Okay so I am still writing from Toufen but it will be the last time. In an hour I am getting on a train to go back to Taipei! My new area is called Neihu, I don't know much about it except that it is in the city and will be very different from here. Toufen is a dinky, dirty little city (I love it) surrounded by lots of mountains and rural areas. Taipei should be a really interesting change, like starting a brand new mission. I also know Neihu has a Costco.
It has been great being with Elder Childs. It is so funny that he knew Elder Porter, small world. I have learned a lot from him, he has been really great. But I am super excited for my new companion, Elder Yu, he is a bendi (native) and that means a lot more Chinese for me (although I talked to him and his English is pretty good). We are whitewashing, means neither of us are currently in the area so we will get there and both have to figure it out.
This week has been good, we found a lot of new investigators. Most interesting was this guy from Australia, 40-something, ex mafia (Toufen is apparently the Taiwanese mafia center, although we never see anything to hint at that), teaches English as well as plays World of Warcraft professionally, wouldn't meet with us after dark because he doesn't trust this city because of the mafia thing, also doesn't like Taiwanese. He has been smoking for decades, but he really wants to be baptized. Pray for some miracles here. We also met this guy, Sayi, from Sri Lanka, had to leave because of terrorism, came to Taiwan because he found a job as a "motorcycle acrobat". Wasn't super interested in the gospel, but it was his birthday so he took us to McDonalds and bought us corn soup. He couldn't come to church because he had a show, and his schedule was unpredictable because he goes to Vietnam to visit his girlfriend there. I was just thinking, I will probably never get another chance to meet so many interesting people and have conversations with complete strangers like I do now.
This week I got to go up to a little city in the mountains with some members, went out to lunch, saw some Buddhist temples barely visible in the jungly mountainside, it was way cool. This country is beautiful. They fed me fish eyes, finally. I looked back over the things I have eaten my first 6 weeks here: snails, eyes, little baby squids, blood (in several different forms, really popular here), stinky tofu (hunk of tofu that smells like sewer), chicken butt, thousand year old egg (brined? egg that is all black, the yolk is this nasty green slime, worst thing I think so far), fried pig skin oil (still not sure how they did that, something about boiling the skin to get the oil), and chicken testicles. I think that is it for now. Not quite sure what else is left, except for insects, maybe brain. I'll stay on the lookout.
I went on exchages this week with the Miaoli elders again, this time Elder Su, whom I love, a native, English isn't great. We were sitting on this bus winding through the mountains and started talking about chinese names, and I told him the one my MTC teacher gave me to see if it was good. He told me it didn't really have a lot of meaning, but that I was lucky because I can pick my own name. I asked him to help me but he said I should do it myself. He told me how the name both shows your hopes and also helps you achieve them, and that I should find my own name because it will mean more that way. Then all of a sudden in English he said, "What vision do you have for yourself?" Really made me think. And honestly, that was hard, and I couldn't think of a way to give a simple answer. So I decided that I really need to think about that, figure out what vision I have for myself, find a name. But then I also got thinking how often names are mentioned in the scriptures, and how important it is that we have all taken on the name of Christ. Shows what hope we have, and also helps us acheive that goal. What better self vision is there? Anyway, just a cool pondering experience.
So, I am excited to head north to Neihu, it will be an brand new adventure. Will really miss the people here, but most of them said they would add me on "faceuhbookuh" anyway, so no worries. I still feel so privIleged to be here doing what I am. Thanks for all the support and I love you!