Monday, July 12, 2010

All in A Missionaries Day: Baptizing Four Then Hearing President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

You know what? Yesterday Dieter F. Uchdorf came to our mission...and spoke to us...and between the meeting with us missionaries and the member meeting, it hit me that I am going home. I guess it hit with perfect timing because I had promised my companion we would not even focus on that I was going home until after all the baptisms...and, they all happened. The baptism by water and the baptism by fire...and only hours later listening to a prophet of the Lord speak to us about how going home was both a happy and a sad thing...and to not waste;our time, it hit me that my time was one more week. Don't get me wrong, it's not like that I think that my mission is over...I will put my heart into this week as much as I can...but now with this Preparation day, and me interviewing with President Sunday...I have the exit interview letter to write...stuff to pack...and about10 people who have reminded me a couple times that if I don't write for their mission bye bye books they will be sad...I've got my lunches and dinners...nights and mornings all cut out for me! But yeah, it hit me yesterday and it was kind of a weird feeling. The last two weeks I said I'd let myself feel that way, but it didn't dawn on me that I really WOULD until it happened. Crazy crazy. I'll have a lot of decisions encountering me when I get home, with the news of the economy, etc etc....but all and all, if I have learned one thing on my mission, it is that Heavenly Father loves me and I will be okay. So onto the stuff you guys all actually want to hear instead of my whole mind thought process...That stuff is boring.

This week was a pretty good week, but it really gave me a testimony about just how many people are prepared to hear this gospel. At this point, everyone who we meet with who starts progressing are given baptismal dates...they almost all are progressing, and a good portion of them are getting into coming to church habits. We met a lady named Huang Shijin just 2.5 weeks ago. She's already come to church twice, and came with her son to the Uchdorf member meeting yesterday. After attending the baptism Saturday, felt she was ready to set a date and prepare for it. Her son set a date as well. He was the cutest kid I ever met. He'd really never heard of Heavenly Father before. So we explained to him prayer and Heavenly which mother had to speak in very very layman terms and explain to him that there was a spirit inside of him and that Heavenly Father was his father of that, and that she was the mother of his body. I guess he prayed in the car all the way home to get to know Heavenly Father, then when he got home he told his father he had something called a spirit and that it was inside of him and that's what helped him think and went on and on about it. Haha. His dad was pretty much just like...okay...but to hear Shijin tell us about her son I was just super touched. To know that we are teaching a 9 year old child about his Heavenly Father is amazing. I know this knowledge will help him for the rest of his life. This gospel is TOO amazing. Seriously.

On Tuesday we had the fun experience on going on splits with the members. I've heard this happens a ton in the states, but here in Taiwan it is a rare thing. I've only done it twice. We have members come and attend our lessons a good amount...but splitting is something that is rare...However, especially back when we were three people, President had told us we had 2 very experienced missionaries in one area and we should use this to help the area we arraigned with a member going on her mission soon...and with one of my recent converts Whitney to do splits. That day we had too many appointments to cover ourselves so it seemed perfect. We gave Whitney and I all the church appointments, and the responsibility to go drop off some notes not too far from the church...and my companion and Caitlin Zhuo (who is going to Manchester England) took the bikes and did some house visits. In the end, quite a few people ended up canceling and changing appointments...but it was still a super great exchange. I think Whitney had a really good time. They attended District Meeting with us...which was fun, 10 people in our district that week! We already have a huge district...hehe. Then, we did role plays during District of course. Me, I'm not a HUGE role play fan. I'll do them, because they help your teaching and your plans and they are an improvement opportunity...but I'm never like...YES..role play time. I'm just like...okkkaaay role play. But Whitney loved them. Haha, so cute, it helped me appreciate role plays more, because she was like, "Is district meeting always like that? It was so fun! They taught us how to be missionaries and all those games were super fun." Haha and then role plays were games. So yeah, Tuesday was a really good experience. It helped our week a lot, because we weren't in our area most of Wednesday or Sunday...because we had Zone Conference this week, as well as the Uchdorf thing.

