Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mission Letter 9/7/2015

Dear Family and Friends,

It was a most wonderful week! Not a ton happened, and I'm not quite sure where all the time went. It always feels like we're so busy, and at other times it feels like we've got absolutely nothing to do but go outside and walk/bike around talking to people for hours upon hours, but then before you know it, it's the end of the week. And especially as zone leaders, we have to follow up and then report on every missionary companionship in the zone, and it's then you realize, wow, I haven't talked to these people since last week. Whoops. Probably should have called them like, once.

We had the wonderful opportunity this week of taking one of our Recent Converts, Brother Li, to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for the first time! Because the temple isn't necessarily always busy, you have to schedule in advance to attend baptisms. Normally, the font is drained, but when you schedule they fill it up; they also don't like to fill it up for just one or two people; they prefer to have at least five. 

So last Sunday, we told Brother Li to plan on Tuesday night, since because of his work schedule, that's the only time in the near future where he would be able to attend. So we started about scheduling it with the temple. We only got in contact with the temple Tuesday afternoon, so it was from that moment on a scramble to find other people to attend with us (because now it was confirmed). So we called Brother Li to confirm him, but then he didn't answer his phone. Until about an hour before we were supposed to go to the temple. We also found another companionship with an RC that they could take to the temple. After dealing with that, we went to some other appointments before our scheduled time.

So when we finally came back, our RC was dressed in street clothes, shorts, and nike's. I took one look at him and thought, "Are we going to take him into the temple like that?" Apparently, he didn't realize we were going to the temple tonight; he thought we were just meeting with him. But anyway; we took him inside. In Utah, if you went into the temple like that, people would give you the strangest looks. But in Taiwan, I guess they're more used to the "new member" "I didn't know better" culture. So, we were able to do baptisms. But because we were only able to find 2 RC's instead of the desired 5, each of them were baptized and confirmed 20 times. Yes. Many times.

While we were there, another companionship of sisters brought their Recent Convert, a certain Filipino lady. She thought that it was tons of fun. Sometimes she came back up out of the water giggling, saying, "This is fun!" One time she told the guy baptizing her, "You're so strong." It was somewhat humorous.

It was also really cool for the baptizer. When he originally came to the temple, he had planned on doing Endowments. But then, after he had gotten changed, the temple workers asked for volunteers to do Initiatories. So he volunteered. After he had gotten changed, the temple workers once again were looking for a volunteer to come do the baptizing, because my companion and I were being the witnesses. So he volunteered again and changed his clothes for the third time. But while he was doing the baptisms, he saw a name that he recognized; his grandfather's grandfather. He had given the names to the temple because there were too many for him to do himself, and then that night, he had the opportunity to perform the ordinance for one of them. It was a really cool experience; we were all really touched.

Sister Ju, who was baptized last week, went to the US this week. She went to visit her boyfriend who lives in Arizona. She'll be gone for a little while, but when she comes back near the end of this month, we're going to help her get ready to go to the temple, too.

On another note, I don't teach English anymore. The English unit leader said it's because there are too many teachers and there's not a class for us to teach anymore, but I personally think it's because my English has gotten progressively worse and worse. When we got a senior missionary couple about a month ago (President Jergensen's in-laws), they took over our class and left us without anything to do. So now we just don't attend. But that's okay; we were running out of ideas of what to teach. It was getting very hard.

We also have a little ten year old kid named Nathan who is getting baptized next week! He passed his interview yesterday. He's so cool. His parents are both members (divorced, and now he lives with his Mom who is actually active). His Mom just returned from Canada; before that, he was living with his grandparents. So, now he's being introduced to church by his Mom, and next week he's getting baptized! We're so excited for him. He's a cool little kid.

Things are all going pretty good! It's always like, where does the time go? The transfer is drawing to an end, and I will (almost definitely) have a new companion. I will probably take over the area (making this the first time I stay in an area for more than three months) and will probably have to train a new zone leader. But anyway. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission