Thursday, September 25, 2014


Alright so- I am in the heart heart of Seattle. I got assigned to downtown. Hello city life! Apparently I'm in the most coveted are in the mission. *Shrug* I tried to play it cool. 

I'm actually working in three of the singles' wards here and live right next the University of Washington (go huskys). There's a lot of Seahawk fans here, that's nice. I got a gooood look at that stadium on the way in. It's the great and spacious building but I'm praying that the fall of it won't be great (or wont even come to pass. Go hawks!). The needle and Pike's Place and Chinatown are all in my zone so I'm going there on P-day. Yay! Gettin' myself some niiiice seafood Monday. Lookout Seattle. Part of the YSA ward I'll be attending is Chinese because they are trying to make a Chinese branch. Hopefully someone will practice Chinese with me; I haven't had much of a chance yet. Ou ZL is in the same district and ward as me and his companion is fluent in Chinese! Lucky duck.

We spend most of our time in Red Square, which is on UW campus. There are toooonnnss of Chinese students and you just try to track all day. Then we try to teach at the institute on campus. The members I have met are really nice and I like them a lot. I'm meeting with a sister tonight who served in Taiwan! So I'll have to tell you more about that later. 

So I called at the airport and then the three of us got on the plane and then... I woke up. About ten minutes before landing. I'm secretly wondering if Sister Geddes drugged me because I was talking too much. But I guess she was asleep too... I'm going to have to talk to Ou ZL about that. The dirty culprit. But it was a good nap. We got off the plan and the new mission President Choi said hello and the AP's handed us ten pass-along cards and told us we had to give them away before we could get in the van. I thought they were serious so I started doing it. 

Turns out they weren't serious.

I had given about four away (after a lot of scoffs and rejections) when they came and found Sister Geddes and I and said that 'everyone else was already out by the van waiting'. Weeelllll I see how it's gunna be. The bright-side was Sister Geddes and I got to ride in the car with the president instead of the stuffy van back to the chapel. We walked right in and sat down for mission conference. They basically announced transfers and then everyone went home but us. After a few hours of another mini-MTC class they gave us trainers and turned us loose. 

About the President
So he's actually the coolest guy ever. He is one of the seventy, but he's on a two year assignment to be a mission president here. He and his wife are both converts from Korea. He is very strict because he thinks we need to be perfect to see the miracles in Seattle. He has this thing called "increasing high expectations". It means we have high expectations, and then we accomplish it, and make them higher. He has this chart we each fill out about things to START DOING and STOP DOING. He says he doesn't worry about obedience too much because we're just going to do it. Yup. Because we are going to be forever more getting more perfect. He says things like, "if you dont like it, start like it. Then you will like" in slightly broken English. So it's pretty black and white here. 

One of the mission rules is we have to sing everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It's a mission rule to sing in the shower. It's a mission rule to sing on the street and while street contacting. We have to sing while we wait for meetings to start. We sing everywhere and do things perfectly. We can only sing hymns, Mormon Tabernacle and mission songs. There are songs about how much we love to sing, and how much we love to run, and how much we love to knock, and how much we don't need to sleep. It goes like this: 

Sleep sleep sleep. 
No need to sleep. 
No need to sleep out here. 
Sleep sleep sleep. 

True story. We sing it. According to President Choi, this is the Lord's way. So let it be written; So let it be done. Huzzah!

So I actually have two. One companion is technically my trainer. She's Sister Imai and she's Japanese. She learned all of English on a mission and makes really good Japanese food. She made hot dogs and lettuce taste good today... I can feel you judging me right now, but you haven't tried it! You don't know! You don't know what the woman can do with some soy sauce and a frying pan! Wipe that look off your face. She's also perfect. This was her favorite area and she's glad to be back. My other companion is Sister Allred. [Hey Dad, did you tell me about an Allred who served with you? Her dad served in Cali about the same time you did worked in the office. It may have been after you.] She's actually from Nauvoo and was companions with Sister Hayley Newell! I think it's both of their last transfer's but neither of them like to talk about it. I just know they're about to go home. So sad. 

Rain Rain Rain, Move Move Move
So we got out suitcases and stuffed them in another Sister's car (we don't have a car in downtown areas). We drag all the luggage into the new apartment and then the Elder's call us. Apparently we're moving further downtown. So! Now Sister Imai has 30 minutes to pack! So we give the other sisters my and Sister Allred's luggage to take to the new place and frantically help Sister Imai pack. 

But little did we know that the apartment we were moving to had changed again. We thought we were giving the luggage to the sisters to put in the apartment on the ground floor, but no. Apparently our new apartment was on the seventh floor. They had to haul all our luggage and the Area Book and the bedding up seven floors and we didnt know! So we were waiiiting forever on them wondering where in the world they were! Plus it was raining (it's be raining since I got here yesterday).  

My New Friend
So while we were waiting Sister Allred and I decided to track in front of our apartment. We actually ran into a really awesome guy. He's Muslim and said we he had to leave, but he ended up being so interested that he stayed for thirty minutes on the street to talk to us. We gave most of the first lesson right there and then he asked us for a Book of Mormon! We told him it was a collection or more prophets testifying of Christ and he was like, "Oh Jesus? I love Jesus the prophet. Did you know if you don't believe in him you can't be Muslim? I would love to read this with you and discuss it with you. Can I read it all?" Ya my jaw dropped. Of course I gave him one. He actually teaches Islam because he thinks it helps people connected with God and then bore his testimony tome about sincere prayer and how sin separates us from God. Ya. 

Then I found out I have to tell him his family could be killed back in Egypt if he takes the discussions... So I got to figure out how that's gunna happen now. Bum day. 

Move Move Move, I love to Move
So back to moving. So it take forever to move because of the stairs and the lack of car. We get to the apartment at the time we are already supposed to be in bed. But! We don't have enough beds so the elders start to set up a bunk bed in our room. So we're in the hall and they're in the apartment setting things up and talking to us back and forth. Someone asked Sister Allred what it was like at Temple Square and boooooyyy where they in trouble. note: Do not call a Nauvoo sister a Temple Square sister. It's a touchy subject. So, the elders hear the tone in her voice and know that they've done something wrong lol. She tells them she is not a temple square missionary's. Elder Carpenter goes, "I'm sorry. What can I do to make it up to you?" and sister Allred stops...

...and she thinks...

...and says, "Well, you could sing Come Ye Children of the Lord. Out loud. In falsetto." There's a moments of silence. Plenty of people walk by in the hallway. Then, a girlish cry comes from somewhere, "cooommee ye chiildren of the Lord." 

We laughed so hard. he's back in good graces now. 

So today
So that's about it. I'm here, I'm safe. Today I'm going gorcery shopping and then to get Sister Allred new shoes since her's are ruined in the rain. I got my rain booties so I'm good! 

Love you all. 

Remember: Attitude is half the battle. 


And then we land... check out that sky. That's not like any other sky you've seen. Nope. It's not a weather forcast- its a climate. Never changes. 

And this is kind my area. Say hello Seattle! Real pictures coming soon! 

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One More Day to Revelation

So let me tell you about this week. 

No, there is too much. 

Let me sum up. 

IM GOING TO SEATTLE AT 4 AM TUESDAY. Whoohooo! I am so beyond thrilled. Beyond thrilled. There is no place I'd rather be, even more than Taiwan right now. It's true. Our teachers were so happy that we had a "good attitude". We had to tell them nooo no no no- Its not like that. Being delayed wasn't something we had to overcome to have a good attitude. We are so legitimately happy to serve multiple missions. Plus, how else would I get to go to the two best places in the world? How else would I get to know what it was like to serve stateside and in somewhere as foreign as Taiwan? The Lord is so good to me. This is so much better than I could have planned for myself. 

Most of my district left at 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00am Monday

morning. So that's a little sad. But we'll all be back in the mission home together soon, hopefully in about a month. Maybe for my birthday? Ay ay?


So this week at the Devotional, Elder Scott came. And guess what, I got to say the prayer. I can't remember what in the world I said but people I didn't know said it was a good prayer... I will choose to believe them. I was just praying that I'd be able to say it all in English (how ironic to pray over a prayer) and that I'd be able to use my thees and thous correctly. I really have no idea if I did it right. I also got to sit sort near Elder Scott, and you know what? He's shorter than me. It's surprising. His whole talk was on prayer- about how we need to develop our relationships through prayer. Without it no one is truly converted; They have a testimony but they aren't converted. In true Elder Scott style, he talked about what the feelings and impressions of the spirit felt like. He answered a lot of personal questions for me that I wont go into here, but somehow I got the feeling that his upcoming conference talk will be very similar. 

When we all got new calls

So last Wednesday we all got new mission calls. They told us we'd get new calls maybe Thursday, but probably Friday, but alas they showed up and surprised us Wednesday. Sneaky Travel Office. I think they just like to toy with our emotions. But, we decided we were gunna open them all as a district. So, we came back from lunch and kicked everyone out of our classroom and said a prayer and opened them one by one. Then we let our teachers back into the room and told them all where we are going. 
    Sister Geddes, Ou ZL, and I are going to Seattle. Two are going to Detroit where they will try not to get mugged. Elder Stuart is going to Texas ! Woot Lubbock, where the water tastes like dirt. Tang ZL is going to Cali, Sister Bi and Hong ZL to Portland, Shi ZL to New Hampshire, and Wan ZL/Elder Varvel is going to good Ol'Boise Idaho. 
     I'm really excited to being going with Sister Geddes. I love her. We're really praying we'll get to use Chinese or be near each other to study. I guess we'll find out tomorrow. 

Adventures with Doctors

Ya, I'm just barely not sick. Thursday night was rough. I've visited the doctor twice this week- once of free will and once because Tang and Shi ZL pulled their mean little zone-leader trick on me and made me go. I feel better now though. But guess what! The doctor gave me permission to chew gum in public, especially on the plane. He said if I don't chew gum, my ear infection and blah blah will get a lot worse. Hopefully there aren't too many judgemental people in the airport. I got to go get medicine in the middle of the night Thursday. What a little adventure. Too bad I wasn't coherent enough for it. I also got to opportunity to ride to BYU and go to the bookstore, or the Walgreens here to get medicine and whatever else I wanted. I think the staff here just knows me well enough and pities me. I decided to turn the opportunity to venture off the MTC down, to my companions disappointment. I didnt want to have to resay goodbye to BYU, especially in the middle of the school year. That would not have made me feel healthier. 

