Letters From The Field – Elder Tanner Bennett’s Mission Blog – Week 14 and 15

August 15, 2018
Elder Tanner Bennett was a guest on a previous episode of LDS MissionCast. He agreed to share his mission letters with the readers of our blog. So each week we will bring a letter from his mission. We will interview him at the conclusion of his mission as well. So stay tuned and stay connected to Tanner’s story each week on the LDS MissionCast Blog! Well hello my beloved friends and family! I am so sorry that I didn’t write last week, we had 2 member meals back to back (story to come) and that capitalized most of my P day, so again very sorry! However, repentance is wonderful, so here we are! BIG EMAIL INCOMING!
7/23Monday: The watch stores! I was bored at a watch shop for the first time in my life! I honestly think that expensive watches now are really kinda dumb… Yeah… I still think they’re cool and would love to still make them and freak out about it, but I think I’m over the whole Jager-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne thing haha. We went to a 吃到飽 which, being translated is “eat until full.” With missionaries, this is a terrifying thing for restaurant owners. The place we went to was a grill place where you grill and cook your own meat and they bring out sushi, vegetables, hotpot, the works. I wasn’t into it that much but peer pressure was real. I hate myself. I ate so much I didn’t eat for 36 hours following haha. Tuesday: Maria, our favorite Fillipina has accepted a baptismal date of 8/26! We thought we may run into some issues because her fiancee, a southern Baptist from the United states, but he was actually EXTREMELY supportive, and is wanting to take the discussions too! Maria is so cool, seriously I adore her, she’s so ready for the fullness of the gospel and just is awesome. I’m excited to baptize her! Tuesday was a little hard to be honest though haha, it rained and we biked for 30 miles in rain soaking wet getting turned down by everyone. But when our hearts were depressed and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord strengthened us and commanded us that we must go forth among the Taiwanese haha.
Wedbesday: Zone Conference. I call this the wrecking ball of revelation haha. Google Hangouts was banned, letter writing was defined to only be done on P day and I was not a happy camper haha. I got to do a musical number and the meeting actually was really nice. We just got grilled and the whole mission was set into a panic about how their families would respond to not using hangouts anymore. elder Jacobs is especially upset haha. Henry had a lesson, and he’s super great, my English class with little Asian children is probably one of the greatest highlights of my week haha. I brought chocolate to entice them to listen, and IT WORKED. MUAHAHAHA I AM THE OVERLORD! I AWARD ALL CHILDREN ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS WEATHER THEY LISTEN OR NOT! Okay, so outside of that power trip and blaspheme we saw an investigator who stopped responding to us, and she dropped us on the spot, it was sad… Anti literature is so dumb. It drives me crazy. Anyways, that was Wednesday! Thursday: The family we found in the rain decided to drop us. It was a devastating blow and my heart is still aching for them. We don’t know why they decided to stop lessons, but hearing the excuses, the apologies and the whole of it just breaks my heart. They were progressing so well, we can only assume family or friends had something to do with it. We were able to find two adds on Thursday, but a better portion of the day was listening to the mission complain about the Hangouts policy haha. I’m still praying for that family. Friday: Friday was wet. As in very very very wet. We had weekly planning and lunch with a member, you know big momma, I love her! however… What we had was very… traditional. Boiled whole goose and goose heart, blood rice, that’s right, BLOOD RICE, and a bunch of other stuff with noodles. I was a champ and wanted to impress big momma so I ate… I nearly vomited, a lot… I made an excuse about eating a bad piece of fruit so my stomach was upset haha. That night we had to recover from our lunch so we went to louisas coffee and had some chocolate milk and bagels haha. It was great, we spent the evening finding, with not a lot of success sadly. Saturday: Saturday was a good day. We had a good lesson with an eternigator named cai dixiong. Our bishop helped teach at a McDonald’s and we had a great time discussing the Book of Mormon and why we want to accept baptism. I think he took it well 吧, but we shall see. We made an attempt to bike to 大林 again, however, it was in vain because it rained and poured… typhoon season. Anyways, so we went to a 7 nearby and that’s where we found Jamie! he is super sick! He’s a post graduate student looking for purpose and he said he thinks that he’s finally found something to make him happy! how cool! Sunday: Blessed be the Lord’s day. It didn’t rain. Henry had his baptismal interview and is getting baptized next week. We had some old investigators come out of the woodwork and set up to meet again, 何姐妹 is coming to Church and is excited to be baptized! However, today’s greatest blessing came in a package named Paul. He shuffled in to church off the street, with a heavy limp and cane. Half of his body is paralyzed from a stroke he had a few years ago and his speech is severely slurred. We got talking and I found out he had been afraid to come to church for years because he thought people would not want to have him there because of his disability. He speakes perfect English and it turns out that before his stroke he had been a world class jazz pianist. He was a member of Kenny G’ s band and a resident concert pianist at Carnegie hall. Hence the perfect english. Him and I talked for a long time about jazz and things and he just started crying. Since his stroke all his friends had rejected him and left him alone. He hadn’t had