Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hay There!

Hello again everyone! How is everyone doing this week?

Anyway, yeah, Elder Chen is going to serve as a short term missionary for four weeks; he goes home on July 16th because he has to submit some stuff for college. He's really an amazing missionary. He's diligent, he has a strong testimony of the gospel, and he has a way of just putting investigators a little more at ease and letting them know that believing in Christ is not only possible, but worth it. The only thing he ever complains about is that Tanzi doesn't have a Subway. He says he's never gone so long without eating Subway. ;)

Well, it's been a good week of proselyting. That guy who was too unmotivated to eat food, (name), has actually started to progress a little because of Elder Chen. We went to visit him and Elder Chen just bore a simple and pure testimony of prayer and we helped him, through studying the scriptures, understand that God is not just waiting to punish us, but rather is anxious to bless us and sends prophets to warn us of the natural consequences of sin. Something finally clicked. He didn't even complain when we asked to kneel and pray at the end of the lesson. It truly was a miracle, and I know it's because we used the Book of Mormon and helped him learn the truth straight from its pages.

(name) was finally...FINALLY confirmed. You have no idea how stressful it was to have a baptized but uncomfirmed investigator for a whole month. Our mission calls those "sandbaggers" because Joseph Smith said that baptism of water without baptism of the Holy Ghost is useless, and a man might as well be baptized in sandbags. But he was confirmed on Sunday. Now I just need to do my best to help him endure to the end, since I'm pretty much guaranteed to be here until mid-September at least. Plenty of time to help him stay on the right path. I hope.

It's been raining a lot lately. Actually, in the time it took me to write this email, it went from sunny 80s degree weather to a downpour. -_- But that's fine, because it's mango season, baby! I'm salivating just thinking about fresh mangoes. And thinking about two weeks from now when we're going to go barbecue with the Elders in FengYuan.

That's about all I have this week. I love you all so much and I look forward to hearing from you again next week.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

No, I didn't forget! It's just that in Taiwan, Father's Day is August 8, so they aren't selling Father's Day cards right now.

It's good to hear from you all again! Here we are at the start of a new move call. I'm still in Tanzi, and I have a new companion! More on that later.

I'm having the time of my life, even though it's super hard work. It's tough because I often feel like I'm just twenty years old and I'm supposed to be in charge of the eternal welfare of 98,000 souls. And yet, I don't feel overwhelmed, because I know it's not me guiding this work, but it's the Lord. I feel I'm growing closer to Him than I ever have before in my life. This is a priceless experience.

As I mentioned, Elder Mohr moved way down south to Gaoxiong today, and my new companion is Elder Chen from Yuan-Lin. He's Taiwanese (of course) and he's actually not a set-apart missionary. He's a short-term missionary out here for six weeks. Our mission will ask members to do that from time to time when we don't have enough missionaries to fill all the areas. He's actually only been a member for seven months, but he's really awesome; his desire to share the gospel is really strong. He's seventeen, turning eighteen July 9th. I'm really excited to serve with him--it'll be a really different experience, since he's never been to the MTC or anything, but I think it'll be a great opportunity.

Well, things have been going pretty well for us here in Tanzi. We're working with a man named Brother (name)whose wife and daughter are both members. He's probably older than Dad, because his daughter's grown and married. He's just a really nice man and I believe we can get him baptized, it's just that he is a little hesitant to make that decision so quickly. This is not a concern that the Holy Spirit can't solve, though. Have I said it enough times? I love being led by the Spirit. I love the fact that I'm doing the Lord's work and that He's guiding me to know how He wants it done. Brother Xie is so nice and humble. He's read all the way to Jacob already, which is quite impressive. More news on him will be forthcoming.

I don't really know what else to say. Things are kind of slow right now with investigators, but I really think that as we work hard we'll see things pick up. I'm pretty excited to work with Elder Chen, but at the same time it's a big responsibility.

Well, I'd better go. I love you all so much! Talk to you next week!


Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

Dear everybody,

Hello again at the end of another week!

It's not for sure yet, but I'm almost positive one of us will be moving next week, because I've been with Elder Mohr for over three months, and three months is normally the longest someone will stay with a companion. Yes, some Elders get REALLY into "move call madness," making brackets and all this really over-the-top stuff. It's kind of funny to hear what people guess, but it does no real good to try and guess. Yet I sometimes try guessing anyway. :) I'm probably staying in Tanzi, but nothing's for sure. The steak was really not that expensive. Taiwan usually imports beef from Australia or New Zealand. Probably about 7 USD a person with the all-you-can-eat salad bar, but compared to a normal meal that was pretty pricey. It was fun, though. Elder Mohr enjoyed it.

Well, things have been going pretty well this week. That guy I told you about who was so unmotivated to do anything is still the same. He just will not do the things that he must do to receive conversion, so we may have to stop meeting with him so often. In one of our lessons we asked him what his direction was in life and he said he didn't know and started sobbing out loud and cried for like an hour. We were reading scriptures, singing hymns (all while he sobbed with his head on the table), trying to help him have a really spiritual experience, and when he finally picked his head up and wiped his face, he was exactly the same. If that was a spiritual outpouring he felt, he sure didn't show that it changed him in the slightest. Sad stuff when people choose to be that way.

This morning we had a zone activity where we all went biking up into the mountains of Dakeng scenic area. That was kind of fun, but because of some miscommunications and other hardships we didn't get to go hiking as we'd planned, but the bike ride was pretty beautiful. If I have time I'll include pictures. President Bishop actually came up with us. He's pretty fit for his age--he was out-biking some of the Elders even on the 90-degree (not temperature) uphill parts. Okay, not 90 degrees. But it sure felt like that.

Then this afternoon the other Elders in our district came to our area and had lunch with us and we basically just kind of had a fun afternoon talking and playing hearts at the church. Speaking of lunch, do they sell four-patty Big Macs in America? Because I may or may not have eaten one today. Does that make you lose respect for me? If it makes you feel better, I got a "free" Coke-can shaped glass for my feat of gluttony. And Taiwanese people make fun of us for eating McDonalds... find me a place in America where you can get a four-patty Big Mac delivered to your door. :)

Well, that's about all I have this week. We're running low on progressing investigators right now, so you'll have to wait till next week to hear about those. I love you all so much, and I'll talk to you again real soon!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Yes, it's the magical holiday of the Dragon Boat Festival this week. I'm not really clear on the customs of this holiday, but it involves...dragons...and boats... and rice balls? Anyway, it's pretty cool, even though it meant lots of our recent converts and investigators didn't come to church. It's good to hear from you all! I'm doing well here in Tanzi. And it's Elder Mohr's birthday tomorrow, so I'm treating us to a steak after we email.

Well, this week went by really quickly, but it was a lot of fun. We went on exchanges with Elder Wong, one of the assistants to the President. I learned a lot on that exchange, especially on how I can use charity and love to reach the hearts of those I teach. When he contacts people, he's not loud or overbearing, just very genuine and loving, and people want to meet with him as a result.

Our good old (name) has now been to church three times and still doesn't want to pray when we ask him to. He's just super unmotivated. He says sometimes he can't even gather the motivation to get up and get something to eat when he's hungry...much less to kneel down in his bedroom and call upon God. He really is seeking the truth and light and purpose the gospel can bring, but he doesn't seem to realize it's all right here. He hasn't gotten an answer about the Book of Mormon because he's not praying with real intent. We tell him he has to commit to God that he'll act according to the answer he receives, and he keeps saying he can't commit to that because he hasn't gotten an answer yet. I think we can help him, we just have to work on that desire problem.

Well, I'm down to three minutes. I don't really have any weird food stories anymore, because I'm more or less accustomed to it all. When I eat octupus at a restaurant I don't even think about telling you about it. They do have these tasty little spice buns that come frozen and you microwave them. They're like steamed bread with meat inside.

Ok, I gotta go. I love you all so much! Talk to you next week!