Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mission Letter 10/5/2015

Dear family and friends,

This week was awesome! A crazy, crazy week, but really good.

We started the week with a typhoon. We were once again required to stay inside during the evening hours. While the storm was pretty windy and rainy during the day, it got pretty crazy at 5 PM, so we were outside enjoying our P-Day until then. We ate lunch with some missionaries and members at a restaurant, and we sat and ate outside under a small pavilion. It was quite a once in a lifetime experience, devouring fried chicken in a typhoon. 

As we were returning home, we first took the Metro to the stop closest to our house (we were considering biking home from the church where we spent our Preparation Day, until we took one step outside and realized what the weather was really like). Then, as we ascended the escalator, the wind got stronger and stronger until we emerged from the exit. There were ceiling panels missing, wind gusting all over the place. So, naturally, we stepped straight outside and started heading for home. One man at the exit told us, "Wow, you're so brave!" To which we responded, "Want to come with us? It's only going to get worse." To which he agreed to accompany us.

About 1 minute into the journey, down comes this rotten board of wood from overhead, missing him by a couple feet and slamming into a car about six feet away from us. The same gust of wind snapped my name tag right off of my pocket and threw it thirty feet in another direction. There was no chance of finding it then; it was too dangerous to stay where we were. We took another alleyway that ran perpendicular to the wind direction. Another gust blew all the plates and glass cups onto the floor of every restaurant on the street (so we heard a whole bunch of glass breaking). But, we eventually made it home and bunkered up for the night. By the next morning, the whole typhoon had passed. As we returned to the church the way we had come the day before, we found my name tag, a whole couple streets away from where I had lost it. Now, that made me happy.

We had transfers, and my new companion is super awesome! His name is Elder Okeson. I'm not sure where he's from exactly; the longest his family has ever stayed in one place is Michigan, for 8 years, a long time ago, and now his family lives in China, and has been there for the past 8 years. But now he's here in Central Taipei, after spending most of his mission in very rural little places. He's been out on his mission just one transfer longer than I have, and he's awesome! I'm so excited for the coming transfer or two.

Because my former companion is training this transfer as well, he had meetings for a day, and I went on a temporary exchange--with Elder Welch, one of my friends from High School! That was awesome. I totally pulled some strings to get that one to happen; and by pulled some strings, I mean I asked the Assistant's and they were like, sure. So it wasn't that hard, but we had a party for a day.

We had Mission Leadership Council this week. President Jergensen is a mimimalist. He says, focus on just a few things but to do them like a Jedi Master. Now, that's just me putting words in his mouth, but that's the gist of things. So, formerly, our mission would track 28 key indicators on a weekly basis (and submit a report on things like lessons, how many Book of Mormons we gave out, how many baptisms, member visits, or new investigators we had, etc.), but now we will track 10 things. So that will be fun, and make counting up all those things much easier. SUPER EXCITING! President Jergensen is awesome. He's an awesome man. And an excellent Misison President. 

This week met a Brother Hu and Sister Zhang, and they are super awesome! We ran into them on the street on our way home one night. They are both exchange students studying in Taiwan for one semester. They are actually from China, and for the most part don't know about church. But the cool part? They want to know about church. So we invited them to the chapel to come do a temple tour (which is basically a tour of the chapel that's next door and a lesson about Christ). So they came, and were really touched by the story of Christ, and the concept of forgiveness. She said that because in China they are taught there is no God, it's hard for her to grasp the concept, but by the end she was somewhat weeping because she must have something in her life that's a little hard. But we're super excited to keep meeting with them and help them prepare for baptism before they go back to China. We gave them copies of the Book of Mormon (in simplified Chinese characters), and they basically started reading it instantly. It was so cool! Such a big miracle. 

And that was basically this week. Awesome! I am really excited for the coming couple of weeks, too. We will probably have tons of meetings this week as well. So, fun. 

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission