Our trainer-trainee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday in Taipei, and we accidentally bought tickets for the slowest, most antiquated train, so we spent pretty much all of Tuesday on a bumpy ride northward. When we arrived at about 8:00 PM, we were really tired and hungry. As we waited in the Jinhua chapel for the assistants, a woman approached with a ton of food in bags and rather abruptly started giving it to us and telling us to eat it. Being as hungry as we were, we gladly accepted. It seemed an odd assortment, and some of the food seemed a little stale, but I couldn’t have cared less. When we had eaten our fill, she handed the bags to us and told us to eat the rest for breakfast. She then left.
A few minutes later, some of the local Taipei missionaries came by. My companion told them about the unusual encounter. "Don’t eat the food," one of them immediately replied. "Oh no, did you already eat it?" My companion and I looked at each other.
It turns out that this eccentric member often feeds missionaries with food she gleans from the trash. I took another look at the food she had given us, and much of it was very suspect, to say the least. We promptly disposed of it.
The meeting on Wednesday morning was excellent. After several hours of training and discussion, and a lot of pizza for lunch, we returned aboard a faster train and made it back to Taidong by night.
Unfortunately, the next day, my companion was afflicted with some regrettable bowel complications. We’re not sure if these were due to the questionable food we ate on Tuesday night or the vast amount of pizza my companion consumed the next day. Regardless, the symptoms were alleviated after two days of Pepto-bismol.
New wine in old bottles: Yellow Emperor’s Internal Canon edition (seen in a less-active member’s home)
On Friday, we made our routine weekly Luye visit. Because my companion was still sick and lacking energy, and because my rear derailleur cable snapped, leaving my bicycle unable to shift gears, we spent more time than usual toiling up and down the hills in the heat. However, we had some great lessons and excellent opportunities to serve some members, which more than made up for the pain.
Some mango trees. The mangoes are tied in bags to keep them from being eaten by insects or birds.
Our branch, together with the Taidong first and second branches, held a giant potluck dinner on Saturday evening. Every family brought one dish. The result was an abundance of food, a bustling feeding frenzy, and a crowded arrangement of chairs and tables that would make any fire warden nervous. It was a great event! Elder Juan, recently released as an Area Seventy, attended and gave a speech. Also, Brother Gao, our 12-year-old investigator, was able to come as well. I thought that he would be able to see the chapel and meet the members in a low-pressure environment, thus making him feel more comfortable coming to church on Sunday.
All of the members belonging to the "Papaya Clan," a huge aboriginal family based in Luye and comprising at least half of our branch, performed several musical numbers and danced together.
Sure enough, Brother Gao was able to come on Sunday! We rode our bikes with him all the way. He’s a really cool kid. He and I like talking about Minecraft together. Pray that he’ll be able to get baptized!
Brother Gao’s mug shot.
This has been a good week. Even though my bag soaked through in the rain, my bike is stuck in 8th gear, and our washer and dryer are still broken, I’m still feeling pretty happy. My companion and I saw a lot of success this past week, despite having less time to work than usual because of the meeting. Here’s hoping this week will go even better!