elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
高雄 is the land of prepared people and fun Pdays. Today we are going to hike Monkey Mountain, which I last did about a year ago, so that should be really fun. I'll see Elder Y, Elder C, Elder D, and some other homies from the other zone, so it should be a really fun time. But yeah, God is just pouring miracles on us right now. I'm trying my best to stay humble, ‘cause I don't want this to end haha.
This past week, we met with most of our investigators, which was really great for Elder H ‘cause he got to know everyone really quickly, and all our investigators love him already. We are having a good time. He played Rugby in high school and is going to BYU after, so it's always fun to people with comps that are going to the same school as I am. Our investigator Brother L is doing so great. He moved his baptismal goal up to May 26th, and might even move it another week up. He is basically already a part of the young men's quorum, and everyone has been great at welcoming him. Another investigator, Brother Y, came to church for the second week in a row and was taking notes the whole time! How awesome is that?! He has such a great desire to learn. We were teaching him a lesson this week on the WoW, and he started laughing when we brought it up ‘cause he drinks coffee every day. I was worried when he started laughing, but then he said, "ok, it's time for me to quit coffee." He has such great faith it's amazing! His goal is for the 2nd of June, but we might push it up if he's ready. He is moving back to China at some point, so we would love to get him baptized before that happens. He's a great man. Other than that, our other investigators are all doing so great! We have 5 people on baptismal date right now, and hoping to get a couple more on date this week. Things are going really well right now, can't complain. The only hard thing is getting our investigators to come to church, so we'll keep thinking of how to do that. If you've got any advice, hit me up :)
This week we had a chance to go on exchanges with the Elders in Xiaogang. I got to go with Elder R, and it was a really fun exchange. Elder R has great faith and brings a great energy to missionary work. Xiaogang hasn't baptized since my good friend Elder B was there last year, and Elder R is the perfect missionary to fix that, so it's great to be able to serve around people like that. Another cool thing that happened this week was Elder Y texted me this week saying they had just called a LA in their area that had moved into our area but would be willing to meet with missionaries. We set her up for Sunday night, and had planned to invite her to invite a friend to meet with us next time, but when we showed up she introduced us to her roommate! It was super awesome, we had a nice lesson and set them both up for next Sunday. Miracles, thanks Elder Y 😘
This week we also had the opportunity of holding a ward activity. The idea was to create an activity where members could invite their friends and everyone could have a good time. We decided to make candy castles with the kids, and it was a good time. We were expecting 10 or 15 people, but there was well over 30 people there and it was a great success. We had a few investigators and non-members there, so it was a huge success. Plus, I love chillin’ with the kids here, they are all so cute and funny haha It's great to actually be at a point with Chinese where I can understand them and talk to them 😂
Lastly, I wanted to share something cool that Elder F helped me learn. A lot of missionaries that serve here talk about how different church is here than in America. Well, Elder F taught me to take notes in every sacrament meeting. I've been doing it for the past couple weeks, and I've been shocked by how much more meaningful the talks have become to me. I feel like it’s my chance to receive revelation from others every week. For example, a man in our ward talking about forgiving others and getting along with others said, "making things convenient for others is making things convenient for yourself." What a great thing to remember! I invite all of you to start talking notes during sacrament meeting. President Nelson has emphasized how important it is to receive revelation, and I think this is a great opportunity.
Well, I love you all so much! Hope you have a great week! :)
Well, another transfer day has come and unfortunately, Elder F and I won't be able to go two transfers together. It's a bummer, but gotta do what the Lord wants us to do. My new companion is Elder H, he's a really young missionary and from what I've heard, he's got a great fire to do the work, so it should be a good time 👍
This past week we had tons going on. First off, last Pday we finally got to play basketball. I got to play with guys like Elder C, Elder B, Elder D, and a bunch of other people. It was a good time.
Our investigators are doing well. We have a Brother L that is progressing really well right now. He's 16 and comes from a rough background, but the ward has really welcomed him into the fold and he's started reading the scriptures and stuff, so that's really exciting. Our investigator Sister C is having a hard time accepting that the Word of Wisdom is a commandment from God, so please keep her in your prayers! We have a new investigator from this week named Brother Y. He was a soldier and used to be a really rough man, but has recently been softened due to the passing of his wife. When talking about his wife, he said she was the most perfect woman in the world which was really cute. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation and how he can be with her again, and he really liked that.
This week we had two different exchanges, one with the Cuihua Elders and another with the Lingya Elders. For the first exchange, I went with an Elder who just got on island. His Chinese is already great (he visa waited with a Chinese companion) and he has lots of good ideas for the work. It was fun to serve with him. My next exchange was with an Elder named Elder G. He's from the same place Elder A is and knew him before the mission, so that's cool. We had a lot of fun together.
Finally, this past Saturday we had the chance to try the group contacting activity that we've been preparing for for a while. We made this poster that says "I want..." and then had a bunch of choices underneath like "good test scores" "happiness" etc. It was super fun to be a a part of. We had a bunch of members show up, and they were getting so excited to share the gospel with people. The kids were the real MVP's though, they were running around to everyone asking them to come play our game and handing out cards with scriptures on them. Seeing a bunch of elementary school kids having such a good time sharing the gospel was really cool.
Well, that's pretty much it for this week. Lots of good stuff happening in this area! Transfers are always kinda sad, but it's good to know that God is looking out for us and knows what we need. I know that this work that we are doing is God's work. I feel it a privilege to be able to serve here in Taiwan, and am so grateful for all the experiences that have changed my life and helped me become a better man. Getting down to the last two transfers is a really weird feeling, but I feel like I have never been more motivated to work hard and find people to teach. Thanks for all the support so far, it really means a lot to me, and I can feel the prayers coming my way. Hope you all have a great week!! 😁
First off, congrats to my stud of a brother Nate for getting his mission call to Cali, Colombia. You are gonna love your mission so much dude!! Love you so much and know that you have lots of good to do there :) This past week felt really long for some reason, but it was super good. The only complaint I have is I'm really tired. I don't really remember what it's like to feel rested lol. But hey, God must be providing the energy for me or something cause I'm still movin. This past week we headed up to Taizhong on Tuesday for MLC. MLC is always a good time. I have a lot of good friends and former companions at MLC right now, so it's always nice to catch up with them. President Teh always seems to know what the mission needs, and it's fun to be able to counsel with him and talk about how we can implement it.
I'll give you some quick updates on the investigators real quick. We have been blessed to see a lot of success recently, and currently have 4 investigators that have baptismal dates in May. We are hoping that they can all make it, and also hoping to put some more people on date for May or June this next week. Elder F and I have really been focusing on having a vision for investigators and believing that they can do what we hope they can do, and it's produced a lot of cool miracles. Speaking of miracles, we set up to visit a member at his house one afternoon, but he wasn't there and wasn't answering his phone, so we knocked on all the apartments in his complex. No one answered, but as we were walking down the stairs a man was walking up and for some reason I just knew he was related to our guy. So we started talking to him, he invited us up, and we met with the member's brother and sister right then and there! They agreed to meet again, so that was a cool miracle from trying to help the ward out. We hope we can continue to strengthen the member and his brother and sister.
We also had the chance to eat with S, my investigator from Pingdong that got baptized after I left. It was great to catch up with her and see how happy she was after joining the church. She said that the thing that interested her most about the church was a chance to have a clean start, and she was grateful for that gift. I am thankful that Elder Y and I were blessed to come across her back in October. Also, in other good news, my investigator M from my last area is getting baptized in a couple weeks! She sent me a really nice message today, it was really awesome to feel the love that she has developed for the gospel. Since I left Pingdong, I have missed the baptisms of quite a few of my investigators. At first, it really bothered me, but now I think it's all just part of God's plan. They need the other missionaries that taught them as well, and I just feel blessed to play a part in these people's conversion.
Well, that's all I can remember right now. Hope you all have a great week, and remember to seek out that personal revelation that President Nelson promised can be ours! :)
This past week was really good. We were super busy from Monday through Sunday, and now I'm really tired haha. Gotta love missionary work.
First off, I thought Conference was soooo good. There were so many good talks, and I loved the themes that came up, especially all the talks about the Holy Ghost and Love. I feel like the necessity to receive personal revelation was one thing that I took away from that conference. That session where President Eyring, President Oaks, and President Nelson all spoke right in a row was something else haha. Talk about powerful talks. One of the biggest takeaways I got from conference was that President Nelson is God's Prophet on the earth. Watching the Solemn Assembly was one of the coolest feelings ever. It was super spiritually moving and actually made me a little emotional haha. I love President Nelson and sustain him whole heartedly. Hope you all get a chance to listen to or review the talks from conference, there are a lot of good things in those talks 👍
This past week was another crazy busy one. We have really been blessed lately, and I'm really grateful for that. In terms of updates, AC is going to have to push her date back, but she is still looking good in the desire part. We hope that she can develop better scripture reading habits as well as come to all 3 hours of church every week, so pray for her! L left for Pingdong this week and is going to Japan until the 20th, so we have just been sending him scriptures and videos to try to help him continue to feel the Holy Ghost. We have an investigator about Mark's age that is so humble and mature. He accepted a Bap Date yesterday, saying "I want to be like you guys" which almost made me cry haha it's crazy how God prepares people to hear the gospel. We also met an awesome lady named Sister L when we went to visit our other investigator. She has had crazy brain surgery for a tumor that she used to have, and it's actually a miracle that she is still living, talking, and functioning well. She came to all of Sunday's conference and said she was grateful for the arrangement of God in allowing us to find her. She is originally Buddhist, but seems willing to learn, so we are excited about that. Lastly, we met with a lady that we contacted outside of her house that said in her prayer that she was having a really hard day before she met us and had prayed for help, and right after she finished the prayer and walked outside, we talked to her. Talk to everyone, you might be the answer to someone's prayers 💯
We also went on exchanges this past week with some Elders in our zone. That was a good time, and we tried out this finding activity where you write a scripture on the sidewalk and try to talk to people as they walk by. It actually went pretty well, it was cool to see people initiating conversations with us about the gospel, cause that doesn't happen often haha.
Well, that's about it for this week! Thanks for all the love and support that you all give me. As you all probably know, emails don't come that often to missionaries going home haha so if you get some time please send me something, even if it's just a one liner, I'd love to hear how everyone is doing 👍 have a great week! Love you all so much!
Another good week here in the promised land of 高雄. I'm really enjoying my time here, and we are seeing a lot of cool miracles lately so that has been really fun. Last Pday was pretty boring, we went to a mall to look around and cleaned the apartment. We also had to get our washing machine looked at cause it wasn't working super well, so that was a bummer, but what can ya do.
This past week we got to go on exchanges with the AP's. I got to go with Elder VS from my MTC district, which was super fun. We haven't ever served around each other, so it was fun to catch up and learn from each other. He's a great missionary, and we had a good time.
When Elder Stevenson came to our mission a couple weeks ago, he challenged us to all try to teach 20 lessons a week. At that time, I thought that was going to be really hard considering how my mission has gone so far, but Elder F and I decided we were going to work really hard and try to go for it. This week, we taught 20 lessons!!! WOOOOO pretty stoked about that haha. In terms of our investigators, A is still looking good to hit her goal this month. L is doing good as well, but he is going to Japan soon and will be gone for a long time, so that's a bummer haha. We have a lot of new people that are starting to come along as well, so I'll keep you posted on those ones haha.
This week, we tried something that I've never done before to find new investigators: contacting with members! I always thought members wouldn't want to contact with missionaries, but they are surprisingly willing! We saw some cool miracles from that, as people who may not have originally agreed to meet with us added and completely changed their view of our church when they saw a Taiwanese person that was also bearing testimony of these things. It was a really awesome experience. This ward is really cool, they are really willing to let us go to their houses to teach our investigators, which is really cool. This past week, we ate dinner with the Y family. They lived in Utah for a while and all have perfect English, and they made us the best American homemade hamburgers I've had in Taiwan. It was an awesome meal. Their son has a jedi braid so you already know we are homies. His job is translating for the EDM DJ's that come to Taiwan, so he knows the Chainsmokers and Aviici and all those guys, I'm so jealous haha.
Well, that's about it for this week! Hope you all had a great time watching conference! I know President Nelson is God's prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth. I'm super excited to watch it this next weekend! Shoutout to Elijah's dad Elder Kyle McKay for becoming a General Authority Seventy :) Love you all so much! 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.