an opportunity to talk to someone about music in over 4 years and he stayed by my side the whole time at church. I’m just blown away by how much God loves his children. How aware he is that he would put me here so I could have the opportunity to meet with Paul. He is so sweet and humble and he just needed someone to love him. He is meeting with missionaries in Jiayi, but Paul and me are great friends now. In sacrament I felt like I should put my arm around him and he cried again. Afterwards he said that he felt that he had finally found home again and he is excited to join the church. I love Paul. Now onto Monday part 2:  This was a special day… We went to lunch with Big momma again, but this time to a hot pot 吃到飽!Oh yeah it was good. Definitely much better than the last experience haha. We ate for probably 3 hours, talked about her friends who want to come to church, it was great! So per usual, elder Jacobs and I waddled out of that lunch as very happy missionaries, however, the nightmare of every waddling missionary began to unfold. We had a member call us and say they had a friend they wanted us to meet for DINNER. you remember how I said I didn’t eat for 36 HOURS after the last one? yeah. So elder Jacobs and I began to weep and we tried biking around Jiayi to make room… it was to no avail. We had dinner at a really nice restaurant but elder Jacobs and were in dire circumstances. They kept ordering more and more food and we HAD to keep eating (it’s very rude to not eat everything when you’re with members, its a taiwanese thing). So we have a good talk with this members friend and set her up, good. Then we realize we have a lesson in 15 minutes that is 20KM (about 12 miles)… So we say thank you and run waddling out of this dinner. Then we bike. BIKE LIKE MADMEN. praying the whole way, I feel like a grape riding a hotwheels, but we made it to our lesson in 17 minutes and the investigator hadn’t even arrived yet! Tender mercies y’all. We were faster than the predicted time of a car, but we did get 3 new investigators back to back, so that was awesome! Tuesday: We bought a scale! I am skinner! even with the whole thing yesterday I was 266 lbs! now 258, but I digress. That’s less than what I lied about being on my drivers license! GOALS ACHIEVED! Tuesday was mostly meetings, Maria is still super stoked to get baptized Big momma got us more fruit and food, and He Jiemei is still on track. Wednesday: We biked for 40 minutes to a place on the border of our area called 大林。 We’ve been there a few times, but never find much success, and sadly after 5 7s and 3 family marts and talking to every person on the streets no one would set up with us. That is until I met a sweet old man that I felt prompted to talk to. We chatted for about half an hour, he wouldn’t be able to come to church because of health issues, but we’re figuring out how we can get him there. He’s really cool. At Henry’s mansion, the lu family decided to switch days to Sunday for Henry’s Baptism… that was a nightmare to figure out, but it actually worked out for the best because some of our investigators could make it! Chocolate at English class is still a thing and still rocks for controlling little children. Thursday: Companion exchanges! I got to chill in the 嘉義 Jiayi area for a day with our DL, elder Durrant. We decided to do exchanges because today was Paul’s first lesson! It was so cool! Paul and I played piano together, me as a left hand, him as the right, it went for about an hour and a half, but our lesson went so well! Paul accepted baptism like a legend. when asked if he would be willing his response was frankly “why the heck else would I be here if I didn’t want to be baptized?!” It was so cool haha. Friday: comp exchange, RC lessons in Jiayi, traded back, Henry’s Baptism got all figured out and we were able to have a member lesson with some super cool people who help us in lessons a lot. Saturday: Weekly planning, I enjoy it, Elder Jacobs does not. We ran into our investigators at lunch, it was fun, we are with them, all was well today, nothing big, ate some good food, found 3 adds and it was a good day indeed. Sunday: Lets talk about how cool Sundays are. As a missionary, I need Sundays. They are such an amazing experience in Taiwan. I get to listen to the gospel and relax and enjoy this wonderful ward as I’m spiritually renewed in sacrament and our classes. I love getting to have our investigators come and sit with us because the spirit at the Church is so different from anywhere else we typically go. Its all peace and the investigators always note it. Today, was even more special though. Our favorite little shuai guy got baptized today! after cleaning out the baptismal font of cockroaches, figuring out how to turn on the water, and many more fun things, the service was excellent. He Jiemei has been really pondering baptism lately and it was an amazing blessing for her to be able to come and see this awesome little dude get baptized. She said during the talks and ordinance she felt something new she’d never felt before. She didn’t know how to describe it, but elder Jacobs and I knew and we invited her to pray about this feeling. she’s getting baptized 8/24 now. This baptism was such an amazing blessing, immediately following the baptism a huge rainbow arched over the chapel and the members all started to sing “when I am baptized” together. It was incredible. It was even more cool because Henry’s dad is deaf and did the prayer in sign language! How cool is that!? I love this area so much, these people are just amazing. What amazes me even more though is how obvious it is to see the hand of God in our everyday lives. He’s there, he loves us, he has a plan for us and He’s willing to communicate and show us he is there, all we need to do is look. I love this work, and I can’t wait to see what miracles come from this next week. I love you all so much, Best, Elder Bennett
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