We had a pretty crazy Monday last week. After we emailed, I got a call from a member needing English help for her application to BYU Hawaii. We spend a good two hours assisting her in recording a video of her answering questions. As we left the church, a less active member that I've only seen once and an MTC teacher I've met before parked in front of us and asked if we wanted to go out to dinner. And then, as soon as we got back to town, we got a call from LB, who asked us to pray that "demons would not enter his house". Naturally, we were concerned, so we went there right away. We rolled into his driveway to find him sitting at a table with two police officers, talking about a snake that he had killed as it slithered into his warehouse. And then this 80-year-old man came, someone whom we had met once before, and he told us that whenever he sees us he no longer has a desire to smoke, and that he knew the power of Christ was real. He said on his own that he wanted to come to church, and that he's been planning a time to go. Pretty sweet Monday, if you ask me.
So I suppose I should let you know about the snake encounter I had a few weeks back. I've been waiting because there's a lot of information I needed to collect before I made any kind of inference as to what kind of snake it was. We've narrowed it down to two snakes, both poisonous. We were riding down a back road, late in the evening, with only one light to guide us (mine was out of batteries). We were going pretty fast, and I wasn't really paying attention to the road far ahead, because the road was really bumpy and full of potholes. Suddenly, about a yard in front of me was a big snake. It stretched across the road, and it was anywhere between 6-8 feet. I squeezed the brakes, but only my left hand had a good grip... My front tire locked up, and I flew over the handlebars and landed about two feet on the other side of the snake. At that point, all I could think was, "Oh my gosh, I'm right next to a huge snake, and I'm on my back!" I looked over in time to see it slide into the grass. ...As far as we know, there are two possibilities as to what kind of species it was. One, it was a cobra, which pretty much everyone knows is pretty dang dangerous. Or, two, it was an Umbrella snake, also referred to as the Many-Banded Crate. The Umbrella snake is rated the 2nd highest killer in Taiwan, and the mortality rate is pretty high for its bite. Its bite only has a slight tingle, and does not draw any blood. However, after a bite, you only have three hours to live.
So, I consider myself very blessed to have landed on the tail-end of the snake.
A member died in our ward recently, and they've invited us to come to her funeral on Saturday. This will be my first Taiwanese funeral, and I'm a little nervous about the difference in tradition and culture, but I'm sure the members will help us along. It will be interesting to see this aspect of the culture, as not many foreigners are socially connected enough with the natives to be invited to participate in this sort of thing.
We took a bus this week down to Kending, and found ourselves faced with a long walk back since there were no nearby bus stops. It was raining, and we had probably walked for a good three kilometers when my dream came true: a blue truck pulled up and offered us a ride. In Taiwan, blue trucks are the official merchandise trucks. Probably a third of the traffic you see is blue trucks. I was always fascinated with the idea of hitchhiking on a blue truck, and while I didn't seek this opportunity out, they were kind and helped us out. So, in the end, four people were crammed into the single row cabin, and we talked about the gospel and stuff all the way back to the bus station.
English got trashed by the Typhoon this week: no students at all. Ah, man.
And I had a wonderful surprise on Sunday: my convert Brother Ye and my friend Sister Zeng came from Gangshan to visit! It was fast and testimony meeting that Sunday, and I got to hear Brother Ye share his testimony. I was super happy to see him becoming so firm in his testimony of the gospel. He has grown and changed a lot since we met him on the street three months ago.
I love you all, and thanks for the updates on your lives! I miss you!
“I had a tweaked neck. “
“Hitchhike! It's recommended!”
“Freja's letter, after it encountered the rain and the postal service.”
“Our trip to the beach.”
“Our trip to the beach.”