Sunday, January 10, 2016

Mission Letter 1/11/2016 The Six Month-er

Dear family and friends,

My zone leader, Elder Roe, called me this morning. He went on a mission the same time I did, and we were in the same MTC district. He had some very urgent news, so he called at what is typically a more inopportune time. I answered, and he basically yelled at me over the phone, "Happy one year and six months mark two days ago!" A pleasant reminder that I'm an old man, as we call them on a mission. The sisters who came on missions with us have gone home, and this Saturday marks the beginning of my last six months in Taiwan. It's been a blast, though.

The only three-half-asian tripanionship has been having a ton of fun this past week! We've had a ton of appointments and many dinners with members (which is atypical of the rest of my mission, I've never had too many dinner appointments). It's been awesome meeting so many cool people and also getting to know the ward members. This ward is pretty small; it split a year ago, and it seems like they're still trying to get their footing. All the ward members are pretty close to each other, so sometimes bring people to church includes dragging people apart. But that's fun. 

​CAPTION: The trio at the same bridge you got a picture of last week. I need to repent and take more pictures, but this is the only one from this week that had all three of us in it.

We met with this super cool kid last week, his uncle's family are all members, but he's not. He's here in Taipei studying university, and eats at his uncle's house frequently, and the missionary's also go there on Sunday nights to eat, so that's how he met them, and then he got referred to us. So we've started teaching him, and he's super willing to do all the things we asked him to. He's 18 years old (it's interesting, teaching people the same age we are. In a way, as a missionary, you feel "ageless," like it's a number but it doesn't represent anything. We'll be meeting with him again tonight, so that should be fun. 

We also had zone meeting this past week. There's been some super big changes, worldwide; for one, there is a new them for missionary work, direct from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: what they want us to focus on is to "Teach Repentance and Baptize Converts." Five simple words, specifically chosen and ordered. Missionaries are to focus on helping people truly repent, and be actually prepared for baptism (way too often are people baptized and immediately thereafter stop coming to church). Baptizing converts is focusing on people who have already been converted and baptism is the outward expression of such a commitment, as opposed to the process of being baptized as a formality and then continuing to try to attain conversion. I think it's a really cool sentence, and we've been applying it a lot more in missionary work. 

Another really big change is that from now on, the missions (worldwide) will not hold transfer meetings, but instead, when we're transferring, we'll receive a phone call giving us our new companion, new area, and a phone number, and then we'll simply get on a train or a bus and travel there alone to meet our new companion. So there will be occasions where we won't have a companion. That's going to be super strange feeling. But, they want us to have more time in our areas, less distractions,  more hard work. So that's fun.

Other than that, the week has been about the same as other weeks. We had some LA's come to church. Of the 3 baptismal interviews I've done in the past week, 2 are baptized and one is getting baptized this week. Hopefully our own area will start to see some baptisms here in the near future. 

Life is good! I'm happy, satisfied, enjoying the work. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission