long enough and knowing them well enough to see them change 
~Looking out at the view from my 10 story apartment 
~Having people come to me for help 
~Feeling useful (translating,connections with people, giving others comfort) 
~No concern about impressing anyone ever 
~No occasion to compare 
~Getting away with outfit repeating 
~Living an incredibly simple lifestyle--eat, teach, sleep, repeat 
~That familiar stab of longing for home--It's good--deepens my love for friends and family 
~Making the best of friends in a far away place 

~Finding the tiniest windiest roads and the most clever shortcuts 
~Understanding the Atonement better 
~The peace the underlies my everyday life 
~Daily feeling of accomplish/progression 
~Being a part of a cause--the greatest and noblest cause of them all 
~Being interconnected at church 
~Biking around--stopping at fruit markets and buying the most random fruit 

We found this store that sells owls and bracelets!

~Getting up early in the morning--we get to see the sunrise 
~Having something to look forward to every week--P DAY 

Taroko Gorge! One of the Worlds most famous parks! 

~The magic of a letter from far away 
~Every day an adventure 

Wild Monkey!

We found Paradise!


~Looking at all the beautiful flowers and ponds outside of people's houses 
~How involved we get into the culture since we're in the homes and talking to them about deep things every day 
~When an investigator understands a principle you teach 
~Saying first prayers EVER with people 
~When they feel the Spirit 
~Seeing miracles literally every single day 
~Seeing how following commandments actually brings blessings (in my own life and the lives of others) 
The list is to be continued! 
I love you all! 
Sister Tracy 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I love it!- March 3, 2014

I don't have a lot of time to write this week. Today a member is taking us to Taroko Park! It's the most famous National Park in Taiwan and I am super duper STOKED. I'll have to make up this short email with the awesome pictures I am going to take today. 

Just thought I would share this special experience I had this last week. A few weeks ago we miraculously bumped into this girl from Arequipa, Peru (Kohler!) named Carla. She speaks Spanish and really good English and she is here for an exchange program learning Chinese (super duper smart girl) We found out she was Catholic but she had interest in talking to us about the Church. It took 4 different times to finally meet up with her at her house (1 time hopping her fence and trying to knock on her door) because her host family's house is super fenced up and impossible to knock ha-ha. But we FINALLY just showed up at her house when the gate was open and miraculously we had a member with us who could speak English. We knocked on her door and she came outside on her porch to talk to us. She was super stressed cuz she was preparing for this huge speech for school. We told her, "We know you're really busy but we need to share this message with you." She said we could if we were short. We began teaching Lesson 1 and it was the most powerful thing of my life. The spirit was overwhelmingly strong. When we were done teaching about Joseph Smith and modern day prophets and the Book of Mormon we asked her if she believed what we had just taught her was true and she said, "Yes, I believe and I want to know more." In her prayer at the end she said "I am thankful Heavenly Father that you sent these sisters here. I have been distant from you for a long time but I don't want to be far anymore. I know their message is true. I feel so peaceful now. I can go back inside and feel peaceful. Thank you thank you for sending these girls."
It's moments like these where I remember why I am here. I love this work so much. I love it I love it I love it. :)
Sister Tracy 

Adventures from last p-day!   

So Beautiful!

Look at this leaf!

Sis Johansen leading us with her "spider stick" to kill all the spiders in the way.

My Future home in the woods? i think yes. i want to retire here