elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week was lots and lots of contacting, and lots and lots of rejections. ughhh haha but hey, we're doing our best to stay positive and keep sharing the light of the gospel with anyone who will listen. Really funny experience this week we were walking through the park and this guy walks by and we're like hello! 你好嗎? and then he just says "I'm from America I live in Wisconsin." HAHAHA but he was super nice. He is Catholic, speaks perfect Chinese and as we were leaving, he said "As we Americans say, good luck yo!" So yeah, to everyone out there reading this, good luck yo.
Last Pday we went to Lugang and saw a bunch of cool stuff, including the fan man who paints temples and stuff on fans. That was super dope. Later this week we had interviews with President Teh. Those are always the best. We also had to deal with thousands of mosquitoes in the church. That was not fun at all haha I have so many bites everywhere. The mosquitoes only bite the white people so the members don't even care if there are mosquitoes in the building. We also got to do more service for Bishop this week in helping his mom move out of her house!
Another funny story, we had a dinner appointment with our ward mission leader 褚弟兄 this week at 5:30, but he didn't actually show up until like 6:30 so we had to wait outside because we have to have a man in the house, so the Sisters kept bringing us out food and crackers and stuff haha they came in clutch.
This week, we contacting a lot over the weekend, and I probably got rejected 500 times in a row, it was the most frustrating thing ever. Then, we walked into this 7 and sat down with this Atheist kid. We explained how God can help us, and asked him what his life goals and such are. He said to make money, so I made the comparison of making money to learning about the gospel. If we stop working to make money, we can't buy food and go out and have fun, and if we stop praying and developing our relationship with God, we won't have a strong connection or idea of who he is. He liked that, and we shared about prayer. He prayed with us, and set up again for next week! That was an awesome miracle.
This week while I was reading in the April Liahona, I came across a quote that I absolutely loved. It's "Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest Saint upon his knees." When we pray, we access God's power, and render Satan powerless. If you ever feel like the temptations you are faced with are too much, or your trials are too much to take, turn to God in prayer and access that power.
I love you all so much!! Have a good week
I feel like I'm typing these emails every five seconds. It's crazy how time is flying by right now. Time on a mission is the weirdest thing ever, cause there are hours that feel like days and then there are weeks that feel like hours. It's good stuff. I'm learning a lot here in 員林. My Chinese is starting to improve more and more, so that's encouraging!! The members are awesome at being patient with us and helping our Chinese haha it's great. This week was kinda plain, but I'll try to think of something to share.
Last P-day we went to another buffet which was pretty good. After that, we made a cake and watched the Restoration and Meet the Mormons. Good stuff. I miss watching movies.
Tuesday we had Zone Conference. Zone Conference is always awesome, and I got to see Elder D again as well as some other homies so that was fun. President Teh is the best. He is a very inspired man, and he helped us realize how we can be more effective in doing this work. One thing he emphasized was using the Book of Mormon more in every aspect of the work. That has been hard to get used to cause it's a little bit of a change, but when we use the Book of Mormon in contacting, I've definitely felt a stronger influence of the Spirit, so that has been cool. They made us Taco Salad for lunch, which was like an answer to prayers cause I've been wanting Mexican food so bad haha.
In investigator news, Kun Wei and Eric are both still super solid. They will get baptized in May and June as long as nothing crazy happens. They are both super strong in the gospel, and are great influences on the members. It's been really awesome to work with both of them. Also, we started working with a young guy named Kai. He may not have that much interest, but we invited him to start reading the Book of Mormon so we'll see what we can do. Also, we met a 王 (wang) guy that was super dope. He doesn't have a job right now, so he is really struggling. He lives a very humble life, and is looking for some hope. He said he doesn't understand why we are so happy cause we are thousands of miles away from our families. We shared about prayer and the comfort it can bring, and invited him to pray to help find work. He said he couldn't, cause he didn't have faith in himself. I testified to him that he doesn't need faith in himself, he needs faith in God. It was a really powerful moment for me, and I could feel the Spirit working through me very vividly. It was awesome.
This week our Bishop told us his conversion story while we were getting bailed on by an investigator. He said that when he was 14, he met the missionaries. He really wanted to know what "truth" was, and the missionaries told him to read the Book of Mormon. He said he didn't understand it, and quickly lost interest. He then went until the age of 32 outside the church. He met with 8 sets of missionaries before he finally accepted it. It was a really cool story, because he is now the strongest member I have met in Taiwan. He is so awesome, and I really have learned a lot from him. One of the biggest things I learned from that story is never give up on people, because God works in mysterious ways.
This week I read a talk with a dope poem that can definitely be applied to a missionary. I've always wanted to be able to help people on my mission, and this poem basically sums up what I hope I'm able to do. It's called "Conquest"
Two years ago the stubble leered at him
And great boulders stood to bar the way.
Old dying trees with twisted trunk and limb
Snarled in defiance like wild beasts at bay.
Others from time to time had scanned the space
But had not dared the struggle to begin;
So tangled was the growth that ruled the place
That few who passed it by would venture in.
And then he came and vowed to clear the land.
With drag and chain he slowly inched his way.
At night some new attack he sat and planned
At dawn, undaunted, he resumed the fray.
I saw him once in battle, and I thought
His courage and his patience all in vain.
Today I passed the field whereon he fought
And it was flaming gold with ripening grain.
No effort is wasted. Nothing. When we do service in the name of the Lord, it has an effect. This makes me want to work harder, be more worthy, and always share with a smile on my face. Ever work is important, and I know the Lord is going to help us to accomplish his work, even if it looks impossible right now. I love you all so much. Have a good week!!
This week was a really good week. We worked so hard every single day, and we were able to see some really cool miracles. Definitely one of the cooler weeks on my mission, so I'll get right into it.
Last Monday we got to go up to 豐原 (Houfeng) to eat 石頭 (a buffet) with all my buddies from 豐原. That was super fun to see everyone again, but really weird to be back there cause it no longer felt like my area. But anyways, the food was AMAZING. If anyone ever comes to Taiwan, make sure you go there. After that, when we got back to 員林 (yuanlin) we got to meet with Eric! Eric is the investigator that I got to know a little bit up in 豐原, but it's more convenient for him to meet with us cause he's doing college down here, so we get to teach him now! He's super great, he's already finished the Book of Mormon and knows it's true, he just has problems getting to church because of work and school, so we'll get workin on that! But really, he is so prepared to be baptized it's ridiculous. He's great.
This week we also got to go on exchanges, so I went up to xihu 溪湖 with Elder B. That was a really weird exchange because we didn't really have time to do anything besides teach English class and make calls because of how far it is away and our DTM, but we had a good time.
This week, for the first time on my mission, we got to do service!! Haha it's really weird how excited I was to do it, but the people here literally hate when you do things for them, they think it's a sign of weakness I think, so getting a service opportunity is pretty awesome. We helped our Bishop's family move some furniture out of his Mom's house, so that was pretty fun. It was literally the wimpiest moving job ever and took like 30 minutes, but I had to get a picture cause it was a rare occasion lol. Something kinda cool is I hurt my back the night before, and it really hurt in the morning when we got up. I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to help that much, but I prayed, asking for the strength to be able to do what I needed to do that day. I took some good ol Ibuprofen, and headed out. When we started moving stuff, all the pain in my back went away, and I was able to help out with no problems at all. To me, that was a miracle, and a tender mercy. The Lord is definitely watching out for us.
On Saturday night we spent some time with the Ward Mission Leader and Ward Missionaries discussing what the ward mission plan should be for the spring season. One thing you need to know about 員林 is the members are so awesome. They are so willing to help, it is super easy to find members to come help with lessons and they are always bringing people to church and trying to contribute in any way they can. That has really been awesome to be a part of. It makes our work a lot less stressful let me tell ya haha.
To end, I'll talk about the cool miracle for this week. We worked really hard this week and had a lot of lessons set up, and about 90% of them didn't show up. We'd call them, and they either wouldn't answer or they'd say they forgot or something like that. Well, we were sitting there in church on Sunday and it had just barely started. Suddenly, this Sister taps me on the shoulder, and she's standing there with this high school boy and says, "He wanted to come to church! Can you take him through the meetings?" Of course we were like yeah!! His name is 江弟兄 (brother jiang) and he's super cool. His dad had come to church a few times a couple years ago, and encouraged him to go. He gave us his number and wants to meet this week, so that was an awesome miracle, proving hard work is always the way to go.
Well, that's about it!! I'm loving my mission right now, and considering it a blessing and an honor to represent the Lord in his work. This is truly his work, and I'm receiving strength to do it everyday, whether it be in the language or spirituality, I know that he is helping me every step of the way. I love you all so much!! Have a good week :)
This week was a really rewarding week. Not because it was easy, it was one of the hardest weeks of my mission, but because I feel like my testimony has really been strengthened so much. I'll get right into it.
So my new area is Yuanlin 員林. It is a lot more rural than my last area. There is a city section, and then we have like 5 secondary areas that are all just rice paddies and houses. It is really cool, but there are mosquitoes everywhere haha. I serve in the yuanlin 1st ward, which is one of the coolest wards in the mission. There are about 100 active members, and they are all super willing to work. The Bishop is one of the coolest people I've ever met. He works super hard. To give you an idea, we spent half of Priesthood discussing which members need someone to care for them and then assigning members to go. All the members were so willing to go, they were all fighting so hard to be able to have the opportunity to home teach these people. It really made me embarrassed at my attitude about home teaching before the mission. That was a very humbling experience haha. Also, there are about 15 RC's and members that are between 16-24, so lots of really fun members that are always bringing their friends to things. It's a really great ward, and a really great area. We are still trying to figure out the best ways to contact here, but we'll get there don't you worry. Elder P is great. He's been on his mission for about a year, and he is really funny and nice to everyone we meet. He really has a desire to go out and do this work, and I really appreciate that. It helps me stay motivated to work hard and do my best. We are gonna help make this area explode, and it's gonna be great.
We have a really dope investigator here named Zhang kun wei. He is 17, has had all the missionary lessons, and really wants to get baptized, but he has to wait til he finishes testing for college before his parents will let him get baptized. He is super dope. He has a super strong testimony, and it was a great experience to get to read Ether 12 with him and hear his insights.
We had a really cool miracle the other day. We were eating at this place, and ran into a member named Jack. He was excited to see us, and asked if we had time to read some scriptures with him. We said sure, and it turns out that he was really being tempted to break the Word of Wisdom. We were able to share D&C 89 with him and he thought it was amazing. He bore his testimony about the power of studying with missionaries on Sunday, so that was super awesome. It's crazy how big of an impact you can have as a missionary, and the good we can do for investigators, the ward, and random people is what makes this all worth it. Serving others is the best kind of feeling you can get. We also helped get an RC back to church who hasn't been in a couple months, so that was really cool.
Today I wanna talk about trusting in God. Sometimes, the things we think are best for us, aren't really what's best for us. I've done a lot of pondering about how I can align myself more with God's will, and it's really helped me get my mind in a better place. I also know that when we trust God, he will support us in all times and in all places. I love in John 14:18 when Christ is teaching his disciples. He says, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." That scripture really hit me hard this week. I know that Christ is there to comfort us all the time. I know he knows us personally and very individually. If you every question that, pray about it. I know that sincere prayer can bring miracles, peace, and happiness to our lives. I love you all so much, and pray for you everyday! Have a good 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.