On Thursday morning, we left early in the morning for a day in Jiayi (A city a little less than an hour north of Tainan). It was super fun to catch up with a bunch of old MTC buddies, and see a huge group of missionaries. (We had three zones there). Elder Wong, the President over the Asia Area, and his wife came and visited us. I was very impressed by his message, and learned a lot of great lessons I'm excited to apply. Elder Wong is from Hong Kong, so he grew up speaking Cantonese, but he also speaks English and Mandarin fluently. He used to be an accountant, was very successful, and retired very early. He's obviously a really smart man. What struck me about him was that although he was so smart and successful, he still had a deep faith and trust in God. He spoke of a few illogical experiences that made no sense to him, but the spirit is what helped him understand. I realized that no matter what we may think, the Spirit will always confirm the correct decision, and God always knows best. Such a cool experience to be in such an intimate learning situation with Him and the Blickenstaff's.
Also, since today is Monday, it's officially BAPTISM WEEK! Our investigator Wei Chen (William) will almost definitely get baptized this Saturday as long as he doesn't get hit by a car or something... But yes, he is very ready and very excited to be baptized. He totally believes in everything. His dad and oldest brother are both LA's and the rest of his family still hasn't gotten baptized. His family doesn't oppose at all, but they aren't pushing for it at all either. Totally William's choice. I'm really excited, and hope that his example will help bring the rest of his family into the church as well.
Ok, I think that the weirdest thing of the week was when we went into one of our secondary areas for lunch with a member and his family. It was a little ways out of the city, and was a lot more like traditional Taiwan. When we got there, they took us to this huge dirt field with all these huge piles of smoking dirt. I guess they have a tradition where they bury a bunch of food with red hot bricks and cook it all day. (Sort of like a smoker I guess) It was some form of holiday, so there were a ton of people all out in this field cooking food. So we dug up the food that had been cooking all day and went back to their house and ate it. I think they don't really see many white people out there, so we were even more popular than we are in the city. Everyone was trying to talk to us/give us food. haha I took a lot of pictures to show (Including me eating a chicken head, surprisingly not bad), I think this is as culturally different as I have experienced, (For example, a bunch of people were catching these eel fish in the canal, and there were a million of them everywhere.) I think I had one of my not as graceful moments when I tried to set down a sweet potato they gave me on their ancestor worship table thing. In Taiwan they all burn incense with food to "feed" their ancestors so they aren't hungry spirits. (Which makes no sense, because they're all Buddhist, so they also believe in reincarnation. I don't think I'll ever understand that one) But anyway, I thought it was jut a random table with food on it, but it wasn't. So this week I guess I accidentally fed some hungry Taiwanese spirits my sweet potato. Luckily Elder Pearce caught me before anyone really noticed :)
I think the most positive thing I got out of that experience was a realization that I'm really beginning to love this culture and people. Its really frustrating and different, but I'm starting to be able to see all the great things about it (They are very committed to families) It was a super fun/funny memory to have.
I love this place and being able to be a missionary here!