Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Monday, September 7, 2015

Living the Dream

The first full week of being a missionary has been a memorable/tiring/crazy one full of so many awesome experiences. I'll try to highlight some of my favorites, give a couple good stories, and tell about some investigators. 

We had a good dose this week of both lessons and contacting. I really like lessons, because they're generally done at the church (Which means less biking and being in the heat/rain). I also enjoy them because I feel like its a little easier to feel the spirit during a lesson. Contacting, on the other hand is awesome because I think it demonstrates our faith. I don't know if I've mentioned, but everytime we get to a stoplight, we talk to one or two people on motorcycles. We'll do that whenever we are out on the road, and I love it! I feel like I can actually do it and give a little message without getting too confused. We usually get shut down, but we also get a ton of phone numbers and the occasional lesson. This week we've focused on always improving the person we contact. We know most of the time, they don't care at all for what we have to say, but we still try to help them feel the spirit. No matter how uninterested, we'll try to bear at least a one sentance testimony. We like to think of contacting as laying the seeds for future missionaries, but there is the occasional miracle! Besides that, we like to go in 7-11's (There are literally more of them than people) and act like we're buying something. We'll try to get to know someone and give them a short lesson, which has actually worked a bunch! We'll also go door knocking every once and a while, but its hard because usally only the old people are home. They hate us. Haha they're all the traditional Bhuddists and stuff like that, an when we talk to them they just start yelling at us in taiwanese. Elder Pearce taught me a couple funnly taiwanese phrases to say back to them. If we start out with one of those, they think its hilarious, but we can't really understand them.. 

We have a really solid group of investigators who are really learning and have a ton of faith, I could go on forever about them. I'll just tell you about the two that have plans to be baptized in 2 weeks. The first is Zhonglin. He's in his early 20's and lives with his less active older brother and recent convert mom. We go over to their house a lot to teach the three of them. The mom's crazy, but I love her so much. She just loves to talk and talk and talk, and its so hard to leave the house sometimes.. She's obsessed with fruit and gives us a huge bowl of mangoes, pinapple, dragon fruit, bananas, and other things. She showed us this way cool fruit they have here that mixes up your tastebuds. I don't know what ist called, but when you taste sour things, they become sweet. Thats been a fun new one. Anyways, Zhonglin is so awesome, and is pumped for his baptism! He always comes up to us first thing and tells us what he's just learned from the scriptures or a cool experience he's had. I've only been teaching him for the last 2 weeks, but when Elder Pearce started, the other brother started to reactivate. They're all active now, and improving every day! They also have a goal to go do baptisms at the Taipei Temple in November! Super awesome family, and they always crack me up!

The second is Alex (Minting). He is a 13 year old boy with an recent convert dad, and a nonmember Mom. He's basically been taught everything, and just had his baptisimal interview yesterday. I haven't met his Mom yet, but his dad is awesome. The only bad thing is his name is Yankee and is obsessed with the Yankees. I don't even know if he likes the team, but he loves wearing the gear because it has his english name. The people here give themselves the weirdest english names. We have a buddy named "head" and another named "fourth" for example. A lot of them aren't even words, nobody understands how they choose them, but its nice because I have a difficult time rembering Chinese names. Alex knows a lot about the Gospel, and I think he really loves it. I feel bad for him right now because he has a ton of whats called bushi ban. Its like extra school and every Taiwanese kid does it. I hope my little siblings are listening, because this will make them appreciate America so much more. Alex has normal school from 7-5 and then extra from 6-9 every week day! He also has it ever satuday for a few hours! I can't imagine! Thats been the trouble with a lot of kids, we just talked to one that has it sundays 9-12 2-4 and 6-9. The children work really hard, and school is very important to them. So that's Alex, hes a stud, and we always play basketball at the church with him and a bunch of other kids around his age on Saturdays. 

I think one of my favorite things this week was Stake Conference.  It was so powerful to see so many Taiwanese saints gathered in one building! (I also liked that they showed a lot of videos from the genral authorities which were in English). They had a 70 from Hong Kong there, and he spoke half in mandarin, and half in English with a translator. I really enjoyed his talk about how even being feichonghao (Very good) is not enough. We can always improve no matter our current state. It was fun to be there with our investigators, and bring some of them up to meet our mission president and the general authorities that were there. 

Scripture of the week is 2 Nephi Chapter 4. Here Nephi talks about despite all his sins and shortcomings, he has relied and praised the Lord. It really helped me out, because I've had a lot of ups and downs lately. Its a good reminder that relying and thanking the Lord can always lift us higher. Another thought that I've had was gratitude for family. We taught a family this week, and they all started ripping on each other for a while. We have a few part member families we teach as well. It made me so grateful for the awesome family I have, I keep a picture of all of us with me and show everyone. They always go nuts when they see how many people there are! Even though I miss being home with you so much, I'm glad I can be here to stregthen other familes. 

I've learned so much, and am having an ablosute blast! Its so satisfying to lay down at night absoulutely exhausted, but knowing I'm tired for the right reasons. I love sharing theis Gospel and can't wait to continue! Love you all so so much!

-Elder Gilbert
This picture is dedicated to Paige and John! My little paper has happy birthday on it, hope you like it;) 

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