Flattening the Bread

Elder Montierth and I found this lone astromech loitering by a grungy apartment complex.

On Monday, we made a fabulous discovery: a so-called “dongxi store” within a few minutes of our apartment! For those less familiar with Taiwanese mercantile establishments, this type of shop carries a wide variety of commonplace office and home supplies, all at bargain prices and straight from mainland-Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers. The name “dongxi store” is a fabrication of Elder Clark; “dongxi” (東西) simply means “stuff,” but Elder Clark often uses this word to connote cheapness or unremarkable/commonplace nature.

The best part about dongxi stores is the cheap office supplies. I myself purchased some flash cards, a set of rulers and squares, and (at last) a new wallet! Until now, I had been carrying my money wrapped up in a folded piece of paper held shut by a rubber band. My new wallet, purchased for about $3 USD, features sturdy mainland denim construction, a chain which can anchor it to my belt loop to prevent it from falling out of my pocket, and a genuine Chinese leather front stamped with the words:

If you use it, money will become more & more
Because Bill Gate use it too in the USA

It is a quite excellent wallet. After all, Bill Gate use it!

Other news: Judy, one of Elder Clark and Elder Azua’s investigators, was baptized on Saturday! When I was in a tripanionship with Elders Clark and Montierth, I participated in a few of her lessons. It was great to see her get baptized! Our many morning visits to her breakfast shop paid off at last. For once, the font didn’t overflow; the water was still frigid, however. We messed around with the heaters and propane tanks for half an hour, but it appears that two of the four finicky devices simply don’t work.

Judy’s baptism.

Judy is pretty awesome. On her first day as a member, she got a calling and a temple recommend for baptisms for the dead.

Also, 過年快到了! With the fast approach of Chinese New Year, that’s about all I’ve heard from everyone I’ve called this past week. We’ve already accumulated a sizable stack of potential investigators who told us to “call them after New Year.” Little do they know that we shall follow through and, after the year has passed, once again dial their numbers.

I’ve been keeping myself really busy studying Chinese. I eat breakfast and lunch in about ten minutes and spend the rest of the time studying. I study right up until 10:20, when I begin preparations for bed. My flashcards are stacked in a double-ended queue system, which I review by day according to the Fibonacci series. If I don’t study/review enough words, the system gets backed up, so I have to move quickly. The flash-card caterpillar slowly works its way towards the right side of my desk.

As usual, we spent a lot of time finding this week. It can be very draining. With his irresistible charm, Elder Montierth can wring a street lesson out of almost anyone, but few of those we talk with on the street actually show up to the chapel two days later. I hope some of the “after 過年”-ers will actually set up. I just want our investigators to become more & more.

Happy 過年, everyone!



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