Hi everyone! This week has been a week of a lot of random stuff popping out to surprise us, hence the title of this email. Here’s a quick example: this morning the smoke alarm went off at 1:00 AM. Sister Langley and I definitely woke up. Sister Langley stood up, touched the alarm and it stopped beeping…so she opened the door to the bedroom and a faint smell of firecracker wafted through. So we figured some person’s Chinese New Year celebrations had caused the alarm to act up so we called it safe and tried to go back to sleep. Sister Armstrong is the most solid sleeper I have ever met, when the alarm went off she flailed in bed for about 2 seconds and was out like a rock again. But as I was trying to get back to bed she started talking in Chinese in her sleep. So that made for a fun P-Day morning.
In general Chinese New Year hasn’t been too bad, we’re still doing the usual, going about doing the Lord’s work. We’re having to get a little creative though because lots of our activities for the past week or this coming week have been cancelled, from coordination meeting to English class. Luckily we’ve had lots of investigators who are alone for Chinese New Year so it’s a great opportunity to invite them to stuff.
On Tuesday we had a really successful member missionary work class! And Elder Hammond was on exchanges with Elder Coletti so he joined us for the class so that was pretty cool. To Joey’s parents: He is doing great! Even happier than the football kid I knew in high school and a super good teacher.
We are progressing super well with Tina, our English ward investigator. The ward members love her so much and everyone is super duper excited for her baptism on February 25th. She is one of the most converted people I have ever seen. You can see how the gospel has been changing her life in her eyes. She laughs more and talks more. She is more confident. Her prayers are so beautiful, humble, and simple. We might be able to take her to the bishop’s house (Bishop Weddle) for an FHE in the coming week or two so we are super excited for that.
The big event of the week was Friday when all of the mission (except the Taidong zone–the mission couldn’t get them tickets) got together at the chapel to watch the Worldwide Mission Broadcast and have a bit of training. They announced a new missionary schedule where we now don’t have a set time for studies and we just fit it into our schedules during any down time we have. We also have a longer P-Day now! So that’s cool. I loved seeing everyone, the jin hua chapel is basically the mission’s party place (joking, joking!). Plus they gave us Costco pizza! They ordered SO many boxes and we were so grateful because everywhere outside was closed. Sister Vatcher, the mission nurse, gave me her cell phone and I went around taking tons of pictures of people haha. I was mission paparazzi! Check out Facebook for those pics if you have access.
The mission set aside all of Saturday for us to clean our apartments. When we moved apartments in Zhubei, I made a few comments on having to clean up from past sisters’ accumulated junk. But that was NOTHING. The Xinan apartment is a treasure trove of disgusting, laughable, horrible, crazy stuff. We’re going to spend most of P-day continuing to clean it because on Saturday we were able to barely scratch the surface. There was tons of gross old food in the cabinets, such as milk peanut soup, fried gluten with peanuts, really old egg rolls, pineapple cakes, the works. We already have 12 gigantic garbage bags of stuff to throw away. And we’ve barely gotten started on the deep cleaning part. There is caked dirtiness from 12 years’ worth of sister missionaries. There is so much dust on the ceiling fans, I’m sure we’re going to kick up some horrible diseases as we work to get it out. We have other sisters coming in to help us as backup today. Pray for us. Pray for this apartment. I’m pretty sure this apartment is so dirty we’re gonna have to exorcise it or something. It feels like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix where they have to clean up 12 Grimmauld Place. Mouse poop, weevils, cockroaches, smelly old fan guang dais, bags of old flash cards, written-in Book of Mormons, smelly shoes, a Chinese opera Christmas CD, the list goes on.
On Sunday the Jin Hua, Xin an, and Wan da wards met together for sacrament meeting (because so many people were gone for Chinese New Year) and we only had 1-hour church. We then went to attend the English ward (which also only had 1-hour church) with Tina! And we’ve had a lot of member visits this week because they’ve been feeding us for Chinese New Year! Which is cool. The best meal I’ve had this week was actually on Wednesday for lunch where a member took us to an American diner. And I had a BACON CHEESEBURGER. Rediscovering American food is…wow. That was an experience. The most interesting thing I’ve had to eat was this really old, dried plum. Apparently Taiwanese people consider them a delicacy but I thought they tasted like DEATH.
- At English class I taught an 80+ year-old woman named Cai mama some of the colors. Cai mama also happens to be one of our investigators. I also learned how to say Jesus Christ in Taiwanese. My goal is to be able to spout some random Taiwanese phrases when I get home from my mission. (Yes, Taiwanese is a real language and it is pretty amazing.)
- I’ve had a cold. It’s a minor one but it’s kind of annoying.