Greetings from Donggang!!
Hello everybody! Or should I say good night? If I'm not mistaken, it's about 10pm on Sunday for you, am I right? I'm here in Taiwan and it's noon on Monday.
Oh man, what a week it's been! I have about 45 minutes left on this computer--we're sitting in some kind of arcade, and you put a 10-kuai coin into a machine next to the computer and it gives you an hour. I'll have to write my letter to President Bishop later, but compared to the MTC this is a freaking luxury! Well, the plane ride to Taiwan was indeed long, but I slept part of the way. After dinner they shut off all the lights, so I thought eh...what the hey, I'll sleep. I woke up and looked out the window and saw a huge city way below me, but I knew it wasn't Taibei. I looked on the little touch screen TV in front of me and found out I was looking out over Tokyo.
Long story short, we landed in Taibei, met President and Sister Bishop and the two assistants, and loaded our stuff into a bus and traveled to Taizhong city for another two hours. We did some orientation stuff, they gave us our new name badges, stuff like that. The next day was a lot of orientation, but President Bishop treated us to a nice lunch and dinner. Lunch was a hot pot, which I've never been to before. For those of you who don't know, they stick a pot of soup on a hot element in front of you and you go get meat and noodles and veggies and stick it all in the pot and let it boil. It was quite good.
After dinner, President Bishop announced we were going to go out to the Taizhong night market and "Dan Jones" it up. Dan Jones was one of the Church's earliest missionaries, and since he was a shorter fellow, when he went to Wales he grabbed a soap box and stood up on it. Yep. I stood atop a soap box with a Chinese Book of Mormon in my hand and told all those people my testimony. After I got down (it was kind of fun, but I ran out of stuff to say pretty quickly), a more experienced missionary grabbed me and we went street contacting all around that busy market. We were able to get seventeen people's information, and all of them committed to a baptismal date in August. Now don't be fooled by that--It's highly possible most of them gave me wrong numbers or will refuse to talk to the missionaries when they call, but it was still a great experience. Preach My Gospel says "no effort is wasted." Statistically speaking, about one of those people will actually make it all the way to baptism. So it was all worth it if that happens!
The next day we met our new companions and headed off to our new areas. My companion's name is Elder Bickmore, from North Carolina. I'm here in Donggang, which is the second farthest south area in the mission. Let me tell you, it's so great, but soooo different! Yes, the humidity is all I dreamed it would be and more. I seriously think I'm sweating every minute of the day except in my cold shower and when we're sitting in our air conditioned room. We have to run for half an hour three days of the week and lift weights the other three. Those runs frickin kill me, but it's getting easier every time. I'm convinced I'm going to weigh no more than 150 by the time I come home. I'll look like Dillon. O_O (just kidding)
Down here we have two missionaries--Elder Bickmore and myself. We have a branch of roughly 30 members if I were to guess. They're all so nice! The Branch President and his wife, President and Sister (name) (that's pronounced like the Chun family in our ward) have one son who is serving a mission in Taibei, and they're incredibly nice people. Actually, the whole branch is really sweet. They all say my Chinese is really good for being in Taiwan for five days, and that I don't have as strong of a foreigner accent. I keep telling them it's the Lord's gift.
Well, I'd better wrap up. I'll try and download my pictures and send them after I write my letter to President Bishop. If you don't get them this week, I'll try again next week. Never mind, I thought the meter said 21 but it actually said 27. :)
What else to write about? I've gotten so used to the MTC's push-along system I don't know what to do. Street contacting is always interesting. Whenever there's a red light I run up to a man on a scooter (because we can't talk to women without our companion right there in arm's reach) and try and get him to pull to the side of the road and listen to me. I usually fail pretty miserably at that. They tell me they don't have time or "bu yong" which means "no use". :P I'll keep trying, though. I know the Lord's preparing people for me to find. We're actually teaching a kid right now who seems pretty interested. He came to church for three hours and then met with us afterward to hear the first lesson!
Now it really is time to go. I love you all so much. I pray for you every day. I know that the Lord is the one who supports us in all our afflictions, and if you turn to Him, He waits with open arms to receive you.
Love you all,
PS Next time you watch The Best Two Years, you can laugh at that scene where Kirby is riding his bike over the bridge and he looks all awkward. That's me right now. Yep. I have a feeling that will be enormously funny to me when I see it.