Monday, December 1, 2014
An Amazing First Week!!
Alright, it's time to tell about my many adventures in the tropical island of Taiwan! We've had a pretty fun week and got a lot done. First I'll give you an update on some of our investigators. Actually it's more like an introduction since you don't know who they are yet. We have a guy named L... Dixiong (dixiong means brother and all their names sound the same and are confusing so I just say brother/sister so and so) L... DX has a wife who was recently baptized and the missionaries have been working with him for a while to see if he would like to be baptized as well. There hasn't been a lot of progress. He was supposed to be baptized this coming Saturday but he hasn't been reading or praying so he doesn't know if the church is true or not. He said he would put more effort in.
P... is really nice, she's 29 and we met her in our English class. She is scared to ask her parents if she can be baptized. Most of the time, parents are against their kids getting baptized so it's really hard on them. They have to really have a strong testimony. She is thinking of giving up, but she has come a long way so I hope she stays strong.
S... DX is in his 60s and has a great family. He has wanted to be baptized for a while, but his wife is against it so he has waited. Recently his wife has had some issues and she's been humbled a little so S...thinks that she might be interested in learning more. His kids are also interested as well so I hope that we may have the opportunity to teach his whole family.
L... DX has an older brother in our ward who is a great guy. He wanted us to teach his younger brother. I think the younger brother was kind of pressured into meeting with us, but the lesson went well and he seemed interested.
J... Wei is 17 and plays rugby. He's a really cool guy and is golden. I extended my first baptismal invitation in Chinese and I was surprised that he actually understood me...and he said he wants to be baptized. He was going to be baptized on Christmas but his parents said he had to wait until he learned more.
We have several others but it would take too long to describe them all haha.
So we live in Tainan aaaaand, Dad the street you lived on when you were a young boy, Da Tong Lu, is in our area!!! How crazy is that. We haven't gone there, but we will sometime and I'll take a picture. We've also been to the roundabout where you stayed in the Hotel Tainan because we go to the train station sometimes. We also pass by the same night market all the time. We haven't gone to it yet, but we will at some point! That's so cool that I'm seeing the same sights (although a little updated) that you saw when you lived here.
Almost every night we are sponsoring some kind of activity at the church for our recent converts and investigators to come to. We have a family home evening and games, English class, Book of Mormon reading, and sometimes we lead firesides. It's really nice because we get to keep in touch with our investigators a lot more and they feel a lot more comfortable with all the members and with us. I really enjoy it...even though I struggle to teach the whole time. I'm still getting to know everyone and they've made it their goal to get me accustomed to the Taiwan culture and have me eat lots of crazy food haha. I've had tons of different tea and I love them all. There's also tons of amazing fruits here that I'd never heard of before. We had a ward Thanksgiving feast recently. We didn't have a turkey, but fortunately we did have some chicken feet! That was interesting. I didn't really like it but, I had to try it to see if I would or not.
One day after we were done running, we realized that we'd left the keys inside our apartment and we were locked out... We tried calling some people but none of them answered (of course) so I had to climb up the side of the wall to get in. It was actually really convenient because there's a bunch of signs sticking out of the wall and I climbed up the signs and then through the window. Thankfully no one called the police to report a white kid trying to break into somebody's apartment.
I just want to thank both G and G Stevens and G Kaldahl for sending me letters. I was surprised to get letters so soon! About Christmas packages, I would love to just be surprised. I don't really have a specific need for anything in particular. Except, I would really like from Dad to hear about your experience as a missionary. Would you mind sending me copies of your journal entries when you were serving. If it's too personal then that's fine, but I would really appreciate hearing about how you handled the different challenges, different experiences, and everyday life for you on a mission, and try to learn from you.
I don't know if I mentioned this, but my first night here I did have to do what Dan Jones did. We stood up on a box and started preaching. I completely forgot all of my Chinese as soon as I stepped up, but it's all good. It can only get better from here. (Dan Jones was a well known Latter-day Saint missionary who helped baptize thousands in his native country of Wales in the 1840s. He often preached on street corners standing on a box).
Well this email is pretty long so I'm going to wrap it up now. I love you all lots and I'm glad you all had a really good Thanksgiving!!
ps I'll try to organize the skyping deal to work out. We haven't heard anything yet though.
These Fish Catch All The Flies Around The Homes
Signs I Climbed Up To Our Apartment
Stopping To Make Phone Calls
Streets Outside Our Apartment
Sampling Some Chicken Feet
Zhongxing, Jiayi, and Tainan Zones
Elder and Sister Gong Mission Tour (seated, center)