Finally made it to Taiwan after about a 14 hour flight from San Francisco! Most of the time on the plane was actually spent sleeping – although one of the sisters and I played some games against each other using the screens built into the back of the seats in front of us. The flight was actually pretty fun!
We first walked around the city for a bit and then spent the night at the mission home. The next day we had breakfast from one of President Jergensen’s favorite places and then learned about all the different things we should know about Taiwan. Later in the afternoon, we found out who our companions would be! I was assigned to Elder Anderton in the LuZhou area. He’s from Washington and has been here for over a year – his Chinese is really good.
After that, we went straight to our area to unpack a little and then get started finding people. We’ve already contacted lots of people on the street, knocked on several doors, and called former investigators. Our methods of transportation including biking, taking the MRT (basically the Taiwan subway), walking, and occasionally the bus. We already have like 5 or so new investigators in only a few days!
Church was interesting…it’s completely in Chinese, so my comprehension of it is minimal. We had to introduce ourselves in sacrament meeting, and then they asked me to give the closing prayer. Fortunately, I already know how to do those things somewhat in Chinese, so it wasn’t too bad.
I don’t have a ton of time this week to email, but I’ll be sure to write more next week.
– Elder Austin Simonson
(Small insert from Mother Terresa)
Once the itinerary was reviewed, I saw my chance to get one final glimpse of my boy. After making my plan to put together lunches and snacks for all the traveling missionaries, and calling TSA to make sure there wouldn’t be any problem getting packets of mayonnaise through screening, I enlisted the assistance of my cohort in crime, Elizabeth Long. We made the lunches, packed up the car, and headed to San Francisco.
By planning to leave early, and having their incoming flight delayed, we made it in plenty of time to be waiting at security, in hopes of a glimpse of our Elder.
With some fancy footwork, and help from above, we secured gate passes and met Elder Simonson and the other 8 missionaries (who all happened to be Sister missionaries…how’d he manage that?!!!) at their arrival gate.
The hour we had flew by way too quickly, but I got my final hug and kiss…and started the whole grieving process over again. Good thing I packed the tissues…