What an interesting week! I don't know where to begin.
I started the week in a tripanionship with myself (a first transfer missionary), my trainer (a district leader), and an Elder Jhou (a Taiwan native and a zone leader). It was pretty fun, and not the normal things a 1st transfer missionary sees.
After emailing last week I got a call from my mission president. President Grimley informed me that there was a missionary in Zhudong (a small mountain town about 30/40 minutes from Zhubei) who had been in a nasty bike crash, and that he needed to have surgery. He asked if I could pack a bag for 4 days and go down to Zhudong Thursday with the injured missionary's companion. I then got called from the assistants and was told to send all my bags to Zhudong, and that I'd be going down Wednesday for a permanant move.
So Zhudong is my new area. It's a tiny mountain town, with a lot of the aboriginal Taiwanese people who don't have any Chinese in them. They're Chinese is a little different, but I think their accent sounds pretty cool. Everyone thought that trainers and trainees would be together for 2 transfers, but I didn't even get a full one with my trainer. I'm a little bummed about it. Elder Erickson and I got along so well and we had a lot in common. I'll still get to see him because he got bumped up to zone leader and is still there in Zhubei, and that's my zone.
I think this transfer will be interesting. Me and my new companion, Elder Bogle, don't have much in common at all. I hope that we can just focus on our work, but it's going to be a bit of a lonely transfer because I'm up in the mountains where I don't have much interaction with missionaries other than my companion. His Chinese is amazing though because he's been with a lot of native companions. This zone is considered to be the "hard" area of the mission, and I just moved from Zhubei to an area that is even smaller and considered harder. It's going to be tough but I'm already excited about starting to serve here. The ward here is absolutely amazing, and I'm really looking forward to working with them. This place also feels like it didn't have much fire when I arrived, so I'm looking forward to bringing that.
The first day I got here we had to turn around and catch a bus to Xinchu for district meeting. While on the bus I decided to start talking to the man across the aisle from me. He was cool, and I started teaching him. By the time the bus got to the Xinchu station, I taught him and set him up as a new investigator. That right there really set the tone for the week. We had a cool week and saw a lot of miracles. My favorite part of the week was going on exchanges Friday in an area called Xiangshan. It was the most miracles I've seen in one day on the mission. So many people willing to hear the message we wanted to share with them, and we found a couple of absolutely golden people. That exchange alone made the whole dysfunctional week worth it.
So that's the gist this week. I've seen more miracles this week than any other week of my mission. I can actually feel the spirit working through me lately which is an amazing feeling. I think this transfer is going to bring about good things and I'll learn a lot.
And now to the highlight of my week. A lot of little kids on the street will point and say waiguo ren (which just means foreigner) or they'll say (meiguo ren) which means Americans, but last night I got one that I haven't got yet, one that I don't know if I'll get for the rest of the mission. A little 4-5 year old kid pointed to me on the street and said riben ren (Japanese). I laughed hard. That was a new one.
The other highlight of the week came on exchanges. I was intersection contacting (which entails picking an intersection, going up by a scooter, and trying to get them to pull over so you can share your message.) The intersections have timers so you can see how much time you're working with, and you just circle around the intersection for a couple hours. One red light I pulled up next to on old lady. They are the meanest people in Taiwan, Before I said anything, the first thing she said to me was in broken English. She said, "Don't speak." I still had about 45 seconds before the light changed, so I didn't follow her counsel, but by the end of the red light I got an old mean lady to give me a high five. Did she set a baptismal date? No. Did she set up a time we could teach her more? No. But I softened that bitter woman's heart through the power of high five.
This is my week.