Elder Elliot

Every time I order new nametags, they always come a month later with the same error: "Elliott" is missing the second T. At first, I tried crudely etching the second T myself, using whiteout to fill the excavated space in a lithographic fashion. The results were not as aesthetic as I had hoped. When my second batch of nametags arrived, I was disappointed to find the exact same error. I eventually stopped caring about the misspelled surname; nobody reads the English name anyway.

The mission office ended up having to call the name-tag manufacturing company and specifically instruct them on the spelling of my name. Three days ago, I finally received my first properly-spelled name-tag, after almost 16 months on my mission!

Our preparation day last week was moved to Wednesday. This afforded us a rare opportunity to visit the Taipei Astronomical Museum, which is closed on Mondays. We rode the MRT all the way across Taipei to 士林, then walked to the museum. It was sad to see how few people were there. The exhibit displays were all in Chinese, so almost all of the missionaries in our group couldn’t read them. Some were pretty laughable, like the ones about aliens that were probably written in the 1980s; others were fascinating. I finally understood the process of satellite mapping, and I enjoyed the exhibit of all different types of telescopes, cut in half so one could see the arrangement of lenses or mirrors inside.

At the end, we went up to the observatory at the top of the museum. This telescope can usually be used to view sunspots during the day, but it was impossible at the time because of the uniform cloud cover diffusing the light. My favorite part of the outing was talking with the staff about the working of the observatory telescope. It reminded me of watching documentaries about the Shoemaker-Levy comet when I was a kid.

I did a baptismal interview for one of 新埔’s investigators this week, and she was baptized on Saturday. That same day, my companion conducted the interview for another woman from 新埔 who’s getting baptized this week. I sat on the couches outside the door while my companion did the interview. I read the Chinese and English Liahonas and practiced translating between them, one of my favorite language practice activities. Afterwards, we all sat down together and ate some sushi and 皮蛋 [1000-year-old eggs] that the investigator had brought. I really like 皮蛋, but most foreigners find them revolting. The outside is like dark green egg-flavored jello; the aged yolk is viscous and a mottled greenish-black. They actually do not have a strong flavor, just eggy with a hint of sulfur.

During the second hour of our Sunday meetings, the Gospel Principles class (a class in which members and nonmembers can learn basic principles about the Church) was packed with all the people my companion and I had invited to church. When the teacher announced that the days lesson was “Chapter 39," Elder Roe and I both flipped to the corresponding page and read the dreaded title:

貞潔律法 [The Law of Chastity]

We both exchanged glances of horror. Most of the people we’d brought had never even heard of commandments before, and had just begun learning about God.

Thankfully, none of our investigators stood up and ran out of the lesson. They didn’t even have any concerns about it. So, I guess that counts as a miracle.

Friday was Jedi Council (also known as Missionary Leadership Council). It may be the last Jedi Council I’ll attend on my mission. I’ve been a zone leader for three transfers now; there’s a good chance I’ll move this week. It has been a great experience to be in this area and this zone. I’ve seen so much progress, growth, and change here.

That’s about all for this week. My camera was out of batteries, and I neglected to charge it until today, hence the lack of photographic imagery. I’ll compensate for it this week.

Love,
Elder Elliott

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