Monday, November 22, 2010

It is finished. 11/21/10

Miracle baptism yesterday. I'll tell you more in person.

My work here is complete. I honestly feel like I have done the work my Father has sent me to do.
I feel at peace.

I'll see you soon.

Forever my love,
Sister Johnson

Monday, November 15, 2010

Last preparation day!‏ 11/14/10

Dear family,

This may be my last email home. Yes Amy I will still try to check my email next week but I may not have time to respond. It will be a crazy day.

On Tuesday was my last Zone Conference. I gave my reflections talk - all the returning missionaries give one. I was really afraid I would just cry all the way through it but I was okay. I talked about angels and miracles. It was really powerful. Maybe I'll share it sometime with you.

Today for my last Preparation day, Sister Brownell and I rode our bikes back up the mountain to the waterfall. It was beautiful in the mountains, I felt close to God. We did our study up there and most imporantly, buried a time capsule. We put in photos, stick figure drawings of our future families, our life goals, tracts, and some other fun things. I wish we had more time to prepare it... The plan is to come back in 20 years and get it. I'll be 43 then - it's near impossible to imagine being nearly twice my age but it seems like every year moves a little faster now.

The most notable investigator lately is Sister Wu. She is blind and absolutely golden. I bet she will be baptised in two weeks. I'm disappointed I won't be around for it. Teaching her is...amazing. She is so receptive.

The problem is how to help a blind person gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon. As far as we know, only one Braille copy of the Book of Mormon exists in Taiwan, which Elder Opper found in Gaoxiong randomly just a few hours before I called asking him if such a thing even existed. Don't tell me angels don't direct this work. Things like this happen all the time. The Braille Book of Mormon is huge - seven volumes of enormous blue binders about five inches thick. Poor Sister Wu though, it is in braille English and it must be near impossible for her to understand. Imagine trying to read a book of scripture in a second language that you haven't studied in 15 years...in braille. We are trying to find a recording but so far have only been about to find an old translation in Chinese. We are working on it. Anyway, she is gold. I have to think more about what I want to say about her. She is brave and sweet and lovely and I'm so lucky to be teaching her.

I was looking around my dear little Beiqu ward this Sunday and I felt so proud of it. It is the most diverse ward I've seen in Taiwan. There are a lot of people with special needs and they are all met with love and compassion. There we were with blind Sister Wu, in another corner we had translation for a deaf sister, we have a parapelegic man in a wheelchair that the aaronic priesthood takes turns pushing a couple miles to and from church each sunday. There is crippled and homeless Brother Yang being the class leader in Gospel Principles. This really is the best ward that I have been in.

This week I started calling my new members and telling them that I am going home. I also wrote them each a letter with pictures and our address in Elko. It was nice. I called Song Shao Yi - my first new member back in Douliu. She said that she knew it was me by my voice even before I told her who I was. I couldn't say the same for her - the last time I had seen her I hadn't really been able to understand her lol. Sister Lin with the amazing smile is coming up from Yuanlin to take Sister Brownell and I out for dinner on Friday. Everyone I talked to was just so sweet and excited to hear from me and really missed me. I've been really blessed to be able to help so many people.

Alright, time is up.

FML
Sister Johnson



Cami's email to Donna:

Thanks for the detailed info on my return. It sounds like conference was nice. Did you remember to make sure that President Shumway will be available to release me?

I love you! Thanksgiving is almost here! The goose is getting fat lol.
FML
Sister Johnson

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cami Johnson

Dear family,


Well it has been a smashing few days.


So, Sister Brownell decided at the beginning of this movecall to set some goals and one of them was to do our own version of a taipei 101. Then we decided, who wants to run just to the top of the highest building in Taiwan? If we are going to do this, let's do it right. So we asked around, found out the tallest storied building in the world is in Dubai and is162 stories and set 165 as our goal. So for the past few weeks we added stairs to our running agenda. We had originally planned to run Dubai next week, but we have been doing 105 flights consistently without problems and were getting a little bored of stairs. So we decided just to do it today and free up next week for another mountain biking adventure. It didn't take us very long, about 45 minutes total and about 29 minutes running*. It was fun, I mostly recited The Living Christ in my head while I ran (which we are memorizing, another goal). It was cool because achieving our goal didn't take us as long as we thought it would, and we thought it would be harder than it was. It's nice to know that you can do hard things, even with ease. We are all capable of more than we put ourselves up to.


This week was a ward activity. It was so much fun to watch. Taiwanese people may be a bit tonedeaf when it comes to singing, but they more than make up for it in their skits, dancing and acting. They are always awesome. I think of a skit and I think of people spending a half an hour before it starts trying to figure out what they will do. The Taiwanese are super creative, really good actors and spend weeks getting ready. It was so fun to watch on Saturday night. Every auxilary organization choreographed a dance. The young women did an amazing Prince of Egypt performance, the priesthood danced**, we got to watch our new members dance with the relief society did some kind of "cowboy" dance***, it was so cute. We left before the primary but I saw them practicing and it was pretty intense for a bunch of little kids NOT enrolled in a dance class. None of this put your left leg in put your left leg out business. There was also in attendance one of the best violinists I have ever seen. The whole thing was just heartwarming. As Sister Brownell put it, "I felt filled. Like someone was literally pouring goodness into me, and like a glass now I am filled." It was really nice.


Remember the little 8 year old boy, Yang Dun Li that we baptised last week? His mom told us that every night in his prayers he asks for the remission of his sins. It was honestly the cutest thing I have ever heard. He is such a good kid.


Pictures~


The first one is my district. I think it captures everyone's personalities. Going counter clockwise, first you have Sister Brownell, my bff. Then you have Elder Yang, the recorder, who came on island with me and has been a help to me from the first day I met him. He also served in Douliu so we have a special bond. Then there is Elder Johnson, who we like to tell people we are cousins. He is one of my zone leaders, was in the MTC with me 6 weeks ahead and only speaks in exclamitory statements, I'm not even kidding. Talking to him is half like going to a pep rally. He is the most energetic person ever. Everytime I talk to him on the phone, he says Sister JOHNson this is Elder Johnson!!!! Everytime he speaks Sister Brownell and I are about rolling on the floor laughing, he is ridiculous. I like him but have a hard time taking him seriously. Then there is Elder Opper, the Operations manager who has already saved my life 4 times in the last 4 weeks! JK. But he is awesome and heartfelt and sincere and everyone's dream home teacher. I love doing followups with him. Then there is Elder Moes, pronounced Moose, which describes his build. I like him and don't know how to put my finger on why. He isn't too serious, and isn't too ridiculous. He takes his calling seriously but when I called him yesterday to see if they had apostasy cups I could use for a lesson, he spoke the whole time, unexplainably, in a british accent. I'm not sure I can explain Elder Moose any better than that.


The second one is Halloween!

But time is up. So thats all for this week folks. Love you and tune in next week.

FML

Sister Johnson



PS please check with President Shumway to make sure that I will be able to be report and be released or whatever it is called on Wednesday and he isn't going out of town or something for the holiday. Love you!



*It takes time to take the elevator back down once we reach the top. We could run down but I vetoed because of my knees. A lot of people told me stories about hurting their knees after running stairs so I was careful. I've been really blessed that my knees have healed so well.

** The highlight was the soloist Brother Yang, a homeless but extremely awesome member who broke it down to Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. Oh, priceless.

*** Yes, there is such thing as Chinese country music




Monday, October 25, 2010

                
                                          

Dear family,

Before I forget, I am going to the temple next week and so will not email until Wednesday.

It has been some of the most eventful days I have had in ages. Daddy's story about the fire alarms going off at the cabin just set the tone for the story I'm about to tell you.

So it is late on Friday night (about 10:10, about 20 minutes before we go to bed) and all was quiet at our apartment. I was folding laundry, my companion was cutting fruit for her breakfast, Sister Liu was following up with the district leader...and the carbon monoxide detector started going off and didn't stop even when we hit the quiet button. I had had quite a time installing the carbon monoxide detector in Yuanlin (long story. Just know the walls here are made of cement) and so I knew exactly what it was and how the detector worked. They trained us on the CM2 detectors after a couple missionaries died in Europe last winter. So I called the district leader, who called President...who sent the office elders to come pick us up because we couldn't sleep there that night until it got checked. We were all complaining, we were so tired and didn't want to leave and had to pack all of our stuff because we didn't know when we'd come back. The time we all dearly wanted to be asleep we were sitting outside our dalou looking bleary eyed waiting for the elders to drive over. I was just glad they didn't make us ride our bikes the half hour like they originally proposed.

Once we got to the mission home we stopped complaining immediately. I was afraid we were going to have to sleep on the floor in the office or something, but instead we got to sleep in the guest room at the mission home. All I can say is I highly recommend setting off your CM detector. Oh, the mission home was so clean and comfortable. It was airconditioned, carpeted, the beds were soo comfortable and the linens divine, covered in pillows. It felt like being at home, or visiting relatives. Wealthy relatives. I giggled to Sister Brownell, "Do you think this is what heaven is like?" We couldn't hide our glee. The showers had hot water AND water pressure, simultaniously! It was like a miracle. The next morning President and Sister Bishop made us an American breakfast- I was not expecting that, it was above and beyond their call of duty. I was ready to go buy something at 711. I felt so taken care of. It was like being in a house at America, they had condiments in English that they bought at costco and herbal essence shampoo in the bathroom. It's funny how the little things make you feel like you are at home.

After our "getaway" to the missionhome, things went really well. The Zone Leaders committed us to have 30 sitdown lessons this week, and by Friday we only had I think 14. We had a ton of miracles though all right in a row and by Sunday night we had all 30. It was crazy. The more you exercise faith in the commitments extended by your leaders, the more opportunities God has to show you His miracles. Literally, we went from a park sit down, to the first house we tracted to being let in, and then when we left the elders were calling me telling me a lady showed up at the church crying and wanted to know the meaning of life and how she can be happier. It was miraculous. Everything fell into place.

Today was a lot of fun too! We had heard there was a waterfall in the mountains and decided to ride up to go see it. We stopped at a buddist temple which was actually the first cool one I have seen in a long time. I've seen so many miaos that they rarely interest me anymore but we had fun today. We rode and rode and came to a what is called a Bat Cave and wandered around in a dark little man made tunnel...kind of silly to be honest but fun. We had heard about the waterfall and that was the destination, so even though we heard that it was still an hour away we decided to keep riding. It was quite the mountain biking, we had to walk sometimes because it was too steep - it was also farther than we expected. It was worth it. The waterfall was nothing to speak of (literally) but we found pretty green pools and boulders and did our study time there. It was so relaxing. I sent a couple pictures that I thought illustrated the day pretty well.

I sent a big box of books home today...It cost about 40 dollars American ouch but I figure it is cheaper than the airplane overweight charge and less of a hassel. It should be there...in a couple months. Haha.

Times up. Love you all. Sorry I couldn't respond individually to anyone. I hope everyone is okay.

FML
Sister Johnson

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Amy's Poem for Sister Johnson

Island Search and Rescue
By Amy Ann Johnson


Dear Sister Zhan,
How is Taiwan?
Do you like the vegetables and noodles?
Have you seen or eaten any poodles?

It sounds really green
and like the people aren't too mean.
They sound rather nice
and appear to love rice.

On your bike you peddle,
handing out God's rod of metal.
You feed His Taiwanese sheep
as your covenants you keep.

Down on you He smiles
As you endure all of your trials.
He blesses you everyday
and the Spirit whispers what to say.

You ride through the rain
as you and your companion are praying
to find somebody
whose heart you can help to un-muddy.

You meet a girl on a scooter
that saw a church add on the computer.
With a song in your heart,
You begin to teach like it's an art.

You tell her of Heavenly Father's plan
and the Atonement of the Only Perfect Man.
You give her a copy of the Book
that gives truth to those that look.

You bare witness of God's love
and the Spirit descends as gently as a dove.
As your companion testifies,
tears fill the girl's eyes.

You have helped her feel the Fire,
and so to God's presence she aspires.
Within her soul burns
the desire to know and learn.

The lesson wasn't very long,
but the Holy Ghost was strong.
She wants to know more
of the Savior that stands at her heart's door.

You will meet her again in less than week
to more words of life speak.
You will teach her how to pray
and about a prophet in this day.

Because of the Light she's seen,
she will seek to become clean.
Because of the Son that our Father sent,
she will be able to repent.

Into baptism's waters she'll enter
and be washed pure strait to her center.
The Comforter will be given her as the gift
that will help to teach and her to soul lift.

She will take up a new life
that's free of old sins' cutting knife.
The Savior she will follow,
escaping the pits that wish to her swallow.

As you watch her transform,
your heart will warm.
Your soul will sing and swell
at the thought of drinking with her from the Celestial Well.

You know that you've helped to bring her peace,
and so your joy and love increase.
You feel so blessed to play a part
in the Master's healing art.

You know He's chosen you
to help His gathering to do.
He has children for you to find;
His soul has for them pined.

He loves you and those you teach,
and His arms for all of them reach.
He has given them to your charge
and has helped your abilities to enlarge.

The work is often hard,
but you haven't thrown down your pass-card.
As you have given it your best,
He's helped you to find rest.

He has put you in a place
to help His Taiwanese children find Grace.
You're engaged in His Great Work
to help them escape the evil hands that lurk.

You don't waste any time
because, for missionaries, it's a crime.
You know your mission;
You have souls for which to not just passively be fishin'.

You want to bring them to Christ's church,
so you go out and search.
Jesus freed them from death's catacomb,
but Heavenly Father wants them to come all the way Home.

Gratitude fills your soul
as you think of how Christ paid your toll.
You want the same for your Asian friends;
You want their joy to never end.

And so you go out,
throwing aside your fears and doubts.
You don't give up
because this work fills your cup.
The Savior will make up for what you lack,
so together you push forward to win more of your spirit-siblings back.

Monday, October 18, 2010

the princess and the pea ‏ 10/17/2010

Dear family -

Hello! Thank you for your letters. Mother, I got the referral, I could read it fine and will send it out today! Shelly thanks for the pictures, encouragement, and fabulous stationary :). Shelly, especially thank Benjamin for me for his thoughtful letter. And you should all ask Amy to let you read the poem she wrote for me. It was awesome.

In other news I saw the biggest spider* the other day at the church by my bike. The spider I saw was bigger than my palm. And not just a big spindly daddy long leg, it was a legitimate spider. When it ran away, I could still hear it crunching as it walked through the leaves. It was that big. Just think of that the next time you are in the woods at night and hear a rustle.

Remember the saga of me hating my mattress? Well, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and finally Elder Porter and Elder Yang brought me another mattress. I was so excited they day they brought it Sister Brownell and I were going to have nightly planning on my new mattress instead of at our desks. Then I got home and I indeed had another mattress...but it was the exact same as my last one, not one of the newer ones. I was disappointed. The next day when I saw the office Elders, Elder Porter asked me if my new mattress was okay. "We noticed once we got it there it was the same as your old one...but I didn't know what to do, it was the only one we had..." He looked so... sincere/sheepish/wanting to please me that I couldn't complain about it anymore. I just said thank you, it was much better and shut up about it.

The day Sister Hampton left she and I switched mattresses (hers is a nice newer one). Sister Liu, being a charitable companion said that she would take the old mattress instead of giving it to the sister that hadn't moved in yet. So I have a new mattress. The other night I walked out to the bathroom and Sister Liu was stretching in the living room. I asked her what she was doing and she said her back had been hurting. So I wasn't just being a drama queen, it really was a terrible mattress. The princess and the pea indeed.

After President Monson's last conference address last week, I am trying to have more gratitude. For a couple days I have just been trying to express gratitude instead of asking for blessings in all my prayers. It has been difficult! It is not wrong to ask for blessings, but it certainly opened my eyes to how often I beseech the Lord for help. I have so many wonderful blessings. The promised blessing for gratitude is happiness. Who doesn't want to be more happy? And gratitude is such a simple way to achieve it. You don't have to go anywhere, spend any money, read a manual, take any classes, buy any products. Happiness is easier achieved than people think, and it's not a secret.

Alright, times up.

I love you all.
FML
Cami


* I guess the other sisters found one of similar size in the womens bathroom this week! There was lots of screaming and the elders had to chase it around for about ten minutes before it got killed (haha). I never saw big spiders in the country in Yuanlin! Good thing or I would have been scared to death.



Cami's email to Donna:


Mmm, sounds delicious!

I took 5000 NT from my account Bank of America account today so if you would make sure it is okay and didn't overdraw I'd appreciate it. I have to send some things home soon, get Christmas presents, etc. Is there anything you would like from Asia while I am here? Perhaps a knock off coach bag to match Tinas :)

Love you, thanks for your letter. You have a birthday card too I ment to send it but it has stickers all over it and no where to put the address...long story...
FML
Sister Zhan

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10/11/10

Dear Family,

It has been a bit of a crazy week!

Today is movecall and...I'm not moving! I will stay in Beiqu which is not suprising, but the fact that my companion Sister Brownell isn't either, is. I am very glad. I was beginning to feel very sad and mopey about the fact I was going to have to change companions again. Sister Brownell and I have set some good goals for the movecall, including running a Taibei 101(101 flights- as tall as the tallest building in Taiwan) and memorize The Living Christ. It will be fun!

Our roommate, Sister Hampton who ran the stairs last week ...is going home today. It is very very weird because she and her group were all in the MTC group senior to me - they were our mentors. I remember when I went to the MTC and how much Chinese they seemed to know (haha..) and how time moved SO slow. It seemed like I would NEVER be out for 6 weeks. I was certain to die before then. And now, they are on a plane for America tomorrow. I guess it's true, missions do end. It makes me feel really excited and sad at the same time. 6 weeks feels now like it will go unimaginably fast.

Thats enough of that!

It was conference weekend this weekend! Oh, it was so good! I thought the themes of this conference were faith and follow the prophet. I hope everyone got a chance to see or at least read all the sessions. I remember as far back as living with Sister Busath, talking about how we will deal with movies when I go back home. So many are filled with bad language, themes, - and it has felt really good to be away from it. But how do you do with that socially? I finally got my answer this conference. I don't have to decide where to make a stand on what I should or shouldn't be watching because prophets of God have already outlined it in the Strength of the Youth pamphlet. If you can't remember what it says, go read it, and if you don't have one, ask Amy, she probably still has one. It's simple enough. So be prepared for me to watch a lot less movies. I think I'm okay with that.

In other news, this week Sister Peterson was with us for a few days because her companion went trainer. She is the same sister I went on companionship exchanges with last month. I hate change. At first I didn't like having three together, and now that she has gone to her new companion it feels weird. She had heard about a really great restaurant in our area called Hawaii 51 that she demanded we go to. We went between conference sessions and I was glad. We had pineapple burgers and fries and it was...amazing. Sister Brownell and I eat Tawainese rice and vegetables for most meals so I forgot how good American food is. It is just so good.

Times up!
Love you
FML
Sister Zhan



Cami's note to Donna:

Hmm. I can't think of much for my new members. We buy them triple combinations and glue in their baptism pictures and write our testimonies in it for all of my new members. Most of them get the Liahona through their ward. Probably don't worry about it too much. Thank you though!

FML
Sister Zhan



Cami's note to Tom:


Thanks for the attachments :) Maybe next preparation day I will find a copy shop where I can print them all out. Very fun! I loved conference too :) Hopefully when I write my family email in a minute I will tell you what I learned.

How did you choose my name tell me the story again

FML
C

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

you banfa‏ (another email 10/3/2010)








This morning we had a fun activity for exercise. Our roommate, Sister Hampton is going home next week and wanted to acheive her goal and dream of running 105 flights of stairs. The Assistant when I Sister Hampton and I came on island was Elder Evans. She had heard he ran 101 flights of stairs once, she she set a goal to beat it. Our building is 15 stories, so she ran it 7 times. Sister Liu is diabetic and unable to do the whole thing and Sister Brownell and I had not been training for such a feat, but we accompanied her journey. She had to have a companion, so we got permission to go on "splits" and we each ran the building twice with her - thirty flights. When I ran with her I reminded her of stories President Hoer told us of running mountains with a broken rib and we laughed and went a little faster. Long live President Hoer's youbanfa legacy. She finished - it took her about 36 mintues total. Not bad! It was really fun. Sister Liu ran the last flight with her and Sister Brownell and I sang Armies of Helaman and took pictures as they came up the last bit. It was really fun. I felt the spirit. I think Heavenly Father is pleased when we set and achieve goals worthy goals. There doesn't have to be a good reason to have certain goals - just to show ourselves that we are capable that more than the average.

So, that was the best part of today. We are probably going to do some shopping, have some fun here this afternoon. It should be nice.
Alright, time is about up. Try to email me earlier if possible. it seems like the best time for us to email is earlier and earlier in the day.

FML!

Sister Johnson








pictures?!‏ 10/03/10








Dear family -

Well, the best news is that we had a baptism this week! Gongxi facai! :) See picture two on the attachments. The woman in the hot pink shirt is a new member - she was baptised a month or two before I got here. As we visited her we noticed her daughter hadn't been baptised. Guo Jing Yu is eleven years old, has unusually bright eyes, a fear of water and calls me Aunt. Her mom's faith had been wavering and I think helping her daughter prepare to get baptised was good for her. Jing Yu is afraid of water and for a little bit wasn't sure she wanted to get baptised. We showed her the font and the picture of someone being baptised and it helped her get up the courage.

Because nearly everyone here is a convert, some members didn't realize that their children had turned eight and were ready to be baptised. So, yesterday besides Jing Yu, three children of members were baptised that had been 8 for a few months. Their dads all baptised them and it was really sweet. So yes, finally one baptism!

Mother asked me about the crying girl from last week - we met with her this week and yesterday she came to church and watched the baptism. So far she is progressing nicely.

Okay, I figured today I would attach a few pictures....

Picture one - This is my companion Sister Brownell on our first day together in Taichung. Next to the church there is a huge department store/mall called Zhongyou baihuo. We go to the food court for lunch there sometimes. When you take the elevator, a little asian woman with lacy white gloves pushes the buttons for you and curtseys as the doors close. It's great. We had heard that the bathrooms on every floor are different, since we had a little downtime we went to see if it was true. It was. This one made me feel like a...my sized barbie.

Picture three - me eating a huge bowl of my favorite food in Taiwan - hot and sour soup. Sister Brownell and I like to eat somewhere a little nicer each preparation day and we like this restaurant. Tina would really like this one - maybe they will have it in California someday. My dumpling soup in the picture was about $2.75 American. Oh, my hair is covering my nametag in this picture I just noticed. But I was wearing it.

See the next email for more pictures!
FML
Sister Johnson

Monday, September 27, 2010

9/26/10

Dear Family

Today I am a bit under the weather, I think I have some kind of sore throat/achy cold or something. I am taking my Zicam religiously (like the rest of my life haha) and am going to take a nap this afternoon and hopefully will be up and going in time to proselyte tonight.

This week it was Zhongqiujie - the Autumn Moon Festival. I don't know if anyone in America noticed the harvest moon, but they really noticed it here in Taiwan, with plenty of firecrackers, night barbeques and trips to visit family. It is weird that I am beginning to experience holidays a second time around. It was pretty fun but I remember it being a bigger deal last year in Douliu with Sister Pickering. I guess everyone leaves the city and goes home to the country (like Douliu) so that's why it didn't seem so big here. The day had a nice relaxed feel to it, people weren't so stressed or rushed. On the Autumn Moon Festival, everyone eats this green citrus fruit shaped like a pear and mooncakes. Mooncakes aren't very good. Sometimes they have a cooked egg yolk in the middle - unpleasant suprise. I didn't have to eat any this year but still remember last year.

The weather has been nice, it has begun to feel a little like fall. The heat isn't so oppressive and the air just feels lighter, fresher. I like fall. There won't be any spectacular changing of the leaves here, but it is still my favorite season.

Last night I was waiting for my companion to get through a stoplight that had turned red for her so I turned to talk to a girl on a scooter parked by the side of the road. She had tears in her eyes (I thought maybe she had gotten into a car accident) and I asked her if she wanted to come to the chapel with me and I would teach her how to pray. She did, and we had a really nice first lesson. She had been crying because she just recently started college and she was worried about her family at home that doesn't have much money. It was a sweet little tender mercy for her that she could come. I hope she gets baptised.

Funny moment of culture shock: there is an English branch that meets in our chapel just a half hour before our meeting starts. I have to tell you, my first Sunday here it was culture shock to see...American women. I don't think that I saw a white female that wasn't a missionary EVER in Yuanlin (7 1/2 months). It's not just that the women at church were white, but they were like me! They were my same age. They wore clothes and makeup like me*. They wore dresses I would wear and read their scriptures like me. They went to BYU and totally understood English... They were like me but they ...weren't missionaries! They could do anything they wanted. They have a life that wasn't in Preach my Gospel. It was honestly the strangest thing. I hadn't seen a non-missionary female church member (that was not a general authority's wife) since I left America. Anyway. Strange bit of culture shock.

Sister Brownell and I talked to a young married couple that reminded me of Shelly and Benjamin so much! They are from Minnesota and so cute and sweet. They had some cute Midwestern last name and accent and the wife gave me a bottle of lavender oil to help me sleep. I actually sleep fine but that is just what sort of generous people they are (I must have looked tired). The husband told us about his mission in England, Chinese speaking and how hard it was. They were the first group of Chinese speaking Elders in England - an experiment. He developed a tic and an ulcer, only brought about ten people into the church, and apparently it was just so hard. It at least helped me put my own mission into perspective - a mission in Taiwan has it's share of adjustments and hardships but it was nowhere near as stressful as that brother's mission. I imagine his mission was more like Benjamin's in Texas. I so admire people that go to places where missions are so much more difficult than mine.

Alright. Times up. Love you all
FML
Sister Johnson


* Well at least before my mission when I spent more than 3 minutes on my makeup and hair combined.



Cami's email to Donna

I left everything for classes to sign up for in my room. If it got moved I haven't the faintest idea where it will be. Try to figure out what week I can sign up for classes and I will ask my mission president for permission to sign up myself - I think that happens sometimes.

Did Amy tell you about her bedbugs? Man, I hope that that doesn't spread far and wide. I hate the bugs they just have here in Taiwan. They have these tiny black bigs that you can't see too much, they fly and itch like the devil when you get bit. It's terrible. My companion has scratched her bites into scabs many a time.

It sounds like a nice day at the spa! I'd love to go hanggliding or parasailing or whatever it is. What is a groupon? How can I get some? If no one else uses them I'd be happy to oblige, it sounds like fun. Can we go together? And don't worry, I have big plans for the temple. I may just camp there for a couple days haha.

Love you, I'll pray for your houses.
FML
Cami

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The 'Phoon ‏ 9/19/10

Dear family -

Well, it has been a fake-eventful past couple days.

On Saturday everyone started telling us that a typhoon was going to hit us the next day. I mostly ignored it because people have said that alot and in my experience it has yet to happen. Sister Brownell, who has only been on island 3 months, was pretty nervous. We watched big crazy thunderheads rolling in and I wondered if it was actually coming this time. The night before the air felt tense. We ran into President Bishop and he said that the storm was bigger than the island of Taiwan. Church had been canceled all over the island for the next day.

I, being the daughter of Mr. Safety, remembered noticing that our apartment was short two 72 hour kits. So we were advised to go and buy some things, which we did right before we went in for the night. That night we got the call - our ward was also canceled. The only ward maybe still having sacrament meeting on the whole island was in Taiping, where we happen to live. It was only still going to happen because an investigator needed to be confirmed and the district leader especially* asked the bishop.

We shut the windows, and went to bed. It certainly stormed that night - I got up a couple times to make sure that everything was secure and nothing was flooding or leaking. I couldn't sleep the rain and wind were so loud, but with some earplugs and missionary fatigue, fell asleep until 6.

When we woke up, the rain had stopped. It was still windy but it didn't look too unreasonable. The guanliyuan tried to talk us out of leaving the apartment because of the wind, but it wasn't too bad. It was only bad sometimes in the intersections, when the cross breese would about push us over. There were very few people out and even less cars on the road. There were some trees blown over and it was still windy but the lack of traffic and people made everything feel a bit quiet, somewhere between peaceful and eerie. In one of the intersections a gust of wind hit us just right and just about pushed me into my companion. We got uncomfortably close and we both shrieked and laughed and about scared two men to death who thought we were dieing. One of them shouted "Danger! Danger!" to us in English which is still Sister Brownell's and my onrunning joke.