Birthdays Galore: 

So this week was Hong ZL's birthday. We asked him what he wanted, and he said he wanted us to just weave Disney quotes into our daily speech all day. Wierd. I did not see that coming from him. But guess what? I have never had a more fun day here. We used things all day long from Disney movies. Like someone asked what we should really get him for his birthday and Bi Jm said, "Oh the usual. flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep." Then at lunch Bi JM picked up a fork and asked, "What an thingamabob?" "No thanks, I got plenty... but who cares. No big deal. I want more." I wish I could remember some of the funnier ones but there was a LOT of Emporeros New Grove and the funny old guy from Tangled. My favorite moment though was when I walked into the cafeteria with him and shouted at the top of my lungs, "HEYYY, ITS HIS BIRTHDAY!" and everyone yelled. Then I turned to him and said, "Now all of China knows you're here."

5 Final Funny Moments of the MTC: 
  1. So this last week Elder Varvel gets a notice that he has 5 or more packages in the post office. So we all decided to go to the post office at lunch, because man five packages? That's the highlight of our sad little MTC week. So we get there and YUP, 5+ packages. He has so many that he has to carry his boxes on a dolly and his companion has to carry multiple packages too. They are so big that when we stacked them up they were taller than him! And all from his mom! We open them up and.. soup! All packages of ramen soup! Come to find out that his mom thought she sent him ten packages of soup, but instead she sent him ten orders! We've been eating as many bowl of soup as we could stand for days! They are so spicy they clear all our sinuses, but we make each other keep going
  2. Sister Ashby decided to sleep in her Sunday clothes to save time this week.. As a lifestyle choice. She crawls into bed and we were all like, "umm you forgot something." Haha I have no idea why. My companion started beating her with pillows until she would get up and change. ... We've been here too long. 
  3. I had to walk down to the pharmacy this week, so we're walking out the gates and the younger sisters see us and start shouting, "Where are you going? It's not P-day!" I told them that I just couldn't take it anymore! I had had enough! I was walking to Cafe Rio and I'd be back when I was good and ready! And no one was gonna tell me otherwise. [I was overly-dramatic about it that I was sure they knew I was kidding.] I came back 20 minutes later and told them I had a change of heart. That's when I found out there were actually worried and I laughed so hard that someone offered me an inhaler. 
  4. So our newest teacher told us this story. Every day in Taiwan you ride around on your bike and talk to people at stoplights. Lots of times they talk back just because you're an American, and sometimes they completely ignore you because they dont want to talk. One day he pulled up at at stop light and went to tell the man next to him about the gospel. The man just starred at him. He said no words. So he just keeps on sharing his message. Then, the man silently reaches forward and caresses his cheek! Just leaves his hand there! PAUSE. Now you have to understand that my teacher has red hair and sticks out like a sore thumb. Okay PLAY. So the man looks at him and asks" Are you... an American or an angel?" because he had never seen someone with his hair before! Yup. True story. 
  5. This week Sister Training Leader Sister Geddes remarked, "Always great to talk to you Sister Wawro; You never have any problems." "Well," I said. "Actually.. So last night I woke up, and my companion was standing directly over me. it freaked me out, but I couldn't tell if she was sleep walking or awake. I was so freaked out, so I just layed there without moving, with one hand over my face. Then I heard this sound: PTOOEY! And I felt something wet on my hand. I was so horrified at what happened that I sat there frozen, frozen in fear. Eventually she huffed and walked back to bed. I was so shocked and scared of her that I layed in bed until I fell asleep. When I woke up this morning and I remember and was so horrified that I frantically left to go wash my hands off."       Sister Geddes stared at me in disbelief and then tried to start to give me some advice. I busted out laughing and had to tell her no part of that story was even remotely true. We had a good laugh. 

The MTC Stereotype

So look here- people say the MTC is is like prison. I get that. Ironically, the English-speakers who stay here about a week are the ones who feel the most sorry for the people who stay here a long time, and often the English-speaking missionaries have the worst attitude. Sister Geddes and I were talking today about how people always send us mail saying, "You do it at the MTC! Just endure to the end!" We always laugh because people think we're dying or something.

 I know we've had to entertain ourselves a little to make it fun, but the MTC has been the best experience. I was looking at all my goals, especially my language goals this week, and I was surprised to realize I had accomplished them all. I made a plan, I did it, and the Lord blessed me far far beyond my normal capacity to learn Chinese. It was a really tender moment for me.  It makes me sad the MTC has a bad rep, because it has been such a great time in my life for me, and for many of us. It's also been a time of incredible spiritual building, which I don't write about in detail much but is very real. The experience here has been exactly what we made it: Wonderful. 

Remember: "Attitude is half the battle"

Now pictures: 
This fellows are singing in Devotional. Oh I forgot to tell you! I sang in the farewell devotional Sunday. This old Senior missionary came up and thanked me and started crying. It was so touching. He was so humble and so sweet. I wish I had to opportunity to know him. But- here's the other's in my district practicing from the other main MTC devotional where they sang. It was incredible. Told you my district was talented. 

So this is how Hong ZL cleans... Cleanliness is no joke people. 

