Cool Bean

Elder Montierth and I at the National Palace Museum.

​After much planning, we arranged to visit the National Palace Museum as a district on Monday. Because P-day time is so limited, these outings must be coordinated precisely and carefully. Every second counts.

We hurriedly finished our emails and rushed to the MRT station. We rode the MRT to Guting, where we waited for the sisters. After several minutes passed, they arrived, and we were ready to transfer to the next leg of our journey. The train which Elder Clark had earlier mentioned pulled up to the station, and the doors opened.

At this point, indecision reared its ugly head. Was this really the train we were looking for? The sisters equivocated. Elder Clark asked an attendant, who waffled. Our precious seconds whiled away. At last, the attendant conceded that this was the right train–just as the doors-closing tone began to play! The car doors shuddered and started sliding shut.

I made a split-second, impulsive decision, and tore between the rapidly-closing doors. Elder Clark frantically leapt after me through the gap, but the closing doors caught him halfway through! With a heave of strength, he lunged free of the gates and fell flailing into the car. The doors yanked one of his shoes from his foot, and it fell and wedged in the crack between train and platform. Another split second passed, and the doors had closed completely.

We stood within the sealed train, Elder Clark with only one shoe, as our companions noiselessly gestured and mouthed words outside. Elder Montierth bent over and pulled Elder Clark’s shoe from the gates. Everyone on the train stared at us silently. I kept thinking to myself, "I’ll never see these people again." We braced ourselves for the train’s imminent departure.

Thankfully, the MRT has many safety features. The train cannot leave the station if one of the platform gates has encountered an obstruction while closing. The attendant ran up and reset the gate. An indistinct announcement played within the train, and the doors reopened. Elder Clark and I walked out. We all took the next train.

The National Palace Museum.

Elders Jensen, Clark, and Montierth on the plaza.

View from the top of the stairs.

The rest of our outing proceeded relatively without incident. The National Palace Museum was excellent. It’s the world’s largest museum of Chinese history and artifacts. Some of my favorite parts were the hundreds of intricate ivory, jade, and boxwood carvings I saw. Many were very similar to Medieval artifacts I saw at the Cloisters museum in New York City, although their style is different. There were many really cool items of furniture, calligraphy, paintings, and other artifacts. Some carvings and cast-metal items dated before 1,000 BC. It was amazing to see ancient dings inscribed with characters recognizable as Chinese. The usage and grammar patterns have completely changed since that time, but the characters are remarkably similar.

Also, I saw the cabbage, of course.

I didn’t 搬家 this transfer, and Elder Montierth is staying too. Elder Clark was assigned a new companion, though: Elder Azua. It’s great to have a new addition to our apartment.

Elder Montierth and I have been finding like mad. We need more investigators in our pool. Every week, we find many new investigators, but very few of them stick. Most immediately break contact and don’t come to the second lesson. It’s unfortunate. Nevertheless, there are always a few who continue to meet with us and progress. I heard that the average progressing Taiwanese investigator talks to missionaries on seven different occasions before agreeing to meet. At the very least, then, we’re preparing these people for future conversion.

The Chinese is coming along quite smoothly as well. I’m about 1/2-way through learning how to read and write the 2,530 characters used in the Book of Mormon. I can finally read from the characters instead of the pinyin in the scriptures when teaching investigators.

Love,
Elder Elliott

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