Preaching the Gospel in Taiwan

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Mountain of Monkeys

Dear Mom, Dad, Eric, and the newly inaugurated Princess Belle,

I will begin by answering all of the questions because there were so many. I'll try to make my answers clear.

1. How do I pick up packages? All packages begin their lifeline in the Woolsey home. Following the packing and preparation, they are taken, usually by car the nearest post office (likely the one by Juan Diego Catholic School) at which point they are dropped off for international delivery. They then are taken the airport where a preselected carrier vessel flies such aforementioned packages to Taibei, Taiwan (with an off chance of Gaoxiong) where they are then shipped by deliver truck to the Mission home on Wu Quan Lu in Taizhong. The office Elders then re-label the package and re ship the package to my place of living. When I come home at the end of the day around 9:00p.m., I retrieve it from the security guard (sometimes costing me 80 kuai in redirection fees). I don't need a car to ship it, it comes directly to where I live.
2. What floor do I live on? 15 yes fifteen
3. Is it a high-rise? I actually don't know what counts as a high rise, but it has only 19 floors.
4. Do I eat well? Probably not as well as I should. Today I poured dry oatmeal flakes into a bowl with a banana and sugar-free soy milk. I probably wouldn't have eaten such things in America, but after seven months of taste bud destructive food, I thought that it tasted great. It's also really healthy which is also a plus. I buy a lot of fruit and eat a ton of rice with vegetables during the week. I've been told that I've lost weight even from two months ago. It sounds like I'm going to be pretty skinny when I get home. I hope so.
5. Where do we eat? Anywhere on the side of the road that's convenient. Most times it's just a place with rice and vegetables and maybe some meat. It's not very exciting to you probably. I'm pretty used to it though.
6. Will the call be 20 minutes again? No, it will be 40.
7. The awesome American is in Taiwan for what reason? He's an English teacher here. He has a PhD in linguistics and is incredibly brilliant. He loves the Lord and in his own ways serves everyone around him. He is a true disciple of Jesus Christ and never ceases to impress me.
8. My impressions of the 70-member? An incredibly spiritual man who has devoted his life to serving the Lord. I was surprised by how casual he was with me and how easily we formed a bond. He's a very impressive man (with regards to his educational feats as well as his ability to come to my level). He graduated from Harvard which reignited my desire for higher education and to love all man.
9. How many got to meet with him? There were three or four different tour sites and about 4-6 people got to interview at each one. So, maybe 20-25 people in the mission out of 160+ missionary's, I would guess. I know they tried to select new missionaries, old missionaries, trainers, leaders, sisters, natives, foreigners, and everything in between to get a snapshot of the mission. It was predetermined somehow and I have no clue how. I'm grateful that I got a few short moments with him, even if I was too dumbfounded to know what to say necessarily.

Notre Dame is in the National Championship? That's awesome. I hope they win. I don't know why or how they got there, but that is so exciting.

So this week wasn't very exciting. Thanksgiving came and went without much thought on our part. We just worked that day like normal. This week I get to interview with President Bishop which is always a treat. It's truly sad to think that he only has six months, or so left himself. He has been too good to me. Today, however, we hiked Monkey Mountain (houzi shan) and saw a ton of monkeys. They're so fascinating. They just walk along the path, inches from you, without even batting an eye. They're used to people walking near them and do not fear them at all. Sometimes they even climb on you, which is probably a health concern if I had to guess. If you look the males in the eyes they bare their teeth and get prepared to fight. When I take you all here someday, we'll hike the trail again. It can be a pretty good work out if you work at it for a while and the monkeys are the real treat. I'll send a couple of pictures here in a moment. Mom may have been scared. They start fighting sometimes and when there's about thirty or more monkeys all around you and they start fighting, it honestly scared me a little. Dad would have been fascinated and Eric would have loved it. I want to go to the Gaoxiong 85 in a few weeks. There is so much to see, but that isn't why I'm here so I try not to think about it too much.

I hope that Thanksgiving was a lot of fun and brought a lot of gratitude to our Heavenly Father.

The movie Lincoln sounds great.

Fifty degrees sounds pretty cold. It was relatively hot today when we hiked the mountain. I may have gotten sun-burned a bit.

I kind of feel lame in that I don't have a ton to say this week. I'm grateful for all of you and all you do for me. Don't be counting down my time too fast. This mission experience is whizzing past me at the speed of light and no matter how much I fight against it to slow down, it just refuses. I'm trying to constantly push myself and overcome myself so that when that day comes my change will be real and permanent. I'm not going to be the same as I was before. I have big plans to be industrious and diligent. I want to fulfill the Lord's purpose for me.

I love and miss you all. What can I do for you all? How can I help you this holiday season?

- Elder Woolsey

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