Hi again. This week has gone pretty good. As a couple of you noticed, I passed through another birthday, becoming 22 years old. And in case you are wondering why that sentence is a little strange, I've started to directly translate Chinese at times, as I'm getting lazier. Whatever language I think in, that is what comes out, so the strange English is mostly direct translation problems...although it might partly be due to the fact that I haven't been writing a million and a half papers a week for a little over a year now, so I'm actually slightly worried about my English. I think my plan when I get back is (and mom you better be prepared for this one since you sold my old bike back in Vernal..haha) that mom and I are going to go biking every day and do a work out program so I can lose weight while I'm jobless. No time on a mission, my companion and I have a diet plan we call operation Dumbo, but it's ruined most days, so I'm thinking losing weight will have to start when I get home...ESPECIALLY since Chinese New Years is next transfer, and I'm not sure if this is a rumor or not, but it doesn't feel like it...I'm pretty sure we will get fed until we are bursting full twice, if not three times a day...the wards told us to be ready for 2nd dinners sometimes. I'm terrified. Especially because something I've never acquired a taste for on my mission is seafood...the thought of eating a shrimp or clam makes me a little sick inside...I can handle some of it, like BBQed squid, but the large majority makes me ek. Well, as part of the New Years here, everyone eats something called Hot Pots. It's a soup filled with vegetables, and other Chinese assortments such as...seafood (shrimp, clams, fish balls, weird fish stuff you'd never find in America) , pigs blood (yes they eat pigs blood here), meat, cabbage, and a white clear noodle. I love the noodles and cabbage and meat...but there is always about half of a hot pot I'm not so hot on. So, you'll have to ask me after Chinese New Years how I like seafood. I might like shrimp again. I used to like shrimp fine in america, but here they have little white ones, and then the ones like America, but the little white ones ruined shrimp for me, with their little black eyes all over my cabbage in my lunch boxes all looking at me disturbing my peaceful rice eating habits.
But yeah, that's not for another month, so I still have time...in this , our investigators are mostly doing pretty good. We had two pretty hard hits Saturday night, but all is well. First one was that Christine has said she decided to get baptized in another church. We will see her tomorrow morning and discover more about that, but she had been coming to church the last three, so it was a little confusing. Also, Chen Zhirou, turning 18 in a couple weeks, asked her father to sign the permission form, and he won't. He said she can get baptized when it is her own decision, which in most countries is 18...but for a reason I still haven't figured out, it is 20 in Taiwan. She called us sobbing and asked what she could do. I tried to comfort her, but I'm not really sure what path we can take. Her member friend was really upset and was fasting her yesterday at church. We will discuss it more in companion study as the week progresses, but right now I'm kind of at a loss. We've had tons of parents not wanting to sign problems, and I've never seen a parent who changed their minds, although others have, so there is still hope. She really wants to get baptized, and said she shared scriptures with her dad even, so I know she's ready, but even if she has to wait 2 years, I have high hopes for her. I do hope we can talk to parents and her fathers heart can be softened.
In other investigator news, this week Yan yuhang came to church with her little son. She's progressing so well, and there is still a really good possibility she will make her 1/30 baptism goal. We will meet with her Wednesday to prepare her for interview Saturday. We taught her the this last week, and even though she drinks tea, she was very willing to try out the repentence process and quit her addiction. I love her a lot. And her son is really precious. She's really quite a strong woman, to be in a new country at 22 with a son. So yeah, she's doing amazing!
Then, Whitney (Xie Huiru) is also doing really well. She finished testing and was able to start meeting with us. We taught her the first lesson, and she made a baptism goal for March and she's very cute and willing to work with us. She has been coming to church every week, and is just really friendly, so people like her a lot. I've already had a couple members tell me they really like her. She added me on Facebook I think, I gave her my address and told her my dad would probably add her.
My birthday was amazing. Sister Ackerson made it really great. She went all out. She made me breakfast in the morning, so I had that waiting for me with a card and everything when I woke up. Also, we met the Elders at Subway, and even though Elder You and Broadhead had to jet immediately, they gave me a cute headband that Elder You attached a ridiculously funny, but hideous huge green ball to. The best part was the Elders made me a card and Elder You2 drew me on the envelope with my proselyting bag and a pig and panda poking out...I used to always carry the pig, but I bought a tiny stuffed panda at the zoo last week, and now switch off. Mostly the panda these days because Sister Ackerson likes him and hates the pig, but with every other companion it will probably be the pig. The little stuffed animal is useful to have when little kids are around. Also E. Broadhead wrote a sweet message on it. Other things done for my birthday was that on Saturday Nikki (a beitou member) took me out to eat steak, it was really good, and she gave me a super cute blush. Nikki is fun to be with and super good to us. Also, Whitney called me on my birthday twice. Once herself, and once to have the Shipai Elders sing Happy birthday to me. Then Saturday she gave me a beautiful green scarf. I really like it and wore it that day. E. Smith and Carlson also called in the morning to sing happy birthday. And Sister Grimley called me that night to ask how my day was. It was really sweet of her.
