K so picture this: a white teenager in missionary attire standing in a church building, sweating LITERAL buckets, eating the strangest foods ("don't ask what it is, just eat it"), and being surrounded by members trying to speak Chinese to me and laughing their heads off cuz I don't have the slightest clue what's going on. Ya. Welcome to TAIWAN!!
Hey family!! OH MY HECK I have so much to tell. So getting here was crazy. Our flights were delayed and stuff and super long (but I actually slept pretty good!). When we finally landed, President and Sister Teh were here to welcome us. They're awesome. I love them. Always smiling and super happy!! Anyways, we actually had to wait for some more missionaries on another flight that had been delayed (long story). So what do twenty missionaries in a crowded airport do when they're bored? Share the gospel!! haha. It was a little scary, but also pretty cool cuz I was able to actually talk with some people in terrible, broken Chinese and give out a pass along card! Finally the missionaries arrived and we left for Taichung. We didn't get to sleep that night until 3:30 am and had to get up the next morning at 6:45! Craziness.
Taichung is so awesome! It kind of reminded me of NYC -just the sounds, smells, etc. So that next day was spent eating great food prepared by Sister Teh and a member that helped her out, and getting "oriented". Before we went to dinner, we went out and contacted with some veteran missionaries that were in the area! That was SUPER fun and awesome. The people here are ridiculously nice and will stop and chat with us! A neat experience: we saw a lady sitting in a family mart by herself drinking coffee and my elder I was with decided to go sit with her. He taught me how to ask if we can sit with her and we started talking about her family and stuff. I pulled out a prayer tract and talked with her about prayer. We prayed with her right there. Then she started talking about Christian churches and how she thought they're all the same. We taught about the restoration and I gave the first vision right then and there! hahahaha how crazy is that?? I was kind of nervous at first, but the Spirit was strong, and I think that's because I knew what I was saying was true! She gave us her info and said we could come tell her more! haha Taiwan.
Friday I met my trainer and off we went! His name is Elder Hanna from Oregon. He's been out a year and can speak and read the language super good! That's inspiring. Our area is called Xihu -a little south and west of Taichung. I think it's near the ocean. TONS of rice fields here! First night here, we taught a drunk man outside his house about the book of mormon and word of wisdom! hahaha. It's been a huge holiday here so lots of people have been drunk I think.
On Saturday, the ward mission leader wanted to practice singing a song for a talent show they were having later that night. I played the piano and my comp (who has a great singing voice by the way), the WML and an RC were singing "I feel my savior's love". I love that song. Anyways, it was the funniest thing ever cuz everyone besides my comp sounded absolutely horrible. hahahaha. the WML is tone-deaf. At first, I thought he was trying to harmonize, and then realized he was just WAY off. haha. We spent like 20 minutes just doing the harmony so he could try to reach the notes. hahahaha. Also, the RC was singing in a strange falsetto...hahaha. had to be there.
So basically, working out here in the mornings is equivalent to working out in a sauna. It's hard to describe how much I sweat. Like, for real. My trainer says you don't stop the sweating, you just stop noticing. Great.
The people here LOVE Americans. Sometimes they randomly come up and talk just cuz we're white and from America. That's nice.
For breakfast I make smoothies like a champ! The fruit here is SSOOO dang good. Then we eat other meals at these sketchy looking places that are also ridiculously delicious. and ridiculously cheap. For example, Saturday lunch was this fried pork thing with a sauce drizzled on top with a huge thing of rice in the most delicious curry I've ever tasted. Also, on Sunday nights we eat at the Bishop's house and his wife is an amazing cook. Not even sure what I had last night, but it was ssooo good! and they were way impressed with my chopstick skills by the way (thanks dad!).
With the holiday, there's fireworks going off like crazy. And I'm pretty sure they don't have any sort of restrictions. We are master cockroach killers in our apartment every night. haha. Not big ones though...yet.
It's been hard at times. On a regular basis, I have no idea what's being said and people are looking right at me expecting me to understand. What do I do in those times? Laugh. I just smile super big when we contact people cuz that's all I can say! haha. And that's helped me get through the first couple of days here. Hopefully my language studies will get picking up here pretty soon.
The ward here is amazing. I couldn't understand a thing yesterday in sacrament meeting and classes and stuff, but I could feel their love for the Savior. I got to pass them the sacrament, and I just thought about how precious the Saints here are. Truly, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ live and know EVERYBODY in the whole world, even here in Taiwan. Yesterday, I was just totally blown away by hearing about and seeing some of the sacrifices made by the members here to come to church and keep the commandments. I was truly inspired, and my heart was softened big time, especially since I feel like I've never really had to sacrifice anything like that before. It makes me want to be better and work harder! I love the people here!! I feel so blessed to be able to labor in the vineyard of Taiwan for the Master. It's very humbling. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!