Tang ZL got a master key ring for his falshcards.. like a janitor. And then hiked his pants this high for a picture. Perfect. 

HONG ZL's BIRTHDAY!! I have to include more picture of him this week because I found out his mom takes the pictures of him from my blog because he hasn't sent any home. Poor mom! Don't worry Sister Redding, I got you covered. 

Going to seattle!

Sister Geddes and I to Seattle!

Here's all of us at breakfast. 

These four- every time a someone would walk by, on of them would say "lemon tree" and they'd all stamp their foots in sync and cross their legs to the other side. 

This is four square. In its entirety. 

This is what a proper serve looks like... Check out that form. 

See the focus on his face? Ya. Not for children. 

Also, how scenic. Always nice to look at the mountains after you've been slaughtered in foursquare, so you can have a few moments to collect yourself. 


so we had an ugly shirt day, and took this photo. THEN Everyone changed out ofthe ugly shirts but me??? What is this betrayal!! I had to walk around ugly all day by myself!

This move is called the Primantis 

This is Wu JieMie/Lao Shi. She is our Taiwanese teacher. She is awesome. Also, her Chinese is really good... imagine that. ;) 

This is Wu JieMie/Lao Shi. She is our Taiwanese teacher. She is awesome. Also, her Chinese is really good... imagine that. ;) 

I leave my camera alone for 5 minutes and I come back to find them all posing for an album cover... #thestruggleisreal

This is my district. As a whole. Turns out we never took pictures as a group before now. 

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Like Zoro...With a W


So its official- we got a letter from the church travel office saying (and I quote) "Sister/Elder, You visa has not arrived. You will receive a temporary reassignment call Thursday or Friday or next week." Nothing more. The rest of the paper is blank. 

So that about sums up what I know. I'm being reassigned stateside for a few weeks. I have no idea if I'll be there a whole transfer or not. The Taiwan-Taipei mission president has asked that his missionaries be sent as soon as their visas come because he will have all but three companionships training. All but there! he said he can't handle the next group if he doesn't get this group on time. I hope President Blickenstaff wants us as bad (I'm sure he does) but they wont tell us that here. Apparently it takes 30 days to reapply for a visa and we're already about 20 days is sooo... who know. It would be really cool to see what a stateside mission is like for awhile- I'm looking forward to that- but not long enough I cant remember Chinese. There's a very good chance I'll be reassigned to Utah, because about half the last missionaries were, but I'll email Thursday/Friday and let you know when I get it. 

I wrote about it in my letter to the President this week. It'll be quicker if I just paste it below:
Things at the MTC are going well. I know you've heard about our notes saying that we "will be temporarily reassigned", but that we won't know where until Thursday or Friday. Behold, the waiting game. There is a rumor floating around that we may only be stateside for a few days, because our visas should come within two weeks. Who knows. I feel like the likelihood of my visa coming on time and the likelihood of me being translated are about the same-- it's not likely, but I'm not gunna rule it out. It's really 50-50 right now (about the visas. . . not the translation). Who knows though; we aren't allowed to ask the travel office anymore questions. My guess is someone else abused that privilege. . . I can't imagine who. 
So yes the MTC is going just fine. Starting to pack is surreal but, happy day, all is well. Chinese is a slow train that is coming up the mountain- slow and steady. Some days are steeper than others, but everyday it moves up. 
And should I die, before my visa comes, happy day, all is well. 
President responded with: 
Thank you so much for your wonderful letter.  It made me laugh although there might be a 50-50 chance you will be translated. 
So at least he took it well, I think. Anyways, so on to other things. 

There's a fungus among us: 

So in other news, I've been super sick. Everyone else got this horrible stuffy cold that I managed to avoid but... I got something worse. I was running a fever for two days straight and had the sorest sore throat and all I wanted to do was lay on my couch and watch political commentary all day and eat a bowl of stew. With chopsticks. But I couldn't do that. 
One morning, my companion came over and asked me something. I still have no idea what she asked but I tried to respond. Then I woke up at 10:30. No idea how that happened. I was so out of it, but I was determined to go to class. So, I got dressed and we went to the end of class. Apparently though, I thought I was fine, but I wasn't. I was still running a really bad fever and I was saying things that made absolutely no sense. I thought I made perfect sense though, so I kept talking. My district just started writing down the things I said. Here are five of my favorites: 
  1. Whispered really loudly (loud enough for everyone to hear) "I'm just gunna flip through these pages so it looks like I'm doing something."
  2. Okay so Jerusalem has really small mountains... and the Americas have really BIG mountains [motions with hands]. So.. what did Nephi think? How did he emotionally handle that? 
  3. Don't move my cup... its very important.      ... Don't do it. 
  4. (Said while I was sleeping and they tried to wake me) Don't let the ZLmen know I have a cheetah print blanket! Its a mimi (mimi is secret in Chinese). 
  5. Is this orange? Or red? Or...purple red? Don't toy with me Bi JM.... I've been really confused with my colors lately. 
So that's my sickness in a nutshell. Today we went to the temple in the morning, and then I took an accidental nap until 11:40. Good things it's Pday. 

Speaking of this morning...

