Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mission Letter 8/10/2015

Dear family and friends,

Hello again! It was a truly magnificent typhoon that hit Taiwan this past week. It put us out of business for one day. It struck at night, but carried on throughout the whole next day. So Friday night, when we were out proselyting, it was pretty windy, and people were starting to disappear. There was no rain at the time, so we were still out contacting and teaching lessons, but we did watch some metal roofing pieces falling from apartments on our way home, and that was a little scary, because it was only about 50 feet in front of us. It was then that I wanted to be inside.

The typhoon hit early Saturday morning. It woke us up at about 3 AM because of the sound of the wind howling through all the holes in our house and between the buildings. It's not like our house has a ton of holes, don't get me wrong; but every crack through the windows, through our front door, etc. So, it was whistling, and strong, and rain was pounding against our windows, and it was causing quite a ruckus. We weren't sure when it had started, and when it would end, or how hard it was hitting Taiwan, or where the center was (because we don't really watch TV or read news or hear anything). So, they didn't tell us it was a Typhoon Day (no leaving the apartment) until around 10:45 AM, which is right before studies end. All missionaries are in their houses until 11 AM in this mission, so they waited to make the decision until then. 

But in the morning, we all have exercises. We weren't planning on leaving the apartment to go play basketball at the church, but then another companionship called the President and asked if we could play longer since we probably wouldn't be going outside. He gave his permission for us to play an extra hour; so a member came and drove us from our home to the church, and home again when we were done. There was no one out on the roads, but there were some trees, stairs, and other random stuff. It was pretty fun. But after that, we were in our houses until 7 PM, when we were allowed to go out again.

So our apartment looks pretty clean and in order right now, thanks to a whole day of cleaning and calling people and organizing, etc. Being inside for a whole day (literally, in one room, our apartment doesn't have any walls or anything, it is just one room) drove us all crazy. Feeling lazy, slothful, not wanting to do anything, but really wanting to go outside. It was a reminder that a whole day of doing nothing really isn't fun. 

CAPTION: We ate dinner with some investigators, other missionaries in the District, and the President and his wife showed up, too. We were passing out English Class flyers, so the President's children came with us, but as for the rest of the family, it was simply coincidence that we chose to eat at the same restaurant.

This past week we had the opportunity to attend the New Convert Temple Night with two of our recent converts. Because I've never lived around Taipei or had the opportunity to participate in this activity, it was quite the new experience for me. I've also never been to the baptistry in the Taipei Temple before, but having the opportunity to go with RC's was a tremendous blessing. I just love the feeling of the temple, and being able to go with our RC's gave me a greater desire to help all of our RC's be able to attend, and also help LA's to go as well. They don't allow missionaries to be in the font or do the baptizing, but we can help with the other parts like witnesses, confirmations, and recorder. Which was really cool. I got to be recorder for the confirmations room, and got to do a few confirmations myself (in Chinese). It was really cool, and I can't wait for the next time I can go to the temple again.

I have heard from more than one person here that all the McDonald's stores are closing in America, and so they'll be closing in Taiwan, too. Truth or myth? The funny thing was that it was more than one person, so I don't know if it's exaggeration or reality. Either way.

This coming week or two is looking really good; we had two people have their baptismal interviews in the last week, and this coming week we will have two baptisms; one on Wednesday night (it will be the spiritual share for our English Class) and one on Saturday night. Then next week, we should have another baptism. All these investigators are really amazing and I love all of them, and I'm also excited to help them immediately start preparing for the temple. One of these investigators getting baptized is the daughter of a somewhat less active member, so we're going to work on getting them to the temple, together.

This coming week is transfers. We don't expect any in our companionship; we've only been together for one. If my companion or I transfer, I will be extremely surprised. However, training calls have gone out already for the mission. We'll have some "fresh blood" in our zone. 

That's all for this week! I'm really happy right now, and I love my area, and my companions, Elder Chen is seriously a funny guy, and really fun to be around, and while I hope he gets his visa soon, I'll be sad to see him leave. But life is good!

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission