December 15, 2014"Merry Christmas! I love being able to help these people see the importance of Jesus Christ in our celebration of Christmas!"
Things are so great here in Taiwan! I love everything. Move call is this Friday, but Sister King and I will be staying together here in Xiao Gang. This is my first time being with a companion for longer than one move call besides when I was being trained. Sister King are really excited to have more time together. This area is great and we have so much to do! We mostly speak Chinese now. It's really fun!
In Taiwan, they don't really celebrate Christmas very much. Even a lot of the members don't have a Christmas tree. I haven't seen a real Christmas tree at all - mostly just little tiny trees. Stores sometimes play Christmas music, but that's about all there is. I'm super grateful I'm here as a missionary and we get to bring Christmas to people!! :) We've been giving our investigators little Christmas trees, and then will read a scripture with them that has to do with some ornaments/decorations we give them to put on their tree. It's been really fun and they love it! I love being able to help these people the importance of Jesus Christ in our celebration of Christmas!
This week we found out that we will be performing next week for the temple anniversary. For the past several weeks, they have been practicing in Taipei for a 30 year anniversary celebration. The mission president in Taipei talked with President Blickenstaff and they decided to take the celebration to TaiZhong and GaoXiong. SO they have recruited Sister King and I to sing in the choir. They're a little frantic, because we have just less than two weeks to put it together. But Sister King keeps saying it's the closest thing we can get to the temple. We can't go to the temple here in GaoXiong because we're too far away.
This week we traveled to the place that's farthest away in our area. I had never been. We found this bike path that took us there. It was SO LONG. Totally flat and straight, but it just went on forever! It reminded me of all the bike trips we took as a family growing up. We miraculously ran into a less active that we've been working with while we were there in LinYuan! She stopped us on the side of the road and gave us some duck to eat. We were super grateful we had the duck later. As we rode back to the chapel, there were several dogs on the side of the road next to us. Thankfully we had some meat to throw to them and they didn't chase after us. Heavenly Father watches out for us. :) It's usually through other people that He takes care of His children. Or, through other people's duck. :)
This week we went on exchanges! I went with Lin JM in SanMin. She's a convert in the Church. So strong. Such a good missionary. I absolutely love her! We've ended up being in the same zones my whole mission - TaiZhong North, ZhongXing, and now GaoXiong. I learned a lot from her about being a bold missionary and finding those who are searching for the truth. We got lunch at a restaurant that served burritos. On one of the walls, they had a world map where people had circled where they're from and their name. I drew the first circle around Boston and wrote my name!
At Church this week, we had three investigators come who we didn't even expect to come! A few weeks ago, we talked with a lady who was making us drinks at a shop next to a less active's house. We testified of the importance of church and she told us she would come with the member next door. She never came, but this past week she showed up with her little kids and stayed for all three hours! Two investigators who haven't been able to meet with us for the past two weeks came to church on their own yesterday! It was their first time. After the meetings, Vivian talked to us about how she just loves the way she feels at church. She kept saying she needs to remember how she feels right now. Safe, peaceful, comfortable. All of her trials and challenges are not a problem. I love coming to Church and I'm so grateful for the power the gospel has in people's lives.
I don't think I've mentioned this! When I was in DongHai, I worked closely with a Zheng family. Mom, dad, two kids. They were baptized a few weeks before I got there and they were SO strong. I seriously love them so much! I am so grateful I'm serving here in XiaoGang because their daughter, Maggie, is here attending college! I absolutely love this family, they've helped me so much! Maggie has started a Mormon Club at her college (yeah, she was baptized in March. This family is so strong!), so we go help her out every week. It's been so great!
Last night we had SUCH a hard time getting out of our apartment after lunch to visit an investigator. We locked the keys to our apartment and bike inside, had to find a locksmith, forgot the phone and had to go back to the apartment to grab it, on the way, forgot something else and decided to just go ahead without it. As we were riding, I just felt like I couldn't keep going, like something was pulling us back. But I knew that we had to go visit this investigator! I knew that it was the adversary pulling us. We finally got to the investigator's house and she wasn't even available to talk with us. We decided to tract the houses near her house. Everyone we talked to wouldn't even listen to us. It just felt like as disaster. We got to the very last house on the block. The woman who lived there invited us in and she told us that she hasn't been to her Christian church for years because she didn't like they way they treated her. She's really lonely and has been going through some hard trials, but she hasn't left God. She sings and prays and watches the Christian channel on her own. She was really willing to listen to our message as we shared about the restored gospel and I'm excited to continue to share this message with her. It was one of the most memorable experiences on my mission. God is real. He puts people in our path after we do everything we can. This is His work and salvation. I'm so grateful I have a chance to be a part of it!
This week I read the talk "Lord, Is It I?" from last conference. SO GOOD. Read it! I love the part that talks about how we all need to continue to improve. President Uchtdorf says "We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachableminds. We must be willing to learn and to change. And, oh, how much wegain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us.
Those who do not wish to learn and change probably will not and mostlikely will begin to wonder whether the Church has anything to offer them.
But those who want to improve and progress, those who learn of theSavior and desire to be like Him, those who humble themselves as a littlechild and seek to bring their thoughts and actions into harmony with ourFather in Heaven—they will experience the miracle of the Savior’sAtonement. They will surely feel God’s resplendent Spirit. They will tastethe indescribable joy that is the fruit of a meek and humble heart. Theywill be blessed with the desire and discipline to become true disciples ofJesus Christ."
I love you all! Sister Berrey