So yeah, Wednesday was my last Zone Conference. It was a little strange to me to be in the zone conference I was in. My name wasn't even on there to give my farewell testimony...but President announced that my name was on Xinzhu's list and I would be up there with the other 16 missionaries going home to bear our testimony. He also asked us to all have good attitudes about the emergency transfers taking place in our mission. He clearly announced that they would still be taking place and that you should love your area and cherish it, because you could be leaving tomorrow. I learned a lot from this last 2 weeks. I can safely say this changed my entire mission. So I really respected that President came out and told us that transfers were happening, would continue to be happening..and to trust him. I think that helped a lot of people who kept wondering what was happening. It helped me too. It was really cool to have 17 of us bearing our testimonies....out of the 25 leaving, there was a large chunk in that conference. I listened attentively to these Elders and Sisters. I felt the spirit strongly as they bore their testimonies. I was a little nervous myself to get up because I felt like I was going to cry...and I hate crying!...but I just teared up for a minute...was silent for a second, then pulled myself together...haha. I was SO not a crier before my mission, but I am totally more prone to crying these days. I wonder if it's a growing up thing, or a missionary thing. We'll see.

And then Saturday....Saturday was a special day. SO much stress...but exciting too! It was a little cramped for time with a baptism scheduled for 4 at one church, and the next one at 6...but a member took us to the church and we got there by 5:15. Everything worked out pretty good. It was an special day. It was the first time on my mission I saw so many baptisms in one day. I'm sure other missionaries have...but it was my first time...and the ward was excited. Especially Xinpu, because 3 of the baptisms were in Xinpu and the ward members were just really excited...and you could feel their excitement. I felt so much love on that day...and it was a special experience to be a part of, I felt the spirit strongly as they got up and shared their testimonies after their baptism...but hands down my favorite part was the next day, as they got the gift of the Holy Ghost, to hear the blessings that Heavenly Father had in store for three of his beloved daughters who had entered in by the way. I was a little sad we didn't get to see Wu Sijing's confirmation...but there was no way to be at both wards that day, because we had to leav Missionary meeting with Uchtdorf...but that was probably pretty super awesome too.

Well, I would tell you all about what Uchtdorf told us missionaries...but there is too much. I'll give dad my planner with the notes in it next week and he can transcribe if he so wishes. But I will mention one thing he said that actually, I strongly agree with, because in my first interview with President Nielson...back in the day...he told me that we were all God's Investigators. I spent a long time understanding lesson one principle one in relation and terms to me. I wanted to know that my life and what I did was because I loved God...and to love God, I needed to truely understand my relationship with him. It was an interesting thing, and I'm still learning...but it really struck me when Uctdorf said, "Be your first and strongest convert. I know that I do not want to be a Sunday Latter-day Saint. I don't want to just act like a member, but BE a member. I'm still in a process. I think it will take a lifetime. I'm more used to reading my scriptures and praying daily, but sometimes it still isn't the most earnest I could be. I still have TONS of room for improvement. My whole life, I've believed that a mission is just another step in our spiritual growth. I doubt I will think this mission is the most spiritual stage of my life...because I believe every day I become better, but I've definitely learned a lot. I'm still the basic core of who I am and was in the past, but I'm better in some ways, and more experienced in others. This is a wonderful work. I'm grateful for my time here in Taiwan. I'm grateful I still have some time left.

I'll see you all next week. I love you. Make sure you are at the airport in time. We leave Taiwan at 11:30 at night on Tuesday. I have a layover in California and then another one in North Carolina...then last I fly into Charleston I believe I should arrive at 10ish on Wednesday morning after about 22 hours of travel...That is not good if you do not have that information. They have the should have been sent there. If you do not have it yet, please call the mission home as soon as possible and get that information. Also, please inform the bishop and stake president of my coming home. I would like to be released on that Wednesday if possible, I think it would be weird to just bum around home as a missionary too long. Missionaries don't bum around, but I'd like to for a day or two. HAHA. Also I want to make sure everything is good for my homecoming on Sunday. I want our family to do a musical number too. Is that possible? Can you ask?

Xiexie nimen!

Ai ni!

Sister Flora Bruno

Monday, July 5, 2010

Staying Focused and Finishing Strong at the End of Her Mission

Okay, we are coming into the end of my mission and everyone who emailed this week told me to focus at the end of my mission, so that's nice of you all to try to help me focus but I thought you should know you don't even need to tell me that because I am SUPER FOCUSED. And do you want to know why? Because this area is CRAZY busy. Haha. It's actually a really good area to end my mission in, because I have no idea when I'm going to have time to start to worry about going home, and my companion and I agreed we won't even think about it until next week on Preparation day. Plus I have a surreal view on time, so even though I know I'm going home soon, it still feels kind of as far away as it did back in transfer 1. Kind of like leaving the MTC, I didn't quite believe it would ever happen, until I was in Taiwan and with my trainer, and not understanding anything anyone was saying.

Sister Zheng was transferred this Wednesday to a new area not far from here called Shuanghe. A lot of people have been moving in the middle of the transfer. Today we were called and they needed the extra bed because someone else is moving in in another area as well, so there are moves like crazy, and my only Taiwanese companion was only with me for 4 days. Haha. Now it is just Sister Andreasen and me.

Okay, funny thing about my companion and me. We have a connection. Yes, I know this is a small Mormon world, but I rarely actually find my connections with people. Thursday we were the Temple Tour Sisters...and Thursday is a slow day, so we got some time to chat, as a threesome that was a little harder to get done...but Thursday we just sat and chatted, and she was telling me about how she feels about her future..and at one point she said..."It's not like I need to be the future Supreme Court Justice's wife..." And I said, "Ha, I had a good friend in High School who had that ambition." And she said, "Actually in college I did too...Wait...what is your friends name?" And I just knew she was expecting the exact name I said, for some reason...and I was like David James.... And of course she freaked out and said she knew exactly what I was going to say because she knew I went to high school in Texas. It was crazy...because I guess they were super good college friends, he was her home teacher and all, and spent a lot of time with her and her roommates...So then that started a good conversation with a couple David James stories, and I showed her the thing Gigi sent me with his wedding picture that night...and then from there we talked about other things...and now we are super good friends and maybe just maybe chat TOO much in companion study and before bed (my journal is getting neglected, my companions are just too fun to talk to in that 30 minutes at night and in the morning time). But it's super fun and we have been working like crazy and seeing a lot of miracles in Banqiao. That is the next topic.

This week we have been having lessons like crazy, and have been rushed and just...BUSY...and it's a super good busy, because this week, we have had 4 people pass their baptismal interviews. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is. The sisters here have been doing super good work, and now we are just seeing everything set up...Heavenly Father is really blessing this area and these people are solid people too. Three people will get baptized Saturday at 6...and 1 person at 4. So Saturday is going to be quite an experience...a member has to drive us from one church to the other so everything can happen in correct timing.

One is a Yan Jingmin. She just got married recently to a member...and at first I guess she moved slowly with being busy with the wedding and all, but now she is pregnant and really has a desire for eternal families. She was met with missionaries 6 times only..the large part of her fellowshipping was by her husband of course. I was there for the last lesson and going over the interview questions. She passed with no problems and is excited for her husband to baptize her this Saturday at 6.

The next one is Wu Chunmei. Elder Wolfley, from my Xinzhu district actually found her last transfer with his trainer Elder McNair. It was the first door he ever knocked. This lady is a cute old lady. They've been working with her quite awhile, because her memory is not the best, but she's really good, she remembered everything for the baptismal interview, as long as she could use her pictures. I think she is actually super cute and has good starting of a testimony. She is super willing to come to church, and I'm sure they will be seeing her at church every week, because she loves church. I think it's really amazing when investigators love church because I think that is an important thing for the conversion process is a desire to go to church.

Also, Wu Sijin passed her interview. She is a really cute girl who is the girlfriend of a returned missionary from the Taizhong mission. So, like Jingmin, her boyfriend will baptize her and is the big fellowshipper in this happening. I think she is really strong because Sijin had to give up smoking to be baptized. I know that is not an easy thing to do, but she is a strong girl and she has a lot of faith, so she has been doing it now...and is prepared to not smoke again.

The last one is the one I feel the most personal connection to, her name is Huang Yawen....I've been here for all but two of her lessons...I just missed lesson 1 and 2/WOW. Her getting baptized this week is actually super fast she's been to church just the required three time and this week is a week earlier than her date, but after what happened yesterday, I know she is ready for it. I've never had someone baptized this fast, but Yan Jingmin and Wu Chunmei are also in the same ward as Yawen. The Xinpu ward. This is the ward my companion and I decided I would just go to for the 4 Sundays I was here in Banqiao, because that way I could be closer to the ward members. So, I went alone to Xinpu on Sunday...and had some scheduling issues, with Chunmei not being able to do it too late at night, and Jingmin's husband not getting off work until later at night, so finally after some stressing scheduling conflicts, I was able to figure out 6. At this point (I kept being pulled out of class by the bishop, MM leader, etc) they asked me about Yawen's baptism...which was scheduled for the 15th...because the ward has a camping activity the 16th and 17th, so that week baptisms have to be Thursday. They asked me if we could just move up Yawen by 5 days. They thought it would be nice to have all the Sisters in that ward get baptized the same time. I said I could see what I could do...but I was a little nervous. I called my companion and she said to just ask Yawen how she felt and if she was ready, interview today, and if not, we'd interview Thursday...and call for permission at that point to see if she could get baptized or not...

So I sat down with Yawen after Relief Society and asked her how she was feeling about baptism. She said the closer she got the more nervous she felt, and she was scared of enduring to the end a little bit. I was honest with her and told her that the leaders in the ward wanted her to think about being baptized with the other two sisters that Saturday. She asked what she would have to do in order to do that...and lucky, by inspiration I'm sure....we were not going to teach fasting the time before we'd met, but she ended up asking what it was when she saw it on the tithing slip, so my companion and I split so I could finish teaching her about she had finished the discussions at that time....well, since she'd finished the lessons, I told her we could go over the interview questions and see how we we discussed the interview questions, and her only problem was the last question about enduring to the end. So, I told her about what baptism was, and had a baptism and confirmation lesson with her, sharing in 3 Ne 11 exactly what would happen...and the Spirit was just there really strong, because after we prayed, she said she felt ready to have the interview, whenever we could schedule it with Elder we waited for him to come out of his lesson, and before he went home for lunch...he interviewed with her....

I felt further that she was ready after the interview, she had told E. McNair (poor Elder, he had to do 4 interviews for us this week!)that her favorite part of the week was Sunday at church. I love that these investigators love church. They are too awesome! Her weakness he said was that she hadn't really prayed about the Book of Mormon yet. So, as she was leaving, we had a 5 minute conversation, and I in addition to Elder McNair invited her to pray about the Book of Mormon...and it's truth. That night, she went to the fireside in Taibei with us, and walking there, she shared with me that she had been fasting that day (she ate breakfast and then started fasting) and that when Elder McNair and I both asked her to pray about the Book of Mormon, she felt it was something she needed to do during her she went home and knelt and said a prayer...and then continued reading where she was...which happened to be 2 Ne 3...and she found her answer in vs. 11 and 12. I was amazed that she understood those those verses in the scriptures...she is too amazing...and the Fireside was on the Holy Ghost that night, and just just felt like everything that happened on Sunday was Heavenly Fathers answer to her that is is ready to get baptized and continue preparing to go to the temple one day. I'm super excited about this week, we have hardly any spare seconds and lessons scheduled by the half hour...but I know that we have a lot of work to do to make sure that these people have a good day on Saturday and everything continues to go through. I saw so many miracles this week, but it's been an hour and so I can't even write them all! This is a great area and I'm glad to be here for the last couple weeks. I'll write again next week...see you then!

Love you all!

Sister Flora Bruno.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Emergency Transfer: 7th and Final Area for Taiwanese Sister Missionary

Hello everyone! Well....this week has been quite the experience. Not even kidding you. There's a new feeling to this transfer...because I just got moved to my 7th area on my mission! How's that for a kicker. Haha. I'm now in Taipei county again. It's the closest to the city I've ever been, and it's a unique experience. I really loved my old area and district and I had a really hard time leaving, I won't lie. I've been a little emotionally up and down lately, but today I talked to President, and I'm really grateful because now I know that this is the right thing for me...and that it was Heavenly Father's very unique way of answering all my prayers, hopes,and dreams. I miss Sister MacIsaac, we were able to become really good friends in the time we were together...and so it was crazy to only have been together for such a short amount of time, but I will see her in 3 weeks when we both are on the way home. It's a little hard to leave an area in the middle of a transfer, but I feel like this area is a really great area as well and we can see a lot of really awesome things the last couple weeks of my mission.

Right now I am in a threesome companionship with Sister Andreason and Sister Zheng. Sister Andreason and I were together in the MTC, and there was one night we had a very special bonding experience that I still remember. I am excited to get the chance to work with her. She is such an amazing teacher! We had a lesson on Sunday right after church, and were were able to teach the entire 1st lesson clearly and simply in only 18 minutes! It was kind of a miracle to me. I've always struggled to get the whole lesson out in the 30 minutes they invited us to when we were able to do it in 18...I was the best possible way. I'm going to learn a lot about how to be a better teacher this week. There is also Sister Zheng she is my first Taiwanese companion. She turned in her mission papers when I was in Zhongli from that ward! She is a super diligent and enthusiastic missionary. I'm excited to be their companion. I think I can learn a lot. Also, I think we can try to get the members involved and help this area grow even more. There are two wards in different chapels, so having 3 will make it a lot easier to get someone to each church every week. We've decided I'll just stay at the same ward...since I have 3 more Sundays left, and that's okay with me. They all were super nice to me and I think I'll like it a lot.

