Going swimming

A week of abundant moisture. The rain here is much different from Utah rain. It doesn’t stop. It pours down on you, your bicycle, and your bag, until all are deeply saturated and unable to absorb any more. Even if you wear rain gear, the water, in true Dijkstra fashion, will find an efficient path to the interior. The water saturates the road bedding and turns the road into one giant puddle. With every peddle, water splashes on your glasses and sprays onto your socks and pant legs. Two moderate-sized reservoirs accumulate within your shoes.

The simplest and most practical solution is to simply not care about getting wet.

Returning home after a typical rainy day.

With our apartment’s dryer nonfunctional and with our washing machine’s spin cycle broken, drying clothing became a particular challenge. We devised an efficient system of electric fan-aided air drying to catalyze the drying of clothing and footwear.

On the bright side, the work moves faster in the rain. The Spirit aside, nothing can touch a Taiwanese heart more than two sopping wet missionaries on the doorstep. While knocking doors and street contacting, we found several promising new investigators.

Another of this week’s highlights was our English class party. Elder Stephens and I were entrusted with the most difficult responsibility of the Mother’s Day-themed event: baking mass quantities of chocolate-chip cookies for participants.

Through valiant searching, we located adequate quantities of flour, sugar, eggs, and seasonings at a local supermarket. The blow to our funds was large, but my frugal budget absorbed the hit. With carbohydrates present and accounted for, one piece of the puzzle remained: the fat.

Taiwanese butter is exorbitant, so I knew that buying 10 cups of butter wouldn’t work. Since Taiwanese are loath to use saturated fats in their cooking, I knew that finding an acceptable substitute would prove difficult.

After navigating to a shady retail cooking-supply store, we found success in a dimly-lit back aisle: a gigantic tub of solid margarine at a bargain price! The key was found, and all of the parts were in place for the production of some light refreshments.

At the English party, we arranged and divided work such as to produce a continuous flow of well-baked cookie batches. We worked with our students in parallel, with them emulating our actions to mix their own batter and place it on the sheets. Healthful home-cooking masters, we used an ice cream scoop to dig the appropriate 3/4-cup of vivid yellow lipid from its tub and plop it into the participants’ bowl. Our English-class students had a good, long stare at the mounds of polymerized CH2 sitting atop a hefty foundation of sugar.

When withdrawn from the heated oven and allowed to cool, the finished product was delightful. However, I noticed in the crowd an inexplicable reluctance to partake.

In order to most-efficiently dispose of a surplus of batter, we poured this sheet full of batter. The results were excellent: a fine brookie specimen.

Those who had not witnessed the genesis of our refreshments, however, soon provided the solution to our oversupply. They lined up for the delectable desserts, coming back for seconds and thirds. We received many complements, and several students commented on the delicious texture of the cookies.

On Thursday, we rode up to distant Fuyuan in search of investigators. Although we didn’t find any, we did locate several potential investigators and a pair of gigantic banana spiders. Larger than my hands, they hung above our heads in eight-foot-wide webs, probably awaiting unsuspecting avian prey.

Taidong mountains, shrouded in fog.

My companion also noticed himself sprouting a large rash on his forearms. After a brief discussion, we decided to go to the doctor, although Elder Stephens and I both predicted the same outcome. "They’ll probably just prescribe Benadryl and topical cortisone, and I already have those" Elder Stephens said. "We’ll just go to be safe."

After riding to the hospital, paying the nominal fee, filling out a medical history form in Chinese (which I somehow actually understood), and measuring Elder Stephens’ height, body weight, and blood pressure, we lined up for the doctor. He opened the door, admitted us, and asked for Elder Stephens’ symptoms.

After no more than fifteen seconds, he said: "It’s from being bit by bugs. I’m going to prescribe Benadryl and topical cortisone."

So, despite all ailments and the unceasing rain, this has been a good week. We found some great new investigators, and several of our current investigators are progressing towards baptism. The souls are as abundant as the moisture, and the field is white and ready to harvest.

That’s about all for this week. 88!

Elder Elliott


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