MEAT, MOONCAKES & MORE MEAT

Hello all!! It has been quite the interesting week here on Island! With Mid-Autumn Festival coming to a close here, we had such a fun time experiencing something that is truly Taiwan!

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Streets of Taizhong! That watch shop there sells tons of fake stuff for about $12 USD which is super awesome!

This week we had a few cool and new things happen to us!

The first miracle we had happen was that we found this man named Zhao on the streets, invited him to have a lesson with us and he actually came! That’s not the miracle part though… that happens all the time… the miracle part was that he’s 73 years old and willing to listen to us!! Usually with anybody over the age of 60ish, they are all SUPER “Bai Bai” and super into their little religion of idol worship and ancestor worship, and not willing to even listen to what we have to say. It was super funny in the lesson when we taught him… We showed the Restoration 20 video, and afterwards asked him what he learned from it… he said he “Ting Bu Dong” which means he didn’t understand the Chinese. Like I’ve said before, one of the craziest things about Taiwan is that some of the older generation don’t speak Chinese, only Taiwanese. Lucky for us, Elder Jiang, being from Taibei, can speak Taiwanese, so he basically re-taught the whole first lesson in Taiyu after we had taught it in Mandarin haha. Miracle #2 was that he came to church with us on Sunday so that was super sweet!

We got invited this week to go over to an RC’s (Recent Convert) house and “Kao Rou” or grill various meats and stuff on these little grills for Mid-Autumn Festival, so we went there and ate a ton of food and it was awesome!!

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All the missionaries in NanTun “Kaoing Rou”

That night we went “Kao Rou Contacting” where basically we just picked a street and jit up every person who was grilling outside of their house, which was like everyone! So we got to meet a ton of cool people and share about Jesus Christ, and eat a ton of free meat.

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Meat for days

Win, win, win! Everyone was super happy too, so it was much easier to talk to them than normal!

 

Also this week about 30 new missionaries came on island, and we got invited to help them contact their first night here! They used to do “Dan Jones” Night, but now it’s just a new missionary going with an experienced one and hitting the streets contacting! It really showed me how much I have come these past 4 months, because my new missionary’s Chinese was absolutely awful, so that was a nice little confidence booster for me haha! But of course I encouraged him to try his best and we actually were about to get some people to give us their numbers, so that was awesome!

Pretty much that was it for my week, nothing too exciting. Transfers came out yesterday and we found out that our ward was is getting a second set of sisters, which is completely nuts considering that most wards don’t even have one set! I’ll be staying in NanTun for at least another 6 weeks with Elder Jiang, so continue to pray for me and my success here. Apparently a massive typhoon hit Taiwan, but we didn’t feel it at all here in Taizhong, so I guess that was a blessing. That’s pretty much it! I love you all!! Special shout out to my boy Grant for putting in his mission papers and choosing to go on a great adventure like me!! So proud of you dude!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Fresh pair of 100% authentic NKIE’s

 

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6 Months on the Mission, and 6 Months’ Worth of Mooncakes!

Hello all!! I hope y’all had a great week!! Mine was interesting as always! This week is 中秋節 (Zhōngqiū jié), or Mid-Autumn Festival, better known as “The Mooncake Festival”. People here are going nuts because it’s pretty much the second biggest holiday in Taiwan and China besides New Years. The best thing I can compare it to would be Thanksgiving in the states. All the kids have school off, an all the adults don’t work for the week either, basically people sit around and 烤肉 (Kǎoròu) or grill meats outside of their house all day long and eat mooncakes. It is similar to Thanksgiving in that everyone goes and hangs out with family all week. Because of this it has been SUPER hard to set people up for lessons because they are so busy! So that’s been an interesting cultural thing to experience! Also we have been given like 1000 mooncakes by church members, so we could eat those for the next year and still have leftovers!

Other things that happened this past week…

Elder Jiang has a Costco card and we went and bought a TON of food to eat. Costco is incredible because it has food that isn’t Asian! Before my mission I loved Asian food, but being in Taiwan where your only option to eat is some form of noodles or rice for every meal, it gets pretty old pretty quick. This week I made breakfast burritos for pretty much every meal and it was glorious. Cheese and anything dairy is super expensive here, but if you buy in bulk at Costco, it’s a little cheaper, so I splurged and bought some. They also were selling fresh salsa, which in Taiwan is nuts, so I bought some as well, and have been eating very happy this past week!

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If you drink this magic drink it will make you more beautiful!! ALSO some really great English

Because we spent so much on groceries last Monday, we needed to eat out super cheap this week, and we got pretty screwed when we went with one of our members to this very nice hot pot place. We thought that he was going to pay for our meals, but when the time came to pay the check, we ended up having to pay… so oops I pretty much have been eating dirt cheap since then hahaha!

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Livin the bendi life!

 

This week I switched English classes and began to teach the middle level class! Before I was in the beginner class, but because Elder Jiang can’t speak English, and my Chinese is ok, but not at a level where I can teach students English grammar in Chinese, a switch was needed. Elder Jiang continues to make me laugh with his English! He cannot speak English at all but on the rare occasion will throw out a random word here and there. The funny ones so far have been, drift, rap and rape ( I had to explain the differences between those two, because he kept saying he liked “rape music”), and the latest one last night was “testicles” hahah. We were biking down a street by our apartment and stopped at a red light, I looked over at the restaurant next to us and saw their menu. All of the things were around 60kuai, but one thing was 300kuai. Of course everything is only in characters here, and I knew the first character was “duck” but I didn’t know the second one. I asked him why it was so expensive and he said in Chinese “Good food is always more expensive” and I asked what it was and he replied in English “TESTICLES” and I burst out laughing in the middle of the street. I went home that night and looked up the word in the dictionary, and sure enough, he was right, lol.

We had a couple very interesting lessons this week, one was with an 18 year old kid who lived as an exchange student in REXBURG, ID of all places, and we ended up contacting him on the street. The Lord has definitely prepared him to take the lessons, and that is very obvious, so we will see where that one goes! The second was a fun encounter we had with a Jehovah’s Witness in a 7-11. JWs are just not nice people and are always looking to argue about something, and Elder Jiang is very stubborn, so we basically argued with her for at least an hour. I thought that JWs were annoying in America, but arguing with one in Chinese is definitely way worse lol. At the very least we gave her a Book of Mormon and bore really good testimonies, it’s up to her now whether she will accept it or not!

Pretty much that was my week! I have definitely grown so much these past few weeks in ways I couldn’t even imagine before! The mission is super hard, but at the same time, very rewarding. Taiwan has already changed my life, and I still have 18 months to go here! Anyways, I hope you all had great weeks, and I hope that you were able to see some miracles, because I know I did! I love you all! Until next week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Some more awesome English! I don’t think “shark cook” was supposed to be a part of the above paragraph!

English? What’s That??

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A cool place that sells dumplings on the street for about 5 kuai each!

Hello all family and friends!! It has been another week down here in 南屯 (NanTun)!  Not a ton of things to say about this past week, because not a lot of new/cool things happened, it was a lot of the same things day after day.

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A Pokémon rush that we got caught up in!! We were contacting in a park, and all of a sudden we saw like 100’s of people just sprinting in a big group. We decided to chase after them and catch some “Pokémon” of our own (Investigators). It ended up being like a Dragonaire that appeared outside this Buddhist temple, and we ended up talking to this dude there for like 20 minutes and adding him for a later time! Only in Taiwan lol!

A couple cool things that happened this week-

On Tuesday we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and it was such a blast to go hard with them!! I had the funnest time I have had on my mission thus far when Elder Ludwig and I played a game of “Quiddtich Contacting” where basically you set points for certain things and there is a prize at the end for the winner. The way it works is you assign a “Snitch” where you pick someone’s last name that is rare but not that rare, so for example we used “Xie” as our snitch, and if you contact the snitch, you get 1 point, if you get the snitches number you get 5 points, and if you can set up a lesson time with them or “catch the snitch” you automatically win. Any other person is 1 point for a number and 5 points for a lesson time set up. Well I ended up finding the “Snitch” but it didn’t realty go as planned, it actually went better! This girl came up to me and said  “Jia You Elder” which basically means “go get em!” and I was like oh you must be a member! Her last name was “Xie” haha. She said she was, and I explained to her the game we were playing, and told her that I needed her help with the next person I was about to contact. We contacted this dude, and I tried to set up a time with him to meet next week and he said he was busy, but he said he could meet RIGHT NOW! So we ended our game early and went to the church and taught this dude about the Book of Mormon. It was a pretty sweet miracle!

We saw another miracle this week as well! Elder Jiang and I were contacting home and we were right by our apartment when we spotted this bro standing on the corner of the street. We went up to talk to him and we invited him to come to church. Come Sunday he was actually there, and he had a great time!! Basically that never happens where we invite people to come without ever meeting with them previously, and they actually come, so it was another sweet miracle! We’re meeting with him again tonight!

WE BAPTIZED AGAIN! Another awesome miracle! His name is Zeng Rong Yu, and his English name is “Green Tea” hahaha. But we finally got him to the font, and he finally accepted baptism! We got him in just the nick of time, because he starts school in Tainan, about 2 hours away, tomorrow! Once again it was cool to see someone come unto Christ and change their life for the better to follow in His footsteps!

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This week’s pictures include: Us at the baptism! We helped one of the young men baptize him. Zeng is the one with the glasses.

I personally am doing okay… it’s extremely difficult to be working with my companion, and as the title of this email indicates, I don’t speak English anymore. Every day is a struggle and brings new challenges, but I know that I will only grow from my time here with Elder Jiang. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, because I really do need them right now! Also it’s crazy to hear about the hurricane back home! It’s so weird that I didn’t even know it happened until like 30 minutes ago through email. Being a missionary is strange! Well I don’t have a ton of time to write more, so this is pretty much it for this week! I love you all!

Love,

Elder Stroud