Happy Birthday to Me!
It hasn't been too bad, even though my two companions have both been a-crying all morning.
The last four days have been a bit unconventional because we had three in our companionship! Sister Dewyea's companion went trainer so she got kicked out and stayed with Sister Liu and I until movecall. It is normal, and usually just a temporary situation until they find out where they will be serving. However, Sister Dewyea ended up getting called to Yuanlin, so she will be staying! Sister Liu moved to Huwei, which I was excited about because it is in the same district as Douliu, my first area. Sisters have closed in Douliu since then, and Sister Liu is whitewashing Huwei.
So here I am back with an American companion. It should be good. Sister Dewyea and I had a long, wonderful talk over Subway (my birthday lunch). I loved Sister Liu but I'm not going to lie, it was nice to have a long conversation in English! Sister Dewyea is from Sandy Utah, tiny and petit and has short blond hair. She reminds me kind of a modern Tinkerbell - very pixie like. It should be a fun movecall. I love missionary work so much! When I think I have to go home in 7 months, I think - only 7 months! That's not long enough! I haven't learned everything I need to yet! I would maybe ask to extend, but I don't want to be gone for the holidays again.
It's my birthday and everyone has been crying. Sister Liu cried because she is leaving, Sister Dewyea cried because she missed her companion and has some problems with feeling inadequate. Both of them forgot to wish me a happy birthday until after I reminded them, but Sister Hoer called me, and Elder Anderson wished me a happy birthday at the station. He has wished me a happy birthday everytime he has seen me for a week - he understands how birthdays ought to work! It's been good though. Everyday is good.
Sister Liu and I have been helping our new members start their family history work. Taiwan has a family history resource any geneologist would kill for. They just go down to their government housing office, tell them they want to print out their family history and immediately have about 15 generations information on a nice printout. It's amazing. Sister Liu and I saw a lot of miracles as we have been trying to get people doing their family history work. I took the conference advice to heart that "no matter what your situation, you should make family history a part of your life right now." I can't do my own now, but I can help other people. The Asian culture is so blessed, they have a history of being such good (organized!) record keepers. There is a man I met in Douliu that had done about 2000 years of family history.
We went to a baptism the other night that was great, if not a tiny bit ridiculous. It was the bishop's daughter. Her mom wanted us to teach her the missionary lessons just to "make sure she really understood." Most 8 year old kids that get baptised I don't think really understand too much except that they love Jesus and think the church is true. The the baptism was in the chapel, there were as many people in attendance as there are at sacrament meeting, and...it was quite an event! I'm not going to lie, it was really good. We had two investigators with us that are children and they seemed to really like it.
Can you believe it's almost Mothers day and time to call home again? Here is the email they sent us about it. I will probably call from Taiwan on Monday may 10th morning which will be Mother's day evening/afternoon. Send me the phone numbers of where you will be again - I deleted the last emails and may not remember everyone's phone number.
Mothers Day Phone Call Home
You are authorized to talk to your family during Mothers Day. You have two options for this phone call. You can arrange to talk to your family on the evening of Sunday, May 9th or the morning of Monday, May 10th. (Taiwan time) *Calling on May 9th will be Mothers Day morning in the States. *Calling on May 10th will be Mothers Day evening in the States.
Your phone call should not exceed 60 minutes (if your parents are divorced, then you may make two 40 minute calls, one to each parent)
You and your family are responsible for the cost of the phone call; please budget and be sensitive regarding the financial burden on your family.
Plan now how and when you will call your family, or receive their call. Coordinate with your companion, and then email your family giving them a couple of options for the best times to talk.
Have your family call your apartment landline, do not use cell phones!
If your family does not have an international call plan, the cheapest way to call is using a phone card.
If you call your family, the cheapest option is a phone card. You can buy an international calling card at convenience stores (7/11) which can then be used from your apartment phone.
The time differences are:
Australia 2 hours ahead
Malaysia, Singapore, China are the same as Taiwan
Hawaii 18 hours behind
Pacific 15 hours behind
Mountain 14 hours behind
Central 13 hours behind
Eastern 12 hours behind