Outdoor zone conference

Three big things happened this week.

First, we went to an outdoor zone conference at 陽明山.

Second, 李姐妹 [Sister Li] was baptized.

Third, I’m getting a new companion. Today.

So, first for the outdoor zone conference:

A long, winding bus trip took us from the mission office to 陽明山 [Mount Yangming]. The mountain scenery was like nothing I’d ever seen. Grass tufted densely on the steep crags, and thermal vents belched clouds of steam into the air.

Steam rises from 大油坑 [Big Oil Pit], a centuries-old sulfur mining site along the hike.

The missionaries disembark at the parking area.

We trekked along a limy stream.

This brook’s name has the word for sulfur in its name, so I at first thought the water might be sulfurous, but I think it may actually be a reference to the stream as an ancient route for climbing to the 大油坑.

The first leg of our hike wound through the thick jungle shrubbery of a sultry glebe.

Cobblestone pathway.

Then, we emerged from the foliage into a thirsty vale, where the sun shone upon bright grassland.

In the open grassland below the final ascent.

Climbing up the last pitch to the saddle.

Me on top of the saddle. It was marvelously sunny and grassy. There were even cattle grazing in the distance.

A distant peak, to which we never ascended. I would fancy a stroll there, should future occasion permit.

It was paradise for me to be in the outdoors hiking, especially with interesting geothermal features in the vicinity. I finally put all my hard-earned Chinese geology vocab to good use. To my dismay, the only person who understood what I was saying–a native elder–looked at me like I was crazy when I started talking about trilobites.

There were also monkeys (see photograph below).

One of several simian specimens we encountered along the way.

Our last P-day was nice, as well. Elder Huntsman and I went to the 國父紀念館 [I think it's called the "Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall" or something in English]. It was an interesting monument, with a Taiwanese national pride-inspiring museum inside. The parallels to a similar American memorial are surely more than coincidence.

Outside the ‘館.

Brazen likenesses displayed in the perimeter gardens.

My companion and I together outside the memorial hall.

The interior of the hall, where we watched the elaborate ritual changing of the guard.

Standing in the garden during a light rain.

李姐妹 [Sister Li's] baptism was another one of the great highlights of this week. It was amazing to see her finally get baptized after struggling for so long. Her baptismal service was a great experience, and I was able to participate in her confirmation on Sunday.

Right before 李姐妹’s baptism, my companion and I received a very significant message.

My companion is suddenly moving, today. At 5:00 PM today, I’ll have a new companion, who I’ll introduce into the zone and area.

These have been a great almost-two transfers. Elder Huntsman has been an awesome companion; I couldn’t have asked for a better person to introduce me into this new area and its responsibilities. We’ve seen many miracles together. I’m going to miss him a lot.

Now, my responsibility is to effectively bring my new companion into 土城 and continue the success Elder Huntsman and I saw together. I still have no idea who this new companion will be, but one thing I know for sure: his knowledge of Chinese geology vocabulary will improve by the time I’m done with him. Also, we’ll have a great time together.

Love,
Elder Elliott

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