Monday, July 27, 2015

There really is nothing better...

 Last P-day at Toucheng Beach
Happy Monday! I'm not even sure if anything has changed since last Wednesday.  The weekend flew by! We did get to go to the temple on Wednesday, and that was simply amazing.  I took the family names you gave me, hoping to just give them to someone to do sealings, but apparently in Taiwan missionaries get to do more than just an endowment session! So I got to do the sealings as well for the children (: I really miss being in the temple so often.  The temple president came in and did a few in English so we could understand, and that was awesome! I'm not sure which is harder, looking a Chinese map, or understanding Chinese temple words. Luckily, we got to do a session in English.  Everything about it was just so humble.  You know the people that work in the temple have sacrificed so much to be there, and they go because they love their Savior and want to serve Him.  I can't wait to go back (:
 temple selfie... Yeah!
 I LOVE this place!!
Oh, Happy pioneer day! We actually did remember it this time, and we celebrated with KFC and ice cream from McDonald's.  That's about as American as it gets here! I guess pioneer day is a Utah thing though.. Anyway. 
 We tried to look for something red, white, and blue
for pioneer day, and this was the best we could do
 Wednesday, post emailing, 7 am.  We sacrifice to go to the temple here!
We've doing a lot of tracting lately, and it's funny what things we've run into.  One lady we were talking to only spoke Taiyu (Taiwanese) but she was still being respectful and trying to talk to us.  Haha at one point we were trying to ask if anyone else was home that speaks guoyu, but she just screeched, "WO TING BU DONG!!" I don't understand!! I hear ya, lady! Hahah.  I do feel like screaming that more often than not, but I try to hold back (: 
 Carly, Sis. Strong, me, Elder Francis and Elder Mertz
                    Took a little gander in a gondola!  Everyone here is from the MTC, by the
                  way:  Elder Gray, Robinson, Wheeler, Dorius, and Sister Strong's chin...oops
 Our view from the gondola.  That's Taipei 101
on the right.  Taiwan is SOO beautiful (:
It's also interesting to see who Heavenly Father has prepared.   Most everyone will just tell us 'buyong' (don't use.. wait that doesn't make sense in English) and shut the door or walk away. It's so obvious the people he's prepared! They'll just let us talk and pray with them.  One husband and wife we talked to yesterday was so prepared! We said simply that our message enables you to have an eternal family, and lasting joy.  They just accepted it so easily.  'Yeah that sounds nice.  Let's keep listening.' was basically what they said.  haha it's just too easy to recognize those people, it's awesome! They don't come around too often though.  You know you've been led by the spirit when you find them!
 Exchanges with Sis. Guo, My first bendi!
 The terrifying squattie potties...Guo JM made me use it
Sunday night member visits to Guo Jiating (:
If all goes well for his baptismal interview, Guo Qi Xiang will be getting baptized on Saturday!! I love him so much.  He's been so prepared! We've been teaching him the Word of Wisdom, chastity, tithing and fasting and all that stuff, and he's literally had ZERO problems! He's so awesome. His son was already Christian, and you can tell that's definitely softened his heart.  We've still got to get Guo Jiemei on board and coming to church! She has work all the time.  Xingku ta.

Another sweet lesbian made us a cake for our lesson!

So I found out something way cool that might possibly have been the miracle I've been waiting for. Sister Strong was looking through her journal the other day, and found out that she and Sister Fan found Guo Jiating on June 1st. Then I got Elder Danklef's text saying I'm going to Taiwan on June 2nd! He's got to be the reason it took so long for me to get here.  I can't think of anything else. Haha I don't know why I couldn't have been waiting in Taiwan to be transferred to Yilan, but that will come to me later. Ever since I went through the temple for myself, I knew that I wanted to find a family to teach on my mission and watch them go to the temple.  I really think Guo Jiating is the family I've been praying to find.  Of course it might take a minute with Guo JM and their son and everything, but I know that it can happen.  I'm so excited to see what will happen with them (: 
 Just a picture scavenger hunt--yellow flower:  check
 Oops, I thought that was an Asian form of Joseph--guitar,
amp in one hand, and another instrument in the other...
I hope everyone has a great week! I can't believe CaLea and Braydn are already home! It's so crazy to me that people of my generation are coming home from the mission already.  I just love this work so much.  There really is nothing better than being in the service of God.  

Love, Feng Jiemei (:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Because We Promised Father

Happy late birthday to me!  I finally got my own bike!
Dearest family,
We had just an awesome week. Things are going great, and I am so happy.  Not because it's easy, not because we're having a ton of success, but because I'm choosing to be happy.  Why wouldn't I be? We are sharing the greatest message in the world, and we have the Lord on our side. I can't think of anything better. 
Real quick, Happy birthday on Saturday, Grandma Sumner! I hope it was a good day for you (: 
Also, I got a letter from Snoopla (gahh missionary brain.. I can't even remember her name) this week! Haha she probably sent it like a month ago but I definitely appreciate it (: and Connie sent me a little birthday package! That was so sweet of her.  She's such an awesome example to me!
Oh boy.  So first things first, I LOVE GUO JIATING!!!!!  They are just so legit! We taught them the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and Guo DX is so excited for baptism.  Guo JM couldn't make it to two weeks of church because of gongzuo but she'll get there.  We told Guo DX that he could baptize his wife, and he got so excited!! And he wants his Christian son and his other two kids to come to "our church".  Ahh he's the best! Haha of course, the temple somehow pops up in every lesson, and he's so excited to go.  We were thinking about it, and if Guo JM can get baptized soon, in a year they could get sealed in the temple and I come back and watch them!  Sorry, baby steps haha. Baptism. Yay. 
We got a new ward list of all the active members who could help pei ke, and I realized everyone has the same name!! It's either Chen, Li or Lin. Haha but Li and Lin you can never tell the difference when they say it, so that doesn't really count.  
I had another "real missionary" experience! Well, they're all real, but I just felt pretty xingku. So we walked out of a lesson with this guy and it was hardly sprinkling, but he was insistent that we put on a rain coat or something. (Oops, I still need to buy one.  I've got a dress poncho thing though, don't worry mom!) The rain picked up as we rode probably 30 minutes to an LA family we found a few days before.  Haha the mom fed us this gross soup stuff and gave us towels to dry off.  There is literally no way look professional in the rain.  That was our firm decision for the week! Anyways, we had a great lesson, and on the way home, it just started pouring.  I think that was my first real Taiwan rainstorm.  It was awesome! Haha I was just thinking while riding, we probably look so xingku right now.  I'm in a skirt first of all, my silly poncho dress doesn't even cover half of me, and it's literally pouring buckets. I couldn't help but giggle to myself and remember why in the world I'm doing this.  I'm serving Heavenly Father, of course! I would never even dream of coming to Asia to get caught in a rainstorm for anyone else but Him. So I just rode home with a smile and a happy heart the rest of the way (:
I told my first Chinese joke yesterday!! YES!! Okay, a little background.  Last week for English class, we had a little extra time, so we told jokes! That's advanced English stuff, right? They were just your classic "why did the chicken cross the road" stuff, but no one understood them:( they're totally not as funny after you have to explain it.  We gave them all homework to bring a joke to class next time.  I'll probably have to give the credit to Curtis Graham, who always made us bring a joke to soccer practice.  Anyway, we were at the bu yesterday (mission office) and we were talking about how I still can't figure out North south, east and west! Seriously, I think the sun rises on a different side of the world every time. Also, dong means east and xi means west.  but together, dongxi, means stuff (but literally, it means east west).  So I was saying how I can't keep my directions straight, then I said, "what is this dongxi??" Hahah okay I'm sure none of you will get it, but that's okay.  We all had a nice laugh. 
We finally got to have interviews with President Jergensen!! He's so great.  Everything I said, he was just so thankful and appreciative of my comments.  He's so loving, and a great listener.  He's so excited about the work too! Haha I actually ended up giving him homework, instead of the other way around! Not sure how that happened, but I'll follow up with him at the temple today (: Y'all can do it too! Well, they're missionary talks, but they still apply. Read The 4th Missionary (not sure who it's by, sorry!) and A Consecrated Missionary by Tad R Callister.  WAY good talks.  I'm trying to be a more consecrated missionary and work towards being the 4th missionary.  It's definitely a slow process, but what an awesome goal to strive for! 
One last thing! Oh, okay two.  So we went on exchanges yesterday, and I was with a bendi, Sister Guo! I even stayed in my area! Haha that was interesting.  We almost didn't find our way home, but we made it eventually (: She helped me so much with my zhongwen though! I realized that I definitely need to speak more with Sister Strong. It's just so easy to speak English, but I've got to work harder since my time so short! So she came to district meeting yesterday, and we were talking about why we invite everyone to baptism.  Someone said so simply, and humbly, "because we promised Father." Aww. How true that is.  Of course we're here to help these people make covenants and stuff.  But we promised Father we would find His children when we came out here.  Before that even, I'm sure we made that before we came to earth.  I think that will be a good continuing motivation.  Because I promised Father.  
I love y'all.  I really do. Thank you for allowing me to serve a mission, and helping me get to where I am today.  I love missionary work.  It has made me so happy, I can't even describe (miaoshu.. Yes! I just studied that yesterday). Anyways, take care.  I hope all is well on the other side of the world (: 

Love, Feng Jiemei 

PS It's 5 in the morning and we get to go to the temple today!!! WHOOO!!!

This is from Elder Herrera back in Thomaston! Melissa finally got baptized!! WHOO!!

