elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Wow so the MTC went from one of my least favorite/hardest things I've ever had to endure the first weekend to a place that I love. The days are starting to fly by and it's kind of hard to imagine that I've been here for 2 weeks already. I wake up and before I know it I'm back in bed. It's crazy.
Day 8 (wednesday): This was our P-Day last week. P-Day is really cool because we can wake up and go straight to the temple and do a session, which is always a great way to start off a day. Plus the cafeteria food at the temple is AMAZING. Or maybe we just think that ‘cause we haven't had amazing food in a while haha. Anyways after the temple we can exercise for an hour, and then we have until about 4:45 to eat lunch, do laundry, email, and do whatever else we need to do. We always look forward to P-Days and Wednesday is actually a really nice day to have it because it splits up the week nicely. Then we eat dinner and have class from 6-9 so it's a really easy day.
Day 9-11 (thursday - saturday): All these days are pretty much the same. We have class study with a teacher which is entirely in Chinese, PCL (Personal, Companion, Language) Study, and a couple breaks here and there. We teach an "investigator" every other day which is really good practice but can be extremely hard. To communicate the gospel in Chinese definitely frustrates me because I always know what I want to say but I'm always missing a couple words to complete the sentence. Even though it’s tough, it is really cool to be able to put together a full sentence in Mandarin and see the "investigator" know what you are saying and feel the spirit. We have definitely gotten good use out of the nerf basketball hoop you sent. It's hanging in our classroom and we play horse when we get tired of trying to learn Chinese haha. My zone is so awesome. Everyone gets along and there are so many funny personalities.
Day 12: Sunday's are always one of my favorite days. The theme of the day was faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, which was amazing. I got to connect part of the lesson to Steph Curry and everyone started laughing hahah. It was the best. The lessons are really spiritual and I got to bear my testimony on Christ's atonement with the help of a talk that my Mom sent me called, "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox which I suggest you all read because it's great. Sacrament is always good and it's nice to hear the prayers in Chinese. Sunday night devotional was awesome because we got to sing with the Nashville Tribute Band. The music was all spiritual and uplifting but like country rock at the same time so it was really cool haha. Everyone in the room started tearing up when they sang "The hardest thing I've ever loved to do" so mom don"t listen to that haha. After that we got to watch a talk by Elder Holland that was really good. I love when he said "My mission means everything to me". It was a really big testimony builder for me to know that even in his older age, he still treasures the memories of his mission and the work he was able to do.
Day 13-14 (monday, tuesday): More of the same. We just have a lot of fun learning to try to be good missionaries and speak Chinese. We laugh way more than we should haha. We told our teacher we "love you as a friend" and wrote Chinese sentences about how distracting Elder C is. Tuesday night devotional was given by Brother Condie, an Emeritus Seventy. It was really good and it was on using our testimony and promised blessings to convert people to the gospel of Christ. He said, "Your testimony is your most powerful tool." and "The Spirit cannot be restrained when pure testimony of Christ is borne." I love those two quotes and they are definitely true.
Well there's my week. I love this gospel and I've loved this week at the MTC. The friendships that I've developed, all the inside jokes and testimonies shared, are really helping so much. I know that through inspiration from God I was put in this district, zone, and mission. I have such a strong testimony of this gospel. I feel myself growing every day. Sometime it's hard to get along with everyone or it's hard to stay focused. Teaching in Chinese gets frustrating. Trying to learn Chinese gets frustrating. It's just such a hard thing, but so great at the same time. It's humbling, fulfilling, rewarding, and so worth it. I know this is where I am supposed to be. I know that the Taiwan mission is where the Lord needs me. I had always wanted to go to South America and even leading up to my mission I was kinda bummed out, but now I am more stoked than anything to get to work. I miss home and other worldly things, but at the same time I just kinda put that aside and focus on the mission. It's so great to lose yourself in the work, and I definitely have been doing that. A scripture I have really loved this past week is 2 Nephi 2:6-8. It's a missionary scripture about Christ's Grace and the mission purpose. I know it is 100 percent true and I love every second that I get to spend serving the Lord.
Wo zhidao tougou Jidu de shuzui, women keyi dedao kuanshu he biancheng genghao de ren. Wo ai Yesu Jidu de Fuyin. Wo ai wode Jiating. Wo shi wei chuanjiao jihui ganxie. Feng Yesu Jidu de ming, Amen.
Talk to you all next week! Love and miss everyone and hope all is well
One thing I forgot: Our tradition on Friday's is called Murph day. Murph is a crossfit exercise where you run a mile, do 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, and 300 squats and then run another mile. Our goal is to do the whole thing by week 8 or 9. We did 1/3 of everything this week to warm up, and we will increase each week. It's really fun to push yourself and see that you can do way more than you thought you could. Can't wait for Murph day!
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.