Monday, March 28, 2011

Guten Tag!

Hello everybody! It's great to hear from you all at the beginning of a new move call. Yep, today is the start of my seventh out of sixteen. Crazy, huh? I'm still in Tanzi and still with Elder Tony Mohr. Actually, nobody in our district even changed at all.

Yes, I heard about the chat missionaries...that's really cool, but I don't envy them. I'd so much rather be out here proselyting on the streets of Taiwan and baptizing my brothers and sisters than being at the MTC 24/7 for two full years. It's still a mission and it's still the Lord's work and I absolutely love to hear how the internet is being used for its intended purpose of missionary work, but I say better them than me. :)

This week went pretty well. We've found a really great investigator named (name). He's a college student, and he's really smart and very desirous to learn about the gospel. He understands doctrine really well. He also came to church yesterday dressed in a suit, tie, and shiny black shoes. I think before I really underestimated the impact of proper dress on both the investigator and the members. Of course we don't turn anyone away for not having the proper clothes, but when an investigator shows up and members think he's already baptized because he looks like them, he's much more included; the members like him more, I think. Also, our investigators can feel the spirit of reverence and worship on the Sabbath as they make the effort to dress up for church. I'm really excited for Brother Lin, and many of our members are as well. He's really solid for his baptismal goal, and he's going to bring a friend to his next teaching appointment. Here's a testament to how solid he is: in sunday school we learned about tithing and he didn't run away screaming. He understood the sacred and spiritual nature of this commandment. I too have found a stronger testimony of the law of tithing since coming on my mission. There's no doubt I'll faithfully pay a full tithe till the day I die; there are just too many blessings that you miss out on if you don't pay an honest tithe. Tithing is about showing the Lord that you have total faith in him and not in money, whether money is plentiful or scarce.

I can't think of a whole lot else to say. There's not a lot else super noteworthy that happened this week. Well, Megan wanted questions...but I can't really think of any. What questions do you have for me? It's actually been really cold here lately. Like really. Cold. And rainy.

Sorry this week's email is so short, but I just kinda ran out of time. I sure love you all and I look forward to talking to you on Monday. Until next week,



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Letter Home, March 21

Hello there everybody! Happy Monday to you all. Here I am on the last preparation day of my 6th move call. So weird how time flies. I have not as yet gotten your weekly letter, so I guess I'll just start with what happened to me this week.

The best news is the baptism of (name)! He's the newest member of the Tanzi Ward. He showed up on Sunday forty minutes early for choir practice wearing a white shirt and tie. I'm so happy to see him take this important step in his life. And even though it was his girlfriend who referred him to the missionaries, he told our district leader during his interview that even if she dumped him he would stay active in the church, because he knows it's true. Baptisms really are the best part of missionary work, because it's the culmination of all the work you put into helping these people. After baptism they're primarily the responsibility of the ward, and we can just play a supporting role when invited by the ward. So I'm very glad to add another wonderful brother to the responsibilities of this ward!

I'm not really sure what else to write, honestly. We only had one investigator at church this week, which is pretty low. The good news is he's a member referral from a really strong member, so I am hopeful for this guy. He snuck out after sacrament meeting, though, so we'll have to teach him the law of the Sabbath.

It's funny; I remember before my mission how I thought I'd probably tell people church is three hours if you want, but if you can only come to sacrament meeting that's cool too. No. Church is three hours, and if somebody's not willing to sacrifice three hours out of 168 they're probably not ready for baptism.

We're also working with an investigator who's sixteen and is going to be a father soon. Yeah, he lives with his girlfriend and her mom and she's about seven months pregnant. He's such a good kid, very mature, and really wants to be baptized and be an eternal family. It's just interesting to me that the world sees nothing wrong with such a situation. We really are unique when we teach the world that such things are reserved for lawful marriage only. I believe they plan to get married, which is good. I just can't imagine being that young and having to care for a wife and baby. I'm very thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ which can help all of us be cleansed from our sins. No matter what a person has done in the past, he can be forgiven and changed and reborn.

Well, I'm almost out of time, but I'm glad I got to hear from y'all this week! I sure love you and I pray for you every day.

Until next week,


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hello Again!

Hi everybody! It's good to hear from you all again after another very short week.

And now for some news on how things are going in Taiwan. Dillon, you said that I was on the southwestern part of the island when the quake happened. Um...about I wasn't. When President Bishop called on Wednesday to tell me about Grandma, he also told me one other bit of news. He wanted me to immediately start packing my stuff and move north to Tanzi as soon as possible. On your map it's just north of T'aichung and south of Fengyeuan (can't get over how weird the spellings are :D). Yeah, that was pretty unexpected. So I packed ASAP and Elder Turk and I rode a train up to Taizhong. I just switched places with the elder who was here--he went down to Tainan. So here I am in another new area. This always seems to happen when I start getting comfortable and thinking I'm not going to move for awhile. My companion is Elder Mohr from northern California, and he's on his first move call. Yeah, he was 2/3 of the way through being trained when this happened. He's really great. He's always very positive and happy and he loves the people he serves.

Unfortunately, I missed the baptisms of (name) and (name), but Tanzi also had a baptism on Saturday: (name). I actually met him on Saturday when he showed up for his I don't have much to say, except that I love seeing people baptized! It's the start of a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and it reaffirms my testimony every time that this work we do is the work of the Good Shepherd. We are gathering His elect by calling them in His name. So even though this is undoubtedly harder than anything I've ever done before, there's nothing more rewarding than this.

I'm really not sure there's much else for me to say. I'll just wrap this one up. Sorry it's a little shorter, but I can't really give too much of a report on my investigators. We do have one really great guy named Guo Jin-Ming who's getting baptized this Saturday, so you can expect two baptismal pictures in next week's email.

I love you all so much! I look forward to hearing from you next week. Keep up that BoM activity, no matter how slowly you go. I love it and I know you are loving it too.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly Letter 3/7/2011

Hello there my family! It's so good to hear from you all this week. We here in Tainan have been seeing more than our fair share of miracles as we preached the good word of God among our brothers and sisters.

Both (name) and (name) have rolled into week A, so we're planning a double baptismal service this Saturday. It's been so amazing seeing these good brothers progress to this point and decide to make this sacred covenant with their Heavenly Father. Brother (name) has really not had any problems with anything we've taught him; he's willing to live every commandment without a problem. Brother (name) only problem has been that he thought his studying Confucius would interfere with his being baptized, but we focused a lot on how this is the only truth, and if he puts this first there's no reason he can't continue to study the writings of other people. I love both of these men so much. Brother (name) is always smiling in spite of it being hard for him to walk or do other things. And he's always happy for us to teach him a word or two of English.

We also saw a miracle with our most recent convert, (name). On Friday Elder Turk called him and he said something about how he was ashamed and he would never come back to church. Then he hung up and would not answer our calls (he kept picking up and hanging up, no matter what phone we called from). On Saturday we biked all the way out to his house and knocked on his door and rang his doorbell for about ten minutes, because I could hear him on the other side but he wouldn't talk to us. We left him a note and left. Then on Sunday morning he called me and told me it was because he'd lost his Book of Mormon and was afraid we would be angry. So he came to church and we gave him his new member triple combination. Looking back on this experience, I'm glad we did what we did, because if nothing else, the Lord knows we will do anything in our power to hold on to the fruits of our labors--the souls of our brothers and sisters.

I know without a doubt that this is God's work. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that he's given me this chance to be His servant preaching repentance to His children. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it was translated by God's prophet Joseph Smith. Through this restored gospel, we can overcome any and every trial that comes our way. The strength of our Savior Jesus Christ will carry us through anything. I want you all to know how much I love you, and also that my testimony grows and grows every single day. I know that this is the most important thing I could be doing with this time, and my mission has changed me in more ways than I can count.

I love you all so much. You're in my prayers every night, and I know our Father is taking care of you and me. Until next week,