Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Costco Muffins

Well, it's definitely been a much better week. :D I'll say that right off the start.
So several good experiences this week. Lots of learning. ONE: I came up to a man on his scooter after Zone Conference and on the outside he looked like, well, like the devil had gotten to him a bit... ;) He was smokin', drunk, eatin beetle-nut (turns your teeth red, cuts your gums, and does that so the drugs inside can absorb into your mouth), and just living a not so happy life. I rode up next to him. And felt prompted to talk to him about his cigarette. I told him, "Ni zhidao nage chou yan dui nide shenti shi---" (You know that cigarette for your body is...) And before I could finish, he finished for me "Bu hao. Wo zhidao." (bad. I know.) I laughed simply, affirmed his answer and took the cigarette out of his mouth. Dropped it on the ground, and stamped it out. He sighed, leaned over his handlebars with one hand on his face, and pouted for a second. I put my hand on his shoulder and said that he could forget all this pain, and follow in God's footsteps. I got his name, and number, and he added(We think “added” means a person agreed to have the missionaries come teach him/her), but haven't seen him again. That's ok. I know I helped the Spirit prick his heart. 'Cause I didn't know how to say "You can forget all this pain" when I talked to this man. But an overwhelming sense of love for him came over me as I talked to him, and it is returning right now. He may have looked like a man that would never be worth talking to, but when you realize that all people are God's children, and you realize that he loves all of them, it doesn't matter what they look like.
Speaking of…White people. (Elder Carter tells us you can’t always trust foreigners in Taiwan because their intentions are not always pure.) Anyway, this one white person... Yikes. Scariest, hardest contact I've ever had. Never thought this would ever, or could ever happen to me. I rode up to him as he was getting on his scooter by the COSTCO (yes, there is a costco by my church, and yes I have had costco muffins- my two favorite foods are right here next to me. I love it here), anyway, he was getting on his scooter, and I started speaking to him in Chinese. No response, so I asked if he speaks Chinese, a little shake of the head, and then I asked, "Cool! So what are you doin' in Taiwan? What brings you here?" He immediately answered, "Trying to stay away from you guys." My heart dropped, and my stomach disappeared.
Old Kevin Carter would have gotten contentious and rude, but I immediately started praying for help, because I am ELDER Carter now. I am a different person. I begged for the Spirit to be with me and help me be kind and touch this man's heart. "Why?" I asked... "Because all you teach is Devil-worship. And I don't want to talk to a devil-worshipper." "Why do you think that? We could sit down and discuss it if you want, and I could help you understand our beliefs" Interrupted-- "No. That right there proves that all you want to do with me is take me aside, sit me down, and try to become my friend so that you can preach your devil worship. When you want to talk about religion, come find me and we'll talk, so I can teach you how wrong you are." "Ok, so could you tell me what you believe?" I was trying to stay so simple. I didn't want to run away, because I wanted to stand firm in my testimony. "No, you just want to teach me devil worship." "No, I-- I promise I won't say a word. We'll sit down and you can tell me everything about what you believe and your evidence against mine. I won't say a word." "No!" By this time, he was just finding excuses to leave and not talk to me. But I've never seen a more furious face on anybody in person. Every word was throwing daggers at my testimony. But I did everything I could to smile. See him as a son of God, and pray my heart out that he remembered me and the words the Spirit spoke through me. As he was leaving he said, "I pray for you. I'll pray tonight, that you change your mind. Cause I care." I stared him straight in the eyes and replied, "Thank you for your care, sir. I appreciate it. I really do. Just know that I care for you, too (he blows me off and starts walking away), and that is what we preach. You're a brother to me." "Yeah, ok, whatever--" "I love you." Three simple words. Never more power behind them. Even if you don't quite feel perfect love for someone like this man, just saying the words makes all the difference. I smiled, told him to have a good day, and rode off.
As soon as I crossed the street, I lost it. My barriers fell, my tear ducts decided to burst the dam I thought I installed a while ago... All in front of Elder Krantz. I quickly overcame that, and talked with him for a minute. We were on exchanges with Elder Taylor, one of the assistants, and he came over and talked about it with us, too. Apparently that doesn't happen a lot, and every missionary can count on one hand the amount of times something like that has happened to them. Phew!!! SOOO hard. But I got more adds that day than I had as of yet. I relate that as if I knew what I was doing. I don't. I didn't. It wasn't me. The Spirit acted through me, and that's the power of God. I prayed so hard for that man that night. And I can only hope and have faith, that one day, I might find him again and ask him how he felt. I keep prayin' for him, and the Spirit is always there.
