Sometimes when you walk on the street or wait for the traffic light, you might be stopped by young and good-looking missionaries. They always dress modestly, and talk courteously. They always have sorts of brochures in their boxes, and share Gospel to people they meet in hot sunny Pingtung streets. While some people might stop to listen to the Gospel out of curiosity, the other just decline their invitations by acting like they are pretty busy. Only very few people would like to accept the Gospel. None of Taiwanese could possibly understand why they are doing this, and even willing to give up two years of their lives to serve their God. Therefore, I interviewed two young missionaries, who studied at BYU, to answer my questions.
Why do they want to go on a mission?
When people want to be a missionary, they need to send their applications, and the president of their church will pray and then have a feeling about the place that applicants should go. Elder Cole said that when he got call, he felt so happy, and super excited about it. And one of his friends served in Taiwan, told him a lot of stuffs about culture and people, and he’s so happy that he can have the opportunity to serve in Asia. There’s a place called MTC, a place or a facility to train missionaries, and they were trained there three to nine weeks depend on where they go. He stayed there for nine weeks, and learned scriptures, Chinese, and every single parts of missionaries’ work. He wants to share what he learn from his family, and tells people things about Jesus Christ. He also did some preparation for the mission, such as reading scriptures, and sharing his own testimonies of Jesus Christ.
What do they do while they are out on the street?
They will ride bike on the street, find some people, and tell them about Jesus Christ. Help people have chance to receive the Gospel. Elder Cole said that the first time he share about Gospel was on the second day, at that time he was unable to speak good Chinese. The man that he tried to give a lesson was unable to understand what he was talking in Chinese, but he still know what he was going to say; they have a good connection. Cole said that Taiwanese people are quite different from people in other places, they have desire to be a better person, and church can help them do so.
What makes LDS church so different from others?
They have a prophet called Thomas S. Monson, and they don’t drink tea or coffee. They have the Book of Mormon. They read Bible and the Book of Mormon. They baptize for the dead. Elder White also told me people will represent the dead, and it’s not something weird or scary. Some people didn’t know about Jesus Christ while they were alive, so they give them the option to make the choice. When the resurrection comes, they come back to life, and they can choose to accept it or not.
How do they feel about being a missionary in Taiwan?
Elder White said that people in Taiwan are very nice to them. They have never been yelled by someone, and no one is angry at them. They respect our religion, and people in Taiwan respect their religion as well. But there’s two main difficulties while they try to tell people about Jesus Christ. One is people are so busy they don’t have time to listen to them, and go to church. The other is Chinese, and that is the most difficult one. The memories here, he added, mostly are people here, and what they mean to him.
Next time while you meet these missionaries on the street, don’t get panic. They are not weird people, having weird thoughts; on the contrary, they are very nice people, and represent Jesus Christ. I won’t regard them as salespersons or religious minds. To me, they are young minds like us. If you don’t want to join their church, here’s a tip for you: Drink lots of tea or coffee in front of them. Don’t worry they won’t force you to get baptized. They really respect our religion.