Downtown Yonghe, a decent street-finding location.
New arrangements have emerged: Elder Jensen has come from Xinban to act as a temporary companion for Elder Clark. This Elder Jensen was in the MTC at the same time as me, but he wasn’t in my district–that’s a different Elder Jensen.
What this essentially means is that I’m no longer in a wacky tripanionship, at least for the time being. We’re still apartment-mates with Elders Clark and Jensen, but Elder Montierth and I can devote our full efforts to the Shuanghe 2nd ward.
Elder Clark desires to share with you his Crames.
Aside from the sudden change of companionship alignments, this week was remarkably devoid of notable incidents. On Thursday, we went with one of our ward’s new converts–Sister Lian–to the temple in Taipei to perform baptisms for the dead. We elders were tasked with carrying out some confirmations right out of the font. At first, the workers couldn’t find a sheet with the Chinese ordinance text on it. Elder Montierth read the words in English. Everything was going smoothly.
Then, a worker ran up with an ordinance sheet–all in Chinese characters–and told me, "it’s your turn." I was nervous. The whole baptismal-font room was filled with people waiting for us, and I wasn’t confident in my ability to read the characters without bungling the ordinance. Nevertheless, I started reading–and managed to read it without stumbling. Thankfully, none of the characters were too advanced. I performed about ten confirmations. The only difficult part turned out to be the character surnames, some of which were apparently really archaic and which I had no idea how to pronounce. Thankfully, some of the native missionaries present helped me out.
Elder Montierth and I ate with the Lin family.
I also built a fantastic pocket protector from scratch. The previous commercially-produced protectors weren’t large enough to accommodate everything I wished to place within my pocket and didn’t provide adequate rain protection, so I designed my own.
Isometric side view: one protector to rule them all.
This protector is as thick as a small tome, and its main compartment provides enough storage space for my planner and a hefty stack of English class, family, and Restoration tracts. It is equipped with a plastic cover that shields the paper products within from the raging elements without. My badge is mounted to the front with double-stick tape. In addition to making it possible to grab all shirt-pocket necessities as one unit, this mounting method also allows the badge to double as a mounting clip to prevent pocket puke when the pocket is inverted.
Auxiliary rear protector.
Attached to the back of the main protector is an innovative feature: a smaller, auxiliary rear protector, intended only for pens and other writing implements. This protector is actually one of the smaller, store-bought protectors.
To hold the tract-shielding flap in place, I improvised a magnetic clasp to optimize the convenience of quickly withdrawing tracts from the pocket. It is separated with a tug, and re-closes on its own after a tract is drawn forth.
The magnetic clasp.
This week marked six months since I left on my mission. It’s hard to believe how much time has elapsed. I’m doing great.