Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lin Jiemei, this is my beloved Son, team effort, kind people everywhere, apply it generously 24/7

Bananas on our handlebars--secret gifts given anonymously by one of our neighbors

March 30, 2015

Hello all,

Happy almost Easter! Spring has always been my favorite time of the year. So happy it's here! It feels like summer here, but April is still one of my favorite months :)

I've never been so excited for General Conference in my entire life! In the words of Kalei, my roommate last year, as a kid it always seems too long.  But now that I'm older, it never seems long enough! 

Lin Jiemei
Hot pot lunch with our investigators:  Zoe, Zoe, and Valorie
This week we finally met with Lin Jiemei. It was sort of a complicated situation because she started coming to church months ago with her friend, but they actually lived in a different area.

Somehow her friend got permission to come to the Qishan ward because it's actually closer to them. But she didn't get baptized at the same time as her friend. Then she was told she needed to go to the ward in her boundaries.

Long story short, there was some drama and hurt feelings. She stopped coming to church for a few months. But she now has permission to be in our ward and we are teaching her.

She has a goal to be baptized on May 16th. We are really excited! It's amazing how prepared she is. We taught her for the first time yesterday and reviewed the Restoration.

This is my beloved Son
I always enjoy reciting the First Vision. The power from those words never goes away! 

"I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description standing above me in the air. One of them spoke unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, 'This is my beloved Son, hear Him' "

Delicious hot pot! 
I was hoping to have a funny story to share. It's always fun hearing about the first time missionaries recite the First Vision from memory and the funny mess ups they make. Shout out to Elder Wolfgramm!

His first time, he accidentally said "whose brightness and glory defy all gravity." I still crack up at that and was hoping I would have some funny moments too. But sadly none so far. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, we taught her the Restoration because we saw her carrying a water bottle full of what looked like tea. When she walked in, we introduced the Word of Wisdom a little bit at the end and invited her to read the pamphlet in preparation for next week's meeting.

Tea is huge in Taiwan and so the Word of Wisdom is always a big hang up. We thought we would introduce it early so that she could start working on it and hopefully by the time May came around, she would be ready to be baptized.

But she told us she has been living it all this time! Even though she hasn't met with missionaries and didn't even come to church for several months, she said she's been keeping the Word of Wisdom for the last 6 months. She's so amazing and so ready to be baptized!

Her faith is definitely an example to me. And it also shows how awesome our recent convert Lin Jiemei is (Yes, many are named Lin here. And yes, it's very difficult to learn everyone's names and tell them apart).

Team effort
They were the two friends I talked about in the beginning who started investigating together, except one of them progressed a little faster and was baptized. We have been meeting with her every week as a recent convert, but it turns out she's been helping her friend (now our investigator, the other Lin Jiemei) this entire time.

Such a great illustration of how missionary work really is a team effort! I should also mention that the reason we found these two Lin Jiemeis to begin with is from a member referral in our ward. Members are so helpful!

So grateful everyone was able to be in tune with the Spirit and that everything was able to align up. God truly is directing His work! 

Kind People everywhere
What stuck out to me most this week is how kind people are here. I'm not sure if it's just because we stick out and they see that we're not natives, or what, but I'll take it!

One day we were at a noodle shop eating lunch, and a man started talking to us in English. We had a short conversation and on the way out, we saw him pointing to our table. When we went to pay, it turns out he had paid for our meal.

A surprise act of kindness by a stranger at a noodle shop.
These noodles are delicious! They come out sizzling hot
and keep cooking on the pan right in front of you.
Super tasty sauce :)
Another day this week when we walked downstairs to our bikes, there were 2 little bags of bananas on our bikes that one of our neighbors had grown and left there for us (See photo at top of the page).

The same thing happened 2 days later but with tomatoes.

And each Sunday after church, a member will come up and tell us that there's lunch waiting for us in the kitchen. A different member every week will prepare it and have it warm and waiting for us in the oven! They even try to make it American especially for us.

Then last night as we were contacting, we saw a store booth with lots of computer cords and such. My companion needed a cord for her camera so we went and checked it out. They didn't have her cord because it's an American brand, but the lady gave us this nifty device that literally charges anything! Because it was Sunday, we couldn't pay, so she just gave it to us for free. So nice!

My companion, Sister Biancardi, in our apartment
Then there was last Friday, we were biking to a less active member's house for lunch and we weren't quite sure which road it was down. So we asked someone on the side of the road and she pointed which direction to go and so we rode off.

A minute later, she and her husband are riding in front of us in their scooters so we could follow them and so they could make sure we were going the right way.

We would have found it fine, but they rode in front of us the whole way to the house so we would find it okay.

Then when we arrived, she bought us each lemonade drinks. We had to tell her several times that we were here for a lunch appointment, or else she would have rode off and then come back with lunch for us too.

The people are wonderful and constantly spoil us!

Apply it generously 24/7
This morning I read "Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence" from last General Conference. It's a great talk-- I wish I could quote it all, so just go and read it or watch it right now! 

Here are a few lines that stuck out to me:

"Acknowledge that you cannot love God without also loving His commandments"(John 14:15)

"Remember that casualness in spiritual matters never was happiness" 

"Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out."

Jesus Christ truly is the center of everything that we share as missionaries.

The Atonement is the greatest event that ever occurred or will occur in history. The blessings are available to all and we should access it everyday! Christ has already made the sacrifice for us and given us this gift; we might as well use it. 

Praying fervently for each one of you :)  Happy Easter and hope it's a wonderful week!

Love you all!

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

Right now it is a holiday called Ching Ming (Qing Ming) Sau Mu, meaning grave sweeping.
Because they're huge on family and their ancestors, once a year they celebrate this holiday
and make these delicious wraps. Sad it's only once a year!
Basically inside the flour wraps you put all sorts of veggies:
cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, etc.with meat and eggs.
Then sprinkle, sugar and crushed peanuts on top and wrap it all up. So delicious!

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