Saturday, April 4, 2015

20 guavas, beautiful and huge, thirst, 5 months, patient, adventure and growth

Hand-written letter!
March 16, 2015
Qishan, Taiwan

The last couple of weeks the weather has felt really nice.  It feels comfortable and I love never having to wear a sweater at night.  If we have to bike for a long time, then it gets too hot.  But otherwise it's very pleasant with the breeze.  Except now summer time is rolling around, so yesterday and today it started getting sweaty.  But that's how it will be for the next while, and I hear that after a while I'll get used to it and not even think about the sweat anymore.

20 guavas
I'm enjoying the food especially now that I'm used to it!  My favorites so far as dong guo cha (a drink with the tapioca pearls at the bottom and ice), the breakfast cereal drink (warm soy milk with oats and "milk" flavoring), and dra bing (green onion pancake wrap with egg and corn inside).  The fruit of course is delicious too!  I've had a ton of guavas so far....Often when we go to someone's house, they'll send us home with an entire bag, so right now we have about 20 guavas in our kitchen!

Beautiful and huge
This area is beautiful.  Lots of rice fields, flowers, mountains and my favorite--palm trees. Our area is huge!  Sometimes we'll bike for 45 minutes to get to appointments.  It can be tiring and sometimes my quads start hurting and I want to pull over and stop.  But I recite this scripture to myself,
"Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."  (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7).  
It helps me to keep pedaling and to remember to try not to think about myself and that it will be worth it to go and meet with someone.
Scriptures and prayers while I'm biking
Thirst within me
I've grown to love the scriptures on my mission!  I thought I loved them before, but I have this thirst within me now to learn everything I can.  I want to be able to remember all the stories and everyone's names and the history.  I've found that often my prayers are answered through scripture and that they are a wonderful source of wisdom and comfort.

So each day or every few days, I pick a scripture that stands out to me during personal study and then I try to memorize it and ponder the rest of the day. Biking is relaxing time for me to be able to think and say the scripture over and over again in my head.  It's amaing how much we can get out of the scriptures and how much they teach us!

Prayer in my heart
Another thing I've loved is being able to have a prayer in my heart as I'm riding along....I know you rely on prayer and that you you love it.  It's been wonderful for my love of prayer to have grown over these last few months.

Qishan on Taiwan map
5 months
I've been out on my mission since October 15th and it's now March 16th.  In a way it feels like I haven't been home for longer than that because so much has changed. But I also know that at the end, my mission will have seemed quick and that I'll wish it was longer.

At times, it's a little bit sad for me to be gone for events such as Christmas, Grampy's funeral, Grandma and Sterling's birthdays, the remodel project of the academy etc.

But I have been very blessed that homesickness was never an issue for me.  It can be sad to miss out on events like that or hearing about the plans that my friends have for vacation breaks.

But I know Heavenly Father is blessing my family for my service more than I ever could myself.  I know He is mindful of my loved ones and helping them beyond what I could be able to do if I were at home.

Chinese forces me to work hard,
be humble, and rely on divine assistance
Patient about the language
Change seems gradual to me--I do not feel like my Chinese has improved drastically since yesterday, but when I think of where it was 2 weeks ago, it actually has improved quite a bit!  I have to remember to be patient about the language and with myself.

It has been interesting coming from Idaho where I could answer however I wanted and was able to perfectly articulate my thoughts versus being here trying to help investigators and address their concerns with such a limited vocabulary.  Sometimes it can be frustrating because my efforts don't feel effective and I might know exactly what I would do in English.  But then just have to stay quiet and have my companion talk since I don't know the words.

Adventure and growth
But it's been a wonderful adventure! I was excited about all of these things when I found out my visa had gone through.  It forces me to work hard, be humble, and rely on divine assistance more than I ever had to in my last area. I love the opportunity that it is for growth.

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

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