So I'm serving in the Dong gang Ward, which is kind of confusing, because both our apartment and church are in Chao Zhou, a 40 minute bike ride from Dong Gang. The reason its called the Dong Gang ward is that it used to be a branch in the actual city of Dong Gong , but then the ward in Chao Zhou split and gave some of its members to the Dong Gang branch so that it could become a ward. I don't know if that makes sense, but now its a ward, and our area is HUGE. Like absolutely massive, and my new companion has been doing this project all week where he wants to find all the LA's in our area, so we were doing a lot of biking... Elder McDougal is awesome! He's been out for more than a year and a half and is on his third to last transfer. He is the most brilliant person ever, and just spits out random facts about everything all the time. He's from Idaho falls and went to a semester at BYU-Idaho before coming out, so you know he's alright :) He's a lot different than Elder Pearce, but I love him! He's super funny, and I've already learned a ton of new stuff from him.
Our apartment is super fun, we're in a 4 man again, and the other two Elders (Elder Williams and Elder Kunz) are super funny. When I got here on Monday they tricked me into thinking that one of them was in training. Elder Williams is going home in 2 weeks and has crazy good Chinese because he lived in Taiwan for a while before the mission. He grew up in Idaho though, and pretended like he was a new missionary with super bad Chinese for the first little while around me. He had this whole big fake story and everything. After a little while, he started just speaking this crazy good Chinese around me, and then told me all about it. Haha probably doesn't sound as funny as it was, regardless we have fun :) (all three of them are super good at a Rubik's cube, and that's what we're focusing P day on, I'll have it down super soon)
So crazy week, I'm still trying to get used to it. We're pretty banished down here, its over a 3 hour train ride to Taizhong. When Elder McDougal and I go out into our secondary areas like Dong Gang, we're just riding through straight pineapple fields. I'll send some pics, we're totally in the bush! Its super sweet, we have a bunch of mountains in our area, and we went up there one day, so pretty! The ward is awesome, but super small, I think we had 40 members there yesterday. I don't know if my old ward in Tainan would have even fit in the sacrament meeting room. It's been fun to get to know the members and see their faith, some of them have to drive over 30 minutes top get to church. I passed the sacrament and gave a little introduction and testimony, haha it felt more like a really big classroom than a congregation. The Chao Zhou ward (The ward that the other elders serve in) is massive, and they have a lot of cool members that I got to meet. So ya, very different, but cool. Lots of new challenges here, I'm excited to see what we can do! Elder Mcdougal is teaching me so much!
The last thing I'd like to hit on is the mission conference that happened on Friday. So so fun! I loved being able to gather with all the missionaries and see all my old friends. Elder Stevenson gave a great address, we were so lucky to have an Apostle come to our mission! I knew he was awesome, but it really built my testimony that he was called of God. He spoke a lot about how crazy his calling was and how the Lord qualifies us for the work. He told us as long as we do our best it doesn't matter. I think my favorite quote was when he was talking about how blessed missionaries are he said "If you guys wake up exactly at 6:30, you get a blessing, if I wake up exactly at 6:30, I just get tired." haha super funny, but true! Great man, super fun to be in such a small gathering with him and his wife. It was also cool afterwards, Elder Cole and I got to talk with him in the mission home for a little, because our moms had sent us something with the Stevensons. haha, thanks for that :) and he let us get pictures with him! Awesome day!
Loving it here, hope all is well at home!
|When I get tired on the bike ride, I just ask to stop and take a picture of the countryside. My companion biked a crazy ton before the mission and bikes ridiculously fast, haha I think I'm going to lose a lot of weight.|
|My new apartment all decorated for Christmas!|
|Seeing Elder Cole at the Mission conference|
|Elder MacDougal and Elder Stevenson|
|We got to have a special meeting with Elder Stevenson and took pictures. He brought packages for both me and Elder Cole from home (the Stevensons are in the same ward with the Coles in NSL).|