elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Another great week over here in Pingdong!! We've been working really hard and had some really cool experiences this past week. I've had a blast here with Elder H. He has been so patient and willing to help my Chinese, so that's been a huge blessing. He's super funny and positive about the work, so I've really enjoyed that. The ward here is great, and I've really enjoyed getting to know them more. We've been trying our best to get members to all of our lessons and help them out in any way that we can, which has been really cool.
In terms of investigators, Sister Y was not able to be baptized this last week cause her husband isn't ready to let her be baptized. Oh well, her faith is so strong, and she's ready for this, so we are confident that in the next couple of weeks it will happen. Keep praying for her!! She's so prepared. Next is Sister S. She's been meeting with missionaries for about 3 months and is really willing to accept the gospel. We taught the word of wisdom, and at first she questioned the part about tea, but about thirty seconds later she was like "well there's lots of other stuff to drink, I can do it." I was just like whaaaat?! No one ever says that haha it was so awesome. Next is Sister X. She has also been meeting with missionaries for about 2 or 3 months, and her faith is pretty strong. She has a goal for the 16th, but she said she wants to read the BoM all the way through before she gets baptized, so we'll have to see how that goes. Lastly is our family, the L family. Brother L came to church for the first time yesterday and seemed to really like it. We were sitting in church and he leaned over and asked me, "do they put missionaries together according to their body type?" I was like what are you talking about and he said "well the other missionaries are both really strong and you and elder h are skinny" 😂 hahaha I died and then explained that it just happened to be that way. What a funny guy. He's super cool and really progressing well. He loves his family so much and loves how the church is a way for them to all be together. More about them later.
This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with Elder B. He just barely got to Taiwan, so it was fun to talk with him about his experiences in the MTC and such. Sounds like the MTC is very plush now compared to back when I was there haha jk. He's a super hard worker, and his Chinese is coming along great. It was fun to be able to work with him. We taught a few lessons and had a great time.
This week was a little tougher in terms of finding. I'll tell a short story really quick. Saturday we had 4 lessons set up. None of them came. Sunday we had 4 more lessons set up. None of them came. These were all lessons with people we were hoping could become new investigators, and it was a tiny bit discouraging that none of them came. Just as we were leaving the church Sunday night after being stood up for the 4th time, we got a call from the L family. They said, "Are you at the church?" I said yeah and then he just hung up. I was like what the heck? Then all of the sudden they pulled into the parking lot. They just showed up at the church wanting to meet with us!! We finally were able to get through the rest of the 1st, and they seem to be progressing in the gospel. That was a really cool miracle. God works in many different ways to bless us and bring miracles to pass. I've been reminded over and over of His hand in everything, and that I should always trust him.
Well that's about it for this week!! Love you all so much!! Have a great week :)
This week was a great first week here in Pingdong!! The area is super cool, one of the busier areas that I've been in so far. It's been super fun to be with a Taiwanese companion. I'm learning so many words that I wouldn't learn otherwise, and it's been cool to see that even though we are from opposite sides of the world, we can still connect and be friends. Elder H is super awesome. He is a very Christlike missionary. He is humble, patient, and willing to learn. He's only in his 3rd transfer but he seems so mature. He's always thinking of others, and it's been great to learn with him.
This week was a fun week full of getting to know lots of new people. I'll give a quick update on some of our investigators. We are teaching a really cool lady named Sister Y. She is so prepared, and really has a testimony of the benefits of this gospel, especially related to family. She is a mom of 2 kids and loves how the gospel strengthens families. She passed her baptismal interview this last week and will get baptized this week so long as her husband doesn't oppose. We're definitely praying for her!! We are also meeting with a couple other moms and a family, so our teaching has definitely been centered on the importance of family, which has been awesome. Gotta love sharing about something that means a lot to you :)
This week we got to go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. The Zone Leaders also live and work in our area, so we didn't have to go anywhere which was super nice. I got to go with Elder V, which was super fun. He's only got a couple transfers left, and is also from Utah. We had a great time teaching some lessons and getting treated lunch at a buffet haha. It was a good exchange.
