Sunday, July 5, 2015

30 seconds, wisdom, hot pot, shark, HTBT, way too fast

Hot pot!  

5 July 2015
Dakeng, Taiwan

Happy 4th of July! It was an awesome week! 

30 seconds
Started off by having Zone Training Meeting (ZTM), where our whole zone (about 25 missionaries) meets together and receives training from our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. It's always fun to be able to see other missionaries and the Zone Leaders are always funny and try super hard to keep the 2.5 hour meeting entertaining. 

Happy July 4th!
The focus of this ZTM was on contacting and how to have better contacts. We contact all the time and something unique to serving in Taiwan is they are really short, which makes it a fun challenge. Because we bike everywhere, often we have 30 seconds at a red light to try and talk to someone and pique their interest in meeting with us at a later time or coming to see the church. It's tough to use those 30 seconds really effectively, but it can be done and the ZLs did some hilarious demonstrations that helped me want to improve my contacting skills.

So much wisdom
We also had interviews this week which is always something to look forward to! Every mission president does these differently, but I remember my first interviews here I thought it was hilarious. There is a timer on President Blickenstaff's desk that beeps after your 10 minutes is up. No pressure. But the time really flies by! I feel like he has so much wisdom and I could just sit all day and soak it all up. 

iPads, hot pot, shark
We had a fun time celebrating the 4th of July! A really sweet member treated us and 6 other missionaries to lunch. We met at this really nice hot pot place and she paid and ordered everything for us and then left. She didn't even stay to eat with us! And apparently she does this for missionaries here about once every month. 

It was a really cool restaurant! They had iPads and you just tap on whatever veggies/drinks/meat you want, and they bring it right out. If you want more, you just tap on the screen and it'll keep coming out. And they had endless Haagen Daaz ice cream which was amazing! But the most exciting of all:  we tried shark and I finally tried blood which I've heard about for so long. It was pretty tasty! Then of course to celebrate, we bought some mango bing for dinner and called it a successful 4th of July. 
Mango bing to celebrate the 4th of July

love Taiwan and America
I really love America and I'm so grateful for the freedoms we enjoy. I am always most aware of them whenever I travel and am out of the country. So I'm grateful for this special experience that I can fall in love with Taiwan. And at at the same time, also increase my love for America each and every day.

Lately during companionship study, we've been practicing what we call How to Begin Teaching (HTBT). This is a section in Preach My Gospel, under chapter 10 - Teaching Skills. It's one of my favorite parts of Preach My Gospel. I'm grateful that President & Sister Mullen, my first mission president and his wife in America, really loved this section too and helped us master it. 

Preach My Gospel
The background of this section is also really interesting. When the apostles first decided to write Preach My Gospel, a guide for missionaries, each apostle was assigned a chapter. 

Elder Packer was assigned chapter 10 and one day after looking at a picture of Jesus before bed, he fell asleep, but during the middle of the night, he received the revelation that became the HTBT section. 

He wrote down the words exactly as he received them, but when submitted to the editors, they changed his words around, trying to make it sound more clear. He told them they couldn't do that, that it was like changing scripture, so this section appears exactly as he received it, the only section in PMG that is exactly how it was first written. 

This section addresses how important our first meeting is with investigators, and how important it is to establish expectations. We need to begin our first visit in a "warm, respectful, genuine manner." Then we go through a series of points explaining that our message cannot be learned all at once, that we are not perfect teachers, that they should feel free to ask questions, that we know this message will improve the quality of their lives no matter what their individual trials are, etc. 

I really love each one of these bullet points and it is the perfect way to begin the first meeting! I've learned that when we, as missionaries, really take the time to go through these points in the first meeting, the entire teaching process goes so much more smoothly. 

We understand their expectations and they understand ours. Many misunderstandings can be avoided. They understand our purpose as missionaries and that we're personal, and truly want to help them according to their needs, and that they can trust us. 

The promise in PMG is true, that "as you share spiritual experiences together in the first meeting, they will recognize you as servants of the Lord." 

Lately we've been meeting with a lot of people for the first time and it's so obvious which lessons went well and which could have gone better. And I really believe a lot of that difference is due to how well we did HTBT. I love meeting with investigators for the first time and it's so exciting when we can sit down with them and get to know them! 

Way too fast
I love being a missionary and the time is going by way, way, way too fast, but I'm savoring every moment! 

Love you all!

Sister Hancock

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