Sunday, September 1, 2013

Week 9 - In Taidong Taiwan

Picture of the LDS Church building in Taidong, Taiwan where Elder Dickson is currently serving.

Hey everybody! Letters are going to be even more slow getting to me because I'm in Taidong for my first area! and while that's super nice, beautiful, and slower pace than Taibei, its about as far as  we can get from the mission office, by like a 6 hour train ride, so mail takes forever.

It is cool that two other elders from my Missionary Training district are here with me. One is in my zone, and my MTC companion is not only in my district, but in my apartment. Biking is interesting, because nobody here obeys traffic laws and I really am trying to be safe, however it wouldn't hurt to have some extra prayers on my side : )

Hope everything is going well! right now we have about 7 progressing investigators, and 7 contacts - 9 of the 14 have baptismal dates already and 6 of those are for October 12th, so might be a super fun day!  I can barely communicate with anyone here which is super frustrating, but I try to not let it discourage me. I'm not saying this to sound humble, but this language is really hard. Scooter contacting is fun, but hard when I can't understand the people, and I'm really bad at car contacting. Oh well it'll get better with time.

My companion is Elder Allred from Utah and he is awesome! When we first got here, they let us make a one minute phone call to our family to let them know we were alive, and it was cheaper to call to home phones apparently so that's why I called the home phone. I met brother Langford, but not sister Langford as she apparently hurt herself, so they have to go back to the states for now.

The weather is like really humid and hot especially Taidong because we are as far south in the mission as you can get. We went to a BBQ at a members house, pretty sweet stuff and I now love moon cakes. I'm pumped for autumn festival which is all this month.

The Taidong branch is really cool and isn't too big, maybe around 50 in attendance on Sunday.
Yes Monday is a personal day (pday) for us. We have to get up around 5 AM to use computers in an internet cafĂ©'.  I really don't know how much time I get on email as my companion helped me and all I did was to hand the shop woman 55 kuai. The exchange here is about $1.00 US dollar to 30 New Taiwan Dollar (NTD), so like less than two bucks for I don't know how long.

I feel like I shouldn't comment on the status of the apartment, nor should Mom know. I loved the greenie package you sent me, as I needed some normal junk food to ease me into the Taiwan food transition - all of the drinks are like that weird thing Gunnar gave us, with gooey junk all up in it - though the food, while sketchy at times, is amazing! Taidong is known for its fried rice, so I'm all set for the next 3 months which is when transfers will happen.  I really don't know what kind of bike I have yet, right now I'm borrowing one that the church had here already.

Thought for the week: the negative parable. So in weight lifting there is what is called a negative. Its when you put more weight than you know you can lift by yourself, so you get a spotter, and what you do is you have to exert all your force to keep the weight up. However since it is more weight, all you can do is slow it down from falling, until the spotter raises it back up, and you do it again. Doing this increases the muscle tear which then allows it to grow back stronger. Growing and learning work the same way. Heavenly Father gives us these challenges, and often they feel like more weight than we can bear. But when we exert all the force that we have, and at the moment when it seems like we cant slow it anymore, he raises the weight again, and we do it again. By doing this he is helping us rapidly grow our spiritual muscles. We have to rely on him, and exert all we have, and we will grow and become stronger in ways we didn't know existed.

Love you all, talk to you next week!

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