This Saturday, Hong Ruiyin got baptized. It truly was a miracle. We didn't know all week if her mom would sign the permission form or not. But she did! I left Xinzhu Saturday afternoon, so I didn't get to attend the baptism...but I was grateful for the opportunity to see that miracle. I've met a lot of Young Women who investigate the my experience if the parents opposed, they had to wait until 20. This was the first time I saw a parents opposition be overcome. It was amazing when we met with her mom and I felt the Spirit really strong at that time. I know that Heavenly Father's plan was for her to get baptized and I'm so very excited for her. My companion was estatic. I think she needed that miracle. I know God loves her and is watching over Xinzhu and the work.

I had a super cool contacting experience In Xinzhu when we were out contacting this week. I think companion was writing a card for an investigator and we went to Xiangshan because when I was there in Xinzhu, I had a special feeling about that area...and I saw a girl locking up her bike, and I felt impressed to go talk to her. We ended up talking for 15 minutes and she agreed to come to church on Sunday. She was sincerely interested...and it was just a cool experience. I hope she came to church on Sunday. I think she probably did!

Well, I'll tell you more about this area next week, I just got here Saturday night and don't know a lot, but I'm sure next week there will be a ton to talk about.

Love you all!

Sister Flora Bruno.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taiwanese Missionary Preparation for Speaking in Church for the update this can't be super long because we are just emailing in two sessions today. We had like 15 minutes earlier, and now we have 30 more minutes right was kind of a crazy day. But fun and we did a LOT. Not even kidding, we did like 4 appointments. We didn't want to disappoint anyone.

This week, it has definitely become hot in Taiwan. The concrete jungle is back in full force. I'm not sure why, but I sweat like CRAZY this summer. Last summer I was not that bad. Today, we biked from Zhubei into Hsinchu(Xinzhu) pretty quick to get to lunch with the Elders, and when I got there, Elder Du took one look at me and was like, "Fu Jiemei, zao an! Ni ganggang xizao le ma?" "Sister Bruno, Good morning. Did you just shower?" I was a little embarrassed and super hot, so I went to the bathroom, where I discovered my face was COMPLETELY red and literally dripping with sweat. I looked like I just stuck my face in a bucket of water. Even my hair (just newly cut) was dripping with sweat and windblown kind of crazy.
It was pretty nasty. Even now as I write this, my hair is kind of wet from sweat. Basically, summer is here.

Getting to know this area for me has been a little bit of a trial. I don't know the roads or the people...and I struggle a lot trying to know what to do to help in my last month here...but I'm trying to do the best I can. I have a lot I can still improve. I remember talking to a senior sister last transfer about the end of my mission, and she suggested that I get a priesthood blessing. Last transfer, I kept putting it off and thinking I'd ask later. This last week, my zone leader and I were talking about desire and determination and stuff, and some of the stuff he said reminded me of what the senior sister said last I asked for a Priesthood blessing from the zone leaders. At the time, I felt impressed to ask it from a Taiwanese Elder, who has pretty amazing English. Of course it is not perfect, but mine isn't either. It was a very unique experience for me. Sometimes it's hard for me to communicate in a language not as close to my heart...but to hear someone else doing it was really touching to me. Through the power of the priesthood, Heavenly Father told me a lot of things that are helping my desire and determination to endure to the end. My whole mission I've thought as the first 3 weeks of a transfer period as up weeks, and the last 3 weeks as down I focus on different things accordingly. This week I'm going to do my best to talk to as many people as I possibly can and help this areas investigator pool the best I can. I don't know what kind of success I will see, but I'm sure Heavenly Father will give this area what it's I'm going to trust in that and let finding be my focus for this week. After that of course I will find, but I will not let this be my prime desire and focus. I think we need to do a lot of less active work in following weeks to prepare this area for the possibility of no sisters. We still don't know what will happen.

This week my focus was more on member work. Elder Yeh our zone leader, and one of the 3rd ward missionaries was asked to select a missionary to talk on church on Sunday about missionary work. He said he prayed about it and felt impressed to ask me. I spent the following three days in personal study trying to prepare the 12 minute talk I was asked to, but I was still far from finished. I really felt a lot of pressure and just wanted to pass it over to someone else. But of course I couldn't. Saturday and Sunday morning, I spent pretty much any spare time we could afford to give me writing and translating the talk. I usually would just write a testimony in straight Chinese, because my English being so advanced in a writing setting...and I can't speak Chinese quite like I do English...But I was impressed to write it first in English, as to clearly frame what I was trying to say in order to help the members desire. This area has changed mission (between Taiwan mission and Taizhong mission) quite a few times. Thus standards change and also there is a lot of people who were baptized and later become the members just need a little bit of support and help with their missionary work and desires. So I felt some pressure to try to help them. I really felt like this could be something in the small time I'm here to help this area. I stressed over the talk a lot. I even stayed up for awhile Saturday night to make sure I could get it done. I had a lot of help from my district members and Sister Zou and Maddassay (sp?). I don't think it would have been possible to finish without all of their help...but in the end it turned out okay. I definitely felt that the talk I prepared had a lot more power in English, but maybe that is just because English is the language of the heart, so I understand and feel the power of the Holy Ghost in my own tongue. Elder Yeh said he watched people and that he thought it turned out really well. I was so nervous I was having trouble following the lines of pinyin and scribbles I had on the paper, so I'm not sure my audience effect, but I definitely learned a lot from writing the talk, and I feel like I accomplished something, getting up in front of the ward and talking to them for 12 minutes. I spoke about the Love of God and how when we honestly feel this love that God has for us, we desire to share it..So we must first find within ourselves the desire to be worthy and believing enough to feel of God's that we can through this love obtain a desire to share. It was interesting to me...I probably spent over 12 hours in a couple days pondering and pouring over what I could share...and in a quick 12 was just done with. It's interesting how that happens, but I'm glad for the talk at conference that talked about how his mother used what she prepared in the lessons teaching. I think I can continue to use what I learned as I teach my that's really good.

Something else I thought was amusing this week on Sunday...In Relief Society in the 3rd ward, at the very end of class (it was going over and the teacher was trying to end it) a girl asked if she could please comment and went OFF...about reading scriptures and praying..but it was a totally legit and GOOD comment. She talked about how more and more Latter-day Saints are becoming Sunday members. They don't read their scriptures, they sometimes remember to pray...and then Sunday comes and they go to church and read and pray that day...and then forget the rest of the week. I realized that's been true of me in the past, and it's an easy pattern to get into. It was unique to watch this sister comment because she was SO passionate about it, it was impossible not to sit there and listen. It really impacted me. I was grateful for her comment...even if I was laughing as the teacher tried to wrap up the lesson and people kept going. Hehe. Being a teacher is hard!

In other news, this week, Hong Ruiyin (Ranae) went to interview. She passed her interview, but her mother still has not signed the baptism form...and we don't know what's going to happen with that...So we are doing our best to encourage open communication, and just hope that Heavenly Father will help Ranae communicate the feelings of her heart, and that her mother will be softened. She is supposed to get baptized Saturday, but because of permission, things are entirely up in the air still.

This week, I have really realized how blessed I have been blessed this transfer with people. I have an amazingly supportive district. They really helped me out a lot with my talk, and just are super supportive all the time. They are always willing to help us out and really look out for my companion and me. It's definitely interesting because every companionship has two people with really unique and different personalities...but we function and help each other....and I really love my district a lot. I realize that your whole life people are going to be different, and not every personality is your zui xihuan de (favorite) but you can get along with everyone, if you are willing to love people for their strengths, and just laugh at or excuse their weaknesses. Last transfer I used to get mad at the Elders being perpetually late...but I realize I'm less easily angered as I used to be. God's beautiful gift to me. I actually improve in my Christlike attributes after all! And this transfer I think it's kind of funny to know that even if we are ten minutes late, we'll be there before them, so no problem. Haha. Okay little problem because I hate being late...but it can be amusing if you change your attitude is all I mean. Poor Elders are just SUPER busy. (and stuff always comes up) They are good missionaries.

Well, it's time to get out there and work for awhile. See you again next week! Don't forget to write!

Love you,

Sister Fu.

A funny quote for the week that you might not understand, but Elder Weinberger wanted to know if it would be in my blog, so I decided to do it, and start a quote of the week before it's too late...