Next story.
Bike got stolen.
Anyway, about the food I've been eating here, I've eaten all sorts of weird things, but it's very interesting just how much I'm already familiar with it.
Ok, ok. I'll tell. Bike got stolen. I didn't lock it. Of course. Duh. You're in a 2nd world country with a $300 bike that's nicer than any bike I've had in America. If you don't lock it, it's gonna be gone. Well I didn't lock it. I don't know who, in their right mind (which, obviously, they weren't) would steal a bike that said JESUS CHRIST on the side, and MISSIONARY on the front. Hmmm.... So I got to ride a little girl bike with a basket on Saturday all day!!! It hurt my knees, because I couldn't extend them bigger than 90 degrees, but it had it's blessings. Luckily I was in a good mood that morning. So when I woke up and walked out and it wasn't there... well, I said a quick prayer and went to do something about it. We checked security cameras, but that was a waste of time, 'cause what are you gonna do if you find it? Nothing. You can't. So I grabbed up the girl bike and proceeded to ride the daily 10 to 20 miles. My butt still hurts. But it was short enough, that it made contacting cars a lot easier! I could weave in and out with my feet and I was level with them. I got a couple adds that way :P I was enduring well, until that night.
This bike that I was borrowing had no brakes, couldn't change gears, no big cushy seat, no lights, broken pedals, a bent basket, bent handle bars... all the things I was complaining about on my (old bike at home), I got worse on this one. To the bolt. Lol. Funny how things work sometimes, yeah? Anyway, I almost died like four times that night because that dinky bike had no brakes. And taxis are way worse here than in NY.
So by the time I got back to the apartment, I was in a bad mood and a little frustrated with Elder Krantz. Spirit was gone. So I tried to repent of my feelings and bring the Spirit back so we could accomplish our goals. But I didn't do very well. That was a bad night. The next morning wasn't any better. Until I humbled myself and said a fervent prayer right before we left the apartment. Just prayed that it would work out, and I said I was fine riding that little bike, but in getting a new bike, to help the process go smoother, and not cost a lot of money. The Spirit came flooding back, and I felt a lot better. I got up, said companionship prayer with Elder Krantz and left the apartment.
I passed the bikes where Elder Krantz parked his bike to go get the girl bike again. I looked for my bike. It was NOT there. I promise. I could not see it. Elder Krantz said something and I stopped. I turned toward him and looked up. Then, he forgot what he was going to say because he saw something else. He let out one laugh. I looked down right in front of me, and there it was. Still shiny, still clean. Still new. Still there. No, it wasn't there the whole time. I know that, because I looked for it. It was bu zai. Not here. Not spraypainted, nothing. The bike was back. But. The lock was gone, the water bottle was gone, and my rain jacket was gone. Yes, the rain jacket and my bike lock got stolen. Even the seat was still on the bike. So. I am happy. I've learned to be a little more patient, and humble, and seek to be one with my companion. God loves me. My bike is back. That's what matters. I wonder where my bike went... I kinda want to find out. Elder Krantz and I decided that it needed a break. It was sick of me pushing it's buttons, and twisting it's gears, yanking it's chain, sittin' on it all day... etc. But it's back, and I'm not complaining about it anymore! :D
There's my stories for the week. More detail in a couple years, but no worries. Don't worry about money or anything, because all we did was buy a less than perfect living person in Taiwan a 95 dollar Rain coat. Service. :D sorry...
So cool about all the missionaries!!! Can't wait to hear stories. Wish them all luck. Love Eric!! Lol, so good.
(We asked Elder Carter what their service projects are each week.) Service is English Class. I teach Intermediate English every Wednesday, and it's fun! The English names people have are great! And Chinese people are absolutely the best. I'll tell you more about them in my next letter or email.
Love you all! I'll write soon, sorry about the delay in time... but not much I can do about it. :P
Keep writing, keep strong, don't give up, and you'll live long!
-Elder Carter

No comments: