March 1, 2015
First week of training went really well! My trainee is so incredible! I love her so much! I love this area! I love our Mission President! I love being a missionary! :)
So on Friday, Sister King and I got a taxi to the train station super early in the morning and then I took the train for three hours up to Taizhong to pick up my trainee! We had a meeting with all of the trainers and President Blickenstaff trained us for a little bit and then we all stood at the back of the chapel as the trainees came into the room. We each grabbed one of the missionaries and sat down with them. President Blickenstaff and the Assistants did some training and then each of the new missionaries found out who they trainer was! They went up one by one and were given a red envelope from President Blickenstaff, opened it in front of everyone, and read out who their trainer was and where they will be serving. Sister Johnston read out my name and I ran up there and gave her a big hug! We all went over and got lunch and then traveled to our areas. Sister Johnston is so amazing!! On the train to our area, she sat next to a girl who's here from South America and shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon with her and about what she's doing as a missionary in Taiwan! She's so strong and so diligent! I absolutely love her!!
So Sister Johnston is from Ogden Utah. She was in the MTC for nine weeks and then she was reassigned to serve in the Tempe Arizona Mission and was there waiting for her VISA for almost four months. She and her dad are the only active members in her family, she has four siblings, two step brothers and a half sister. She had a really great experience in Arizona and has taught me so much about the things she learned there! She's also a few months older than me and really likes Disney. She speaks sign language because some of her family members are deaf. She's so awesome! I love her!!
On her first night, we met with Maggie, our recent convert. Her family was baptized in my first area just before I got there, in DongHai. But Maggie is a member down here in XiaoGang because she is going to school here. On my very first night in DongHai when I was being trained, we went and visited Maggie's family. On Sister Johnston's very first night, we visited Maggie! I thought it was pretty cool, I am really grateful Heavenly Father has blessed me with that continued connection with the her family. I absolutely love them!!
On Saturday, we met with two girls who just loved listening to our message. One of the girls dad's walked past as we were teaching and we invited him to sit down, he said no thanks, but you can keep teaching my daughter! They both have a ton of interest in learning more about the gospel, but they're preparing for college and don't have time to meet again. One of the girls we met a few days earlier and set up that time to meet with her and then when we showed up, her friend was there and we were able to teach them both! It was cool to see that she wanted to share this message with her friend and they both knew that it was important. They're so cute :)
After church on Sunday, we had a lesson with Caroline, one of our recent converts, and we taught about the temple. She decided to set a goal to go to the temple and do baptisms! She has changed a lot since I first met her and I can tell that she has become so much more confident and happy because she has been living and learning the gospel.
Isabel came to Martin's baptism this week! She was asking questions throughout the meeting as I translated for her and told me afterwards that she has so many things that she wants to understand about it. She loves coming to church and always has super fancy clothes on! She has so much faith and she knows that Heavenly Father needs her here in Taiwan!
The people here in Taiwan are so awesome. There was one night when we were late getting to an appointment. We got on the bus really worried we might not get there in time, so I asked the lady sitting next to me where to get off and how long it would take to get there, because we had never gone to the library before. She told us how to get there and before getting off told a boy who was standing nearby to make sure we know where we're getting off. She then carefully explained to us that we need to get off the stop after he gets off. She was so good to us. She told us that when she sees people like us here in Taiwan, she feels like it's her responsibility to make sure we are okay. The people here in GaoXiong are so friendly and so helpful! I love it here!
On Saturday night, we decided to travel to the community center to do language study after a ward activity. I asked a lady nearby a question about Chinese and her and her friend began to ask us questions about what we're doing here in Taiwan. We soon learned that the two of them were friends who were both suffering from really bad injuries. For years, they spend time together talking about their pain and how to deal with it. Sister Johnston and I taught them about Jesus Christ, read scriptures with them, and they were both crying as I said a prayer with them. President Blickenstaff has often told us that as missionaries, we are looking for those who are looking for us. I really feel like that was what this contact was, these two children of God were looking for help and support in a time of need. They needed to know that there is someone who understand and who can help lift them from the trials. It was a really spiritual experience.
I absolutely love being a missionary! I love being here in Taiwan and I love strengthening my testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ everyday. I know that He lives, He loves us, and He is always there for us. He is the Son of God. He is our Redeemer and our Savior. He is our light and our hope. I am so grateful for Him!
I love you all so much! Sister Berrey