Jacked Quads and German Dudes – Week 6

Another week, and another weekly email! This week was pretty packed with a ton of biking around and spreading the gospel, so pretty much just like every other week here! But its super fun and I love it!!

This week started off by us going to this place called the “Crystal Cathedral” and it is quite the story! So I live in a 4 man apartment with another companionship of elders, and one of them is Elder Lai a “Běndì” or local missionary. So he told us that there is this super famous super cool place called the Crystal Cathedral that all the Taiwanese people like to visit, and that we HAD to go check it on our P-day a week ago. Well we went and had a member drive us like an hour away to go see this thing, and it was probably the most average building I have ever seen… Literally we were there for 5 minutes and left because it was a building. The craziest part was that there were like 40 Taiwanese people freaking out over it and taking pictures of it. So lame.

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THE Crystal Cathedral

We went to a part member family up in Anding to teach them and try to get the dad on date for baptism. They fed us dinner and the main course was DUCK BLOOD SOUP YUM! We’ll Wang JieMei gave us missionaries each a massive bowl of soup and we just started eating. About half way through the meal we asked what all this brown stuff in the soup was and her answer was ” I don’t want to tell you” like in an ashamed voice… and we kept pressing for an answer and she said that it was duck blood. Yummm right? Wrong. But you already know I put that bowl of soup down like a champ because I didn’t want to offend them by not eating their food. After dinner we taught them a lesson and FINALLY got the dad on date for baptism. He has been super hard to work with in the past, but you could tell that he was Touched by the Spirit and wanted to get baptized to be with his family forever.

So we had a Less Active member lesson with this dude named Hou Di Xiong, and we had bishop as our “peike” or member present. Bishop straight wrecked this dude and told him how he could be so much more successful if he put the Lord first and came to church instead of working 24/7, and Hou came to church for the first time in 8 years on Sunday! It was sweet to see him changed as well! After the lesson Bishop took us out to dinner at this super good Korean place and the funny thing was that he is not a dude who has a soft side at all, and he usually is super cold toward the missionaries, but he was laughing all dinner and INSISTED on taking a selfie with us to put on his Facebook hahahahaha. SO that’s below as well. I was literally crying tears at that point because it was so funny, but yeah lol.

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Selfies with Bishop!!

I passed off Lesson 2, so I can know teach the entire first and second lessons in Chinese no problem!

A few days ago we went to this Hot Pot place that has hot pots obviously and all you can eat ice cream for like 120 Kuia, which is kinda a lot for missionaries, but we did it anyway and justified the price by eating like 5 bowls of ice cream each. Ice cream and any dairy product is super expensive here, so you take those opportunities when you get them!

As to my email title! So in Taiwan like I’ve said the country is literally 99.99999% Asian, and you see maybe 1 white dude who isn’t a missionary every week. So a few days ago we saw a random white dude walking down the street, and we were like LETS GO TALK TO HIM. So it’s actually wayyyyyy scarier contacting white dudes than Asian people, I don’t know why, but it’s so hard to contact in English when you’re used to Chinese. But we try to talk to everyone and we went up to him anyways. It turned out that he was this German dude who said with awful English that he can only speak German and Russian, not even Chinese. We we’re like “what??? What are you doing in Taiwan hahahaha” and he said ” The beer is cheap and good!” and then he walked off hahahah so weird!

So we invited another of our LA’s to a baptismal service that another ward was having, and it was super good! Afterwards she offered to take us out to dinner in Sanhua with her nieces and sister-in-law, who aren’t members, so we had to take her up on her offer! Well this is the LA who qings us to CRAZY expensive dinners, and I swear she has to outdo herself every time. So this time we went to this super nice Japanese place and she ordered SO MUCH FOOD FOR US. Like it probably was a 10 course meal… not even kidding! It was all super nice sashimi and stuff like that as well! But it was cool to have a little discussion with the family over this feast! Her sister in law was so funny! She kept on telling me that I was super shuai and that I probably have like 100 girlfriends back home! Which isn’t quite 100% accurate, but I’ll take it anyways, lol. She then told me that literally any Taiwanese girl would marry me, and then it was too much and I had to change the topic hahahaha! Well Sanhua is about an hour and a half bike ride back to our house in Yong Kang, and we checked the clock at the restaurant and it was 8:45…uh oh. We have to be in the door at 9, or 9:30 if were teaching a lesson. So we basically sprinted out the door and hopped on our bikes, and rode home as fast as we could. We literally ran every single red light within reason, and didn’t stop peddling on the highest gear and somehow we made it home in 40 MINUTES!! I swear we set a world record, but nobody is counting so whatever.

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Here’s how tan I’ve gotten in the last month! I’m basically black now, and Taiwanese people actually think that i’m not white, lol.

All in all it was a pretty dang fun week, and the amount of miracles we see every day are staggering! I honestly love the mission life. At times it’s super hard, no doubt. Like I miss my family, I miss my friends, and according to that one lady I miss my 100 American girlfriends, but there is no place I’d rather be right now than in Taiwan! I’m super blessed with is opportunity to bless the lives of others as well as learning and growing on my own. I’m also super blessed to be learning Chinese and developing a skill that will bless my life and my future family’s lives for the rest of my life! God truly is our Heavenly Father, and he loves each and every one of us in ways we can’t even comprehend. What a blessing we all have to learn and grow here on Earth.

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Random nasty couch we found on the side of the road! Book of Mormon in Chinese is a good read, lemme tell ya!

I love you all and hope you all had an incredible week! Stay safe and serve others! Talk to y’all next week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

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Really Bad English and Really Good Chinese

Herrrrrrrrrrrro from the promised land of Taiwan!!

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Taiwan countryside with the mountains in the background! This area is SahnHua! My area stretches from the west coast in Cigu which has the ocean, all the way out to ShanShang which has the mountains! We think our area is the biggest in the mission, it takes like 3 hours to bike all the way across!!

Well as always this week was another crazy one!

It started off by us going as a district to this fun center kind of place for last P-Day, and we competed as two different teams in a bunch of different activities! Batting cages, bowling, darts, those basketball shooting arcade games, and this insane air hockey with literally 30 pucks at once! Like the pucks automatically drop in, so it’s crazy!

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My District on P-Day

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Super fun pitching game

So I went on my first exchange this week! I went down to Guiren with Elder Graves and had a ton of fun doing the work there! We had this super awesome miracle that happened there! So we were biking around looking for a place to eat lunch, and as we were biking this dude came up to us on a scooter and asked if we were “Houchi Shengtu Jiaohui” or the latter day saint church. We were like… uhhh yeah! And he said he was a member and that he wanted to buy us lunch. We asked where the best place to eat was, and he said “MaiDongLao” or McDonalds lol. So in Taiwan McDonalds is not the same as America… like it’s a super upscale place here, like $150 kuai for a meal, when you can go to any other restaurant and get lunch/dinner for $50-70 kuai. So the dude took us to MaiDongLao and dropped a stack on us, and we just sat and talked with him! It turns out he was a less active member, but went to church for 17 years!! So we set up a time to meet with him again and talk about stuff. Super cool dude! Funny thing is that when he was ordering he wanted to order us number 4s, which is pronounced “Si”, but his accent was so thick that when he ordered it sounded like he said “Shi” or number 10. So we ended up getting something random hahaha.

One thing that is super lame in Taiwan is that the people here give the LAMEST excuses. We had 5 people confirmed to come to church Sunday, but because it was RAINING outside, every single one of them bailed on us. It happens all the time here. Luckily one of our LAs showed up and brought her friend, so we ended up having an investigator there after all! The funny thing is that the LA’s friend, who’s English name is Tina, asked if we were “JiaRen” which direct translated means “fake people”, but they use it as the word “model”. She thought we were super Shuai and white hahaha.

