Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mission Letter 8/24/2015

Dear family and friends,


It feels like not much really happened this week. Things just kinda went a little slower. We didn't teach as many lessons, find as many people, or have any baptisms or people being interviewed. We had a couple exchanges, so we were out of our area for a bit, but other than that... I guess we could have done a little better in our area, but sometimes the week just doesn't go quite as you would hope. We still talked to tons of people, but sometimes they'll be willing to talk for a few moments and give us their phone number, but not really say a prayer or have a lesson but just say, "Call me another day." That has happened a lot this week, along with many of the people we met simply not living in our area. We give out tons of referrals here, but we've been trying to find places where we can talk to lots of people and help our own area more; by finding places where the people who are outside actually live nearby. It's been getting a little better.

When you live basically in the dead center of the city (at least, that's how it feels), you find people who come from all over the place to the center to do "stuff" (literally what they say in Chinese; "I have stuff"). So sometimes, finding people in your own area is hard. Most of the people who have been baptized recently were all referrals given to us, not people we found on the street. But we've got some of those, too.

Our investigator Sister Ju will be baptized next Sunday before church, confirmed during church, then have her temple recommend interview after church, and probably go with us to the temple to do baptisms the following Thursday. Our Recent Converts should be getting ready to go to the temple in a week and a half. We are really excited for them. It's just so cool watching people progress!

This week was rather wet. It rained almost every day. Which wasn't bad; it kept the temperature a little cooler. It just meant that after it finished raining, I was still wet, and my shoes would stay wet for the rest of the day. Not the most comfortable thing in the world... But on Tuesday, we went to a park (大安森林公園) to go hand out fliers for English Class, and it was pouring rain, and at one point we were under a small shelter, talking to two Taiwanese people, and it was thundering and lightning all around us, and all of a sudden there is a flash followed immediately by the sound, and it's extremely loud, and it was probably 200 meters away from us. It was definitely in the park; another sister companionship who was in the park said that they saw the lightning strike in the park (I think it was a light pole). So that was exhilarating...

The mission recently got a new set of Senior Missionaries, Elder and Sister McComber. Actually, they are Sister Jergensen's (the mission president's wife) parents. So, basically their whole family is in Taiwan. But now they teach the Advanced English class instead of us, which leaves us without a job except to sit at the front desk when students come in and to take their information and make sure they go to the right class. So that's fun. We are going to have to find new ways to make this an effective use of our time.

Taiwanese people have this nasty habit of "placing us pigeons" (standing us up). That means they set up a time with us, and then they confirm that time with us, and then they don't come. And that happens way too often. Sometimes, on a daily basis. Lots of people often tell us that they will come to church, too; and then they'll just be like, an hour and a half late, or not come all together. But whatever. After a year of being in Taiwan, I'm pretty used to it.

Also, my companion got in a car crash last Monday. Don't worry; he's almost completely unharmed, aside from a small scratch on his arm from where he hit the road after falling off his bike. Now, the car did not hit him; he hit the car. And did some damage to that car;

The damage he did was to the door; the damage to the front by the light was already there. The driver then called the police. I didn't realize until ten minutes later that that was what we were waiting for. I expected, "swap phone numbers, I'll get it fixed, and give you the price later." Instead, the police were called, then the man blamed us for all the damage (the bike didn't even hit his car, it was Elder Varney's right arm that impacted the right door and that was all), and then the police took us to the station, and then they took everyone's "testimony," and the whole deal lasted five hours and ten minutes and was extremely boring, and the worst thing was that it was our P-Day, so we didn't really have a P-day last week. In the end, the man wasn't really satisfied; I think he thought the police were going to solve his problems, but at the end they literally sent us away saying, "Now you two go handle it. This we'll just put in the files." But whatever. A big fiasco for nothing.

Thought of the Week: Psalm 23.
 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission