The Smith & Waster

Elder Illu found us a “shortcut” on Thursday night. Seeking a shorter route to a less active member’s home, we turned onto a promising-looking narrow road that ran along an irrigation ditch. The houses on each side became fewer and smaller as we rode, and we were soon bumping along in the dark on a rutted dirt path. We rode past a last, solitary house, where several karaoke-singing elderly men and women waved at us. Then, the path entered dense vegetation, and we were plunged into darkness.

Only a few seconds had passed before, without warning, several barking dogs leapt from the dark rustling bushes and dashed after us! We sped as fast as we could through the pitch black, bumping and swerving as branches whipped in our faces.

One by one, the pursuing canines dropped off to the sides of the path. Just when I thought we were clear, a deep growling reached my ears. A great snuffling heavily-built dog lunged out from the vegetation and barreled down the hill to our left, straight towards Elder Illu, and chased him with zeal! Our feet spun as fast as centrifuges. Finally, the huffing beast plunged into the foliage along the path, and all was silent.

I had just started to laugh with relief when a gate we were passing began to rattle and clank. I had just enough time to hurl my weight into the pedals before a pack of howling hounds dashed out through several holes in the gate and onto the road. The starving brutes shot out like bullets! Pedaling with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, I kept barely ahead of the jaws snapping at my heels. At last, they too fell away into darkness.

We eventually emerged onto a main road, and found ourselves almost exactly where we began.

Aside from the shortcut business, our week was quite excellent. On Monday, we had planned to sacrifice our P-day to serve 鹿野 members. We rushed to the train station. When we arrived in 鹿野, it was pouring! The weather is often much different in 台東 and 鹿野 because of the discrepancy of ocean proximity and altitude. 台東 was clear, but in 鹿野 the gutters were rushing with torrents of brown water which in Utah would promptly be named as major rivers. We were soaked and frigid when we arrived at the first member’s home, and he said we couldn’t work because of the rain. Instead, he drove us in his ancient and wheezy car to some scenic overlooks that double as paraglider jump sites.

鹿野 scenery.

At the 高台 paraglider takeoff site.

Little park we went to. There were lots of gigantic snails in the water, which laid hard fluorescent-pink clusters of spherical eggs on above-water rock faces. Pretty cool.

After riding about, we went down to Brother Lin’s cow-rearing shack, where we ate some barbecue! Elder Illu and I partook of the flesh of a pig and a cow which Brother Lin had killed the day before, cooked on a flat rock and sandwiched between slices of white bread. The pork is about 90% pure fat, which is startling at first, but it was really good, at least partly because we were so hungry.

Elder Illu.

烤ing the 肉

We went to serve at the wilderness laundromat again. We almost finished, but the concrete, of course, ran out right before the end!

So close!

On Saturday, President Day held a big priesthood meeting in 玉里. Elder Juan, one of the area seventies, was present, as were President Day and President Saunders. There were 105 priesthood holders in attendance at the tiny chapel, which is quite remarkable given the small population of the area. Their talks were awesome! They extended some very inspiring and bold invitations for the members, which I hope will provide enough impetus to push the branch into full throttle to prepare for the creation of a stake.

President and Sister Day also came to our branch sacrament meeting on Sunday. President Day gave another inspired talk, which I translated for Sister Day. Six of our less-active members attended. It was quite lovely.

In 玉里 for the priesthood meeting.

That’s about all. Bye!

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