elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week was a really great week, and lots of good stuff happened for us here in Pingdong. The Lord has really been blessing our work lately, and it's been great to be a part of it. This week we were blessed to have 6 of our investigators come to church, which was really awesome. We have a very interesting group of investigators, which consists of a couple moms, a dad, a few junior high and high school boys, and some college students. It's actually been really fun to work with lots of different people and learn how to teach to other people's needs. Sister Y, the one with the husband who doesn't want her to get baptized, set a new baptismal goal for the 14th of October, and I really think she can make it this time. We will keep working with her and praying for her. I know she can make it if she has enough faith and trusts in the Lord to provide, so we will see. Something that's been a huge miracle is all of our young investigators say their parents know they are meeting with us and don't oppose Christianity, so that has been a huge blessing. Family opposition has taken quite a toll on this area, so it's been great to have a break from that.
This week Sister S was baptized. It was a really nice service, and she bore a great testimony after being baptized. Her progress from the day I got here to now has been incredible. She has really found her own testimony of the gospel and overcome some obstacles (including family opposition) to get to this point. She will be a great member, and the ward has done a great job at welcoming her into the ward. This ward is really awesome. It's a big ward for Taiwan standards and it's been really fun to get to know all of them.
This week I finished my study on Jesus Christ from the invitation given by President Nelson. It was a huge blessing to be able to study more about my Savior and get to know him better. I feel like I understand and appreciate him much more now, and my love for him has grown a ton. I'm very thankful for this mission that has given me a chance to get to know my Savior more, and I can't wait to keep drawing closer to him.
Well, today is transfer day, and Elder H is shipping off to Gaoxiong. It was great being his companion, and really fun to experience what it's like to speak Chinese every day. I learned a ton, and I'm very grateful for the chance I had to serve with him. Well, I was called to train :) so I'll be staying with the Zone Leaders for a couple days and then heading up to pick up my trainee. Super stoked, but also a little nervous haha. I'm super excited to be able to say down here in Pingdong. The work is really picking up, and it's looking really good!!
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! :)
This week was a great one here in Pingdong!! You'd think that by September it would start cooling down, but no, it's still ridiculously hot haha. Last Monday, we went to the famous 石頭 buffet, and it definitely lived up to expectations. To top that, some members said they want to take us there today, so 石頭 round two comin’ your way :)
In terms of really exciting news, Sister S passed her baptismal interview!! She is getting baptized this Saturday, and we are so excited for her. She's overcome a lot and come a long way since I got here. When I first got here, she was kind of a borderline investigator, but she has progressed the most out of any of our investigators by far. She's been really great to work with, and it's been great to see her faith grow and change. In terms of other investigators nearing baptism, we are still waiting for the permission of Sister Y's husband, but we think it might be getting closer! We will hopefully have an opportunity to visit them this week, so we'll see how it goes.
This week's finding was great, we were blessed to find 5 new investigators, 2 of which came from referrals, so that was a really cool miracle. This ward has been really great, the members are so nice and are willing to help us in taking care of our investigators. There are a lot of cool families here, so it's been really fun. This past week they had a moon cake activity, and needless to say, our apartment now has a lot of moon cakes haha 好吃
This week we had the opportunity of interviewing with President Teh, which is always a privilege. He then attended my DTM, which was super cool. Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous, but I wasn't, I was just stoked to spend more time with President and Sister Teh. They are so awesome, I can't wait for you guys to meet them.
This week in my personal study, I came across a scripture in Deuteronomy that I really loved. It's in chapter 8 and it's verse 3. It says, " And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." I love how this verse helps us understand how much we truly rely on the Lord and his Gospel. It is truly by Him and his sacrifice for us that we are able to live a life worth living, and I'm so very grateful for the gospel truths that we have through this restored gospel.
Well that's all for this week. It's lit over her in Taiwan. Hope you all have a great week!! Love you all so much!! :)
Wow, the weeks are really rollin' on. Sometimes it's crazy to realize that I'm already back here emailing again. This week flew by, we were pretty busy and had lots to do, so that always helps. This week, I really saw some cool miracles as we went out and contacted. I feel like for a lot of my mission, every time it was time to go out and contact I would look at it like "well, better grind it out this next hour or so and then I'll get to take a break," looking at it as a suffering rather than a great opportunity. This past week, Elder H and I focused a lot on being positive while we were outside contacting. It lead to some cool miracles, as we were able to find 3 new investigators. One of them, Brother L, reminds me a lot of Ben, my RC from Fengyuan. He has lots of good questions, and wanted to give us a hug at the end of the lesson haha. He's a bro, and really wants to learn more. Back to contacting for a minute, I think the most important thing is that I really enjoyed every time we got to go outside and contact. I didn't look at it as suffering, and I actually was super stoked every time we went out to contact. It really made a big difference, because I was able to testify of the gospel with a spirit of excitement. It was really cool. People can really feel when you testify with excitement, so be stoked every time you leave the door to go proselyte :)
Our investigators are all doing alright. Sister S came to church again, and is lookin’ pretty good for baptism. We might have to move it back to the 30th, but I think she will make the goal :) Sister Y is still waiting for her husband’s permission, so keep praying for her! The work is really starting to pick up for us. I feel like we are meeting lots of really cool people each day and really finding those that are prepared to receive us. We've also had a lot of opportunities to meet and serve the members. Every Tuesday we help Sister T pick weeds in her garden, and next Wednesday we are going to a member’s house to help her organize all her stuff. She's a bit of a hoarder, so it should be a good time haha. She called her house "outer darkness" so I'm a little worried lol.
That's pretty much it from this week! This Thursday is my 1 year mark in Taiwan, so we are going to eat some good food today to celebrate :) Love you all so much!! If you have time this week, study 1 timothy 4:10. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. His Atonement really has the power to carry us through all of our problems and trials. I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had on my mission to get to know him better.
Another week flies by and here I am again writing about the great times over here in Taiwan. In case you forgot, it's still 4681789 degrees and I sweat pretty much from the minute I walk outside til the minute I get inside at night. If it's not that hot, it's raining super hard. I still can't decide which I prefer haha. Nah but for reals, Taiwan is super amazing. Last P-day we had the opportunity to go to 佛光山, or for those of you back home, you can probably just call it buddhaland. It was soooo cool. It was actually really cool to learn a little more about what a lot of the people here believe in. It helped me realize that when we try to help people come to our church from a religion like that, we have to respect what they worship and believe. It was really pretty, and we went with our zone leaders Elder M and Elder V so that was super fun.
This week we had Zone Conference and Stake Conference, so that was super fun. I got to see Elder H for the first time in forever. We chatted about how a year ago, we were still in the MTC getting ready to finally make it to Taiwan. Crazy how time flies. While we were at Zone Conference, I had to translate the 6 hour meeting into Chinese for Elder H. My throat was wrecked after, but that didn't matter when Elder H expressed how grateful he was. It was cool to be able to do that for him so he could understand the great messages that were given. Stake conference was also awesome. President Teh spoke and gave the first couple minutes of his talk in Chinese, which was so dope. Really cool to see that even with how busy he is, he's putting time into learning the language. Gotta love President Teh.
This week was a little tougher in terms of finding and teaching. One of our investigators was sick, the other had busy work until Sunday, and another had a ping pong tournament and was not able to attend church, so that meant we had lots of time on the streets to contact. We keep meeting really cool people, but for some reason they just won't take the next step and meet with us again. It's been a little discouraging, but we've been able to keep our heads up so far and keep working hard.
Last night, we saw a really big miracle. We were biking to our next contacting activity and pulled up to a traffic light. Elder H said hello to the guy next to him and then the light turned green so nothing really happened. As we kept biking, we realized that the guy he had said hi to had pulled over to the side of the road. We biked past him, and then he followed us and tracked us down, telling us to pull over. He then just blurted out, "I hope this isn't weird, but I've always wanted to know the difference between your church and other Christian churches." We were just like whaaaat that never happens!! We took him to a nearby family mart and we were able to share the whole first lesson with him. It was really rushed because he only had like 20 minutes, but I felt the Spirit very strongly. He is moving to Jiayi Minxiong this next weekend, but we will make sure he gets in contact with the missionaries up there. Super big miracle.
One thing that has always been cool for me is how I've been able to feel the spirit through music. Music is something that has always been really important to me in my life and something that I've always loved. I remember being very young, singing "Nearer My God to Thee" and feeling the spirit very strongly, maybe for one of the first times in my life (at least that I can remember). This week, as I was doing some extra studying, the hymn "How Firm a Foundation" came on. This hymn always reminds me of my Grandpa Joe, who told me once about how special the 7th verse is. As I listened to this song, especially the 7th verse, I was filled with the spirit. The words to the 7 verse are
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!"
Through my mission, I have really come to love my Savior and know him more, and I want Him know that I will never "desert to his foes". I'm really grateful that this special hymn came on this week.
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.