Monday, June 15, 2015

City life, temple, cheese, weaknesses, cooking, change, odd sensation

Hello from Sister Liu and me!
Monday, 15 June 2015
First week in Dakeng, Taiwan

City Life
It was a good first week! I'm adjusted to the area and learning my way around now. I'm enjoying the city life-- tons of motorcycles everywhere and busy streets! The four man is a blast. I never want to leave this area! 

The work however, is slow, but it goes on. For the first time on my mission, we literally have 0 investigators, which means our entire day is spent trying to find people to teach. This essentially means lots of tracting and calling whoever we can - formers from the Area Book, and lots and lots of contact cards trying to set up with people who missionaries met in the past. 


Temple in Taipei
Got to go to the temple! It had been a while since I was there, and I love the new things I'm able to learn each time I go. It was special seeing how everything was the exact same, even though I was in a completely different place in the world, that the church really is the same everywhere

A member took us and a few sets of missionaries to an all-you-can-eat pizza place! It's always fun to have pizza in Taiwan because cheese is so rare. It's definitely different, but still good!

You sit at a table and waiters walk around with all sorts of different pizzas and if you want a piece, you just raise your hand and they give you one. It was also all you can eat ice cream too which was delicious!

My favorite pizza was one of their sweet ones. I had never had anything like it before: crust, cheese, apple slices, and cinnamon. It sounds odd but it was super yummy! And it was a really fun night.

This week I studied a lot about weaknesses. One of my favorite verses has always been Ether 12:27, and I enjoyed trying to better understand it this week. Often I think we put sin and weakness in the same category, things that are both bad and distance us from God and things that we need to overcome. 

I enjoyed studying an article from the Liahona talking about the differences between sin and weakness. Satan encourages us to sin to distance us from God, while God actually gives us our weakness so that we can turn to Him and come closer to Him. Satan tries to use our weaknesses to entice us to sin, while Heavenly Father will use our weaknesses to teach us, humble us, and strengthen us. 

Weakness itself does not make us unclean. Our purpose here on earth is not merely to be innocent and stay clean and return to Heavenly Father's presence, though cleanliness is certainly necessary to dwell in His presence. If this was our purpose, we would all "be better off lying snugly in our cribs for the rest of our lives."

But we come to earth to gain experience, to be able to learn good from evil, to grow in wisdom and skill, and to acquire godly characteristics-- "progress we cannot make from the safe confines of a bassinet."

"We cannot grow spiritually unless we reject sin, but we also do not grow spiritually unless we accept our state of human weakness, respond to it with humility and faith, and learn through our weakness to trust in God." 

In response to Moroni's worry about his weakness of writing comes the famous verse (Ether 12:27) in which Heavenly Father does not tell Moroni to repent, but He offers him grace. Grace is the appropriate remedy for our weaknesses, not forgiveness. 

Often our strengths and weaknesses are related too, and sometimes the real problem is finding balance. For example, I tend to be observant which I view as a strength. But sometimes when taken to the extremes, my personality could become too perfectionistic.

We can also learn a lot from Ether 12:28:8
"Because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong"
God does not offer to necessarily remove the weakness, but to change us so that we can overcome it. Oftentimes this happens through helping us learn to work around it, or gaining a sense of humor or different perspective, so that we can improve gradually overtime. 

I'm grateful for the weaknesses that each of us has so that we can remember to turn to God and learn humility. I'm grateful for the weaknesses that I have so I can also learn to be patient with others and their individual challenges. 

I know that the promise in Ether is true that as we work with God to tackle our weaknesses that we truly can change and become more like Him.

This week I've actually been eating my own cooking! .... Taiwanese food is practically all carbs - white rice and noodles. So while I feel full at first, after biking, I quickly lose energy. So because of this, for one, I'm officially not a vegetarian anymore (but will probably go veggie again once I return home) and two, I really started praying that I'd be able to find healthy alternatives.... 

I believe that Heavenly Father answers prayers and indeed blessed me with an opportunity for me to take control of my health.

In my new area, there are real grocery stores, similar to how things are in America, and more options, so I can buy healthier things. In addition, the sisters I'm living with all cook their own meals everyday, so we no longer eat outside during the day. I've really enjoyed this because I can eat enough vegetables and cut out a lot of oil! 

Our senses can actually change. I've found this to be a really interesting fact during my time in Taiwan. I remember when I first arrived how humid it felt - I thought it was miserable. I remember how sticky I felt that first day when the Blickenstaffs timed our mile, and this was in Taizhong, at 6 in the morning, the coolest possible circumstances. We were all completely covered in sweat. 

Fast forward a couple months to Qishan, the hottest area of our mission, running at 6 in the morning when it was a hotter part of the year and some days I would come home hardly sweating. 

And I remember how stuffy our apartment felt when I first arrived, but only a few weeks later, I found myself putting a sweatshirt on to do morning studies. I'm not sure the science behind it, but it seems as if my pores have really changed! ...

Odd Sensation
I also remember the overwhelming sounds of an unfamiliar language, hearing people make sounds I wasn't used to that I thought sounded funny. 

But yesterday I found myself during Sacrament Meeting listening to a couple from Singapore who are about to go home from serving in the Taipei temple. They were giving talks in English and a Taiwanese person translated.  I understood 100% of each part. It was an odd sensation! 

I would hear the sentence in English, then in Chinese. But sometimes I would forget which one is which because I could understand both of them. I would have to try to remember which one was supposed to be the "more comfortable" language, because both of them made sense to me! 

Senses are really extraordinary, and it's even more fascinating to me how things that once seemed hard or unfamiliar, can become comfortable as we keep working on them little by little :)

All my love,
Sister Hancock

No comments:

Post a Comment