So first off, three days straight this last week it had rained. There had been points where it wasn't and such, but always seemed to when we were outside. So the rain just comes down so much here. Literally everything on me was soaked from my pants to getting little puddles in my shoes to my garments underneath and my shirt and such. It's pretty much either getting wet from rain or sweat here in Taiwan. That will be nice that the rain will start to recede, but that just means more sweaty times ahead.
So I am in the hottest part of Taiwan? I knew and heard that several, including people everyday saying its so hot here in Gaoxiong. So did you see some of my area and everything where I serve here in Feng Shan? We are for sure here on the outskirts of the city. We don't really know much though what there is to do around close by our area for P-day though. We are going to the Wetlands today, but besides that we don't know much else. It's all either further out away, so we can't bike and would need a member to drive if they were willing, or we don't know about it yet.
Whale Sharks huh?! That's pretty awesome. I am sure the aquarium is way cool. I always to go to that one. I remember we were maybe thinking about going to it if our layover on the way to Belize was long enough, but it wasn't. While speaking of things from Taiwan, a lot of people here have actually talked or mentioned or brought up Life of Pi (which part of it was filmed here in Taiwan). It's been interesting as well as what people say about it.
Now that just got me thinking about bai bai. That is pretty much the prayer and worship for ancestors that just about everyone here does or says they do. There was actually some holiday yesterday where they apparently open to the doors for spirits to go out and to heaven. So Saturday and Sunday there was a lot of bai bai going on. So they pretty much buy baskets and such that have food in it (and its good food too like Oreos and Doritos and such) that they set up, they burn incense, as well as burn paper money that they buy with real money that they believe is sent up to their ancestors through the smoke. The families then take to the food and eat it themselves. But let me tell you it isn't good incense. It smells exactly like firework smoke. And then its funny that they complain about air quality here. But yeah so many people give us the excuse that they bai bai, and don't want to listen. It can sometimes be hard to have people to listen. The last few days of contacting have been hard because people have ignored us. We have had several scooters who run red lights because they act childish and don't want to talk. I have been working hard though to try and practice breaking the ice when contacting. So sometimes because the lights are short I only get time to say hi, how are you, where are you going, introduce and such. I sometimes don't even get to talking about missionaries, our message, or testifying. I am really wanting to just work right now on breaking my comfort bubble and talking to people, just to talk to them. I hope it will help.
So this last week we had Zone Training Meeting. And we have a large zone. We have about 35 missionaries or so I think or more in our zone. And some of them had to travel a further distance (like the Ping Dong Elders) because we had the training at our chapel where the Feng Shan, San Ming, and Quan Sheng wards meet. So it was easy travel for us, but not so for others. One of the things I really took away from it was President Blickenstaff's urge and push to try to implement the pamphlets more in our teaching and lessons. Not just doing rote presentation with them, but try to use them as much as possible because they really do help to teach and explain many essential parts of our message. Then to use the back page to help share with those we teach our expectations as missionaries and what we are expecting our investigators to do. This helps us to really bring up baptism and to share that.
The last thing that I can think of right now is that like several of the missionaries up in leadership positions have this immense strong desire to baptize everyone. Now I am not aspiring to leadership. But I feel like I don't have that immense, huge desire of baptism like other missionaries do. Elder Dailey was telling me about a missionary like this that had baptized 8 people in two move calls. But now only 1 of those 8 converts is active. I don't want to be like that. I don't want to be just saying baptize, baptize, baptize. My biggest desire and goal of my mission is to help serve people and help them come unto Christ. And so I don't feel like that always means to force baptism. That's why I look towards the converts or less actives with greater interest and such. Like I understand the great importance of baptism. But I want to be able to help everyone I can and in any way help them to turn and come closer to Christ, not be like forcing baptism down people's throats. I don't know. I guess is this a righteous desire, or do I need to change?
So I have been reading more lately out of the Church magazines. One article that was good for me was President Uchtdorf that I came across. I had just grabbed a magazine that the front cover was talking about covenants that I thought looked interesting and so brought it with me to church. But I ended finding the first presidency message was Pres. Uchtdorf talking about being in the middle. That is something I need to learn more and would like to think more along. I as well want to strive to think more optimistically. I also came across one that was titled "Dear Are the Sheep That Have Wandered" by James E. Faust that I think you, mom and dad, should read.
So a couple funny things I have forgotten to mention. If you had never seen the garbage trucks here before, you would swear they are ice cream trucks. So people have to bring their trash out to the roads to throw into the trucks. The garbage trucks play little annoying tunes like an ice cream truck so you can know they are coming. Not in our area, but the area over, they play Fur Elise. They are still annoying and deceiving, especially when ice cream sounds really good. It's also really funny that they have all these TV shows, mainly cartoons, that are from the U.S. but are played here in Chinese. So sometimes in the little restaurants we eat at things are on on the TV.