The lease for our Gangshan apartment ends in December, and apparently our landlord is very eager and proactive in selling off the place. The office elders forgot to tell us that realtors were going to be coming to look at our apartment. So imagine our surprise when we hear the doorbell ring. We never get any visitors! We were actually in the middle of cleaning, so we quickly tried to make the house look a little presentable and then opened the door. And then here they were, just walking in through our front door snapping pictures. After a quick phone call to the office, we realized the situation, and began running to the other rooms that they hadn't seen yet, making beds and tidying our desks. Unfortunately, our front room smelled weird because we had made a piñata there a few days ago. The place was just a mess. But they just smiled and thanked us for our time, and then walked back out. Over the last few days more and more realtors keep coming in. I'm sure they are in cahoots with the apartment complex security guard, because they always seem to show up right when we walk in the door. It's pretty annoying actually.
It was my birthday this week, and it was a very fun one! On Monday, the ward threw a surprise party for me during a Single member activity. They came waltzing in with a cake and lots of fruit. It was fun to spend that time with my ward family. Then on Tuesday, I had a Zone Training Meeting, and it was both my birthday and one of the senior couple missionary's birthday. He was turning 71. His wife brought a huge Costco cake! During another meeting, President Bishop walks around the corner whistling "Happy Birthday", grabs my arm, takes me over to the meeting room, and has everyone there sing to me. I feel really loved and appreciated, even in a foreign land. I'm grateful for all my wonderful friends and leaders out here.
We wrapped up the last movecall with a huge English party, where we showed them how Americans celebrate birthdays (no, I was not throwing myself a birthday party. We said it was everyone's birthday.). We made several piñatas (one coated in duct-tape for the adult guys), played musical chairs, passed around wrapped presents, and ate cake! During the musical chairs portion, I played piano, and I guess I left an impression on one father there, because he brought his 5-year-old daughter up to me and asked me to give her piano lessons every week. Naturally, as a missionary, I couldn't agree, but I'm flattered that they considered me capable of teaching their daughter. Just to serve though, I taught her for about ten minutes, and I found I really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll teach piano after my mission...
I got a new companion today, and it's actually someone I knew from in the MTC. Elder Erekson is super nice, super diligent, super visionary, and super AWESOME! I'm thrilled to have this time to work with him. We are going to have a great time in Gangshan together. Meanwhile, Elder Jensen is training a new missionary, so we are all together in a 4-man apartment. Cool beans.
Even out here in Taiwan, Mother’s day is an important holiday, enough for investigators to tell us they have to stay home from church to be with their mothers. I don't blame them: I wish I could be home to show my appreciation for my mother. I just want everyone out there to know that I have the best mom in the entire universe, and she can't be beat! I'm a little prejudiced, I know, but I speak the truth. I love my mom so much!!! She has helped me through thick and thin, has pulled me up when I have fallen down, and serves me continually, especially when I am not looking. She has been my inspiration to become a better missionary, a better son, a better man, and a better disciple of Christ. I am thankful for her devoted service to her fellow man and her solid testimony. I hope and dream of becoming like her someday. I love you mom!!!
Happy Mother’s Day!