Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mission Letter 6/1/2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was delightful and a little harder, all at the same time.

I had my first exchange of the transfer, and I went with a missionary who just arrived about two weeks ago, and thus is currently in training in my district. His name is Elder Taylor. He's a cool guy; but you definitely feel the "greenie" in him, and then I think back to when I first came on island and I wonder if I was the same, and then I answer myself, "Yes, I probably was." And then I'm like, "Wow! You really change on a mission." And that is the biggest understatement in the history of ever. 

​CAPTION: Elder Taylor and I, concluding our exchange>​

On the bright side, the bishop took all the missionaries out to dinner, to some "Chinese Style" food place (different from Taiwanese Style food, should any smart aleck say that I'm already eating Chinese food everyday). While there, I got to eat some seaweed, pigs ears, "salty eggs," and other delicacies. In eating them, it wasn't much of a problem for me, because if I just didn't think about it to much and imagine how this piece fit into the body, it wasn't too weird. Some textures were more than interesting, but definitely not the worst stuff I've ever eaten. Some of it was actually pretty good. But we have a Sister Missionary in training in the ward, who when she picked it up with her chopsticks; you could just see on her face that she was completely grossed out by the idea of sticking that in her mouth. But she managed to swallow one piece, so that was good. 

This week had some pretty slow days, where we walked around for the better part of the day, but still nobody would talk to us. That's not typical of this place where I'm serving right now; there's just so many people, you can normally find someone to talk to. But this past week, when we were able to find people, many (or most) lived outside of our area, so they became nice referrals for other missionaries (including an awesome family that we met yesterday; they were so cool! But they live in Taoyuan).

There are three stages to missionary work; planting, growing, and harvesting. I feel like recently, and like, my whole mission, I've just been planting and planting and planting. Sometimes helping in the growing department, but I always seem to leave or never see the harvesting part. It's pretty sad, but I guess all elements are necessary, and you can't always be the harvester.

Truly not much happened this week; we got "fanged" a lot (stood up), which the Taiwanese people are way to comfortable with doing; setting up a time and then just never coming or cancelling like, two hours beforehand. That's one of the biggest barriers in Taiwan; the endless fanging. It's definitely not fun, but on the bright side, it gives us extra time in the day to go contacting and finding other people. We do tons of finding. But that's okay.

Patience is a Christlike attribute. Something that I definitely need to work on. Because things never happen immediately. Immediate gratification is a bad thing to always be focused on; whether that be for bad things, or good (like more baptisms). It almost never comes without a struggle. So, 2 Nephi 31:20 says:

Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Press forward! With steadfastness! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission