So this past week has had so many different things happen. I have some pictures that I will send along as well. But literally it all started with Monday night, of course happening after I had done emails for that day and that my P-day had ended.
First up on the list is that we literally found out about 5 minutes before on Monday night that we were doing a Skype TRC that night during class. So Elder Turner and I had to quickly get a lesson together. It was quite funny though when we were sitting in the classroom and a TRC worker came and told us we were skyping that we were all flipping out with excitement and nervousness. So we ended up all kneeling down and said a prayer together. Then we went to the computer lab. Elder Turner and I skype taught a recent member in Taibei. It was funny also because we weren't expecting this for Monday night since we had taught at TRC the previous Saturday. But This last Saturday we didn't have TRC and they informed us that we are teaching again tonight over Skype. So Elder Turner and I are preparing a lesson centered on prayer and receiving blessings and answers through prayers. Also will be a 40 minute lesson. We feel better with this lesson though and feel that we will be really prepared for it. It's so much fun though and exhilarating to skype teach someone who there native language is Chinese and they probably hardly know any English.
But so that happened Monday night. Later that night I was talking with one of the Elder's in our branch who was leaving the next day. Elder Turner and I had gone to talk with him and look at some of his pictures because his family breeds snakes (lots of ball pythons and tree pythons). Then I saw some pictures of some cars that he had (his family members nice muscle cars) and then also a lambo that he said he drove. He told me that you pay $400 or $500 at this place in Nevada (he told me to just look up online Exotic Racing) and you can drive for like 7 or 8 laps these really nice cars. So you know what I want to do when I get home :)
Then on Tuesday for some reason that I still don't know why I got my new name badge. You'll see a picture of it when I send it. This is my name badge I will wear while in Taiwan. But yeah everyone else in my generation got their name badges on Friday. But they are way cool. Not one little bit of English on them. All in Chinese characters.
One of the things I have enjoyed more over the past week or so is that Brother Nightingale has been teaching more cultural and day to day language to us to help us be better prepared for the initial transition to Taiwan. I have a part out of my Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar book I want to share (and you could too read it since I have this book at home as well if you want to learn more about what I am getting myself into over in Taiwan) but so it says:
Expressing gratitude and responding to expressions of gratitude
In Chinese culture, you thank others for actions that benefit you or show you respect. Such actions include doing something for you, taking the time to visit or write you, or helping you in some way.In Chinese culture, you do not thank others for compliments or invitations. (So pretty much when I come home my gratitude will be destroyed and completely different)
In Chinese, it is considered presumptuous or rude to accept compliments, praise, and expressions of gratitude. Chinese does not have an expression equivalent to 'you're welcome' in English.
Invitations, requests, and refusals
In Chinese culture, people are connected through a web of obligations and mutual social debt ofter referred to as guan1xi (yes I purposefully put the numbers in for tones because the computers here cannot do any Chinese typing), 'relationships' or 'connections.'
The social debt is created by invitations, favors, and requests, big and small, that have been offered and accepted by others. They include buying small items for someone such as coffee, soft drinks, or ice cream, helping someone complete a task, inviting someone to dinner, or facilitating and introduction. By accepting an invitation or favor, or by making or agreeing to a request, you enter into a relationship that obliges you to reciprocate at some time in the future.
In many Western cultures, the relationship between favors and social obligations is not so strong. One may accept favors without creating any obligation towards the giver. English has an expression that captures this: 'no strings attached.' The expression means that a gift or favor comes with no obligations to the recipient. In Chinese, where relationships are built on give and take, favors often come with the expectation of reciprocation. A Chinese friend may be more generous with you than a Western friend, but will expect more from you in return.
Invitations between friends are accepted or rejected without ceremony. However, in more formal circumstances, it is often not considered polite to accept an invitation at its first offer. Typically, people refuse an invitation once or twice before accepting, even if they intend to accept all along. In the same way, the one who gives an invitation does not give up after an initial refusal, but offers a second or a third time before being certain that the refusal in genuine. This cycle of refusal and re-invitation is a social ritual in which you are expected to participate.
Expressing apologies, regrets, sympathy, and bad news
Cultures differ in the kinds of things that people are expected to apologize for. Note that in Chinese culture, you are not expected to apologize for or otherwise acknowledge bodily functions such as coughs, sneezes, belches, flatulence, etc.
So just some things about the Chinese culture. Crazy, right? I'm sure I will have more to say as time goes on.
So for scriptures I want to share is one that pertains to the difference between directed and inspired.
First is D&C 11:13 which pertains to being inspired. It says:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy;"
Then what I wrote next to this verse is: Acting in righteousness and wisdom, the Lord will open my mind and will help in making choices. I should not feel any hesitation, sorrow, or uncertainty, but be completely full of happiness, delight, pleasure, cheerfulness, and gladness.
Next to many scriptures on direction or inspiration by the Spirit, I have written things like this pertaining to my mission since I have felt directed by my patriarchal blessing to study into it more. Its helped to teach me more of how to act more slowly, thoughtfully, and deliberately to heed and listen to the Spirit as well, especially in my future when I come to that stage of life pondering whether or not a girl is my eternal companion.
Next is a combination of Mosiah 4:27 and Isaiah 40:31
They have become strengths for me in that knowing everything has an order and right way in which it should be done. I must not act irrational or jump over things that I can learn. Or as it says run raster than I have strength. But to simply walk the path the Lord has set before me, little by little, line upon line. And as I do this, even if it feels I can be somewhere else already, I must do what is front of me and follow the little spiritual packets of light left for me to seek after that will lead me to my prize, which will be even greater a prize than if I had tried running past, bypassing, or skipping over the slow and methodical and diligent path the Lord has left for me to follow. The greatest part though of all is that even if I feel like it is so hard to just walk the path set in front of me, to align my will with the Lord's will, is that I am promised that I will receive strength, that I will mount up as eagles, that I will run and not be weary, walk and not faint. That is the greatest blessing of all. That as I walk the harder path that may seem to me not what I need or want right now, but is the Lord's will and path, that he will be there every step of the way to help me succeed and win the prize that both I and the Lord want for me. (and also yes my first scriptures were never found)
So talk wise I have printed off this week Elder Scott's talk "Trust in the Lord" in 1995
Just some parts from it that I really liked and that have helped me.
"When trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain."
"Ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do."
"To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it."
"Your willingness to accept the will of the Father will not change what in His wisdom He has chosen to do. However, it will certainly change the effect of those decisions on you personally. That evidence of the proper exercise of agency allows His decisions to produce far greater blessings in your life."
I like the last most of all, because the Lord already knows what He will do for us and will be the greatest benefit to our lives. However, when we come to recognize His will, align ours with His, and say "Thy will be done" our blessings we receive are so much more exponentially because we understand what everything the Lord has and is doing for us.
So the biggest moment of all is my travel itinerary!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally going to Taiwan. So I have three different flights. Then we have a 3 hour bus ride to Taizhong. That will be fun. So there are total of 28 of us all going to Taiwan Taizhong. The weirdest thing that's happened is 26 of the missionaries are going through San Francisco to Tokyo to Taiwan. Then 2 are going through Seattle to Tokyo to Taiwan. You already know which one I am on. But can you guess who is going with me? A sister in one of the other districts, Sister Eryn Wilkins, is flying with me to Seattle instead. We will meet up with the rest of the group in Tokyo and fly together to Taiwan. But we leave SLC later than everyone else. Their flight to San Fran is at 7:30 in the morning. We don't leave until 11:15. We think it happened this way because Sister Wilkins must have been at the end of the alphabet and I was added to the end of the list since my call was reinstated in May. So a Sister and Elder traveling together for 18 hours or so.... The joke has been that its an 18 hour first date. yeah.... :) its ok though because I have talked with Sister Wilkins a little bit because I don't really know her a whole lot with her being in a different district and branch. But it will be good to get to know her more and we both are pretty much going to be studying or maybe talking to other people. I am just sad that I am not flying with everyone else on the big flight over the Pacific.
So that is pretty much what my week has been. Very hectic and very crazy but also feeling slow at some points because we are all excited to get to Taiwan. Some personal goals I have set for myself this week to keep focused are: 1. Memorize Mosiah 4:27 in Chinese 2. Use 5 different grammar principles in lessons (these being ones that have been taught but that I have forgotten or don't really use much at all) 3. Know words and phrases for 3 Missionary tasks out of the small TALL book and strive to apply them throughout the day.
I strive to keep busy and I strive to do what's right. It's interesting that I really don't have any worries, fears, or anxieties about going to Taiwan, being a missionary, serving a mission. I have a lot of trust and faith in the Lord in this aspect.
Love ya!Elder Roo
So custodial did a sneak attack on us and inspected our room this morning for P-day. Of course, we weren't going to have anything cleaned up when we were just going to be back in there later today. Also the custodial people are very particular in they never give a commendable or best score. Also notice the "no Hotwheels cars". This is the first time a custodial person has written this. My cars have been sitting on my desk ever since I have been here. Good thing I am leaving next week. They are my little piece of home.
Elder Heaton and I with Brother Averett, the second counselor in our Branch Presidency. He is the nicest man ever. He has such the cutest mannerisms and is so kind.
This is me with Sister Sarah Moore (the one on the left). I knew her from college. She is studying bioengineering and we were both Merrill Engineering Scholars (a group of 20 or so) that went and toured the different research labs. I see her a lot actually and have been talking with her. Its been nice seeing her.