Monday, December 29, 2014

XinNian KuaiLe!!

Happy New Year everyone!! Hope Christmas was good for everything, it was wonderful for me. Wasn't the same of course because no one here hardly knows what Christmas even is hahah but it was still special none the less.

Some quick things. A funny observation. I live in the midst on a bunch of high-rise apartments which is super rad, but I've always wondered how people get all their furniture up to their apartments without any trouble and I found out the other morning. At 630 am there was a crane outside one of the high rises parked right in the middle of a huge road there to lift a mattress up 30 or so floors to someone's deck where they were standing ready to receive it haha. a bit different than what i'm used to in America.

We set up an appointment with a very very casually dressed woman who approached us curious about the church on the street, she was wearing like a sweatshirt and glasses, nothing special. But when we show up to our appointment thinking she is really golden because she was so excited to hear about the church, we meet a woman who is done up almost exactly like a barbie doll with SOOOO much makeup and a super super short skirt and puffy shirt. I for one didn't recognize her at first and then almost busted up laughing when I realized it was her! Girls here drive me nuts. I am going to stick to my American girls when i get home that don't freak the heck out of me.

We got to go to Taipei on Christmas Eve for an awesome Christmas party. I found out the reason I hadn't gotten any of my Christmas packages was because they were hording them all from us at the office and gave them out as our Santa presents at the end of the huge party. it was fun. Thank you for everyone that send me stuff!!! Loved it all

On Christmas Day we had a less active take us to this huge 5 star buffet that was straight up the most amazing thing of my life, although I ate waaayyyy too much hahah. My list of crazy things I've eaten just continues to grow haha:

-rose petal lemonade which was to die for.
-aloe vera leaves chilling as part of the salad bar haha
-raw cuttlefish (look one up online)
-RAW beef!! japanese style! like what the???
-beef jelly stuff
-and more pig intestine which i dont think i could ever grow to like that…

raw beef, cuttlefish, and swordfish sashimi, not bad!!

here is our crazy Brother Chen who loves taking us to the most expensive restaurants in town and then telling the waiters it's our birthday when it isn't!! So happy unbirthday to Elder Willes!!!
seriously this restaurant was like wolfgang puck status with 7 courses from heaven!!

Last of all, I had my first baptism on Christmas night that I'll actually count as one of mine. It was cool because Elder Willes and I found her together on the street during my very first week on island. She was Jehovah's Witness!!! And yes, we taught her all the way down until she was baptized this past week. And I got to help her do it, but because her body condition is terrible, Elder Willes was in the font alongside me for her balance. So we found her together, taught her together, and then baptized her together. It was really cute haha. She is so wonderful, she taught me so much more than I taught her. I love that I have been privileged to meet the people that I've met out here.

The mission is amazing. On every level you could imagine. It's pretty crazy. Love it everyday.

Love you all! Happy 2015!!

this woman is named Jin Wei.  Which is me (Elder Jin) and Elder Willes (Elder Wei) so of course we had to take a picture with her :-) 

for you dad. haha I'll try to remember and take more pictures of the Chinglish signs here!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ShengDanJie KuaiLe!

Merry Christmas!!!!

Don't have tons of time today, so I'll be short.

Last week we treated ourselves to some delicious barbeque, Asian style!! It was delicious! Some of the stuff we ate, in short included:

-Chicken heart
-tiny squids
-pig intestine
-chicken cartilege
-pregnant fish

I have this chicken's heart now

Asian style BBQ!

We have a stud investigator from Haiti here in Taiwan studying that is fluent in Haitian Creole, French, English, and Chinese. Everyone loves him.

My man Jimmy from Haiti!

We got taken to an all-you-can-eat Hotpot this week. It was literally to die for. But it was a LOT of food for me hahaha. The time came when we had to start winding down a bit and get ready to leave so then i start pounding all my food down super fast so we could leave but Brother Chen must have took it as I was super hungry because then he started putting everything on my plate and I was too sorry to waste any of it so that was the most full I have ever stuffed myself in my life. And then had to get on my bike to bike 10 miles in 14 minutes. So that was nuts hahaha.

Chen Family taking good care of us at Hotpot.  SO GOOD!!!!

This week was full of the most spiritual lessons of my life. I have met some really great people here. One lesson in particular, with one of our wonderful sister investigators. We were reading in Alma about prayer. And I asked her what she liked the most out of that. She points to the next verse that we did not read together and points out that she agreed with how it said that if you pray but do not be Christlike in your actions, then your prayer is in vain. That was one of my special mission moments. This woman has brought us missionaries food every week and bought us extra clothing every week for a month now. She is the most Christlike person I've ever met. It was a humbling moment because I realized I am not worthy to be teaching her. She is teaching me. And if one day I can be as Christlike as she is then I will be satisfied with my efforts. This has got to be God's work, because there's no way I could do it otherwise.

I love my mission.

And all of you.

Merry Christmas,

Best Thai of my life.  Hands down. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

ShengDanJie KuaiLe!

GeWei DiXiong JieMeimen, Zao'An!!

This week has been awesome!! Unfortunately I don't remember it very well hahahaha days all blur together too much now.

But there were some highlights don't worry.


Yingge!! Family when you come to pick me up we are taking an afternoon trip to Yingge so you can see how COOL it is!! Right on the outskirts of Taipei is this well preserved strip of ancient China and lots of artisans and pottery. It is beautiful. And super fun. I got to practice my pot throwing for the first time in nearly 3 years. And i haven't lost my touch yet! I was very excited to see I was still capable of throwing a pretty decent pot! Unfortunately I did not get to keep it...

the master potsman back at it!! 

so fun!

But like all other tourist traps in the world I got sucked into buying a crap load of stuff I don't need so I'm going to be sending all of that home in my next package haha so it can just wait there for me to get home. And the other devils of Yingge is it has these special pastry things from heaven so of course I had to spend a couple hundred kuai on these delicacies. I need more self control hahaha..

I also got taken out to Pizza Hut this week. Back home I wouldn't eat Pizza Hut even if you paid me but now being here in Taiwan I realize its the best place on earth. Especially since it is buffet style here and man i can eat a lot. it surprises me so much haha I ate like 30 or so slices of pizza last time. (Willes will tell you thats a lie though so just don't ask him) They have these egg tart things which is straight up a blended egg with a crap load of sugar blended into it and then chilled till its like jello and oh my it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. SO tasty! All the pizza has squid on it too here. hahah funny observation. except the pepporoni of course. Korean Kimchee is my personal favorite.

We had another few golden lessons this week. But we also learned a good lesson about bringing members to lessons with us. Make sure they know before hand that their role is not to talk. Like at all. "Only speak when spoken to" kind of thing. because man we brought a talker to one lesson and I almost died because she wanted to teach the whole thing and hardly took any breaths for us to interrupt. Even when we tried to interrupt she just talked louder so she would drown out our voices. She will never peike for me again. (peike=accompany lesson)

I'm to the point with the language that I know just about everything I need to know to get myself around and teach the lessons, so in my head I'm solid. But then I get in lessons and when I don't understand the really advanced Chinese it irritates the heck out of me. I expect too much of myself, I've only been speaking for 6 months, how could anyone expect to understand someone describing their doctor's diagnosis on their chronic back pain. So I am trying to be patient with myself still but its difficult when you just want to be perfect hahaha

One funny thing. We have a crazy member who whenever he sees us, he reasks us the same question every week. It is the "Declaration of Independence" not the "Decoration of Independence" hahahaha and then he precedes to quote the Preamble to us. But neither Willes nor I can check him because we don't know it!! hahahaha getting showed up by the Taiwanese in American history left and right..

Love you all. Merry Christmas. Have a special one for me. Know that I miss you all. Hope you're having the times of your lives!!

Ai Nimen!

Sister Lai! she treats us so well.  Love her to death!

this guy is 91 years old and still going strong!! such a strong testimony.  what a golden guy! love him to death as well

home :-) loving the city life! 7th floor swag


my view every morning

So from the sounds of the fam I don't elaborate on my struggles here enough hahaha so imma just share typical Taiwanese struggles since this week wasn't overly-exciting.

We taught 24 lessons this week. We friggin slaughtered them streets! That is exciting. But as for struggles with teaching the Taiwanese:

Missionary work is friggin tiring for one. It is hard to always be your sharpest on the streets and in lessons because sometimes you wanna just close your eyes for 30 seconds haha. So sometimes I'll slaughter a contact because I'm just tired as I'll get out for one..

The Taiwanese people do not think deeply. Like they don't ponder life questions at all. It's because they flat out just don't have time. They work from 6am to 10pm and get 5 or so days off a month. Total. Haha sounds pretty similar to us missionaries, so we don't have any sympathy here. But regardless they don't think about any deep questions. When we ask them about their beliefs, they often times don't even know. Hahah. Lots of people believe there's a God but they know nothing about him. No concept of God. So that is sometimes frustrating I'll be honest. But it makes us teach very very simply which is the idea, what PMG wants of us.

Then theres the nice people we'll talk to that are not super devout Buddhist (devout Buddhists won't talk to us "amens") and willing to talk to us, but we start asking them about their beliefs and they say things along the lines of "Jesus, Buddha, they're both good." "When I need Jesus he's in my heart. When I need Buddha he can be there too." "Jesus was a good guy, but doesn't fit us over here in Asia." etc......

Elsewhere in the world I would imagine people being very proud about their religion and not willing to listen because they are pretty convinced of their own beliefs, however in Taiwan it's often totally different. These people are so humble and so accepting of others' beliefs that it becomes impossible to tell them there's only one true church. Haha they'll be loving our message and then we pop the baptism question and they suddenly turn "bu yong!" (no use) "Jesus, Buddha, both are good. I don't need to be baptized."

Typical struggles.

I do want to delve in a bit and tell you about one of our investigators, Lai JieMei (Sister Lai). She straight up cracks me up. For one she doesn't stop talking and she speaks faster than the speed of light hahah. But she's super solid. We found her on the street in my first week and we didn't meet hardly ever, so we almost dropped her. Then by a funny miracle we met with her and she LOVES us now. this morning we get a call during studies to come outside because she bought us three bags full of food!! Gotta love those calls :-) She's one of those investigators that is already a Mormon mom. She's gonna be baptized. We love her.

Mission life is happening, regardless of the clueless Taiwanese. They're fun. Except the girls here make me mad, I don't like talking to them because they just giggle and don't say anything. I've been asked a few times what I think of the girls here and every time its the same answer!! "Ehhh.... All girls are beautiful in their own way." hahaha this one isn't larrying thats for sure!

Love you all!!

the ward mission crew!

this is ostrich meat, in Taiwan

still making it to concerts out here don't worry my sisters haha