White Clothes and Whitewashes

Well this past week was definitely the strangest of my mission thus far. I feel like I say that every week, but it honestly is the truth every week.

First things first. We got whitewashed out of our area, and Elder Nelson is a zone leader in Taizhong West, and I am now in a Tripanionship in Nantun which is also in Taizhong, but not his zone. It came as a surprise to both of us because something like this never happens, usually when they whitewash, it’s when an area closes and reopens, but they just straight kicked us out of Anding and brought in two new elders, one of which is being trained. To be honest, it sucks. Our ward had just started to trust missionaries again, and the work was going incredible in Anding. We had the first baptism there ever, and just like that it’s all over. Sunday was super hard saying goodbye to everyone and it just sucked. I don’t know why it happened, but I trust President Teh and his leadership.

8-8-16Anding Asparagus Tower

Gonna miss Anding, “the home of asparagus in Taiwan!”

I’ve only been in Nantun for about 4 hours, but I already know that it’s going to be a completely different experience than Anding. Basically my area is super small and is straight in the middle of this huge city of Taizhong. It’s the wealthiest part of the city and the complete opposite of the rice paddies I’m used to. I’m pretty much never going to be riding my bike for more than 20 minutes here, which honestly sucks compared to being outside for days in Anding. My companions are Elder Cox, and Elder Chen. Elder Cox is from Logan, UT and Elder Chen is from Taibei, so I finally get to live that “bendi life” with someone who doesn’t speak English. I already know it’s going to be a really hard transfer, because he is going home or “dying” in missionary terms in three weeks. If anything, my Chinese will improve a ton these next 6 weeks. Honestly all the prayers I can get will help. We went from having a solid pool of investigators in Anding, with one who is going to be baptized in 3 weeks, to absolutely nothing here. Like I said… it’s going to be rough.

Sooo on the bright side, we BAPTIZED last week in Anding! His name is Wang Yuan Zhang, and like I said before, his wife and 7 year old son are members. It was so incredible to help him come unto Christ and accept the gospel, because he has rejected missionaries for the past 6 years. Baptizing him was definitely one of the most tender moments of my life. The fact that I helped that family become eternal will forever touch my heart. I can’t wait to go with them to the Taibei Temple in a year and watch them get sealed.

1st Baptism 8-8-16 Anding Ward

Baptism! One of the most tender moments of my life. And this pose is so Asia hahaha!

As for other things, Pokemon Go came out in Taiwan this last week! To say it’s been nuts would be an understatement! Imagine Pokemon Go in America, and then imagine it in Asia, and that’s what it’s like here! Every single person is playing it. Our bishop was playing it in church this past Sunday… yeah its crazy. The roads are even less safe now because people are playing it on their scooters and while driving, so that’s fun. The craziest thing about it is that almost all of the church buildings in Taiwan are Pokemon finding sites, or whatever, so we literally are having investigators walk into the church looking for Pokemon, and we just add them hahahahahaha. Shout out to Pokemon for helping spread the gospel! We literally added a dude last week and set up a lesson with him because of Pokemon!

So about that sketchy zoo I hit up last P-day… yeah it was the sketchiest place I have ever been in my life, and only cost $5 to get in. Imagine if the Joker from Batman had a sadistic zoo, and that’s what this place is. It would 10000000% be illegal in America, but I guess it fly’s here in Taiwan. They had a lion and two tigers in a cage about the size of my super small dorm room at BYU, it was soooo wrong. The craziest thing was watching a live chicken get brutally murdered by a boa constrictor, like the dude just threw this screaming live chicken into this glass cage and it was like a murder scene. The boa lunged at the chicken and blood spattered all over the glass walls and it was like straight out of a movie, then it squeezed the chicken like boas do, and it just got wrecked. So crazy.

8-8-16 Zoo Monkey holds your hand

Monkey that will hold your hand at the zoo!

All in all a bittersweet week, I don’t have much else to say except that this church is true, and I have seen the impact it can have on families lives. It’s really hard to be away from my own family for so long, and I miss everyone every day, but I know my job now is to help families be together forever. I hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

8-8-16 Mango Bing

Mango bing is a summer time must in Taiwan!

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