Sunday, April 11, 2010
Dear friends and family,
I have been thinking about how silly I was in thinking that I could send 17 pictures last week--I forget that this missionary account is not quite like my old gmail account in sending speed! And, as luck would have it, I forgot my camera this week. So, maybe next week. And too bad I sent the most boring pictures, too--I bet having the descriptions without pictures was a good practice in imagination, eh?
Just to clarify things, all of you can send me emails to this address. I can't send emails back to you (I can only email family) but I can write you a letter. Letters are always fun but I don't get them very often because we have to get them from the mission home. So don't let the buying stamps process stop you from writing to your favorite missionary! (me :).
And now for a bit of random business. I got an email from my mom about the massive amounts of snow that Utah has been receiving. She said she was jealous of me in this tropical climate right now. :) Well, just for those wondering, I think we have entered the rainy season in Taiwan and it has been raining almost non-stop for the past several days. Remember the scripture in Malachi about blessing for tithing-payers being like the windows of heaven being opened and the blessings poured down upon you? That is kind of what the rain is like in Taiwan. It is pretty great to ride my bike through pouring rain and large puddles. We have these great rain coats that go down to my ankles and my bag fits under them--so I stay pretty dry on my bike! (Just kidding about the dry part.) Our things never dry, either, because it is so humid and our apartments don't have indoor heating. It is actually getting to the cold side now and so everything is always cold and wet. It's great that you don't have to worry about your things never getting dry because they are just going to get soaked again as soon as you step outside!
The thing that I find most crazy is that I am riding through pouring rain storms to an appointment, trying not to get hit by busses or motorcycles, rain dripping down my face and into my raincoat, and I am still so happy. Of course missions are hard but for some odd reason I am still so happy!
And now for a story of opposition. I never thought that I would find a large problem of Christian opposition to our church in Taiwan. After all, shouldn't we join together to teach these non-Christians about their Savior Jesus Christ? But I think Satan is getting worried, as slow as our progress might be here, and so will use any means to try and stop the work. The week before Christmas one of the wards had a multi-stake Christmas program, where they invited two zones of missionaries (mine included) to come and help out. It was held outside right next to a metro-station and had a stage with chairs set up, etc. The missionaries were singing, the Primary Children were singing, they had a special choir and a live nativity, and lots of other things all planned out. All of us as missionaries were supposed to contact people on street corners and try to get them to come to the program--and give out copies of the Book of Mormon and other tracts.
About 45 minutes before the program was supposed to start, we heard this loud (and annoying) music and a large float with children dressed up in elves clothing drove by and stopped right on the corner. The music was some Taiwanese Christian something, and we were amused for a minute until two more floats came up and parked behind the first, all along the street, and then about 200 people holding signs (and cheerleaders-about 20 of them) came up on the other corner. So at this time our corner was completely surrounded by these dancing Christian elves and cheerleaders and people dressed up like Santa holding signs.
None of us are quite sure what was going on, but most of us (missionaries) think it was some sort of protest. The music they were playing was so loud that we couldn't even hear each other, and the people from the other Christian church came and started contacting the people on our block that we had just contacted! Not acceptable.
Well, after about 20 minutes they left, after our coordinator with their coordinator sparred it out. I guess we won. It was the strangest thing I have ever seen. If you are lucky I might be able to send pictures one day. :)
And finally a story about knocking doors, or whatever you call it in English. We don't knock doors that often because it isn't very effective and very few people will let you in. (Those who are Buddhist say thank you, but they are Buddhist and we should teach the Christians, and those who are Christian say they are already Christian and we should teach the Buddhists. Likely excuse.) But the other night we went and visited a less active and still had about 20 minutes before we had to head home. We knocked some doors in the area but no one would let us in (everyone lives in stacked apartment buildings, so it is actually pushing intercom buttons rather than knocking doors). Finally, we pushed one intercom button and they buzzed the door for us--without us introducing ourselves. This happens occasionally because the people think we are someone else, but when they see us they still don't want to let us in. But we went up the stairs and this man saw us and invited us in. We weren't quite sure what to do (this had never happened to me before!) so we sat down and talked to them for about 15 minutes about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The 17 year old son, mother, and father were all very gracious and listened to us kindly, but the mother said they were Catholic and very happy with their religion. The father, though, seemed very interested, especially in the Book of Mormon (but he didn't voice any interest). We said a prayer with them and the mother even hugged us before we left, and we left the Book of Mormon on the table. I think they meant for us to take it back but there was no way we were going to take it away when we felt sure the husband would read it. We ran down the stairs and left before they could try to give it back to us. Now we are just hoping that he will read the Book of Mormon and come to church and ask the missionaries to teach his family!
The gospel is true. It is true in America, it is true in Taiwan, and it will bring us all happiness in this life and eternal salvation in the next! I hope you are all doing well. Feel free to drop me a line sometime and tell me how you are.
Posted by breanne at 3:43 PM