This week, we had to go down to Taipei because Sister Ackerson needed a power of attorney for her school loans that were having some problems, so we had some extra time not filled up on my birthday and went to take care of that. During our lunch break, we had a couple extra minutes, and got some sweet jumping picture shots because we saw a really good view of . Then, on the way home, we ran into this black man named Roddy. He was really friendly to us and asked if we were the Mormons. We said we were, and he shared with us about how he had this thing every Saturday where they talked about the family as a important social unit, and started talking about a lot of things we found to be true as well. Such as the vital need for a restoration and what the Bible said about the need for a restoration. He wanted us to come on Saturday to his wife and his seminar, but it wasn't in our area, it's down by the missionary headquarters, so we couldn't do that...but it was just really interesting to chat with him. Towards the end, it did go a little bad as we felt like he started a bible bash. He didn't agree with Joseph Smith's vision as he is strongly of the opinion that God is a Spirit and has to be a Spirit so he can have feminine, masculine, and neutral, or he couldn't have made man and woman...and also he didn't think the sin in the garden wasn't eating a fruit, but was conjugal. So yeah, first encounter I've had like that on my mission, but I thought it was unique, and we were lucky, because the guy was friendly to us, even if he disagreed with some points we believe. I can see what led him to believe what he does, as his wife is muslim and he talked about the merging of religions to get a truth. We didn't argue at all, but told him we'd tell Elder Lakes (the Elder in his area he already is in and out of touch with) that we ran into him.
Then, to continue or weird experience with English speaking people (or as we call them in Taiwan out country people aka foreigners)..just after we parted with Roddy, riding up the station at the to switch to the Danshui MRT line, a kid going the other way on the escalader is like, "HEY SISTERS!!!!!!! I'm from UTAH!!!!!!!!" And Sister Ackerson said "Awesome, come back up", but he didn't so we just kept walking..haha.
Then, actually I can't remember what day, but I was standing on the MRT, we were going back to Zhuwei and I sat down and had this STRONG impression like there was somebody I was supposed to talk to. But someone specific. I've never had that strong of a, find someone specific feeling. Usually I just look around and see who the Spirit has me talk to, but this time, it was a...you need to find someone feeling. So there I am, searching. The person right next to me seems wrong, and won't even look at me...and I just notice the white man grading papers across from me. I get scared to talk to white people, they aren't as nice, so I thought maybe him...so a stop away from our stop, I get up after translating a temple tour card to English, since I had nothing in English, and try to hand it to this English teacher. But he has headphones in, so even though I say HEY in a LOUD voice and kind of wave my arm around in front of his face, he's so focused (or so doesn't want to talk to me) that there is absolutely no reaction. I think to plan two and wonder if I should shove the temple card on his lap as I step off the train. I wasn't getting off the MRT until I gave SOMEONE church material...When this boy standing up (the teacher was sitting down) asks me in perfect English, "Hey are you Mormon, I've always been interested in religion but every time I just get stuck because I feel like it's hard to believe that anyone is listening?" I was able to have about a 20 second conversation with him and invited him to church and shoved all the pamphlets I could at him (well only three but whatever) but yeah, I know I was supposed to talk to him. I really hope he comes to church. I should have just stayed on an extra stop and got his information for the Elders. My companion and I agree that if we ever need to, we can just stay on a stop over to talk to someone then ride back. We both pay good attention of where each other are at. But at least I got to talk to him, and he talked to me, not the other way around. So that was lucky.
And, in more contacting on the MRT experiences (we spend a LOT of time riding from place to place on the MRT which is why I am almost completely broke this month, but no problem, I can use my birthday money on every day living, so thanks for that) there was a day this week that we happened to be leaving the church the same time as the Shipai Elders, so we headed out to the MRT together, and they had to head out to Shipai, and we were heading to Zhuwei, so we went to different platforms (but you can still see each other from the platforms) and E. Weinberger is acting a little crazy across the platform, trying to charade to us to get our butts contacting. My companion was good and talked to a group of students, but I rolled my eyes and thought, I'll contact if the spirit prompts me to, not just because Elder Weinberger is over there putting positive peer pressure on us and talking to all the teenage girls surrounding him (school must have just gotten out, and for some reason their platform was covered with teenage girls and ours with teenage boys)...and a split second after I had that thought, I looked across the platform and saw a lady I felt prompted to talk to. Her name is Jiang..Doreen. Sister Ackerson was able to come back after talking to the teenagers, and we were able to set up with her in the time we were riding back to Zhuwei and answer a lot of questions she had about us. She met with us on Saturday and it was a really good first lesson. She lives alone out by the beach in Sanzhi and is a secretary down in Taipei. She is just really friendly and she seems very real. Sister Ackerson and I are really excited to start teaching her. She can meet Saturday's, so we will see her again next Saturday.
Ugh, random thought, but this week, instead of sitting next to a nice lady who speaks English, I'm sitting next to a gross old man who is looking at pornography, and I'm really quite disgusted, so I'd like to add my kick to the fact that pornography is gross and addictive. And to avoid it at all costs.
And now that I've gotten that kick out...hmm what else? want to go down to a technology street today where you can get stuff cheap. Elder Broadhead is getting a new camera, and originally I considered buying a camera for my birthday like dad suggested, but came to the conclusion that I really am too poor and would rather live out this month without starving, plus I'm not sure how much a camera runs at anyways, so just to prepare you ahead of time, you know like a year ahead of time, for Christmas next year I'd like a nice camera. haha. (I was a little jealous when Desi told me what she got) :) I've never had a really nice one and I always have to use other missionaries camera to take decent pictures and beg them to give them to me through Facebook or something after the mission. Mine is ridiculous. I'm glad all my companions have better cameras that aren't tied shut with a rubber band and wont capture the view behind us, because through them I've gotten nice pictures...and pretty sure every one of my companions should have pretty sweet cameras, most missionaries do, so they've got my back on my mission. haha. :) Okay this is long enough and i'm talking about cameras because I still have like 20 minutes left online...we bought 2 hours today...sister ackerson had some stuff she needed to write..but I need to just wrap up and stop rambling. basically not sure what we are doing today, probably going with the Elders because they want us to, but it won't take all day, so we'll figure it all out later. Whatever happens it should be fun! I love preparation days. Talk to you all again next week. Love you guys. Later.
Sister Flora Bruno
Day 78, Ogden Enterprise
11 months ago