Melissa Stanford was the baptism. The really cool thing about that is I sent Elder Gammon on splits with Brother Adams to teach her the commandment "Keep the Sabbath Day Holy." He committed her to make sure her work schedule would never interfere with attending sacrament meeting. She hasn't had a problem coming since! Plus, he confirmed her a member yesterday in front of the mission president! I am so excited for him! He truly is coming along very well.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Birthday Week

 Making calls...seemed like a good selfie moment
 I just can't get enough of this
Da jia hao!
I can't believe another week has already flown by! This morning I  passed off lesson 1 of phase 1.  In order to learn the language, President has us work on three phases.  Phase 1 is all the lessons, phase 2 is everyday words, and phase 3 is characters.  I've got to step up my game! I feel like I've been doing flash cards all day every day.
Chinese birthday cake!  Happy 20th!
Hey thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! I had a nice day, but it was just like any other haha, although, Sister Strong made stake and mashed potatoes for lunch, and some members got me this Chinese cake stuff from their work.  Consider it celebrated!
Birthday steak and mashed potatoes!  no plates though...
Me, Lu JM Sister Strong and Carly, the ev'n of July be 10th
We had zone meeting this week, and that was so fun to see a lot of familiar faces again. Sister Jensen from the MTC is in our zone, as well as Sister Lindsay, who also went to Georgia, and a lot of other people from the MTC.  We also got to meet President Jergensen! He's awesome! He's from Logan, and has the cutest family.  Maddie, his 20 year old daughter, will be here for the summer until BYU starts in the fall, and his twin boys, Daxton and Breckon (15 maybe?), will be here the whole 3 years.  More mission kids! yay! He's way different than President Day and even President Harding.  He's way spiritual, but yet he's so funny! He told us how he was called to be a mission president, and his experience meeting Elder Holland and President Eyring.  He said they treated he and his wife like a long lost cousin that they were so happy to see again.  The spirit was so strong as he was telling us about it! I can only imagine being in a personal interview with them, and how much more amazing it will be to stand in front of the Savior. 
 REUNITED with Sister Jensen!!
Before I forget, there's a new website that has pictures of the mission and meetings and stuff: Also, We're going to the temple next Wednesday, the 22nd so that will be our p day and that's when I'll write.  I hope they do a session in English... 
Our big news this week is that Guo qi xiang finally came to church! He even brought his Christian son! He said his church is wuliao (boring) so he'd check out ours, and hey loved it.  Everyone was so friendly and it was great.  We had a lesson with Guo jiating this week, and it went really well! We taught the rest of the plan of salvation, and they're so excited to go to the temple and get sealed for eternity.  And he totally understands that he has to go to church first, then get baptized and all that.  Ahh they're the best (: 
 Sometimes translations to English  aren't exactly correct...
 We had a lot of bus rides to Taipei this week, so just another selfie...
I also had a cool personal experience.  One day we decided to go to the bus station and just make calls/contacts.  So Sister Strong was making calls and I was left alone to talk to people around us! I finally got up enough courage to talk to someone, and it went really well! I didn't understand half of what she was saying, but I understood the general idea enough to keep the conversation going and eventually give her a Book of Mormon! That was so cool.  Heavenly Father really does help you at the exact time you need it.  All it takes is a little faith and action!
 Turtle Island! Unfortunately, missionaries can't go there :(
 We went to a hot pot place for Sister Strong's year mark
On the flip side, I had this little epiphany as we were tracting one day. The first house we knocked on answered, and it was a kid with his mom and grandma (who speaks Taiwanese so she didn't understand us).  The whole time, the mom and grandma possibly could have been an analogy for Satan.  We started talking to him, and they got all antsy.  We sat down and prayed with him, and they started mumbling stuff to each other.  We showed him a video, and they tried pulling him back so he couldn't watch.  He wrote down his number, and they pulled him back more and mumbled more stuff.  Every move we make as a missionary, Satan is getting that much more angry! As we were leaving, the grandma even came outside and tried to give us back the Book of Mormon! Haha they were nice about it of course, but still.  That just gave me all the more desire to go out and share the gospel.  Satan's army is working just as hard as us, and we've got to out-invite them! We will win!
 Egg tarts from KFC!
        Last p-day we went to a place where fish eat the dead skin off your feet.
Not the best place for a ticklish person...
One last thought; something cool that was shared in zone meeting.  We were talking about how to get rid of any doubt and fear.  Someone brought up 2 Nephi 9:39 where it says "spiritually minded is life eternal".  First of all, that's way deep! I like that.  Also, the first letters of those words make SMILE.  I've really taken Brigham's invitation to smile all the time to heart, and it's so fun to see how it totally changes a person's countenance.  All it takes is a little smile and a wave hello as we pass someone on the street, and they will talk to you easily. There is true power in a simple smile.  Man, I love the people here.  

