Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Typhoon, A Balloon Festival, Transfers & Training Again:)

At the Taidong Balloon Festival with Yuki
My beautiful native costume that one of the members has been helping us make!
Dear family and Friends,

It's the 10th. Did you know my favorite number is 10? :)

A few things from this week:
1- The typhoon.... well... let me just let you all know that your prayers are powerful! a little too powerful... Taidong was one of the only places on the island that was not effected by Typhoon Souledor. hahaha So it was super lame. We spent our exercise time Typhoon-proofing our house and making sure no water would get in... and then nothing really happened. In other places it was very serious. Everyone is ok, but there were trees uprooted and it was pretty scary. Sister Walker kept saying that Taidong was protected by our parents prayers :) haha

2- We seriously felt like we rode into a movie this week...

So we have a lot of members that live out in the outskirts of civilization here on the east coast. One of our most active members is Zheng Jiating. We've never been able to visit them before because they live so far away. But this week we made a special effort to go see them... Man were we rewarded. We were only able to visit them for about 30 minutes, but it was so worth it.

I am no world traveller but I have NEVER been in a more beautiful place than Taidong. It was like we were in Lord of the Rings elf kingdom beautiful. But it was a hard ride :) haha

It was such a beautiful blessing and really gave me some time to ponder on my mission and my life and I loved every second of it :)
A long bike ride to a beautiful place!
Taidong is such a beautiful place!!!
3- So we learned a lot of cool things about Yuki this week! She is a SERVER! She just loves to serve! She's seriously all about it. On P-day we went with her to the  Taidong international hot air balloon festival. It was very fun. and we had a miracle happen!

So Yuki doesn't really understand the concept of being on the Lord's time... so we had tried very hard to schedule a time to go to the balloon festival with her and make sure that we still got home in time to proselyte and such.... but once we got there, the festival started late and Yuki got super distracted and just.... yes. So we were running late, but we had scheduled to meet with one of our LAs in Luye to help us peike (be a member present for a lesson with an investigator) at her house. So we got to our LAs house and they had prepared dinner for us! It was so nice. 

Our LAs grand-daughter has cerebral palsy and can't really function at all. But guess what? Yuki took one look at her and started to talk to her mom about things she could do to help her and make her more relaxed. Yuki loves massages and such and she believes all sickness can be healed by a massage. So they started talking and we had no way to actually have a lesson because all these other people were there and talking to us and just... yes. But it was amazing as we learned this about Yuki. Service is her key!!
Yuki at church with us:)
One more picture of the balloon festival. My favorite hot air balloon (It's supposed to be a lady bug type thing... but it just looks smooshed. hahahaha) This is how I feel on some days.... :) 

4-So the rumor is true. I'm leaving my little promised land of Taidong. It's been very bittersweet to look into the future and know that I'm leaving these people and this beautiful part of the island.
My beautiful Taidong!
But today during my studies I decided I would make a list of the top 4 things I've learned in Taidong.

1. I am still learning. This was made ever so apparent to me this transfer. I think once I finished training Sister Johnson I got proud. I felt like I could do things on my own. Oh boy was I wrong. The Lord humbled me a lot and taught me that I'm not as all-powerful as I thought. haha 

2. You receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. I know that the Lord is going to continue teaching me this, but I was so grateful to see the fruits of this principle while I've been here. When I first got to Taidong there were some problems with members trusting the Sister Missionaries, we were the smallest branch in Taidong, and I didn't know anyone. Yesterday when I was saying my final testimony to our WARD it was amazing to feel the love of our members and look into their faces and realize that I had been able to talk to every single person there. It was a trial at first, but I have received that witness now and I am forever grateful.

So another little off-shoot of this, I'm not only leaving Taidong, but I am going to be training again. I do not know yet where I will be serving. We got the call on Saturday night and it was quite the blow. haha I was so excited but so shocked and just... I'm still in shock so I'm not really sure what to say haha. BUT! Saturday night I went upstairs and sat on my old desk looking out at the rain. (This was the day of the typhoon so it had been raining pretty much all day) I was thinking about what I would say in my final testimony in Taidong and I was praying to the Lord for strength. I said to the Lord, "If you really love me can you hold back the rain for just a second?" As soon as I looked up the rain slowed to a mere pitter patter. It was incredible and I was pretty sure it was just a coincidence. So I said to the Lord again "If you really love me, if you're really calling me to do this, will you give me a big rain?" Nothing happened. My heart ached and I bowed my head. As soon as I did, the heavens opened and the rain poured out :) Ether 12:6 immediately popped into my mind :) God loves his kids.

3. God's ways are higher than my ways. I also think the Lord is going to continue teaching me this throughout forever. haha When i was called to come to Taidong it was in the middle of a transfer and completely unexpected. When I first got here I was sleeping on the ground for 2 weeks. It was a very hard time for me. But, it has turned out to be one of my life's biggest blessings. I also find it very appropriate that when I'm leaving Taidong, it's also completely unprecedented and unexpected. The Lord knows where I'm going and he knows what he wants me to be. 

4. Be yourself. This has been an amazing thing to learn here. I'm also just incredibly blessed because we have the best members ever and they're so loving and welcoming and incredible. But I remember when I first got out of training with Wu Jiemei I was constantly asking myself "Ok... what would Wu Jiemei do right now?" But I've learned so much about my own gifts and talents. I'm different than everybody else. That's on purpose! haha As I've had the opportunity to start from the very bottom here in Taidong, it's been amazing to see how I can re-establish myself as a missionary and as a person. I love it.

The church is true. I love you all :)

Gu Jiemei
On our balcony!
Last meeting with our missionary committee
Dinner at the Cai Huizhang's House, our new Stake President!
One of my favorite people in the whole world:) Pres. Hou!!! He is an amazing leader and friend:)

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