Hello all! THIS WEEK WAS NUTS. Taiwan got WRECKED by a massive typhoon, and it actually was pretty scary!! 剛剛好 (Zach’s Mom’s note: this translates roughly to: “That’s Right!” per Google Translate) It all happened on the day of my birthday! We don’t have any way to check the weather, but we had been told by members that a typhoon was coming. Because I’m in TaiZhong, which is kinda in a valley, it’s a little bit special, because the mountains on the east coast usually defer the typhoons to either north to Taibei or south to GaoXiong, but occasionally the typhoon will make it over the mountains and kinda get trapped between the mountains and the beach in the valley, and just WRECK the city, and that’s what happened haha! The day started off with me opening my presents that my family sent me, which were all awesome, and the best part of that was reading the letters that some of you sent my mom! They made my birthday seem like a real birthday, so I can’t thank those of you who sent them enough! We didn’t get a lot of rain, but the wind was just ridiculous, like uprooting massive trees ridiculous. We decided to go out in the morning and test the weather to see if we could go out and proselyte, and as we were leaving our apartment, a random lady came running over to us and just started shouting “NO NO NO NO NO” “YOU WILL NOT GO OUT TODAY” “IT IS NOT SAFE” and we explained to her that we were, and she was not happy, but we did it anyways hahaha.
Playing in typhoons (those trashcans blew from about 50 feet away!)
So we biked to the church (about 15 minutes) and the wind was super strong, like, I almost got blown off my bike a few times strong. I’m a pretty big dude, like 6′ about 180 right now, and I was struggling to keep upright in the wind. We got the church and decided it was time to have lunch, so we walked the 100 steps to Costco with some other elders in our district who had the same plan, and as we were walking to church we saw this massive branch rip off of a tree from the wind, and absolutely crush the little Toyota underneath it. It was at that point that we realized that it was not safe to be outside. So we got our Costco pizza and quickly headed back to the church.
Celebrating my birthday as a district with Costco cheesecake (my cameras settings got messed up, so that’s why its so white, same with the other ones this week).
While we were eating lunch, we got a call from the ZhongMing Sisters in our district saying that they were outside and had WALKED from their apartment in the typhoon because it wasn’t safe to be on bikes. Well their apartment is about an hour walk from the church, and both of the ZhongMing Sisters are little Taiwanese girls like less than 5′ 100lbs little, so it was a miracle that they didn’t literally get blown away in the storm. Well, they were pissed that we made them come to the church for DTM (District Training Meeting) so we went back to Costco to buy them a pizza to make them happy. At this point the Typhoon was raging and it was not safe to be outside, so we ate pizza and watched the 17 Miracles movie for a few hours until the eye of the storm came, and we went back home for the rest of the night. One of the members in our ward called us and said he was coming over to drop something off, and he brought us a birthday cake, so that was pretty cool! I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat cake in my birthday this year, but I’m glad I did! Definitely one of the strangest days on my mission!
Happy 20th! Also you can see the size of our shoebox, I mean “apartment”.
In other less interesting news,
This week we went on exchanges, and I got to go with Elder Van Slooten (yes that really is his name, he’s second from right in the photo above). He just got on island a couple of weeks ago, so it was fun for me to have to step up and be the one who actually speaks Chinese! We had a blast together, and placed 3 Book of Mormons that night, which was sweet.
We saw a super cool miracle this week with English class. We weren’t sure that we would have anybody even come because it was the day after the typhoon and the government had still told everyone to take the day off, and as class started we had 2 students and were feeling a little discouraged. By the end of class we had 11 in our intermediate level class, and 7 of them were brand new, 3 moms, and 4 kids. So a sweet miracle, since we use English as a finding tool.
Lastly, yesterday we had Stake Conference for all of South Taizhong, and President Teh (Our mission president), and the Taibei Temple president came to speak. It was pretty interesting because the Conference was half in Chinese, and half in English because we have the only English branch in Taiwan in our stake. So the English speakers had someone translating right next to them, and the English members had headsets and a translator in the back translating all of the Chinese speakers talks to them. You would be proud to know that I didn’t use the headsets and just listened to it straight up.
Pretty much that was it for my week! We didn’t watch General Conference because Taiwan is on a one week delay for the translators to translate the talks into Chinese, so this upcoming weekend I will get to listen, and I’m very excited! I hope you all had a great (typhoon free) week!
Special shout out to my boy Grant Malquist for getting his mission call to the Spain Malaga Mission! So proud of you dude! Serving the Lord is the best choice you will ever make!
Lots of Love,