Gondolas, again

After going up to the Church headquarters in central Taipei on Wednesday, we rode the 貓空 [Maokong] gondolas. Because this attraction is closed on Monday, we only get a chance to ride it every few months, when missionaries visit the temple and P-day is moved to Wednesday. This time, the lines were much shorter than last time, which was pleasant. We were able to ride the glass-floored gondola for the first time, which was a unique experience.

On the gondola.

View outside.

My companion.

The gondola towers.

Taipei 101 is visible from the gondola as well.

View of the nearby city, which I think is 蘆洲 [Luzhou].

Looking down through the glass floor.

On Thursday, we met briefly with Dennis. After we heard that his brother got in a car accident, we fasted for him and his brother. Because his brother had to undergo surgery, the doctors originally predicted that he would have to stay in the hospital for two weeks. However, because his operation went so smoothly, he was able to return home after only two days.

Dennis was ecstatic. He told us that he had prayed a lot for his brother, and that his prayers really worked. Because he missed his baptismal service on Saturday due to the accident, he’s going to get baptized on the 15th instead. My companion and I were glad to hear his good news.

Almost all of our time on Friday was spent up at headquarters for Mission Leadership Council. Although the meeting went from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (with an hour for lunch), it was pretty engaging, and we made a lot of progress. Best of all, we finally got a new phone. It’s one of the old Nokia models, which are durable, practical, feature-rich, and well-designed. It felt great to talk on a real phone instead of the awful, cheap piece of nonfunctional plastic we usually use.

Mach and Wilsons, our two young investigators, came to sacrament meeting yesterday. They both asked us, "What time are we getting baptized?" They had misunderstood, and thought they were to be baptized on Sunday. We reassured them that their baptism was not until the 27th, and that they would have plenty of time to adequately prepare.

Then, Wilsons surprised us by telling us he’s going to move to mainland China to study–next Sunday.

Elder Huntsman and I were thrown into a panic trying to figure out how he could get baptized in this week before he moves. Then, we asked him a few questions and ascertained that he really isn’t prepared yet and won’t be ready to be baptized within a week. We’re going to do everything we can to help him get in contact with the Church within the religiously-barricaded mainland.

After Sunday evening’s new-member fireside meeting in Taipei, Elder Huntsman and I started hurrying home on the MRT to return before the 9:00 curfew. We had rode the train about halfway home before we realized we didn’t have our phone, without which we would be unable to report our zone’s results for the week. It was already almost 9:00. As fast as we could, we rode back to the 東門 [Dongmen] station and dashed frantically along the dark streets, our suits flapping and shoulder bags swinging against our legs.

When we reached the central chapel, it was already deserted. We rushed inside and started searching for our phone. Just when we were about to give up, I found it under a hymn book, where it had fallen from Elder Huntsman’s pocket. Having found the phone, we searched for the fastest way home and eventually found a lone taxi parked on the street. Sweating and panting, we crammed ourselves inside and told the driver to get us to 海山 [Haishan].

No sooner had I begun talking to the driver than he brought up Buddhism and delved with gusto into a mountain of abstruse philosophical reasoning. Having expounding thoroughly on the nuances of 不壞肉身 ["non-rotting bodies…?"] for the entire ride, he gave me a fifteen-page article he wrote himself on the subject. I was thinking: this is how I seem to most Taiwanese people. It was a very interesting day.

Love,
Elder Elliott

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