Monday, January 26, 2015

Thanks For The Birthday Wishes!!

Hey Everyone!
We had another awesome week here in Taiwan. I had a great birthday yesterday. It seemed like it was just going to be another normal day. We had stake conference in Yong Kang, and then rode our bikes about an hour to the R... house to teach D.... Like usual we had some awesome food. They gave us an interesting kind of bacon. It was the pig skin, and it still had a lot of pig hair in it...I don't really think they were necessary. lol  And they looked at me really weird when I tried to pluck some of the hairs out. I prefer normal bacon. 
  After dinner with them, we rode our bikes back to our chapel to have a lesson. We were sitting around in the church and D..., one of the members in our ward called me. He must have thought that I was Elder Smith because he told me about his plan for a surprise party. So I just played along and went in the room they told me to haha. They had a little party set up for me with pizza, cake, presents, and some stinky tofu. They had gotten the fried version of the tofu so it didn't taste that bad. I was lucky haha.
  Later we had a dinner with another family. Somehow they had found out it was my birthday so they had a ton of food prepared and a cake for me. I was so stuffed from the meal and the meal at the R... house, the surprise party, and then this meal, all within an hour or two. I probably ate enough to feed a family for several days. I don't know how I managed to keep everything down. Why is it that every dinner appointment is that way!?
  The rest of the day was good too. We taught L... Y... H... and then came home to go to sleep. We were in the middle of planning when D... called us and told us to go outside. They had even more cake and presents to give me! Wow, I've never eaten so much cake in one day. I also got to blow out birthday candles three times! My wish better come true. lol  I was wearing the pants from Nepal and everyone loved them! Especially Elder Smith. He wanted to try them on so badly and get himself a pair haha. All in all, it was a great birthday!
   The rest of the week was fun too. After English Class, I came out of the church to find that the other Elders had climbed up and put my bike on the roof! It was pretty funny. It took me a while before I was able to find it because it was so dark outside.
  Just some Taiwan stuff, there are a lot of women (usually in their 80s or higher) who always ride their bikes around town and collect things. You'll also see them pushing these huge carts pilled high with tons of garbage. They really love to collect stuff. I have no idea how they can push the carts though. The elderly people in Taiwan are really healthy. 
  Usually for meals, they give us a bowl with rice in it and have a bunch of big bowl on the table with the different foods on them. We just grab what we want and put it in our rice bowl to eat it and just eat whatever we want. Usually they have a lot of fish, vegetable and meats. Unfortunately there is usually more fat than meat. They love to eat fat here. You usually can't chew the fat up. You just have to force yourself to swallow it.
  Well that's about all for this week. I hope everyone has a great week! I love you lots!
ps. btw I got your package a few days ago. Thanks for everything. I love the pants! The deodorant sticks are essential too. And Elder Smith really appreciated the candy bar. Apparently dark chocolate caramel is his favorite. The sea salt caramel stuff is the best! Thanks!

Fancy Yoga Pants From Nepal!
Kitchen, Shower Combination

Monday, January 19, 2015

Awesome Week! 本周好

  Dear Family,

  I had another amazing week! It's actually pretty hard to have a bad week when you're in somewhere cool like Taiwan, and doing such important work.

  Last pday, we all celebrated my birthday! A little bit early, but by the end of the month, no one has any money left in their account so we had to do it earlier haha. The other Elders, some members and I all went bowling! It was a lot of fun. There were some good bowlers there...but none as good as me. I got my best game so far...149!! I got three doubles over the course of the two games we played, but I just couldn't get a turkey. I didn't even know I was good at bowling so when I got all those strikes, I was just as surprised as everyone else. I think it's from all that practice with you dad! Afterwards we went to a big chidaobao. It was a really really nice and expensive one. Luckily one of the members somehow got a discount, it was a lot cheaper. We ate so much! After we had eaten for an hour and a half and everyone was completely full, they brought out another 10 plates of meat!!! And the rule is, you have to pay for all the extra food you don't eat, so we had to eat all of it! Literally every time I have a meal with a Taiwanese person, I always feel so full afterwards. Luckily the food was all really good. Unlimited sushi, chicken, pork, raw fish, chicken heart (which is actually pretty good) and unlimited ice cream! It was a lot of fun.
  The next day Elder Rock and I went on exchanges. He's only been on the island a little longer than me so we're both pretty new and don't really speak Chinese. So all of that added up to an interesting time together. Of course when we went out at night, we got lost. So we spent a really long time asking literally everyone for directions and after we didn't understand, we would just go to the next person, and so on and so on. So we got to tour around all of Tainan before we finally found where we wanted to go. 
  The people we are teaching are all doing well. L... is still looking good for his baptism next week, and so is D... We taught L... Y... H... the Word of Wisdom yesterday and he has some challenges except for drugs. The penalty for drugs here is so severe that basically no one has problems with that. He committed to live by the word of wisdom and to give up everything. He is slowly gaining a stronger testimony of the gospel. He said he's had some good experiences with prayer and really enjoyed coming to church. I think he's looking good for the 7th of February.
 Well that's about it for this week. Just some fun facts. There are a lot of stray dogs here and they have really big fierce packs of them. We always hear dogs barking and growling in the night and I can only guess whether someone is getting attacked or not. I haven't had any problems, but a lot of missionaries are really scared because they've gotten attacked before. Maybe I should buy a bat... Also, they don't really have toilet paper rolls like we have in the U.S. You basically have little tissue boxes and you grab a tissue when you need one. Pretty cool.
  Well I hope everyone has a great week! Love you lots!

Tainan, Taiwan, 2015


Monday, January 12, 2015

Lots Of Teaching!

Well I actually don't really remember a whole lot that happened this week so it might be a shorter email haha. We've really been trying to pick it up with the number of lessons we teach each week. We have a lot of investigators who have potential and I'm super excited to see how things turn out. Everyday we've been basically tracting and teaching, tracting and teaching. Things are going well though and we are finding success. 
  D... is still looking super strong for baptism on the 31st and I don't see of anything stopping her. She wants to be baptized so badly. Unfortunately, P... is having some trouble. He is super nice though and has committed to live all of the commandments we've taught him, but he just doesn't want to take the next step. He really needs the gospel though. He always says how he feels unsatisfied with his life and wonders why there is so much confusion, why life has so many trials. I know that the gospel would bless his life. I hope that as he lives the things we've taught him he'll come to recognize the truth of what we teach him.
  L... is also looking pretty good for the 31st. He was in China all last week so we couldn't meet with him to talk about his baptism goal. I hope that we can help him meet that goal. He has such a great family!
  L... Y... H... is slowly progressing towards his goal on the 7th of February. He needs to come to church the next three Sundays to hit the goal so it's still possible to make it. He's a really cool guy and they have a great family, so I'm excited to help unify their family through the gospel.
  One other thing of importance. I got my first haircut in Taiwan! It was as everyone told me. They don't know how to cut American styles....At least hair always grows back...
  Well that's about it for this week. Nothing too exciting. That's sweet that you got all those snow days! Although that makes it a little difficult to prepare for your exams Alexa. Good luck with them! Also, I will be praying for you Grandpa.  I hope you recover fast from your surgery.  I hope it's not too cold for you in Ohio! Have a great week! I love you all!
Our Apartment.  It's Big!!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Brand New Year!

Dear Family,

  Wow a brand new year! I hope everyone had a good New Years! All the pictures from Nepal that you sent me look so pretty. I'm really jealous! I'm glad that you all had a good time and you made it back safely.