Love, Feng Jiemei (:
 Taiwan sunsets are sooo pretty!
 Just in case y'all were wondering...I know I was!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Still Adjusting...

 tongbans (:
zao an!
I can't believe I've been here another p day.  I keep telling people I've been here for a week and they're so surprised at my zhongwen, but I guess eventually it will have to change to two weeks, and so on.  To answer a few questions... Yes the weather is always humid! Haha I'm already kind of a sweaty person so the humidity just makes me always sticky and gross.  Maybe one day I'll get used to that. Happy birthday to Lisa, Ben, and William! And thanks everyone in advance for the birthday wishes!! and PS, I'm glad y'all enjoyed shrimp without me, but I think I like it now! I tried it on the plane over here and it wasn't half bad.  I probably won't want it for my next birthday though. 
I thought I would basically just be translating to zhongwen using the same way I usually teach, but no, it's totally different! It's been so weird to go from "our church has the fulness; here's what your church doesn't have (in a Christ like way, of course)" to, "meet Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They will bring you eternal happiness with your family."
 One handed!
I have been able to the play the piano in Relief Society, go figure. The Chinese hymn book is the same, but just a few songs are missing.  It's weird when I lose my place and I can't find it by listening to the words anymore.. #Chinesemusicianprobs
We actually got to celebrate the 4th of July somewhat! We were doing temple tours in Taipei on Saturday all day, and while we were riding back, we heard some fireworks in the background.  I figured our Sunday was your Saturday, so I seized the opportunity to wear red white and blue to church! That's about as good as it gets outside of America.  
 On the bus ride to Taipei.  TAIWAN IS SO PRETTY!!
Haha my feet have still been pretty swollen.  Sister Day said that happens because of the airplane ride, but it seems a bit odd.  I think I still have a bit of jet lag, but if I stay busy, I'm great! Also, I found out that my passport was lost 3 different times, and it finally made it through on the 4th time.  Heavenly Father really had more of a hand in this than we think... 
I love how the members are just so happy here.  We'll be walking on the street and say hello or good morning, and sometimes people won't even look up at us.  Haha it might be because they know what we're trying to do, but still! But the members are always so friendly and happy to see you and will ask you about everything.  The gospel truly does bring an added measure of happiness.  It's awesome (: Someone told me the other day, I think it was even a member, that I have such a light about me.  I didn't realize that was actually noticeable. These people notice a difference about us, and they want it, but they just don't know it yet! 
            Another pic on the way to Taipei.  They have cute little decorations on the buses (: 
We get to teach an English class every Wednesday, and I love that! Sister Strong and I are in charge of the kids class, and they're so smart! These little 5-7 year old kids are pulling out paper to take notes! in English! Haha they sure do it right here in Asia. Everyone testifies of English class and what an awesome tool it is for finding prepared people.  This week, a new mom and her probably 10 year old kid came to our class, and they were so excited to learn more about the gospel! We do a little spiritual share related to the lesson and we pray with them, and it's just such an awesome opportunity to get a little bite of the gospel.
  Bus selfies and breakfast baozi! Ready for a long day of temple tours
We're teaching a few really cool people right now! First there's Guo Jiating (family). They're legit! They're probably my favorite family.  That's the first lesson where I think I actually understood what was going on.  They just take everything in.  We're also teaching a guy named Ben.  He came to the English class randomly, and wanted to meet with missionaries, and we got him on date to be baptized pretty soon! Also, we had the coolest miracle last night.  I was a little discouraged because I wasn't understanding much yesterday at church.  Haha it might have been because of fast sunday, but who knows.  I kept having to give the phone to Sister Strong because I couldn't understand what people were saying.  Anyway, we were tracting for an hour or two before it was too late, and we had a crazy last house miracle! We met Joseph, who is so prepared! He speaks almost fluent English, and he was so willing to talk with us, and we taught him the whole restoration right on the porch! First of all, it was a totally cool miracle. Second, Heavenly Father blessed us to find someone I could feel comfortable talking to! Haha I think He knew I needed a little break.  He really is so aware of me personally, and for that I am so thankful. 

By the way, all letters and stuff have to go to the mission office: 

Taiwan Taipei Mission
4/F #24 Lane 183
Chin Hua Street
Taipei 106

Sister Strong says it only takes about 10 days to arrive and they're (usually) pretty reliable! If you feel so inclined, feel free (: 
 Happy American eating jipai (:
Things are really going good.  I think I've finally gotten accustomed to our neighborhood, so our house doesn't randomly pop up anymore when it's time to go home. Taiwan is so pretty.  I am just so thankful when I look around at this beautiful place, and realize that y'all prayed me here. Thank you so much for your faith and prayers.  Heavenly Father truly does know what's best.

Love, Feng Jiemei (: