This week has been an interesting week filled with ups and downs. Gao jm (高春慧）and her family did not, sadly, come to church this week. Her mother is currently having health problems so sometimes they go and visit the village where she lives. So we haven’t had the opportunity to meet as much with her this week, but we did teach her the ten commandments. And as we went to see why she didn’t come to church yesterday, we taught her about fasting.
We are for sure going to have fun with the word of wisdom this week because if there’s anything we shouldn’t do, her family does it! Bin lang, smoking, alcohol, it’s all in the books. For her the biggest problem will probably be bin lang. We are getting xin jie mei to accompany our lesson because she also had Word of Wisdom problems once. Plus they are both from Taiwanese tribes (as in, not of Chinese ancestry) so we think they will get along super well.
In general, I love gao jm so much and she is definitely among the reasons I came down here to Yuli. I love how she just absorbs everything we teach her and I know she tries really hard to accept it all and apply it even though she is definitely not perfect. In our lessons I normally crack open my Book of Mormon and we just flip through it like fire, hopping from scripture to scripture all over the place because not only does she handle it, but she loves it!
For P-Day last week we went and saw Dragon Boat races because this week was 端午節, or the Dragon Boat Festival! I found out that the holiday has less to doe with actual dragon boat races and more with ancestor veneration and everyone giving each other this rice jello stuff wrapped in leaves. But as we were at the dragon boat races they had some Taiwanese tribal dancing groups do traditional dances in traditional outfits. There are lots of different tribes in Taiwan and our members/investigators come from lots of different tribes.
This transfer I have had the special privilege of being the “English Unit Leader,” a funny little calling where I basically am supposed to manage the English classes in our area…I think. We have the Ruisui class and the Yuli class. At the beginning of the transfer I was super worried because our attendance in the Ruisui class was down to 3 and the Yuli class down to 2.
this week we were truly blessed to have 6 people at the Ruisui class and 8 people at the Yuli English class. I am SO THANKFUL because I know that this is a miracle straight from heaven because I don’t feel like I’ve done much. Also because my companion is really good at making calls and inviting potentials to class.
….And Naughty Kids
In our Yuli class we were even able to separate the students into 2 classes. We taught a kids class with 2 moms and 3 kids. One of the moms is named Fish. She is kind of notorious in Yuli as a perpetual investigator. Her son is named Diego. Sister Bernhardt had told me some horror stories about Diego peeing on the piano but he seemed pretty tame this time even though he was super energetic.
At first he had just showed up into the chapel by himself and started running around and getting all the toys out. The elders were like “hey you can’t be here unless you have a parent with you” but he just ignored them. At least his mom showed up a couple minutes later.
Even naughtier than Diego is the son of our investigator Pan jm named Rui Tang (瑞堂）. He is one of the most energetic kids I have ever seen that will just get up right into your face and yell at you and grab your face if you are not paying attention to him/playing with him. Our last couple lessons with Pan jm had been pretty hectic but as we visited her this week her son was out at a friend’s house. The lesson began so far so good. Pan jm is coming along, but slowly because she seems to have some form of depression that has sapped the energy out of her life. The first time we met with her I had no idea whether she was absorbing anything we said. But this time she started asking some questions and talking a little bit.
And we led the discussion to baptism and we were right about to put out the invite when Rui Tang burst through the door and proceeded to be his usual, crazy self. So our baptismal invite wasn’t quite as…reverent as we had hoped it would be but she accepted anyways haha.
….AND THE NAUGHTIEST OF KIDS
This week I had a run-in with the naughtiest kids in the entire world. They are the granddaughters of a semi-active member in our ward. They had come to church a couple times and poked me a lot during sacrament meeting, but this week we visited them in their home with the Relief Society President to do visiting teaching. They laughed like demons and were latching onto my hair and pulling with all their might, so as Tang jie mei was meeting with our less-active friend I was, for lack of a better word, screaming and screaming and every time I pushed them away they kept coming back. And their Grandma was screaming at them as they were screaming at me and I was just…screaming. It was fun. And as they left the house they followed us screaming “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!” I was glad to get out of that place.
One Corner of the Earth
This week we went to visit a potential investigator in Fu Yuan, a place that kind of counts as Ruisui but it’s even more “out there.” The whole theme of the town is butterflies because there’s this giant butterfly resort up in the mountains. So we got off at the Fu Yuan train station and we found out that our potential investigator lived really close to the butterfly resort. So we walked for an hour in the Taiwanese heat until we finally got right up to the mountains. It was really pretty but oh so hot. But apparently not too hot, because when it’s hot in Taiwan you feel like you’re going to melt into a sticky gross puddle of sweat.
We got a little bit lost and may have almost gotten attacked by some dogs but we eventually made it to our potential’s house.
It was definitely not what we were expecting! We called her and she told us to walk up this path that had this big Buddhist statue and we came to this giant, unfinished Buddhist temple. And then we made it to her house.
We found out that this lady was only living in the house for a few months until her family was packing up and leaving for another family to come in. Her and her husband basically manage this 3-building complex consisting of their home, the Buddhist temple, and then this blue building with several floors where they take care of no less than 300 abandoned/homeless dogs. It’s all part of the Buddhist sect they are a part of or something.
She told us this story about how there was this rich man who had mostly built the temple, but then he ran out of money so he gave it to their church/sect. The inside was GIGANTIC. It was ridiculous and the beams to support the shrine part were made of solid wood.
This lady didn’t really have any interest in the gospel but we hope she comes to English class.
Another Corner of the Earth
On Friday we had set up to meet with this potential investigator named Flower in RuiSui. As we were biking to her house we went past this big yellow house with a giant yellow rubber duck in a pond out front. We thought,”what the crap is this place?” and took a couple pictures and went off to find our potential’s house.
But as we kept going we realized we had gone too far and went to stop at the Duck House for directions. But then we realized that it was the address we were looking for! Oh man we were so dang excited as we went inside to investigate.
And we found out that this place was called the “Duckling House,” a hostel. It had these SICK themed rooms, like 1700s and Under the Sea and Africa and Wonder Woman.
It’s run by a mom and her two daughters. Our potential investigator was one of the daughters who had come to English class twice before about a year ago. So we invited her to come again, although she randomly disappeared as we were walking through the house with her so we didn’t quite get the chance to share the gospel with her. So we left and it was kind of disappointing.
And that’s about it for this week. Love you all. Talk to you next week!
Sister Anne Watson