So I went to the temple and found something out that will bless generations to come! I'm not sure how I didn't notice this before! But! So I was just so tired of trying to explain how to say my last name. And my throat hurt and I didn't want to talk anymore. I kept trying to break the word in half- "war- oh" or tell them the 2nd W silent and then BAM! It hit me! "It's like Zoro.. with a W." Then everyone could say it! I don't know how I didnt realize this before! It's perfect! I'm using it forever plus- my last name is 100x cooler. As if it needed to be. 

You're welcome. 

Also at the temple, sooo.. I was trying to be gallant. I was trying to do a good deed. Let me just start with, its not my fault. I saw this poor trickling little flower. It was dying. So I thought, "oh! I'll prop it up!" Nope. Came right out of the ground. And guess what- it was 3ft tall. So I thought to myself, in my wisdom, "Self, listen here, you cant leave this on temple grounds! You have to take it and put it in the bushes or dirt somewhere now." So, in my gallant efforts to do good I'm walking off the temple grounds with a 3ft flower and people and pointing and starring at me. And I realize what that looks like. It looks like I'm digging up flowers at the temple and stealing them. As a missionary. But its just too late to go back now! I'm pretty much outside the gates now with my dying friend in my arms! So I run into the Elders in our zone and they're all teasing my about the flower and blah blah and then I walk in the MTC with it because apparently no one though to leave a patch of dirt or bushes between the MTC and the temple and I get more weird looks! Finally I just took the flower from the top and but the rest on the bush behind the residence of my building. And the flower is now on display in my room. 

I choose to see the flower as a representation of my good intentions, rather than a representation of stealing from temple grounds. Nevertheless, thou may chooset for thyself.

Okay so just a few other things: 
  • I don't have many spiritual insights this week, and I feel bad about it but I think its mostly because I've been running a fever since last Thursday. I'm sorry. 
  • We are expecting someone BIG for our devotional Tuesday because they're recording it and gave us a lecture on not shaking apostles hands. I have to say the closing prayer at the devotional Tuesday... as Elder Stuart said, "I'm so nervous my hands are gunna be sweating til Tuesday. I'm losing weight through my hands!"
  • Our district did all the musical numbers for the big devotionals at the MTC. I told you they were talented.
  • I wanted to sing, but I was so sick that I changed the song to Abide With Me! last minute because they were the only notes I could hit and still sound good. I made her rewrite the end of the song and the versus to minor, with one major chord at the word death and yadda yadda. She didnt like it at first but she did it (she's way talented. She could play it in her sleep). It was fantastic when it was done. So cool
  • I can do my purpose and the baptismal commitments and the first vision in Chinese! Except that D&C 4... that's a tricky one. 
  • Thank you so much for my pictures! Everyone was so jealous and they keep asking to see them. I love it. They're so helpful in lessons. Proof my daddy takes care of me. Ask and ye shall receive. 
  • Also, that dictionary. There's no English section (so I cant look up words in English first) but it is SO good. Every keeps borrowing it and I have to fend them off so I can use it! It's the best definitions for Chinese words. Even my teacher said she used that dictionary to learn English (shes Taiwanese). \
  • So Elder Stuart- he had a great birthday. Thank you so much. Hes was so excited. He figured out the brownies were from dad because his name was on the package and he was really touched. He told me he loved my family in the most sincere voice ever. He had a really good birthday. 
  • I could hear the football game Thursday night. It was horrible. Horrible. It's the only reason I'll be glad to leave the MTC.
  • Thank you again for sending Elder Stuart birthday wishes. It made me so happy. 
  • Funny moment: The other sisters in my room were playing foursquare with these new elders. After they were going on and on about how fun they are. Elder Shi freaked out and was like, "ya but... not more fun than us right?" Bi JM turned to him and said, "Read my lips. More. Fun. Than. You." He freaked out and he's been trying to do things to prove how fun he is for a week now haha. 
Anyways, I could keep going but that's all I have time more this week. It seems like a lot anyways.  Love you all! Things here are going well. Hope they're well for you. 
Much love. 

P.s. Aunt Michelle- you've got one last week to rival Andrea in the MTC. I know you've got a creative mind ;). LOVE YOU 
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This better be what Taiwan is like

see how wet?? poor elder
                                          caught them rapping in the bathroom (younger sisters in our zone). Ha!
Forgot my landry and came back to find it in this cute little bag! 

We had a storm here and seriously flashflooding! They're soaked to the skin and I'm sick with my blacket afraid to touch them! 

I wasnt kidding about flashflooding. 

Bi and Kang JM dancning in the rain... we have bno entertainment here. 

So I fogrot this funny sotry. Newbies get this organe sticker on thier name tags when they come in on wednesday. So, we decieded to have a competiton to see who could get the msot hellos on that day. I won with 59 hellos! The Elder... got two. ouch. 

birthday party! He had a great time!

This is sis Jenkins

And this is now we do our laundry. Thats Elder Redding (left) and Elder Varvel (right). And my companion and that dashing young woman in the back... well... 

Here are some of my favorite Elders who left this week for Canada and New Zealand and what now. The two on the left are fluent in French and now have to learn to speak Chinese! What the!

I have something for you. Spoiler Alert: It's a letter. 

