Pray for This Guy
By Joshua Dent
Greetings everyone from “The Taiwan” as I like to call it.
Did you ever wonder what Easter is like in Taiwan? If you are like me, you probably really never thought of that.
I had been through Thanksgiving and Christmas so far in The Taiwan.
Thanksgiving gets pretty much ignored here for obvious reasons. My only Thanksgiving day celebration came from going to a $500 NTD all you can drink night club in Taiwan called Club Wax. Let/s not forget also the Redskins whooped up on Dallas for a Thanksgiving day treat!
The Taiwan girls did give me a Thanksgiving surprisewhen they stripped off all my clothes except for my boxers on the dance floor.
Taiwan is so weird though. The circle of women around chuckled by covering their hand over their mouth after they admired the work, and then were too embarrassed at what they did to party anymore.
Or maybe, I am not as much of a catch as I think after 12 rum and cokes, and alcohol sweat pouring down every bone in my body.
Let’s get back to the original point of the story.
The week leading up to Easter just had this really bizarre feel to it. It just felt like something was missing from the whole experience. I had no shitty Easter candy to buy, crowded malls, or anything like that to bitch about.
So, about Friday of Easter week, I got myself mentally ready to try a new experience in Taiwan. I decided I was going to church for Easter.
I probably hadn’t been to church since my freshman year of college in 1997. That was only because I was still young enough for my dad to be able to make me go.
Obviously in a predominantly Budhist country, a catholic church might be a little hard to find. That is when the brilliant thought that had been at the back of my mind for a few months popped front and center.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to go to the Filipino church. I would rate my religious interests at about a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 for this adventure.
The Filipino Church entertained the notion of finding some gorgeous Filipino woman just waiting for a handsome American like myself to come strolling through there.
I even had a flashback to the 80’s when I was plotting this mission of heading to church. I can remember watching “Coming To America” with my brother. We were nestled on the couch with our favorite “A-treat Cream Soda” and Red Vines. I still remember one of the guys telling Eddie Murphy that he had to go to church to find a good woman.
It didn’t hurt that I had been absolutely fascinated with the Filipino women since I have been here. I only have made friends with a few of them.
A strong part of their allure is that I grew up next to a corn field on Filetown Road in the 80’s.
It took us 15 minutes by car to get to the nearest grocery store. There was ABSOLUTELY nothing exotic about Nazareth, PA.
My junior high classmates once chased a kid out of town because his name was Mohammed, Mohammed.
But, I had been in Taiwan for roughly 4 months. And, I am only a short flight away from one of the most exotic countries you can find on this planet. It still just all seems surreal to me.
The Filipino women are bronze, and beautiful. They walk with a certain sexiness that is unmistakable in my eyes.
Of course, for the insiders that have gone to Filipino night clubs on Sunday afternoons, we all talk about the certain distinct aroma of baby powder. It is quite funny because they all seem to use the same kind. I have even heard people say that they can smell a Filipino girl coming:)
I didn’t set my alarm that morning for the 10 a.m. church service. Maybe, it was on purpose so I wouldn’t have to actually go through with this plan of going solo to the Filipino church.
I ended up waking up about 10:15. I took my time taking a shower. I ran through 700 other things that I could do with my day in an effort to get out of going. But, I finally decided that I had to give it a try.
I got in front of the Filipino Bread of Life Church at roughly 10:45 a.m. even dressed in business casual attire. I suppose I wanted to look good for the girls.
I spent the next 15 minutes pacing back in forth of the church which was on the 3rd floor. I must have ran through one million reasons why it wasn’t a good idea to go in my head. ” Surely, I can’t go to church late, ” “They will laugh at you” They will stare”
Overall, I thought it was just going to be a painfully awkward experience. But, at 10:59, I mustered up the courage to walk the 3 flights of stairs to go to Filipino Church, one hour late on Easter Sunday, in Taiwan.
I got to the door, and noticed that the double doors were strongly shut. I took one more deep breath. I was just certain when I opened this door, the awkwardness was ready to start.
Sure enough, the doors made a noise which felt like louder than a shotgun in a Filipino library. I popped my head in past the doors. A young lady probably in her early 30’s came rushing over to the door to greet me.
I felt so weirded out by this entire experience that I am certain I probably hoped that she was going to tell me to come back later. But, no such luck. She guided me to a seat.
The church had a very interesting setup. It just had about 75 chairs lined up throughout the church. The pastor was speaking in English and reading from a power point presentation.
It took me about 10 minutes to settle in from that original anxious roller coaster ride I put myself through. I started paying attention to my surroundings a bit.
I originally wanted to be a good person and tell myself I wasn’t there just to see if I could meet some nice girls. So, I tried really hard to listen to the service, and what the pastor had to say.
I think that probably only lasted about 15 minutes. That is when I couldn’t help but notice that the church was probably populated with about 60-65 people. I would estimate 45 of them were stunningly gorgeous females.
I also remember thinking that if this was more like a yoga class I could get into it. I just can’t stand to sit still and listen to somebody talk for that long.
For the next 45 minutes, a 2 way tug of war was going on in my head. Option one was to legitimately get into the service and hope to smile at the right time when one of the girls was looking my way. Option 2 was to get up and run as fast as I can.
At the 15 minute mark of my stay, I was forced into my first interaction of the day. The priest did most of his sermon in English. But, he also did some parts in his native language, Tagalog.
He quickly apologized to me for this. That is when I told him with a perfectly smooth and eloquent Tagalog accent “Ayos Lang.” Ayos lang is the equivalent of no problem.
It was like the whole church just stopped for a moment. All eyes quickly became on me when they realized I could speak a little bit of Tagalog. This bizarre looking American guy stumbled into the church solo, and now he knows Tagalog.
I know it is Sunday, but I am sure they were probably thinking, WTF??
He then asked me in Tagalog if I spoke his native tongue. I responded with “Nagsasalita ng kaunting tagalog.”
That really threw the room off. But, unfortunately I was out of language ammo at that point. That was as far as I could take that conversation.
Returning back to the service, I would say that the tug of war ended up being a draw. I ended up staying very close to the end. After the 2 hour long service was over, the pastor gave a pep talk to everyone to get them to stay even longer.
I had only been there for an hour. But, it still felt like more than enough for me.
I did stay as he walked around and put his hand on the shoulders of everyone and said a prayer for almost all the people there.
That was when this bizarre morning came to a climax. He was probably only about 5’3. Me being 5’10, it was one of the few times that I felt like a giant in my lifetime.
He came up to me, and placed his hand on my right shoulder. He looked up at me, and started his series of confusing prayers.
“Dear Lord, You brought this guy to me today, I am not really sure what he is doing here. You brought him to a Filipino church. But, that is ok. This guy looks ok, and I want to love and help him. This guy is going to be ok.” I forget the rest. But, everything was “This Guy” in a heavy Filipino accent.
Although, they invited me to stay for lunch. That was obvious the perfect opportunity to mingle with the ladies. I just couldn’t take it anymore. We were 2.5 hours deep into the service and it had no signs of ending any time soon.
That is when I sadly left the service. They tried to get me to stay. But, I decided I was better off trying my luck at Paddy’s Point, the Filipino disco later on that afternoon.
Overall, it was probably one of the stranger moments I have had since I was in Taiwan. I am glad I can use my words to hopefully share and entertain with you.
Should I have stayed?
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