So to get to the title of the email! My Chinese has gotten to a point that when I contact people at stoplights while they are on their scooters, and I’m on my bike, I can speak pretty well, and basically have a conversation with them. It’s funny because when Chinese people see a white dude speaking Chinese, literally their minds are blown, and all they can say is how good your Chinese is! Even though my Chinese sucks at this point, it’s really fun to try and get better! Also the English here is AWFUL! Not even the peoples’ English… that is non-existent… like they can’t speak it at all its 100% Chinese here, but the signs on buildings and stuff! Like literally, they pretty much stick what they want to say into Google translate and make a sign with whatever pops out! The English makes no sense at all the majority of the time hahaha! So this week my favorite sign is below in the picture! “Suck that food aftertaste again”

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Awesome English signs that make no sense, hahahahahaha!

While we were teaching a lesson this week to this dude in his house, which almost never happens… most of our lessons are taught in 7/11s here… but anyways, we were teaching this dude and he just had this MASSIVE cockroach just chilling on his floor the whole time, like the thing was the size of my fist. But he didn’t do anything about it!! LIKE WHAT. GO KILL THAT THING DUDE. We asked him at the end of the lesson if he was going to kill it, and he said NO ITS MY PET. WHATTTTTTTTTTT ARREEEEEEEE YOUUUUUU DOINGGGGG DUDE. So gross. Our apartment is infested with them, so I’ve grown to hate them even more than I already did.

A miracle that happened this week that was super cool! So Elder Nelson and I were riding our bikes to Xin1Shi4, one of our areas, and we have to go through this tunnel to get there. As I was going through the tunnel, there is a point where you have to turn left and it’s like a blind corner. Well there has never been anyone in that tunnel before, so I just whipped around the corner. As I turned, there was this dude and a girl on his scooter coming right at me. I somehow within literally a millisecond managed to slam the back brake, and as I did that the back of my bike fishtailed out and I drifted into the scooter instead of hitting it head on. Nobody was hurt, and we left the scene perfectly ok. I Know that the Lord protected me there.

OK, so as glamorous as the missionary life might seem through my emails, it really isn’t at all. I never write about the times throughout the week that make up like 99% of my time here. Like for example… it’s been pouring all week because it’s the start of typhoon season here, and we had to go tracting a couple of nights ago. We tracted and knocked doors for 2 hours in the pouring rain at night, and not one person was willing to hear our message about Jesus Christ. We got countless doors slammed in our faces and countless “Im FoJiao” or Buddhist, so I don’t want to listens. It really is hard work, but it’s a labor of love. I know how much the gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life, and I know how much it can bless everybody else’s lives as well, and that’s why I do all of this. Even though 99% of the people don’t want to even listen, we’re looking for that 1% that knows how this gospel can bless their lives. Being a missionary is awesome, and I love it!

I hope you all had great weeks, and I challenge you all to go out and do something kind for someone random this week! I know that through service, we can bless our lives as well as the lives of others! It doesn’t even have to be big, but something small can change someone’s day completely!

Expect miracles!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

1000 Year Old Eggs and Qings On Deck (Taiwan Week 4)

WELL DA JIA HAO TO YOU ALL and thanks for tuning in to another week of my adventures in the promised land of Anding/Taiwan!

Let’s get started shall we?

This week was super jam packed!! It’s started off with us going to that beach activity in Anping kind of over by Tainan. It was super fun, but I forgot to bring my camera, so no pictures sorry! Funny thing was that there was this random Taiwanese dude who was basically water-boarding himself in the waves, like he was laying on his stomach and letting the waves overcome him on the shore and it looked like he was trying to drown himself, but he kept laughing and saying how good it felt. Lol weird dude. Also at the beach it happened to be Memorial Day back in America, and there happened to be a fighter jet that flew over us, so it was like we had a little Memorial Day flyover, and I felt super patriotic, and may or may not have shed a red white and blue tear.

On Tuesday we were biking home from contacting in Annan, and we decided to stop by this little cake stand to buy some cakes from this lady who loves the missionaries, but has no interest in the gospel. As we were waiting for her to cook them up (They are very similar to American pancakes) she asked if we were hungry, and we said, “no we just ate”, and she whipped out this box of pizza from nowhere and told us to have some. Well this pizza was mushroom, corn, peas, and pineapple pizza, which literally all are nasty on pizza, and together they are even worse. Also it was sitting there for who knows how long because it was cold. But anyways… I took one slice because it was the polite thing to do and she insisted I take another. So I somehow managed to choke down these two nasty pizza slices, and we were on our way back home.

Speaking of nasty things THIS WEEK I WAS FORCED TO EAT 1000 YEAR OLD EGG. So basically imagine a rotten but preserved egg. The egg is black and SOOOOOOOOO nasty. But my trainer forced me to eat it, and to be honest, it was the single grossest thing I have ever eaten. Like I took one bite and ran to the trash can and literally threw up… like not even just spit the egg out, but threw up the rest of the contents in my stomach as well…

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The 1000 year old egg

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Close Up

We met this guy whose name is Sketchy Underground Frank. Not even kidding haha. He buys all these fake things from China for the missionaries here. Watches, Jerseys anything… you name it. But he tried to sell me a bunch of random stuff, and I was like… I can get this back in America through other sketchy websites. Well he didn’t believe me, and I showed him on his phone and his mind was blown, and I gained so much respect and street cred from him lol.

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Sketchy Underground Frank (I asked him if he knew what his shirt said, and he said no. hahahaha) Chinese people just wear random English shirts here because they think its cool

Oh probably the funniest thing that happened this week was when we were outside and this random kid came up to us and tried to speak some English, well his English was trash, but we told him our English names anyways (Elder Stroud). Well in China/Taiwan all of the people’s surnames have a meaning… like for example… Jeremy Lin the NBA player… Lin is pronounced like “leen” and it means a forest or grove of trees. Well this kid asked what Stroud meant, and I was like… “Um, nothing it’s just a last name”, and he didn’t believe me, so I said “you know the word “Cloud” right”, and he was like “yeah”. I then said “A Stroud is just a really big cloud” and so I looked up at the sky and pointed towards a cloud and said “See that cloud? It’s too small to be a Stroud, and there aren’t any clouds out right now that are Strouds”. This kid totally believed me and now he thinks that really big clouds are called Strouds!! hahahahahahaha

On Thursday we got taken out to an Argentinian steakhouse by that same lady who took us out for Thai food a few weeks ago. I HAD A 700$ KUAI STEAK. Literally that’s like the price of 10 solid dinners here! She loves taking the missionaries out because she served a mission in Taibei a long time ago, so she knows what it’s like to be us. But right now she is a Less-Active and just has lost her testimony, so we decided to meet with her every week and re-teach her all of the lessons!

We got qinged by another family last week as well, and they took us to this place in Tainan for dinner, which is super far from my area. So we got back to Anding at like 9pm after teaching them a lesson and eating dinner, and missionaries have to be in there apartments at 9pm. Well Anding is like at least an hour bike ride from our apartment in Yong Kang, and if you’re going to be out past 10:30PM you have to call the mission president and let him know. That phone call is literally the phone call of shame, and basically every missionary dreads doing that, so we decided to HAUL back home. We did a normal hour+ bike ride in 35 minutes. I couldn’t feel my quads once we got home and I looked like I had jumped in a pool.

We were biking in Anding and saw this MASSIVE statue from far away, and we decided to go see what it was. Well we got there, and it was this super super super eerie abandoned place like you just felt like that horror movie kind of feel like, definitely some bad spirits there, and it was this huge Buddhist statue, and we took a picture and got out of there as quickly as possible.

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Crazy huge statue

That’s about it for this week! This week I really focused on faith, like just having complete faith in the Lord for everything. It really helped me a ton. I challenge you all to do that same thing, and I promise it will help you too! I love you all, go make a difference in the world this week!

Love,

Elder Stroud