Okay...so for the update this week...it 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 now...today 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 transfer...so 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 weeks....so 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 needs....so 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 inactive...so 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 love...so 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 minutes...it 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 investigators...so 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!
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!!!"
Day 78, Ogden Enterprise
11 months ago