Friday, September 7, 2012

Week 25: Who Gave September Permission to Come?

Who gave September permission to come?! I can't believe we are into September!
Since its only been 4 days since I emailed, there isn't too much that has happened. We have gotten 2 new investigators though! On Thursday we were going to find former investigators and saw one was the daughter of a less-active, so we decided to go see her. She happened to be home and let us in. We sat down with her and talked for a bit, and went back again on Saturday to see her and her mom. She's pretty good, though she's worried about not being able to bai bai if she gets baptized. She's actually almost finished reading the Book of Mormon, so we'll see. She and her mom didn't come to church yesterday which was kind of sad =[ And then last week, the Elders had given us a referral, but we kind of forgot about it...Sis. Wilson was out calling people to come to church and saw her card. She called her and was like, do you want to come to church right now? She was like, oh yeah! I will be there in a minute! So she came and stayed for all three hours. We aren't 100% sure she lives in our area, but we are praying she is =] She seems really great and we are excited to see her on Wednesday! Our other investigators are doing well. Our self-contact from last week came to church again yesterday, and though she still doesn't know if she believes God exists, she's still willing to come to church and keep meeting with us. We hope this week we can help her come to know that He exists. Our other new investigator, who is completely golden, is moving to another area this week for school. We are so sad! But, we already gave her to the sisters there, and we are so excited for them to be able to meet with her and help her get baptized =]
So that's about it on the missionary work side.
So now for a Taiwan culture lesson. The main religion here in Taiwan is Buddhism. Everyone is bai-bai, which is where they worship their ancestors and burn paper money and pray to their ancestors. So the month of August was Ghost Month, kind of like our Halloween, but a whole month, and not just a day. On the last day of the month, they believe Hell opens and all the bad ghosts come out for 6 hours, looking for food. They believe if they don't bai-bai and give the ghosts food, they will come and take all their money and make their businesses really bad. In a lot of areas, especially the more country side, it is normal to see people bai-bai out front their house on a regular basis, but in the area I'm in, its so city, that you don't see it very often. Well, last Friday was August 31, the last day of the month, and EVERYONE was bai-bai-ing to keep the ghosts happy! It was so crazy! I had never seen so many people out bai-bai-ing. They set up a table with lots of food, the stick incense sticks in the food, and then they have this cauldren that the burn paper money in as they pray and, well, I don't know what else. We walked out of our apartment after weekly planning to 9 tables set up, full of food and a big cauldren ready for paper money. We couldn't resist, we had to take pictures! Especially because this was going to be my only full Ghost month on my mission. It was so crazy funny! The whole city smelt like a campfire. I came home that night smelling like a camp fire, and I didn't even participate! When I say everyone, I mean, quite literally every since store/house/company/restaurant/EVERYONE was bai-bai-ing, and all at the same time. The mall had a huge bai-bai tent set up with food, the hospital had a huge tent and tables of food set up, it was so crazy! So I've included a few pictures for you guys to see =]
Well, other than that, there isn't much else going on right now =] We are doing good and the work is moving along here in Taiwan! I love being here and I love being a missionary more and more each day! I hope you all are doing well! I love you all! Thank you for your love and support and prayers. They are felt every day!
Love you!
#1: Everyone in Taiwan is really "pa sai hai" meaning, they are all afraid to get tan...they wear jackets and pants when riding their scooters, even when its 100 degrees outside. I'm not "pa sai hai" I'm really tan...see my watch? 
Oh wait...thats just my watch tan.

#2: My watch tan even extends to the underside of my wrist...

#3: Immediately outside my apartment building. Our apartment, the second hand store next door, and the bank on the otherside of us all celebrated together.

#4: The lady in the pink owns the second hand store next door and we see her every day. I've seen her and our guan li (the gaurd at our apartment) making these red and yellow things for weeks now (yes, they made them...). They were promptly burned...You can also kind of see how much food and stuff they had set out.

#5: The little red cauldreon next to the cone is normally what they burn the money in, but since they had so many people, they got a big wire cage and some sand and made their own firepit. That is daytime guan li. He has a stack of paper money in his hand, and he is getting reading to start putting it, one by one, into the fire pit.

#6: You can see the money beginning to pile up.

#7: And then they burn it. And continue to throw more and more in. We had to leave, since it wasn't our preparation day, so I don't know how big any of it got, and we didn't see they throw in the red and yellow flower things. But we saw plenty of other people bai-bai throughout the rest of the day!

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