Peng jie mei got confirmed a member of the Church on Sunday. We had an 83-year-old investigator in Xinan named Cai mama who also got baptized/confirmed this past week. There is a lady named Xie jie mei from Beitou (that I taught twice) who also got baptized this past week.
This week we had interviews in Hualian! It mostly ended up being a chill-with-Sister-Jergensen-and-the-Taidong-missionaries session as other people were getting interviewed. And in the end I basically only got like a 2-minute interview from President because our train was about to leave, but I told him we are doing great in Yuli and there’s nothing to worry about!
I got such a cute little picture/note from the Stake President’s family in Xinzhu and it was so, so cute. I also got the bowl I made in Yingge a couple months ago. It seems to have shrunk in the kiln but other than that I think it looks killer.
We are in Taidong for P-Day and my time in the internet cafe is about up so that’s it for this week! Love you all!
Sister Anne Watson
We added a little bit of time on our internet cafe computers (literally 50 cents in American money) so I can add a couple more things. This week we hit our halfway mark on the mission (if you don’t count the extra 3 weeks past our MTC entrance date). How crazy is that? I don’t know how time has been going for all of you but it has just been flying for me. Going faster and faster every week.
Questions from Mom
How are the bugs in southern Taiwan? The mosquito last week was gross.
It’s not too bad actually. At least, inside our apartment is pretty nice! They sprayed the chapel for bugs the other day and it still smells pretty bad. The elders have it a lot less lucky than us. Sister Jergensen was telling us in interviews on Thursday that the worst place to live in Taiwan is on the first floor of an apartment building because that’s where it’s the easiest for bugs to get in. The elders live in a little cottage thing and I swear every night when we talk to them on the phone they’re freaking out over some huge specimen.
The mosquitoes on the east coast are KILLER though. They have these barely-visible black mosquitoes (xiao hei wen) and if we don’t wear mosquito repellent they will eat our legs to death in the first 10 minutes of being outside. Poor Sister Richards (who I was in the MTC with) is allergic to them. But when we remember to put on bug repellent it’s all right (maybe send some more in a birthday package?)
Any other cool animal life in Yuli?
This will be a wonderful occasion to talk about the dying dog!
Our neighbor has a 15-year-old husky that is so ancient he can barely walk. But the dog still loves to explore around and smell everything like all dogs do, so the owner will take him on “scoots.” Literally he will drag the dog through the streets and pull him out of the way of oncoming traffic. This dog is so crusty and prehistoric that his legs can barely keep his butt off the ground. The dog will sometimes pee in the street and then he really CAN’T keep his butt off the ground and a pool of pee will just accumulate around his legs.
At the beginning of the transfer we would be doing studies and we would hear this weird sound like a throaty bird call. We would think, “Wow, Yuli really has some cool bird life” but then we found out that the sound was actually the dying dog making his weird dying noises.
Other than that there’s just a ton of other weird dogs and cats that seem to have overtaken the town and sometimes scare us away from going down certain streets. It’s pretty cool because yesterday we were knocking doors really quick and we were prevented from going down this street because of a bunch of scary-looking dogs. So we went a different way and found one of our English class students (a 10-year-old boy) playing on the street. And he led us to his home and we are teaching his family tonight! So that is cool.
Do you think that you will stay in Yuli this next transfer?
Guarantee it. They very rarely keep people in areas for only one transfer, with the east coast even rarer since the rest of the mission is so dang far away.
Has it been HOT yet?
It’s actually been really nice and rather chilly this past week! The heat will be coming in full force soon though. I’m scared. But at least our apartment has nice air conditioning so no worries there!
How do the missionaries in Taiwan help those who have been recently baptized stay active in the church?
Unfortunately, there are many less-active members. We visit and fellowship them but we also rely on ward or branch members to help them out.
We’ve been running into a lot of Caucasian people since there are more tourists in the summer. It’s super weird actually. We ran into this Australian man at a 7/11 and after talking for a little bit we found out he was a former Presbyterian minister. Sister Bernhardt is a really bold missionary and started discussing the Bible with him and invited him to read the Book of Mormon. He said he had read it and gave a baloney historical answer as to why he didn’t think it was true. We don’t think he’s ever actually read it (and if he has, it wasn’t with real intent.) But Sister Bernhardt was able to talk his ear off and stump him quite a few times until he said he had to leave.
And as much as I don’t recommend repeating that experience, it was a real testimony builder for me and I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is Jesus Christ’s church on the earth. There was one point where this Australian minister said that he believed that our souls didn’t exist before conception. He also went off about how he only reads the Bible and I thought about Jeremiah 1:5 (although I didn’t get the chance to share it at all.)
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
I know that we are eternal spirits who existed both before this life and will continue to exist after this life. The Australian minister had a problem with prophets because they lead the church for us, but wow, I definitely know our Prophet is called of God! Even though our church has its own explanation of many scriptures, I love how we don’t rely on clergy to interpret scriptures for us, and we are encouraged to read them on our own.
I am so thankful that we have the Gift of the Holy Ghost as well. I am so thankful that Peng jie mei was able to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, thereby completing her baptism. I have confidence that her gospel knowledge will shoot through the roof in a few short months. It is truly wonderful how this is what she has been searching for all her life–you can just tell that the gospel satisfies her so much. She is the very definition of a person who lays up treasures in Heaven and has found the “living water” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I also tried stinky tofu for the first time this week and it literally tasted like manure. For some reason, Yuli is really famous for its stinky tofu and there’s this one restaurant where a ton of people are always hanging outside of waiting for their “fresh manure.” Wouldn’t recommend it. I also tried eggplant and it wasn’t bad but wasn’t worth the time it took to chew.