elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week was a really good week. So as you can tell from the title of my email, I moved out of 豐原 and the 后豐 ward and I'm headed to 員林. Yuanlin sounds super dope, everyone always raves about how great the ward is and how fun the area is. My new companion is Elder P, who was up in fengyuan with me during my first transfer there. He's dope, so that will be fun. It was super hard to leave Elder A. He's a straight homie, and I'm definitely gonna miss him a lot.
Last week, Ben got baptized!! He was so excited for his baptism, and the ward was super great and supportive and welcoming. I got the opportunity to baptize him, and it was amazing. The water was freezing cause we forgot to turn the water heater on lol but it was still so awesome. He is gonna be such an awesome member. He brings his friends to church every week. This week the ward asks him why he never brings girls, so maybe he'll start doing that lol.
Last Sunday in church, we were sitting in gospel principles discussing the creation and the role of Jesus Christ. The topic shifted to Adam and Eve, and our Bishop who is super funny said, "I bet Adam was, like, Jesus's number one homie and that's why he was the first." I can't really decide if that is against doctrine to say, but I thought it was really funny.
Sorry this email is super super short and boring haha. Finding out that I had to leave my area was super sad, especially since Elder A and I have only been together for 5 weeks. The past few days have consisted of lots of picture taking, basketball playing (only during exercise time of course) and contacting. It was tough to know that I was leaving, but I feel super blessed to have an area and a companion that make leaving suck. It's crazy how this mission can bring you super close to people and places in such a short time. I'm very grateful for the friends I've made. I believe part of the reason I needed to come here was to meet the people I've met so far. There are so many blessings from missionary work, and I'm recognizing them more and more each day.
One of my favorite talks I've read/listened to on my mission is called, "Missionary Work and The Atonement" by Elder Holland. It talks a lot about Jesus Christ and his connection with our Missionary work. I love listening to Elder Holland give this talk, because when he speaks, it always goes straight into my soul. One thing that has given me a lot of strength lately is the line that says something like, "Whenever missionaries get spit on, rejected, mocked, shamed, etc, they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the greatest person that ever lived." I also love how he talks about missionaries asking questions like why can't this be easier? Why am I not having success? He says, "When your missionaries ask these questions, remember that someone a lot greater, a lot better, asked the same question a long time ago." I am so grateful for the Savior. I know that his sacrifice is what allows us to have everything we have in this gospel. I love the fact that I can go out and share that with everyone. It's the drive that keeps me moving when I'm down. It's why I can keep going. I love this gospel with all my heart, and I'm so grateful that I can be a missionary for my Savior.
Love you all so much!! Have a good week!!
This week was a really good one. We worked really hard and we could really feel the Spirit working through us as we taught and shared the message of this gospel. Finding new investigators is still really tough, but we are working hard and trying to keep the faith up. We are doing our best to share with everyone. Talking to the girls sucks cause all they do is giggle, but hey, we'll do our best to find those prepared people.
This week we found a super dope new investigator, and he came through English class, so that was a cool miracle. His name is Derek. He's 25, and he loves basketball. He is super cool, his English is pretty good, and he seems to have genuine interest which is awesome. He accepted the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and he came to a ward activity, so that was super cool. We are meeting with him again on Wednesday! Also, at our English class, this guy named Johnny gave us all a present that had Nike socks and a nice pen, so that was super dope. What a guy.
Speaking of the ward activity, we had a mini ward activity on Saturday. We showed a Mormon Message, discussed it, played a game, and ate snacks. Only 5 members came, but Derek and some other potentials came, so that was fun to spend some time with them. The sisters brought a bunch of crazy people.
Our investigator Ben is such a stud. He passed his baptismal interview, and came to church again on Sunday. The ward was so awesome to him. They really did a great job at making him feel welcomed and loved, which is an especially big deal because there is literally no young men's quorum, so they are gonna have to start one when he gets baptized. This ward is great though, so there will be no problem with that. We've loved having the opportunity to work with Ben, and watching him grow has been amazing. His friend set up with us for this week, so that was awesome too!
This last Thursday, (gao dixiong) 高弟兄's daughter was able to get baptized. The primary here is huge, so there was like 25 crazy kids that would not stop making noise. Nonetheless, it was a special moment for that family. Ben came and brought a different friend, so they got to see what baptism was like. That's always great to give an investigator a chance to see what it's like so they aren't afraid.
Overall a super solid week. This week I did a lot of pondering about the Book of Mormon; specifically about how it witnesses that Jesus is the Christ. I also have been reading a lot about Alma and Amulek as well as Ammon. They are truly amazing witnesses of Christ, and if I could be even 1/100 of the missionary they were, I'd be satisfied. They truly taught with the power of God, and it's amazing to read about.
I love you all so much!! Have a good week :)
This week was a really good week. I feel like not a ton happened, but we worked really hard and had a good time. We could really feel the spirit with us while we were contacting, so that was really satisfying. We also had a lot of funny things happen so that was cool.
First off, we were teaching English class and trying to plan the spiritual share. Usually we show a Mormon Message and talk about it with the class, and we were scrolling through looking for a good video and came across the Tyler Haws video. We started thinking a little, and then we decided we were gonna convert our whole English class to BYU fans. So as part of the class, we taught them to say "Let's go Cougars" hahaha I got a nice video of them all chanting so that was super funny. Always reppin’ out here in Taiwan. Speaking of BYU, I got a dope Chinese Jimmer jersey cause he's playin’ over in China. It has his name in characters so that's pretty dope.
Last P-day we went and played basketball with some other Elders. I got to see Elder B, and the Kaysville crew was able to take a nice picture after some good ball. The 豐原 District continues to beat everyone we play, including the other missionaries at the court. Catch us all as BYU walk-ons in a couple years lol.
This week was freezing cold. It felt like it was like 20 degrees outside, and of course I just barely shrunk all my sweaters. Lucky I had one more, so I've been wearing that all week haha. Because it's been super cold, it's been hard to get people to talk to us, but we've been really faithful and working hard, and we've seen some cool miracles. We try to talk to every person like they have the potential to be baptized. I've noticed that it has really helped me to love people more when I imagine them as church members while we talk to them. It's been a really cool spiritual experience.
Ben is doing really well. We ran through a baptismal interview with him, and he is looking really well. He will have the real one this week, and we are pretty hopeful that he will reach his 2/25 goal. He came to church this week, and the ward was awesome at talking to him and making him feel comfortable. He brought another friend with him, so that was really awesome. Our whole Gospel Principles class was in Taiwanese, so we just sat there and zoned out for 30 minutes lol. I hate Taiwanese. That language needs to die hahaha.
This week we had exchanges, and I got to go with Elder H. He is super dope. He played football at Bingham, so he's got that state championship ring. He reminds me a lot of the homies back home, and he's a baller. We worked really hard on our exchange, and we met a really cool guy named 劉先生(Mr. Liu). He was super friendly, and we gave him a chapel tour and talked a little about the Atonement as well as baptism. It was a super great experience.
Overall, this week was very satisfying. I had a little break down on Saturday ‘cause I've been really frustrated with the lack of investigators/people interested in hearing our message. Elder A helped me realize how much good we've still been able to do despite that fact. We go out for hours trying to find people that are willing to listen, and even when we don't find anyone, we are still edified by what we've done, because when you share your testimony, it grows. I was able to focus on that a lot more the next day and a half, and it really helped me enjoy everything a lot more. This work is amazing, and I'm so thankful that I have the special opportunity of doing it over here in Taiwan.
Love you all so much!! Have a good week!
Wow, Chinese New Year is crazy hahaha. There were so many people in the streets, crazy firecrackers going off every 5 seconds, and lots and lots of bai-bai-ing (worshipping ancestors). But overall, it was super good. We kept working really hard, and getting to eat lots of weird foods with the members was super great haha. Favorite crazy food: Stingray! Nastiest crazy food: Pig's foot (It's literally just fat and sometimes it still has hair on it. I had to eat 2 and I almost puked). But yeah, to explain the title of my email, I finally washed all my sweaters, and I forgot to read the tag and threw them in the dryer for a while. I pulled them out and I think they would be small on Mark haha.
Last P-day we went and played basketball at a park, and these college kids showed up and when they saw us they were just dying like "oh my goodness white people" and they asked if they could play us. We said yeah and quickly abused them, and we then found out they played for the Douliu college team, so that was pretty cool that we beat a college team without knowing it.
Also, at Family Mart (basically the same thing as 7/11) they have been doing this thing where if you buy enough stuff you can exchange your points for pokemon, and I finally caught them all hehe.
This week we met with our investigator Ben a couple times. He is doing so great. We taught all the commandments, and he said he was willing to follow all of them. He had a few Word of Wisdom problems but he believes God can help him quit, so that is super awesome. His baptismal date is set for the 25th, so we are really praying that he can hit that and that his parents won't oppose the baptism. He is a great example to his friends, and he keeps inviting them to come to church with him so that is awesome. We are a little worried cause our ward doesn't have a young men's quorum, so he would be the first one, but we think he'll be able to do it. The other ward next to us has a lot of great young men, so they can help him out too.
This week I was sick on Thursday, so we had to stay in the apartment. That was a super long day. I had the chills and just felt cold the whole time, so that wasn't fun. It was rough to not be able to be out proselyting, but I taught Elder Anderson how to do the rubix's cube, so we made sure to be productive lol.
We've been teaching this couple 朱姐妹 and 洪弟兄. They are super great, but they just told us that they are moving to China for work, so we can't keep teaching them :( Hopefully when they come back in 3 months, the missionaries can get back in contact with them, ‘cause they are super awesome.
So that was pretty much it this week I think. We've been listening to the new EFY album a lot ‘cause we are missionaries so that's pretty much all we can listen to haha. There is a song on it called "What Family Means to Me." It's a pretty good song, and it made me reflect on what my family meant to me. Everyone who knows my family knows how much fun they are. They are goofy, loving, caring, and adventurous. Being on my mission and being away from them has been hard, but I've always said that if I can give one family the same kind of eternity that my family has together, it would all be worth it. I love my family so much, and I am so thankful for the plan of salvation that allows us to have eternal families. My invite to all of you this week is do something fun with your family, or if you can't because of college or your mission, send a nice letter/email/text/call to someone in your family. I feel like I took my family for granted a lot of the time, and I'm tellin’ you right now, there is nothing better than a loving family.
Love you all so much!! Shred the gnar for me.
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.