elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
What a great week over here in Guiren!! Lots of amazing miracles happening, and I'm so grateful that I get to be a part of it. I guess I'll just start with the good stuff: Jason, Kelly, and Sharon all got baptized last week!! :) What an amazing miracle it's been to be a part of all of this. Quick background on them if you forgot: Jason is a 12 year-old boy who is always with a member family in our ward. He's been coming to church for over a year, and we started teaching him about 3 weeks ago. It was very clear that he was very prepared and ready to accept the gospel. Kelly was met through a member in our ward, and we've been teaching her since about the middle of May. She also progressed very quickly, and she is a super outgoing fun person. She also drew a dope picture of me ‘cause she is a really talented artist, so I was super stoked about that haha. Sharon is someone we've been teaching since about the end of April. She's a little quiet, but she has such a strong testimony, especially about prayer. She's been so much fun to work with! It's been amazing to see the growth that these people have made. In the Tainan zone, the Zone Leaders started calling baptism baptehsm in honor of President Teh, so #baptehsm 💯
Last P-day, we played basketball at the chapel in Yongkang with a bunch of other missionaries. That's always super fun. I miss playing sports so much, so I love any chance I get. After that, we got treated to a really nice buffet with Elder M and Elder T, so that was super fun. Unlimited Haagan Daaz Ice cream was somethin’ else haha. We are going to another one today for Elder J's last P-day, so it should be a good time. Speaking of Elder J, he's the man. I love him so much and will miss him when he goes back to America. He's such a Christlike Missionary and a great example to me of someone who works hard until the very last day of their mission. We've had a great time here, and I'm grateful for all that I've learned.
This week I got to go on an exchange with the legendary Elder G, one of our Zone Leaders. It was super fun, and we came across a super prepared man, so that was awesome! Later in the week, Elder J and I met with Allen, the college baller that we came across last week. He seems really prepared and is willing to learn, so hopefully we can get him progressing!
I'm loving life so much right now. The mission is truly something that can't be described or understood until you've done it. I've gone through some of the toughest times of my life, and reached some of the happiest as well. I can tell you without a doubt that I've never done something as worthwhile as a mission. What a privilege it is to say I am a servant of the Lord, and I get the opportunity to represent him every day. I love my Savior.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week and be safe!
First off, Happy Father's Day to the best dad around, the one and only KJ. Loved by all who meet him, he definitely deserves a great day. Love you dad!! Thanks for being my homie and role model :) Hope everyone had a great week last week! Fam, the pics from Europe look AMAZING!! I'm so jealous! Keep em comin! This week, it rained every single day, so I didn't have a lot of pictures, but we had quite the busy week, so I'll get right to it.
Update on our investigators: Kelly, Sharon, and Jason all passed their baptismal interviews this week!! They have come so far, and it's been amazing to be a part of this process. Working with people like this is what makes everything worth it. Seeing people recognize the truth, search for answers, and make changes in their life is incredible, and being there first hand to see the effect is amazing. I love it so much. Sharon and Jason will be baptized on Saturday, and Kelly on Sunday. What an amazing miracle.
This week I went on exchanges with Elder T. He's from West Valley, and is definitely one of the funniest people I've ever met. He is in his second transfer, and really has a strong desire to help everyone come unto Christ. We met a dope guy who played basketball in college who had interest, so that was a cool part of the exchange. I'm so glad I can talk to people about Basketball in Chinese now. We had a great conversation about how Kyrie's dribbling ability is insane, and Steph splashes like none other. Making connections through sports has really helped me get people to realize that missionaries aren't scary people, and it gives me a good opportunity to testify in a relaxed setting where they feel comfortable around me. Who knew sports could be so useful in missionary work!
This week, we were tracting, and these twin boys were outside playing around. They would not leave us alone haha, we were trying to knock on doors, and they just kept yelling at us. They were about 5 years old to give you an idea of what was going on. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, they just start yelling "Happy New Years 是什麼東西？！" Which basically means, what the heck does Happy New Years mean? hahah we were dying, and translated it over for them, which made them go even more insane. I love Taiwanese people they're so funny. Speaking of funny people, in Gospel Principles they were talking about the Seagulls coming and eating the bugs in Utah, and they asked Elder J how long it would take for a seagull to fly from California to Utah. The teacher just turns to Elder J and says, "蔣長老(Elder J), SEABIRD" and we totally lost it for a second hahaha. When Taiwanese people try to speak English, it sounds pretty funny. They decided that it would probably take 1 hour for a seagull to fly from California to Utah. We didn't bother correcting them lol.
This week I was reading in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. I have loved learning how the Bible and the Book of Mormon really do support each other. I read Hebrews 4:12 and then saw in the footnotes Alma 31:5. I really loved how these scriptures connected. I love in Alma how it says they decided to "try the word of God". I know that when we experiment upon the words in the scriptures, and pray for answers, we can truly receive them. I also know that the Book of Mormon and Bible were meant to support each other, not prove the other wrong.
Love you all so much!! Hope you have a great week!! Also, shout out to my boys KD and Steph for comin up clutch #dubnation 💯👌
This week was a great week in Guiren!! Our investigators are doing really well, plus, it was Elder Jensen's birthday last Wednesday!! He's finally the big 2-0 and lookin more studly than ever. Gotta love that guy. Our investigator drew him a picture of his face on Iron Man's body, so he was pretty stoked about that. We also got the best blueberry cheesecake ever, the crust was made of Oreos so I was stoked.
Last P-day, we went to the infamous Mr Steak and filled ourselves to the rim with fries, steak, and fruit. After that, we headed back to the church and just chilled and played games. I finally learned how to play majiang, which is super fun, I definitely recommend it. Chill P-days are always nice, I think we are going to do kind of the same thing today.
Our investigators are doing really well right now. Jason 曹家祥 is so awesome. We taught the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lessons this week, and he knew everything in them already. I can't believe no one has ever taught him before, he's been going to primary for like 2 years and just barely turned 12, so he knows the gospel pretty well. He loves what we share, and has been hitting the Book of Mormon really hard. He is a super cool miracle, and is scheduled for the 24th right now. Kelly 吳晏妮 is also doing great. We taught the 3rd lesson, and she really understands everything super well. Her parents aren't that fond of us right now, but we know that with faith she can get over this small obstacle. She is doing really well and scheduled for the 25th. Sharon 郭姿吟 is so awesome. We finished the commandments this week, and she agreed to give up coffee and tea because she felt if God commanded her to do it, she could do it. She came to church again and loved it. She is soooo cool, and is scheduled for the 24th right now. We are so blessed to be working with these awesome people.
This week I ate mangoes for the first time on my mission, and I think I'm in love. Just thought you should all know that
This week I was voted the 9th biggest jock in this mission by a voting committee comprised of missionaries in the mission. I'd like to send a shoutout to the voting committee for giving me the honor of being on this prestigious list with so many other fellow athletes. I'd also like to thank my family for helping me develop a love of sports. Shoutout to the other athletes on the list, you give sports in the mission a good name.
Well, that's about it for this week!! I read an awesome talk by Elder Ballard this week called Return and Receive from last April's conference. As a missionary, goal setting is really important, and I feel like this talk can help everyone as they learn to set goals in their personal lives. I'd encourage everyone to go and check it out!
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! Fam, be safe in Europe and love every second of it!!
Hope everyone had a great week this past week with school getting out and all that fun stuff. It rained 6 out of the 7 days over here, so we were soaked all week, but we didn't let that stop us!! It's actually super fun to be out in the rain. It's almost like swimming haha you just get soaked in 5 seconds. Taiwan rain is really interesting, one second its sprinkling and the next it’s raining harder than you've ever seen. It's lots of fun. Elder J is a swimmer, so every time it rains he's always stoked.
Last P-day we caught a lucky break with the weather and headed down by the beach to watch the dragon boats race. We also got to play football for the first time on my mission which was super fun. We had Zone Conference the next day, and that was super great. We talked a lot about the power of repentance, as well as how we can do better follow ups with our investigators. I always love Zone Conference because sometimes you just need your spiritual batteries recharged.
A little update on our investigators: KW 吳 (6/24 goal) came to church this week and really loved fast and testimony meeting. Her friend that referred her to us bore her testimony of the experience and the joy that it brought her, and Kelly started crying so that was a really cool spiritual moment. She is looking really good for her goal. SG 郭姿吟 (6/24) also is looking really good for her goal. We shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and she was loving it. She really is looking forward to baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. All our other goals are also doing really well! We are certainly blessed to work with these amazing people.
This week in Personal Study I've been reviewing some of the General Conference talks from this past April. One that really stood out to me was Elder Mark A. Bragg's talk "Brighter and Brighter Until the Perfect Day". He described 3 ways that we can search for light in our lives: the light of the church, the light of the gospel, and the light of Christ. I love the emphasis he put on the basic things we can do each week to obtain this light. I particularly like this message he gave, "The Light of Christ will help us see others through the Savior’s eyes. We will be more loving and understanding of the struggles of others. It will help us be more patient with those who may not worship as we do or serve as we might. It will help us understand the great plan of happiness more fully and see how we all fit into that great loving plan. It gives life, meaning, and purpose to all that we do. Now, with all the happiness that will come to us as we more fully understand the Light of Christ, it will not match the joy that we feel when we see the Light of Christ working in others: family, friends, and even complete strangers." as well as Romans 13:12 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." I'm so grateful for the wonderful resources we have around us to help us receive this spiritual light. I know that as we develop these habits of going to church, studying the gospel, and growing closer to Christ, we will feel the light of Christ working in our lives and the lives of others.
I love you all so much!! Have a great 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.