One of our ward members fell on her motorcycle on Monday, so we took a taxi over to the hospital in 樹林 to give her a priesthood blessing in the emergency room. She suffered a concussion and bruises, but was otherwise unharmed. As we were leaving the ER, a man walked in with his fingers all cut off, which was pretty gruesome, and I felt really bad for him.
We taught Dennis the Law of Tithing, which seemed to come as a shock to him at first. I was really worried we’d gone too fast, but after we taught him more about the promised blessings of tithing and bought him a McDonald’s icecream cone, he said was willing to accept it.
Because two of our ward members were to be married in our chapel on Saturday, the whole ward pitched in to elaborately decorate the chapel and prepare for the reception throughout the entire week. My companion and I somehow volunteered to sing a musical number, which we didn’t really have time to start practicing until Thursday.
On Thursday night, the 廖家庭 [Liao family] invited us to dinner with them, and we brought Dennis as well. We all went to an all-you-can-eat BBQ restaurant. It’s the first time I’ve been to that kind of restaurant. There are grills and hotpots built into the tables, and you are given unlimited raw meat to cook yourself, sushi, hotpot ingredients, and icecream. Really unhealthy. Dennis really enjoyed it, although he was nervous about baptism because he’s afraid of water.
Saturday was one of the days I’ll remember for my entire mission, just because it was so hectic. We ran over to the chapel to fill up the baptismal font again for the 11:30 baptismal service. The whole time we were filling up the font, all the members were bustling about in a mad rush to prepare for the wedding. Then, the water ran out. The dishwashers in the kitchen couldn’t continue their work, and the chapel became a scene of chaos. Elder Huntsman and I were recruited at the last second to perform a musical number at the baptismal service as well, so we dashed into an empty room and ran through a hymn a few times, Elder Huntsman playing on his guitar and us singing together.
黃姐妹 [Sister Huang], who was baptized on Saturday previous to the wedding, with her husband, the sisters, and us.
After the baptismal service, we ate lunch and tore back to the chapel for the wedding. We helped members lug several carloads of foodstuff into the chapel, hurriedly practiced our musical number, and ran into the chapel just as the wedding began.
Our musical number went OK despite our horrendous lack of practice. We two just stood up in front of the 100+ people and sang, Elder Huntsman playing the ukulele. Before the mission, I would have been really stressed out about it, but I’m so used to embarrassing situations that it felt like nothing.
Elder Huntsman and I with the bride and groom.
There was so much food at the wedding that it was impossible for everyone to finish it. By the end, they brought out bags and told everyone to bring as much food as possible home. Seizing the opportunity to avoid waste and save money, I brought home so much food I probably won’t have to buy anything for a week. There was still food left after the scavenging, which I was glad to see they packed up and didn’t waste.
After the exhausting day at the wedding, our investigator 李姐妹 [Sister Li] called us and told us she had broken her determination not to smoke and smoked five cigarettes in succession. It was hard to see how quickly she reverted to her addiction. Every time we teach her, she commits to quitting and tells us, "this time, I’ll do it for real." Then, a day or two later, she gives in and starts smoking again. We’re still wondering how to get her to the point of permanent change.
About two minutes after 李姐妹’s call, Dennis called us and told us that his brother got in a car crash and was in the hospital with him. As a result, he couldn’t come to his baptismal interview, couldn’t come to church, and won’t be able to be baptized on 8/1. My companion and I were devastated. We were both really worried he would fall away, and the stress was maddening.
We decided to visit him in the hospital with his brother, and we brought a bunch of bread and pastries and to him and his family. He ended up being extremely happy to see us and introduce us to his family, and he was very grateful for our gifts. His brother was doing fine as well. He told us that he had prayed for his brother, and that his brother’s operation had gone smoothly as a result. We were both overjoyed to see that he still wants to be baptized and has remained unshaken.
My companion and I went on three exchanges, so we had hardly any normal time together in our area. I went over to 新埔 [xinpu] for a day and a night, which was great. We found a very promising new investigator who is extremely interested in the Book of Mormon, taught several lessons, and met some of the 板橋 [banqiao] members at dinner. They were all really nice, and included a mechanical engineer and a Chinese teacher, who I enjoyed talking with. Everyone was super-impressed by my Chinese and spent the whole time talking with me and analyzing my language, which was a little embarrassing. They told me my Chinese is the best of any missionary they’ve met, and encouraged me to study Chinese in college. The Chinese teacher even gave me a bunch of Confucius to read.
The ball’s trajectory after it is tossed by Mach.
Needless to say, my B-ball skills were not up to par, and I jammed with the rest while my companion slammed with the best.