So, there's a really good chance I may be reassigned state-side for six weeks. The districts two weeks older than us are all be reassigned and getting their assignments this week or next week. They were supposed to already be gone. Apparently, the visa system in Taiwan changed but there is "a new agent" at church headquarters and she decided our old applications were probably fine. They weren't. We may have to completely resubmit our entire application and wait another nine weeks. It's all up in the air. The Travel Office is most unhelpful and said "no, there's nothing you can do. No, we don't have any answers. No, we wont call the head office and find our answers. Go back to class" -__-. 

I don't mind going state-side at all for a season, its like the best of both worlds, but the inefficiency drives me a little crazy. But who else gets to open a second mission call in the MTC? That would be cool. I'd probably be English speaking though, so jumping back into Chinese would be hard. The only part I'm worried about is retaining Chinese. 

Okay so, first, I'm going to tell you the Top Ten funny moments of this week and then tell you some news straight from the prophet about how to take care of new members. Because apparently the members are really bad at taking care of new members and we're supposed to help change that. So I'm not going to let you be 'that kind of member' and we're gunna have a little talk about it. But first, 

Top Ten Funny Moments of This Week: 
  1. We told Elder Barnum about the hamster (he left 15 minutes ago, we so had to). The first thing he said to Tang ZL was, "ohhh no, you cant get out of this now. I know what you said." So we had a good laugh. It was good thing we did too because the poor kid had a few sleepless nights about what to do about Tang ZL's hamster as a Zone Leader. He laughed at it though, so all's well that ends well.
  2. So most mornings we get these hard boiled eggs at sack breakfast before gym. My comp and I went to crack them at the exact same time and WHAM... raw. Raw eggs. Raw eggs in our hands. We had to run around telling people not to crack open their eggs in the surrounding patios. I felt like a hero. 
  3. Elder Varvel's mom sent him a Carbon Monoxide detector. Well actually, we sent him a six pack. With extra batteries. Haha its sweet, but Mom, I won't need those. All of our apartments have detectors. 
  4. This week we were preparing a lesson and we had to teach what repentance was. I turned to my companion and said, "Okay next, repentance, what you got? " And she said, "ehhhh I don't really have much experience in that area...Not as much as you.  I think you should teach it!"   -__-  And thus we see what she thinks of me ;)
  5. We had a class with our Taiwanese teacher about Taiwanese eating etiquette (which is may more lax than ours. For example, no several small forks. Not even several small chopsticks hehe). I was trying to ask if we put our napkins on our laps to be polite and she just started laughing. I didn't know why. Then she said, "that's why you do that? I just thought all my friends were just cold!" 
  6. Apparently if you say demonstrate with the wrong tone its master. So instead of giving a demonstration... I may have told an Elder I'd be the master. Uncomfortable. 
  7. One of the Elders was doing laundry last week and realized that he only wore three shirts last week... well, three shirts in eight days.. Don't be that guy people. Don't be that guy. 
  8. I found out this week I'm older than my new teacher. He turned bright red and was so embarrassed... He told me I could call him Wu DX (Brother Wu) instead of Wu LaoShi (Teacher Wu) lol. I'm not sure why that embarrassed him... 
  9. A poor little new sister got up to beat her testimony this week. She ended up saying, "I know that Joseph Smith loves us. I know that he is God's son. I know that Joseph Smith died for us, so that we could have all we have now." We were all trying to be polite but I was laughing. I just couldn't stop it. And the fact that I knew it was bad to laugh made it so much funnier. All the Elders put their heads down and you could just see their shoulders shaking. Elder Braden leaned over and goes, "Well if you think about it nothing she said isn't true." That made me laugh more. 
  10. My companion and I were waiting for a the restroom while it was occupied. Then a man walked out! We sorta of looked at each other and then he was back! With a role of toilet paper! He gave us a weird look and he walked back into the bathroom and locked the door... We just found another bathroom.
BONUS: Okay so I have one more. Elder Varvel/Wan ZL always gives these hilarious lines of advice in peoples' bye-bye books (books we write in when someone leaves) and I wrote down the best ones from this week. So- "Remember, a fisher without a rod is no fisherman at all." And my personal favorite,"When you mount the horse of desire, be sure to hold the reigns." 

Okay so listen up. One of the seventy came and spoke to us at a devotional and told us that he had a message to give straight from President Monson. It was this: Over 15 years ago we had 300,000 new converts in a year. President Hinckley said 15 years ago that if we put in effort, we could double that number. We didn't.This last year, we had 300,000 new converts.  And that was with all the increase of missionaries and everything. Furthermore, we are losing maaaany new converts because they are not being taken care of. 

Ideally, missionaries continue to meet with new members and the ward members help the converts get adjusted. But that's not happening. So he listed five things we have to make sure are happening for our investigators AKA five things we have to make sure you are doing... so I am relating these on. These messages are from President Monson which means they are things the Lord himself has asked of us. Okay so
  1. New converts should be eating dinner in members homes, and attending functions one on one to get to know members. Do you know who the missionaries are teaching in your ward? Have they been in your home for dinner? 
  2. New converts should always always speak in church. Then in becomes their church. Not our church. 
  3. Ask them where they are in the Book of Mormon (this is more for missionaries but a healthy reminder for members). Elder Clark said, "If they do not read the Book of Mormon, they will not stay." 
  4. Help your converts get to the temple within the first month they are baptized. Salvation does not come unless they are endowed and sealed. 
  5. Help new converts do family history work. Once they feel the spirit of Elijah and link generations "they cannot fall away." 
Sometimes we forget that joining the church involves learning a whole new language, and a new culture, much less changing numerous things about your life and yourself to follow Christ. Every new member needs the loving open arms of a friend. They still need to be taught. 

