Getting Ready for Chinese New Year!

View from McDonalds

View from third floor of McDonalds

This last week went pretty well! Since we’re in an area that didn’t have any recent existing investigators and little to no info about it, we’re basically starting fresh. Most everyday we are out talking to people on the street and committing them to baptism on a specific day. Many times we’ll teach people in McDonald’s, KFC, 7-11, and FamilyMart. One of the methods we use to start a conversation with the men is by calling them “handsome” – since, in general, you address people by their title and family name, we’ll just walk by random people and say, “Hey, shuai ge!”, which more or less translates to “Hey, handsome person!”. It’s kind of odd, when you think about it in English, but it works!

On Wednesday, we taught English class – my companion and I taught the youngest kids who know the least English. It’s actually surprisingly hard to teach since they’re always running around and they don’t know much English. We usually only are able to teach them maybe less than 20 words in the hour of class we have before we have 30 minutes of spiritual share.

We actually do have a couple of pretty solid investigators at this point. One of them is a woman we met on the street and talked with her for quite a while. We actually shared a bunch of scriptures with her at that time as well, which we don’t usually do since we don’t have that much time to talk with each person on the street before they want to leave. We also started meeting with a former investigator that was in our records. It worked out really well – on the first meeting, she also brought her son and daughter. She wants both of them to learn about Jesus Christ and choose for themselves if they want to be baptized. We’re confident that we can get all three of them to meet their baptismal date goal next month.

Finally, we met this one man whose English name is Elvis. We were unlocking our bikes from the racks at the MRT station to go home and we started talking to him. He responded in pretty good English, so we complimented him on it, but of course he denied that he was that good. We gave him a flyer for the English class we teach each week, which he thought was cool, but then he immediately just told us that he was looking for a church to join since his mom said he needed to find one. This of course surprised us – we’re like, “um, well we’re missionaries for the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…we could teach you about our church.” He was really interested and he actually came with us to church this week. He’s a great investigator – he said he wouldn’t make any commitments with us until he feels that the church and the Book of Mormon is true, which is actually awesome since he told us he’d read it everyday and pray about it so he could know. He also said that he’d attend church next week with us!

The same night we found Elvis, but earlier in the evening, we started talking with this one girl on the street who was 19 years old. We had just had a prayer and started to explain what prayer is when she closed her eyes and looked like she was going to walk away. However, we realized that her feet weren’t moving but the rest of her was – apparently she was actually fainting! We had to catch her and lay her on the ground; she was out for about a minute before she became conscious again. She had no memory of fainting when we asked her – we continued to wait with her as she called her brother to pick her up and until he arrived. I think she might have been pretty sick since she said she had never fainted before, and while we were teaching her originally, I saw that she was sweating quite a lot on her forehead despite it being pretty cold outside that evening.

The next day, after one of our scheduled lessons, we had lunch with one of the members who accompanied our lesson. In his hot pot meal, he ordered duck blood and wanted me to try some, which I ultimately did – it actually wasn’t bad…it doesn’t have that much flavor to be honest. Later in the evening, when we were walking around the streets finding, I found $100 NTD on the ground which was a nice surprise (~$33 NTD = $1 USD).

This week for church, they combined the two wards that meet in our building and shortened church to only an hour – just enough time for sacrament meeting – since this week is Chinese New Year, so many people won’t be in town as they travel to their old/original homes to celebrate. Because of the Chinese New Year though, we have meals with members everyday this week for both lunch and dinner! Sometimes, we also will get a hongbao (Red Envelope) with money in it; we’re allowed to accept them as long as there’s not an excessive amount of money in it since it’s rude to decline one. On Sunday, we received one from somebody!

This week is going to be harder to find people because of the New Year. People aren’t out on the street as much because they’re either out of town or at home celebrating. Even if they are outside, they usually aren’t interested in having much of a conversation with you. We’ll keep trying though. We found a girl last night who really hasn’t heard of anything gospel related – she doesn’t really know about God and has no idea what baptism is. We taught her briefly on the street before getting her phone number and scheduling a time with her to meet again.

– Elder Austin Simonson

Here’s a picture of a lost bird sign with a poem on it…we were quite amused with it!

Maybe he went home to celebrate...

Maybe he went home to celebrate the Chinese New Year…

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