Monday, December 27, 2010

Austin - Milwaukee - December 27, 2010

Hey.

Cool stuff talking to the family. Abby can spit out completely sentences which I did not know and even knows the days of the week which I'm pretty sure I didn't learn until Kindergarten. The Christmas gifts I got were way sweet, the scarves are totally fabulous and that was suuuuch a good idea to send all of those fancy chocolates for me to give to branch members. During the Branch Christmas party I took a picture with the Santa Claus (who was Mexican. Dark skinned Santa is funny) and I printed that out and chose a bunch of families/individuals and I wrote a note to the on the back of the picture and attached it to the fancy chocolates. Wow, I cannot tell you how surprised and grateful they were. It was way cool.

The other day the Branch President called and said, "When are you going to be on your apartment? I have something to give you two" I told him at about 1 o clock when he got there he had an entire box full of goods. Cereals, pancake mix, full size candy bars, beef jerky, chips and just all sorts of stuff. It was crazy, the thing literally weighed like 25 pounds. I don't even want to think about how much it cost. I thought he was going to give us like a nice Christmas card or their family Christmas photo but he really came with the goods.

Last week it was so funny, while my last companion and I were waiting for a bus we saw a couple black guys walking and we stopped them and asked them if they could freestyle rap. One of the guys was like, "Yeh ayeha, naw problem." So I threw down the beat and he didn't even follow the beat and he just spat off some memorized thing. So Elder Sharrah came back with our rebuttal pure freestyle, it was so funny. We got so much respect from them. We continued talking and they weren't interested at all in God but they appreciated the invite. Def got mad street cred.

So my boy is Elder Benjamin Partis he is from Orangeville Utah. He is majoring in Music - Vocal Performance. He's way cool and humble but definitely very new. It's way cool training. On Christmas day him and I received our new missionary training and he had breakfast at the mission home with President and Sister Jones she made the best blueberry muffins ever, I don't even understand how they could be that good. My Mom never made blueberry muffins that good, but then again she never really liked cooking with blueberries because they "get runny when you cook with them." Or something like that.

After talking to my family over skype at a members house. We went with family to visit the Mom's brother in the hospital. He was absolutely paralyzed when we first visited him like 4 months ago. When we went there today, we walked in he told us to stand around the wheelchair (I was already way impressed he didn't have a neck brace and he was even just sitting down and not stuck laying down). But he grabbed the handle of the wheel chair, kicked the foot holders and hoisted himself up and even took a couple shaky steps. Ridiculous. Just 4 months after we had given him a blessing he is walking after being paralyzed from the neck down.

I guess that's what you call a Christmas miracle.

Shweet. I think that's all.

Take care everyone,
Elder Papritz

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Amy - Xinzhu, Taiwan - December 26, 2010

Qin ai de jiating,
Well not much has happened since I talked to you on Saturday. It was really really cold on Sunday. So I am going to go buy some warmer clothes. If I have any warm clothes that I left behind you can send them to me. I think I have a sweater or two that don't have hoods. Dont' worry about buying new clothes though unless you find something really really cute. Church was good this week. We are so busy on Sunday with our three wards that we barely have time to breath. Its great though to rub shoulders with the awesome members here in Xinzhu. We had one investigator come to church recently on her own. We stopped teaching her because she wasn't keeping her commitments but since her mom and her moved closer to the church she has been coming every week. She even talked to Sister Zhang about getting baptized. She knows that she has to come to church at least 3 times before she can get baptized. She is progressing. Its great that she is doing this on her own and she has the desire. One of our other investigators talked to her husband this week about getting bapitzed and he got really angry. He told her that they are not Christians and that she cannot visit with us anymore. They are seperated so she lives alone with one of her sons. We are visiting with her tomorrow. Its sad how much family opposition prevents people from being baptized. We have had so many investigators get right up to their baptismal date and not be able to get baptized because their family fandui (protests). Sad. We still try to visit them and help them progesss.
I dont' know if I told you about our Christmas. We had two activites with the wards. Both the missionaries sang at so this last week up until Chirstmas eve and day we have been practicing our songs. It was really fun and we didnt' sound half bad. One of our ward missionary leaders Chen dixiong invited us to eat. We had a feast!!! Complete with Costco pinapple pizza, chiciken and pumpkin pie. It was great!! After we stuffed our faces Elder Broadhead and Schwabe had an investigator get baptized. It was great!! We were suppposed to have one of our investigators get baptized on Chirstmas day too but his dad opposes. That evening before I called home Sister and Zhang and I had a stake activity were we sang at the mall. The stake members performed a few numbers and then we sang Oh Holy Night and What Child is this. It went good. We also contacted people as we listened to the performace. All and all it was a great Christmas. Plus being able to call home made it all the better. I am still shocked at Alden's mission call. When I told the other Elders about it they didn't believe me at first. haha I am so excited for Alden to come here to the Taipei mission.
I don't have much else to tell you. At the end of this week we will find out who will move. I think I will move. We will see. I love you all!!! Thank you for your continued prayers for me and for the other missionaries in the world. I have felt your prayers help me.
All my love,
Yang jiemei

