Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Arrival in Taiwan
September 28, 2009
So! For my first area, I'm in a small township called Yuli. It's on the east down, about halfway down south, so I'm way far away from the Temple and Taibei. After the first 2 orientation days, my trainer had to fly up from Taidong (South part near Kaohsiung), pick me and Elder Adam up and fly down to Taidong. Elder Adam (my MTC companion) is serving in Taidong, so after we arrived there in the 25 min airplane (crazy I know), we took a 40 minute train to Yuli. What's so insane is that in that whole area we're in, it's only my companion and I. We have like 300 square miles in our whole area. We're not sure if that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is. When we go visit people, we have to take a train, then at every train station we have bikes locked up to trees. We get those bikes and bike 10-30 minutes to the place. It's all fun though. East Coast Taiwan is SOOO beautiful. Pictures with a camera will never do it justice.
Yesterday (Sunday), We biked over to a member's house to visit them, and we biked next to an old railroad track. On both sides of us were vast rice patties. Then on both sides of the patties were just huge mountains with clouds veiling them. It's so amazingly pretty here!
What's interesting about this area I'm serving is that the last time a person was trained here was 2 years ago. Our area is really special. Right now, its not so much as doing tracting and contacting and finding people, but here its more of instituting the church. We had probably, 12 members at church yesterday and there's more than 30 in our branch boundries. My trainer is the second counsellor in the Branch Presidency, and he's been working hard to get less active members back to church and have the leaders do their job better. Because everything is so spread out, we have maybe 2-3 lessons a day, and most of them are members. So it's a really interesting area and its a great experience. The members though are so loving. I can barely speak down here because the accent is hard to understand and plus I don't know lots of words. But even though I'm a stranger to them and I can't speak their language, they still are really nice to me. David was really right. These people really don't have too much here, but they are so giving and polite. I think a lot of it is because of their love of missionaries. They have what they call "fuyin de chuanjiaoshi" which means "gospel missionary", which is basically the missionary(s) that helped them get baptised. The people here just have tons of love. It's really awesome. Always helping out and sharing.
Anyways! Sorry I'm talking so much. I'll just say that the first 2 days were really tough here in Yuli. I felt so lost with not understanding the language, having a new companion, and not knowing anyone or being in the city. But hey, it's fine. I think I'm all good now. I just need to work hard and get the language and things will be better. I at least know I can help my companion by showing faith and being optimistic about missionary work.
My Preparation day is on Monday instead of Wednesday. Taibei Elders have theirs on Wednesday, but we don't.
Anyways I hope things are going great for you Mom and Dad! Tell Ryan I hope he's doing well!
Elder Scott Carlson