I wish I could tell you how happy getting your letters makes me. They are always full of such funny little details that make me laugh, or beautiful descriptions of the weather or nature. I am realizing how much my writing is just a product of my family. I love you all so much.
I was having a really hard few days earlier this week; despite our best efforts our investigators don't seem to be making progress very quickly and Wu Jia Lin has completely disappeared. I was getting really down about it; it was making me feel sick and I didn't want to plan lessons. I was just worn out. On Monday I wasn't feeling well and considered not going out. I decided to at least go see our investigator who lives out in the country, thinking maybe the exercise of riding my bike would make me feel better. As we were leaving we asked our Guanlien* if we have mail. He got very excited and said yes, so many! I got five letters that morning; more mail than I've received cumulatively in Taiwan. It really helped me feel up to going out. Grandma, the cousins all wrote me thoughtful cards wishing me a Happy Bosses Day :). It made me smile. I still was sick most the day but it was a nice tender mercy to get mail right at that moment.
That night I took Airborne and felt better the next day. Amy, and thank you for the letters - I'm sure you encouraged everyone to write me. Daddy also sent me a package this week with Halloween party favors for my students. Thank you! It really made our party special and we used them all.
We had our Halloween party last night! I was so excited, we had been planning for weeks. It was so well planned. We were going to have a member be the doorman and we were going to break into four groups and have the students rotate. The groups were going to have the history of halloween, decorating masks or party bags, bingo, and blindfolded "stick your hand in food like spagetti and tell them it's brains" activity. We were going to watch a On the Way Home for spiritual share. It was all planned. I made bingo boards and a list of words. (Thank you Mother for the Halloween party ideas, they really helped me get my share ready) Yesterday afternoon however was CDTM in Jiayi- about a 30 minute trainride from Douliu. Well, the Mission President was running late, and interviews took longer than we planned and so did training. Though we were interviewed first, we didn't get back into Douliu until 7:15. Before class starts we always have an hour for English planning meeting and at seven English class begins. So Sister Pickering and I were late, there were a bunch of students waiting outside confused, and the Elders weren't there and we didn't know when they would get there. Oh, it was so hectic! The Lord answered our prayers and we had more students than normal but my goodness we didn't know what to do. So Sister Pickering started teaching all 35 people different Halloween words and I ran around and tried to register new students. The Elders showed up and didn't have their things at the church so we just sort of winged everything and it ended up going pretty well. So much for what we planned! I figure everyone would have been happy just going home with candy. Oh yeah, I wore a witch hat I bought for a dollar somewhere and my students LOVED it. I will have to send pictures.
This week we had a cool experience with a new investigator. We pulled up to a stoplight and started contacting a woman, Miss Zhang, on a scooter next to us (standard proceedure). She was like, do you know Sister Reymund? I told her I had heard of her but that she went back to America. We couldn't find a time to meet with her (people work really crazy hours here) so we said, how about you follow us back to the church and we will teach you right now? So she did and we taught her a first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon. Miss Zhang told us that she had talked to Sister Reymund before but had never had time to go to church or meet with the missionaries. She still had Sister Reymund's phone number saved in her phone (our number), and had just been wanting to call her that morning but hadn't. Then a couple hours later we found her on the street and she had time to meet with us right then.It was really cool; people that desire the truth will be lead to it.
President Hoer told us an interesting thing. It was how anger comes from violated expectations, that we become angry or upset when we expect people to do things the way that we would have done them. Really though, that is usually a crazy expecation. He gave this example: You can't expect people in Taiwan to drive they way they do in Utah or Nevada, or etc. It is easier to change yourself and your attitude than try to change 180 million Taiwanese drivers. It is the same with most things. Expectations aren't true, they are just what we are accustomed to.
I think that people that believe in relative truth are confused between expectations and truth. Truth is something that doesn't change over time or across cultures. Expectations do and when enough people agree on them they get confused and think it's truth but it's not. It's an expectation. Truth is not relative; otherwise it doesn't fit the definition of truth. That was random, but this is the sort of thing I think about on those long bike rides.
Love you lots,
* I don't know if Guanlien is a word in English - I think it may be doorman? The guy that sits in the lobby and rings up visitors, etc. We always ask if we have mail and we rarely do, so they get really excited to tell us we have mail