Sunday, March 10, 2013

Just Livin and Lovin Life in Taiwan- January 13. 2013

wo qin ai de jiaren! WU AN! here are some updates:

* we found 2 more huge cockroaches in our apartment this week. one was in sister t's bathroom (they keep showing up in there and we are suspicious that there is a nest..a horrible nest of vileness.) every time we have to encounter the roaches we end up screaming a lot and there's a lot of throwing shoes and such.....strangely the fear, horror, and disgust that seizes my heart each time does not enhance my hand-eye coordination, but makes it even WORSE (i know that's hard to imagine). it just got me area i hope i get to serve in is nantou and it's like in the mountains and pretty rural....but i've heard the roaches are HUGE there. maybe i should stay in the polluted cities. like i have a choice....hahaha or maybe these encounters are preparing me for nantou!!!!! we'll see...

* we have been meeting with a mother and her daughter for a few weeks now, the Zhou family. (again, you know i never use real names, right?) the mom seems to really like learning about the gospel. her daughter is only 11 but she has an incredible grasp on the things we teach her. she always says incredible things that make us want to collapse to the ground in awe and amazement....things like this.... sister t. said "if a prophet came up to you and told you to do something, would you do it?" zhou meimei (little sister zhou): "yes." sister t.: "why?" zhou meimei: "because if a prophet is telling us to do something, it's like jesus is telling us to do something, so we should do it."

 * SHE’S TOTALLY INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!! it makes me feel a little embarrassed because i probably never had such a good grasp on the gospel until i was like 20. or 21. or maybe i still don't have a very deep grasp. the point is it's just amazing how firm her faith is when we haven't really known her that long. she's a perceptive little thing and the spirit is clearly expounding drastically on our teaching. it's a really incredible thing to see. we think zhou meimei can be baptized this week though she's kind of hesitant cause she wants to wait for her mom. mom’s been reading her scriptures every day and is reading the for strength of youth pamphlet. she's really sweet and every time i am with her she prays that i will be able to lose weight and not have the desire to eat so much thoughtful. :) what's so touching too is how much her daughter supports her. each time zhou meimei prays in our lessons she prays for her mom to be able to quit smoking and to be healthy. they have such a tender relationship.

* sister exchanges! this week we had sister exchanges. i went off to the land of D with sweet sister l. she has long red hair and is quite fairy-like. the whole experience felt very magical. d. is like an hour and a half away from my area. it looked exactly like a hayao miyazaki film!!! some of the people we went to visit lived out past these glorious fields of flowers and rice
paddies....and we were twisting through little mazes of concrete to find them. i wish i could have filmed it for you. one of the people we visited is a recent convert. she doesn't have much furniture so we sat on a blanket on the floor and she played the harmonica while sister l. and i sang the opening hymn. it was lovely and of course rekindled the fire inside me to master that little instrument!!!! mark my day i will be a proficient harmonica musician! AND THERE WILL BE JOY!!!! (prince humperdink).

 * probably the biggest news of the week is that sister t. and i were blessed to have a double baptism this past saturday! we fasted and prayed this month that we would be able to help 3 people get baptized and it first it kind of seemed like nothing was working out because a lot of our investigators have stopped meeting with us, and one who we were planning on her getting baptized we found actually doesn't live in our area....but then there was sister chen and yao meimei. yao meimei is a part member family. she actually had her baptismal interview months ago but didn't want to get baptized cause her dad wouldn't come to see it. a week ago her mom came up to us at church and was like "my daughter wants to get baptized this week. my husband said it's ok and he's going to come." so it was one of those things where we did absolutely nothing and God just handed us this gift and blessing to help someone come unto Christ through baptism. yao meimei was taught by other sister missionaries and we only met with her once (we actually tried to go see her last month but she refused to come downstairs because she’s extremely shy but when we went last week it was a huge miracle she talked to us a lot and was just a sweet and silly little 9 year old wearing her pink panther hat). on friday sister chen showed up to our book of mormon class and quietly mentioned that she had FINISHED READING THE BOOK OF MORMON!!!!!!!!!!! it only took her about THREE WEEKS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sister t. and i were stunned and then bragged about it to everyone in sight we were so thrilled and proud of her. then she said "i can't wait to read the next book, the doctrine and covenants." she's way too good to be true. her whole family ended up coming to her baptism as well even though she has kind of a challenging relationship with her father (who answered his phone in the middle of the service when sister t. and i were about to perform a singing duet accompanied by me on the uke...but it was all good he was telling sister chen's brother how to get to the church). it was so beautiful to see these two sisters so excited to be baptized and so determined to make their families a part of it. tons of people showed up too so that me, sister t., and two other elders in our district couldn't sit down and had to stand the whole time!! it was SO GREAT!!!

probably the only bad thing was that the guy who the ward arranged to perform the baptisms is a smaller fellow and sister chen is a bit sturdier so....he had to dunk her about 8 times to get her all the way under. sister t. and i were waiting in the bathroom and were cringing the whole time and praying like crazy. we felt so bad for her but she was totally great about it. when she bore her testimony after she said she almost didn't come and meet with us a second time but she came and we taught her the plan of salvation and it just felt different and that's when she really got interested. we accredit that miracle to sister luo, one of our dear friends in the word who accompanied our lesson that night. it was so fabulous and we were running around like crazy all night and were total stress balls but it turned out really nice.

 * this morning sister t. and i went to buy fruit and vegetables from vendors on the streets. it was a glorious feeling, picking through vegetables like a real taiwanese person....hearing motorcycles whiz by, dogs barking, people pushing past me (there are so many people here). and then we rode our bikes home and i just felt so quaint and like a little islander myself.

i better wrap this up now....we are going to have family home afternoon today with our district. there is a senior couple serving in our area and they invited us all over to have family home afternoon cause p day ends at 6 so we can't have family home evening. sister t. and i are bringing little red pears, guava, oranges, and these weird green apple things. sister w. (senior sister missionary) is making chili :) one more quote for the week that really got me thinking lately....

"So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God's commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage. And the tragedy of life is to fail in that test and so fail to qualify to return in glory to our heavenly home." -President Henry B. Eyring Don't be overwhelmed by the storms, many have come and many will come, but at some point they all end. and the greatest news of all is we never have to weather them alone (see ether 6). God is with us. he guides us and watches over us. he upholds this fragile creature you call your daughter, sister, and friend each day....i could not have kept going otherwise. the mission is a delicious challenge. i keep stretching bigger and bigger and sometimes i feel like I can’t go on but i never reach the breaking point because i am swallowed in Christ's love for me!! there are reminders of that love all around us. we just have to open our eyes, look with our hearts, and we will see them.

i love you all so much. so so much.
sister coco

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