I opened off this week having a really creepy dream. We had one investigator for a while back in Gaoxiong who was mentally unstable, and because he became a big disruption in church, we had to ask him to leave and not come back. The other night, I was dreaming that Elder Edwards and I were outside the train station in Zhanghua talking to people. At one point, when Elder Edwards was focused on someone else, this guy with small beady eyes and glasses walked up to me but wasn't looking directly at me. As he walked past me, he grabbed my wrist and started pulling me along with him into the train station. I looked back at Elder Edwards, a little panicked, but Elder Edwards didn't notice. I thought the man was leading me to someone who wanted to talk with us, so I decided to walk along with him. But then he led us to an escalator, but before we got on, he forced me just outside the escalator, still holding on to me. He starts going up, but I'm dangling off the edge struggling to get out of his iron grip. All at once I recognize him as that previous investigator, probably back to get his revenge. I yell at him to let me go, and he gives me this dead-pan stare, then throws me off. I fall and fall and... wake up. It freaked me out so bad. That dream is still haunting me.
I watched Elder Edwards get T-boned by a scooter this week. Good thing he's a football player, he took the hit like a champ. But the lady that hit him was not so well off: she might have broken her nose. But I do want to attest to the reality of ministering angels, because that accident should have been a lot worse for my companion. He walked out with no scratches, and his bike is still in perfect condition. We are protected and watched after!
Something interesting about Chinese culture: to talk like a native, your face needs to be pretty devoid of expressions. We Americans, comparatively, wear our emotions on our sleeves. We raise our eyebrows when we are surprised, lower them when we are angry or stern, open our eyes wide and smile really big when we are excited, etc. But Chinese people use certain words to convey emotion instead. Like exclamation points, there are characters you can tag onto the end of a sentence to convey the mood of your words. "Ba", as I've mentioned before, is a word indicating that you just gave a suggestion, or an assertion that you are not entirely sure is fact. "Ah" with a falling tone is often an indicator of an incredulous or angry mood. There is a little emotion that is conveyed through the voice volume and ferocity behind the words, but there is a lot of stress on these exclamation particles.
Elder Edwards talked in his sleep this week. At two in the morning one night he said loud and clear, "But still, he had a translator, and he just dealt with it." What? I was too tired to laugh, but luckily I had the presence of mind to reach for my planner and write it down.
On Friday, Elder Edwards and I were contacting like crazy, trying to hit our goal for 1000 contacts. We were at an intersection, and he sat down with some kid, so I just kept contacting. However, I guess I missed him when he finished, because I looked back and he wasn't there anymore. In fact, he wasn't anywhere. He just went completely missing. I stayed in that intersection for 30 minutes, but he never showed up. On any other day I would just bike to a 7-Eleven and use the pay-phone to call him, but we had left our cell phone on the train the day before, so Elder Edwards didn't have it. I had no way to contact my companion. Like last time my companion disappeared, I prayed about what I was to do. The answer was clear: I needed to call President Bishop. So I biked back to the church to see if Elder Edwards was there, but he wasn't. I rode to the house (a minute away) but he wasn't there either, so I just biked back to the church again and, luckily, found some members inside, so I borrowed a cell phone. I called President Bishop, and he asked me if I could stay with the members. "But President, all the members here are girls!" He laughed hard, and then told me to just stay out in the hallway nearby and do some language study. 30 minutes later, Elder Edwards comes running down the hallway laughing. He told me that he thought I had gone farther down the road, so he kept going and never found me. He got another lesson with someone on the street on the way which lasted 15 minutes, and then he realized he needed to head back afterwards because it had almost been an hour. Wow, that experience was nerve wracking!
Elder Edwards and I just ripped it up this week. We contacted about 500 people, only halfway to our goal, but that is still double of what we were previously contacting. And we still had time for a bunch of lessons. It all went really well. He works so hard and is a fantastic example to me. I sure learned quite a bit about how to work hard! I'm still learning, but I'm a little farther on my quest to perfection.
But the time was too short. Elder Edwards got a call this morning: he's training next move call. Which means I'm moving again, only after three short weeks. It's sad, but I'll stay optimistic. I guess I'll just have to take the fire with me! Woohoo!
I love you all, and I will write you next week!
“A shirt I got from Mom (Dana).”
“We helped out this "Ama" (“elderly lady") cut down some bamboo.
“The one and only amazing Jeff. He's been working out.”
“Bowing down to the so-called "Food Prophet".
“Sguy and Elder Edwards making brownies.”
“Sguy, the Thai recent convert who is going on a mission soon. This guy is so boss.”
“The Brownie crew.”
“Our church building.”