December 1, 2014"I love you all! I know this church is true! I LOVE this work, I'm so happy!"
Happy Thanksgiving! This week was awesome! I'm so glad we were able to have Thanksgiving! I found this video today - I'm so grateful for our prophet Thomas S. Monson!
Here in XiaoGang, we have a set of couple missionaries who are in our ward from Idaho Falls, the Schwieders! I love them. Last Monday, we went with them to Costco and helped them make the salad for our Zone Conference. Elder Gong, the Asia Area President, came to our zone for mission tour. All the missionaries in the GaoXiong West and GaoXiong East zones had Thanksgiving lunch together - turkey, potatoes, corn, salad, rolls, pie, so yummy! Taiwanese sisters at our table had never had gravy before and didn't understand why you put it on your mashed potatoes. So cute.
After we ate, we went outside, took a picture, and then got into districts. Each district stood in a circle, and Elder Gong came around to each circle and shook all of our hands. We then had a really amazing Zone Conference. We learned and studied the scriptures and watched videos and practiced and did activities. It was a really good experience. The focus of the Zone Conference was faith, energy, and focus. What I learned at that conference has really helped me, I'm so grateful for our leaders and for this opportunity I have to become a better missionary each day.
This area, XiaoGang, is a lot different than my past areas. Our ward usually has around 70 members. There are many families and strong leaders in the ward. Several of the members in our ward are returned missionaries. It's amazing to me how fast the work is moving forward. Less than 60 years ago, the first missionaries were sent to Taiwan. Now we have two missions and over 200 missions just in the TaiZhong Mission. At Zone Conference, I asked President Gong what makes Taiwan different from any of the other countries in the Asia Area and he said that Taiwan is the biggest. It has the most members. We have almost 57,000 members in Taiwan now.
XiaoGang is really city - we have a little airport, and a highway that we ride our bikes down every day to get to our area. (There's a lane just for bikes and motorcycles.) The chapel is on the corner in a busy part of town. We have a subway that we use pretty often, and there are just people everywhere all the time. We contact people on the street, visit people in their homes, teach people at the church, and just do our best to try to find, teach, baptized, retain, and reactivate. I absolutely love being a missionary, and it's been fun to serve in this area!
Sister King is my companion. She is Sister Graham's trainee, so she's been on island about two move calls longer than me. She is American, but she lived in Hong Kong for almost ten years of her life, so she has pretty amazing Chinese. I love her so much! We have learned a lot together this week. I really believe that having a strong companionship is key to success in missionary work. Having companionship unity brings the Spirit and allows us to become more effective instruments in the Lord's hand. We are trying really hard to do the best we can to help people come unto Christ in this area! I love it!
Last night I had my first experience being chased by a dog. It was getting pretty late, and we were riding to the Bishop's house to visit him and his wife. As we rode down this big hill, I heard dogs next to me. I tried so hard to not look at them, but I heard one come up behind me a snap at me as I picked up my feet and then frantically tried to ride away as fast as I could. I was super happy to get to the bottom of the hill, away from the dogs. We stopped on the side of the road and checked the map again because we didn't see the road we were looking for. Then we realized that the dot on the map did not match up with the Bishop's address. We were going the wrong way, and the only way to get to his house was to go BACK UP THE HILL past the dogs. I was so scared! As we started going back up the hill, we saw about ten dogs chase after a motorcycle in front of us. There was a pack of them, and we had to go uphill to pass them. We were so exhausted already, but we pulled over and prayed really hard and then just rode up the hill as fast as we could. Not only did the dogs not chase us, but we didn't even hear them barking! I was really amazed. I don't know what they could have done to us. They were just running so fast after that motorcycle before us, but they didn't bother us at all! I was so grateful and just prayed all the way to the Bishop's house. So happy to be safe! :)
This week we invited 115 people to hear the message of the restoration! I absolutely love this time I have as a missionary. I love being able to share my testimony every day and seeing people connect to the gospel. I am trying my best to become who the Lord would have me be and to find those He has prepared for me to help in this area! We met so many amazing people this week! I wish I could tell you about them all.
I finished studying faith yesterday. This month I'm focusing on hope! I learned so much from studying faith everyday. I would spend a long time during each personal study focusing on scriptures on faith and then at night pray about what I had done that day to increase my faith and write down specific experiences and things I can do better. I am so grateful for this gospel and for the ability we have to change and become the best that we can. Heavenly Father blesses us with so much. He has blessed me with so many experience and so many people who have strengthened and built my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have learned that if you have faith, you can handle difficulties.
I love you all so much! I pray for you each day. Thanks so much for all your love and support! It means a lot! Sister Berrey