"Sister Bruno, you could never be a prerserver!!!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Missionary Report from Xinzhu, Taiwan Taipei Mission

Okay! This week I'm spending time stealing pictures from other peoples cards and memory gidgets and gadgets, so not much time to write, but it's better that way because there is not that much to say.

Still getting used to my new area. We have 3 wards we go to on Sunday, so it was a little interesting giving my testimony a bunch of times, and knowing that in just a couple weeks I will be doing that all over again...And I just did it last week say goodbye to Taoyuan. Moving a lot makes you bear your testimony a lot. I guess that's a good thing :) I get to practice my Chinese. I've never had a Taiwanese companion on my mission, so my Chinese is kind of up to my own efforts (and God's blessings of course...but he won't give me those without my own efforts).

As for investigators and stuff, still getting used to the area and such, but we are teaching a couple people I'm excited about. One is a girl named Ranae (Hong Ruiyin). My companion gave her that name, so spelled the Sister Mac way.:) Well, she's really great. She's really willing to keep the commandments and is really taken care of in the ward and everything. She really wants to be baptized, but she's 18, so she has to have parental permission. In Taiwan you have to be 20 to be baptized without permission, because of the culture. So, we are working on getting mom on board with understanding and giving her permission. Mom has agreed to meet with us this Tuesday...and if all goes well, Ranae will go to interview at the end of this week. So that's what we are hoping for. This week, because her mom can't go to her High School graduation, due to work, we are going to attend. It should be fun. I haven't been to a high school graduation in Taiwan before. Hehe.

The only other investigators that I really remember to write about this week is a really cute family. The Fan family. My companion met with them once before they moved here. It is a mother and 4 daughters. She has a son as well, but he's really young, and so he didn't even come to the store when we went by. They are a referral from the Xiangshan Elders, because I guess the husband is really shy. I've never met him myself. The mother works in a small Avon store, and we met with her and her 4 daughters in her store. We taught them a first lesson, using the cup game. I've only done that game twice my whole mission, but I think kids like it went pretty well. I'm excited to teach this family. They have been doing family prayer ever since Sister MacIsaac and Sister Collyer (who I switched places with)taught them about it. So that's really good to hear that they are doing it and seeing blessings. There are a lot of people and thus a lot of concerns, not to mention they can't meet super awesome, but we think they are a really good family and we are doing what we can to help them see the blessings of this gospel.

That's pretty much it in the area of people I feel like writing about....pretty much nothing super worthy of writing home about happened this week. Today,we are going to go out to eat with the Elders for's raining and has been raining this whole week, so as the elders say,bu hao wan. We were going to go to the beach, but that's not the best thing to do in the pouring rain right?

But, as for my feelings on the the rain, even though it is true, it's a little hard to be soaking wet because the on and off heavy rains, I'm just grateful I haven't been dying from heat. Last year this time of the year I thought every day was deathly hot! Haha, I'm sure I'll be there for a little of the deathly hot, but for now it's been pretty mild...thanks to the extremely heavy rains. So yeah. That's this week! Until next time. Love you.

Sister Flora Bruno

Monday, June 7, 2010

Invited to Dragon Boat Festival by Government Officials and Final Transfer

Hello and welcome to the wonderful life of Sister Flora Bruno. Starting today, I enter into last transfer on my mission here in the Taiwan Taipei Mission. Juicy information in following paragraphs can identify this weeks happenings and events. In later times, you can stay tuned for the last 4 letters from a missionary with her days numbered. But until then, you can be satisfied with this one.

This week, we went through another move call. And, no suprise...I'm.....MOVING. Ha. That's my life! 我是一个很会搬家的传教士姐妹。 I think I've moved more than any sister on our mission right now, even more than the Taiwanese who have an extra two transfers thanks to their excellent Chinese language skills. They graduate from MTC status in just a mere 3 weeks. Maybe not, but I sure know I have moved a lot. This last 6 weeks, I'm going to Xinzhu to be with Sister MacIsaac from the MTC. It should be an interesting transfer. Missionaries are already buzzing about the dynamics involved, since there is a group of 7 sisters going home with us, and not nearly as many coming in. But no matter, no matter, whatever happens,Sister MacIsaac and I will make sure that we leave Xinzhu with a bang I'm sure. Another interesting fact from move calls, one of the Elders moved here 6 weeks ago with me into the Taoyuan ward. I refused to write in his bye bye book because it was more assumed he and I would stay since we are going home in only one transfer...well, 不用写。 No need, no need. We are moving to the exact same place together. Ha. So that will be pretty sweet. I've already met two of my district members, plus from what this Elder has told me (he's Taiwanese, he knows things...Taiwanese people know everything about everyone...they are cool like that....) our district should be super fun. And super mixed. We are 4 Americans, 4 Taiwanese. Yeah. How's that for diverse?