  Recently I've noticed tons of miracles happening around us! This week especially. L... DX, an investigator for the past several months who has been really stubborn about putting forth any effort, gave himself a baptismal goal for the 31st of January! His wife has been a member for several months but L... Dx hasn't wanted anything to do with it up until now. I'm not sure what his thoughts are and why he changed his mind, but yesterday at church he came up to us and told us the good news!
  Later that day, we went and visited the L... J... (family). L... said that he had been reading the Book of Mormon with his older brother and family and he's even prayed a couple times. He's really showing a lot more interest. Yesterday he agreed to set a date to be baptized on the 7th of February! He's such a cool guy and I'm so excited for him. His older brother was so happy when he agreed to set a date! I know he has a problem with drinking and smoking so I hope that he can continue to have support and develop his faith so that he can overcome those addictions.
  We taught D..., and she is still going strong for her date on the 31st. P... wasn't there though cuz he was visiting his family up in Taipei. We had another huge Filipino meal, but this time they had included a little surprise at the end...Baloot! It's an egg that already has the developed bird inside of it, and people actually enjoy eating it!  Our other Filipino investigator wants to treat us to it again!  Luckily I handled eating it a little better than Elder Smith. He already doesn't like eating eggs, so when he ate it, he almost threw up! He was so close to throwing up all over me. Thank goodness he managed to keep it down somehow. Just some words of wisdom; try your best to avoid eating Baloot.
  Last pday, we all went down to the beach near Tainan. It wasn't actually the best looking beach, but it was still pretty cool. Elder Rock had brought a kite so we flew it there for a while. Actually we flew it until Elder Rock dropped the string and the kite flew off into the ocean. The cool thing is, the handle floated perfectly on the water and just let the kite fly farther and farther over the ocean. We could still see it flying when we left the beach a good 20 minutes later haha.
  I got Dad and Moms package in the mail a few days ago, and I got grandma Kaldahl's Christmas letter this morning in the mail. The fudge and cookies still tasted great! Thanks for them, the tie (it's a pretty sweet tie) and for Dad's journal pages. I enjoy reading them. Could you send some more whenever you decide to send another package over here? Well, that's about all I have this week. Love you lots!
Statue Of Lin Mo Niang Overlooks Anping Harbor

Walking At The Beach

Sunset Over Taiwanese Staits

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas Week

  Dear Family,

  Merry (belated) Christmas to everyone! I really enjoyed being able to talk with the family last week! It was great to hear from everyone! The best Christmas present ever! It sounds like everyone is doing well and is having a good time! It was really interesting talking to Eric through a double skype. Thank goodness neither of us had lag so we were able to talk with each other.

  Some more good news, I got G&G Stevens package the day after Christmas and even better...the goodies were still good! The molasses cookies were nice and soft and everything tasted great as usual. Thanks so much!
  All of the young people here are so nice, I got tons of little cards and notes, and candies that people had made. They were all really cool. It's amazing what some people can make. We also had a fun gift exchange with them and I got a selfie stick! Those things are so popular in Taiwan, literally everyone in our ward has one. So now I'll be able to take some super sweet pics of myself. Get ready! haha
  Even more good news!  S... Dx got baptized last Saturday!! He was the happiest that I'd ever seen him! None of his family went with him to his baptism and you could tell that made him a little sad, but thankfully they came with him to church the next day for the first time! Everyone was so friendly to them and I hope that they will be able to come again! S... Dx is such a great father and really wants to do whatever he can to take care of his family. I really hope that they can understand the importance of the church like S... Dx and they can have an eternal family!
  We also set up a baptismal date for D... and B..., our Filipino investigators. They are set for January 31st! D... would be ready and willing to be baptized next week, but we want them to be baptized together and B... wanted a little more time. He seems like he has an open mind and has been really willing to listen to us. I'm really excited for them!
  We had a nice Christmas dinner with an American family that lives in our ward. It was great to have some American food again! They had some good chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, chili, and some other good stuff too!
   Well, that's about all I've got this week. I hope everyone has a great week and that the family has a great time in Nepal! Those pictures looked super cool. Well love ya!