Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mission Letter 9/28/2015

Dear family and friends,

It's been a wonderful week! There isn't any especially large news that really happened, aside from the fact that even now as I write this email, there is a typhoon hurling around us. Well, the strong part hasn't hit yet, but there's been rain and some wind gusts. Today could be pretty fun.

This past week was a little harder; First off, we got "fanged" a lot, which means a lot of people set up an appointment with us, and then later cancelled or didn't show up. My favorite instance from this past week was an investigator who we'd set up about a week ago, then we called the night before to confirm, she told us she was really excited to meet with us and go to the church and see what it was like and learn about this religion, and then next morning about three hours before the appointment, she cancelled. But that's okay; we're still living. If all the people we have set up for the next week go through, we should have an extremely busy week. We have a ton of appointments and not enough time almost.

All of our investigators are currently in the beginning stages of learning; they've only had one or two lessons, and have quite a ways to go before they can be baptized, but we're really excited to help them. The only sad thing is when you have an investigator who after a while just stops answering your phone calls and doesn't reply to your texts. It happens all the time, that someone will just completely disappear. Currently, we reported on six investigators during our last Coordination meeting with our Ward Mission Leader. Of all the missionaries in the ward, there are currently 18 investigators that we are meeting with in total. Some newer, some from longer ago, etc. But then in Priesthood meeting, our Ward Mission Leader announced that "the missionaries promised us that by the end of next month we can have 18 baptisms." Now, I'm not being too critical, but a lot of people won't make it all the way through the system, or they won't make it fast enough. But, I guess we have a goal now for our ward. So far this year, the ward has had 19 baptisms. And now, our Ward Mission Leader is trying to get at least 30 by the end of the year. We have work to do.

However, we were able to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead this past week, and take two of our Recent Converts to the temple for the first time. It's always a cool opportunity to go to the temple, and especially take those who have recently be baptized; giving them a chance to start seeing some of the other ordinances of the gospel. Our Mission President has a really big goal right now of all RC's going to the temple within 30 days of their baptism, so that's what's been a big focus here.

This week is the Mid Autumn Festival here in Taiwan. And for some reason, it's a big deal. I'm not sure what its origin is, I'm not sure most Taiwanese people know what its origin is, but they're just happy because they get a three day vacation (the weekend and Monday), which is very uncommon in Taiwan (people here work A TON and get paid way little). But for some reason, during this festival, all the people go out and barbecue meat. They don't do BBQ much during the year, except during this festival, almost everyone is out on the streets with their little grills and sausages and other cuts of meat. The whole family is there, and it's really quite a sight. We went contacting a couple of families who were out BBQ'ing, and they didn't really care about religion but we got a couple of sausages out of it. (People in Taiwan really are very nice.)

RUSSIANS! And by that, I mean yesterday, right after we finished dinner, someone found us and was like, "There are two foreigners here, they want to know about the church, they speak English but not Chinese." So we went to find who these people were that wanted a tour of the church. Turns out, it's this nice old Russian couple who says, "We don't have many churches in Russia, so we wanted to learn more about this church and how it helps people, especially like, what morals it teaches." They didn't have much time, but we gave them a short tour and explained simply a few things and gave them a copy of the Book of Mormon in Russian (the only copy in the entire building, which was on display in a cabinet showing all the different languages that the Book of Mormon is translated into). They took our contact information but weren't really willing to give us theirs. Hopefully they read it and find missionaries again.

Transfers will be this Thursday. The missionaries will be coming, and I'm not moving, but my companion is leaving and training, so I'll have someone new soon. Exciting! And a little nerve wracking, too. I hope I get a good new Zone Leader companion. 

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission