Original article posted by Greg:

We invite those who investigate the church to read and pray, etc. But we recieve ‘invites’ from our higher-ups as well. They say “I’m going to invite you and your companion to do _______ today.” or “Are you willing to follow that invite, Elder?” or “I am inviting the zone to _______.”

From my companions reactions to invites, you would think they should be called commandments. I asked him the other day “Why are we going on exchanges, again? Even though we know it’s going to interfere with our teaching of the liu family.” To which the answer was “Because elder petitt invited us to.”

I had no response to that.

And in a lot of cases I see a lot of good. And I see the good in the principle – that is daily improvement.

The thing that I haven’t gotten over yet is seeing it as a bunch of appendages to the law, turning the mission rules and standards into a squirming squidlike beast crawling up from the underbelly of the sea.

mmm…. underbelly…

It reminds me, as I am rather religiously oriented right now, of the Jews in the time of Christ, who added on so much to the Law. Okay, it’s not nearly nearly so bad. But sometimes I think “Can’t somebody invite us to simplify instead of complicate? Can’t we have the same invitation every day for a week instead of changing it every day? Can’t we keep our focus on one area of improvement for a while?”

Which brings me to the other thing that’s been bugging me. A lot of people here don’t seem to understand the difference between a goal and a vision or a mission or a strategy. They say “Let’s set some goals.” then say things like “Our goal for the day is to be more loving.” To which I say “How?” and they say “What do you mean? We’re going to be more loving. That’s how. What more do you need?” And I say “Specifics.” And nobody believes me because I’m the new guy.

Grr. Why wont anybody let me steady the ark?

The work continues very well though, and I continue to follow president perkins advice: when you can’t follow every invite and rule at the same time, pick the most important ones.

A couple of beautiful children are having their baptismal interviews tonight. That means I’m going on exchanges with the zone leader’s companion, elder Chow, again. He and I have fun. Hopefully we’ll be able to teach a bit tonight instead of just contacting.


Me: Hello sir. *sir raises his hand in a “I don’t want to even look at you” expression and continues walking. I am forced at this point to choose between giving sir what he wants, which is to be left alone – but incurring the wrath of my companion for not trying hard enough, or trying really hard to get him to listen. I walk after him* Hey, sir, we have a very important message that can help you have a lot more happiness throughout your life, can I talk with you a minute?

Sir: *interrupting* Don’t use. *literal translation of chinese rejection phrase.*

Me: Okay, love you bye bye. *turning to a family* Hey guys! Where are you going?

Family member: Going home. *continues walking*

Me: Hey, can I talk with you for a minute?

Family: Oh, so sorry. Really… *walks away*

Okay, I think I must be feeling cynical today. Sheesh. How did that happen? Oh well. Really This could sound pretty bitter, but I’m in a great mood, so don’t mis-read.

Sometimes, every once in a while, it goes like this:

Me: Hey, sir, how are you?

Sir: Good. Want some candy?

Me: Oh, I couldn’t possibly.

Sir: Nonsense, my good lad, this is also good for your throat. I insist.

Me: Well, if you insist, mr….

sir: My Honorable surname is yellow.

Me: Oh, mr. yellow, my honorable surname is hamblin. It’s not a color. But the point is I’m a missionary. I want to share a message with you about how you can *insert one of the many things you can get from hearing the message, like come to know god*. Could we come visit you and your family tomorrow night and share about our church and these teachings?

Mr. Yellow: Sure. Have some more candy. You are very hard working.

Me: Is not ba.

Tune in next week for tracting. Could be good.

Impressions of the day lately:

Lately the sky has been clear and blue. The sun has been hot. It’s almost to the point where it is right overhead during the afternoon. Some days you can see the mountains behind the mountains behind Taipei City.

The Hurricane south of the island is throwing big great clouds in chunks across the sky. The wind is blowing down the corridors of the streets in great gusts. I think of a castle in the sky, hidden in the clouds. A city of zion transmuted to myth throughout the generations.

I invite you to woot at least 3 times in the next week.
are you willing to do that?

See you next week.

-Elder Hamblin

“Postmaster” made the following annotations.

Orginal comments:

Nickname: Cornelius
Re: I’d like to invite you to consider my words carefully…
Well Greg, it’s good to hear from you. I hope you have found the answer to the question about what you would do if a million roaches came out of the pantry.

In other news, my papers are in the same state of limbo that they have been in for the last two months, except that they are in limbo on President Jones’ desk. I still haven’t gotten my shots record from my unit. They are willing to believe now that it doesn’t exist instead of that it is simply missing. I asked them what they plan to do and they said, “You’re going on that thing to Kentucky, right? Talk to us when you get back.” The thing in Kentucky lasts until August. This is further complicated by the fact that I never had my booster shots as a child. ALL of that was taken care of in basic training. I am better immunized than most people in North America and nobody knows it but me. I explained this to the Stake President and he said, “You’re going to be gone for a month, right? We’ll talk when you get back.” I understand that there are rules to follow. I’ve grown to accept that. It did make me a little angry, afraid, and short-tempered, but I think I’m over that. After all, anger, fear, and aggression; the Dark Side of the Force are they.

It seems clear to me that the Great Satan (i.e. Satan) has it in for me and my immunization records. For him I have a quote; “You do not seem to realize my position here. I will not be stopped. Not by you, or the Confederates, or the Protoss, or Anyone.” Take that. Despite this, I accept your invitation to w00+ thrice.