A Day in the Life (in response to a question from mom)
6:00 alarm sounds, I wake up just as tired as I was when I went to bed, but with a little help from Elder Sheng we get up and head down to our apartment complex's exercise room, where we run on our treadmill for 20-30 minutes. Then we return up to our apartment and do some core workouts, shower, I usually eat 2 pieces of wheat bread for breakfast, and study Chinese until it's time to start personal study.
8:00 personal study
9:00 companionship study
10-10:30 Language study... at this time I usually just continue my study of Chinese characters, but I usually get bored and just start asking Elder Sheng to teach me really advanced Chinese words and idioms.
10:40 we go out the door and start talking to everyone we see. We usually will have one scheduled lesson between 10:40 and 12 when we eat lunch.
12 we go find some vegetarian food to eat, we usually eat some vegetarian noodles, or tofu and vegetables, or some vegetable dumplings, or some steam bread.
1:00 we hit the streets again,contacting everyone we see, we sometimes will have lessons or meetings, until dinner at five where we do what we did at 12.
6-9 we're usually teaching lessons. we stay pretty busy here, if we don't end up having lessons scheduled we're out on the streets contacting.
9 we go home and plan the Lords way, including a hymn sung in English to begin planning session. That's my favorite part with Elder Sheng
9:30 end planning and start a hectic 30 minutes where we are both on the phone confirming the next day's appointments, finding members to help us teach, fielding phone calls from zone missionaries with questions and concerns.
10:00 pm get ready for bed. Study a little Chinese, or straighten up the apartment a bit. pray
10:30 in bed lights out. At this time I usually spend 30 minutes talking with Elder Sheng as we fall asleep, first about our investigators needs, then about how he's gotta work on his English so he can get into American schools and we can be roommates and I can introduce him to American girls.
11-6 get a horrible nights sleep in preparation for the next day.
I LOVE IT!!!
Nami... My English student's baptism!! YAY
On exchanges in Longtan, the Elder on the far right is Elder Benson, the Franks cousin
My former companion Elder Hauter on his bike
Elder Miller, Gist, and me looking out over YingGe
A temple on a lake in Longtan
More market stuff
With Ru Pei Yuan, who has been to church 3 times in a row!!!
This guy was great. I was riding down the street in BaDe, an area in our zone and this guy just yelled "Good Morning" in some hilarious English. So we turned around and talked to him and he let us in his house. He spoke the most broken English one can speak, and he was hilarious. We prayed with him and taught him about the gospel. Then I asked if I could take a picture with him. He really didn't want me to take a picture with him, so I started sneaking pictures. Eventually he gave in. But it was probably the funniest 15 minutes of my mission thus far.
Me and an Elder Lin, one of my favorite missionaries!
Huang family!!! My current favorite investigators
This is me and the Huang family. This picture is against the rules, but I think it's funny. We lined up for the picture and Sister Huang last second linked arms with me... Because I'm the really awkward missionary I should be, I naturally freaked out, but it was too late. Notice how awkward my hand is. I think this is really funny.
Me and the Zhao family, some of my favorite members, check out Brother Zhao's fresh bowtie
Picture with Doris, an 8 year old girl I did the baptismal interview for
A shot of my new companion Elder Sheng
A couple shots over my kingdom, TaoYuan
Me and my convert, Brother Chi.
Hello friends and family,
Yet another great week here in TaoYuan. Time continues to fly, faster and faster. I don't know where it all goes. I don't know where to begin. It was just another fantastic week. I really love my new companion. It's a blessing to serve with such a great missionary, Elder Sheng is the man. I can begin this week's email by telling you about my Saturday morning companionship study. Friday to Saturday we had the Assistants come on exchanges with us. It was myself, Elder Sheng, and an Elder Fang, also Taiwanese. That night we had an appointment scheduled to meet with an Indian, so I used that as an excuse to make them spend a majority of companionship study role playing teaching in English to each other. It was the greatest! I made them practice giving baptismal invitations in English. One of the better companionship studies I've had on my mission.
Another great thing that happened this week was our ward was privileged to have President Perkins of the Seventy, and the President of the Asia Area come and visit our Sacrament meeting. He gave a great talk on the sacrament, and what it means. I learned a lot. That was pretty cool.
This week we also had interviews with President Grimley. I informed him that I would be extending. So it's official, I come home at the end of January next year. I feel good about this decision. I will miss that semester of school, but I feel that it's what the Lord wants me to do. President Grimley was really supportive. He said that was the time of year he ended his mission. I feel good about the decision. It was hard to make, but I know as long as we're doing the Lord's will, we'll never regret it.
To answer your question about the apartment situation, it's just me and my companion in the apartment. If I'm not mistaken there is only one apartment in the entire mission that has more than one companionship. The apartment I'm in right now is very nice, in an upscale building complex with a lot of amenities we don't have the opportunity to take advantage of. We don't ever cook at home, breakfast sometimes, but other than that, nope. Food outside is so cheap in Taiwan, it's quicker, and if you're eating outside you have the opportunity to continue to talk to people as you eat.
Let's talk about some of my people. The Huang family is doing great. The kids are both going to be interviewed for baptism this week. The mom still needs some time. She's good with everything, except the 1st of the 10 commandments, not having any other Gods. She feels that if she gets baptized she'll offend these "other Gods" who she believes have blessed her and helped her. So she's come to the conclusion that she needs a sign, big blessing, strong feeling before she turns away from the other Gods. She loves prayer, she believes in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, keeps the commandments, and in all honesty can pass the baptismal interview, just knows that by being baptized she commits fully to Jesus Christ. So please pray for her. I want her to get baptized with the children, but I've also learned that if a family has some prepared but not all, it's best to move forward with those prepared, and go ahead and baptize them. I can't wait to see those kids baptized. I know the mom will be soon to follow. Yesterday Sister Huang asked me if she could pay tithing without being baptized.... that's how good she is.
We met with Brother Tsai twice this week. We had some really powerful lessons. He'll be asking his boss again today for Sunday's off. It hasn't really gotten anywhere in the past, but maybe this continuous asking with eventually get to his boss. He's so close. This is all he needs. He saw me reading from my pocket size English Book of Mormon yesterday and was really disappointed to learn they don't have that size in Chinese, because he really wants to be able to read it at work. I feel like he just DESERVES to be baptized. But I don't know how else more to help him.
Our less active brother Ru's friend, Li met with us twice this week and is progressing super fast. He's great. Really one of the most golden people I've met. I bought him a tie this week that he could wear at church. He loved it. It was so great. Next to the Huang family he's probably our next baptism.
I look forward to this next week. Elder Gong from the 70 will be touring the mission and training. When he comes to the TaoYuan zone they have selected four Elders for one-on-one interviews with him. I was on the list!!! I'm super excited, I know it will be such a good learning experience. He spoke to us in the MTC when I was there, it was definitely one of my favorite talks while I was there. It's going to be great. I hope his nephew had good things to say when we were companions in DanShui... haha.
The zone is doing great. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love Taiwan. I love my Heavenly Father, and my Savior Jesus Christ.
I love all of you.