Monday, December 20, 2010

Austin - Milwaukee - December 20, 2010

Lets get started.
So this week I was companions with Elder Sharrah. He is suppose to leave January 30 but he wants to get to BYU in time for Winter Semester so the church is letting him leave on the 30 of December. But transfers were on the 15th and the missionaries are getting here on the 22nd. So he has been with me for the week until I get my boy this Wednesday. It's been way cool having Elder Sharrah because he is by far the most knowledgeable and successful missionary in the mission. I have learned so much from him and we've had so much fun doing it. For example, while we wait for busses (which seemed to happen a lot this week) we would practice our freestyle rappin', we'd rap about all sorts of things like our investigators or the city atmosphere. We be feelin pretty thug when we do that. One time this one guy who was absolutely plaasteredly drunk came up to us while we were rapping, he was like, "Heyrhrah guiysss hoawa been dowain??" And I asked him, "Excuse, can you freestyle rap?" "Wweahyll sheyaah I cannmm." So I threw down a beat and he gave the most incorrehent rap with the most promiscuous dancing and occassional tai-kwando kicks I have ever seen in my life. It was hilarious. SO funny.
I get my boy this Wednesday. I get to spend the day with the assistants tomorrow until I my boy gets in to town and then I'll take him out to go street contacting while Elder Sharrah is in a threesome with another companionship. Then I'll come back with my boy (he won't know that I will be the one training him actually) and get to eat dinner with all the new missionaries at the mission home and even sleep over there (because I won't have a companion anyways). And then on Wednesday I'll head over to the stake center and get my training to be a trainer. Today, we are going to go by the goat as well. That's going to be hilarious.
I've been dingdong ditching this less-active family for a 12 days of Christmas thing. It's so funny, he came up to me at church and guessed it was me. I didn't know what to say so I just lied. "Nah it's not me." "Yeah Elder, I think it was you." "Yeah, it was me." "Oh, it was? Well thank you we really appreciate it." "Nah, Uzziel, it wasn't me. I was just kidding." "What? Really? Then who did it?" And today we are going to do an FHE with them and I'm going to have a member dongding ditch them while we are eating with them so that it really throws them for a loop haha.
Well, I'm off to play some ball. Peace out. I'll see ya'll.
Elder P-rappizzle.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Amy Xinzhu, Taiwan December 19, 2010

Qin ai de jiating!

Merry Christmas!!! Wow I can't believe that Christmas is this Saturday. I remember last time I called home at the airport Christmas seemed so far away and now its here!!! I can't wait to talk to you all on Saturday. We need to figure out what time I can call so let me know ASAP!! All else fails I will call on Christmas morning your time in the morning. Yahoo!!!!!!!! So this week has been it has been FREEZING!! The lowest tempature was 9 degrees Celius. Plus it was really really windy and rainy so it made it colder. I wore two layers of thick tights and my longest skirt and I was still cold. Sister Zhang gave me her puffy blue coat to wear and it has been really nice sometimes too nice because I will get really hot and sweaty because we are biking so hard and then when I take it off I'm really cold. Its ok though. It just makes us work harder so that we can stay warm. After a having too weeks of no new investigators and not many lessons Sister Zhang and I this last week had the best week we have had this transfer. We started teaching a 10 year old boy and his mom who Elder Gania and Roper tracked into. The husband passed away 3 years ago. We call him Wang didi. He is so smart and really eager to learn the Gospel. He is just soaking it all in. When Sister Zhang and I taught them the Plan of Salvation he really liked it. We also talked about temples a little bit and how we help those who have passed away to recieve the Gospel too. Wang did got really excited and said that he wants to go to the temple so that he can help his dad get baptized too. He is so sweet! His baptismal goal is January 8. We also found 4 other new investigators besides Wang didi. All of our investigators are progressing. Although Chen mei li moved her baptismal date to January 29 instead of December 25. She still has a lot of questions and also has not asked her husband if she can get baptized. At first I was disappointed that we had to move her date but now I see that it is for the best.

Our other 10 year old investigator Ou Chen bo yan had his baptismal interview yesterday. It went really good. The problem still is that his dad opposes. He finally got the courage up to ask his dad if he could get baptized. His dad's reason to why he can't get baptized is that after Bo yan is baptized he won't be able to Baibai anymore. Bai bai is basically the worship of their ancestors. One of our awesome members Wu baba talked to his dad yesterday about it. We keep praying that he will be able to get baptized. I know that he is supposed to get baptized and that everything will work out. So with his baptism, Elder Broadhead and Schwabe's baptism and a bunch of ward Christmas activities my Chirstmas will be so busy! I'm so excited!! The temple on Wednesday was amazing!! It was so great to go to the temple and to serve there. The Taipei temple is beautiful!! It was great too because we got to go with the other missionaries in our zone. Going to the temple was the spiritual boost that I needed for this week and the rest of the transfer. I felt so much peace and joy as I served in the temple.

I am so grateful for this Christmas season. Not for the gifts recieved or the chance to call home even though those are great. I am grateful for the opportunity this season gives us to focus more on Jesus Christ and his life, ministry and Atonement. I have had a lot of time to study the scriptures and to study his birth and life. I love the scripture in Mosial 3:3-10. I especially love verses 3, 7-8.The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message of "glad tidings of great joy". Words cannot describe how grateful I am for Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I know that I will never fully understand how He took upon himself all of our sins, pains afflictions as it says in Alma 7:11-13 but I know that He did. He was born into the lowliest of circumstances. He lived a perfect life so that He could give us a perfect example. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redemmer. I know that He provided us so much and suffered so much for all of us and all that He asks is that we come unto Him and follow his words. I hope that this Christmas season will not pass without you really taking the time to think about the true meaning of Christmas.

I love you all!! I can't wait to talk to you on Saturday! Have a great week!!!!

All my love,

Yang Jiemei

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Amy Xinzhu, Taiwan December 14, 2010

Qin ai de jiating,

Just to start off this e-mail I want to apologize for any worry I caused. Because today we have a temple day our p-day got moved to Wednesday. I realized last week after we had e-mailed that I had neglectied to tell you this. So mom, I'm sorry!!! Anways, Things are going great here in Taiwan. The weather has been really cold but not too bad. Mainly its the wind. Here in Xinzhu the wind is crazy strong and always blowing. I have given up hope on my skip staying down and I just keep going. Christmas season is here!!! I can't believe it! Here in Taiwan the only places that really have Christmas decorations are the English schools. There are a ton of them so we see Christmas decorations a lot. Also one of the office supply stores we go to had Christmas decorations and Christmas music playing. I just walked around taking my time because I wanted to listen to the music. It has I"m not going to lie stay focused with Chirtmas coming. I fruquently get trunky and miss home. I can't wait to call home on Christmas!!!!!!!!!! Its going to be awesome!! So about that, I was wondering what Austin's plan was for calling home? I can call home either on your Christmas day or Christmas Eve which would be my Chirstmas. Let me know ASAP so I know when to call and so that everyone will be home.

