Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mission Letter 3/28/2016

Dear family and friends,

This week has been super...interesting. Perhaps one of the longest, most tedious, weeks of my mission. As missionaries, in Taiwan especially, we are used to getting rejected a decent amount, but we are also used to frequent success in street contacting, setting up lessons, and teaching the gospel. Unlike many missions in the world which have seemingly stagnated, stuck in an everlasting tracting phase, we are blessed in Taiwan to serve in a place where people are usually willing to talk to us, for the most part. 

But this past week was so rough. Rejection upon rejection upon no one wanting to give us even 5 seconds. It gets old when the only thing you say to people is, "Hello! How are you?" for hours, and the only response you get from everyone walking by is, "不用," (bu yong) which basically means, "No." Translated literally it comes out to "No use." I'll explain more after the following picture:

​CAPTION: Me wearing the most stylish face mask you've ever seen, along with my companion at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, close to the Taiwan Taipei Temple. Pretty cool. Super big.

This week, my companion and I decided to clear out our investigator pool. There were several "eternal investigators" (people who have met with missionaries for long periods of time without progression) that we met with for the last time this week. We did such a good job of dropping non-progressing investigators, that we have almost no investigators left. 

That left us with bounteous periods of finding time. Most days this week, we had over five hours of walking up and down streets. Now, Sanxia, while tons and tons of people live here, it's not a big place. Most of the buildings here are 14-26 stories tall, and house hundreds of units and thousands of people. So you'll most likely never run into the same people, but it's not like there is that much variety in finding, either. 

First off, this past Friday marked the first day of sun after a 35 day streak of daily rain. At least, that's what I've heard. Feels about right, though.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were super rough. In total, we had 19 hours on the street, talking to people, and in total had one person actually have a lesson with us on the street. That was rough, because that means the rest of the time was just waving at people busily walking by us without stopping. 

That much time with that little result leaves one thinking, what am I doing here? Am I doing something wrong? Are the people just a "hardened people?" Are we in the wrong place? Why is this week so different from every other week?

That's about this week in a nutshell. Too much thinking about everything, over analyzing, and not much getting done. 

Until Sunday night. We saw so many big miracles on Sunday night. It started at 7 PM, when we ran into the wife and children of one of our investigators, Brother Lin. He is the one who has been looking for the truth for 25 years. The whole family is Christian, but because of some things that happened at their last church, their pastor didn't welcome them anymore. And when they left, none of the members went looking for them, or anything. And then they met us. The husband has slowly been having all of his questions answered by the gospel. It's amazing how long God has been preparing their family. And now that they've run into their special set of circumstances, the time is right for them as a family to get to know the gospel. The wife has some awesome questions, too, that the gospel answers. We will meet with the whole family this Tuesday, at the Bishop's home. We're super excited.

Sunday night at 8PM, we met with a referral that another set of Elders contacted in Banqiao. His name is Ricky. Turns out, he had a friend in Junior High that was a Mormon and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon. One of his ex-girlfriends was also Mormon, and he's been to church a few times, activities a few times, and the Taiwan Temple Grounds a few times. He is so prepared to hear the gospel, it's not even funny. He got fellowshipped really well by the members who attended the lesson with us, he has a baptismal date goal, and is super willing to keep learning. I'm confident that he too, will get baptized. 

So, after a week that felt like it was a total failure, it turned out to be one of the most miraculous weeks of my mission. I am confident that both Brother Lin and his family, as well as Jacky will get baptized in the next two months. And I am so excited. Because I know how the gospel will bless their lives.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I sure will!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission