Thank you for your letters and emails!
ANSWERS to your Q's:
~Because my area is about 15 minutes from the mission home, we get our snail mail about every two weeks. That might change when I'm transferred to a new area, but I think I'll be here for a while. I've looked at the postage dates on the letters, and I'm pretty sure it takes about 2 weeks to get here, so not that bad :)
~Money, for meals and food we are pretty good. We have 7200 NT each month, and each meal we eat out (always dinner, half the time lunch) is about 100 NT or a little less so It's alright. Also, I just have to use personal funds for clothing and stuff.
~Food for the week: veggies, toufu, noodles, rice, quail egg, sesame seed oatmeal, dragon fruit, starruit, taro, drawbean, mango ice, squid, seaweed, and bread! Their bread is so great here!!!
~In preparing for a mission, seriously 1) start now if you haven't already, studying Preach My Gospel. 2) Share your testimony with your friends, and do what you can to get in contact with the missionaries, go out contacting or proselyting with them. Mom, I know you're super busy, but I'm realizing how important peikes are (lessons with a member present), get in touch with the ward mission coordinator and see if the missionaries need someone, not to feed them, but to befriend an investigator. I know that you have been doing great things.
Hey, everyone, how's the reading the Book of Mormon with writing down questions before hand, or in studying and applying principles? I'd love to hear any stories (throughout the extended family).
The Gift of Tongues:
English class is fun to teach, we do an hour of class then a spiritual thought (lesson) for 30 min. It's really cool. They say things like, "When you talk slowly I can understand..." and I'm just thinking, buddy, the same is true for me. When you slow down the words, I understand.
Actually, its amazing how the language comes. I'm able to testify and understand when I need to. I am still trying to get through Phase one by the time I'm done with training, but it's nice to know the language is not a barrier to God's children learning the gospel!
Prayers for Protection:
After riding for about a day in Taiwan, you have to realize that there is a God who is protecting us! We were laughing after a... [Following statement for mom's benefit] totally not dangerous, in control situation in which no taxis or buses were involved... and we were talking about how mission life is seriously like a good action movie, and one of us said, yeah, but we get to do our own stunts. Yep, quote for the week, Sister Missionaries: We do our own stunts... in skirts. :)
And a Little Child shall lead....:
On Friday I had my first experience teaching children. Their mother was with the baby at the playground, but was ok with us sharing our message and story with the kids. So we told them about the Restoration, and they understood. It's amazing how much the spirit of a child comprehends. They were able to understand why it was restored and one girl, who was their friend who the sisters had met with before, said she would be baptized. They just need to talk to her mother and if she keeps learning about the gospel, she could be baptized. How cool is that? 11 years old!
General Conference review:
General Conference was amazing! We watched it Saturday and Yesterday, as well as the Womens' conference. So awesome!! I've put some of my favorite thoughts;
Loved Holland's talk, It really is all worth it. Everything we are doing and going through.
Sister Reeves, daily scripture study and praying relieves stress in your life. Everyttime.
Eyring- Happiness in eternal life IS a family thing. God never will give up on us, it's us that lose hope in Him. Don't lose hope. This is sometimes I really have to remind myself of sometimes.
Nelson- Faith is the antedote to Fear.
Cook- We really do have the temples, the doctrine, and the technology. Temple work and missionary work are the same redemptive work. And we are all in this together!
Sister Oscarson- Sisterhood is a special bond, it cannot be broken.
Uchtdorf- Endings are not our destiny, simply interruptions. Loved his talk!
Remember, to use your 4 minutes well, Love you families well.
We saw some cool things this week! On Sister Jasperson's birthday, as we were headed home, we met this guy, and he totally stopped to talk with us, have a lesson, and said we could call him to set up a time. He's in school so scheduling might be hard, but he took a BoM and said he'd start reading. Also, we met with a potential, Betty. She is adorable and totally was engaged in learning about the Restoration. Also, she hit it off with our peike so hopefully we can keep meeting with that sister. It is amazing when the Spirit is there, it really is there. We had a few lessons toward the end of the week where we really felt the Spirit taking our lesson plan and tweaking it as needed. Also, we were able to ask questions that helped investigators open up a little. I just love this work! It's amazing!
As for challenges, biking is hard, the weather is getting hotter and the wind, when it blows against me it feels like I'm getting no where, but pedaling hard :) It's also hard feeling like I want to do more, but we have to deal with appointments falling through and their real lives. We have a couple of ladies though, who are excited and almost ready to recieve baptism, and I'm really becoming closer to Jia Jiemei. She is awesome.
My Trainer, Sister Jasperson:
I've been able to learn so much this week, in language and teaching. I feel like our companionship relationship is great, we love singing together. That has been so much fun to sing songs and harmonize and the like. She used to teach vocal lessons, so you can imagine how awesome, she also did musicals :)
It's hard to figure out how to help each investigator because each have such varied problems and experiences, but it's awesome to see how the Spirit can solve the problem by simple doctrines. I'm loving Wanda and Taiwan. The food and culture is awesome! And the people are so nice, even when rejecting they do it nicer than Americans would.
This is hard, but everyday there is laughter, there are miracles, and the Lord gives us an amazing experiences once again! It's amazing. Truly this is the restored gospel of Christ. This is His work, and His glory. and we all get to be a part of it.
I love it here, I love you guys! I hope you comtinue to study and pray, and grow closer as a family as you draw closer to Christ, but don't get discouraged. Don't ever get discouraged because that leads to giving up hope, and you can never give up hope in Him, because He truly will never give up on you. Have a great week everybody!
Love from Taiwan! -Sister Smith
I'm Sister Smith, missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I'm serving in the Taiwan, Taipei mission until July 2015.