Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mission Letter 12/22/2014

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I hope you're all having the wonderful Christmas spirit around! It is a totally different atmosphere here. Very un-Christmassy, because people have work (they almost have infinite eternal work schedules here), and they don't actually celebrate Christmas (most people) for any reason other than Santa Clause.

Not much actually happened this week, we didn't have a ton of time. We had many choir performances, taking us all over the city of Taipei. In one day, we had one at the southern most point of the metro line, and one at the northernmost point of the metro line. So, lots of travel time, lots of performances, but they were all pretty good performances.

We had the best performance of all on Saturday, in my ward that I'm currently serving in. Because they're so pleased they have a brand new church, they made the grandest thing I've ever seen. They invited the local high school band to come and play, and they did excellent. Then they had the missionaries sing, they had an ocarina group play, they had special sounds, lighting, a stage background (they made a rock wall background, with shrubbery kinda like Israel, I guess), videos, a Master of Ceremonies, and it was all just very professional.

We also had the most low class performance yet. It was the equivalent of a 30 missionary choir caroling, because the ward took us outside to a street side, right by a bus stop (and a freeway on a bridge over top), and it was loud, and we had this hilariously sad little keyboard with pretty bad sounds, and a few people were walking past, but not many stopped, and the ward handed out tracts, and it was cold, and a hilarious experience. But I guess, one we'll never forget.

The new missionaries are still having problems. They got one group after me in, one transfer delayed, and the next ones and the ones after them are having problems, too. The Taizhong Mission is also waiting on two transfers of missionaries, so they're working really hard to solve all these problems. Anyway.

Next week we have our Christmas Zone Conference and Talent Show. This Sister in my transfer and I are doing a parody of a song from Frozen, in missionary context. Instead of asking to build a snowman, the question we pose is, "Do you want a Book of Mormon?" It's going to be hilarious. Anyway... random thoughts for all of you to read today.

This morning I was doing personal study, and I read this scripture. I really like it. It's one of Christ's parables, about humility. It's a really important attribute to have, and it talks about it in Preach My Gospel a bit. And this scripture is just a perfect representation of it. 

 7 ¶And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room;that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee,Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Something I've noticed with a lot of parables is that one, it's a good story with a good moral, two, it has good practical application in life, and three, it can be related to the kingdom of God, or how God works and will work in the future. Following this advice can save us future embarrassment, it teaches us that humility is one of the most valuable character traits, and that when we are humble, got will help us and raise us up. As promised in Ether 12:27, He will "make weak things become strong unto [us]."

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! And a Happy New Year! Have a great week.

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission