Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mission Letter 10/19/2015

Dear family and friends,

Last week was so BUSY! Between exchanges and meetings and other things, I had barely any time with my own companion in my own area. On Tuesday to Wednesday, we had an exchange, as well as on Thursday to Friday and Friday to Saturday. Because we have to do so many exchanges, and because the transfer is one week shorter than usual, we have to do several back to back exchanges. So, one of us will come home, and a couple hours later the other one will go out somewhere else. But it's a ton of fun; I get to see a lot of other places and work with a lot of other missionaries. 

I had an exchange with Luzhou this week, and got to be with an Elder from my MTC District for a week. It was a ton of fun! We were roommates in the MTC. It was a lot of fun to talk about how the mission has been going so far, how much we've changed, etc. Doing missionary work together was a lot of fun. Of the two of us in our MTC district, we were the two who had never learned Chinese before, and so it's really quite miraculous how comfortable we are now, walking together down the street, talking to random people in Chinese. Sometimes I think about it, and it's amazing to me how the language has come. Conversational, that is; start talking about jazz or engineering and I'll be completely lost again. 

I've seemed to come to a rather large barricade in the language; there are so many characters. I've been learning many of them, and I was on a roll for a little bit, but then I went back and started reviewing, and now I'm stuck on the same ones, over and over again, and lost the general push and desire to memorize because they're just not sticking. Learning to read and write Chinese is like learning a whole new language on top of learning to speak. I think it's harder than learning to speak. Yes, it's definitely harder. There are so many words that are pronounced the same but written differently! Written communication is still a work in progress.

The Zone Sister Training Leaders as well as us met together with the Stake President this week, to correlate the Stake's hopes and aspirations and help the missionaries in the zone work to accomplish those goals. We learnt that they've already applied to split the Stake. If it is approved by Church Headquarters, they'll take two stakes, in essence combine them and then split them into three. There will be some branches becoming wards here in Taipei (it's hard to imagine we still have any branches in this large city), and it's all really just exciting. So, it's not like the missionaries here are currently working toward a goal (because the deed's already been done), but they do not know that the goal existed or has already been met. So we'll hopefully use that as motivation for people. 

This past week we also went to a member's home and held family home evening, and she invited a less active to come. And our member that we invited to come with us to this member's home (because we can't visit a female without another male) brought a nonmember friend, so that was awesome, too! We had a fun family home evening, taught about patience and the Atonement, and then ate some of the best things on earth:

AUSTRALIAN MEAT PIES. This sister in the picture served a mission in Australia, and returned about 1 year ago (she's been baptized a little over three years). So she shares my love for meat pies, and she knew we were coming, so somehow she found a guy who sells them, and she cooked them for us. DELICIOUS.

This coming week is promising to be just as busy as last week. It's going to be a party again. I hope all is going well back home and in the ward! Thank you to all those who send me emails and letters! Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission