Friday, August 28, 2015

32, new companion, luau, 6 months ago, the Chinese comes, I love, line upon line

Saying goodbye today to Sister Eo at the train station--she's on her way to the south
August 29, 2015
Dakeng, Taiwan

Move call!  Our mission got 32 new missionaries this week! 

That's the biggest group they've ever had, and it means it's also the youngest our mission has ever been. 

Me and Sister Eo's last night together
New companion
So our move call got moved to today, and I have a new companion! I'm still in DaKeng, my second area, starting my 3rd move call here. 

Playing chubby bunny our last night together
Our cute 9-year old investigator
My new companion's name is Sister Howard, and she's from Virginia. It's fun having a companion from America again because it's so fun using English to speak to each other and it's easy to get to know each other really fast. 

I'm excited for companion #8. Also I haven't had a companion from Utah yet, which is pretty rare, so my streak is still going! 

She just finished training, so she's only been on island for 12 weeks which means I'll be breaking again. It's going to be a fun transfer. 

I can feel the miracles coming!

It was a really fun week! 

On Wednesday, we had our English party. We had a luau theme, so we played limbo, taught them the haka [dance], and made a huge conga line. We ran all around the church and it was hilarious to see their reaction to all the dancing. 

We made dessert nachos which were delicious! 

We sliced up tons of apples, then drizzled chocolate sauce and sweetened condensed milk on top, then crushed oreos and candy bars over them. The students loved them! 

Dan Jones activity
Last night, we were invited to help out with the Dan Jones activity which I was so excited about! 

Dan Jones was one of the earliest and most famous missionaries for our church, known for how bold he was and preaching in front of huge groups of people. 

So to get the new missionaries excited, and to throw them right into the work, we take them to the busiest spot in Taizhong and have them stand on a stool holding a Book of Mormon, and yell out their testimonies, in Chinese of course, to all of Taiwan. 

It's super fun because all of the older missionaries cheer and clap for them and everyone passing by is really curious and stops to listen. 

It's hilarious to see how nervous some of them are too. It was especially poignant for me last night, because I was able to see 2 elders who were in my district in the MTC, which is what I consider the family of my mission.

RC [recent convert] Vickie
6 months ago to the day 
And while talking to them, I discovered that exactly 6 months ago to the day, it was us who was on the stools yelling our testimonies. 

But there we were, as the "old" and "experienced" missionaries, guiding the new missionaries around and helping them hand out Book of Mormons. 

It was a humbling moment to me to be on the other side of things, to be cheering on the new babies and helping welcome them to Taiwan. I didn't feel like I belonged, because I still feel like I'm a young missionary! 

But it was awesome to see how far we've all come. It's hard to notice how much we've progressed because it's gradual, and it comes slowly day by day.

But it hit me when I saw that the new missionary I was leading around couldn't understand anything they were saying, and every time a Taiwanese person asked her a question, she had to look at me to translate for her. 

Reunited at Dan Jones experience!
The Chinese comes
It hit me even harder when I realized I could carry a comfortable conversation with them, while they were trying hard not to laugh at her bearing her testimony because they could only make out 2 or 3 words of it. 

It's true like everyone says, the Chinese comes. 

It's awesome seeing how fast everyone grows and I'm so excited our mission has so many new missionaries! They have so much fire and even though the Taiwanese all laughed at them, I was very impressed at how good their Chinese was!

Line upon line
It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures:
"For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have." -2 Nephi 28:30
I miss Vickie! :( She's gone again
 this week on family vacation to Malaysia
I love...
I love being a missionary and I'm so grateful I'm able to serve in Taiwan. I love being challenged everyday by Chinese and feel that it's such a miracle I'm able to communicate with God's children in this part of the world at all. 

Like all things in life, I've found that we do develop our Chinese "line upon line", and if we're willing to be humble and keep working hard every day of our missions, even when the language becomes easier, that we'll be blessed to keep improving our skills. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! 

Sister Hancock

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Miracle week, Huang jiating, Huang sisters, Family Mart family from China, Project Purification

Miracle tracting road
24 August 2015

Hello! It's hard to believe that August is practically over. 

Miracle week
The highlight of this week was meeting families. My and Sister Eo's goal for this transfer was to find a family who was prepared and willing to receive the Gospel. Families are really hard to find though! But we had a miracle week this week :)

Our recent converts, David and Vickie
Huang Jiating 
Normally on Tuesday, we have an exercise activity at the church and it's super fun. But the person who was going to attend with us cancelled at the last minute, so it turned out we had an entire night to tract. We had basically tracted the entire area and were about to bike to a new spot when we decided to try one last apartment complex. 

