An Equation for Success: Upper 90s + Lots of Humidity = A Week of Fun

A memorable day at the memorial!

This last week was Elder Puzey’s and my first full week together as companions. For P-Day, we first headed over to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) and got there at just the right time to watch the changing of the guards.

They had our attention!

They had our attention!

This week’s history lesson:

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a national monument and was erected in memory of the former President of the Republic of China. Yang Cho-cheng, an architect, was chosen in a competition to design the building and surrounding grounds.

Memorial Hall - aerial view

Memorial Hall – aerial view



Groundbreaking for the memorial took place on October 31, 1976, the 90th anniversary of Chiang’s birth. The fifth anniversary of the leader’s death marked the hall’s official opening.

Surrounding park – beautiful!




The monument is located at the east end of Liberty Square and is surrounded by a beautiful park. It is bordered on the south by the National Concert Hall and on the north by the National Theater.


National Concert Hall (left), Memorial Hall (center), and National Theater (right)

Yang’s design placed the main building at the east end of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park (中正紀念公園), covering over 240,000 square metres in Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan.

Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness (大中至正)

Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness (大中至正)


A main gate, the Gate of Great Centrality and Perfect Uprightness (大中至正), was placed at the west end on Chung Shan South Road, with a Gate of Great Loyalty (大忠門) standing at the north side on Hsin Yi (Xinyi) Road, and a Gate of Great Piety (大孝門) standing at the south side on Ai Kuo (Aiguo) East Road.

The Gate of Great Piety (大孝門)

It was also my first full week as English unit leader as well – to be honest it’s actually not that hard. Most of what I do is just making sure that everything gets done: classes are taught well, our class indicators are texted in before 9:10pm, and everything, in general, just runs smoothly so that people want to come back and bring friends.

I think the hardest part about being English unit leader is helping missionaries to understand that English class is one of the best tools for finding new investigators that we have. From what I’ve seen, many missionaries don’t put much thought into English class – it’s just something they have to do because our mission does it, but they’d rather be out doing something else. President Jergensen has instructed us that he wants to see about 50% of our baptisms coming from English class; we should be reducing our street finding time because we’ll have so many lessons from meeting new people in English class. The biggest thing is that English class takes a lot of prep time, which always makes missionaries super anxious – many missionaries don’t like dedicating lots of time to prep work because it feels like they’re not getting anything accomplished, which, in the short-run, is true (at least in regards to numbers), but in the long-run, it definitely makes a difference. For English class, we really need to be preparing well for our respective classes that we’re teaching, as well as putting in extra time to get as many people as we can to come. Although this class is a free service, it is still a professional English class and therefore I expect to see preparation that reflects that, whether others want to or not.

Teaching Isabella…she’s very patient with us!

This week we got to teach Isabella. She’s this super nice high school student that I met on the street in front of this big mall called SOGO that we have in our area. This was our first meeting, but the day before she did a bunch of research online about us and arrived completely prepared (I didn’t even ask her to) which was awesome! Unfortunately she’s going to be pretty busy preparing for her college test until January of next year (in Taiwan your college test determines which college you go to – students spend so much time preparing for it because in this culture school is extremely important, and the outcome affects their continued education), but we definitely hope to see her again before then! 曾弟兄 (Zeng Dixiong – Brother Zeng), our new ward mission leader, accompanied us for Isabella’s lesson. He’s got a ton of energy for this and is really going to help us out a lot with all of our work.

Because so many missionaries who are going home this transfer wanted to leave a little early because of college, they just changed this transfer to be only five weeks long instead of the usual six; next transfer will then become seven weeks long. This means that Elder Puzey and I will probably only be together for one week less than usual – so sad! We’ve got big plans though, and in interviews this week (President Jergensen interviewed all the missionaries in the mission this last week), President told us that he’s really excited for our companionship and to see what we’ll do! We’re going to get to it!

– Elder Austin Simonson

One thought on “An Equation for Success: Upper 90s + Lots of Humidity = A Week of Fun

  1. What a wonderful and interesting mission. Elder – keep up the good work. We are proud of you.
    Love, Aunt Gloria and Uncle Kent

    P.S. Did we ever thank you for the letter you sent to Uncle Kent? He was so touched that you took time to write him. He is still taking treatments (just had the 6th one) and will be getting a cat scan in a week or two to see how and if it is working.

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