Well, it's been a week and a half and all kinds of crazy things have happened!
This last weekend it was the Moon Festival- (Zhong chou tien)! It is a huge holiday here; it celebrates the (Harvest?) moon. It reminded me a lot of the Fourth of July, minus the patriotism. Everyone goes home to their parents house and BBQs (kaurou) and celebrates. At night there were fireworks like crazy. Apparently in Taiwan, anyone is allowed to light off fireworks whenever they want as large as they want. We just passed people on the street lighting off fireworks like have seen at some small town displays in the US. It was fun, there were lanterns and crazy Taiwanese music and everyone out Kaurou-ing. Kaurou is Chinese BBQ and though it has a little different flavor than back home, it is really good. I can see the Johnson relatives enjoying it :). Literally, the family just gathers around a grill and continuously eat and talk for HOURS. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. Our ward had an activity and they kaurou-ed from 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon.
The Moon festival is a great day for finding families so we started proselyting an hour earlier and stayed out an hour later (9:30 am -9:30 pm) to have the maximum time finding. It was really fun just proselyting because everyone is celebrating and inviting us in and trying to feed us. It was great because it really felt like a holiday feeling, but I didn't miss home because it's not a holiday I've ever celebrated before.
We tracted into the craziest group that day. They invited us in and were just all sitting around drinking tea, so we taught them the word of wisdom and about prophets. And there I met the Taiwanese Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow. Sister Pickering said to me in English "Doesn't he remind you of Jack Sparrow?" and HE DID. We tried to explain to them who Johnny Depp but all they got out of it was that we thought their friend looked like a pirate and they roared with laughter. I just realized this may be one of those "have to be there stories."
We saw a lot of miracles this week. We had been trying to find a ride for one of our investigators to church and no one could take her. This investigator lives out in the country and has a baby and a toddler - it's not very convenient. As we were on the way to her house to visit her we heard someone say The Sister Missionaries! So we stopped and found out members live a block from our investigator. This family has a 10 year old daughter Meimei, who was the one who called out to us. We asked the Mom to give our investigator a ride, and she declined - she already has four kids to get to church on time and it's just inconvenient. Then Meimei whispered in her moms ear and then the mom agreed to take her. The Mom told us later the daughter whispered "But Mom, serving others brings us the most happiness." Meimei is only 10 and she has such great faith!
(Interesting cultural sidenote - in Taiwan/China, you don't call children by their names - you call them Older or Younger Brother/Sister. I'm not sure at what age is appropriate to start using/learning their names. It is actually really convenient.I've been called Meimei (little sister) before. Oh, and you can call every old woman Amah - it's a respectful name like Grandmother.)
Other quick stories-The other night it was really pouring rain and we had a lesson far out of town we had to ride to. My raincoat was badly ripped and I was soaking and we hadn't had time for dinner. It was one of those situations with potential to be a real downer. I started singing hymns to keep my mind focused and my spirits up. My companion joined in and we started singing the primary song Follow the Prophet except we couldn't remember the words right so we were laughing and making them up and making up new verses to Follow the Prophet for people like Omni. We started singing Praise to the Man and I just had this moment where the spirit really touched me. It was such a sweet little moment of tender mercy, I just felt God's love. I felt He was really pleased with us, that our sacrifice was not unnoticed. A situation that could have been met with complaint was instead met with willingness and a choice to be be happy and we were, it was such a great night.
I can't believe it's snowing in Elko! Crazy! It has finally began to feel comfortable here instead of a million degrees. I forget that it is October!
Well, I love you all a lot. Be safe and keep praying for me - I know it helps a lot.
Cami's note to Donna:
We haven't seen conference yet - I'm so excited though! You know you are a missionary when y ou start looking forward to Conference months in advance. We will watch 3 sessions this Saturday-Sunday - i don't know when they are showing the rest. My excitement has been somewhat dampened as on Saturday, they are showing the two sessions in one four hour block....eeek. I'm not sure I will be able to absorb all I need to. Will you send me an English Conference Ensign when they come out? That would be so great.
You talking about homemade bread and soup and pie and snow made me miss you! It sounds like heaven.
Things are great here though
Thanks for your help with the Bank Card,don't forget to send me the penny talk number, for future reference so I'll have it