Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sea of Heads Sept 26, 2009
As I pull up to the stop light I look over the tops of the sea of heads bobbing around as everyone positioned themselves for the long wait of the red light. As a missionary in a country over populated by scooters, you quickly learn how to recognize your companion from the helmet that he wears. There could be over 100 people waiting at a single stop light and you can only see the tops of their helmets. There he is the black and gold helmet with the white strip. Now that I found him I can relax and look for somebody to talk to. I start talking with the man on my left, no response. He won't even look at me. I always think this is the most fun because the more they refuse to look at you the louder you can talk, after about 10 seconds you are screaming "Hey mister, how are you?" "Can you see me?" Finally, everyone is looking at the man that I am talking to like "Come on man, just talk to him!" It's fun! It is even funnier when they refuse to look at you but you can make them laugh. You tell them a joke and they look straight ahead like you aren't even there, but then they will start to giggle. It is the best when you make the old guys laugh. I figure if I can make somebody smile, then that is a success.
The light turns green, now I have got to maneuver quickly so that I don't get stampeded by the horde of busy motorist behind me. With a few close calls I manage to pull away without getting turned into a clean cut, well dressed, pancake. Once again I started scanning for that helmet that I so readily know. Target Locked! 50 meters ahead right hand side! My good ol' companion Elder Li. Missionaries aren't missionaries without their companions.
We bike over to a little convenience store in the neighborhood to do a little contacting. I run into a guy that is a doctor, really nice, thinks he is too intelligent for religion. That comment makes me smirk, thinking about all the insanely intelligent people that were all very religious, all of which I am sure were much more intelligent than this man. It is okay though, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about the power of intellect but about the Power of the Holy Ghost and the Light of Christ. I continue to chat with this doctor to see if he is willing to at least come try and understand. He says he has no time. I smirk again, he must have forgotten that he mentioned he had retired 2 years ago. Finally, I hit him with one of my favorite questions, “So how do you know that our religion or any religion for that matter isn’t true?” On the street many people will try and prove that there is no God. It is so interesting, they will claim that they know that there is not God through the same illogical ways that believers of religion claim that they know that there is a God. Usually, it is something along the lines of, “I have read a lot of books and I just feel like there isn’t a God.” Feel? I thought you said that you knew there isn’t a God? At about this point I like to respond with “Really? Me too! Except I am the exact opposite. I have read a lot of books and I have felt that there is a God who loves us. We are his children and he wants us to find time to get to know him.” Finally, I ask a follow up question to this doctor “So how can you be sure that the message we are sharing is not from God?” The doctor thinks about it for a second and comes to the conclusion that majority of people who are asked this question come to, he says “I guess I would have to come understand a little bit about it and then make my own decision about whether it is true or not.” He sets up a time! Now the ball is in his court, if he comes he may hear the most powerful message he has ever heard, if he doesn’t he has missed out on a great opportunity to learn of our eternal purpose and the importance of families in this eternal plan that Heavenly Father has created for us.
Where is my companion? Once again I repeat the searching process as I look for my companion at one of the corners of the intersection. President Hoer has suggested that we contact people on our own so that we can talk to twice as many people. Very rarely do we contact together. Quite often people will remind me “Hey aren’t there usually 2 of you guys? Where is your partner?” Despite the fact that most people are not interested in our message, they do admire us and tend to look out for us. I have had people ask me if I was lost because they had never seen a missionary without his companion by his side. Usually my companion is no more than 30 yards away, but if you aren’t paying attention it would be easy to only see one of us. Especially since I am American, I tend to stick out a little more than my native companion.
Well it is getting a little late so we decide to head back to the office. 9 o’clock, we do a quick little plan for the next day. 9:30, nightly reports, I start talking with all the Zone Leaders to see how their Zones are doing. With about 9 Zones in South Central Taiwan, I only have time to talk to each Zone for about 3 minutes. I type up a quick report to let President Hoer know how the Zones are doing and highlight any areas that they might be struggling.
10 o’clock I start working on little projects that I have going on. The projects vary from week to week. Sometimes fun and exciting, other times boring and tedious. They are all important though. Currently I am selling the Mission Offices junk. I am sure some of you that have lived with me might remember looking for something that you had put down in storage, only to find out that months earlier I had sold it on ebay. Hahaha… well I am basically doing that to the mission office right now. Of course I don’t keep any of the money; it all goes back into helping the missionaries. I have already sold old cell phones, extra computers, hard drives, monitors, old bicycles, recyclable metals, network parts, etc. Who would have thought that I would be able to use this talent of mine to help out the mission office? I guess we are all under that obligation to use our talents and special skills to push forth the work of the Lord. I just never thought that I would use my dejunking ability to help save money for the mission.
I was thinking about why I had this skill the other day, and I came to the conclusion that in all things there is a positive and a negative. Every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. Mom, loves to save things! Even mom will admit that she hates to throw things out. She is so cute, she will save every card that we have ever given her. I hear she is better now, but before, the house policy was, “We might be able to use it later.” I guess when I was younger I got tired of waiting for “later” so I started selling our junk on the “black market,” known to many as ebay. After several months of this underground life of mine, I was discovered when an old GPS system that had been placed down in the basement for more than 90 days disappeared. Poor dad must have thought that there were little Gremlins in our house using our GPS to circumnavigate the globe. I should have stuck with the Gremlin story, but finally I decided it was time to come out, I was cornered, there was no were left to turn. And that was the day I told my parents I was a dejunker.
I kind of function like the US Postal system, anything after 90 days is declared a lost item and may be discarded or sold, if after 90 days no one claims the package the workers, get to rip it upon and have a free for all. I’m not sure if President knows how much I like to sell junk. I have always had this fascination with selling stuff that I think is useless and watching people pay money for it. Mind blowing!
11 o’clock rolls around, I am tired. My eyes hurt, my legs are sore, even my ears seem to ache. We lock up, close the safes with all the passports and mission money, bolt the doors and windows, and arm the alarm system. Luckily, we only have to walk to the second floor to find our beds. I take a quick shower, dry off, eat a muffin from Costco!! (Yeah you read that right buddy, the Dowse’s buy me Costco muffins and MILK!!!) Do you have any idea how hard it is to find good milk in Asia? I have tried to tell the dairy farmers here, you can NOT feed a cow RICE!! Cows need good stuff like grass and hay maybe a little oats, that will make some good milk! They don’t listen they still feed the poor things rice, Costco cows must not be rice cows because it is pretty good milk.
After my muffin and milk, I climb into bed set the alarm for 6:30 and say my prayers. To be honest half the time I fall asleep in the middle of them. I think Heavenly Father understands. Usually, I wake up the next morning and finish them.
BEEP BEEP BEEP! I am gonna throw my companions clock at the wall. Could anyone find a more annoying alarm clock? I doubt it. Just so you all know, I still hate mornings! Time to get up and do it all again.
Wash, rinse, and repeat!
Elder Craig Anderson
Taiwan Taichung Mission
1．Andy's Baptism, i can't remember if i sent it to you.
2. The before and after shots of the network that i rebuilt.
3. The typhoon got so bad that we couldn't pedal our bikes so we ran into this really nice restaurant and spent a lot of money. ($10 USD per person) At least we were safe. It was a little embarassing because we were dripping wet and there were little puddles every where we walked. A worker brought us some towels and followed us around to mop up behind us. I felt so bad, but at least i wasn't getting ripped apart by the typhoon.
4. Goofy picture of the network afterwards.
5. at the beach in kaohsiung. there is a giant ship in the background.
6. the final result.
7. It looked like a bunch of High School kids threw together this network in their Technology class.
8. a typically stop light NOT during rush hour.