Monumental news of the week: I used a squatter toilet for the first time. They are everywhere in Taiwan, but I've been avoiding using them, for obvious reasons. But unfortunately, I really had to go, and it was the only option. I will graciously save you from a description of the event. Let me just say that I am so glad we have toilets you can conveniently sit on... what a blessing!
We're starting to gear up for the next movecall, and rumors are flying. Our 4-man apartment got reduced to a 2-man, but we still have two cell phones (usually it's one per companionship). The office never asked for the other one back, so we had the feeling that we were going to go back to a 4-man pretty soon. Plus, because of that sudden exchange with the assistants, I was pretty sure Elder Jensen was going to train a new missionary next movecall. So I wasn't surprised when he got a phone call the other night telling him that he was training. We then asked the office if I was going to move, and they said that I was staying here, confirming that we were going back to a 4-man. Which now opens up the further possibility that I may become senior companion next movecall. Now I'm worried: I feel totally inadequate. I believe I could do it, but my Chinese is lacking. I still don't understand a lot. I can speak the missionary vocabulary (gospel stuff), but when I branch out and have ordinary conversation, I can't do it. It's especially bad when they are bearing out their heart and soul to you in a lesson and you have no idea what they are saying. Our job is to help our investigators see how the gospel can help them, but I can't do that if I don't know what their problem is. It's looking like a lot of diligent language study and faith from now on. Of course, if I get a native Taiwanese companion, that would solve the problem. But we'll see how next week plays out.
I went on exchanges with Elder Hoer this week. Elder Hoer was the previous assistant to the President, but now he's in my district, so I had the opportunity to go do some good missionary work with him. Something I learned is that he just enjoys every aspect of the work. He has fun! He'll be singing and ringing his bell like crazy, and talking to everyone as if they were his best friend. It made me want to make all my communications with everyone more authentic. The only barrier with that is, again, ability with the language. I can't be myself if I can't speak what I want to say. But at least I can smile, so I'm good there.
Towards the end of our exchange, we bought some drinks, and the guy told us that it wasn't tea. As many of you probably know, LDS members do not drink tea made out of tea leaves (black, green, etc.). We drank a little bit, and Elder Hoer was immediately unsure about it. He said it tasted a lot like tea, but at the same time, the guy insisted it was not "tea leaf tea". It was until we drained half of our cups that Elder Hoer decided we had better not drink anymore. I guess I'll just have to be much more careful in the future.
Saw a woman this week wearing a T-shirt that said, "I'm proud to be a man." This explains why I see so many T-shirts out here with bad words and/or gibberish on them. They likely have no idea what they're wearing.
Elder Jensen and I went to visit a recent convert that hasn't been coming to church for a long time. When we came up to him, he said he was busy, and that he couldn't talk with us. We asked if we could share a short scripture with him that we had prepared, and I guess he felt like he could open up and be honest at that point, because he started telling us a ton of reasons why he wasn't going to church. He told us that he never really got an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, that the gods have been blessing him with really good business, and that he sees these other gods all the time. As we talked with him, he was completely opposed to everything we said, and continued to unload argument after argument on us. The conversation took wild tangents, and I can just remember the Spirit saying clearly to me, "Testify." So I did. I looked at him right in the eye, and told him I knew with all my heart that this church is true, and told him that he could know too. Sadly, he didn't listen: I could see an argument forming in his eyes even as I bore testimony. So we left. He turned around in a huff and started working on one of his machines in his workshop. As we walked out, I just turned around and said, "You know, we love you, Brother Zhan. We love you. I hope you remember that." He kind of stopped and looked at me for a moment. I just gave him a quick little smile and walked out. I don't know if he will ever have interest in going back to church, but at least we gave him an opportunity to know that we are always there for him, waiting with open arms.
Sometimes we think we have made too many mistakes to be able to receive God's forgiveness. While repentance may be hard, I can tell you that there is always a way back. He wants us to come back. All we need to do is turn over our will to His, and let Him change us. Life is so much better if we are obedient and humble. If you live in darkness or fear, please don't continue to stay there. Turn towards the light! Search the scriptures, pray, seek help from your church leaders! The Lord's hand is stretched out still, and we just have to take that step and grab on. He loves us!
Have a wonderful week, love,
Cooking tip: Next time you make hamburgers, don't put on ketchup and mustard. Lather on some Peanut Butter. It has to be concentrated and a little sweet (like Skippy or Jif). It is SO GOOD, and it's a crowd pleaser out here in Taiwan.
“My personal motto that I came up with this week. Very motivating. :)”