So this week was kind of slow again. We for the second week had no new investigators. Its AWFUL!!! The problem is that I think we dont' make enough time to find. Its hard because since we are over 3 wards our area is really big. We spend a lot of time biking across town to get to our next appointment. But that is just an excuse because President Grimley says "You are never too busy to find!" So this week we are majorly repenting. We also have a little problem with exact obedience. We often don't get home at 9 when we are suppose to be. I have told Sister Zhang a lot that she needs to not plan lessons at 8 because our lessons often go over and then we are home late. It has been really frustrating for me since I always want to be on time and we are also sometimes late for appointments. Sister Zhang insists that we get there right exactly on time(which doesn't happen sometimes) but I want to get there a little early. Its really annoying. But it has been good for teaching me paitence. So obedience is something that we are working on. All of our investigators that have baptismal dates are doing really good. Ou chen bo yan, the 10 year old boy, is doing really good. We met with him last night and reviewed the baptismal questions. He did great! The only problem is that he still hasn't told his dad that he wants to get baptized. But he is planning today to tell him. So we are praying so hard for him today. I know it will work out though. He will get baptized on Christmas! Ou Yang ama came to church last sunday. She is progressing slowly. She keeps saying when we meet with her that it is too late for her. Her desire to get baptized goes up and down. We are still working with her and helping her overcome that. Chen mei li is adorable! We meet with her every Tuesday and Thursday. We taught her the word of wisdom and when we brought up alcohol she went into her bedroom and brought out a waterbottle full of whiskey!! It was already a fourth of the way empty and she said that she drank that much just that morning. But she promised that she wouldn't drink it again and when we visited her on Tuesday she hadn't. She is so cute. She is also worried about her health and was worried she would catch a cold when she gets baptized. When I told her that the font was inside the church that solved a lot of her worry. I love her. She is so cute.

Well that is this week in a nutshell. I am so glad that everything at home is going great. I 'm so excited to get you packages. Dont' worry about forgetting to get Sister Zhang a gift. I will get her something. I don't want to complain about her but when I read what Katelyn said about the native missionaries in Japan I totally can relate! Sister Zhang sometimes won't let me do things. She will sometimes get frustrated with me and very impaitent. She gives me this look like "really you are asking me that?" She also is kind of a stick in the mud. When i joke around with the other Elders she will ask me "How old are you?!" Its really annoying at times because what she takes to be rude or childish is harmless. I am trying to be understanding of the culture difference but it is frustrating. The other Elders jokingly call her our ama or grandma becaus she is always is getting on to us about something. She also REFUSES to eat anything american. She says it is "dry and unhealthy." Which is funny because all of the food here is LOADED with grease and oil. They even add oil to their dishes. When the other Elders are talking about eating steak or meat and invites us to go eat with them Sister Zhang doesn't want to go. I really want to go though!!! She would rather eat tofu or pig intestines. I have been very understanding of that and have tried not to protest too much but its really frustrating. I love Chinese food but you know that every once and a while it is nice to have some comfort food. That is something I am going to work on today when we go to Taipei. I am going to make her eat something American. haha The last thing i am going to complain about is her listening. When I give adivce she will say "ok ok we can do that" and then doesn't do it. Like when I suggest we need to go finding and we can go at this time. We will plan on it and then she will plan over it. That is probably a big reason we dont' have new investigators. She says that she hasn't seen much success in door contacting but that is exactly how the missionaries found her and one of our progressing investigators was found though door contacting. We are going to work on it this week. Anways, That is my complaing for the week. I'm sorry that I am complianing. She is a great companion and example. I am so blessed to have her as my companion. She has such a strong testimony of the Gospel and I have learned so much from her.

I hope that you all are have a great week. I love you all and i can't wait to hear from you on Christmas!! I am so grateful to have the Gospel in my life. I know it is true. I am so grateful for this Chirstmas season we can remember the birth and life of our Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for this opportunity to be here in Taiwan and to share the Gospel with the wonderful people here.

All my love,

Sister Amy Papritz

Yang Jiemei

Monday, December 13, 2010

Austin - Milwaukee - December 13, 2010

Family and friends,
Wisconsin is bustin' 20 knot wind gusts, seven centimeters of snow and temperatures of -10 Celsius. It's cold. But I can't complain when I'm in the Lord's vineyard, the land of miracles -- Milwaukee. And will be staying here for another 6 weeks which will bring me to 6 months in Milwaukee. Also, my companion Elder Moore is leaving because I'll be training some poor little soul next transfer. It was actually quite funny. I was woken up last Saturday by a call from President. To stay off a bad cold, Elder Moore and I slept in a little bit that day. Elder Moore looked at the phone and yelled over at me, "Elder Papritz, it's President Jones." My head shot up from the pillow and I said, "Oh shoot!" I slapped my cheeks and shook my head to wake myself up. I answered the phone in a slightly higher voice than usually just so he wouldn't know I was groggy, "Hello, this is Elder Papritz speaking." And without skipping a beat, as if it was revelation from God, "Elder Papritz, this is President Jones. What are we doing up so early?" "Dang, I thought I fooled you, President." "Well, Elder, you told me in your weekly email that you have been taking extra rest because you're sick, so it was a good guess." We had a good laugh about that. But he proceeded to tell me that I would be training. The cool part is that all the leaving missionaries are going home this week and the new ones are coming the week after that (he is doing that so that the leaving missionaries have plenty of time to get home for Christmas) so I'll have a week with the best Spanish missionary in the mission. We're going to go nuts preparing the area for me and my boy, getting tons of investigators and setting more dates. I want to have 15 baptismal dates for when my boy gets in. We'll also speak only Spanish for the week. So I'm way excited. These next few weeks are going to be way tight.
Last Friday we had a zone conference (really just an excuse for my mission president to see all of us missionaries for Christmas). We got together and talked a bit about the season and how to capitalize on this time of Christmas. Then we did a little arts and crafts for a bit, we made a little 12 days of Christmas for one of our investigators, and then after we sang Christmas carols for 40 minutes. President called me a week before to play piano for it. It was way cool. Anyone could get up and sing in a quartet, solo, duet or if no one came up then we just sang as a group in total. It was way cool, we definitely got some good singers in our zone.
I can't think of anything else big. Our baptismal dates are doing really well. Church was canceled though because of the weather so they couldn't come to church but they're still doing well.
I'm doing great. My health is better than ever. I'm lovin it.
Much love,
Elder Papritz

Monday, December 6, 2010

Austin - Milwaukee - December 6, 2010

He aqui a mi familia amada,
Hot dang, it's Christmas season. I do this every year too, it turned December 1st and I thought, "Hey Christmas is in December...sweet. ---wait, my birthday is in December." So, I may be terrible about remember birthdays but I seriously totally forgot my birthday was coming up so...bonus! It's weird to think that I'm going to be 20. There are 3 computers that are reserved here at the library for 'teens' and those are never being used because all of the poor, homeless people use the normal computers and the teens are in school. But now I technically won't be able to use those computers once I turn 20.
Last night we had an investigator at the Christmas devotional. That was way tight. He is so cool too, he is Latino but plays piano like a pro. Just about every Latino will say they like music and to dance but few are actually good at it. Anyways, we still have 11 solid baptismal dates. Four of them are suppose to happen this Saturday but we will have to push it back because they need to get married and he's illegal so we are running in to legal problems. But it is nuts -they have read over 55 pages in the Book of Mormon. They eat that stuff for breakfast.
And across the street at out other family with a baptismal date, we were making a daily visit and we were helping put up some ornaments on their Christmas tree and she was like, "Elders we need to talk." And I thought, "Oh no, she wants to drop us." But instead she continued to talk about how her husband admitted to a drinking problem and wants to change. In fact, he felt specifically prompted that if he talked to us then he would get help when otherwise he wasn't too involved in the lessons. We then decided to teach her the word of wisdom. We found out that she had her own vice, she loooved to drink coffee. We taught her that if she expects her husband to live this commandment then she should keep it too. We then went in to the kitcen and threw away all of her coffee. She even had prepared coffee from that morning and she poured it down the drain. It was way cool. I've always wanted to do that as a missionary and now I got to do it. Eventually we'll go back and teach the husband and pour all his alcohol down the drain.
Last Sunday Milwaukee proved to be a land of miracles once again. A less-active came to church and said that he was tired of being inactive and wanted to came back to church, he also wanted us to teach his son and baptize him. We've met with him twice already and his family fed us some way good grub. He has offered to go on splits with us any time and he also wants to eventually go to the temple and be sealed and wants us to be there if we can. Nuts. Just straight up miracles.
We'll get transfer calls this Saturday. I'm going to get my head chopped off by our investigators if I get transferred. They've already got my birthday planned and Christmas presents. But I have a pretty good idea that I'm staying.
Love you all!
Elder Papritz

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Amy Xinzhu, Taiwan December 5, 2010

Qin ai de jiating,

Da jia hao!!! How are you? This week went a lot better than last week as far as new investigators and people going to church. We had 3 new investigators one of which we found just through tracking. It was pretty awesome! We had some spare time right before a lesson at a college with a investigator. Sister Zhang wanted to go contacting at the intersection but I felt we should go down a road by the school with a lot of houses. We chose the latter of the two and headed down the road. The first two houses rejected us and the next one was on the top floor of an apartment complex. She let us in. Her name is Chen li mian. She is an artist and lives by herself or I think with one other person. She said that usually when her roommates are not home she doesn't let people in so she doesn't know why she let us in. She is a Christian and says that she prays often. We taught her the first lesson and she asked a lot of questions about how our church is different from other churches. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and she was very willing. We also extended a baptismal invite but she said that she wants to take things slow and not commit. We will teach her next week. I am excited to visit her. I know that Heavenly Father prompted us to knock on her door. She is pretty golden and prepared to hear the Gospel. I am so glad that Sister Zhang and I followed the promptings of the Spirit.

This week too we doubled our number of investigators who came to church. Last week we only had 2 and this week we had 4! Ou yang ama came to church for the first time!!! We have been inviting her to come to church for the last few weeks but she hasn't come yet. Yesterday she finally came with her son and daughter in law and also Lucy, the lady who helps take care of her. Sister Zhang and I were very excited! Her son and daughter in law live in Taipei so they drove here to Xinzhu to take her to church. Ou Yang ama said that she liked church but was too tired to meet with us later that evening. She is making a lot of progress toward her baptismal date on Janurary 1. Our only concern is that it is coming up pretty fast and she still doesn't know if Joseph Smith is a prophet. We will teach her that this week. We also had Pong guan yi come to church. She was a referral from the Taizhong sisters. She took all of the lessons there and was going to get baptized but her mom opposes. That was a while ago and since she took the lessons a year ago she moved to Xinzhu to go to school. She is awesome! She is so willing to meet with us. She has yet to have a baptismal date. When we extended one a few weeks ago she said she wasn't ready and that she is worried about her mom opposing again. We will keep working with her. She said that when she came to church she felt really happy and peaceful.

Oh this will be of especial intrest to you Austin, We taught a lady from Nicaragua on Friday. I knocked on her door with one of the Zhubei sisters two weeks ago and we met with her on friday. We had member from Paraguay who goes to Zhubei for church come and peike (have a member at a lesson. I dont' know the word in English) It was great because whenever Anaely (our investigator) didn't understand a concept Nilsa (the member) would explain in Spanish. I felt a little bit closer to Austin as I heard them speak Spanish. We also gave her a Spanish Book of Mormon. We have Book of Mormons in a bunch of different languages either at our apartment or at the church. Chinese, English, Thai, Spanish, French, Indonesian, and I think Vietnamese. Its so cool! Anyways, The lesson went really well and she is willing to meet with us again. So I will keep you unpdated on her progress.

One of the wards had an activity on Saturday and they asked the missionaries to perform a skit. I feel like our district could go our tour with all of the skits we do for our wards. haha The ward had a musical concert and a local music cram school was there. It was really fun to hear the students play their piano pieces. I felt like I was back at home. The skit went really well. I don't know how to explain what we did. Basically, there were three brothers whose mom set them up to take music lessons. The funny thing was that the Elders did the migit thing where you have one person stand behind another and act as the arms while the person in front's hand are the feet. It was really funny and the kids loved it. I hope that makes sense.

I hope that you all have a great week! I love you all! I know that this Gospel is true and that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. I have already seen so many miracles while I have been here in Taiwan and I am only on my second transfer! I am so glad that I decided to come on a mission. I have learned so much. I love you and miss you!!

All my love,

Sister Papritz