Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mission Letter 1/18/2016

Dear family and friends,

This week was quite the adventure. We went from being a tripanionship to being two companionships (we have a member serving a mini-mission for a couple weeks, he showed up on Thursday), it rained for most of the week, and we were very wet. But it was super fun going out and preaching the good word of God to the masses. We're still trying to figure out the best way to do missionary work in this area. Every area has its own challenges, and here it seems to be a couple of things. 1) Everyone we meet thinks the church is too far away (everyone in Taiwan seems to think that if it takes more than 25 minutes, it's like traveling to a foreign country), and 2) There aren't nearly as many people on the streets here as in my last area. So we're trying now to find a balance between walking down streets and knocking on doors. 

We started on Monday with Preparation Day. It was raining so hiking was out of the question. But we were trying to build District Unity by going out and doing an activity together. So I (as the District Leader here) decided we'd go ice skating at this facility I'd been to previously. So we went, and after a 20 minute Metro ride, arrived at the building. It was fenced off, and the inside was being gutted, and probably knocked down. That made me pretty sad. So we went to Costco instead. Tried many samples, American food made my stomach happy, and then we bought muffins for future breakfasts. We also ate dinner there.

​My District, from left: Sister Lu (visa waiting for the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission), Elder Bellingham (Zone Leader), myself, Elder Griffin (half-Taiwanese comp), Elder Falck (half-Taiwanese trainee), Elder Roe (Zone Leader), and Sister Maxwell (Sister Lu's trainer). 

During District Meeting, Elder Roe shared a scripture that truly well describes what it means to have true intent. We so often hear the words, "sincere heart and real intent," and I really like that real intent means "If you get an answer, you will actually go and do it." The background of this scripture is the people of Ammon, considering moving to the land of the Nephites. They're all afraid to go, because they fear the Nephites will destroy them. But Ammon asks them this question, in Alma 27:

 7 And Ammon said: I will go and inquire of the Lord, and if he say unto us, go down unto our brethren, will ye go?

That's real intent. Deciding beforehand, will we go? If we receive the answer, will we go? Are we willing to do? 

This week was a little harder. We had a lot of people set up early in the week, and then cancel later in the week. But we're working hard on building up our area. We whitewashed (which means both the elders coming into the area weren't living there before), so sometimes it feels like starting from scratch. It was fate that as I was trained, thus I trained. Meaning, when I was trained, we whitewashed or opened an area, and now that it's my turn to train, we did the same.

We had an investigator miraculously show up at church. Missionaries had met with her twice before I moved into this area, and since we'd gone to visit her once, but she wasn't exactly welcoming or willing to talk or let us in. She wouldn't set up a time to visit over the phone, so I'd almost given up hope on her. But yesterday she showed up to Sacrament meeting, and after church said, "You can come visit me this Tuesday afternoon." So we set up a time with her this week, and we're super excited to continue helping her develop faith, repent, and prepare to be baptized.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission