Happy New Year!!! #2017

Temporary missionary . . . permanent friend!

This last week was super fun! Probably one of the top things was that we had a church member serve as a temporary missionary here with Sister Brinkerhoff until the end of the transfer (last Thursday).


Her name is Yvonne and she was here for about 5 days before going back to Taipei. She actually just got back from her mission in Washington, DC, in March of this last year and has been studying at BYU, majoring in communications. Her English was really, really good and she was super fun! Unfortunately though, she wasn’t even here for a full week. 😞

But what to my wondering eyes should appear….



I was also fortunate enough to get some great gifts from friends here in Taiwan for Christmas! I got homemade cookies, candy, and even a handmade snowman!

Good thing the chocolates came with instructions…

Mr. Miracle’s birthday party

We also got to celebrate 沈家銘’s (Mr. Miracle is his English name), our investigator’s birthday! His girlfriend (張玉萍 Zhang Yu-Ping…her English name is HuHu) wanted to surprise him so we went over to his shop before he got there and was just waiting for him to arrive.







When he arrived, we told him that we just wanted to drop by to say hi. We then waited until 玉萍 finished baking the cake and brought it out and we all sang happy birthday to him! She really likes baking (and is pretty darn good at it) and decided to make a (what I would call) chocolate lava cake (the inside was filled with molten chocolate).

Beautiful…inside and out! #Yum

Dining isn’t complete until you post it on Instagram

Birthday cake filled with ooey gooey goodness!

Their friend (and our friend!) 彥伶 (Yan-Ling), also came as well and celebrated with us!






I’ll take two pieces, please!

Also on Tuesday, we took the train with the sisters to 瑞穗 (Ruisui) to teach our English class there! The people who attend that class are really cool. They actually (for the most part) consistently come each week and are good at participating in class. I think out of the three English classes we teach, theirs is the best one at this point.

You show me how to make soap, and I’ll show you how to live a clean life…

On Wednesday, we went to visit the owner of the handmade soap shop and he taught us how to make soap!






It was a good opportunity to get to know him since we’ve only talked with him a couple times. They usually charge money for learning how to make soap, but he did it with us for free…plus we got to take home one bar of the soap that we made! SCORE!

Cleanliness is next to Godliness…

We were actually the first Americans that he’s taught, so he asked us if he could put our picture on their Facebook page! He’s an awesome guy so we try to visit him whenever we can so we can get to know him better.

Blue glove makes my eyes “pop”, don’t you think?




His English is already pretty good, but we’re hoping that he’ll be able to find the time to come to our English class on Wednesdays anyway, since it’s literally one street over from his shop.

Keeping it clean and hoping to go viral on FB! #SoapStars

Thursday was the day that Sister Liu (Yvonne – the temporary missionary) left to go back home and our replacement missionary came here to 玉里. The new missionary hasn’t been in Taiwan for that long – this is only her third transfer here.

New Year’s Eve at the Singletary’s house!

We had a chance to all eat together at the Singletary’s house on Saturday which was really fun. The Singletary’s also invited a friend, Damien (not sure how to spell his name…oops) who’s from France and is working here with the Catholic church. His reason for coming here is to try to teach the Taiwanese farmers about organic farming; Brother Singletary helps him translate when he gives presentations since the guy doesn’t speak a lot of Chinese.

Happy New Year! 🎊
– Elder Austin Simonson


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