I also get to teach English class in this area, which is the first time in about 4-ish months. It's kinda fun to be able to offer that kind of a service to the people here. We also had the opportunity to give a couple of blessings this week, so lots of good opportunities to serve :)
Well that's about it for this week!! This next week will have lots of opportunities to find people to teach and meet even more new people! Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! Good luck to those of you starting school this next week :)
As you can probably tell from the title of this email, I've moved areas! I moved to the wonderful city of Pingdong! Pingdong is one of the most southern parts of our mission and yes, it's still really, really hot haha. My new companion is Elder H. He is from Tabei and is my first Taiwanese companion!! He just barely finished being trained, and really seems to have a love of talking to people. He's super friendly and nice, so it's gonna be a great transfer. Hopin' my Chinese will improve lots this transfer. It was really sad to say goodbye to both Elder D and Guiren. Elder D got called to train there, and he will do a fantastic job. He's such a bro, I'll miss him a lot! Love you Elder D! It's always so hard for me to leave areas and the people I've met, but I know God has a plan for me. I've seen his hand in every one of my transfers so far, so why not trust him now? :)
Also had to say another hard goodbye this week to the one and only Elder A. It was really awesome that we got to serve around each other for the last three transfers after being companions earlier on. This last Thursday, I got to go on his last exchange with him. It was super fun. We found a new investigator, worked hard, and had lots of fun. It was really hard to say goodbye to him, but, America needs him now haha. Love you Elder A!
We also had another exchange this last week with the Anding Elders. It was a busy week, and we didn't really get to spend much time in Guiren which is a bummer but it is what it is. I went with Elder R, who also happens to be from Kaysville. We taught one of our investigators the WoW, so hopefully he can start experiencing the blessings from following that! We also dropped in a baptismal goal for 9/9. His name's Kevin, we've been teaching him for a while, and he said he's finally ready. I'll have to get updated on that!
Another cool thing that happened this week was I got to read some family history stories about my great grandpa and grandma. As I was reading these stories, I really felt a spirit of love come over me as I was getting to know these people. It was really cool to read about their lives and what they went through. Family History is actually pretty cool, I feel bad about not doing much before my mission haha.
Well, moving days are always a mix of nerves, stress, and a little bit of sadness. It's always hard to have a new start, but at the same time, it's great. I'm super excited to get working here in Pingdong!! I know this is where the Lord needs me now :) Love you all so much!! Be safe and have a great week :)
This week was a little bit slower in terms of the work, but there is still lots of good stuff going on here in Guiren. Last week we made it out of the typhoon and were able to go to the church to play ball. That's always a good time. I miss playing ball everyday. I'm feelin very rusty over here in Taiwan so I'll have to play with Mark lots when I get home ;)
While we were eating lunch this week, the restaurant started playing, "Here's to Never Growing Up" which was our graduation song. It was a kinda surreal feeling sitting there and realizing, wow, we actually are growing up. Led to some interesting reflection on how the last year has gone, and made me feel really grateful that I'm out here on my mission :)
This week we met with A 湯奕辰 for the first time in a while and had one of the best lessons I've had in a long time. We had Brother L help us with the lesson, and we started off by showing "Hope of God's Light". A loved that video, and he said he thought it was really cool that God was there every step of the way. We then transitioned into sharing about why we need to read and pray to recognize God's influence in our lives. Lots of good testimony was born, and I could tell A was really touched by it. He said he'd read and pray, so we hope he'll do it! We have him set up again for Wednesday, so we are excited about that.
Another cool miracle was we were tracting late Wednesday night and it was almost time to go home. we really wanted to hit standards that day, so we prayed really hard right before tracting to be able to hit that standard. We also expressed that we knew it was possible. On the last house we knocked, we were let in by a 15 year old kid named J. J was super cool, and seemed pretty interested in our message. We shared about the BoM and Prayer, and ended up going back a couple of days later to teach the restoration.The only problem is J has a very interesting family situation. We've never seen the parents, and his older brother and sister seem to not like us very much. He was hesitant to set up again and wouldn't give us a phone number, but we told him we'd come back and check on him this week, so we'll definitely make sure to do that.
All the RC's finished their review lessons this week and are all set to go!! It's been super fun to watch all of them grow and learn in the gospel. One of them, K, is giving a talk next week, so that will be fun to see. J should also be getting the priesthood soon so I'm stoked about that. We've also been working with some LA's recently. It's really interesting to meet lots of different people and see their views on things. One thing it's helped me realize is not to judge people based on outward appearances or what other people say about them. These people have all been very nice, and despite their varying problems, they are still great people and have helped me humble myself a little more and be more accepting, which I definitely need haha.
This week we also had interviews with the best mission president out there. President Teh is so great. He talked to me about skiing for a little bit and then shocked me by showing off his character reading skills. Pretty impressive considering the small amount of time he has to do language study. He's full of wisdom, and I always look forward to meeting with him.
Well, that's about it for this week. Transfers are next week, and I have no idea what is gonna happen haha. I've loved this transfer with Elder D, he's a stud and we've had lots of fun. Despite the recent downs we've had in terms of getting dropped by investigators, we've maintained a positive attitude and had a lot of fun with the work. I'm grateful for the time that we've had together so far!!
Hope you all have a great week!! Love you!!
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.