Hello all! My life is pretty dang crazy right now! Honestly probably the hardest time I have ever gone through in my entire life. Definitely a major test of my faith and will. I got a little surprise this week. I found out that I was getting a new companion. His name is Elder Jiang and he is from Taibei, and he is known as being the hardest missionary to work with in the mission. I guess President Teh trusts me with this responsibility, so that’s why he did it. Elder Jiang speaks absolutely no English at all, and now I am no longer in a three man companionship, so it’s just me and him. My Chinese is very basic at this point and I understand what he’s saying maybe 50% of the time. It makes life extremely difficult when you can’t effectively communicate with the person you live and work with 24/7. I pray every day that I can have the Gift of Charity to serve and love him, because right now that is the only way I can communicate effectively. Please pray for me as well, I need all the help I can get. Missionaries call having a Taiwanese companion “the Běndì life” and it really does take a toll on everyone. It’s very difficult to live with someone who you can’t 100% communicate with, and who’s outlooks on missionary work are very different from yours.
Me and my new comp Elder Jiang! No English here lol
I don’t really have any cool or interesting stories from the past two weeks. My area here has been very hard and very exhausting. We contact and tract about 9 hours a day in the hot sun, and have seen 0 success. We occasionally set up lessons, and they almost always “fang4” us, which means they don’t show up and they don’t tell us that they won’t. Basically it’s just being stood up. It’s very depressing and really does take a toll on you every day. The fact that I can’t speak English ever is just physically draining on me as well. I’ve lost about 15 pounds so far, so it’s all taken a toll on my body as well.
We did have one pretty cool miracle last two weeks ago! We were walking through a park contacting, and we ran into a 60 year old man named Shawn who said “Hey the Mormons! Where are your bikes?” I was like hahah very funny, but they are over there thanks. He then told us that he got baptized around 40 years ago and hasn’t been to church since then. He is Taiwanese, but lived in San Francisco for the past 35 years, so he is also an American citizen. We sat down with him and he had been doing a lot of soul searching recently, and we managed to get him to church on Sunday. The coolest thing is that there is an English Branch that meets on Sundays, one of the only two in Taiwan, the other is in Taibei, so we got to go attend that with him yesterday. He really liked it and decided that wants to come back to church, so we’ll continue to be meeting with him until we pass him off to the Senior Missionary Couple that handles the English Branch. So that was a pretty cool miracle!
Basically my life is living in a Chinese bubble right now. I don’t speak English anymore with anybody because nobody will understand. It’s a pretty depressing thought to know that nobody here speaks your language, but I’m using this opportunity to get some really good Chinese. At this point I have abandoned all logic and am solely moving forward in faith. It’s pretty strange, because I am a very logical person, but we’ll see if it works out for me. All supportive emails and prayers sent in my direction are much appreciated. I would love if you would write me letters as well! Those can really make any hard day a little bit easier. My address is:
Elder Zachary Stroud
# 498-11, Wu Chuan Road
Taichung, Taichung 404-46
Thank you all so much for the love you show me, it really does make a difference. My advice for the week is that through faith in Jesus Christ we really can overcome any of our trials. I am living that right now. Have the faith to put the faith in the Lord, and you will see miracles. I love you all so much! Have a great week!