Usually apartments are trickier because you can't actually knock on doors.  Instead you have to just talk into a speaker so usually people hang up really quickly. We were going down the list and I pressed on #14.  I remember saying that we were the missionaries in the neighborhood and wanted to share a happy message with them and that it would only take 5 minutes.

I was really surprised when the lady on the other end said okay and buzzed us in. It's actually the first time this has happened to me since serving in Taiwan.  Usually if they hear your voice on the other end, they say they're busy or not interested--especially because they can't see us, so it's easy to say no. 

Beitun sisters we live with
We walked in and it turns out it was a Grandma with her 2 grandsons. Right after going in, the phone rang, so the Grandma was on the phone practically the entire time.

But it turned out that the grandsons were really interested! It was really fun teaching them because they are 2 brothers, and they're only 14 and 11. They're really smart and super curious.

And the next time we went back, their parents were home and so we could meet the entire family. 

The Dad especially is super open to us and invited us to keep coming back and sharing Book of Mormon stories with his kids.

Huang sisters
Last week's duanchuan (short-term missionary)
On Saturday night, we originally wanted to visit a member who hasn't come to church in years, but she wasn't home. 

So we looked next door and saw 2 sisters watching TV. We asked if we could come inside and share with them and they said yes. Turns out they're really sweet! 

The little sister is 9 years old and absolutely loved playing with us. We drew together and made animals out of her playdoh and shared a prayer with them. 

It was really awesome getting to know them and they said we could come back so we're going back tonight! They were really open to the things we taught them and when it came time for us to bike home, the little sister was clinging onto our legs and wouldn't let us leave!

Family Mart family from China
The last family we met was one that we met in a Family Mart (a convenience store similar to 7/11). We were actually walking out the door because we had contacted everyone else and none of them were interested, when Sister Eo turned around and pointed them out to me. We walked over and gave a sticker to the little girl and asked if we could sit down with them. 

Turns out they had just arrived from the airport from China, but they were the most golden family I've ever met! 

Without us even saying anything yet, the Dad told us that he prays every night with his kids and that no one taught it to him. Because there aren't churches for him to go to in China, he learned to pray by himself. 

He asked us to teach them how to pray and said he really wants to go to church now that they're in Taiwan. It will be a little tricky because they might be moving to America soon, but hopefully we can teach them before they leave!

I'm really excited to keep working with these families and see where it goes! I believe that God helped us find these families and that we are blessed for our obedience and faith in trying our best to follow His will. At the beginning of the month, we fasted about our goal to be able to find a family and it's awesome seeing Heavenly Father help us! 

Project Purification
In order to become more consecrated, I've started trying "Project Purification" which is where you write down little tiny things that you will or will not do and pray about them each morning and night so that Heavenly Father can help you reach your goals. 

I've felt that through these little changes I'm able to become more focused on my purpose as a missionary and become more consecrated and think about others instead of myself and I believe that when we try our best to be successful at this work that Heavenly Father will help us.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:33

All my love!
Sister Hancock

P.S. This week P-day will be Friday instead of Monday!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Progress, bike referral, good feeling about Tina, RCs, feasting

Feast on the word of God
17 August 2015
DaKeng, Taiwan

It was an interesting week! 

Proud of the progress
We had a duan chuan [short-term missionary] with us which always makes things fun. I really love being in a trio and it was awesome being able to have a native Chinese speaker with us 24/7. I took full advantage of the opportunity and made her correct every little thing about my Chinese! And man are the Taiwanese blunt.  She told me I sound weird and that my grammar is bad but she can understand what I'm saying. 

I still have a long ways to go but I'm proud of the progress I've made. As long as they can understand what I'm saying for now, I'll count that as a success! But I do hope that by the end of my mission I'll sound more authentic. 

Duan chuan
It's fun being with a duan chuan (short-term missionary) because it helps me think about missionary work, since it's all new to them and everything that we do surprises them. It's always amusing to see how dead-tired they are. I forget that the things we do as routine are actually pretty tiring! Biking long distances in the sun, our morning work outs, studying for hours in a row, etc. We're so used to it that we don't even think twice about it, but it's hilarious seeing them fall asleep throughout the day and crash every night when we get home. 

But she's a trooper! I was impressed with how confident she was and with her desire to serve. She'll be submitting her mission papers about a year from now when she's old enough. She's going to be an awesome missionary! 

Bike crash referral
My companion, Sister Eo, is also super awesome! As we were biking out of the church Thursday, there's this really weird 5-way intersection where 3 different lanes have a green light at the same time, so it's pretty dangerous. 

I'm actually surprised nothing has happened earlier, but she got hit by a car.  Of course there she is in the middle of the street, our flyers flying everywhere, and traffic is stopped now. She was totally fine--just a few bruises.

Salads with Tina!
I was impressed with how well she handled it. She asked for the driver's number. (I thought so in case there was damage done to her bicycle she could call him to have him pay for it).

But she gave it to the elders as a referral! Even after getting hit by a car, the first thing she's thinking about is missionary work and that the elders can give this guy a call later to talk him into coming to church :p

Good feeling about Tina
It was a great week food-wise. On Tuesday we met with Tina, someone I met when I first got to this area. At that time there was literally nothing going on--not a single person to meet with.  So I desperately called tons of people from our Area Book, anyone whose number I could find. 

I still distinctly remember this moment: I was sitting in a 7/11 and called someone named Tina and asked if we could meet her. She said clearly to me that we could be friends but that she had no interest and that if we wanted to meet, it couldn't be at the church.
Most missionaries would probably at that point say no thanks and keep calling other people but for some reason I felt to go with it.

We've met a couple times since then and have gradually been working with her and things have improved a lot!

She's a total foodie so we get along great. She took us to a super cute cafe and we got salads which is one of the things I miss most about America because they don't really eat raw vegetables here. 

We mentioned that we had an activity Friday and invited her. She texted us the next day asking for all the details and voluntarily came herself to the church. She's really sweet and enjoyed it! We're going to keep working with her and I have a good feeling about her! 

On Thursday, a big group of us went to Mexican food together! It was our RC (recent convert) Vickie's idea and we had a great time!

The Mexican food was nothing like what I was used to, but it was still a treat to be able to have some international cuisine for a change! 

On Friday, we had an activity where we taught people to make oreo balls with cream cheese inside and chocolate chip cookies. 

Chocolatey hands and face

Chocolate chip cookie activity

Hot pot!
On Saturday, a member took us to eat hot pot at our RC (recent convert), Wang Jiating's restaurant. We visit them at their restaurant every week.  The food looks really good but I've never been able to eat there before. But we tried it for the first time this week and it was delicious! 

Then for FHE on Sunday, we taught everyone how to make American brownies from scratch with Andes mint frosting. They loved it! 

So tons of delicious food! It was a week of feasting :) Which got me thinking about these 3 scriptures:
2 Nephi 9:51 "Feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness"
2 Nephi 32:3 "Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do"
Jacob 3:2 "Feast upon [God's] love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever" 
Food has always been a hobby of mine and my family. We love cooking together, trying new recipes, making up our own, eating at restaurants, traveling and trying authentic food in foreign countries, and mostly just eating together. 

In one way, food has been something I've sacrificed by being on my mission. Before, I loved making tons of healthy vegetarian recipes. But now being in Taiwan, I'm not vegetarian anymore, and the food is... different. I'm not able to cook as much anymore and I don't have access to the same ingredients, so in one way it could be viewed as a sacrifice. 

Feasting at the restaurant of newly baptized Brother Wang
People often ask us if we miss American food and if their food makes us feel sick, etc.  But I think it's actually the opposite!

As much as I miss international food, I've loved FEASTING on the Taiwanese food and learning to love their food.

But most importantly, I've loved feasting on the things that matter most--

things that last and bring true happiness, like God's love and the scriptures, and this wonderful Gospel. 

All my love!
Sister Hancock

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

fasting to teach a family, exchanges, Sunday baptism, hilarious game

Don't want to leave DaKeng!
10 August, 2015
DaKeng, Taiwan

Started off the week strong:

My companion Sister Eo
Fasting to teach a family
On Sunday, Sister Eo and I fasted together for DaKeng. We had a special goal to be able to teach a family. This is something I've wanted for my mission -- to be able to help an entire family, father, mother, and kids to find the Gospel. 

Monday night we didn't have anything scheduled so we decided to go power tracting. I actually think it's really fun! 

We planned lots of different approaches so we could go for 3 hours straight. But it turns out we found a family after knocking on only 4 doors. 

They let us in, fed us dinner, asked us about Joseph Smith, and by the end of the night we were singing hymns together! 

It was a really special night and a wonderful answer to prayer.

The daughter even came running with us the next day at 6:30 am! 

Happy birthday Sister Lin
On Tuesday, we had exchanges. It was really fun to be with Sister Bone. She's still in training, so it was cool to be able to do the 12 week program together. It felt like it had been a while. We talked a lot! It was a really funny 24 hours. 

