Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mission Letter 12/1/2014

Hello, everybody!

I've hope you've been having a wonderful week, I certainly have. It's been like Summer over here; it's still extraordinarily warm and sunny, and it's still short sleeve weather. Until today. Today winter came. All at once. It's raining, it's much colder, and there's no sun to be seen anywhere. But I'm sure tomorrow winter will end. If this is winter, I don't want to know how hut summer is going to be.

This place is just beautiful, and very much (on weekends) a tourist place. On weekends, along this bike path, about 1 in 10,000,000 actually lives in our area, so we just kinda go into the deeper city area where there are also people, but who actually live in our area.

"Wow! You're Chinese is very standard!" Doesn't sound much like a complement, does it? But that's what it is in Chinese. I guess they're trying to say that we (mostly my companion) seem to know the regular, standard Chinese vocabulary. But it's pretty cool -- I'm starting to understand a good portion of what people say on the street now. But at other times, I understand about 0%. So, still working on it.

This week we had an extremely special experience. It included a family, us missionaries, and then a white guy from who-know's-where-but-probably-America. I thought I had escaped anti-Mormon's when I left America and went to a place where they don't even speak English, so they don't really here all the bad stuff about Mormons. And I was mostly right. We were talking to this family on the street, and they were in a rush, so it was a very quick contact, but we gave them a tract and asked if we could meet with them some other day. They said sure, so we were about to swap phone numbers. 

All of a sudden, here comes this big white guy from behind us saying, "No, no! They're not telling you the truth! They're a cult! I used to be one of them!" This was all in English, however. So, after interrupting that contact, he had his (I think) wife come translate for him (she's Taiwanese). She reluctantly came over and told the family the things we were saying weren't true (she looked like she didn't care about her husband's opinions, she was just doing what he told her to say). The family looked at us, and said, "Sorry, we've got to go," and left. Then the man turned to us, and started telling us nothing we knew was true. "This book," he reached for our Book of Mormon, "hasn't got one thread of truth in it!" Then he started quoting Galatians to us, about preaching some different gospel, and then went back to the fact that the Book of Mormon has absolutely zero evidence. "I can prove the Israelites existed," he said. And all I was thinking was, there must be some threads you agree with in here, because it's literally almost the same as the Bible. Anyway. Who knows why he left the church. We just kinda ended the contact and walked away because he wasn't letting us say anything -- he was kinda worked up. 

Anyway. There's a scripture that I think is really cool. It happens to be in the Book of Mormon. I came across this a while ago, and marked it because I think it's a small thing compared to the story it's in, but has a lot of applicable parts. It's in Mosiah 26:33, and it reads:

 33 And it came to pass when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them, ...

And I really like this scripture because it emphasizes the importance of writing things down. As a missionary, I write a lot of things down. Schedules, lessons, what we're going to teach, writing records, baptismal records, teaching records, progress records, weekly reports to the Mission President, this weekly email, to-do lists, and a study journal. All this is so that nothing I do slips through the cracks.

But the most important of those is the Study Journal. While I was in the MTC, they emphasized this on an almost weekly basis at our devotionals, was the importance of having a good study journal. Elder Richard G. Scott once said, "Knowledge carefully recorded is knowledge available in time of need. Spiritually sensitive information should be kept in a sacred place that communicates to the Lord how you treasure it. This practice enhances the likelihood of your receiving further light" (from Preach My Gospel). As we receive guidance, revelation, or new insights, particularly when reading scriptures, we ought to write them down so that we can have them, because no one's memory is perfect. Writing down inspiration demonstrates to the Lord that we think it's important, and we want to remember it, and implement it in our lives. 

So, write things down. Personally, anytime I sit down to read scriptures, I like to have a notepad open, kinda demonstrating, "I'm ready and prepared for anything you send."

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission