Da gei he!
On Tuesday my companion and I were sitting outside a Family Mart fretting about our schedule that basically went up in flames. It was supposed to be a good day, full of appointments, but everything, I mean everything, fell through. While I was talking with him about it, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a gaggle of teen girls huddled at the nearby street intersection, toting a large red board of some sort. Every so often one or two of them would glance up at us, and then turn back to looking at this board. I paid little heed to this; being American foreigners, the majority of Taiwanese stare at us like some museum exhibit. But when they started walking directly toward us, holding this board that I realized to be a giant red heart, I began to feel a little concerned. I braced myself for impact... impact with what, I had no idea, but I was sure it was going to be bad. The girls gathered around our table, six in all, one holding a video camera. Then the one holding the board said: "We are looking for a foreigner, and if you answer all of our questions, you get a prize." We then looked at the heart and saw that there were questions written across it, and as we read them, the worry just fled away. "Where are you from?" "What's your favorite food in Taiwan?" etc. Phew. Just some high school'ers doing their homework. And their gift was vanilla egg pudding, so good. We didn't think our week could get any better.
And then that evening Sister Busath randomly calls me and says, "I didn't know you are Elder Burdick's cousin!!!" Elder Burdick is currently serving in New Zealand, Mandarin speaking, and apparently he and Sister Busath were in the MTC together. But wait, there's more! Elder Burdick was MTC companions with Elder Terry, who was my Dan Jones companion when I first came to Taiwan. So between Elder Burdick and Elder Jackson, I'm connected with practically everyone here in the Taiwan mission.
On Wednesday, I did some training for the missionaries in my district about teaching grammar principles in English class. I was showing them a method that would help the class take the grammar pattern and draw on previous English knowledge to expand their understanding of the grammar. At the end, I asked them if they had any questions for me, or anything else they'd like training on for the next week, and Sister Busath said, "Elder Jorgensen, I'm impressed. I think we need you to teach us English grammar, because it's obvious you get it, and we don't understand it at all." Everybody laughed really hard, and nodded vigorously in agreement. I guess I'm just teaching English now! Kudos to my English teacher, Mrs. Browning, for helping me understand and retain all this stuff. You rock.
But the best day was Friday. We had English Training, a special meeting that was put together because our mission just changed all the English curriculum and advertising materials. At one point, they told us that they were no longer going to have young, inexperienced missionaries be English Leaders anymore. I automatically assumed that this would be my last movecall as English Leader, and joked that Sister Busath would become English Leader again (she was English Leader for five movecalls in a row, and she hated it!). To my surprise, my Zone Leader who overheard the joke told me that the new English Leaders were already picked and that they were the people who are Leaders right now. I was shocked, but pleasantly so. I'm one of the youngest in the District, but my mission leaders trusting me with the work. I hope I can live up to their expectations, and the expectations of those in my District as well.
I hope all is well for all of you. Enjoy the cold weather you still have, while you can. (Winter lasted for only two weeks here. I'm already back to dripping with sweat 24/7.)
Elder Gummow, the most chilax (chill/relax) man on the planet, with cocoa powder in his face.