Friday, August 28, 2015

Week 16

August 28, 2015

Hello Family and Friends!! 

This week is a little weird so P-day was moved from this upcoming Monday to today! So here i am emailing only three days after i just emailed.... aka i dont have much to say haha 

Its been a roughish week- and by rough i mean that we got fung'ed by pretty much everyone! (fung=bailed on) Even members were bailing on us! But it wasnt that rough because we just made the best of this week and laughed alot. Sister Tapia laughs at like everything i say (im not that funny though? just kinda silly and/or stupid? LOL) For example we were doing English Pros and we usually do 30 min one day and 30 the next but since we werent able to do it the day earlier we had to do it for an hour on Wednesday and it was super hotttt and so humid. We both kinda hit a wave of tiredness and all the sudden i just decided to start singing "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars (yes i know its not missionary appropriate) and dancing all over with the banner and you know what?! It was great and exactly what we both needed. It definitely cheered us both up and then we started singing Les Mis so yaa hahah I guess really the moral of the story is that attitude it EVERYTHING! We can make the best of any situation or week! Also sometimes its okay to sing silly songs and dance like a weirdo and laugh alot. I like to think that God likes it when we laugh. Laughing cures the soul. 

On a spiritual note i have really seen the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion this week! Me and Sister Tapia took a moment to evaluate why some of our investigators werent progressing and it really came down to the fact that they werent reading the Book of Mormon and they didnt have a testimony of it. Our investigators that were progressing were reading the Book of Mormon. This is so true in our lives as well. We have to read the Book of Mormon if we want to keep progressing and becoming stronger. I promised a lady that we taught this week that if she read the Book of Mormon and prayed she would never fall away from the church- and i believe that to be so true. We meet with a Less-Active every saturday (Yu Ting) she is so cute and sweet but has no real testimony of the Book of Mormon. And really at the core of it all thats her problem. WE MUST READ THE BOOK OF MORMON GUYS - i cant stress it enough. 

A quick funny story: So we went to this members house for dinner last night with the elders and as it was coming to an end and we were ready to say the prayer and go (we really needed to get out of there to make it to our next lesson) the kid comes our with a whole plate of cut up apples. And then something was said (i obviously ting bu donged (didnt understand)) and so i looked up and the elders whispered "we cant pray until all the apples are gone" So basically yaaa haha i look over and Sister Tapia is shoving apples in her mouth and then i am too. We are all there just stuffing apples in our mouths trying to not choke. But we had to get out of there! It was pretty hilarious. I felt like the kid in Matilda who was forced to eat all of that chocolate cake and couldnt leave until it was all gone. What a great memory though!

Well until next time my friends and family! 
Love you all!!

Sister Hardy 

PS: i actually took photos this week but its not working! Sorry! More photos next week :) 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Week 15

August 24, 2015

Hello All!!!!!

This week has been great!!! Super busy and lots of hard work but i realize that its when we have the busiest days that i am the happiest. Staying busy and serving others is the best way to cure any homesickness or sorrow! Get out and serve if you are feeling down! 

I've really gained a testimony of planning this week (haha sounds sorta silly), But its so important! If we want to hit mission standards we have to make a plan to accomplish it. I relate this to really anything in life. If we have a goal that we want to achieve we have to make plans to achieve it! We cant just expect our goals to come true without putting in the work either. I am currently so sore and tired because of the crazy busy week we had! Accomplishing goals means hard work. Sunday came and we didn't hit standards- we were sooo close. And was i sad? NO!!! our numbers were so much better than they were before! And now this week we will try again! We have to realize that sometimes we wont hit goals right away. It takes time and patience! 

I have been studying the life of Christ to try and see different ways that i can improve myself (I mean why not study about the most perfect human ever lived and then strive for that?!) There was one theme that i really noticed and thats Faith. As i was reading in Matthew i noticed something very obvious that i had never really taken much thought to. Christ always says something along the lines of "because of your faith (or belief) it will be done" I've always known that we need faith but it sort of hit me that Jesus Christ will only act (perform miracles) on OUR faith. He cant help us perform miracles without our faith. That's why it is so important to have faith. Faith is something that ive seen as super key on a mission. Without faith we cant expect Jesus Christ to lift us up and perform miracles! Faith can be a hard concept to wrap our minds around and i am still trying to figure it out. But as for now i know that to have faith is to believe in Christ. Believe that he is. Believe what he says. Believe that he can save us. Believe that with him i can DO THIS! A mission is hard but when we put our faith in Christ it gets so much easier! I have to have faith that Heavenly father will help our investigators when were not there and that he will give them strength when they can feel the pull of Satan in their lives. FAITH. FAITH. FAITH. We have to have it. I am praying real hard to have more and more faith every day.

Real quick funny story: we were trying to find the complex of a person we were meeting with and there were these women outside laughing and taking pictures. I offered to take a photo of all of them and they totally agreed! then as we walked away they laughed even harder and told us to come back! one of them was a member and she preceded to show us her garments to prove it! Even though we believed her. It was just so random but made me laugh so hard. 

Alsooo S/O to Xie Lao Shi for coming and visiting us at a little drink shop!! And he brought us someone to teach. Man hes the best. I had the best teachers in the MTC! He was here visiting (he served in Taiwan also)! So good to see him. 

Have a great week everyone!! Love you all so much! Sorry for the lame photos this week- i didnt take to many. 

-Sister Hardy 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week 14

August 17, 2015

I have been on Island for a month now! So crazy. I have already learned so much. 

First off: S/O to my twin Tommy Boy! He turns 11 tomorrow! Wish him a very Happy Birthday. Happy birthday Thomas love you <3

This week was pretty normal (or as normal as it gets here in taiwan lol). I feel like i gained about 10 pounds this week. We ate so muchhh. We were invited to a Hot Pot party with the YSA and it was so good but they just kept giving me more and more food. It was delicious though. Hot Pot is like a soup where they just throw everything in it and it all cooks together and then you eat it all. They had these Pigs blood rice squares. They all made me eat them haha it wasn't to bad! The next day we were invited to sing at a wedding so we went and did that and then of course there was so much delicious food there. The food here is so much better than the USA- a little different but sooo much better. 

There are miracles everyday but this week we were on our way to go find a 7 we could do phones at (call our investigators to see how they are doing). We had the idea to go to the Mcdonalds instead because they are nicer and super clean (way different than Mcdonalds in the USA). We walked in and who was sitting there, our investigator Qiu Xiang! She had been there for about 2 hours because she had been in a fight with her husband. We comforted her and testified about how baptism is the next step for her and that it will bless her life so much. I really hope she starts to progress and sees that that was a miracle that we ran into her there at that certain time because she needed to feel that gods loves her and cares about her. Its crazy that we just happened to decided to go to the Mcdonalds and then we ran into her. The lord is definitely guiding us. 

The hardest thing this week was getting bailed on a lot for lessons. Its so hard when our investigators dont realize how important this is. They NEED this. But they dont always see it right away. We all need to have that desire and then ACT on it or we will never progress. Even if the desire is little if we experiment upon it we will receive an answer and our desire will grow even more (read Alma 32 to see what i am talking about). Its all about acting upon it though. We need to be continually acting upon the feelings that we receive from the Holy Ghost prompting us to do the things we need. Pray and read the Book of Mormon!!! 

Chinese is still hard but i am improving everyday! Its such a cool language. 

I love it here! i love the people! and i love this gospel! 

-Sister Hardy

Here are some biking selfies! (more pics in other emails)

Week 13

August 10, 2015

Helllo family & friends! Despite a wicked typhoon that hit us on Saturday i am totally okay and alive! Thank you so much for all of the prayers that came my way.

It was pretty sketchy and the wind was so strong it sounded like thunder at some points! But that wasnt going to stop us!! We walked! haha yes we were out in a Typhoon. It wasn't like thattt bad though- or else we would have been instructed to stay in doors. We walked to the church and it was quite the experience. I honestly loved the whole thing, I was just laughing the whole time thinking "What is life?!?" I think that a lot of the time here. There are so many moments where i am just like "Wow. I am in Taiwan. In a Typhoon. Outside." I never would have thought this is what i would be doing a year ago- and i love it! Such an adventure. We wore our massive poncho rain jacket things (I sent a pic last week) and i threw on the rain pants (which by the way saved my life and i was totally dry when we got the the church). There was NO ONE IN SIGHT. Which is crazy because normally its just a mad house of people every where but everything was shut down and there was no one around. It was sad to see so many trees broken down and peoples stuff everywhere. At some points me and sister Tapia held hands so that we wouldn't blow away haha I guess i can now say that i lived through a typhoon so that's cool.

Okay enough typhoon talk. This week was full of service and i loved it! We were seriously serving people left and right. It is such a great way for us to come in contact with people and get to know them. We helped one of our members friends with a work assignment she was doing (it was about hotels and hospitality stuff). We meet with her 3 times and on the last time we got done pretty early so she was just chatting with us. We ended with a closing prayer and out of no where she asked what baptism was! We were shocked. Sister Tapia talked about how we make promises with god when we get baptized and listed them off. Not really understanding, the girl said "Wait what promises?" I then hopped in the conversation and asked if we could schedule a time to meet with her so that we could talk more about it! We meet tomorrow and i cant wait. Who knows what will happen but the moral of the story is that service is key! When we serve doors are opened for us to share the gospel. Also ive decided that service is the best medicine. It cures me being homesick, or feeling down about how hard the language is. When we serve others we really do forget about ourselves and feel sooo much happier. If we never would have served this girl than she may not have ever heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I got a Chinese name this week!!! Like more than just my last name Hong2. The members gave it to me :) Its Hong2 Cui4 Xi1 (i dont know how to type characters but that the pinyin with the tones) Its means bright light/a beam of light and then the other character means graceful. I love the ward i am in and love everyone in it. They are so sweet to us missionaries. This lady gave us this super good coconut candy a few weeks ago and after trying it i asked her where she bought them cause i loved them and then this last week she brought me a whole bag! haha i couldn't be happier. i love sanmin !

I am continually grateful for my savior Jesus Christ, because honestly without him i wouldnt be out here. There is nothing harder i have ever done but i have also never recived so much joy from sharing about our Savior. I LOVE the Book of Mormon with all of my heart. Through it we can come to know of Christ. During my studies this week i cam across a scripture in Alma 33 that i love. Its verse 14, it reads:
Now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures? If ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?
If we read from the Book of Mormon we will know of a surety that Jesus is our savior and we will not be able to deny it. I am so grateful that we have the Book of Mormon and that i have the opportunity to share this happy message with the people here in Taiwan!

I love you all so much! <3
-Sister Hardy

Pics: Fried chicken that is delicious. Just a pic of all the people that ride scooters, its crazy! This gorgeous rainbow that we saw as we were biking from the church. We got our haircut this morning at this really nice salon for free from this member!

Week 12

August 2, 2015

Hello family and friends! Well i cant believe that it is already August?! Where has the summer gone?!

Its been another good very very veryyyy hot week here in Taiwan. This week there wasn't as much rain aka not as much cloud coverage so the sun was hot! It really isn't bothering me as much as i thought i would. I sweat so much though and my hair is always a mess. Its funny though because the people here really don't sweat that much! Its so weird like sometimes we will be getting food and i will look around and everyone looks fine and my companion and i look like we just showered haha i love it.

In terms of food this week i cant think of anything to weird that i have eaten... but i did get McDonald's!!! haha yess!! It was amazing and the fries tasted exactly like they do in the USA. i don't think i have ever been excited to eat Mcdonaldss but it was just a nice little piece of home! The member here (and our investigators) are so nice and always give us cake (its not like cake in the US, its more spongy and no frosting) and lots of fruit. The people here are seriously some of the nicest people i have ever met. Its funny because its so safe here that we will go contacting (knocking on peoples doors) in dark alleys at night. I just stop sometimes and think wow if i was in NYC or some other city in the USA this would be so creepy but in Taiwan its totally okay! The only creepy thing i can think of is some of the male investigators will say that we are so pretty because we are from america. The members in our ward like totally try to protect us though and will like come and pull them away or make sure one of them is sitting in between us haha i love the ward i am.

In all honesty the hardest thing right now for me is the language. There really is nothing more frustrating then trying to communicate your feelings in a foreign language. I had a somewhat language changing experience with my companion this week. We were sitting in a 7/11 (yes like the gas station but here they just call them 7s) doing calls and contacting all of our investigators. It was my time to call and i was going to call this lady that we invited to read 3 Nephi 11 (about Jesus Christ coming to the Americas) and follow up with her and share my favorite part of the chapter. I did a little practice with my companion so that i could know what to say and she told me to do it in English because i was getting frustrated that i couldn't say it in Chinese. I started to bare my testimony and it was really powerful and the spirit was strong and then i just started to cry because i thought "why cant i just do this is English?? it would be so much easier. i could actually tell them how i felt." That's when it hit me that i was letting the language hold me back. I would share spiritual thoughts in our lessons but i realized that i was really just saying things that i knew i could say, it was sorta of like i was a robot? it wasn't really from the heart. My companion encouraged me to take what i had just born my testimony about and condense it into 5 sentences and then translate it into Chinese. I did it and realized i could say most of it if i just slowed down and really thought about it. I know that i am learning Chinese for a reason and that this is what i was called to do. I cant let it hold me back from sharing my feelings and baring testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel.

A mission is hard, there is no doubt about that, but i am becoming and changing into this person that i know my Heavenly Father wants me to. I feel like i have already learned so much and i have only been out for such a short amount of time. I cant wait to see what is ahead! I know that with Christ's atonement i can change and become better every day and that it has the power ti make me strong when i feel weak and carry me through the rough days. I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart might mind and strength and at the end of the day hes the reason i keep going. My love for him that i want to share with everyone causes me to keep biking even when i am sore and tired.

I love this. I love Taiwan. I love the gospel.

-Sister Hardy

updates: i got new rain gear (bill/hat thing included), i think that i am starting to get used to the funny smells, and i am no longer scared of bugs hahaha

Week 11

July 26, 2015

Ni haooooo everyone!

This week was great! I feel like so much happens all the time i dont even know where to start! (ps a little cockroach just crawled across the desk and i screamed a little, sister tapia killed it. i am so grateful for ya thats great welcome to taiwan hahaha) 

Ill start off with a few funny things that happened this week! For starters EVERYONE double takes me and is always saying my skin is so white (which is a major complement here), A little girl ran up to be and yelled something along the lines of "Elsa" I was a little confused at first and then i was like oh my gosh.. elsa from Frozen! haha on a creepier note this man kept staring at me one day as we were getting on our bikes and then he biked past and said "you are so beautiful" in his broken english... ahhh a little sketchy but not to worry taiwan is reallly safe and i rarely feel unsafe. also something pretty funny, everyone comes up to us and asks us if we can come teach their class english haha we have to explain to them that we are not english teachers, but that we do offer a free english class every week! its one of the many ways we introduce people to the gospel. We stand on corners twice a week with signs yelling "Mian Fei YinWen Ban!!" (free english class) Its quite a sight im sure- but very effective!

Update on my biking: i am not as sore and am starting to really get the hang of weaving and getting used to almost being hit every two minutes! i actually am really loving it, its just so freeing, especially right as the sun is going down. its so beautiful and a really dreamy time of the night. It really makes me grateful for this beautiful world we have. 

Sooooo i ate intestine soup this week... yup. It wasnt that bad honestly but it was intestine soup and just the thought of that made me slightly nauseous lol. It was with some of our investigators/bffs and they knew that i would think it was weird so they wanted to see my reaction haha and the rest of the meal was pretty strange also. so after we went to a 7/11 (which are basically on every corner, and we go there allll the time) and i got some real food to fill me up. one of those snacks were ritz cheese crackers. we got to the church building (where we were going to make calls) and i opened it up and starting eating and let me tell you, fake cheese never tasted so good. so next time your eating ritz cheese crackers just think of how #blessed you are that you're not eating intestine soup ;) other than that the food here is soooo goooood. and increidble cheap, like im talking $2 for a meal. I love the fried rice here and the potstickers- delicious. also these eggs bread roll up things called Zhua Bing! so yummy. One of my fav things though is all the different drinks that they have here! You can go up to these little resturants and they cups filled with different kinds of fruit and just choose which one you want and then they add ice a little sugar and blend it all up and they are to dieee for. i also love Dong Guo Cha, i really dont know how to explain it but i will include some pics! its sweet (sorta of like syrup tasting?) and cold and when you add some lemon it is the and then theres the classic papya milk which is a classic choice for me at a 7/11. and MANGO BING basically shaved ice with mango and delicious goodness. well wow that was a lot of food talk, sorry if you are hungry now.

Okay enough funny/food talk. While all of that is great the real reason i am here is to preach the gospel! I have loved every moment of being able to talk with people and share this wonderful message that we have. it really is such a happy message. its so sweet to hear someone utter their first prayer to their heavenly father. or tell that about their savior Jesus Christ who they have never even heard about before. Or when we finally figure out the need of an investigator, or when our investigator tells us that she read the Book of Mormon and wants to share her favorite verse that she read. There honestly is nothing sweeter. We have these two investigators Kelly and Sharron! they are best friends and honestly so awesome to be around (except when they give me intestine soup hahaha). Unfortunately there parents wont allow them to be baptized. WE meet with Sharron's family this last week and we were so nervous going in- but it actually wasn't that bad and i ended up giving away my first Book of Mormon to them! I dont know how they feel about everything but i have faith that Sharron and Kelly will be baptized one day, even if that means they have to wait two years until they are twenty and dont need their parents permission. Faith is something that can be sorta difficult to understand but ive decided that it really goes hand in hand with trust, trust in the lord. I have to have faith that i can baptize everyone aka i have to trust that the lord will help me baptize everyone. We can not loose faith. To strengthen it we have to be doing the little things everyday! Praying and reading from the Book of Mormon daily are key. We promised a recent convert this week that if she read from the Book of Mormon every single day she would never fall away or lose her testimony- and i firmly believe that is true. Lastly this week ive really learned that love conquers all and as my dad told me "love is the great motivator" It motivates me when i am tired and hott, it motivates me to learn this impossible language, it is everything. Because i love the people here i can overcome any thing. My favorite scripture as of now is Moroni 8:16: Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear. 

Perfect love casteth out all fear! 

I love you all so much! Never give up! Keep pushing on through those hard trials with faith, the Book of Mormon and prayer. I know you can do it with those three simple things! 

-Sister Hardy Hong Jie Mei