elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week was a pretty good week!! The start of the week was ridiculously hot, and then it rained for 3 days in a row so that was a nice switch up. We had a rough time keeping our investigators this week. One told us she wants to investigate the Jehovah's witnesses instead, so that was a blow. We've also had problems helping our investigators get to church and read the Book of Mormon. It's tough, but we will keep doing our best!
So, an update on the 李先生 from last week (he's the one who told me he wants to be Christian). We met with him, and he didn't really have that much interest unfortunately. We taught him the first lesson and invited him to read the Book of Mormon, but he hasn't been answering our calls so that's a bummer. We couldn't meet with Jen this week, but we are meeting with her tonight. She hasn't read yet, but I know this message will help her answer all the questions she has right now.
Last P-day we went to an awesome buffet. There were ninjas everywhere, and never ending supplies of meat and haagan daaz ice cream. I was in heaven haha. We got to hangout with the whole zone so that was pretty fun. We've got a pretty dope zone if I do say so myself.
This week we contacted a Chelsea fan. I told him I was a Manchester United fan and asked him if he saw the game a couple weeks ago. He hadn't, so I had no chance to tell him how great it was that we beat them lol. He set up to meet, but never showed up so that was a bummer. We did however meet a dope new investigator named Mickey. He seemed to know a ton about our church, and was really loving the message. He was so excited when we said we were gonna give him a Book of Mormon, and we are meeting with him again on Tuesday!
This week we had one of the funniest things happen so far on my mission. We ran into this Christian Lady at a FamilyMart that was marketing her health products and telling us about how she helps drug addicts recover. It was actually pretty cool, but as we were leaving, she asked Elder J to pray for us. He started saying the prayer, and all of the sudden it felt like we were with a pastor or something. She just started saying "testify!" and "I agree!". Elder J lost it in the middle of his prayer and started dying, and was barely able to finish it. We were trying so hard not to laugh in front of this lady, but it was impossible hahah. One of the strangest things that has ever happened in Taiwan for sure haha.
Love you all so much! Have a good safe week :) We're going to play ball with the zone today in honor of the NBA playoffs haha. Go Jazz/Warriors!! #takenote #dubnation
Another great week over here in Formosa! My first week in 歸仁(guiren) was a super great one filled with lots of fun times and lots of cool miracles. This area is very different from any area I've ever been in. Our contacting takes place in 3 suburban cites: 仁德Rende, 歸仁Guiren, and 關廟Guanmiao. There is also lots of rural places and farms that are fun to see. Very different experience from the cities that I'm used to haha but it's super fun. In the smaller areas, it really feels like you can talk to everyone, and the people seem much more willing to talk to us here, they aren't all in a rush to get somewhere. I've definitely learned to love chatting with the Taiwanese people over my mission. I feel like it's the best way to build their trust and get to a point where I can share the gospel, so I'm always trying to think of ways to make connections with them. One of the really cool things about this place is I've been able to run across lots of people that like soccer! In fact, my ward mission leader is a soccer player at his college, so we had a fun time talking about Manchester United and all that good stuff. The ward here is pretty big and has lots of cool members. Our district is super fun cause it's me, Elder J, Elder M (he's dope and used to be Elder J's companion) and Elder M's trainee Elder T. Also, Elder D and Elder A are serving down here right now, so our Zone is super stacked. Good times ahead on P-days ;)
This week we saw some really cool miracles. We were contacting one night, and I was sharing with this guy on the side of the street who seemed to be paying attention but kind of distracted. He then asked if we could talk about this later, which is usually what people say if they are trying to get out of the conversation, but he followed it up by saying he wanted to become Christian. He told me he had just gotten out of jail and believed that Christianity could change his outlook on life. I was so pumped, it was basically like someone walking up to you and giving you $100. He set up for tomorrow, so we are super stoked to get the chance to teach him.
Another cool miracle was meeting Jen 郭. She is a 31 year old who is working as a cram school teacher. The cool thing about Jen is that every question/problem she has can be answered through the gospel and the Plan of Salvation. Her mom died 3 months ago and she really wants to see her again. She is also Christian but worries she messes up too much to be able to go to Heaven. She is literally so prepared, we just have to help here realize it haha. We gave her a Book of Mormon when we met with her and invited her to read it. We are gonna follow up this week and meet again on Friday, so we'll see how it goes!
I guess I should explain why this email is titled the way it is. Elder J and I decided to give each other haircuts. Tune in next week to see how they turned out ;) Pretty 帥 if I do say so myself. Hit us up if you need a new do!! We'll even etch in a lightning bolt for free
Lovin life right now and my mission. Love you all so much!! Have a good, safe week!
This week was an awesome week. Unfortunately, I found out I'm leaving Yuanlin after 1 transfer :( super sad cause I've really gotten so close with everyone here, and I'm gonna miss them all so much. This has been the most awesome ward, plus we've had super golden investigators to work with. Saying goodbye to Yu Zhe, Chase, Elaine, Angus, and all my other friends was super hard. It's been such a blast, and I'm really sad to go, but the Lord needs me in Guiren! I don't know much about Guiren, but I know it is pretty rural, so that will be a change for me!! I'm going to be with Elder J, he trained my companion and only has two transfers left. He seems super dope and works really hard, so I'm stoked. We're gonna have a good time!!
Last week for Pday we went to the toilet restaurant. It wasn't amazing, but it was worth it for the experience haha. Eating out of a toilet, sitting on a toilet, with poop themed lamps around you, what could be better? Only in Asia lol. Got to hang out with some homies last week so that was super fun.
This week we worked really hard, and saw some cool success, finding 2 new investigators. They both happened to come from Formers, and they both seem pretty cool. One of them had us come to his work, which was super weird. The coworkers were asking us crazy questions and trying to set us up with their daughters lol. It's a good thing this happens often otherwise I'd think it was super weird.
We got to watch general conference this weekend, and it was so amazing. I love the spirituality that can be felt from the prophet’s voice. I loved Elder Sabin's talk cause 1. He used ‘All In’ as the theme which reminds me of sports and 2. he referenced Star Wars so you know I was eating that stuff up. I loved this story that he shared: "Our son Justin passed away at age 19 after fighting a lifelong disease. In a sacrament meeting talk he gave not long before he left us, he shared a story that must have resonated with him about a father and his young son who went into a toy store where there was an inflatable punching bag in the shape of a man. The boy punched the inflatable man, who tipped over and immediately bounced back after every punch. The father asked his young son why the man kept bouncing back up. The boy thought for a minute and then said, “I don’t know. I guess it’s because he’s standing up on the inside.” In order to be “all in,” we need to “stand up inside,” “come what may.” I think that's a super powerful story about how no matter what circumstances we are in, if we are standing up on the inside, we will always bounce back and find joy in the little things about life. This is something that got me through a lot of rough times on my mission, and hearing him tell this story made me reflect on how I've "stood up on the inside" and how I can continue to do so. I loved all the talks, and can't wait to go back and review them.
Sorry this email is super short, but I'm trying to get ready to move in a couple hours. It's crazy how quickly you can grow to love something. 6 weeks ago, I really did not want to come to Yuanlin cause I wanted to stay in Houfeng, but 6 weeks later, I don't wanna leave! I love the people here so much. They have the sweetest spirits and a desire to serve the Lord. They are my friends, but more importantly, they are my brothers and sisters, and it has been such an honor to serve with them down here. On to the next adventure! I hear my new Ward Mission Leader loves soccer and can talk about it for days, so we are gonna have a good time :) Love you all so much!! Have a good week :)
What upppp. Long week of contacting again, and unfortunately we didn't get any new investigators this week, but that's no big deal. I've been learning to focus on the joy that I get from meeting tons of new people everyday, which I love, as well as the joy that comes from raising a warning voice to the people of Taiwan. What a blessing it is to have this gospel. Next week is transfers week. Fingers crossed I can stay in 員林. I love it here so much.
One really cool experience from this week is we tried out Quidditch contacting this week. Basically the idea is you pick a name, and for the next 30 minutes or 1 hour you try to find a golden person with that name. This is a lot easier in Taiwan cause lots of people have the same names haha. But anyway, we tried this with the name 林(Like Jeremy Lin except its actually pronounced leeen). Anyways, we were not having any success, and then during the last five minutes, I pulled up to this guy, and he was the one!! He was super dope, and exchanged numbers. He seemed to have genuine interest, so we will give him a call and see! That was a cool miracle.
We have two super dope investigators that are both gonna get baptized. One is 張焜葦 (Brother Zhang) and he is a beast. He has a goal for 5/20, and he's already read the Book of Mormon and knows all the young members of the ward. He shares the gospel with all his friends, and is basically just waiting til he is done testing so his parents will let him get baptized. He is such a stud. Our other super dope investigator is Eric. He is so dope. He has a goal for 6/17 and has also read the whole Book of Mormon. He knows all the young members and is good friends with them all. He also unfortunately has to wait for his school situation to calm down, but he is such a stud. I love them both so much.
This week our Bishop took us to a member's house to help with a blessing. He folded up a balloon into a sword and said in English, "This is sword of righteous" hahaha he's such a stud. One of the most hardworking members I've ever met in my life, and he really loves and cares about everyone in this ward. He then gave the "sword of righteous" to the little baby who we gave a blessing to. So cute.
For my little spiritual part of my letter I'm gonna reflect for a bit. This week marks 1 year since I opened my mission call. 1 year since my life was changed. 1 year since I realized that I probably shouldn't have said that I didn't want to speak Chinese on my mission out loud lol. It's kinda crazy to think that monumental day in my life was a year ago. Tbh, I have no idea where the time has gone. One thing I can tell you though without a doubt in my mind is that I am so glad I am where I am today. The lessons I've learned from my mission have helped me become a better son of God, and helped me gain a greater desire to serve and help other people. I've learned that hard work always pays off, as I've had to put in countless hours of learning and reviewing flash cards and working up the nerve to talk to people on the streets. I've also come to know my Savior so much more. Literally everything that I've needed to learn so far, I've been given an opportunity to learn, and I know I still have so much more to learn. I am so grateful for my mission and the way it continues to change my life. Going on a mission was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and it's been the hardest thing I've ever done, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week, and if it's spring break for you, be safe and live it up!!
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.