Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sister Howard, BBQ family, baby tradition, the point of missionaries, losing myself in this work more and more

With our recent convert, Wang Jiemei
September 7, 2015
Dakeng, Taiwan

Sister Howard
It was a good first week with my new companion! It's going to be a fun transfer. After I was companions with LiuJM [JieMei - "Sister"], I was convinced I never wanted another American companion again.  But obviously I knew I would have many more because the majority of our mission is American. But I must admit, after having a Taiwan companion and a Korean companion back-to-back, being able to speak in English is a relief. Luckily my Chinese was sufficient for basic conversation with them, but it's been amazing how fast Sister Howard and I have been able to get to know each other even in a short week, because conversation comes so effortlessly and we can truly say the things we're trying to express to each other. 

Me and my companion, Sister Howard

BBQ family
The highlight of our week was we found another family! We had been tracting and had finished tracting around a few streets so we were walking to our bikes to move to go somewhere else. But then we saw a bunch of people outside BBQing in their garage (it was raining) so we started talking to them. Turns out they were all co-workers. They invited us to sit down with them and immediately started feeding us tons of meat and seafood. They were all really welcoming and said we could come back another night, so we did. 

They invited us in and this time it was just the family and they have 3 super cute daughters. We taught them how to pray and they were really open to everything we taught them. They invited us to another BBQ and said we could come over whenever we wanted, so I'm excited to keep working with them! 

Taiwan baby tradition
Another funny moment was on Saturday. Our RC [recent convert], WangJM invited us to some activity with her, but it was something I had never heard of before. So I asked her what it was and she basically just told me it was a kid thing and to meet her at a bus stop and we'd go together. While we were waiting for the bus she explained to us that it was a Taiwan tradition that when the baby turns 1, they are given baskets with tons of different items inside and they are to choose 3 items, which then represent what will happen in their life, what their strengths might be or what sort of career they might have. Super Taiwanese.

I thought we might be going to someone's house, maybe one of her friends who might have also had a 1 year old daughter. But when we showed up to the building, it was a legit organization, and there were tons of parents who had all signed up and registered and paid in advance. There is a program prepared with singing and dancing all aimed towards the babies to get them prepared to pick their items. Then they dress all the babies in these tiger outfits complete with hats, bibs, and slippers. It was hilarious! We even got a special shout out over the microphone as they welcomed the "American friends." It was probably the first time I had felt so far away from America. #onlyintaiwan

I loved studying a talk this week from the June 2015 Liahona [church magazine]: "The Savior's Teachings on Discipleship". This talk discusses the Savior's last 4 months before His death, and his journey back to Jerusalem--the entire time of which He knew He was marching towards His death. 

While on the way to Jerusalem, He stopped at the home of Mary & Martha. Oftentimes we are critical of Martha because instead of spending time listening to the Savior, she was fussing over the house and what food to feed him. I love this quote that describes what we are really meant to learn from their story: "The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person's service... Martha' self-importance occasioned the Lord's rebuke, not her busyness with the meal". 

So many ways
As a missionary, there are so many ways to go about doing this work. There are 5 lessons that are set in place. But besides that, we are completely free to choose how to teach those 5 lessons, how fast we want to teach them, how in depth we want to be, how bold, etc. 

The point of missionaries
The point of missionaries is not simply to teach non-members our doctrine. If that was our purpose, we could give them a copy of Preach My Gospel, or have them read the 5 lessons online. We have missionaries so that we can develop a relationship with our investigators and get to know them so we can teach them according to their needs and them support them as they make changes in their lives. 

Heavenly Father needs every type of missionary
Heavenly Father needs every type of missionary: the more shy ones, the energetic ones, the funny ones, etc. because each one of our investigators is different and certain types of missionaries will be effective for them. 

I like this quote because it's a good reminder to us that we must never judge someone else's service. We are to do our best and trust that everyone else is trying their best too, and that's enough. Though our service might look different than someone else's, the Lord is proud of us and appreciates our efforts, no matter what they might look like. 

It's also so important that our service is genuine, that our intentions for serving are truly because we want to help those around us and not to make ourselves look good. 

Losing myself in this work more and more
I'm constantly working at these things and losing myself in this work more and more every day. I love the people of Taiwan and it is such a privilege to serve with them! 

Sister Sinclaire Hancock

P.S. We found the forbidden fruit! 
the forbidden fruit

the rain continues
funny translations

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