On P-Day last week we got qing’ed (fed for free) at the one and only Din Tai Fung that my dad’s been telling me to go to ever since even before my mission. We went to the fancy one at the bottom of Taipei 101, it was super cool. Sister Hansen’s trainer (who is already home from her mission) and her mother were the lovely members to give us this experience. They also invited some other random missionaries so I felt kind of like I was in the Taiwan Taipei missionary version of the Slug Club (for all of you who have read Harry Potter.) Afterwards me and my companion went to explore the malls around the bottom of the 101, although we decided we weren’t willing to cough up the money to make the ascent to the very top. (I will do it sometime before the end of my mission, though!)
TUESDAY WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST DAYS OF MY LIFE. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but it was AWESOME because I got to go on exchanges with one of my BEST FRIENDS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD……. *drum roll please* SISTER ARMSTRONG.
I got moved to Banqiao and found out that she would be my STL and I got so excited so it’s an absolute miracle that we were able to be together.
That afternoon we had district meeting and it was pleasing to find out that the Tucheng and Banqiao districts combined were mostly wearing Red, White, and Blue because it may have been an important day for America or something. Sister Lim even helped her Taiwanese companion Sister Su pick out colors just for the occasion. And apparently Sister Hansen felt bad for only giving me that little cake that I took a picture of last week so she somehow procured another birthday cake that we were able to feed to everyone after the meeting.
Then we went to Taoyuan for our exchanges. The STLs don’t tell you who you’re going with until you get to the exchange so I was a little nervous. We took a train to Taoyuan and then took a bus to where we were supposed to be meeting up. There was no room on the bus so I ended up having to stand on the steps, which is typical in Taiwan, and got pushed out of the bus a couple times as it stopped frequently and people were getting on and off. Like I just said…typical Taiwan! I love it.
But during our exchanges Sister Armstrong and I met with a potential investigator who let us on her roof! It was like a flashback to when I was on exchanges with Sister Austad in Hualien. Can I ever just get through an exchange without being let on a roof? I guess not…
We also met at McDonald’s with a member and she fed us McFlurries, and that was the end of our celebrations for the Fourth of July!
And the next day we went to an investigator’s house and her sons had just been to the pool so we took some fun pics. Gotta love those pool inner tubes.
We also got up really early the next morning to take an awesome bike ride to a field to play frisbee with a bunch of other missionaries. And because of the heat, we were SOAKING wet by the end and the elders smelled SOOOOO bad. It was worth it, though! Taoyuan is such an amazing place, like I was just in awe of it the whole time.
Missionary Work News
This week was a bit better for finding new investigators! On Saturday we taught a girl named Daisy who is from mainland China. Her husband is Taiwanese so she has been living in Taiwan for 5 years. She knows absolutely NOTHING about Christianity, but we tried to teach her the entire restoration in one sitting and it didn’t really work. Poor girl just had this really confused look on her face the entire time. We are DEFINITELY going to take it a bit slower next time. At least Daisy said she would come to church next week.
I am super glad that we met with her because it led me to see just how much the world of the church is so different from what most Taiwanese people know. Even though it takes them a bit longer to grasp some concepts than those who are already Christian, they need the gospel just as much as anyone else and I know that it can bless Daisy’s life as she chooses to focus less on what she doesn’t understand and more on how the gospel can change her life!
And here’s for an update on Huang jm! On Saturday night she attended a double baptismal service with us and she really liked it, even though it ended up going for TWO HOURS. (Easily the longest one any of us had ever attended! And probably will ever attend.) And afterwards she was able to have her baptismal interview with our district leader. The interview lasted nearly 45 minutes, but then she came out and she PASSED! So we are going to be having a double baptism with the elders this week! Elder Jorgenson came out of the interview saying that it was one of the most spiritual experiences he’s had on his mission because they apparently got in this huge conversation about true repentance.
We also attended a single-adult FHE at our ward mission leader’s house on Sunday night and she was able to share her testimony to everyone. This woman has a REALLY powerful testimony and it’s been an honor to teach her! She’s had a pretty long story of meeting with the missionaries–over a year ago she ran into some sisters on the street. They taught her for a while, and she went through several sets of sisters before being dropped because she ended up taking an English class on Sundays during church. Throughout the next months, missionaries called her over and over again as they were going through the former investigators in the area book and she chose not to answer each time.
But then she ran into some difficulties in her life, so she prayed to God to save her! And the next day Sister Li, who was in this area right before me, called her and they set up! And since then she’s seen a ton of miracles and has been willing to do everything we’ve asked her to come unto Christ. It will be so awesome to see her enter into the covenant of baptism this week.
The Sights of Banqiao+Taiwan
This week has been particularly exceptional for witnessing tons of rather strange events that I don’t really think too much about as they happen, but then I show the pics to other people and I realize that these events may be seen as exceptional in other parts of the world. So get ready for this hilarious, kooky list…
- First of all, we have to talk a little bit about the WEATHER. Currently, Taiwan is experiencing some typical Asian weather. Every morning this week without fail, Sister Hansen and I have woken up to a healthy dose of humidity and sunshine outside. But by the time afternoon rolls around there are SERIOUS lightning storms. But Taiwan’s drainage system is A+ so we haven’t seen any floods or typhoons yet. I’m actually getting irrationally excited for typhoon season because I think it would be cool to be in a typhoon. I got here right at the end of last year’s typhoon season.
The virtue of this weather pattern is that it is currently not quite as hot as it is supposed to be during this time of year, although I personally think the weather still feels like DEATH.
2. One night on during one of those said lightning storms, we were on our bikes waiting for the light to change so we could get into the Tucheng chapel for our weekly scripture class. And then I noticed a shirtless man on top of a truck in the pouring rain organizing the contents on top.
- This third one also took place as we were on our bikes. Most of the time when a light turns red, all of the people riding motor scooters will crowd around the front of the intersection as a green light turns on for traffic going the other direction, and then for pedestrians. But this one lady apparently didn’t have a minute to wait because during the pedestrian crossing period she got off her motor scooter and walked it through the intersection. LOL way to bypass the rules. Patience is a virtue, guys!
- Okay guys, buckle your seat belts because this last one is actually HILARIOUS. It’s so funny because my last area, Yuli has absolutely no McDonald’s but there are so many here in Banqiao. There’s a part of our area that has a lot of stores/food/whatever called Fuzhong and this place always has a lot of people. We went to Fuzhong on Saturday to do some studies and we saw that McDonald’s had this huge trailer park/pop-up building set up on the sidewalk. This thing was serious, there were two floors and a photo booth and an Asian Ronald McDonald with a microphone. They had some workers (or maybe professional dancers wearing McDonald’s uniforms?) do a flash dance thingy on the balcony of the second floor. And we found out that it was a HIRING FAIR. They take their McDonald’s really seriously here! We rode our bikes by there this morning and saw that it’s all been taken down already.
And that’s been the gist of this crazy week in Taiwan! I am so excited for this next week! I love all of you so much and I pray for you/think about you!