It’s kind of sad that we saw some signs on our hike last P-Day that said “no hunting” and “no campfires” because we are literally hunting for investigators and we just happen to be lighting Yuli on FIRE.
We are also starting to feel like we are on fire physically as it is finally starting to get hot in Taiwan a little bit. Everyone I came on the island with has never experienced a true Taiwan summer yet, so we are super duper nervous. Humidity is not fun. This is the hottest part of the island too! We’re a little bit luckier in Yuli since it’s a smaller town, but the people in Hualian and Taidong are in bigger cities so the car exhaust adds to the sweltering heat even more. Benefits of being in a little town where fewer people own cars!
We’ve spent the past week on Cloud 9 as we got to go on exchanges in Hualien city with the Sister Training Leaders and as we got to watch General Conference over the weekend. We’ve also had a rather strange time working with our investigators!
Oh yeah, so our landlord (as in the landlord of both our house AND of the chapel) is currently on a 10-day trip to Greece and Dubai. So while his family is gone we get to water his plants, get his mail, and, best of all, feed his fish!
On Thursday/Friday we went up to Hualian for exchanges! My trainer, Sister Apsley, is currently one of the STLs. I didn’t get to go with her, but it was still an awesome exchange. I got to go with Sister Austad, who is from Arizona and is absolutely AWESOME! We had some crazy encounters during the exchange.
First we went to this park which we shall deem “Crazy Old People Park.” As we were walking into the park we said hi to this random guy and had a short conversation before he walked away. So then we started talking to this cute little amah (grandma). But then the first guy came back and shoved these books for his religion into our hands and started trying to preach to us.
We eventually were able to fend him off but we still had the books he gave to us, so we found ourselves in a rather interesting predicament. We couldn’t just give the books to someone else, we couldn’t leave them sitting on the bench where someone else cold find them, and we couldn’t just throw them away because garbage cans aren’t really a thing in Taiwanese parks. So we…hid the books in the bushes! Nothing like immortalizing this act of defiance in pictures.
We ate dinner with Sister Bernhardt and Sister Apsley and it was a big happy group of fun times. I got to catch up with Sister Apsley with all the cool stuff that’s happened since training. She is doing awesome in Hualian! When we were in Zhubei we all predicted that she would come to Hualian and be STL and our predictions came true!
That night we went to visit one of the STL’s investigators but she wasn’t home. There was a little note they had stuck on her door a few days ago that was still there so we figured she had gone on a trip or something. So we knocked all the doors in her building! To make it more fun we caroled to everyone, even if they didn’t answer the door. As we went up through the building, Sister Austad decided to climb up the last flight, at the top of which was an eerie red light. I was a little bit cautious as I thought it would probably be a lit up shrine or something (which lots of Taiwanese people keep in their houses.) But from the top of the staircase Sister Austad got really excited and said, “wow you have to come up here and see this!”
So we went towards the eerie red light and we found out that it wasn’t a shrine at all, but the roof of the building! The light was coming from a glowing neon sign from the hotel across the street. So we had a fun time taking some pictures, it felt like west side story or something!
The exchange ended the next day with us trying to do a “pinggu” or evaluation of the exchange in a 7/11 when this creepy guy sat down next to us. He was hitting on Sister Austad and said “Let’s talk. Are you married?” Along with a bunch of other dumb questions and statements. Life is hard when you’re a young, blonde, Caucasian girl in Taiwan!
The past few weeks we had been trying to meet with this potential investigator named Tian jie mei. Before I came down to Yuli, Sister Bernhardt and her other companion had taught her a really cool lesson on repentance in a convenience store. It moved her a ton and she apparently cried and everything.
As we were taking the train back from exchanges, Tian jie mei called us and was said, “hey I can meet with you guys right now!” We were grinning with joy because of our good luck and hastily scheduled to meet her at the 7/11. And as soon as we got off that train we basically sprinted back to our bikes so we could get there in time.
As we arrived, sweaty and panting into the 7/11, Tian jie mei was there which was super awesome but then, to our surprise, she said “I want to give you guys some homemade bread. Let me go get it.” So she just LEFT THE STORE and made us wait for an entire hour. Huh? (Don’t worry, we made our time productive by trying to begin our Weekly Planning Session which would normally be taking place around that same time.) And then she came back in with some frozen, rock-solid balls of gross-looking bread. And then as we tried to teach her we found ourselves trying to meet with the most closed-off person of all time. As we were trying to share about the savior her face and her heart were completely closed off. And whenever we tried to ask her questions, she would interrupt the flow of the lesson by saying weird things like “I have no time to meet. I am moving to Taipei and I do not know when I will be back.” or “Tomorrow we will be moving our work to another place in Yuli.”
And then as we were trying to finish up she cut us off and walked out of the store. We were left with no idea of what the heck had just happened. Our mouths were wide open and we just looked at each other for a second and then went on with our WPS.
We also met with another new investigator this week who we think only wants to try and sell us Mary Kay makeup. We will update you on that–as we met with her in another convenience store she literally brought all her Mary Kay stuff with her, but she didn’t have any time to go into her spiel about it because we taught her about prayer and how God loves her family! And we set up with her again. We are hoping that the gospel touched her heart enough in the first meeting that she won’t be motivated to sell makeup to us the next time we meet with her.
I LOVED general conference! We watched it with the elders in the Branch President’s office. We had one investigator come to it, too! Our 13-year-old chen zhi yun.
It’s been a fun week. Listen to those general conference talks over and over again, take some notes, make some goals to change your life based on it. It works!
Sister Anne Watson