A week of draining bike rides, great progress, and lame excuses (your husband is asleep? I just saw him walk past the window). I’m unsure of the proper method of managing these ludicrous guises. Ought one to viciously confront the culprit with the searing light of truth? Or should the falsification be gently brushed aside and left to quietly moulder in the corner? Elder Illu and I have recently favored the latter tactic.
On the train returning from 鹿野.
We went to 鹿野 again on Monday. This time, the sisters insisted on coming with us. I’ll afford the reader the privilege of guessing, based on the above image, what the weather was like.
Yep: another day of pouring rain! It was as strenuous as ever: huge billows of blowing acid rain, mud splattering everywhere, and steep and long bike rides. We just about killed the sisters! If you don’t make the train back at 8:02 PM, you have to ride for a solid hour to reach Taidong from Luye. Our last lesson in 隆田 concluded at 7:50 PM, so we rode like mad to the train station and barely made the 8:02 train.
Elder Illu gestures at the camera.
This week, all things considered, went quite smoothly. One of the highlights was a family home evening activity hosted by the branch at one of our members’, 林弟兄’s, home. A carpenter by trade, he has extensively modified his house, creating sizable additions and an elevated restaurant on stilts where he and his wife serve patrons. Upon entering the elevated restaurant, I found the floor unusually flexible, and the distance between supports remarkably broad. I innocently asked him: did he use software to design the structure, or pencil and paper? He responded: “Neither. I just thought of it and then built it.” Needless to say, I did not linger unnecessarily.
We ate food brought by the members, including the bamboo sprouts that are currently in season, a lot of rice, various soups, fish, chicken, an assortment of other vegetables, and regional cuisine supplied by Pizza Hut. Following dinner, all enjoyed a spiritual thought on the Sabbath. Lastly, the 鹿野 members taught everyone how to do their tribal dances.
Dancing the “counterclockwise fire circle orbit,” not to be confused with the clockwise variety.
Elder Illu and I were glad to see that everyone was very inclusive of the LAs we’ve been working with. On Sunday, seven of them came to church, and most stayed for the full duration of the meeting!
On Friday, our second 鹿野 trip of the week, we began our ride home as usual (on Fridays, we stay after 8:02, so we must perforce pedal home). We stopped along the way at a 7-11 in the middle of nowhere for drinks and batteries. I was surprised to see a whole family of white people! I tried greeting them, but none showed a reaction, and I was unsure whether or not they had heard me. Having purchased our necessary supplies, we left the convenience store to resume our journey.
No sooner had I taken several pedals than I heard an awful grinding, screeching noise, and my bike rapidly halted. I looked down and saw my cable lock intertwined about my bent and twisted derailleur and thoroughly intertwined throughout the spokes of my rear wheel in a gigantic mess. I had forgotten to loose the lock before mounting my bike! I flipped out my kickstand and started tugging at the cable in an attempt to enter the passcode and disentangle the jungly mess, but it was to no effect.
Then, as I sat on the ground, two of the white-skinned beings approached me! One inquired of me, asking if I needed any help. I equivocated. They informed me that they were on a bike tour down the east coast, and volunteered the service of one of their guides who specialized in bike repairs. I reluctantly admitted that my bike was in bad shape, and they summoned the native guide over. She fixed my bike in about five minutes, including readjusting the derailleurs and fixing my rear brake, which had been messed up for a while. While I talked with her in Chinese, Elder Illu conversed with the white people. They were all from Brooklyn, and had won a free bike tour of Taiwan in a race there. I was very surprised at the speed of their speech. Finally, we thanked them profusely and continued on our way. Had they not been there, we would have been in quite a pickle. As it was, we sped through the night and arrived home within an hour.
That’s about all for this week. Elder Illu is a very effective missionary, and I am privileged to work with him. It has been a very productive and enjoyable week. I bid thee farewell.