We went with the Taiping Sisters to church, where all in attendance were three other missionary companionships, the bishop and his wife, and the girl being confirmed and her aunt. At the last second a vanfull of missionaries including the assistants (the only missionaries that drive in our mission) came and joined us.

Our church is at two PM, so when by 11:30 it still hadn't rained and the wind had dropped into a light breeze, I thought that it was ridiculous church was still canceled. It was still canceled out of two reasons - either laziness or the lack of initiative, because the weather was certainly not an issue. It's not like anyone was busy and had planned other activities - every member in my ward on Sunday from 2-5 should either already have plans to be in church or hunkered down for their safety in their homes. Since safety wasn't an issue, hunkering down=laziness. So I made a couple calls, got some balls rolling and we had a short sacrament meeting with my mission president presiding. We had one investigator in attendance, plus many other companionships and their investigators. You banfa.

Alright, time is up. I love you all and love your letters. Sorry no time for any personal responses to anyone this week, don't feel sorry for yourself if you don't get one.
Love love!
FML
Sister Johnson


* I honestly can't remember if it is especially or specially. I feel like Ricky Ricardo from I love lucy. Also, I just forgot Ricky Ricardos name and had to think of it for several minutes

Sunday, September 12, 2010

a boring letter‏ Sept. 13, 2010

Dear Family,

Well things are settling in nicely here in Taichung. The worst part of living here is my bed. My "mattress" may just be disguised a box spring; I wake up and my back is sore like I slept on the floor all night. I am going to call the office and see if I can do anything about it - the other sisters have nicer mattresses than Sister Brownell and I. I call in numbers to Elder Porter the office elder so hopefully I will be in his good graces enough he will try to get me a mattress that won't kill me. It sounds so whiney but really I've tried to get used to it and not complain, but I think two weeks was enough of a trial run.

It has started into typhoon season, which means that it has been rainy. The morning is as clear as can be, not a cloud in the sky, and then by late afternoon huge black clouds roll in, often accompanied by thunder and lightning, and it POURS rain. It rains an unreasonable amount. I can't even tell you how hard it rains during the downpours because I have never experienced rain like it outside of Taiwan. It does have the benefit that it isn't as hot when it rains. We have been blessed to be kept out of the rain by lessons a couple times.

This week was also sisters exchanges. Sister Peterson exchanged with me. It was mostly uneventful. It was funny because my companion exchanged with one of the sisters that we live with, so I still saw her at night and during the morning during exchanges. As I often am after concluding sisters exchanges, I am glad that I have been assigned the companion I have :) Sister Peterson was a good teacher though, it's been a couple movecalls since I've taught with someone that has been on island so long (ie can understand Chinese). I learned a way to teach the 3rd lesson (the Gospel) by lighting a tea bag on fire. (Remind me and I'll do a family home evening).

Sister Brownell is a vegetarian. She eats really healthy and we have a favorite vegetarian biandang we like to eat at (biandang is kind of like...panda express or a chinese buffet. Lots of vegetables and dishes and you take what you want and pay for it by weight.*) Sister Pickering was a vegetarian too but we had more trouble finding her food (she didn't like biandang if I remember correctly). Sister Brownell is from Linden Utah, is 22 and used to teach English in China. She went to BYU and studied Marriage, family and human development. She wants to be a family counselor when she gets home. She is taller than me so is pretty tall.

I guess I am maybe hitting a fatigue-nearing-the-end stage of my mission. I don't know what to write about anymore in my emails home. Ask me questions and I will try to write about more interesting things next week than the weather, the state of my bed and what we have been eating.

Love you all.

FML
Sister Johnson


* Well, supposedly you pay for it by weight. Mostly the person just looks at you and decides if they will charge you more or less that day. So annoying.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

plusses outweigh the minuses ‏ 9/05/10

Dear President Bishop-

I'm sorry that my letter last week was so whiny! It was kind of a hard move day but I am better now.

I really do like Taichung! Okay, here are some of the things I like about it.
- This internet cafe is the only non disgusting email place I've ever been to
- Wide streets and tall buildings
- Lots of people
- Lots of referrals
- Beautiful public parks
- Church is from 2-5 in the afternoon

Going from country to city is an adjustment, some difficult, some nice.

- I live about a half hour bikeride outside of my area!
+ Luckily the chapel is in our area - most missionaries don't have the chapel in their area.
+ We live in Taiping, which I am quickly finding a soft spot for. We only spend time here on Preparation day, but everything is close together and really pretty nice. This is the nicest internet cafe I've been to in Taiwan. Everything is also conveniently close to our appartment, instead of spread all across town like in Yuanlin.

- My bed is hard as a rock
+ We live with Sister Hampton and Sister Liu, which I decided I love. It's like having roommates again. It's nice to have Sister Liu back around again - my only bundi companion I've had! I love her.

+ The weather has been comfortable - it really isn't as hot this summer as it was last summer. That just makes everything easier to deal with

- I don't know anyone's name!
+ Church yesterday was hands down the best regular 3 hour block of church I've had since the MTC. I actually felt the spirit in all the talks and lessons. I learned things instead of just being stressed about about taking care of people. Not splitting work was great - we only cover one ward so I always have my companion. The ward is also really awesome. The ward here feels like a regular ward back home. It doesn't have the same feeling as some of the other wards I've served in where I felt like everyone is still a bit fragile in the gospel- (like in Yuanlin the RSP had never read the whole Book of Mormon). We didn't have as many investigators this week (eek) but it was nice to not want to just wish I were dead by the end of church.

+ The most amazing thing happened in church yesterday. President Bishop and his wife spoke in church, afterwhich and I was invited to do the routine introduce myself and share my testimony to the ward. I did, and as I finished, President Bishop got up and told the ward I was an amazing missionary and made me tell them how many people I baptised last movecall (6). I don't know if you know how many levels of awesome that is. First of all, complements from my mission president are really nice. Second of all, it was in the middle of sacrament meeting in my new ward. It increased my relationship with the ward tenfold. We got four member referrals yesterday alone. A sister came up and told me how special it was that my mission president did that - she had never seen it before. Then she referred me to her best friend - an apparently golden family.

So thank you President Bishop!

I think I am going to love it here.

+ My companion, Sister Brownell is great. She is a calming influence and pillar of strength as I am a bit melodramatic at times. I am not used to being in an area with so many people, so many referrals and so few progressing investigators. (The last part I am bound and determined to change). I don't know how I did missionary work before - we'd only have about twenty investigators but somehow baptise like crazy and here we have a ton of investigators but not a lot progressing. It's an adjustment. I guess it's only been a week.

Times about up. I love you all so much.
Love, Sister Johnson



Cami's email to Donna:

Dear Momma

Happy happy birthday from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday so we could party too!
I'm sorry that there was not a pink convertible with a bow on it or a fluffy cake for you to make all your birthday wishes come true
But
I hope you know how much I love you and can't wait to see you in just a couple short months. It's coming up fast, eh?


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you know you mean so much to me. Yesterday during Relief Society they read The Giving Tree and I cried and thought of you. You are the most giving, loving tree I've ever met.

I love you.
FML
Your daughter,
Cami

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

old things are done away and all things become new‏ 08/30/2010

Dear family,

Hello from...Taichung! Yes, I moved this morning. This week has literally been a whirlwind. I am absolutely exhausted-about-to-drop.

First things first.

Sitting next to me is my former companion in Gaoxiong, Sister Busath! She is going home tomorrow. It is strange - all of my seniors will be home now.
My new companion is Sister Brownell. She seems very nice and I don't forsee any problems. We live with another companionship so there are four missionaries in our apartment! I can't decide if I will hate or love it.

I was/am sooo sad to leave Yuanlin. I am going to miss all my friends there - investigators, my new members, less actives, peikes, Sister Cooper... I've been there forever and have really great relationships with my wards. The first ward bishop's wife gave me a Chinese cookbook this morning - it was so sweet. Adjusting is hard. I had so much success in Yuanlin and now I'm here and don't know anything.

Okay, enough with my melodrama. We saw a lot of blessings this week.

#1 We baptised three people last night! We had only planned to baptise two boys - Jiang Zi Cheng and Jiang Jun Ting. We have been teaching the mom and she is so great but her faith isn't *quite* there yet. Her husband passed away a year ago and she works on Sunday to support the family and still needs a testimony of the Sabbath. She will get baptised though - I am totally sure of it. The boys are so cute, they come to church by themselves every Sunday. They really are so good. One will get the Aaronic priesthood this Sunday, I am so happy.

#2 We have been working with an investigator Jiang Rai Yun for a month or so now. She came to church on her own the first week and we started meeting with her. She has a lot of faith but put off her baptism because she wanted her whole family to tell her to get baptised before she did it. I had been praying that she would find something at Stake Conference that would soften her heart, and she did. I talked to her for a long time after the meeting, we prayed about it and she said she would go home and talk to her family. She called later and said she would wait. Luckily, my amazing ward correlator Jiang dixong was there and I put her on the phone with him. He bore a really powerful testimony and she agreed to pray about getting baptised that night with the Jiang brothers, and she agreed! It was a miracle week-A drop in. It was such a blessing. I was so happy for her. She got baptised about a month from the first time we met her.

#3 Stake Conference was yesterday. It was so great to see everyone from my wards in Yuanlin, plus Douliu! I remember a year ago having Stake Conference from Douliu and going to Yuanlin before I ever moved there. I got to see more of my favorite members from there - Wu jm the RSP and Liang jm my Sunday School teacher. I also ran into sundry other members and it just made my heart so happy. The talks were excellent.

#4 On Friday we went to Sun Moon Lake to help with a Stake Youth activity. Sun Moon lake is gorgeous. I had been there once before for the mission Christmas activity. The Youth conference was great - I hadn't had *fun* like that in ages. We got to watch them do some skits and I really felt the spirit. We broke up in groups and helped our group write their testimony in scriptures to give to friends. Sister Cooper and I did an egg example with an egg in a bottle. (If you light a match in it, the egg will go down into the bottle).*

We had a lot more awesome stories and blessings but I still have to write President, eat dinner and get back to the chapel in 30 minutes. I will fill you in on the wonders of Taichung next week. Frankly right now I don't know what they are.

I love you all very much.
FML
Sister Johnson


*When Sister Cooper and I were testing it out, we accidentally dropped an egg onto our neighbors balcony. We didn't tell them because they already hate us for waking up at 6. It's...mostly washed off from the rain. Don't tell anyone

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8/23/2010

Dear Daddy, Mother, Tina, Shelly, Amy, Miles and Benjamin -

It has been quite a week. I don't even know where to start. We saw a lot of little miracles. We also had a lot of small bumps in the road. A lot of our investigators have sort of. disappeared. Anyway, I don't want to worry about it to much.

Remember Shu Fang and the crazy baptism last week? Well, we are hoping to help her daughter Yi Xuan be baptised. She is eleven and wants to, but her mom is being a bit crazy. ShuFang's baptism was quite traumatic (she will talk about it until the day she dies, I guarantee you) and she is worried about her daughter. She is also mad at me for being insesitive about her daughter's homework. Apparently, Yi Xuan has not done months work of homework and school is starting again soon. Well, Yi Xuan blamed her procrastination on her mom for not helping her, and her mom blamed us for making her use all her energy to quit smoking...* It's a bit ridiculous. I guess that I will just blame the Taiwanese school system for thinking up something as stupid as homework during summer vacation.

Anyway, we will see how things go.

We saw some good miracles this week. I will tell you one story.

Last Monday night, we had a lesson and our backup plan fall through, so we decided to tract near our next appointment. I told Sister Cooper that she could pick where she wanted to go. I had a small feeling we should turn down a certain alley but ignored it because it is a good rule of leadership to not tell someone they are allowed to choose and then tell them they chose wrong. So I let her pick a street and we said a prayer to start tracting. As we prayed I saw a sign in my mind that had a street number on it. So I forgot the good rules of leadership and told her we needed to go look for it. It ended up being the alley I had seen earlier and passed. It looked extremely unlikely - it had an open gate across it and looked like the entrance to a warehouse or manufacturing area. I had seen the sign and number distinctly in my mind, so we went in. It was extremely sketchy, for some reason there was a large untended fire burning and not a soul in sight, let alone a place to tract. We saw an old woman through a screendoor and tried to talk to her - she only spoke Taiwanese. But we kept going. Around a corner it opened up and there was a house with a family sitting on the front porch watching TV. They were a beautiful family; parents and five children and they turned off the TV and we taught them about God's plan for families and the restoration and the Book of Mormon. It was such a little miracle lesson, I would never have thought to look for people in that place.

So this is why you should follow the spirit! It will lead you into all truth and light. Usually my impressions are small feelings and thoughts and ideas.

Alright I have to go

Love you
FML
Sister Johnson

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

dramalama 8/15/2010

Dear Family

I am excited to report that our dear investigator Hu shu fang got baptised! We were so excited. She quit smoking after months of effort; the patch finally worked for her. The patch is really a blessing- she had been trying to quit for weeks and hadn't been able to smoke less than three a day but with the patch she was able to finish quitting in two days.
Her baptism was one for the books. The dear wonderful priesthood brother that baptised her nearly drowned her. She came out of the water screaming like a banchee. First of all, the water was hot. The cold water facut doesn't work, so going under hot water in hot weather I'm sure was miserable - like submerging in a hottub. Then she forgot to plug her nose and got water up it. So she tried to stand up and he pushed her under because she hadn't submerged all the way. Then her feet came up, and while he was looking at her unsubmerged feet he forgot to realize that her head was still submerged and she couldn't breathe.

When she came up, she came up coughing and gasping like she was drowning...and then skrieking and yelling and crying. I was a bit afraid she actually DID have a devil like she had told us previously and we figured was just mental illness. She said her heart stopped beating*. She was so scared.**

I've never been so scared that an investigator was not going to get baptised because she was so close! So close to being baptised - she had done EVERYTHING but be submerged completely! And so close to walking away - I didn't know if she would go through with it. Her mental illness flared up after she came out of the water and she sort of had a fit in front of everyone. After some praying and calming down in the bathroom while the congregation sang through half of the hymn book, we got her to try again. My brave darling! Unfortunately once again, it was unsuccessful - this time the dear priesthood brother said the prayer wrong but immersed her successfully. After another angry yell and punching the glass, she braved it a third time. She was literally scared to death and a little mentally unstable.

The third time was successful but I don't think she felt particularly spectacular about her baptism.*** She wanted to know why everything was so difficult for her - even being baptised was harder for her than for other people! My heart just broke for her. I was afraid she would never show up for church again, let alone for her confirmation on Sunday. Her baptism was- well, horrifying.

On Saturday we really wanted to meet with her but she didn't feel good and so she rested all day. We were super busy all day with other important lessons and and several miracles and didn't get time to go see her. Then, last miracle of the night, we called her and she said that she would come to the church and meet with us. We taught her a lesson, built up her faith and confidence again, and she said she felt better. Then on Sunday, she showed up to church with her mom Huang You and her daughter, all wearing dresses and looking so wonderful and normal. It was an amazing transformation. Her confirmation had a really good spirit so I hope that she recognized it and won't be tramatized for life.

Well, other than that, Sister Cooper and I are doing just great. We hopefully have a slew of baptisms in the next couple weeks - I have to finish up my work here before I get transfered.

I love this island. I love the gospel. I love you.

FML,
Sister Johnson



* She said that when she was under the water her heart stopped beating and her spirit started leaving her body and a voice told her to come up out of the water and breathe. I'm not sure what happened. She wasn't under for more than ten seconds.

**Most Taiwanese people are afraid of water, probably because most Taiwanese people can't swim. Swimming pools are rare. I think bathtubs and bathing is even pretty rare. Most bathrooms I've been in just have a showerhead on the wall with a drain in the floor that serves as the shower.

***I was extremely happy that we did not have any investigators there because it was the most dramatic baptism I have ever had or ever heard of. Baptisms are often quite dramatic- I had no idea! The only ever baptisms I attended at home I found peaceful to the point of dull.




Cami's note to Tom:

It will be fun for you to see your college friends. You can take them out for a good Walmart ramble or perhaps to rake gravel at the bunker :) I'm sure they will find Elko charming.

I am trying not to think about it too much, but I need to get my plans sort of figuring out for Decemeber?

Amy wants me to drive back to Elko with her across the country so we can bring her car back. I wouldn't mind going and doing some seeing the East Coast.
Tina is talking about taking a week or so off to go maybe to Europe with me.
I'd be up for either. Maybe Tina and I can go sightseeing in the East and then Amy and I can drive back together when her school finishes? Plus I don't know the family plans. I'm up for anything but won't have money because I put it all towards my mission. Plus I don't know what Christmas/holiday plans there are. I won't be busy so I'll be happy to do whatever. Feel free to plan my time with any combination of adventures.

Love you all!
- Cami



Cami's email to Donna:


Dear Mother -

I got the package! Thank you so much - it was everything I wanted and more. I hope you know I am wearing the green dress you sent me and have worn the other two dresses three times. So they are a big hit. I hope you didn't pay to much for them since I will probably leave them here but I certainly am enjoying and getting my use out of them. And everything else was just want I needed and wanted. Love you!

FML
Cami

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 4, 2010 Re: ‏

Dear family-

This week was the temple trip so this is a couple days late. The temple was good. God loves me and the church is still true.

They are implementing a new mission meeting and training program that is an adjustment. We have less meetings now and more training I guess. It should be good because I've always sort of felt neglected in training as a sister. The Elders go on companionship exchanges about 2-3 times more than we do, and with really solid missionaries like the Zone leaders that can give them specific feedback and examples when teaching their own investigators. I hope maybe as a Sister I can have similar training. I'd like to be a better teacher, contacter, have better Chinese...

Thank you for emailing Sister Greene. Okay, let's clarify - I am flying into Elko on Tuesday November 23rd at 10 PM. Now we all know. Everyone nod. Now please don't bring it up again unless neccessary, or at least until November. Love you!

This week we had another halarious story. Sister Cooper has had trouble sleeping and mentioned it to one of our investigators, Shu fang. We have been helping Shu fang quit smoking for weeks now. She has some kind of illness that makes her in a lot of pain and then she breaks down and smokes. Today she started using the patch and SO FAR hasn't smoked a single cigarette today. Temple blessing! Yeah!

Anyway, earlier this week, Shu fang is a sweetheart and wanted to help Sister Cooper be able to sleep better. So she brewed up this drink for her of Chinese medicine. She put in five kinds of "ku." We thanked her profusely and took a sip...it was the most bitter thing I have ever tasted in my whole life. Nothing in America ever has nor ever will taste that bitter. If it did, it would be immediately spit out. Anyway, Shufang kindly poured us HUGE glasses of it. She also mentioned that she is worried it may give us diarrea, which I did NOT mention to my dear junior companion haha. When my companion tasted it and somehow came to understand the potential side effects, she couldn't stop laughing. It was really funny but I tried not to laugh. Shu fang really wanted to just help us. She was so sweet to brew us up this absolutely noxious beverage and was worried about our health. So I said a prayer for my insides, figured Chinese people drink it all the time and they aren't dead and drained my cup. So far I've been fine, no noticable health changes for the better or worse. Shu fang sent us merrily off with 2 2 liter coke bottles full plus another two more 20 ounce bottles. They are in the fridge at the church and we will probably dump them out tonight. Bless her heart.

Well, I will email again on Monday as the normal schedule. I love you all.

FML
Sister Johnson

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sun 7/25/10 Miles‏

Hooray Shelly and Benjamin and Miles! I am so excited to have a new nephew. What is his middle name? I hope it's not pizza pocket or something. Shelly was mentioning Benjamin wanted to name him something Italian.

Training is going awesome, mostly because I have the most awesome trainee! I so adore Sister Cooper. She is going to rock this mission. I have had the most fun in the last week than I have in maybe the rest of my mission - and this is during the time that is probably the hardest part of her mission! She keeps me laughing and working hard and fixed to our purpose and getting lots of peikes. We had an amazing 17 peikes this week because Sister Cooper asks me everytime we have a lesson set up if we have a peike yet. And then we will call them until we find one. Having peike's has been good too since a lot of the time Sister Cooper isn't totatally able to understand what is going on in lessons and I need someone to help me teach. Her Chinese will be fine, it just needs patience and persistence.

The work here is blooming again. We have SO much potential - I know we are going to baptise a lot this transfer, we just have to keep listening to the spirit and putting our heart, might, mind and strength into it. I am putting all I have into the work. I'm exhausted today, even after my nap. I rely alot on that scripture in Isaiah - those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength and rise on the wings of eagles.

Sister Cooper and I are having a great time. One of my favorite stories of the week!
In our training meeting, Elder Christensen my district leader was telling us how "No matter the situation, you should just testify! Even if you see someone...fall off a roof! just start testifying." We all laughed at his ridiculous example.

Then yesterday we stopped and talked to some lady who was cleaning squid outside her house (yeah, it was gross.) Sister Cooper didn't really understand what I was talking about and so started just looking around and saw a man on a neighboring roof. He was picking fruit and spying on us (neighbors are WAY into each others business here) and when she looked at him, he got suprised and fell off the roof! So she interrupted me and just started testifying. I gave her a kind of bewildered look at said, "Sister Johnson, I just saw a man fall off a roof and Elder Christensen told us even if we saw someone fall off a roof, we were supposed to testify." I just started laughing. Everytime we think about this story we about die laughing.

Sister Cooper and I are having a blast. I have never laughed so much on my mission. It's like having a comedian narrarate my life constantly. I laughed so hard I cried for the first time on my mission last week. Then I did it twice more. I can't help it, she is just so funny in her personality and so new to Taiwan that everything is amazing or funny to her.

This week Sister Cooper was experimenting with the water cooler, which has three temperatures of water - cold, warm and hot. She was in the middle of asking me what the red handle did when she started shrieking because she burned her hand in the extremely hot water that came out as she tested it. Maybe I'm a bit insensitive to the fact she had just burned her hand and I was on the ground laughing but it was really funny. I've never been around someone that broadcasts their every thought and feeling quite as easily before.

We have a baptism scheduled for the next two weeks that are pretty certain and hopefully we will drop more people into both of them. We had an amazing 17 peikes this week because everytime we have a lesson Sister Cooper reminds me to call a member. Anyway, training is going awesome.

I hope you know I work hard, pray hard, and love you all.

FML
Sister Johnson


Cami's response to my email regarding her return in November:




Umm...I don't know. The whole thought of going home seems very strange and far away. I will still be a set apart missionary until I am released by the Stake President in Elko... This means I will still wake up at 6:30, have a companion, wear a nametag, not listen to music, be extra, extra awkward, etc. until I am released. So, if you want to be in Salt Lake I'd rather it be not a long visit because I will probably be a bit of a hard transition.
Having said that, of course I'd love to see Shelly and Benj and the baby.

What do you think? They couldn't let us see both options could they?
Also, have Daddy email Sister Greene so that she can have his email address. Sister Greene said that her email came back that was sent to his mac-sog address. Also let her know if the stake president or ward bishop has changed

Love you!
FML
Sister Johnson

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mon 7/19/10 No Miles Yet?

Dear family,

Well, it has been an eventful week that I was NOT expecting.

Wednesday night, in the middle of English class. The air conditioning broke, there were about ten students in my tiny, hot classroom. The door was open and so was the door of the class across the hall- the wild children's class, so it was noisy. I was having a hard time focusing everyone and was a bit unprepared myself. Sister Dewyea came in - "President Bishop is on the phone," with wide eyes. It could only mean one thing.

I was going trainer.

So I didn't move and Sister Dewyea got "kicked out" early, even before the end of the movecall. It was stressful getting her packed and moved with our full schedule and I didn't sleep well knowing I was going to be trainer. I had no idea how much Chinese my companion would speak.

We got Sister Dewyea out and my new companion's name is Sister Cooper*. I am training the FIRST black missionary in Taiwan. No one really knew what was going to happen. Taiwanese people are kind of racist. When I got my assignment and my companion was in the bathroom, I went in to talk to President Bishop.

"President. Taiwanese people are racist. How am I going to deal with that?"
"Well, I don't know. We will just see how it goes."

Literally, no one knew what was going to happen. And everyone keeps being really curious but feeling awkward about asking me.
It's actually been just fine. We get even MORE staring than before but just fine. It's a good way to talk to people. Sister Cooper is probably the first black person most people have seen in the country in Taiwan. It's not been a problem yet.

This week has been good so far. We baptised Huang You, which made me so happy! The first time I met her was right after I moved to Yuanlin, then she disappeared for awhile. And now she is baptised! I wish I had more time to talk about her but I don't. I love her.

The other exciting thing is that at church I had to translate for the first time. It was an adventure haha. I had to translate for my Mission President and his wife who were speaking in our ward conference. I translated English to Chinese for Sister Bishop's talk (She would say a line in English then I would repeat it in Chinese into the microphone they use to confirm people). I also translated Chinese to English and sat behind the Bishops on the stand and tryed to make sense of the talks. It was a little rough at first but by the end I got the hang of it. There were some parts that I translated kind of like this. "They are talking about people that don't have clothes. Even when it rains. Or food. And something about the population. I'm sorry I have no idea what he is talking about or how it relates to the gospel." By the end my tongue was loosened and I thought my translation was pretty good. Anyway, it was a crazy Sunday, considering my special part in the program, my new trainee that doesn't know ANYONE or understand Chinese much and having an amazing ten investigators at church.

It is going to be great. We have seen and will continue to see miracles like crazy.


I love you all and will pray for Shelly and Miles and Daddy and Benjamin. And Mother and Amy and Tina of course.

FML,

Sister Johnson

* Tell Jane I am training her old coworker at the Registration office. Crazy, huh?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7-12 movecall 8 week 6‏

Dear Family,

It sounds like everyone had a nice time at the cabin. I can't wait to see it when I get back! It seems strange that time is passing without me. A new cabin, a new member of the family, Amy done with her first year of college and off to join a commune in Sweden (haha...)

This week has been exciting!

President Uchtdorf came and spoke to us on Saturday. He was a very impressive figure in real life. He is one of those people that seem to attract light, that are just full of vitality and energy. As Sister Dewyea said, "You can tell just from his presence that he is a very righteous man." We took a mission picture with him (oh, it was so hot standing out there in our coats, lined up and waiting for him!) I'll send it when I can. We got to greet him and his wife and Elder and Sister Perkins* (Asia Area Authority) and one of the Seventy from Hong Kong that also came. Sister Uchtdorf was as cute as can be, and they both had their German accents. He spoke to us about finding the treasures God has hidden for us in our missions. Treasures of people, experiences, trials, homesickness, companions. He talked about forgiveness and promised us a blessing that the things that trouble us, even at home, will be worked out to a satisfactory conclusion. Quite a blessing to be given from the lips of a prophet of God. I thought it was special.

Remember when I first got on island, back in Douliu, they had the family history activity? I think I sent home a newspaper clipping that had pictures of Sister Killpack and I with some local leaders that attended. Apparently the stake has a family history activity once a year and it switches which area will hold it. I just so happened to be serving in the right places at the right times to attend twice! I thought that was pretty cool and very unusual. Anyway, when Sister Dewyea and I went, guess who was there! Sister Lin from Douliu! Remember the sister who was upbraided by the bishop in Sacrament meeting? Well, she is still active, her son is still on a mission and will be coming home honorably in 3 months, and her husband wants to get baptised by him when he gets back. It was so good to see her. She was always a talker and she had us sit down and look at her photo album (which she had showed me a nearly a year earlier). This time there was an addition - I was in one of her photos! It was so good to see her, an old friend, a dear one from my mission. Seeing the photo of me made me realize the things I do here actually do make an impact on people, and I am a part of the history of the Church in Taiwan! It is hard to explain but I think it was one of those "hidden treasure" moments President Uchtdorf was talking about. I saw two other Douliu members who recognized me immediately and came and hugged or greeted me. What sweet reunions.

Let's see, what else is new. There is a good chance I will be moving next week, as I've been here for 5 and a half months.

There is this adorable doorman to our apartment who is about 75 years old and always says Good night in English. When he says a new word in English it is so cute, you just know he has waited all day to be able to practice saying it to us. It's the most endearing thing. He is up to about 4 words now.

That's about all I have time for. I love you all so much!
FML
Sister Johnson

*They used to live in Farmington, NM but I'm pretty sure they moved away before we lived there



Cami's note to Donna:


Mamma

The Fox girls and I floated the boise on innertubes one summer, that was a lot of fun. It sounds like you had a nice time. It will be fun to have lazy summer days up at the cabin, I love that area. I can't wait! It isn't winterproof is it?

Oh, please also send me maybe 4 pairs of new garments - the dry cotten or whatever it is called, and maybe 1 of the jersey. Also, I would like the DVD Errand of Angels - my native companion Sister Liu always really wanted to see it and I thought it would be a nice gift for her since I don't know if they have it in Taiwan.

Sorry I keep adding to the list!

I love you!
FML
Cami

PS
Yes, please sign me up for classes at BYU. I left everything I think taken care of. If not I'll ask permission to sign myself up I guess. If you could just ask BYU when I can register that would be great.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mon 7/05/10 Happy 4/5th of July!

Dear Family,

Happy 4th of July! Technically it is still the 4th of July in America so I feel okay saying it. Today Sister Dewyea and I went to 7-11 and had hot dogs and slurpees in celebration. Happy Independence Day, America! Missionaries aren't allowed to handle fireworks, but a few nights ago a neighboring house was shooting fireworks about 15-20 feet from our window so we haven't been without some very magical light displays.

This week was the week we've all been looking forward too, not without some measure of trepidation. President and Sister Hoer left and President and Sister Bishop came. President Bishop was a surgeon before and was in a MTC Branch Presidency. He served his mission in Taiwan back when Taiwan was all one mission (In the early 1960s). They are older but still look vital enough. Poor Sister Bishop, still jetlagged, new to Asia and knowing less Chinese than we did when we came. She told me she had to make dinner for all the stake presidents the next day and didn't have any idea what to make or how to get what she needed. Sister Dewyea and I told her Welcome to Taiwan! Go buy something, you don't need to cook here! She didn't seem to think that was acceptable, but she seemed very sweet. I can tell she has a "mother heart."

On Saturday we had another baptism! It was my first male baptism - Liu YuTing, the 11 year old son of the sister we baptised a couple weeks ago. He almost canceled his baptism because he drinks tea* but we worked with him to get him to stop and I think he will be okay. It was a little strange to baptise him, because we couldn't take him back to get in the font or even hug him afterwards. I felt like more an observer but it was okay. His mom and sister came - I like baptising families. He said he felt the Holy Ghost when he was baptised. I just hope he will remember it. He is one of the smartest kids I've met. His mom told us he started talking when he was 8 months old.

Let's see, what else has been going on. I caught whatever Sister Dewyea had and didn't feel good for a few days but am about over it now. A member in our ward gave us some clothes so I've started wearing...jumpers...on occassion. I know! The ultimate Sister Missionary frumpy. I laughed with Sister Dewyea that the way that I look at my clothes now that it is summer is "Will wearing this raise or lower my body temperature? How much will it stick to me when I am sweating? Will it get heavy when it rains?" (We had enormous rainstorms everyday for about a week). I am committing myself into the hands of Tina and Shelly when I get home to make sure that I stop wearing ugly things. In the meantime, I'll just try to beat the heat

Well, that's about it for me this week. I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
FML
Sister Johnson

* Commandments that seem so easy to keep back home sometimes are a struggle in Asia. Who knew that the Ten Commandments or tea* could make or break people's testimony? Interesting note about the rule on tea: All my life I heard we can drink herbal tea but not "regular" tea and never really knew what that meant. I've had clarification in Taiwan. The Word of Wisdom prohibits tea leaf tea (usually caffeinated). We can still drink flower or fruit tea. This means that green tea, black tea, red tea, English tea, etc. are prohibited. Things like chammomile, mint, lemon, honey, barley, etc. are okay.


Cami's email to Donna:


Hey mama!‏

How was the 4th? I heard the report from Daddy, but I'm curious to hear how it was from you :) Everyone else has been quiet about it so I don't know what to think - if it was good or quite the Lake Powell adventure.

Hey, I have been thinking of somethings that I could use:
Zicam or Airborn
Tums
if you go to DI, see if there are any of the "jody" dresses - the ugly sister missionary flower dresses, you know, with the collar? Don't pay full price to buy me more but if you and amy see one at DI (I know she loves a good DI shop) I wouldn't mind another. They are nice and cool.
I'd also like my own Conference Ensign
Shade shirts (1-2, at least one white)
Gum
A very small bottle of a basic multivitamin - I really don't need too many. I've used the same bottle of 100 for close to a year now so I'm not very diligent in taking them, but out.

Hmm, yep, that's about it! No big hurry. Thanks! I love you!

FML
Cami

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sister Johnson and President and Sister Hoer

 
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Zone Conference

Cami's email to me:

The photograph below it is my Zone, Nantou Zone. It is one of the smallest in the mission because it is all country areas. There are just four sisters! My companion, Sister Dewyea is next to me. My current and former district leader are the two furthest right elders. Yep!

FML,
Sister Johnson



 
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miracles 123‏ Mon 6/28/10

Dear family,

Sister Dewyea wasn't feeling well for most this last week. It wasn't bad enough to not go out, just bad enough to make the work extra difficult. She didn't complain, but everything was just harder, for both of us. Despite that, we saw a LOT of miracles this week. I will tell you three.

#1 - The office called us on Friday and told us that our investigator Huang jm was trying to get ahold of us but doesn't have our new phone number. They told us she was calling to cancel her baptismal interview for Saturday. We made a conscious choice not to call her but to let her sleep on it and maybe visit her the following day. On Saturday we originally had two baptismal interviews planned. The aforesaid Huang jm tried to cancel on Friday, and the other, a child called Liu dx, called and canceled Saturday morning. On Saturday we were at the church, had just gotten fanged by our lessons and Sister Huang called us and reaffirmed that she was canceling her interview. Sister Dewyea and I both felt very dejected and went to the bathroom before getting ready to go do our backup plan. When we walked out just a couple minutes later, there was Huang jm in the parking lot with the second ward elders! Before I knew what in the world was happening, Huang jm was handing me a bag of squid and telling me to put them in the fridge for her and was in a baptismal interview with Elder Mauii.

A big thank you to Elder Christensen! They were riding their bikes and a lady about ran his companion off the road trying to talk to him, but Elder Rostead is new and didn't understand her. Once Elder Christensen understood she was trying to tell them she wasn't coming to her interview, he gave her our phone number and convinced her to come to the church immediately. While she called us to cancel, he called the Zone leaders and told them to call us and get us to the church really quick. He was intending to stall her until the District leader could get there. It was certainly NOT coincidence that all three companioships happened to be in the right place at the right time. We were so blessed!

2- Our new member's son wants to get baptised but canceled his interview the morning of because he is afraid he wants to drink tea. We went to see him and talked to him about it and agreed next week to do his interview. Then after church (I was in the other ward that day), Elder Mauii tells me to congratulate him because he passed his interview. What?! Apparently our ward correlator called and told his dad he had to come to church and do his interview, and so they did it right after church. We didn't even know they were going to interview him. Our ward correlator is so great.

So pretty much we have people passing baptismal interviews right and left and we literally have nothing to do with it. The past couple movecalls I am just more and more sure that the success I have here doesn't have to do with my own merits - God's grace literally steps in and gives us miracles every day.

Okay, one more little miracle story:
The ward asked us to go find a "Less active recent convert." I had visited Sister Lai a couple times before and despite having been baptised less than a year ago, was less than welcoming and refused to come to church. She moved and didn't leave a forwarding address or phone number. I asked her neighbors where she went and this is what I knew - On the juguang lu going towards Taizhong, (I didn't know where it was or even the characters for it the street), after the overpass, somewhere on the right hand side. She was moving in with her husbands family, but we didn't even know his name.

So that was all I knew. With a prayer in my heart, I looked at the map, found a street that had the second character for Guang in it and rode until we found an overpass. As we were going down the other side of the bridge, something got in Sister Dewyea's eye. I was wondering where in the world we should start looking for this new member - there were a LOT of neighborhoods and we didn't know how far after the bridge her house would be - just somewhere on the right. I walked back up the hill to where Sister Dewyea was trying to get something out of her eye. As she took a minute to let it fall out, I pulled out the phone and started to call referrals. I noticed a street below and wondered if was the street we were looking for. We decided to start asking people there. The third person we asked directed us to a house, and... we found her address. It was crazy. We found her in less than a half an hour, even with travel time and we had NO IDEA what we were looking for, or even her husbands name. It's a good thing Sister Dewyea got something in her eye or I never would have thought of going to the street that was next to the bridge, not past it. What a blessing!

Other than that, things have been good! My companion got "dear Johned" last week and that was a bit dramatic. It downpoured yesterday and there was about ten inches of water in the streets downtown. Sister Dewyea started to ride through the deepest part (maybe 14 inches or so deep) and I had a panic attack and made us go around to where it was at least a little more shallow. We aren't supposed to be in water so it freaked me out. Sister Dewyea teased me and said I was afraid of crocodiles. I'm pretty sure there are NOT crocodiles in Taiwan.

Other than that things have been pretty normal.

I love you all so much! Have a great week! Happy Fourth of July, I'll be thinking of you all having fun at the cabin :) Be safe!

