What another great week on this beautiful island! My replacement is coming in on Monday, so I have been trying to wrap up all the loose ends. There are a lot! There are just so many little things going on. Since Christmas is almost here there are a lot of little details that I have to keep track of. Not mention rigging the wiring for the Christmas performance. Everyone was very impressed by my splicing techniques. Thanks Dad for teaching me that one! Who needs to buy a cord when you can make your own right?
On Wednesday I went to the Taipei Mission Office. That was fun! I saw one of my old friends from the MTC. We were in the same district during our training at the Missionary Training Center. Anyways, I have now served in every mission office in Taiwan! Pretty cool huh?
I met this really funny German guy this week. 3 TIMES! If you run into the same person twice it is pretty rare, but 3 times, now that has got to be a message to him. Anyways, the first time he was a little rude, but I simply smiled and tried not to argue with him. He couldn’t seem to get over the fact that I was American, I had to tell him several times, “Listen, I am not a representative of my country, I am a representative of Jesus Christ.” He wanted to talk about politics and started whining about the war in Iraq. I simply said, “As missionaries we do not talk about politics, we share a message about the love of Jesus Christ for each of us.” That is when he told me he was atheist. He even looked up in the sky and yelled “Where are you God?!” Then he laughed and said that if there was a God why did he let such bad things happen. He was 65 years old and seemed a little stubborn, this is just the kind of guy that I am good at getting too. Do you remember my 65 year old Jewish convert from Philadelphia? I like the older guys, they know a lot.
Anyways, 2 days latter we were walking down the street and he saw me. He literally jumped into the air and waved to me. So we biked on over and started talking with him again. Apparently, he must have enjoyed our first conversation because he was very ecstatic to see us. My poor companion can’t participate very much since he doesn’t speak English very well, so he just listens quietly and occasionally says something brief. By the way he still won’t tell me his name, he thinks it is a game. I don’t even ask now, so I just call him my German friend, and he likes that just fine.
Just a minute ago we were eating at our favorite vegetarian restaurant and sure enough, my German friend was in there, I was thinking about yelling out “Hey Hanz!” Just to see if that was his name or not, you’ve got about a 50/50 chance. It is like with Middle Eastern men and the name Mohammad, or Hispanics and the name Pedro. In the end I let “Hanz” eat in peace until he got up to leave and then I waved him over and we chatted for a second. I am going to get him to church, one of these times his old stubbornness is going to crumble.
My companion’s teeth are hurting him so we are going to the dentist in about half an hour. I have been to the dentist once since I have been here. I thought I had a cavity but in the end they found out it was nothing and just cleaned my teeth for me. I should probably get a check up when I come back.
Tomorrow my amount of days in Taiwan will be in the single digits. As of December 22nd I will have served for 713 days which is the equivalent to 17,112 Hours, or 1,026,720. So mom if it feels like I have been away from you for 1 million minutes, don’t worry it really has been 1 million minutes!
After today I should have one more chance to email you, maybe 2. Are there any last requests you have for me? Any advice? And no at the moment I am not accepting post-mission dates. The signup sheet has not been posted yet. Tryouts will be held on January 2nd!
Oh boy I am going to have to work on my sense of humor. I think it may have been contaminated. That is okay as long I think my humor is funny that is all that matters. It is going to be so hilarious, I will make a comment and start laughing my head off and the rest of you are going to be looking at me like, is he crazy? That was the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I think he ate to much MSG when he was in Taiwan! The must have put the wrong kind of shrooms in his chicken foot soup!
Be patient, in time you will change and think it is funny too!
I had a really cool experience this week that really reminded me how important it is to listen to the Holy Ghost. It was something very simple, but in the end it made a huge difference. President Hoer called and asked me to go pick up a missionary at the train station. We were only going to pick up one missionary so normally we would take the smaller car. In the office we have a rule that as soon as you are done driving the cars you have to put the keys back. So if you aren’t using the car the keys are to be put back in the cupboard immediately. Anyways, as I went to grab the keys to the small SUV I had an impression to grab all the keys. You have to understand how strange that seemed to me at the time. Taking all the keys at one time would be breaking a rule (my own rule.) I followed it and decided to grab all the keys. As we walked at of the office and ran to the parking lot, I was thinking, “That was really stupid of you to grab all the keys. What if somebody else needs one of the cars?” I just ignored it and started to get in the SUV, and then I had a feeling that I should drive the big van. Once again I was thinking, “Are you serious? We are picking up one person? Why would I need the van?” I took the keys out of the ignition and we hopped into the VW Van (My Ferummer, as you might remember (that is Ferrari Hummer for those of you that may have forgotten)). My companion even asked me “Why are we taking the big car?” I just ignored him and we started to drive off in the van. The whole way to the train station I kept thinking “This is ridiculous, we are picking up one person, why am I driving this Semi-truck?” We pulled in and picked up the one sister that we were supposed to take back to the office. As we pulled out of the train station out of the corner of my eye I saw a silhouette of 2 missionaries. I turned my head and sure enough there they were! Two more missionaries that looked lost. I waved them down and parked the car in the middle of the road. We started throwing their luggage into the back of the car. Just as I loaded the last bag I saw another set of missionaries, and then another set! The 1 missionary that I was originally supposed to pick up turned into 7! I crammed them all in the van, luggage and all and headed back to the office, grinning the entire way for the inspiration that the Holy Ghost had given to me.
It made me realize that even the small little things can be important enough to have the assistance of Heaven. Making some missionaries take taxis to the office would not have been the end of the world, but it probably saved us quite a bit of money and time. Not to mention, some of them may not have been able to figure out how to get there. You are all probably laughing thinking how silly this story sounds, but it was so weird. I rarely go against my own logic, but for some reason, I decided to listen to those promptings and sure enough I really did need the big van.
Remember to listen to those soft promptings that you have. I know that if we are worthy we can have those soft promptings daily.
Oh yeah, I got yelled at by a Buddhist nun today! She was the meanest Buddhist nun I have ever met! Usually they are somewhat nice, they don’t smile much, but at least they don’t yell. But today I met my first yelling nun. We were in a jade market buying some things and we ran across her, I said hello and she muttered something under her breath, then my companion asked how are you and she started saying “I’m terrible, life sucks!” Then she called my companion a devil and walked away. I stood there in shock along with about 5 other people. It was weird. Of course we weren’t preaching with her all we did was say hello. My companion and I just kind of smiled and shrugged it off. We looked at the bystanders and they just looked us and shrugged like, “That was weird.” Next time she comes back I will have to do some of my Kung Fu on her. Nun or not you don’t call my companion a devil! Just kidding I would never fight anybody for yelling at us. If I did I would have to get in a fight almost every day because people like to yell at us. It is fun though! You get to learn all sorts of new words that missionaries shouldn’t learn!
Elder Craig Anderson