Just before church today we heard word of a Typhoon hitting the island. We were anxious to hear if our missionaries there were okay. We were relieved to get Sara's email today and hear that all is well and that she will be staying in Taidong to train another incoming missionary!
"So first... Typhoon update... well to be honest we were the most blessed on the whole island. Though the winds were a little stronger than usual it was almost perfect weather. I must admit.... Taidong is a little bit of a heaven spot in Taiwan. It is country, beautiful, and though one of the hottest places and least convenient, is definitely one of the best places in Taiwan... and it's a good thing because I'm going to be here for another 3 months! Ha ha I got a call on Saturday that honestly took me by surprise... I will get to see Chad come in... because I will be training again in Taidong!
It was funny how it happened, because I have had no feelings about this upcoming transfer other than that I am feeling really comfortable here in Taidong. I was thinking about it and even though I'm a person who really really enjoys change, I have been feeling lately like I would be ok living here for a long time. It is also great because we have one of the funnest places on the island. Taidong always has some fun activities going on. It is seriously the most like Hawaii in culture and in looks as well. I am also in the area that gets most tan... ha ha you can always tell the Taidong missionaries because 1. you never see them! 2. when you do see them they are sooo much darker than everyone in Taipei. You were also right about the weather here... the clean air is definitely an answer to my prayers. Unfortunately, because of the heat we have to deal with other health problems. We are always sick to our stomachs and because our room has no air conditioning right now, we die from lack of sleep sometimes. In fact, my poor trainee was like dying the past few days from a flu bug that I am praying won't pass to me. We are hoping to get a better sleeping arrangements worked out before the new transfer. Good news is that since I am training again I get to go to Taipei for 1 day. I am hoping I can go to the temple while I am there. I am also hoping I can get a chance to visit Neihu - though that is a pretty small chance.
I know I am in Taidong for a reason though! I feel very comfortable here in the culture and weather. I have met some amazing people here. I am hoping that our hard work in finding and teaching this month will lead to a few baptisms in august with my new trainee. I know the lord will keep throwing challenges my way, but pray that my baby will be a good one! I know they will all be amazing, but I am a little worried. It will just be interesting to see what challenges the Lord decides to throw our way. It is weird to me that I am quickly becoming one of the older missionaries here. It is also funny to me that I am one of those ones out in the out-lands that no one knows. Luckily unlike some of our older missionaries who get sent here and "die" (finish their missions) here... because I am such a young missionary 4 transfers here will still leave me with 4 more before I finish so I still have a chance to go up to Taipei and get retrained in the big city life.
We definitely saw some miracles here this week, but I must admit the biggest miracle happened inside me. When my companion was sick was the same day the typhoon came (sort of hit us... it wasn't even bad enough to keep us inside though). It was a convenient time to be sick because though the weather wasn't terrible, the wind was a little dangerous for riding bikes. The other sisters in our apartment had one that was sick as well. So after I organized all our records and was about to go crazy from being in our apartment, we got permission to go on exchanges. Sister Thompson and I were excited to hit the streets and "geng hao". The elders had a baptism planned that night and a ward party that we were hoping to attend. So we only had about an hour of tracting time and this was our day to find new investigators. I was so worried because we weren't hitting very many of our goals that week. I must admit I went into the tracting time thinking ok where is the family that we can find or how can we teach the most lessons in this hour. As I talked with people this was all that was on my mind... finally I realized what I was doing, took a deep breath and said it is not about the numbers! ha ha the Lord is not going to let me find those prepared people if all I can think about is how low our numbers are and how much we need to get them up... I realized how ridiculous and stressed I was being, when really it is the people and the spirits behind all those numbers. The stress immediately left me and though we didn't really teach any lessons with prayers, it was a wonderful time tracting and we met some amazing people including one of our English class students, our ward member, and a nice lady on the street who used to live above the missionaries. She invited us to come to her house whenever we were there. She is Buddhist but is a great potential. Her husband also welcomed us in and she has 2 college age kids who will be home for the summer (probably until mid august). We will see what happens with that, but the Lord definitely blessed us with many miracles.
I love Taidong and I am grateful to be here for another 3 months. Pray that I will have the energy, patience and love I need for another round of training. I know I can do it and at least this time I am familiar with the area - so here we go for round 2 :)
I love you all and am grateful for every prayer, word of advice, letter and email. It really makes all the difference. I have the best family in the world!!!
Sister Sara Gummow ^_^"