FML
Sister Johnson

Sunday, June 27, 2010

holidays, zhongzis and giggle fits‏- Sun 6/20/10

Dear Family,

Happy Midsummer! I would have totally forgotten about the holiday but Amy reminded me. Everyone go dance around a Midsummer pole and perhaps recite Grandpa's favorite "I'm the little swedish boy" poem. Here is to not forgetting our roots!

In Taiwan there was a holiday this past Wednesday. It is called the Dragon Boat Festival. Everyone had the day off school and a lot of people went to go bai-bai or to watch the Dragon Boat races. I don't know much about the dragon boat race since they aren't in our area :) You can google it and then you will know more about it than me. For us, the holiday meant that everyone gave us zhongzis. A Zhongzi is a kind of triangular shaped rice...thing...with stuff in it. It is a rice pyramid wrapped in leaves and in the middle there are suprises - meat (mostly just pure blobs of fat), a cooked egg yolk, beans, tiny fish or shrimp, mushrooms, etc. Some of them are good, some are not. Anyway, besides everyone feeding them to us for the past week, people gave us about a million. We still have a dozen or so in the freezer and we've been trying to eat through them. People wanted to give us more but we've managed to avoid the worst of it.

Taiwanese etiquette is sometimes hard for me. People will try to give us food all of the time. It is polite to say no and refuse, whether or not you want it. Then it is polite for them to continuously urge you until you to eat, drink, or take with you whatever it is. However, this means that if you refuse something people still think you are just being polite. If you really put your foot down and refuse to take something offered, two things will happen - either they will continue to urge but won't force you to take it, or they will near force you into taking something else instead - usually something nicer or more expensive. Then you really feel bad that in the end you are taking something you didn't need in the first place, but was more expensive than the first thing.

If you are confused, don't worry. Me too.

Taiwanese culture is also different from American culture in the importance of things unsaid. If you give a group of American's a list of the 10 books, they will discuss the books and perhaps their similiarities. If you give a group of Taiwanese people a list of 10 books, they will discuss what books weren't included on the list. So you not only have to be careful what you say, you have to be careful of what you don't say, or what you may unconciously be implying. People read the implications of what you say. For example, I asked a member where her daughter bought her shoes because I wanted to buy some similar ones, had been looking for months and hadn't found any. Sister Yang* told me that she would buy me some shoes and in the end just ended up giving me her daughters shoes. So be careful what you say!

Today Sister Yang actually took us to go exercise with the grandma's in the park. Every morning, very early, there are already grandma's and grandpa's out exercising. They do a lot of pretend swimming through the air, slapping their arms, shaking out their wrists and hips. It was actually really fun. This one lady kept trying to improve my "form" and giving me instructions on proper breathing techniques. I had a bit of a giggle fit during one of the breathing exercises. This made me think of Shelly disrupting her lamaze class with her innappropriately timed giggle fit, which really didn't help me regain my composure at all. :) It was a good time.



* Sister Yang is just an exceptionally generous person in general, especially to the missionaries. She is a RM herself and her and her husband committed when they got married that they would have the missionaries over to eat once a month and help to accompany lessons. I would feel way more guilty about the shoes but I remembered Daddy buying those coats for the Elders in Elko and I figure it all works out when we serve one another. I'm sure I'll be buying things for future missionaries too.

Well my times is up! I love you all- have a good week! Send me pictures of the baby shower!

Mon, 14 Jun 2010

I spent all my time writing people individual notes since I haven't had time for that lately!

This week there was a Stake Youth Missionary Day where they encourage all the youth to serve missions. I think a lot more youth are aware of missionaries than they are in the US because most of them where taught by missionaries or at least their parents were. There are no third generation members here, and few second generation. We didn't know that we would be attending until the day before. Then the day of the activity we still didn't know what our role would be in it. Then, they gave us a group of teenagers and said, go be missionaries for 3 hours. It was kind of sad, we didn't have a plan and were assigned to a neighborhood with few people out. I don't usually contact and tract for 3 hours straight, on foot - let alone teenage girls that have never shared the gospel before! Usually all of our time is scheduled into specific half hour plans, and so every half hour we change the activity or at very least the area we are. The girls were great though, really good sports about it. A couple of them really got into it:) I think we all had a good experience. We got a million referrals. Looks like Sister Dewyea and I will be spending a lot of time on the phone this week. What a blessing! I'm sure there are people in there that we will baptise this movecall, just as soon as we get ahold of them...We'll work on it.

We are experiencing what is called the "elevator effect" meaning we just baptised all of our investigators and right now are trying to find new people. It's been okay though.

Yesterday Sister Dewyea were going to visit Huang Mama who lives on top of a mountain. Usually her daughter drives us, but couldn't that day, so Sister Dewyea and I decided to try to ride our bikes. However, it was pouring rain, (I'd never understood how hard it can rain until I came to Taiwan). We were riding in the rain up the mountain until it got too steep so we walked our bikes for awhile and then left them and walked. Then we realized we had taken a wrong turn and had gone a mile the wrong way...In the end we made it safe and sound to her house and back and it was a good experience. She was suprised and pleased that we had come despite the circumstances. It was a good lesson. They sent us home with about 10 pounds of fruit.

Times up!

FML
Cami

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mon 6/07/10 a week of miracles‏

Dear family,

This has been the most miraculous week of my mission.

To start off, Sister Dewyea and I decided to have our own "power week". We didn't stay out late or leave early but we set high goals - we wanted to break all of our highest weekly indicators in a day. We really had been putting our all into our work lately. We saw a lot of miracles and success poured out on us as we did.

Xing Yu's baptism last week accomplished our movecall goal of 2 baptisms. When we accomplished it last week, we set a new goal - and felt, strangely enough that we needed to help an additional four people be baptised, though we just had one week left in the movecall. We only had two week B's, both of which had dropped out numerous times before, and Rebecca, the Philipeana we called you about, who we had only met with once and didn't know if we could find a place to baptise her. We felt strongly about four, so we set the goal. We had no idea who the fourth person could be.

I don't know where to start with all the miracles, so I guess I will start with Chen Guan Ying, who has been my investigator since Guonian. I have been so close to dropping her for the better part of the movecall. She couldn't seem to progress, to have the faith to say she believed God was her Heavenly Father, she just said she didn't know. She had felt the spirit so many times, we told her it was her answer, but she just didn't progress. The goal she set for herself a long time ago was coming up and she stopped answering her phone and wasn't home when we visited. Finally I got a hold of her and she said she was getting married and didn't have time to get baptised. I reminded her of her goal, but it was shakey. We hadn't seen her in about 10 days, she was in Tainan doing wedding stuff. The day before her baptism she still hadn't come back. We set up to have dinner with her the night of her baptism- she didn't show up. When I called her she said she was at home and her mom didn't want her to get baptised. She sounded REALLY uncertain whether or not she would come. We had a member call her and we didn't know what else to do besides pray.

There we are, twenty minutes before our double baptism (Chen jm and another investigator Xu jm). Neither had come yet. Sister Dewyea and I were praying out hearts out for Chen Guan Ying. Sister Dewyea prayed that God would send us a few more angels and that the heaven's would be opened and give us a miracle. I felt the spirit really strongly, and I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know if it was comfort for impending disappointment or that she would come. It ended up being assurance of divine help.

We got off our knees after one of my most heartfelt, pleading prayers and Sister Chen was in the parking lot, she had come on her motorcycle in the rain. She was so tiny thin, and wet with rain in her blue dress that just hung off her, and sick full of secrets, her family opposing her baptism, perhaps just leaving from an argument, secretly married and secretly pregnant and a desire for a new start. And she came and was baptised. THAT was an amazing miracle enough. She was baptised, and even getting her to her confirmation was a miracle because she still wouldn't commit that she would be at church and not in Tainan. But she was baptised and confirmed and she looked so happy. That was enough of a miracle, that I could see her progression and her big leap of faith at the end. When she was confirmed, it was like the dark cloud that always hangs over her was taken away, and she looked happy.

As if Chen jm wasn't enough of a miracle, the night of her baptism, Sister Xu came, and and asked if her daughter could get baptised with her. Her daughter had passed a baptismal interview back in September, so Sister Dewyea ran home to get her record, get permission from President Hoer to baptise her. It was all very dramatic and you banfa. It was a huge miracle to have another person to be baptised at the last minute.
Rebecca was our last miracle baptism. We taught her in just 8 days. She was so completely ready. When faced with a commandment, she had either already heard it from her family and was already keeping it, or she had the best answer I've ever heard. She said to me, "Sister, I have been thinking about it, and I am willing to give it up. I want to feel clean. I want to be baptised." Sister Dewyea and I didn't know where to baptise her because it seemed impossible to get her to Yuanlin and back in the hour break that she had. Sister Dewyea and I decided to do all we could though, so we took a stick and went looking for any body of water we could baptise her in during our lunch time. I remember praying, "Heavenly Father, I know that we are walking around with a long bamboo pole, measuring the depths of dirty Taiwanese canals, and it is ridiculous. But we don't know what else to do. We are doing all we can, please help us." In the end, her boss gave her permission to have the afternoon off. Her baptism and confirmation were perhaps the best I've ever had. Everything went smooth as can be, everyone really felt the spirit. The members supported her more than I expected, they really reached out to her, some even drove her the 40 minutes back to her house. We taught and baptised her in 8 days.

And thus we were blessed with four baptisms in one week. You are right though - success is a gift from God and not by our own merits.

I am so grateful to Father in Heaven.

What a great week.
I love you

FML
Sister Johnson

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