So about those visas. Really, it is okay if I go stateside, I just am starting to get to the point where I cant learn much more Chinese at the MTC. I never thought I'd say that, but I understand everything my teacher says and I understand almost everything that happens in lessons. I'm not close to fluent but I'm starting to feel a little stumped. 

One French philosopher said that we are not mortals, having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having a mortal experience. Sometimes, in day to day frustrations, it just helps to keep an eternal perspective. Will it matter in a month? A year? Ten? Probably not. Few things do. And most wrongs will be made right by the atonement anyway. 

Love you all. Thank you so much for the packages and letters and love. I need it, and I so wish I had time to write you all back individually. Love you. 

Remember: He is actually most closer than we think. Seek him and ye shall find. 
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This is what we did for our elders this friday. Gave them each a scripture. Our last district leader got one about the lamanites killing thier leader and appointing another (dont worry we gave him a nice one too). 

Our Taiwanese teacher gave us these and made us eat them before she told us what it was... She said it was a cookie. No. No it was not a cookie. Its a devil in a package. Suuuper spicy tofu that has a beef-jerk-esk flavor to it. 

This is my zone. Don't worry- I havent gotten fat like that picture says. 

This is the day we got transfered. New seats! And a new teacher! He is literally perfect... like the most perfect human being I've ever met and expects us to be perfect too. Its good for us. 

One of our teachers loves to eat in class (we arent allowed to) and the other teacher is super strict. The strict teacher got upset because someone left milk in our room... it was our first teacher though! So Wan ZL wrote this note and wrote in for our relaxed teacher to see hahaha. She freaked out.


So we decided to start this competition on our temple walk.. remember that we have to make the MTC interesting? We started a competition to see who could take the creepiest photos... Here's Some of our district in action... 

sooo I eventually had a pretty good chance with this creepy photo.... 

But I won with this photo.... Si Tu ZL gave me a run for my money though. Competition was fierce. 

Ya I get bored on "temple walks". Oh the false freedom

Si Tu ZL made us all notes. This is mine, it has hashtags. Its now our running joke. Hence, the title of this letter :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

So apparently I got engaged.

Let me explain (don't freak out Dad). So Brother Stephen B. Alan from the Church Mission Office headquarters came and spoke to us last night for Sunday devotional. Let me explain; This is not a normal Sunday Devotional. There are 2500 missionaries in a room listening to the speaker. Basically, he was having us read Alma 26 as a group, specifically verse 27, about why missionary work was so hard. 

So then, he just picked my zone at random to come up to the stage! In front of 2500 people! And he told us to each say one thing we were giving up. I was third, so I got up and and said, "I'm Sister Wawro, I'm from Dallas (people cheered; I said Howdy) and I'm giving up my senior year of college." Then he starts to ask me some questions about BYU and cracks some jokes about BYU marriage and blah blah. So then he asks, "Okay whats the hardest part of giving up your senior year?" And I said giving up "my relationships with people there." and Brother Alan went, "ohhh BYU relationships huh?  Were you engaged?" 

Now lets just stop right here for a moment. This wasn't my fault. I had meant something completely different. I meant saying goodbye to people- but I see how that could have been misconstrued... through no fault of my own ;). 

So the room went silent, and unfortunately, my mind went blank because I was shell-shocked (2500 people, mind you). And all I could get out was, "Um I don't really want to talk about this." and BAM. Over 2,000 Elders started cheering and yelled congratulations. And before I could correct that, he said, "Well thanks Sister Wawro. Whose next?" and dismissed me! So, I literally walked back to my seat (a very long walk) with my hands covering my face, and I could see all the Elders I was passing give me big thumbs up and whispering "congratulations" "you made the right choice". Oh goodness.

So now all these missionaries keep coming up to me going, "wow that was so brave" "you made the right choice" or some sisters going "I really needed to hear that. What an inspiration!" Now before you think anything... I know where liars go. And I know they aren't carefully lead there... they're thrust. Thrust. Thrust down to hell. But I've given up correcting 2500 missionaries so I just nod mostly haha. 

And that's how I got engaged. 

So anyways, I've got five more funny stories from this week, but first (a) I'm more than halfway through the MTC- halfway point was last week. Holy Moly (b) Does anyone have some gospel jokes? Everyone here has these great Mormon/Bible jokes and I got nothing. I need some ammo to compete with. 

So 5 funny stories from this week: 
  1. So we aren't very good at Chinese... And we were all trying to memorize the first vision in Chinese so we could use it in our lessons. One Elder decided he had it down enough to use it.. and it turns out a glorious pillar and a glorious pig are really really similar words... He ended up saying, " I saw a glorious pig, whose brightness and glory defy all description... it gradually descended upon me." Ya.  
  2. So last week my companion and I put our clothes in the washer while we wrote our letters. We picked these really nice looking washers in the corner that were all newish and we poured some pretty blue soap on our clothes that smelled wonderful. Then we came back and found our clothes were surprisingly warm.. We had put them in the dryer! With all the blue soap dried in and everything! 4.5 combined years of living away from home and we can't do our own laundry -__-. Luckily the soap stains dispelled when we put our clothes in the real washing machine. 
  3. We started competitive snail racing as a district. I wish I had a picture for you. So far, we've beat all the other districts in the morning snail races after breakfast. We're the reigning champs. When our snail wins, then we give him a name. So far we have Scooter, Scooter II, Herbert, Speedy Gonzales, and one less memorable that I forgot. FYI- If you put a Cheerio in front of a snail it will scoot towards it. 
  4. So people in our district think Tang Zhong Lao and I are siblings all the time. They say we make the same jokes, teach the same way, later apologize for the same jokes, and we've started to look alike. I'm not sure how I feel about this, because I've heard owners start to look like their dogs after awhile... Tang Zhong Lao would definitely be the dog. 
  5. Okay so the engagement story has to be one of the five.
Weather- Rainy with a Chance of Snow: 

Okay so we've had the weirdest weather here. It has thundered- like big thunder- like Texas thunder. Then it was cold enough we had to wear jackets two days. Then one morning we got up and there was snow on the mountain! The rain washed almost all of it off by 7:30am but still. What a crazy place. I made some joke about the second coming being near and all these missionaries started listing all the signs of the times that hadn't happened yet... lol. Not exactly what I meant; Just hyperbolizing the weather over here. 

Why do bad things happen to good people? 

So I've been thinking a lot about this this week, especially since the two Elders died this week in Taibei. Our teacher is really sad because on the the Elders he used to go on splits with on his mission, and the other American Elder was a zone leader here. All the teachers are sad. So why do we go through hard things? 

I think we have to go through hard things so we have a greater appreciation of what Christ did for us. Our mission can't be easy, life can't be easy, because you have to understand what it means to have Christ carry burdens for you, or comfort you, or at least have some small taste of what he has saved you from. That he cant right all wrongs or one day make right the pain you feel. So that if you are healed, you can testify of it, and if you are not, you can grow in appreciate for what has been done for you and grow closer to Him. If we have a taste of what Christ has saved us from, when we talk of Christ it can mean so much more and resonate so much deeper. Our message can be real to other people who need that same comfort, and ultimately all pain is to bring us closer to him. And I'm not just talking about missionaries. 

Someone said this week (Si Tu Zhong Lao) that, "A bend in the road isn't the end of the road unless you don't turn.

Teaching at the MTC: 

We teach all the time here of course, all in Chinese, and this time was the first time I didn't use my notes in a lesson! Woot woot! Don't be too excited though because it was one lesson and we only got through two principles lol. 

There are so many people in our district that we've started teaching each other as practice. I started teaching Hong Zhong Lao as practice (Elder Redding) and he made me want to cry. Not really, but no matter what I did he would just say, "You know what, I really respect you and you're really nice, and that's why I let you in. But I'm really just not interested. You can come back anytime to eat or something but I'm just not interested." Its such good practice but he is one tough little cookie. I'm gonna crack him though. Elder Redding is too sweet to keep up this character for long! 

So more about teaching; Here is a clip of my letter to the MTC President of our zone this week:
"I've been rereading the Book of Mormon, trying to mark anything that could be useful to an investigator. I think that it has really (1) helped me help others and (2) helped me see how eager the Lord is to give spiritual gifts and help his people. Above all, I know every time I read the Book of Mormon I feel his love and of his greatness. I feel a stronger testimony of him. 
My companion and I were watching a teaching episode by Elder Bednar yesterday about 'how to learn by faith'. He said we are all acting agents. Since the creation there are certain things that are acting agents (us) and certain things that are to be acted upon (dirt). For example, Joseph Smith was an acting agent. He not only acted by praying, but he didn't pray with the intent to just know what was true; He intended to act and join whichever church God said to join. He instinctively understood this principle of being willing to act as a young boy. We have to help those we teach become acting agents for themselves, because we aren't the true teacher. The Holy Ghost is the true teacher and will probably help them receive an answer when we aren't there- sometime after we have left. We have to teach them how to independently receive revelation, and recognize what that is like. 
This week my companion and I sang a hymn to a progressing investigator. Then when we saw the tears in his eyes, we asked him what he felt. He told us warm. We told him that was the spirit. We used an experience to teach him that that is how the spirit feels for him. I think allowing his to have a spiritual experience first hand, not a second-hand testimony, taught him so much more about revelation. It allowed his to be an acting agent. And now, I think he could recognize the spirit when he studies the Book of Mormon without us." 

So that's about all for the time I have.

Now pictures!

Oh goody. 

Just a day in the life

I'm hiding. I cant learn anymore words. 

Everytime you get a word wrong you get your hands slapped... just kidding. 

Thank you Andrea for the cookies! Ignore those sad looking elders behind me! (coolest way to send cookeis ever)

It takes this much for me to plan one lesson.

Here's my tong ban.

Fire drills.. we arent very good at them

This week we made awards for everyone in our class to lift some spirits. Theyre mostly inside jokes. 

THANK YOU KATELYN! I already ate these... I shared. 

I got my Chinese name tags in!!!

The elders were playing this game of closing their eyes and growing acorns in their mouths. haha
To my friend who suggested the whiteboard. You know who you are. Thanks!

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