Sister Sagisi and me:
Dear Loved ones,
Last week, (Friday) Sister Sun returned home, her mission time complete wonderfully... a sad day, but I'm excited to hear what adventures she will have. This week I'm with Sister Bywater, she is so great. Her last transfer is next transfer but her companion changed to be the new temple sister (because the old temple sister was Taiwanese so went home on Friday with Sister Sun). SO this week we are covering Sister Bywater's area, and my area. Transfer meeting is next Tuesday, so at that time she'll get her real new companion but I'll get another temporary companion. You see, what had happened was... the government changed a few visa laws, so the missionaries who are supposed to be coming this transfer and the following transfer still don't have visas. I might not train for another few weeks or months, but it'll come one day :) It's still not confirmed when they will come, but one thing has been confirmed, THIS IS THE LORD'S WORK. He is in charge, and those a country's laws will not stop or hinder this work. I'm so grateful I get this week with Sister Bywater, I've already learned so much! I'm always so grateful that our stress can be reduced drastically when we remember that one simple thing, that the Lord is in charge.
This week has been great, though not normal :) I'm so grateful for this time. It's like a combination of what I imagine starting training is like. I'm the only one who really knows the investigators or what is going on in this area, but on the other hand Sister Bywater is a very experienced missionary so it's not completely new. I love learning from her, especially her faith! Amazing. Tucheng is a great area too. This week we are covering her area and mine. Another miracle, besides safety, is the ward, wow, it's really changing. The bishop told everyone in ward council to spread the word. He said the ward has over 100 active families, and if every family just invited one friend, that would help keep us missionaries from contacting on the streets 5 hours a day. Then every hour they talked about it. We've seen a great example of the bishop's family in bringing a son's friend into the church, it's so cool. It is amazing, and I'm so excited to keep really developing our relationship with the members.
I'm super grateful I have a companion this week, and she is so amazing, so willing to put heart and effort into my area, and I'm striving to give the same amount of dedication in her's. I'll admit, it's hard to go from junior companion to senior companion. Even though I'm not really senior in the companionship right now, it's very similar responsibilities I'd imagine, and I'm really loving this week! Seeing so many miracles, and really building my faith. She's been teaching me a lot about the power in words of faith. It's true! As we at least have the faith to say it, to ask for things in prayer, the next step is to have hope and diligently work to express how much you really want it. I'm going to try to raise my expectations again, and get ready to keep up with the fire in the new sister, because I know they are all going to be so fired up to be here and work. Sister Bywater and I are really seeing so many miracles, and I think the Lord has really just taken our areas into His hands, and the members have never fed us this much. In the last 4 days, we've eaten I think 1 meal outside by ourselves. (Miracles... :) yummm)
I love it here! I'm sure the Lord has a reason for the missionaries to be delayed, but we are praying they can come soon. I don't want any of you (especially grandmas...) worrying about this. :) Everything will turn out great, we can do hard things!!
Want to ask, how's everyone's scripture reading going? Start of a new month, or of a new school year is a great time to start up again if the summer was hard to keep reading. Ask questions and He will answer, read His words and you will be inspired. I love you all so much! Praying, reading, and going to church are essential for all to "endure to the end". Lots of love, love, love!!
News this week
Sister Sun is leaving this week, returning home after a great 18 months of service, and I will be training a new missionary next transfer. When I say I'll be training, I mean that I'll be relying on the ward and the Spirit to know what the heck we are doing,
and pray my "baby" can learn from our mistakes together :) Haha.
But that does mean I'll be in this area for another 2 transfers...
those of you who speak mission-time, that'll put me here in my birth area for 6 transfers. I love this area and this ward and these people!!!!!!!!
Pondering gratitude and recommending reads!
