David Archuleta is My Backup Singer

Hello all! Here’s another quick peek into my missionary life in Taiwan this past week! Like I say every week, things just get more and more outrageous here!

As for my email title, you may be thinking “why is David Archuleta his backup singer?” Well I’ll tell you why… So as you know, I got transferred up to Taizhong last week, and I am now serving in the heart of the city. Its super strange to be biking past an IKEA and a COSTCO every day, as well as seeing Ferraris and other super cars all the time, when my last area was straight rice paddies and old Taiwanese grandmas. Well anyways, David Archuleta, (who also served a mission like I currently am, but in Chile), came to Taizhong and had a concert. He called the mission office and asked if we could sing with him, so my entire zone, about 20 missionaries, went and sang the concerts finale, “God be With You Til’ We Meet Again” up on stage with him a cappella. To say it was a strange experience would be a major understatement. I remember watching him on American Idol, and if you told me back then that I would be preforming with him on my mission in Taiwan eight years later, I would never believe you. So that was fun and cool! We got to hang out with him backstage and chill out as well.

TZS With David Archuleta 8-16 (1)

David Archuleta and his back up singers, yep that’s me!

As for other things this week:

Since the COSTCO is in my area, and is literally a block away from the church building, we eat there all the time! It’s pretty much like going to America when you walk inside, so every single missionary loves it! Also you can’t beat a 50 kuai hot dog and drink. Also there are white people everywhere in Taizhong!! I hate it. I honestly don’t know how to speak to non-missionaries in English anymore. Every single person I talk to is in Chinese now. In Anding, it was rare to see one white person a week, now I see at least one a day. It’s always super awkward, because neither of us belong in this country, and we both know it, and 100% of the time awkward eye contact is made. But I actually contacted this white girl at a red light, and she was from Doral, FL so I kinda bro’ed down with her about that, and it was cool!

POKEMON FEVER IS ALIVE AND WELL- We went and did some contacting at this huge park in the middle of the city a few days ago, and I kid you not, every single person was playing Pokemon on their phones. Asians eat that game up. There were probably like 1000 people there all looking for some rare Pokemon. It’s almost like cheating at missionary work, because the people are already there, and you don’t have to go find them hahah. The hard part is that 99% of them reject you and get mad at you for interrupting their Pokemon hunt, so it’s not all easy :/

Oh also at that same park we ended up contacting this dude who said he studied for a semester at BYU!! That was another thing I thought I would never see on my mission. He wasn’t a church member, and I’m pretty sure he was less active, but it was still cool to talk to him!

The investigator pool here is super small, and it’s much harder to contact than out in the rural areas. Everyone here has these preconceived notions about missionaries and our message, and most of the time will refuse to even give you a “Ni Hao” back. It’s pretty discouraging. It’s also been really hard because this month is the month of the Buddhist/Taoist religion (which 95% of Taiwan follows) where they believe all the evil spirits come out to haunt people, and it’s been hard to work around that as well. Every day people “Bai Bai” or basically throw a bunch of crap like fake money and food and stuff into these little pot like things out front of their houses and businesses, and light it on fire to appease the spirits, so the entire city looks like a campfire with all the smoke in the air.

People: Funny story of the week-

Elder Chen, the missionary from Taibei who is one of my companions, speaks fluent Taiyu, so it’s been really helpful to have someone who can understand all the old people who talk to us. But anyways, I contacted this ama and her granddaughter on the street and I greeted them in Taiyu, like I always do with amas. Well the ama turned to her granddaughter and whispered something to her in Taiyu, and said “that’s all they know how to say in Taiyu”, which she’s not wrong about me, but joke was on her and Elder Chen heard it and got pissed and continued to do the whole contact in Taiyu, which was super funny to watch. The ama basically had to eat her words and sit and listen hahaha.

081516 New Comps

My new comps, Elder Chen, and Elder Cox

We have 1 baptismal goal, which is sweet! His name is Zeng, but his English name is literally “Green Tea” like I’m not even kidding. So you already know that the word of wisdom lesson was fun with him hahaha. But he is on date for 8/27 so that’s sweet! He comes to church on his own every week and comes and plays ping pong with us on Saturdays! In the states, missionaries usually set up a basketball activity on Saturdays that they bring investigators to see and hang out with the missionaries in a relaxed fun environment. Well in the Republic of China, you should expect nothing less than playing ping pong instead, lol. Well the first two matches I played I won both 6-0, so it felt super good to smoke some Asians at their own game hahah! My cousin Grant, who likes to think he is better than me at ping pong would be glad to know that when I get back to America, I’ll be even better than when I left lol.

081516 ping pong

Smoking Chinese people like its my job. (If you look closely you can see the other dude’s paddle. No I’m not playing by myself)

Well that’s pretty much it for this week! I only have a few pictures, and I promise I’ll be better at sending more next week, this week was really strange trying to adjust to a new place! I know that this church is true and that this gospel blesses families! Have a great week and stay safe!


Elder Stroud


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