elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
So recently I've been jamming out to this Christian song called "Hills and Valleys" that talks about how life will always have hills and valleys, but as long as we remember to look to God in all things, we will be good, no matter if we feel like we are on top of the world or low in a valley. This week was more of a valley week for me tbh. It rained all week and it was hard to stay motivated to do stuff, but we still managed to find 4 new investigators and have a good week overall. The one big bummer about the rain in Taiwan is that it means that most people bail on church. Very few people own cars, so if it rains they just all hide inside. Most of our investigators bailed, which was sad but what can ya do. The church meeting was still pretty good though so that's always good.
In terms of our investigators, M is still doing really well. We recently started teaching his mom, and she is a very sweet lady :) It's fun to work with them. M didn't come to church this past week, so we will have to move his date back, but that's ok, it was a pretty fast date anyway so extra time won't hurt. He's still looking really good to get baptized before I leave, so I'm excited about that. KT also had a big breakthrough this week. He finally prayed about whether our church was true or not, and it looks like he is starting to understand the importance of knowing if these things are true or not. Hoping and praying for a spiritual experience to help him apply the gospel to his life. We also started working with a former investigator named W. She was met and taught by my old comp Elder 楊, so it's been fun to be able to try to get him involved in the teaching through technology. She seems pretty prepared, and we are going to try to give her a bap goal tonight so pray for her!
This week we had MLC. We don't know if we will have another one in July with the new president, so I basically said goodbye to everyone. That was kinda weird to be on the other end of goodbyes. Got a pic with the 3 others who will be going home with me this transfer. They're all bros.
This week, I wanna share lyrics from one of my favorite hymns, "I Stand All Amazed"
I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.
Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!
The love that Christ has for each of us is incredible. It is amazing to me that someone would be willing to suffer as he did for all mankind. I've loved getting to know my Savior more on my mission and I really feel like I've come closer to "Beholding the Man" as Elder Uchtdorf said last conference. I look forward to continuing to come to know my Savior more throughout my life. I love Him and testify that He lives and He loves each and every one of us.
Thanks for the support! Love you all so much!
This week was a little bit slower in terms of progress, but hey that's ok. I'm sure things will pick back up this week! We only found 2 new investigators this week, but hey that's ok, they are both pretty cool. One came from English class, and the other was a member referral so that's always cool to get those! Member referrals almost always progress better than other investigators cause they already have a connection to the church, so we are hoping that goes well. In terms of the 3 RC's, they are all doing super great, come to church every week and love to meet our new investigators :)
One of the funnest parts of this past week was going up to 台中 for exchanges with the Assistants. I got to go with Elder VS which is always a blast. We are going home together, and we talked a lot about how we can keep working hard and finish strong. It was a good exchange. They have a lot of cool people up there that they are working with, and during morning exercise I got to see Elder F and Elder B, which was super fun.
Lately I've really enjoyed reading from the BoM and trying to apply what I read everyday to my daily missionary work. I've been reading in the end of Mosiah/first parts of Alma, and I've really enjoyed reading about Alma the Younger's conversion story. I feel like everyone can sorta relate to how the gospel has helped them become better, and I've really enjoyed trying to emulate Alma's example and make repentance a bigger part of my life.
In terms of our investigators, M came to church this past week and loved it. K came as well, and so did Brother L's friends, so it was great to see all of them there. Please keep them in your prayers! :)
Well, that's pretty much it, sorry this week was a little less exciting but we'll keep working hard don't you worry. Love you all so much!
Hope you all had a great week! Transfers were this week, and I got the news that I would be staying with Elder H in Qianzhen前鎮 for the last transfer of my mission. Once I heard the news, I just got a really warm feeling and felt super happy. I was really worried that I was gonna move for the last transfer, and I'm really glad that Heavenly Father needs me here for these 6 weeks. I love this ward and the investigators and members that are here, and I can't wait to keep working hard.
In terms of cool stuff that happened this past week, we were able to give out 3 new baptismal goals, bringing our total to 6 right now. Some of them are still very early on in the process, so it's hard to say how many of them will hit, but I'm definitely determined to baptize again before I go home and we are working hard to make sure that happens. We've run into some really cool people lately that we could have only found if God was leading this work. This week we were biking out of our apartment starting the day and we saw this dude just chilling on the other side of the road so we crossed and started talking to him. He said he grew up in a church but thinks that Christianity has too many contradictory doctrines for him to believe in his original church or any of the churches that he has been to recently. He said he had nothing going on, so we took him to the chapel right then and had a nice lesson on the Restoration. This past week, we read scriptures with him twice, and he came to church for a couple hours. He said he didn't feel anything at church, which was kinda sad but I believe that if he can open his heart to the message, he'll figure it out. He's jacked, like insanely huge. I'll try to get a picture with him this week.
Another crazy cool story is we didn't really know what to do on Saturday and we got done eating lunch and felt like our plan wasn't right. We said a prayer, and decided to go look for some LA's in this huge apartment complex. We got there and stopped this guy to ask where building 12 was, and he got off his scooter and started talking to us. Turns out, he served in the US Military for 2 years and fought in Iraq. He said he's had some bad PTSD after that cause he saw his partner die in combat. He said that he goes to different churches every week to pray and ask God to forgive him for killing people in war, and to remove the burden that he's been feeling. We told him that we wanted to share a message with him about our church and the power of Christ's Atonement, and he set up for two hours later. That lesson we had two hours later was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever had. I just felt so much love and respect for this man that fought for our country and risked his life, and felt his desire to come unto Christ. We showed him "Because of Him," and when I asked him what he felt while watching the video, all he said was it made him want to cry (in a good way). He is soooo prepared, like I've never met someone this prepared in my whole mission besides Brother Li back in Pingdong. He set a goal for 4 weeks from now, super fast but we'll see, and we are meeting with him again tonight. His superiors in the military gave him the name of M, he's the man.
Getting down to the last transfer is a really weird feeling. You start getting excited to go home, but also really sad that you have to leave a place that you’ve given your all to for whatever amount of time you were able to serve your mission for. I feel so much gratitude that I have been able to serve here. I know that every area, every companion, every investigator that I've met has been because God wants me to have these experiences. I know that he plays a part in each of our daily lives. I love him so much, and I'm grateful for the precious time that I have to be a missionary. One of my favorite quotes that has been sort of my mission motto is, "You've had eternity to prepare for your mission and you'll have eternity to reflect on it, but you only have 2 years to live it." I'm gonna make these last 6 weeks, and this 2 years, something that I will look back on with no regrets, but with happiness, laughs, smiles, and good memories. I'm grateful for my Savior, for all that he's done for me, and this chance that I have to give a tiny, little bit back for all that has been done for me.
Love you all so much! Have a great week :)
Another great week over here! Our investigators Brother Y and Sister L were baptized and confirmed this past weekend. They are both really great, and both have a pretty cool backstory. These two investigators especially strengthened my testimony that God is placing prepared people in our paths. We would not have run into either of these investigators if we had not planned by the spirit and had a lot of help from God. We met Sister L while visiting another investigator, and met Brother Y while meeting with Sister L in a Family Mart. He just came and sat down at the same table as us while we were waiting for Sister L and listened to the message, and then set up more times to meet with us. He went on to quit coffee and come to church every week for the 5 weeks leading up to his baptism, taking notes every time he came. Sister L progressed from saying that she couldn't leave Buddhism in our first meet with her to being willing to be baptized despite the criticism from her neighbors/family. They are both so awesome, and I'm grateful that God allowed us to run into them. In other good news, we have 3 people on date for the end of June/beginning of July and maybe a couple more that will go on date this week. Even though it's early in the process, we are excited for them. 2 out of our 3 new baptismal goals came to church and had a great experience, so that was awesome. One of our new investigators that will probably be going on date soon is Kevin Trout. He picked his last name cause he loves Mike Trout on the Angels, and he loves the Cavs haha. His English is really good. He gives us very detailed recaps of the playoffs, for example, after the Warriors and Rockets played game 5, he said, "yeah the Warriors choked again. Bad pass, terrible shot selection, and miscommunication. 98 to 94 the Rockets defeat the Warriors in game 5". Safe to say that I love Kevin haha.
Last Monday we went to the beach with a bunch of the other Elders and Sisters in Gaoxiong. We had fun playing volleyball and throwing a frisbee around. It was fun to chill with Elder Y, Elder C, Elder B, and Elder D again. We'll be playing basketball with them today, so I'll try to send you some highlights next week ;)
McDonald's has recently started selling these burgers that have different color buns. I felt like I was eating a pretty patty from Spongebob. It was pretty gross. I wouldn't recommend eating the pretty patties.
This week, I had my last interview with President Teh. He's a great man, and gave me some great advice as we sat down for the last time together. He doesn't leave til June 30th, so I'll probably see him at least 1 more time. I'm thankful for those that God calls to lead and guide us. I have learned so much from my leaders on my mission. I hope that we can all take time to thank our Bishop's, Stake Presidents, Primary Leaders, YM/YW Leaders, and all the other church leaders in our life for the selfless service they give. And for those that are feeling weighted down by the burden of leading and serving others, I share one of my favorite scriptures: "...when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."
Love you all so much!! Have a great week :)
I love Taiwan. This place is the best, and it's gonna be really hard to leave when it's time. These weeks are going by way too fast haha. Great news!! Our investigator Brother L was baptized this past week. It was a really good service, a ton of the YM and YW showed up to support him, his YM's leaders gave talks, and one of the YM in the ward who is also a recent convert got to baptize him, so it was just super special all around. That day was super crazy, we had the baptismal interview for our investigator Brother Y right before the service and the baptismal interview of Sister L right after! We were pretty stressed, but it all worked out, and they both enjoyed the service and passed their interviews. They will be getting baptized on Saturday, so pray that it all goes smoothly! :) We also saw a cool miracle that same day. While Sister L was having her interview, we met with a new investigator from last week named Brother C. He is super prepared, and set a bap goal for the 30th of June, so we'll see how that goes! We are trying to find more people to teach, and have been finding a lot of new investigators, but we are having a hard time getting them to stick.
This past week I got to go on exchanges with a Taiwanese Elder in our District named Elder X. It was a lot of fun, he is good friends with some of my old Taiwanese companions and friends, and we had a good time talking to everyone. We found a kid who came to English class that same night and became a new investigator, so that was a cool miracle.
Other than that, I'm having a hard time thinking of anything else to share haha. What I can share though is my testimony of the importance of daily scripture study and prayer. Today during personal study, I was reading in Jacob 5, the classic Allegory of the olive tree section. This section has never made a lot of sense to me and I haven't really gotten a lot out of it before, but for some reason, it just seemed to make sense to me today and things started to make sense that I've never been able to understand. I know that as we study and ponder about the scriptures each day, we will be able to feel the spirit more each day, and our minds will be opened up to things that we couldn't understand before, whether it be spiritual or school related or work related.
Love you all so much! Have a great week! :)
Happy Mother's Day everyone! Wow what a great week to be a missionary haha, skyping the family is always so good. This past week was another good one for us. Last Monday we got groceries at Costco and then headed to a really nice buffet. Those are always a good time.
Well, the good news is.... BROTHER L IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY! He passed his interview and we got everything figured out for the service, so it's gonna be super great. He's changed so much since we first met him. He already feels like a member and he fits in with the YM's quorum so well. It's gonna be great. We also have two other investigators that are looking good for baptism next week, so I'll keep you updated on that! One of them said he drank his last cup of coffee last Friday, so we are hoping he can stick to his word and keep the Word of Wisdom 😁 I'll attach a pic of him with the last cup, he was pretty happy about it haha
We had Zone Conference this past week which is always a good time. We talked more about planning (I swear that's been the topic for like half a year haha) as well as giving invitations in Lessons. It was a good conference. I always love being around President Teh. He's a great man, and I'm gonna miss him when he leaves.
We also had a chance to go on exchanges this past week with some elders in our zone. While on exchanges, we started contacting this lady at a light. There wasn't much time, so we just invited her to church and got her number really quick, and she ended up coming! We have an appointment on Tuesday, so that's cool.
Well, that's about it for this week! I know that this church is true and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I know the BoM is true and that anyone who reads it with a sincere desire to know if it's true will get the same answer. I love this gospel and I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary here. Love you all so much! Have a great week! 😁
哩賀！We had another good week down here, starting with a really fun Pday at Monkey Mountain. That is definitely one of my favorite Pdays here in Taiwan. We definitely had some interesting monkey interactions, and got to spend some time with some good friends so that was a good time. It was ridiculously hot that day (and has been ever since) but luckily at the top of the hike they have free water, so that was a life saver. Summer has definitely arrived, and we are sweating from the minute we walk out the door til the minute we get back inside haha it's great.
This week was a really busy one, and a lot of stuff happened haha. First off, a quick update on the investigators. Brother L, Brother Y, and Sister L are all looking pretty good to hit their baptismal goals on the 26th! They all came to church this week, and had great experiences. They are all so special, and I've really enjoyed working with all of them. We also had some great lessons with some new investigators this week, so we hope we can keep the area booming after we baptize, not just baptize and then restart. This is something that President Teh has been focusing on for a while so we are hoping that we can keep the mojo going. It's been a lot of fun serving here :)
This past week we headed up to Taizhong for MLC. Got to see Elder D and Elder H and some other homies for the last time before they go home. Kinda crazy. We also went on exchanges right after that meeting with the AP's. I got to go with Elder Z, who was getting trained while I was in Guiren. He's a homie and a great missionary, and we had a great time. We even got treated to some stinky tofu by a part member family that we visited. Still not my favorite food haha
This past Sunday, we had a special Asia Area Stake Conference broadcast put on by Elder Anderson, Elder Clayton, Bishop Waddell, and Sister Cordon. It was super good, they talked a lot about ministering and the importance of strengthening our own testimonies in order to help strengthen others' testimonies. We had our 3 investigators that are getting baptized this month there, and they all loved it. One of them said Elder Anderson's talk was the best talk he's ever heard in his life haha I was pretty impressed with that.
Well, that's about it for this week! Hope you all have a great week and have a good Mother's day. Super excited to skype with the family :) Love you all so much!
高雄 is the land of prepared people and fun Pdays. Today we are going to hike Monkey Mountain, which I last did about a year ago, so that should be really fun. I'll see Elder Y, Elder C, Elder D, and some other homies from the other zone, so it should be a really fun time. But yeah, God is just pouring miracles on us right now. I'm trying my best to stay humble, ‘cause I don't want this to end haha.
This past week, we met with most of our investigators, which was really great for Elder H ‘cause he got to know everyone really quickly, and all our investigators love him already. We are having a good time. He played Rugby in high school and is going to BYU after, so it's always fun to people with comps that are going to the same school as I am. Our investigator Brother L is doing so great. He moved his baptismal goal up to May 26th, and might even move it another week up. He is basically already a part of the young men's quorum, and everyone has been great at welcoming him. Another investigator, Brother Y, came to church for the second week in a row and was taking notes the whole time! How awesome is that?! He has such a great desire to learn. We were teaching him a lesson this week on the WoW, and he started laughing when we brought it up ‘cause he drinks coffee every day. I was worried when he started laughing, but then he said, "ok, it's time for me to quit coffee." He has such great faith it's amazing! His goal is for the 2nd of June, but we might push it up if he's ready. He is moving back to China at some point, so we would love to get him baptized before that happens. He's a great man. Other than that, our other investigators are all doing so great! We have 5 people on baptismal date right now, and hoping to get a couple more on date this week. Things are going really well right now, can't complain. The only hard thing is getting our investigators to come to church, so we'll keep thinking of how to do that. If you've got any advice, hit me up :)
This week we had a chance to go on exchanges with the Elders in Xiaogang. I got to go with Elder R, and it was a really fun exchange. Elder R has great faith and brings a great energy to missionary work. Xiaogang hasn't baptized since my good friend Elder B was there last year, and Elder R is the perfect missionary to fix that, so it's great to be able to serve around people like that. Another cool thing that happened this week was Elder Y texted me this week saying they had just called a LA in their area that had moved into our area but would be willing to meet with missionaries. We set her up for Sunday night, and had planned to invite her to invite a friend to meet with us next time, but when we showed up she introduced us to her roommate! It was super awesome, we had a nice lesson and set them both up for next Sunday. Miracles, thanks Elder Y 😘
This week we also had the opportunity of holding a ward activity. The idea was to create an activity where members could invite their friends and everyone could have a good time. We decided to make candy castles with the kids, and it was a good time. We were expecting 10 or 15 people, but there was well over 30 people there and it was a great success. We had a few investigators and non-members there, so it was a huge success. Plus, I love chillin’ with the kids here, they are all so cute and funny haha It's great to actually be at a point with Chinese where I can understand them and talk to them 😂
Lastly, I wanted to share something cool that Elder F helped me learn. A lot of missionaries that serve here talk about how different church is here than in America. Well, Elder F taught me to take notes in every sacrament meeting. I've been doing it for the past couple weeks, and I've been shocked by how much more meaningful the talks have become to me. I feel like it’s my chance to receive revelation from others every week. For example, a man in our ward talking about forgiving others and getting along with others said, "making things convenient for others is making things convenient for yourself." What a great thing to remember! I invite all of you to start talking notes during sacrament meeting. President Nelson has emphasized how important it is to receive revelation, and I think this is a great opportunity.
Well, I love you all so much! Hope you have a great week! :)
Well, another transfer day has come and unfortunately, Elder F and I won't be able to go two transfers together. It's a bummer, but gotta do what the Lord wants us to do. My new companion is Elder H, he's a really young missionary and from what I've heard, he's got a great fire to do the work, so it should be a good time 👍
This past week we had tons going on. First off, last Pday we finally got to play basketball. I got to play with guys like Elder C, Elder B, Elder D, and a bunch of other people. It was a good time.
Our investigators are doing well. We have a Brother L that is progressing really well right now. He's 16 and comes from a rough background, but the ward has really welcomed him into the fold and he's started reading the scriptures and stuff, so that's really exciting. Our investigator Sister C is having a hard time accepting that the Word of Wisdom is a commandment from God, so please keep her in your prayers! We have a new investigator from this week named Brother Y. He was a soldier and used to be a really rough man, but has recently been softened due to the passing of his wife. When talking about his wife, he said she was the most perfect woman in the world which was really cute. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and how he can be with her again, and he really liked that.
This week we had two different exchanges, one with the Cuihua Elders and another with the Lingya Elders. For the first exchange, I went with an Elder who just got on island. His Chinese is already great (he visa waited with a Chinese companion) and he has lots of good ideas for the work. It was fun to serve with him. My next exchange was with an Elder named Elder G. He's from the same place Elder A is and knew him before the mission, so that's cool. We had a lot of fun together.
Finally, this past Saturday we had the chance to try the group contacting activity that we've been preparing for for a while. We made this poster that says "I want..." and then had a bunch of choices underneath like "good test scores" "happiness" etc. It was super fun to be a a part of. We had a bunch of members show up, and they were getting so excited to share the gospel with people. The kids were the real MVP's though, they were running around to everyone asking them to come play our game and handing out cards with scriptures on them. Seeing a bunch of elementary school kids having such a good time sharing the gospel was really cool.
Well, that's pretty much it for this week. Lots of good stuff happening in this area! Transfers are always kinda sad, but it's good to know that God is looking out for us and knows what we need. I know that this work that we are doing is God's work. I feel it a privilege to be able to serve here in Taiwan, and am so grateful for all the experiences that have changed my life and helped me become a better man. Getting down to the last two transfers is a really weird feeling, but I feel like I have never been more motivated to work hard and find people to teach. Thanks for all the support so far, it really means a lot to me, and I can feel the prayers coming my way. Hope you all have a great week!! 😁
First off, congrats to my stud of a brother Nate for getting his mission call to Cali, Colombia. You are gonna love your mission so much dude!! Love you so much and know that you have lots of good to do there :) This past week felt really long for some reason, but it was super good. The only complaint I have is I'm really tired. I don't really remember what it's like to feel rested lol. But hey, God must be providing the energy for me or something cause I'm still movin. This past week we headed up to Taizhong on Tuesday for MLC. MLC is always a good time. I have a lot of good friends and former companions at MLC right now, so it's always nice to catch up with them. President Teh always seems to know what the mission needs, and it's fun to be able to counsel with him and talk about how we can implement it.
I'll give you some quick updates on the investigators real quick. We have been blessed to see a lot of success recently, and currently have 4 investigators that have baptismal dates in May. We are hoping that they can all make it, and also hoping to put some more people on date for May or June this next week. Elder F and I have really been focusing on having a vision for investigators and believing that they can do what we hope they can do, and it's produced a lot of cool miracles. Speaking of miracles, we set up to visit a member at his house one afternoon, but he wasn't there and wasn't answering his phone, so we knocked on all the apartments in his complex. No one answered, but as we were walking down the stairs a man was walking up and for some reason I just knew he was related to our guy. So we started talking to him, he invited us up, and we met with the member's brother and sister right then and there! They agreed to meet again, so that was a cool miracle from trying to help the ward out. We hope we can continue to strengthen the member and his brother and sister.
We also had the chance to eat with S, my investigator from Pingdong that got baptized after I left. It was great to catch up with her and see how happy she was after joining the church. She said that the thing that interested her most about the church was a chance to have a clean start, and she was grateful for that gift. I am thankful that Elder Y and I were blessed to come across her back in October. Also, in other good news, my investigator M from my last area is getting baptized in a couple weeks! She sent me a really nice message today, it was really awesome to feel the love that she has developed for the gospel. Since I left Pingdong, I have missed the baptisms of quite a few of my investigators. At first, it really bothered me, but now I think it's all just part of God's plan. They need the other missionaries that taught them as well, and I just feel blessed to play a part in these people's conversion.
Well, that's all I can remember right now. Hope you all have a great week, and remember to seek out that personal revelation that President Nelson promised can be ours! :)
Matthew is currently serving a 2-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This Blog is for family and friends interested in following his adventures for the next 24 months.