Okay, enough about all that business, this week was really an interesting week. On Friday afternoon, we were at the church, trying to get in some WPS before MM meeting since we were in Taipei doing Tours on Thursday, when we hear two strange voices calling to see if anyone was in the church. Well, it ends up the that Immigration Agency next door was having a cultural celebration for the Dragon Boat Festival, and they wanted us and some other Americans to come to their party. So I called President, and he said that would be a good thing for us missionaries to go to, since we work with that building very closely getting our ARC (Alien Resident Card) from them. So he gave me the names of what missionaries he wanted me to call and invite... So, my companion and I with some of the Elders went and attended their cultural event. They had us go and learn how to make zhongzi...this thing they eat during the Dragon Boat Festival...and my companion and I were completely the center of attention. It was a little embarrassing for me, it was at 9 in the morning, and we had to bike there in the rain, so my hair was wet, and I didn't have a lot of time to get cute in the morning, you know, since I'm a missionary and everything, and we had cameras of all sorts in our faces. So that was interesting. Later that day, the ARC lady called us and got our Chinese I know we will be in the news somewhere. I'm not sure I'll ever see it since I'm moving, but I told my companion if she finds out where they publicize to get me a copy even if I do look bad. And one of the Elders was really good, and took some pictures with my companions it's mostly my companion, but there are a couple good ones I'm in I'll send. I have to say though, it was one strange to be filmed and people shoving me to stand in the right place and taking a million pictures....I was glad when it was done. Although, I guess it was cool in some ways...they had some really cool cultural performances, and we got to eat the zhongzi...and it was a unique day in the life.

This week, we went and saw a lady from my English class named Joyce. We have visited her before and I really like her a lot. When I first met with her, it was because Elder Lin told me she had cancer and that she could really use visits, so a member helped us set up with her. The first lesson went pretty smooth and she had to go back to work, so she got busy for awhile, and I wondered if it was really true or not that she was sick because she seemed so healthy. Well, when I found out I was moving, I wanted to see Joyce. I felt a connection to her and I really love her. I called. She said we could come over Sunday when she found out I am moving, but told me she was not doing very good lately, and she was very sick and had cancer. She sounded awful. We went over, and it was incredibly hard for her to even meet with us a half hour. It was hard for her to sit up. We shared a brief lesson on the plan of salvation with her, but she is really doing bad right now. She said her body is not reacting well to chemo, and she has not been able to keep anything down. I was really grateful she let us come over...she is very humble and said she has been reading the Book of Mormon and praying, and that her doctor said it's really good she has this religion at this time in her life. I didn't know how to help her, but I just felt the spirit so strongly while I was there. We exchanged information and I said I'd keep in touch with her and see what happens. Since her condition is not good, she said she'll rest for a couple weeks, and then when she starts to feel better, she'll let more sisters come and visit her. I was just greatly humbled at that woman's strength. Her trials are big, but she hardly complains. She will just admit it is hard, but she said her mind is still optimistic. She's a rock.

It's been sad to have to be saying goodbye to another area. The members once again barely know who I am or what I am like, but I really like Taoyuan 2nd ward. We were invited over to eat with a member last night. That's never happened that a member wanted to feed us on my last night here. A lot of my companions had that because of their great relationships with the ward, but I was the younger missionary for a long time, and nobody knew what I was saying, and then after that, I was just moving moving moving. A really cute member, Sister Xin, and her daughter fed us. And it was really cute, a Bade member Brother Qiu went over and helped Sister Xin cook from 2 in the afternoon until 6. It was super good food! I don't know if they realize how touched I was to go over there and spend my last meal in Taoyuan with them, but I really was. I really love this Taoyuan ward. Elder Du and I both talked about how sad we were to have to leave it, but I have hope that Xinzhu will be a good place for me to be at for the end of my mission. I'm going to take it week by week. I think this transfer will be a further testimony to me that Heavenly Father loves me and answers my prayers and knows my needs. I have a lot of prayers and hopes and desires for my last transfer...And now, I'm going into it. Wish me luck. Write again next week!

Love you all,

Sister Flora Aimee Bruno 傅文馨姐妹