Monday, March 23, 2015

Zhu Ni Sheng Ri Kuaile

Happy birthday Dad!! Hope it was a good one!

I had yet another week in ZhongLi. I am going on my 6 month mark here next week. And as such, I wish I could tell you new things about my life that are out of the ordinary, but I am running out of things to update you on that you are not already aware of..

This week we did go to a nightmarket for dinner. And that was an experience and a half. We had an LA take us out there to eat with him. And he got us....snake. So yes now I have eaten snake meat. And that to my list of yummy things. But in all honesty, it straight up was to die for. The people tell you here that snake is good for you skin, apparently it is free of all the antibiotics and other bad stuff that infests chicken and beef in the world these days.. I might be eating snake a lot more often now if that is the case! 

Another dinner appointment we had this week was at our rich Indonesian's families' house. Zhong JieMei cooked us up some of thee best spicy beef over rice that I have ever had. Unfortunately Taiwanese curry is not made with coconut milk like Thai and Indonesian is. I much prefer the ridiculously spicy and coconutty curry of Thailand and Indonesia. Anyways, this dinner was quite the time for me.. Zhong JM's daughter got home from NY this past week so this was kind of like her welcome home. And Zhong JM for some reason loves me. Like halfway through it all, Zhong JM pipes in "Elder Jin, we have a spare bed here for you, and I can cook really good food, and theres a girl (her daughter) here to treat you well while you're here!" So awkward. It turned into a bit of a welcome home party and also a "let's get Elder Jin and her hooked up" party for like a solid 10 minutes. And this lady is nuts and wouldn't stop. I have definitely become a missionary because I got so embarrassed at the thought of girls! I had no idea what to say, not going to lie hahaha. But like I said, the food was to die for so it wasn't all that bad after all..

Taiwanese girls actually have put me at my whits this past week. I am not going to Larry. Ever.

Other than that, not really sure what I want to update you on.. This week was good, but I can't remember it at the moment. Apologies!

Keep killing it! 

PS that bowl in the picture is full of snake meat. SO good!!

close up on the snake meat!!

tasty snake meat
my man Zhong DX

Elder Ribar and I at LiuFuCun amuzement

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Hello everyone again. Another week has flown by for me. Hope everyone is doing amazing.

This week hit with a super unexpected force of friggin coldness and rainyness that caused me to freeze my sack off as well as come down with a cold. The rain was straight up a constant downpour and the streets literally turned into little rivers. So my shoes got soaked and every night I took my shoes off, my feet were straight up "wrinkled" (i cant remember if thats the word you use anymore :D) as if I had just got out of a super hot bath tub. I might take up a sport where you ride your bicycle across rivers. I might be becoming pro at that too now.

As for the cold I caught. I slept a bit on thursday to try and fight that off, so that was nice because that was straight up the first nap I have taken since like the MTC i think?? no time to sleep out here unfortunately.. And for the lasting effects of getting sick, I have been coughing up the BIGGEST and GNARLIEST loogies I have ever seen in my life. Like I know I'm a snotty person (no pun intended) but straight up every time I cough or sneeze it feels my mouth with thick dark yellow mucous. And if you just got grossed out by reading this then please remember how much worse my poor companion has it having to also hear it and see it first hand. I just laugh now. Taiwan has become a little booger land lately.

During the midst of this big rain storm, we managed to find another Less-active member. I have been working with some interesting LA's since I got to ZhongLi, but I think this new one definitely tops everyone else off. If I am not mistaken in my ability to hear and understand Chinese, this man believes that two of his neighbor dogs conspire against him so when he walks outside, then they team up on him and bite him like crazy. He even had a bag full of all these shirts that were torn from all the dogs that keep biting him.. So he is legit. Except the fact that he hears them communicating and he hears them saying his name. Some days he just doesn't go outside because he doesn't want to walk into another "set-up". I love him though, in a different way anyways hahahaha. He came to church with us and likes us so I guess thats really all that matters now right?

All this funny talk aside, if I wasn't sick, I probably would have had an emotional break down moment. But when I'm sick then those emotions of mine just get even harder to come out hahaha. Anyways. Two nights ago I got a call at 10:05 as I'm wrapping things up for the night wanting to go to bed. It was my WML that I've mentioned in a few emails already. He called to see if I was ok and if I was getting better from my cold. But he doesn't usually call that late, so I asked him how his day was and what he did. He woke up at 6 or 7 to go to his super hard labor job as a welder for 12 or so hours, then he went to the hospital to tend to his wife who is pretty much on her death bed for a while, after that he went out to visit a member whose husband just left her and has a little new born to give her some money to feed her child as well as help her do some house cleaning stuff, and then when he finally walked back in his home door, the first thing he does is give the little missionary Elder Jensen in his ward a call to ask if I was feeling better. I was so moved. I don't know anyone more Christlike than that. I can't even make any comments about this other than, there is a real man.

This week was fun. And today is going to be REALLY fun. :-) I'll feel you in on it next week. Keep it up! Live life to the fullest! love you all!

Jīn ZhǎngLǎo
Elder Jensen

The night markets here include the ability to catch your own mini turtles and pufferfish.  We are tempted to get some pets at the house hahaha


Elder Heaps and I lucked out to get front row seats to this crazy Buddhist parade!

me and Elder Ribar

Went golfing last week.  Haven't lost my touch hahaha


This week was a good one. Well worked. But as I look back on it, I didn't have any crazy funny experiences to share or anything cool/interesting. Unfortunately. So this may be one of my lamest letters.

If there's something I do want to talk about though, its how awesome my new companion is. He cleans up after himself! Who would've thought how nice it really is to not have to always do your companion's dishes anymore. Or pick up his clothes. Or do his laundry. Or organize his desk so we don't lose things. Yep. I am very happy to have a clean comp now. 

But better, I've learned more about how to be a good roommate, or how to be a better person to have to live with, in this past week. I would be rich if I got 10 kuai for every time he asks if he can help me do something. Or if I counted how many times he just like does little things for me. Elder Ribar is a stud.

My eyes are now open to how it makes life a thousand times easier when you are clean. Mother I apologize for all those times you told me to clean my room and I told you to stop coming upstairs to look at it :-) Cleanliness is a good trait to have.

We were on the streets yesterday searching out LA's when we got to one locked door with no one home. I was in the middle of writing a note to leave at the door when this woman walked up, returning home with groceries. She was the mother of the guy who was our LA. She talked to us for a bit, I guess her little brother is a member down in Hualien, pretty familiar with a church and everything.. well the conversation got down to it and I asked her how she felt about prayer. Her reply, "I am very against prayer. I feel it is very impolite." I said "well, as far as I know it doesn't really hurt anyone, and like doesn't have any downside even if it doesn't work..." I mean right, speaking a few words out loud probably doesn't do much harm... But she just says "There's no God, and I think it's very impolite that you try to talk to someone that isn't there." 

Impolite to who??

I did have some cool miracles this past week. For example, my hair hasn't started to fall out, my pants haven't ripped, I didn't get in any bike wrecks, I had some ice cream, and I didn't get arrested. So count your blessings!

Praying for everyone as usual. Thanks for all the support.

PS I got interviewed by this guy who I guess is a famous British documentary-ist. Said I might be a big screen some day. So no big deal.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


This week was full of many major surprises for me. The title means "surprise" or "accident", but I'm not totally sure how you use it yet haha. Point is this past week took me off guard a bit. I had come to that point on the mission that I'm sure lots of people come to many times while on the mission. I have been in ZhongLi for 3.5 transfers and I felt like I had finished all the work I was supposed to do here because I had run completely out of ideas to help our investigators and Less-actives we are working with. I felt like I had nothing more to offer. So I was very excited for the anticipated moving call for me to be on my way out of ZhongLi and off to my new horizon elsewhere.

That moving call came, but it wasn't me who was headed out of there. Elder Miller was leaving after only been here for one transfer.

I was bummed. And felt a little hopeless honestly.

But then when we made it up to transfer meeting, I was surprised yet again to find out that while I was staying in ZhongLi for another transfer, I would become senior companion and district leader. Haha I was thinking "well freak! as if last transfer I didn't have enough stress already, then I just get a ton more responsibility thrown at me again." One secret of the mission is right when you think you have things down, then something will inevitably happen that puts you right back in your place thinking you have no idea how to do missionary work. But that's probably it, the mission is meant to really push you. And it is.

When I got to church, I was approached by a fair amount of people SO happy to see me still there. One lady in the ward that I known pretty well came up and told me her prayers were answered and she was so happy I got to stay one more transfer. Then my WML came up to me and told me essentially the same thing and laughed saying he "knew my work here wasn't over yet." And of course LaiJM was happier than you could imagine at the news. So. Yes, I felt good after that. It's nice every once in a while to hear that you are loved, midst all the rejection and angry people we face every day. 

I am still very happy to be here. I still occasionally have those moments from time to time when I walk outside and remember I'm across the pacific away from home in Taiwan. It gives me butterflies :-) 

This week wasn't super eventful other than transfers. I apologize, I don't have much to report on. We're going through that slump right after you come off a major high from a huge holiday like Chinese New Year.

I have a baptism coming up this weekend. My man from the Phillippines that I've taught the whole way is finally ready. So that makes me very excited. The work is still moving forward and I am very stoked about it.

That's about it for me. Love you all!!!

the famous beetle nut opium source

hiking crew!!