Charging ahead

Two of the elders in our mission filmed and produced a commercial for our free English class:

http://youtu.be/8VeAbsR9p5c

This was a painstaking and time-consuming endeavor involving a lot of staging, filming, and editing. It turned out really well, if I say so myself. We helped by driving them around and around the 中正紀念堂 [Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall] so they could get the last shot of them riding their bikes on the street.

One of the highlights of this week was traveling with President Jergensen to the various zone conferences so Elder Smith and I could translate. Yesterday morning, we woke up extra-early to drive down to 竹北 [Zhubei], near the west coast of Taiwan. The assistants were loading the car up and preparing to drive, and Elder Smith and I were printing out handouts in the office. My phone buzzed, and I picked up the assistants’ call. They were at the gas station next door.

"Do you know what number of gas to put in the van?" Elder Liston asked. "Is it 92, 95, or 98?"

I remembered us adding diesel to the van many times, but I couldn’t remember seeing any number. "Uh, I think it’s 95," I guessed. "OK," Elder Liston said, and he hung up.

A few minutes later, President and Sister Jergensen dashed down from their house, and we took off. "Good thing we woke up early," Elder Roe said as President drove along. "The tank was almost empty, but we filled it all the way up!"

"Wow, thanks!" Sister Jergensen said. "It’s always a pain to fill up the van, because you have to drive all the way to Bade Road."

We looked confused. "We just went next door," the APs said.

"Wait, did you add diesel, or gas?" President interjected.

"Gas," Elder Roe replied, and we suddenly realized the problem. The van can’t run on gasoline at all, but the assistants had filled the tank all the way up! I was aghast! "You told us it was 95!" the assistants cried. I protested that I had assumed they were adding diesel, and I didn’t know that diesel had no octane rating.

President quickly turned the van around and started driving back to the garage. "We’ll just park it here and have a mechanic siphon the gas later," he said. "We can split up and drive two cars to the meeting for now." We pulled into the parking garage and transferred all the supplies to President’s car, and he sped off to make the meeting. We drove the Ford with the remaining supplies. We made the hour-long drive to 竹北 [Zhubei] with minutes to spare. The van’s still sitting in the garage full of gasoline. This series of events was comical in retrospect.

For P-day, we walked to the 龍舟賽 [Dragon-boat races] that were being held in a stagnant canal for 端午節 [Dragon-boat festival]. It was cool, I guess, although the velocity of the boats was not exactly breakneck. There was even an English-speaking announcer, whose English was very fluent save for an overuse of the word "charging." She repeated it several times each match, regardless of whether the boats were indeed charging or not. Rowing the boats obviously required much coordination and endurance; many of the teams had trained for many months to compete in the races.

The members took a plethora of photographs with their phones.

My lack of coordination manifests itself in a game of ring toss for prizes! Elder Smith won two bottles of Martinelli’s and several other carbonated beverages. I won a little plastic robot worth $0.01.

All together with the members.

When we’d watched enough of the races, we went charging back to the office, where I talked to a member from 土城 [Tucheng] about audio editing software for the remaining hour of P-day. Elder Smith lay down beneath his desk, exhausted.

Recently, the zone leaders in our ward have been helping the members provide their own referrals by using a tract we printed which outlines progressive, gradual steps to share the gospel with friends and eventually invite them to meet with missionaries. Our ward members are awesome, but the ward has an unfortunate reputation for being uninvolved towards missionary work and especially convert retention, which we’re trying to reverse.

That’s about all for this week. Hope you have a great day!

Love,
Elder Elliott

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