elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week was one of the funnest weeks of my entire mission. Elder A is great; we get along super well and we also work super hard. We've seen a lot of miracles this week, and we can't wait to continue working and helping people understand the importance of this gospel.
One of the significant things that happened this week is we got our investigator X DX a new baptismal goal! He still needs some work, but he is coming along really well, and I can feel the Holy Ghost working when we meet with him. B is also coming along really well, and brought a different friend to church with him. He is great, and is great at inviting his friends to come learn too. B seems really into the messages that we share with him, and he takes notes on what he reads from the Book of Mormon, so that is super amazing. He's gonna be a super great member when he gets baptized, cause he loves sharing the gospel with his friends and inviting them to come listen.
This week we had lots of members want to feed us because it's Chinese New Year. The food is usually super good, but sometimes it's just way too Taiwanese and tastes super weird haha. The members are all super great. We are going to play basketball today with some members and investigators, so that should be really fun.
This week we had Zone Conference, and I got to see lots of the old homies. Zone Conference was really good, and there were some huge changes made. Now, we have a lot more agency in choosing when we do things, which helps us adapt to cultural circumstances and helps us use our time more wisely. I think it is a super great change, plus we now get 2 1/2 extra hours on Pday so who doesn't like that hehe.
The miracle for this week is 朱小姐 (Ms Z). We were calling dead stack, which is numbers found by past missionaries that never set up, and she answered and was totally down to meet. She brought her boyfriend, and we taught them a very simple message about prayer and God. She loved it, and they set up again for next week. The Lord is always working to help us, and I think the fact that we were able to get a couple new investigators out of it was a super miracle.
I love you all so much. I love my mission, and I love serving the Lord. God is good, the gospel is good, and there is no place I'd rather be.
Well, as you can tell by the title of this email, things are changing a little bit haha. Elder J is off to Nantou, and I'm staying here in Houfeng. My new companion is Elder A, he's super dope. He used to live in West Kaysville but moved to Springville for High School. He's been on the mission a long time, so I can definitely learn a lot from him. He loves sports, so I'm super stoked about that. We are gonna dunk thousands up here in Houfeng. Elder H is staying up here too, so I'm super stoked about that.
This week, we didn't have a ton of success and only found 1 new investigator, but he is super cool. His name is Frank, and he works as a chef. We were walking into a HiLife (off brand 7/11) and he was walking out, and we were just like "hey do you have a second? We wanna share a message about Jesus Christ." He said no, but tomorrow he had a 10 minute break we could share with him. We met with him, shared about God, Jesus Christ, and Prayer, and he loved it. We met with him again the next day and almost finished the 1st lesson. He said he could meet with us for like 10 minutes every time he worked, so we are meeting with him again this week to keep discussing with him. He's super awesome, and super willing to learn.
Last P-day, I got to jam out with Elder D for a little bit. He's super good at the piano, and we made a song so that was super cool. I'd consider it my first composition on the guitar haha. I'll be playin’ on radios everywhere soon. We also made tacos, cause Elder D's mom sent him taco shells and taco seasoning. They were super basic, but they tasted so good haha. We also went to Mr. Steak again this week, so a good American food week. Some members bought us Pizza hut on Saturday for lunch, and then that night we got taken out to this super Taiwanese restaurant. I didn't love it, but it was super fun haha.
I can't really think of anything else that happened last week, sorry this is super boring haha. To end this letter, I just want to bear my testimony of the way that God can go about shaping us. I’ve had some challenges as a missionary I didn't really handle them very well at first, but looking back on it, I can really see how God was shaping me into the person he wants me to become. I've grown more patient, more loving, more charitable, more humble (still working on that one), and more accepting. I look back on how I used to be, and I can't believe how big of a brat I was haha. I know I've still got a long ways to go, but I also know that God knows I'm not perfect, and that's why he gave us his son Jesus Christ, to provide an Atonement and an abundance of Grace. I am so grateful for Him, and the fact that I can change and be better. I am so thankful for my mission, and the man (yes, even though I still look like I'm 15 and can't grow a beard, I'm 19 so I'm a man) it is shaping me into. I love this gospel so much, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else right now. I love and miss you all so much. Keep reading, keep praying, keep doing the little things, cause this is what's gonna matter in the end. Have a good week!
Hellooo hope everyone is doing well!! This week was a really fast week for some reason. I'm not really sure why cause it was mostly just contacting for us, but it was a good week and there was still some cool stuff that happened.
So on Saturday, Elder D and Elder H's investigator 陳姐妹 (Sister Chen) was baptized!! She is gonna be a great member, and her testimony after she got baptized was amazing. It was super cool that we were able to find her on the street and help her towards baptism. Not many people that are found through our own efforts get baptized, it usually comes from referrals or random stuff, so this was really cool. She has a really great group of young adults in the other ward to support her, so I have no doubt that she will be great.
Something happened on Thursday that made my mind explode and also made me super grateful for the Lord leading people into our path. We were contacting the major road in our area by the mall. We were stopped at a stoplight, and we looked over and just said hello to this lady. There was only like 5 seconds left on the light, so we just said, "can you pull over for a sec?" She said sure, and we were both kinda shocked but stoked. She started talking with us, and it turns our she took the lessons 10 years ago and was going to get baptized, but then a member told her she couldn't listen to rap music if she joined the church. I was like what the heck?? I told her that I listened to rap music, and that the most important thing is asking God for guidance and following according to His promptings. She was like, "Oh, that's great!" We set up with her for this week, and I'm super hopeful about her getting baptized! Crazy cool miracle that we were able to come across her.
This week we were teaching our investigator Ben. He brought his friend San Zhe to the lesson, so he's already giving us referrals and he's not even baptized, so that's how cool Ben is. We were teaching them the Plan of Salvation, and they both seemed super into it. We had the prompting to extend baptismal goals to both of them, even though Ben's friend San Zhe had not heard that much about our church. They both accepted!! It was a super cool spiritual experience, and we are excited to keep working with them to help them hit their goals. The hardest thing here in Taiwan is getting people to keep commitments, so right now we are trying to make sure they are reading and praying, and we are trying to get them to free up time on Sunday to come to church.
Well that's pretty much all I can think of this week. The mission is super great because you learn new things every day, even when it feels like you are just doing the same thing over and over. This week, I reviewed Elder Renlund's talk from last conference on Repentance. I truly felt the Spirit as he testified of the cleansing power of Repentance, and how it truly is a happy process. I really want to commit to repenting every day, even if it's just for little things, cause I know that through Jesus Christ we are able to repent, and I don't want to waste this precious gift. I love you all, stay steezy and shred the gnar for me ;)
As you can tell from the title of this email, I am a little tired of waking up at 6:30 every day. See what I did there? Clever huh. Anyways, this week, we actually started getting up at 6 every morning to go play basketball. I have purple under my eyes every night cause I'm so tired, but it's been super fun for me to get back out playing basketball every day. We play with members and the other Elders, so it's a good time. Everyone always asks me if I am playing basketball for a College team, and it's always disappointing to tell them I'm actually not that good lol. But hey, can't complain cause I love playing again.
This week was a little slow in terms of the work. We found 3 new investigators, but 2 of them don't live in our area, so we gotta get them transferred over. No worries though! One of our new investigators is a high school kid named Ben. He is super dope. He plays on a competitive volleyball team, and seems super prepared. We taught him how to pray last week, and when we met with him on Saturday, he said he had been praying every day. We taught him about the Atonement, and he said he loves it ‘cause he feels like through the Atonement, we won't be as disappointed when bad things happen. Pretty powerful insight from someone that just barely heard about the principle. Then, at the end of the lesson, we were reviewing prayer and his friend showed up. His friend was like what's goin’ on? And then Ben was like "We are praying! This is how we pray, it's super simple!" and then just taught his friend how to pray right there. It was so awesome. Super cool experience showing how the Lord is working in his life. Ben is super cool, he was gonna ask his parents if he could be baptized this week, but we told him we had to teach him the rest of the lessons first haha.
Last Pday we went bowling which was super fun. I got like 111 so that's pretty sucky but hey, it was still super fun. We went with our members cause they all had school off, so it was fun to spend some time with them. There is a member named Albert that loves basketball, but he has one problem: He thinks Kyrie is better than Steph. I'm workin’ on fixin’ that right now, don't worry.
Last week we went to our secondary area like an hour away to teach an RC lesson at her bread shop. While we were there, this cute little old Ama (grandma) walked in and started talking to us. She thought we were coming to marry our RC which was super awkward haha and she told my companion that his Taiwanese was better than our RC's daughters lol. She bought us bread and milk, and it was super funny.
I finished Our Search for Happiness by Elder Ballard, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone, missionary or not. It is great at simply explaining basic truths of our gospel, and Elder Ballard throws in some great personal experiences. Definitely one that you wanna read if you get some time.
Well, that's about it for this week. We have really been working hard these past couple weeks to find new investigators and bring people to Christ. Even though we haven't found the success we always wanted, I have really felt the Savior's guiding hand in my life. He really is there watching over us, and if you rely on Him, he will guide you in where to go, what to say, and what to teach. He is our Savior, I know that with every ounce of me. If you are struggling, turn to Him, because he knows you better than you know yourself. I love my Savior, and I know I couldn't be here without him. I love you all, have a great week!!
This week went by super super fast for some reason, which is funny cause I feel like nothing super memorable happened. But yeah, the mission is definitely more and more enjoyable as I start to understand more and more Chinese. Funny how once you kinda know what's going on, things get better. Who knew? lol.
Last P-day we got to play soccer :) It was my first time playing soccer in months, and I was so happy just to get to touch a soccer ball again. We had a fun time with that and ultimate frisbee, and then ate these really Taiwanese noodles and went back to work. We've also started playing more basketball now that my wrist is better. The people here love playing basketball with me cause I'm like a foot taller than all of them haha. Oh yeah, I'm out of the cast and brace, so I had a super fast recovery. I'm certain that was God looking out for me, and it's definitely a little miracle that I'm really thankful for.
This week we had interviews with President Teh. We have interviews every transfer now, and I look forward to them every time. President always has the best advice on how we can better meet the needs of our investigators, as well as I feel he genuinely cares about me and my situation. He is the best, and I'm very thankful for everything he does for this mission. Being a Mission President can't be easy, but I know he's called of God, and he is really doing great things for this Mission.
Not gonna lie, the highlight of my week was something really stupid hahah but it meant a lot to me. We were trying to figure out where to eat, and I wanted to eat McDonald's and Elder J wanted to eat at BaFang. I was like, sure let's go eat at BaFang, and when we got there, the GS Warriors game was on the TV :) Seeing KD and Steph on the same team made me a little misty eyed lol. Best part of the week.
New Year's in Taiwan is pretty ok. There were lots of fireworks, so that was super fun. We went to a BBQ with one of our investigators and some other random people. They asked a lot about our church, so that was pretty cool.
Sorry this email is so boring. The thing I really noticed this week was nothing is through our own efforts. As soon as we stop relying on the Lord and thinking we are good enough and we know better than he does, the success stops. This week, we really tried to refocus on the Lord. We made good, prayerful plans every night, and we went out and were prayerful about our contacting. We only got 2 new investigators this week, but we got more numbers this week than we've ever got, and we have a lot of lessons scheduled for next week. I'm really grateful for the little bit of success we were able to see this week. It really meant a lot to me, and I can't wait to get back to work this week!
I love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
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.