Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hello from Taiwan!!

Wow! The last week has been a whirlwind, and I've never been so confused in my life! I'll give a quick one paragraph summary, and then go into more detail. We (all 33 of us) arrived safely in Taiwan Wednesday night, after about 26 hours of travel and the awesome chance to be able to call home! That might have been as good as getting to go to the country, it was so fun to hear everyone's voices. So after a day and a half in the mission home, I was assigned to my area and companion. I am in Tainan (a small city of about 750,000 just north of Gaoxiong) and am with Elder Matthew Pearce from Provo, Utah! He is a stud and I'm loving it here! We arrived Wednesday night and got right to work, its so much different from the MTC and I'm loving it even more!

Upon arriving at the airport, we were able to meet President and Sister Blickenstaff. It was so much fun to finally talk with them, they're so awesome! We went back to the mission home, and spent the next day and a half being instructed and oriented to the mission field. The highlight of that was the "Dan Jones" thing we did, where we stood up on a box and had to yell our testimonies in Chinese. They brought all the missionaries in the Taizhong area, and they all stood in a huge group around us. I've never felt so self conscious in my life! (Having to do it in Chinese didn't help...) We then went out and placed Book of Mormons. The Taiwanese are so nice, they are always willing to listen to you, and hardly anyone ignores you. When we found out our areas, it was like another mission call! They had us come up one by one and open up red envelopes with our area and trainer.

 I found out I was assigned to the Tainan 4th ward with Elder Pearce. We then said some quick goodbyes, headed to Tainan, and got straight to work. The only time I have questioned my mission was the first night, as we were biking in the pouring rain to a baptism, and we found out we forgot to bring the baptismal clothes. Our apartment is really far away from the church, and we had to turn all the way back around. I've just learned that being wet is something you get used to here, I don't think I've been completely dry since stepping off the plane... The rainy season is just ending here, and it hasn't stopped raining yet! I love it!!

Saturday was our first full day, and Elder Pearce already had a bunch of lessons planned so I could meet the investigators. They speak SO fast here, and I get very confused. I already feel improvement though, and the language hasn't really gotten me too down yet. I have come to find that I especially like bearing testimony in our lessons, and that's where the spirit is strongest! Elder Pearce has been awesome to get me involved, and even let me take the lead.

 Sunday was also so so awesome. Its really inspiring to see all the Taiwanese members who are so committed. I got to speak, which was a little scary, but also really fun. The members, and all the people here are so nice. I already love them so much! They are so willing to help us, and love working with me on my Chinese. Most of the members speak pretty good English as well. It was really fun to meet all of them and learn. The people in general are so nice, it kind of reminds me of an Asian Rexburg ... maybe a little bigger though :) Even when we get rejected contacting, they're so polite. They always want to hear what we have to say and compliment me on my Chinese. It was also on Sunday where my favorite experience so far happened. Elder Pearce knew a few kids that he would teach about Jesus, and we went to go visit one. I think his dad was a little creeped out, but he wanted to know what we were doing there. We explained our message, and he let us in. He asked us a few questions, and suddenly we had taught him the entire first lesson! The Spirit was so strong, and even in my broken Chinese was able to communicate my testimony. I had just read the Book of Mormon through again at the MTC, and it was cool to be able to promise him that Moroni's challenge would work for him, because it worked for me. I don't remember who, but one devotional speaker said that as we open our mouths, we'll be able to have a stronger confirmation ourselves. I am definitely a believer in this. It was a powerful lesson, and cool to see in action. A miracle the Dad would even talk to us! 

We have a really solid group of investigators, and after Saturday have three people with baptismal goals! The church is really progressing here thanks to the awesome members and the missionaries like Elder Pearce that have been here. The food has been a highlight as well. Its super cheap, so we just grab something off the street. A member fed us mangoes, and that's been my favorite so far. We usually get fried rice or a bian dan, which is where you get rice vegetables, and some meat. l love eating here, good things we have to ride our bikes A LOT... 

It is so great to finally be here, and I have learned so much in the past few days! I especially know that the spirit needs to be with me 24/7, and that he's doing the converting. I have never been happier in my life, nor around happier people! I love what I'm doing, and can't wait to continue and share my message with the people of Taiwan! 

Much love,
Elder Gilbert

The curry katsu I ate in the Tokyo airport for the little girls
It was good!!

Elder Cole and I once we after 26 hours of travel

The church in Taizhong

Me and Elder Pearce

bian dan

Street in Tainan

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