The sinew that shrank

The West Zone.

Crazy edition; I turned my head clockwise.

As Elder Roe and I closed our zone training meeting on Tuesday, I reflected on my time as a zone leader in 土城 [Tucheng]. I was a little melancholy. I knew I’d probably be leaving, and this would be the last zone meeting I would conduct.

During our training, we had everyone share spiritual turning points from our missions. I felt satisfied with the experiences I’d had over the past few months. I also felt a little bit of regret. I felt like there had been opportunities I hadn’t seized and times when I could have done better.

On the last Wednesday of every transfer cycle (about 6 weeks), the zone leaders receive a fax with the names of everyone in the zone who is moving. The movers have to pack up their stuff and report to a transfer meeting on Friday morning. I knew the fax would probably come in on Wednesday night. Sure enough, that night Elder Roe and I opened the apartment door to find a forlorn sheet of paper lying face-down in the fax tray.

I walked into our study room and started opening a cardboard box of English textbooks. Elder Roe snatched up the piece of paper and started reading down the list of names so I could hear.

"Elder King."

"Elder Greenhalgh."

"Elder Seely."

There was a long pause.

"Sister Torres-Ortiz and Sister Bane. That’s it."

That was it. I smiled to myself. I’m not moving. There’s still work for me to do here in 土城 [Tucheng].

Looking at my area from across the river.

Since then, I feel like I’ve had even more energy and enthusiasm for the work. Elder Roe and I saw some amazing results this week. Several of the less-active members we started meeting with are now completely active. One will be going to the temple in 台北 [Taipei] with us tomorrow; another in a few weeks. 楊弟兄 [Brother Yang], who could never find a job and struggled with depression, found a job passing out flyers advertising window-blinds, and he even promised us he’d stop praying to the Holy Ghost from now on.

This week, for P-day, we went to the National Palace museum again. My favorite part, as always, is the section on jade carving. This time, I took notes on the names of all the different ornamented bronze vessels used for storing food, cooking, steaming, and making sacrificial offerings. Many of the vessels displayed date from before 1000 BC. What’s fascinating is that the character inscriptions on them are still recognizable. When they’re written in a normal font, I can read them aloud and grasp their meaning. Every type of vessel has a different one-character name similar to a hieroglyph, many of which are used as roots in modern characters. For example, a 尊 [Zun] is an animal-shaped bronze receptacle used to hold alcohol in sacrificial ceremonies. The character 尊 [Zun] is also commonly used in modern Mandarin, and roughly means "respect" or "to respect."

Standing by the massive 鼎 [Ding] displayed in front of the museum.

There was also another bronze vessel I found fascinating: a large dark cylinder with ungainly arm-like protuberances, each holding a smaller cylinder of different size. Characters were inscribed around the rims of the various cylinders. This implement was used as a volume measurement device; each one of the six cylindrical openings corresponds to a different unit of volume common in ancient China, the largest being a 升 [Sheng].

So, that’s about it for this week. Also, my shoulder bag fell onto the road when I was riding really fast on the bridge between 樹林 and 土城, and half of my camera’s LCD display broke, which was a bummer. The other half still displays the image fine, though, so the device is still completely functional.

Elder Elliott


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