elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Well, you guessed it, this week was transfers and there will be some changes. Elder Y will be stepping down from Zone Leader after serving for 5 transfers and will be headed down to Tainan, the promised land haha. I'll miss Elder Y a ton, we had lots of fun playing basketball and talking about all sorts of random stuff. Even though we didn't see the success we were hoping for this transfer, looking back on it, I'd still say it was a definite success. My new companion will be Elder C. He is from Hawaii and came on island at the same time as me. It will be his first transfer as a zone leader, so I'll have to try to help him understand what we have to do. Pray for me that everything will go smoothly please haha. Another little bit of exciting news is Elder Y, my trainee, is moving into our zone, and I'll get to go on exchanges with him this transfer.
This past week was also pretty rough in terms of finding investigators. I have no idea what it is, but we just can't seem to find anyone. This week, we decided we needed to switch things up, and put a much bigger emphasis on visiting less active members and trying to reestablish a relationship with them. We were able to find 3 less active members that are now our "less active investigators" meaning we will help them build back their faith and hopefully get them back to church. It was a good time, and we felt really good about what we were doing. Unfortunately, none of them came to church this week, but there's always next week!
Last Pday we went to Sun Moon Lake, which was one of the coolest places I've been on my mission. The drive up there was super pretty, and it was awesome to be up in the mountains breathing fresher air than we normally do haha. It was really pretty, hopefully the pics will help you get a little taste of what it was like!
This week I read a really good talk by Elder Rasband from last conference about the Divine design of our lives and how God's hand is in everything. Every time one of my companions leaves and a new one comes, it's always hard to say goodbye, but one of the biggest testimony builders on my mission has been that God has always looked after me and helped me through my companions and wards. I know this is His work and He won't leave me hanging.
Hope you all have a great week! Love you!
Last week we had the opportunity to return to the famous Taiping Bat Caves, the place we went on my first P-day in Taiwan. It was really fun to bike back up there and re-experience something that seems so long ago in some ways but also so recent. We had a fun time mucking our way through some bat poop, and then found this pretty cool river/waterfall area. It was super pretty that day, and the pollution wasn't too bad so we got really lucky.
This week was another rough week for me haha. It's been really hard to find people here, and this marks the third week in a row with no new investigators. It's all good though, we've found a bunch of people for other areas. It seems like everyone we talk to doesn't live in our area, but it's all good. I'm sure it's God trying to teach me something, so I'll do my best to figure out what it is. In terms of some good news, our investigator C is slowly taking steps to overcome his problem with the Word of Wisdom. We are worried that he won't have enough faith in himself or the Atonement to overcome it, so please keep him in your prayers. Also, our ward is really starting to improve. The quality of sacrament meeting is going up, and our members are really willing to help us in our efforts to visit LA's and such. We are working on trying to improve the home teaching in this ward, cause in Taiwan home teaching is not done very often, so hopefully we can help out with that.
In other news, We went on exchanges with Taiping this week. I went with Elder M, who is a newer missionary. He has a lot of fire and some really great ideas, and he's a great missionary. I think he's gonna contribute a lot to this mission, so I'm excited for him.
My back is doing a lot better, basketball in the mornings is still really fun, and everything else is ok so I'm doing alright haha. I know that even though a mission is hard sometimes, it's still the best thing ever and there is nothing that I'd rather be doing. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, and is willing to help anyone who will come unto Him. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and our personal guide to help us get through the traps and temptations of the adversary. I'm so grateful for this gospel and the growth that it's helped me to make. Hope you all have a great week this next week!
This week went by pretty fast. I'll get the bad news out of the way first: last week I hurt my back, so I can't play basketball for a little bit which sucks. Also, we now only have 1 investigator as finding has been tough lately and when we do find someone, they don't live in our area haha. There's my little bit of complaining for the week, sorry about that, on to better stuff.
This week we had Zone Conference, which is always a good way to get motivated and feel the spirit. I had to conduct, which was pretty fun. We talked a lot about how we can connect all aspects of the work, rather than viewing finding, working with members, and service as separate things done at separate times. We also had to give an hour long training, which actually ended up going pretty well. We prepared way too much stuff, but it was still good haha.
This week, we had exchanges with the Wufeng Elders, and I got to go with Elder E. I felt weird leading the exchange cause he's older than me on the mission, but it went pretty well. We visited a member and ate dinner with him, had our ward correlation meeting, did some knocking, and had a skype follow up with an investigator, so it was a pretty fun exchange.
Our investigator C is doing pretty well. He has a great desire to change his life, and right now we are trying to help him understand the power of faith and repentance. Speaking of repentance, I read a really good talk about repentance while reviewing the talks from last conference. It's called, "Repentance is Always Positive," by Stephen W. Owen. I love how he talks about the effect of repentance always being good, no matter how hard or long or difficult the process may be. The part about the mission president talking to the missionary about the importance of daily reading and praying. It helped me realize that while it's great to be doing these things on a mission, it's equally important to keep doing it when I get home.
Well, that's pretty much it for this week! Hope you all have a great week!! :)
Well, the first week of 2018 is in the books, and it was a pretty good one! It's been really fun being a Zone Leader and having the chance to try to help out the other missionaries in our zone. I've really enjoyed the extra opportunities that we have to serve and help others, it's definitely helped me to feel closer to Christ recently. This week, we went on exchanges with the Dali Elders, and I got to go with Elder S. He's from Taiwan and just barely starting his mission, so it was fun to go with him and help him learn more about how to do missionary work.
Another thing that's cool about being a Zone Leader is we get to attend the Stake council meeting. It's held once a month with the members of the stake presidency and stake quorum presidencies present. It was really awesome to go to that meeting and see how much the stake wants to implement some ideas to improve missionary work. My whole mission I've gone to meetings where it seems like the missionaries are just talking and people aren't really grasping the vision, so it was really awesome to be a part of this meeting and see that the church in Taiwan is in good hands.
This week, we saw a lot of progress out of C and Brother L. C has started learning about the commandments and has been really willing to keep them. He's been reading and praying a lot and he's really looking good for his goal on 1/27. The ward did a great job of trying to get to know him on Sunday which was great. Brother L has transformed from someone coming to church cause his girlfriend invited him to someone who really wants to learn about Christ. This week we found out he lives in a neighboring ward, so we had a nice pass off lesson with them and he's lookin good to continue to progress over there. We are kinda lacking on investigators right now, but we really love the ones we have and do everything we can to help them. Having smartphones has been really nice for that. We text C every night, meet with him face to face at least once a week, and skype him once or twice throughout the week to follow up/read with him. We also have members supporting him and it's been going really smoothly.
Lately, we've been trying to implement a lot of smarter finding techniques. Rather than just contacting in the streets with no purpose, we have been contacting to members houses and visiting them/dropping off little gifts. It's really helped us get to know the ward better and build better relationships with them. We've also seen cool miracles by just talking to everyone on the way. When I first moved here, I thought the ward was a little weak, but as we've started meeting people, we've realized there are actually a lot of strong members here. It's been really cool to see.
Lastly, I wanna finish up by sharing a video that I really loved watching this week. It's on lds.org and it's called "Think to Thank". I'll post the URL below. I really love the message it conveys. We never really know how much of an influence we can have on other people by expressing gratitude for them, and we also never know when it's gonna be too late. This video really helped me realize the importance of expressing love and appreciation for those around us. I also read a great talk called "The Divine Gift of Gratitude," by President Thomas S. Monson, who I will miss dearly. He has some really good quotes about gratitude. He says, "Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." He then goes on to say, "My brothers and sisters, to express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." I'm grateful for the prophets words, and for a gospel that teaches us to be grateful in all things. This week, the hymn, "We thank thee O God for a Prophet," continues to play in my head. What a blessing it is to have living prophets on the earth today.
Hope you all have a great week! Rollll Tideeee :)
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.