Fourth of July in Formosa (Week 8)

Zach’s Mom’s Note:  Here’s the next week’s catch up post.  Dated July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July from Taiwan!! Not even gonna lie, I feel like today is gonna be one of the most trunky days of my mission. It’s pretty dang hard not being able to celebrate America and all the fun things there. It was super sweet because today we went to a Costco here and ate hot dogs for lunch, and that’s pretty much the only American thing I’ve eaten here on island other than the very rare pizza, so we kind of got to celebrate? But anyways it was good! I almost felt like I was in America, until I looked over at the table next to me, and the lady had cut up her Costco hot dog and was eating it with chopsticks… so the magic was kind of ruined hahahaha. But it’s ok! I love Taiwan!

July 4 2016 b

This dude was driving this truck around in this super rural area yelling about how he was selling brooms, so I had to get a pic.

Another great week full of miracles here!! This week I totally felt like a stateside missionary.

A couple of super cool miracles happened back to back this week which was awesome! On Tuesday we went out to go contacting at YunDong DaXue, a college in part of our area, and the absolute first person we went up to talk to ended up having free time, and we taught him the first lesson and gave him a BoM on the spot. Pretty much that never happens. Right after that we went tracting and ended up having another lesson with this dude who was a Christian, which also never happens! He was a bro and it was so weird to finally teach The Restoration instead of “There is a God”. Afterwards we laughed because we felt like stateside missionaries lol.

July 4 2016 d

Super random giant dinosaur that I had to stop and get a picture with!

I got a super short haircut because I still don’t know how to tell them to cut my hair in Chinese…

The R. family in our ward had us over for dinner, and it was the first time I had a family do that for me since being on island. The dad is American, like born in Hawaii, but both his parents are Taiwanese, so he looks 100% Taiwanese, and he went to BYU-H. The mom is full Taiwanese, but went to school at Denver University, so they both speak fluent English which was super weird for me! But they fed us pizza hut and they got cans of root beer for us at this American store in Tainan, so that was way cool! I’ll probably never drink root beer the rest of my mission because they literally have none here.

The third stateside missionary thing I did this week was do service! Everyone in Taiwan is super “ke qi” and they won’t accept help from people, so service opportunities are super rare here! But our ward mission leader needed our help to caulk and paint the walls of these dorms that he rents out to college students, so we went and helped him out for like 6 hours and it was awesome!

Oh there’s this curry restaurant that we love to eat at in Yong Kang because they have really good curry, and they also sometimes play American music. I swear they see us coming and switch to an American station or something. But anyways… this week they straight played Taylor Swift’s album, and it was the first American music I’ve heard in a long time, and all of us who were there were straight jamming out. I don’t even really like TSwift, but that day I loved her hahaha!

July 4 2016 c

More terrible English signs, hahaha!

We for the first time ever we went out to our farthest away area ShanShang, which was like a 2 hour bike ride, and it’s basically in the mountains. (ShanShang means “mountain top” in Chinese)

But anyways we were biking around and this super old farmer man yells at us in perfect English “Hey the Mormons!!”, and we were like what the heck and swung back around to go talk to him. In Taiwan, in the rural areas, most of the old people don’t even speak mandarin, they all speak Taiwanese, so usually we can’t even talk with them… so the fact that this dude knew English was crazy! But we went and talked with him, and he took us to his guava farm and gave us free guavas which was super sweet. He ended up telling us that a long time ago he was a middle school English teacher, and he was so cool! He also said that he has only spoken English 3 times with other people this year, so it was awesome to see his face light up when we told him about our free English class!

July 4 2016 a

Mr Z., the 77 year old guava farmer with fluent English

Taiwan is so freaking awesome, I love it!! Every single day people stop me and take selfies with me just because I’m white. I always let them, but I tell them they have to take a pass along card in exchange, so it’s a great finding opportunity! Also another weird thing is the fact that people creep shot me, like take my picture when they think I’m not looking like at least 3 times a day lol. But it’s cool and I love it and the people here! I bore my testimony in church for the first time yesterday and it was so awesome. My Chinese is pretty “HaiKeYi” at this point, but the Spirit is the real teacher and not me. The Gift of Tongues is a very real thing, and I can feel The Lords power when I speak. My Chinese is slowly improving, but I know that it will get to proficiency one day!! I love the work, and I love the gospel!

I hope you all had a great week! Enjoy America and the freedom that we all take for granted every day! Being in another country has made me come to realize that I took so many American things for granted.

Be safe and count your blessings! I love you all!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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