After being companions with Sister Liu, I thought I never wanted another American companion again. 

But after being with Sister Bone I remembered how easy it is to communicate in English and how quickly I was able to get to know her because conversation comes so effortlessly. I guess Americans aren't too bad afterall... 

Twice in one day
On Wednesday, it was really really hot because it was right before the typhoon and rain was expected to come. Because I was back with Sister Eo, we had to get bing because it's what we always do together and we had to celebrate our reunion. About 2 hours later after biking in the blazing sun, we decided to get bing again for dinner. Usually we try to keep it to once a day, but Wednesday marked the first time we got bing twice in one day! No shame.

2 texts that made me smile this week:

Vickie went to Costco for us! She's the best! Haven't had Greek yogurt in so long! 

Also our elders are hilarious. For our meeting, they texted us to ask Sister Eo to give the closing prayer and me to perform a talent.  They tried to get me to lick my nose, lick my elbow, etc. but turns out I really didn't have any amusing hidden talents.

Yay Wang Jiating (Wang family)!
Sunday baptism
On Sunday, we had a baptism. Wang Jiemei was baptized a few weeks ago. Her husband was still working on getting over smoking, but he was baptized yesterday. 

It's so happy to see him join her and now their entire family has joined our ward! 

Recent convert Vickie with "Gospel Principles"
So happy to see Vickie and these Costco goods
Hilarious game
Afterwards we had FHE which was really fun. We played this hilarious Korean game that Sister Eo taught us where basically you can't talk the whole time and have to do all these actions. If you mess up, you have to sing a solo or dance in front of everyone. 

Our investigator is super shy and is one of those young teenagers who is still really insecure. So it looked like she was about to cry every time she had to sing but it was the funniest thing ever. I haven't laughed that hard in so long - we were all laughing so hard we were tearing up. 

Our duanchuans joined us about halfway through and since we couldn't talk, they had to figure out the rules themselves and had to learn the hard way and sing lots of solos until they finally understood what was going on. But I don't think the elders' poor duanchuan ever really got it, so he had to sing about 10 songs. 

Trio life
It's going to be a fun week! I'm excited to have a duanchuan with us again. Back to the trio life once more!

All my love!
Sister Hancock

Discovered Rabbit Rabbit restaurant last P-day

So dang good. The aftermath -- food baby :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Repentance and charity; Vickie: a new beginning, a fresh start; my favorite dinner

Vickie: a new beginning, a fresh start 
3 August 2015

It was another good week! Started off with a TON of rain! I always love when it rains because it makes things exciting -- biking through the rain is always fun and so is proselyting. Sometimes it helps people want to let us in too because they feel bad for us, but not this time. 

Taichung East Zone Conference
Repentance and charity
On Wednesday, we had Zone Conference which I always look forward to. This time, instead of combining 2 zones like usual, it was just our zone. It felt really small but it was nice because it could be more interactive.

We talked about repentance. I enjoyed getting back to the basics. Even though it's a concept that most of us understand, there's so much that can be discussed and we each have such different insights that help strengthen each other.

The talk that we studied mentioned how service and charity can help us complete the repentance process and are the only way for us to "repay" the Savior. I really like this concept, that though we can't go back and undo the choices and mistakes we have already made, if we focus on service and charity, it is less likely that we will make those same mistakes again. 
Singing the Mission song together 
"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" -1 Peter 4:8
The Joseph Smith Translation of Bible corrects a word which makes this scripture's meaning more accurate--that charity will "prevent" a multitude of sins.

This is true. Charity will not necessarily "cover" our sins--we need repentance to overcome them and to be forgiven. But charity and service can help us let go of our mistakes and guilt and regret and move on with our lives.

Charity will help us to focus on others and to turn our thoughts towards happy things so we can forgive ourselves and be filled with uplifting thoughts and feelings.

Vickie: a new life
Vickie: a new beginning, a fresh start, new life
And then Vickie was baptized on Saturday, which was perfect because we could all see repentance in action! 

While teaching her, repentance was her favorite part. She loved the idea of second chances, a new beginning, and a fresh start. 

She was so happy on Saturday and she's so excited for her new life. 

She's already a great missionary too! I love how naturally it comes to her. While at English class, she invited all the students to come see her baptism and she invited her friends to come to her confirmation. on Sunday.

She loves giving and she's going to be an awesome member missionary! Yay for fresh starts! I'm excited for her new life.  I know good things are coming her way! 

Hope it's a fantastic week for everyone!

Sister Hancock

Delicious melon and fruit
Vickie's baptism

My favorite dinner:  bing and hong dou bing