I've been studying about gratitude this week and was reminded how powerful gratitude is. Because gratitude, (not just being grateful FOR things, but having a grateful spirit and attitude) is a solid founation for optimism, happiness, patience, and hope and faith. SOOOOOOO important. Read Pres. Uchtdorf's conference address,
"Grateful in our Circumstances" and I invite you all to find an area or something in your life that maybe it's really hard to be grateful about, and start praying that you can really feel gratitude to Heavenly Father for giving you that. It has really helped me and I KNOW gratitude will change lives and outlooks of trials. Another Pres. Uchtdorf talk I really encourage you all to read is
It talks about three things that may stop us from fully living the restored gospel and claiming those blessings, 1)Selfishness, 2)Addictions, 3) Competing Priorities. Its so good and I know if you pray before you read it, the Spirit will give you hopeful encouragement on where you can change, and how to change. SO worth your time to read the words on Conference and the Ensign each month.
This week was great! The ward is really changing, recently I've felt a new support for missionaries, and it was so nice on Sunday to see a member bring two friends and to have that member introduce us but then find another member to sit with his friends, and then ANOTHER member came and turns out they are classmates (miracle), so the ward just took care of them and we were able to support other areas. Miracles everywhere. We've also seen great miracles this week as we focused on using the Book of Mormon to teach. Of course we don't hand out copies like tracts, but we've found as we started always trying to use it, it really can support the person's needs and bring the Spirit (as well as curiosity). We've used those pictures in the front to teach about baptism, the Restoration, importance of families, prayer, and faith. We have been really trying to let the Spirit guide and simply know our purpose is to provide an atmosphere the Spirit can teach in, such as invitations, prayer, scriptures, personal experiences, etc. It is amazing to see the Spirit and Book of Mormon open people's hearts. It's great also because in contacting this week we have had a good balance of time, and less stress and worry. We just are trying to let a lot go.
the church in china
We met a couple of people from China last night and were able to give them a Book of mormon and share about the gospel. Let me tell you all something, if you are waiting or have a thought of "all the nations will have the gospel before Christ comes and China isn't open yet so I don't really have to repent and worry yet..." I'm just saying, think again! China has members and if full-time, set apart with a badge missionaries can't go to China, the Lord is bringing the Chinese people to other countries to have the opportunity. Continue to pray of course that the leaders hearts will be softened and so many of the Father's children can be taught in their homes, but know that no earthly government will stop the Lord's work, on the Lord's time, in His way. Just saying, China is a special place. I know that because I've felt the Lord's love for the Taiwanese people. This culture, these people are so precious and special, and so prepared to hear.
So, using the Book of Mormon can be counted as a success from this week, and I feel that our companionship also is. I love Sister Sun and am so sad she is leaving, but I know it's time for her to start her next adventure. I'm so grateful I've learned so much from her. I've realized that pride is such a stumbling block and could've really impaired my learning, but we always must be willing to try to ways, be ready to change and improve, because revelation can come, and will come! I've learned so much about how important the ward is. Without the support of the ward, our effort is almost wasted and is a lot harder! But when members let us visit their families and serve them, and bring friends, and just offer to sit wuth investigators at church even, it just takes so much worry and care from our minds. Yes, I'm super glad I get to stay in this area for another few months, I really love it. I'm so grateful that I'm here in Taiwan! That I can have the companions I've had and will have, the mission President I have, the experiences and miracles we are given EVERY DAY!
I just love being here in Taiwan, serving these people and representing Christ. It is so fulfilling at the end of the day or the week (Sunday is a marvelous reflecting day) to realize this work is so much bigger than us but at the same time, is so personal to every person we meet on the street. I love this opportunity and trust that in the trials, and challenges and happiness that lies ahead, the Lord is in charge. Keep the faith. Keep learning and growing and loving others, and using the times the Lord has given us WISELY. Be humble and willing to change. Be firm in the faith. And be happy. Be happy and at peace.
I love you all so much! Thank you for the prayers, the letters, the support, the stories, and the love you have given to me through the years.
Love, 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.