Sorry about the absence of a blog post last week. Things got hectic, and the office needed my help in resolving some technical difficulties. Nothing got better while I was there, but luckily I was able to isolate some possible problems (all of which were way over my head to fix). They're bringing in some more experienced folks to work on the computers, and then we'll see if I get called back to do some work on some other projects (possibly updating the English website).
Elder Claflin has been struck with the worst of health as of late. After an exchange with our Zone Leaders, he started getting really dehydrated, and was experiencing all the symptoms that go along with that. We stopped to go to a bathroom every five minutes. We basically 7-Eleven hopped all the way home. He slept for a while, and then we called Sister Blickenstaff, who was shocked and told us to go to the hospital immediately. By this time it was 10:30 pm, which is lights out on the missionary schedule. We decided that we'd need some translation help, so we asked the Taiwanese companionship in our apartment to come with us. They readily agreed. All four of us biked over to the hospital, got Elder Claflin checked in at the ER, and we all watched him get escorted behind a giant metal door. At about 11:30 he came back out, smiling and telling me that he sat down and had a lesson with a less active member that we've been struggling to get ahold of for the last month. Apparently that guy was back there too. Just goes to show that the Lord will do whatever it takes to take care of his lost sheep.
We decided that we'd take a trip out to Heping county, a large, mountainous region outside of Taichung city. After an hour long bus ride, we got off in the town of Heping, realizing all too late that we were still far from our final destination, and that there were no buses coming for two hours. We then commenced a 5km walk, which turned out to be pretty perilous. There were no sidewalks, cars whizzing around hairpin corners, and hundreds of huge banana spiders hanging from power lines and trees. When we got to the small cluster of houses that we were looking for (out in the middle of nowhere), we walked up the mountain and could not for the life of us find the address we wanted to visit. Walking back down the mountain, we ran into this intoxicated elderly man who escorted us to the government representative in the town (not the mayor, but some other official). Outside the government worker's house there was another drunk guy, who kept puffing cigarette smoke rings and, with a wide grin, shouting "America!" over and over again.
Highlight of the week: Our investigator, Brother Zhang, got baptized! He has a very solid testimony. I'm very happy and excited for him. Also, our district has been having a lot of success, and in our four companionships we have ten total investigators with baptismal dates. I had the opportunity to interview two of them prior to their baptisms this coming Saturday. I find these interviews to be very spiritually rewarding. One of them shared a scripture with me that made me cry: "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." I'm grateful that I have been able to witness many others gain a testimony that Christ is their Savior.
I have decided to try something called "Project Purification". It stemmed out of a desire to be led more by the Spirit, and to teach with more power. I started by fasting from two meals and asking God to inspire me in some things that I should not do over the next 40 days (aka one transfer). I made a list based off of these promptings, and promised to the Lord that I wouldn't do any of the things on that list during the specified time frame. For example, I decided that I would not sing any pop music, but rather would only sing church hymns. I also decided I would not play piano outside of church services and meetings. This commitment is proving to be very difficult, and I find myself breaking these commitments accidentally on almost a regular basis. This is teaching me how to have better control over my thoughts and actions.
It's been a great two weeks, and now it's my last week of the transfer. Who knows what will happen!
Last but not least: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEIF!!! I love you, bro!