Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Whoo I've got a good story to tell!

Hello everybody! Quite the week, can't wait to tell you about some of the stuff going on!

1st off, I wanna tell about the Scooter crash I got into Saturday night! It was nuts! Don't worry I'm completely fine haha. So Elder Stoddard and I were biking out to a Less Actives house for a lesson we had that night at 8. We had just had a pretty good Saturday, and were ready to finish it off with our cool LA who is getting close to reactivation! He lived kind of far away, so we had to take the highway that goes to Dong Gang out to his house. You'd think that the highway would be well lit, but because we live in the Ghetto of Taiwan, it's actually super sketchy. We were in a darker spot (but not too dark) and next thing I know I just get absolutely smacked in the back and propelled forward. It was like hitting one of the mushrooms in Mario Kart (kind of fun in retrospect)!   As this happens I look back to try and find out what in the world just hit me. As I do, I see this person on this motor scooter absolutely flip off and smack the ground and the scooter go flying! It was NUTS! Elder Stoddard was in front of me, and saw the whole thing too because I just started screaming at the top of my lungs! The craziest part is nothing even happened to me! I just boosted foreward, then slammed on my brakes because the person had flown off, plus the hit had just wrecked my brand new bike box I had just put on a week before.. and made everything fly out. My first thought was actually just pure anger, because I loved my bike box:(   Then, it just got weirder if anything. First off, we kept our distance and called President, because if you try to do anything to help the person or say sorry in a crash, the Taiwanese will just gang up on you and try to rip you off for money. The person who hit me was just laying there on the ground, limp as a rag doll.  It was actually quite frightening. Quite the scene began to develop as they called the cops and a bunch of people stopped to check out what was going on. We called one of our super awesome members, who was actually about to go with us tho this less active lesson and he came and helped us. Then, I kid you not 4 different police cars and an ambulance pulled up, took the person away, and then the police started to question me. I don't know why they had to have so many police officers there (Probably because nothing happens in Chao Zhou).  They also pulled out a breathalyzer (Thank goodness for the Word of Wisdom!). That was a little fun, and I passed with a 0.00 if you were wondering.... Then the police measured out everything on the ground and drew a sketch up of the crash, it was so weird! One of the funniest parts was when I went to try and pick up my shattered bike box lid and all the police freaked out at me! it was seriously like a murder scene! It was also hilarious, because our very zealous member was pointing out to all the police officers and spectators how I had made it out of the crash completely unscathed, while the other person was just taken away in an ambulance. He kept saying to every single person "Shen de baohu" which is God's protection! SO yes, that was quite the exciting night, but also awful, because it ruined our chance of meeting with our LA! We had to go home after, because by that point it was like 8:45. Hopefully I don't sound heartless to the other person. We have no idea if they are ok or not. The problem with Taiwan is that if someone falls off their Scooter, they lay there till an ambulance picks them up, even if they just got cut up a little! So this person could have had anything from a few cuts and bruises, to dead. She's probably ok, the police said if it was a serious injury, they would call us. On the other hand, he/she literately did a front flip off the scooter! Plus it was on the highway, so they were going pretty quick! Although it was pretty inconvenient, it was also pretty cool to see the Lord protect me like that! It could have been a lot worse, but I was completely fine! (except now I have to drop more money to fix my box...) and also I won't have to pay for any medical or scooter expenses, because it was completely the other persons fault, they didn't even have a headlight on their scooter (we had some witnesses, blessings of a companion!)!  So ya, pretty wacky way to end the day, thought you'd enjoy that! Sadly I have no pictures, because I was worried that the police officers would get mad at me/ think I was just an awful person...

On a more spiritual note, the little girl from English class that came to church had such a good time last week that she brought her mom with her yesterday! We're meeting with the family Tuesday night! It was awesome to see the members fellowship the mom in! Our relief society is awesome! Except we have another crazy lady in our ward who talked to her a lot, but she had an overall great experience! Said she felt really warm while she was in the building! Shout out to the Holy Ghost! This church just has something you can't find anywhere else, and I love when other people recognize that! 

Happy birthday to Mary and Grace! Can't believe you're already nine! I was thinking about you guys this week, and even got some McDonalds to celebrate! (We actually get that quite often haha) 

Love you guys so much!

-Elder Gilbert



Eating pi dan (1,000 year old egg).
Absolutely the most disgusting thing I have ever eating in my life!
I promise I would rather eat dirt.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

What the heck is going on?

Hey everyone! Elder Gilbert here reporting on a roller coaster of a week...
The week started out pretty rough. We had one investigator that had a baptisimal goal and all the time in the world (which almost is never the case in Taiwan). At the beginning of the week he told us he doesn't really have that much desire to change some of his habits in order to be baptized. We were kind of depressed, we were already struggling, but then our one bright spot just completely fizzled out. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty bummed most of this week, but there was no way to get through it besides working and relying more on the Lord. So thats what we did. We got to work and started really trying to find those that were prepared and willing to accept the message. 

As the week went on we were blessed with a few miracles. I honestly think what got it started off was the worldwide mission broadcast. We got to hear from Some of the Apostles and other church leaders. It was awesome, felt like we had a whole session of general conference. It answered a lot of personal questions as well as helped highlight some new things I can work on. I really enjoyed the messages on teaching repentance and baptizing converts. The influence of the spirit and finding were also themes that were very helpful. That afternoon, we went out to Dong Gang and met a really cool new investigator that ended up setting a baptismal date! He could tell how much God had blessed us, and said that he wants to be able to have God's blessings as well! It was super sweet, he is a really cool man and I can't wait to see how he progresses.  

Saturday is when Taiwan started getting weird on us. Its absolutely FREEZING here! I realize its probably colder at home, but I'm dying. The sad thing is we are the second to most southern missionaries on the island. People have been showing us pictures of Taipei and there's a bunch of snow! I'd actually rather have snow than just the pouring rain like we've had here, because snow is at least cool. I'm now feeling pretty stupid about my new raincoat with short sleeves. Haha...All the hot weather for the last few months has kind of made me a baby! I don't know what its going to be like when I'm home for a real winter in awhile.

The worst part about the weather is that it really encourages people to not go outside and not want to do things. We were super mad about the weather, because a few days before we had just met this family that was really interested. We were going to play basketball with one of the sons on Saturday night in Dong Gang, but because of the weather, we couldn't! We were worried that the cold was going to give him an excuse to not meet with us, but it actually turned in our favor. Instead of just being able to meet with him and play basketball, he invited us over to his house where we met him, his older brother, mom, and dad! They were all so cool! They already read the bible sometimes and the the Book of Mormon could really help. The mom thinks her sons need to be better people and the family needs to be happier. Even the dad seemed to like us! Such a miracle! We were able to set up a more formal lesson with them next week, and can't wait to see where it goes!! As we were leaving the rain started to pick up, and it was probably one of the most physically miserable 30 minutes of all time on our way home. We were absolutely soaked and freezing, but were so happy! It was so weird, neither of us were complaining at all, and were just pumped out of our minds! We had also had a couple of people tell us they would come to church, it felt like we had gotten out of the hole we felt we were in. That night was one of the happiest nights I've had in a while :)

We were kind of brought back down to earth the next day at church. It was even colder on Sunday... Only one investigator came to church (she's actually pretty cool, she's a young girl that goes to the sisters in the other ward's english class) It was a pretty bad day at church to say the least. We had 29 people at sacrament meeting total. A lot of the time our ward feels like a branch with a bishop. It didn't help that one of those 29 was this absolutely crazy girl that wouldn't stop yelling at the 1st counselor and basically everyone else while they were speaking... Like she was absolutely nuts, she kept trying to get us to give her book of Mormons and other church materials we didn't have with us. She caused quite the scene, and maybe it was a good thing that some of the investigators didn't come. Crazy people are pretty rough, there are a ton in Taiwan, and for some reason it feels like almost all of them are attracted to the church... Haha it was actually pretty funny and our one armed 1st counselor did a really good job dealing with her. The ward was joking about it later on, the members that we have are awesome! 

So ya... that day was kind of sad, but that's ok! The struggles in this area made me realize something. I'm relying more on Heavenly Father than I probably ever have. My prayers are more earnest, I'm noticing tender mercies that before I hadn't, and I feel so grateful to know Him. I am loving sharing about His son Jesus Christ. I think one of my favorite activities we did this week was going to the night market with a huge book of Mormon poster. There were so many people that probably thought we were so weird, but  I loved it! i was able to share with so many people my testimony of Christ and The Book of Mormon. Being a missionary is the greatest! I love this church and know it is God's! Love you guy, hope its another great week!! 

Love,

Elder Gilbert 
葛長老

Elder Cook and I with our big stuff in the night market! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rain

Hey everyone!! Having a great time here in Taiwan! It's been a pretty good week! Lots of rain this weekend, it's been super fun, but also super annoying. The Taiwanese HATE the rain (which is weird because it rains all the time) and when it starts raining they all disappear indoors... I think yesterday after church it rained the hardest it has my entire time on island! 

This week we spent a lot of time in Dong Gang. It's the biggest place in our area, but is 40 minutes away by bike, so it's kind of hard to get out there a bunch. We had a few empty days this week so we actually got to do a bunch of finding there!! I love Dong Gang, it has so many more people than the rest of our places. We didn't have a ton of success, but we're learning that part of our area better and I think we can really find some cool people there! 

It was a pretty big bummer starting Friday, it just started dumping rain like crazy! We were in Dong gang Friday night, and it was the most fun/wet ride home of all time. I actually think the rain  is pretty fun, but I hate it because everyone goes inside and it's almost impossible to do missionary work.. I just got this new raincoat that goes down to my knees to keep my pants relatively dry. The problem with rain coats is that it's pretty hot, so you sweat a ton and get wet either way. I just sort of solved this problem by cutting the sleeves off my coat. It feels so nice and I actually stay pretty dry. The only drawback is I look super stupid haha. 


It was a super annoying weekend, because we couldn't be outside. On Sunday it was pouring, so not very many people came to church... Our one investigator that said he would come didn't come because of the rain. On the plus side, an LA family came! Our ward was really pumped to see them at church, and they seemed pretty happy. 

Yep, that's basically the week. I'm having a great time with my companion in this area, we're learning a ton. I know that there are people everywhere that are ready to hear this message. Hope you're all doing well, have a great week 😊

Love,
Elder Gilbert 
葛長老







Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Mission Life

Alright, another week down, I can't believe how fast its going. We calculated the other day, I think I just passed day 200 on my mission just barely! Not a ton of crazy stuff, but we had a few fun highlights I hope you'll enjoy :)

We had a ztm and interviews this week, so a lot of time was spent in Ping Dong, which is a little ways above us. It was really fun to see President and Sister Blickenstaff, and fun to be with all the missionaries, but I'm also kind of glad its over so we can have more time to just actually be in our area. I think finally we'll have a good long while to focus on the work! Those things kind of sucked up two of the days, but Elder Stoddard and I still had a great week.

Alright, maybe this is bad i thought this was so funny, but Elder Stoddard and I were out English proselyting with the other elders in our district. (We do it twice a week) We went up to this group of teenagers and asked them if they knew how to speak any English. Usually the response we get is just a little, and then we ask them how they are. They'll always respond super fast saying "I am fine, and you?" its super funny, its like they are all robotically trained to say it back as fast as they can. So some of them were doing this, then one of them just said the most vulgar phase I've ever heard. If an American had said it, i probably would have been pretty offended, but since he barely understood what he was saying and it made no sense in the context and sounded super funny, all four of us just started laughing super hard. Its super funny, theres his type of Taiwanese teenager we have here that are called taike's (basically the translation is punk) They always wear these t-shirts that have in super bad English all these super bad phrases that they totally don't understand. Just a little tidbit on Taiwanese Culture for ya :) haha taikes are the worst..

Ok coolest day was probably saturday. On friday night we got a referral from the ap's for a man that they met in taizhong, but lives in our furthest secondary. We were super pumped, because we've never had a reason to go out there (its like an hour and half ride out) It was perfect because we were going to visit an LA in fangliao, the secondary right above the one where this guy lived. We actually ended up taking the train Saturday evening, because we also had some stuff going on in Dong Gang, and we couldn't bike everywhere fast enough. That was one of the funniest parts of the night. We had to ride in the back of the train so we could put our bikes in as well. They put us in the sketchiest train car ever! The doors were just hanging open, and there were bars over all the windows. I felt like a cow being shipped on the train, but it was really nice, because we got here a lot faster than we would have otherwise. Our other appointment actually fell through as we were coming, so we started out early on our adventure to on of the furthest and sketchiest places in our area. We found this guy's little community, which wasn't actually too far from the train station. It was super dark and right next to the ocean, If I wasn't in Taiwan I would've been super creeped out. The houses were all dark, and random groups of people were walking around. They were all super weirded out and curious as to why were were there. A few actually ended up being super cool and helping us find this guys house. We met with him and his son for a little while. Turns out he used to have missionaries come over a long time ago. He could have some good potential and we should be meeting with him again this next week! The lesson was super exciting, and I really like his guy.  This lesson was pretty late at night, and we were planning on being able to take the train back so we could get home at a reasonable time. Turns out that the trains don't let you take bikes on their late night trains, so we ended up biking all the way back! Oh man it was exhausting!!  We go back pretty dang late, and were so tired, but it was so worth it! 

Even though that night was crazy and pretty sketchy, we got to meet a really nice man and have a good lesson with him. I think that this area is helping me realize that God really cares about all of His children individually, regardless of where they are. Its a lot harder here to find and meet with people, but this is actually helping me to feel more of Heavenly Father's love for them. I really am loving the unique things that I'm learning on my mission and in this area. Thanks for all your love and support, I'm so happy here! 

Love,

Elder Gilbert



A cool little ally

A sketchy little bathroom we stopped in

On the train with our bikes


Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year, New companion

Happy 2016!! The year I will never touch American soil.. There's been a lot of changes here, its been an awesome week.

Elder McDougal and I had an awesome last few days together, I think I'm just going to take a minute to appreciate him. He was the funniest dude! We were so totally different, he doesn't watch movies, loves geology, can cook crazy good, is super smart in just about everything, and has a bunch of other random interests that aren't like mine. The cool thing was that we still got along super well! He was super accepting and although we had very different opinions, we had a great relationship. He would make me laugh so much, Dad better give him a shout out at BYUI when he gets back! 

I'm now with Elder Stoddard from Alpine, UT! He's been on island for almost 9 months, loves basketball, and I can tell we're going to have a great time and get lots of work done together! We've had an awesome couple of days together. He just came from a big college part of Taizhiong that was super nice and populated. Lets just say our area is a lot more ghetto and he's getting used to it.

New Years was kind of weird, there was this huge party right outside our apartment that you could see from our porch. If you just looked at it, it would have been pretty awesome, but then when you heard the people singing, it was actually the lamest thing ever. It was all of these random Taiwanese songs and it sounded super bad and annoying. Then they launched off a million fireworks haha, not a lot of sleep that night. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a big city, they were going crazy, and we live in one of the tiniest places ever! 

Quick spiritual thought having to do with the new year: At this time, everyone talks about having a new start and improvement. The cool thing is that because of Christ's Atonement, we can do this whenever we want! Because of Him, every day is a new day. I know I have a million things to work on, and I'm excited to improve! Haha kind of cliche, but thats what was on my mind:) 

Love and miss you,

Elder Gilbert 

Goodbye to Elder McDougal

Bringing home the new microwave this week

Some cool miao temple in dong gang