Hello my dear family,
Well I am absolutely LOVING San Jose!!! I got into San Jose on Tuesday and met my mission president at the door of the airport. He and his wife are so great! So, when I met my mission president he told me something along the lines of, 'hey I know you will like it here. We have two companions for you from..." he didn't pause but I will... "...Taiwan". HAHA. I am was so excited during the rest of the day. I couldn't help but smile the whole time. So my two companions are named Elder Wang and Elder Lee. Elder Wang is from Taipei and Elder Lee is from Tai Chung. They are great! Since that day I have been able to go to member's houses, tracting (which hasn't been very successful yet), to a branch activity (where I met a lot of people from the branch), and of course I was also able to go to church on Sunday and meet the rest of the branch members. There are 7 Mandarin speaking missionaries in San Jose and I am in the largest area right now. For Dad and the rest of you to know we are living right at the bottom of Sunnyvale pretty much across the street from Cupertino. There are Mandarin areas in Fremont, San Jose, and Palo Alto. The San Jose area covers most of the bay area going up into Fremont a little ways and also to Palo Alto. Then down to the bottom of Cupertino. That is about as much as I know of the area so far, I haven't been here long enough to tell you about all the rest. But, the branch members are great. The Branch President is president Law along with his two counselors President Xiao and President Lian. Brother Lian doesn't speak a whole lot of Mandarin but his wife does and so they are in the branch. Brother Xiao's wife, Sister Xiao, is the Relief Society President. President Law's wife is a lot of fun with a very bubbly personality and very talkitive. She is great. Then there are a few others such as Brother Li who is the Elder's Quorum President, Brother Hsieh is the branch clerk, and Sister Li is the Gospel Principles teacher. The Primary is combined with the primary of another English branch that meets during the same hours. The branch activity was actually a talent show and so we had a few people perform. Sister Law was the MC for the show. Oh Sister Juang's mother made this chinese ornament like thing ( I don't know how else to describe it). On the ornament was stitched pictures of the creations from Genesis. It was really cool, and Shen mama (sister Juang's Mother) is 93 years old. Brother and Sister Juang are great members with a son named Benjamin. Benjamin is graduating from High School this year and will be going to BYU. Another woman that got up and shared her talent was a woman by the name of Susanna. She is a really really good artist and she shared some paintings that she had done and the stories behind her inspiration. They are absolutely beautiful. Then there was one of our investigators named Linda. She has a great voice and sang a couple of popular Chinese songs. Linda is getting baptized this Sunday which we are all excited for. I think the sweetest performance was done by Wang bobo and Wang nainai. They are an elderly couple in the branch and they sang a great Japanese song. Wang nainai also played the harmonica part for the song as they taught us how to sing the words. It was really cool. There is also Gao DiXiong and his family. Oh, I mean brother Gao. He is very cool and he is from Hong Kong. He saw my "Family Ties" tie on Sunday and I told him that I had bought it in Hong Kong. We had a good talk after that. yesterday we went over to the Cai (Tsai) family's home for dinner and it was fun to talk with them and get to know them. Um... Oh Susanna has a sister named Sharyl and after I had talked to them for a little while they both told me they feel as though they are first American and then Chinese because they have lived in America for about 64 years. There are a few more but I can't think of them now. I love being here and getting to know the members. It is hard to find people to teach but I know that Heavenly Father will bless our companionship as we do all that we can to work on getting more investigators to church and increasing our influence. My Mandarin ability has grown so very much since I have been here, especially my listening comprehension. My speaking is much better but of course there is always room for improvement. We have a couple of eternal investigators that I have met with named Brother Jiang and Brother Wang (not related to Wang bobo ;) ). They know that they like to be here but I think they are just afraid to commit to anything more. Brother Jiang was always saying "Man4 Man4 Zou3" "Wo3 Xu1Yao4 Bang1 Wo3 Zi4 Ji3" meaning He feels as though everything is up to himself and he feels he needs to take everything slowly. Oh we also have an investigator name Yun2 Bo1 who is coming to church kind of because she feels obligated to follow what the missionaries ask her to do. Other than being baptized :( ;). But I am sure she will progress to a point where she knows that this church is true and desires to be baptized. Mainly it is just getting the chinese up and over that hill of comfort, if that makes sense. Well I love you all and I know that this gospel is true. I am so excited to be out here and help this work to progress forward as best I can. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was translated through the power of God. I know that there is real power in the Atonement of Jesus Christ ane I hope to share this message with more and more people as the days go bye.
PS Mom and Dad what was the name of your Mission President because a few of the members here might have been in your area while you were on a mission :). And how long ago was your mission? Oh and happy anniversary I know that I missed it by quite a bit but I promise that I did remember it around April 5th and said happy anniversary on that day. I love you both.
Oh and if you could send this email to Matt and ask him if he knew an Elder Ives and Elder Buckmiller. Also, see if Da Ke has met an Elder Edwards yet. I might read it right after this but I don't have a lot of time.
Love you Family.