elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This week we had a little Halloween party after our English class that the ward put on. We were just chillin there when all the sudden the classic halloween song from my childhood 'spooky scary skeletons' came on. I was pretty stoked, and then it got even better when it was a trap remix of the song. It was pretty lit. Happy Halloween everyone lol.
Finding this week was a little bit on the rougher side, but that's ok, cause we got a really nice couple that also came to church this week! They are really nice, and we are meeting with them this week so we are excited about that. We are also meeting with Brother L, the one that I talked about last week, after English class on Wednesday night, so we are stoked about that. Another piece of good news, Sister Y got permission to be baptized! So that could happen in the coming weeks, so we are stoked about that. When she finally gets baptized, a huge weight will come off of my shoulders lol.
This week we went on exchanges with the Fengshan Elders. Always a good time. The thing that I was most stoked about was the fact that Elder Y and Elder B were able to go together. They both have less than 3 months of experience in Taiwan, but they killed it and found a lot of success for us. Really great to see them building their confidence, and another good testimony builder that Chinese isn't everything, and you can be effective no matter what level your Chinese is at, you just have to be willing to do what the Lord wants you to do.
This week as I was studying more about humility, I revisted the story of Nephi when he breaks his bow in the wilderness. I was reading a talk that goes more in depth in the story, and was really excited to find some cool insights. I loved how Nephi asked God to help him, then he went and acted, followed by counseling with his priesthood leader (his father) on what else he could do. Great pattern to follow in our own lives when we encounter problems. I also loved these quotes that were in the talk. The first is by Dennis L Largey: "God may not always stop bows from breaking, but he does help in the construction of new ones." and this one by President Monson, "Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest difficulty." God gives us challenges for a reason, to help us grow and learn. Always remember that he wants to and will give us guidance and direction.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! :)
You already know it was a good week over here in Taiwan. Last P-day we headed to the 85 story skyscraper in Gaoxiong, and boy was that cool. Elder H knows a bunch of people from Gaoxiong, and one of his member friends took us to a restaurant on the 39th floor with some sweet views, and then we went up to the top to look around. It was really cool. Unfortunately, it was a pretty smoggy day, but I still got some cool pics don't worry haha.
In terms of finding this last week was ok! Not the best but not the worst haha. We found 3 new investigators, and actually had a really cool miracle while we were out finding. It came while we were tracting haha my favorite. The very first house we tracted had one of the most prepared people I've ever seen. We knocked on the door and an older lady answered. Just as she answered, a motor scooter with a husband and wife pulled up. It was pretty awkward and just as we were about to give up the guy came back outside and started talking to us. He said he met missionaries a couple months ago and always wanted to go but just never had time. He willingly set up for the next day, and we were able to share a nice lesson with him about the Book of Mormon and prayer. This was a huge testimony builder to me of how God is really leading people into our paths, and He is also leading us to other people. I've read that line many times in Preach My Gospel, but this week it became real for me. This guy is one of the coolest people ever, he retired from the military to take care of his sick mom, and drives her to and from the hospital every day to get treatment. It's like a 30 minute drive both ways, so he's a stud. I'll keep you posted on him for sure!
This week I got to go on exchanges with the legendary Elder M. It was a good time. We've gotten really tight over the past couple transfers being here in the same area together, so it was fun to get to proselyte with him. He's very humble and has a crazy good work ethic, so it was fun to learn from him.
Another random nice thing that happened to us was some of our English class students treated us to a really nice hot pot this week. They said they love the way we teach English. I think the way I teach English is super boring, but hey, it made us feel good to get some good food.
Our stake held a sports activity this week that we got permission to go to. That was really fun. Played some basketball for the first time in a while. Kinda messed up my heel but it's getting better and hasn't slowed down proselyting so that's good. Elder Y won the free throw competition, so that was sick. I was very proud of him haha.
I've recently restarted the Book of Mormon with a focus on humility. I've really loved reading about Nephi and seeing his humility in all things. He is so willing to inquire of the Lord often, he seeks the welfare of those around him, and always exhorts others to follow Christ and worship Him. It's been really cool to see how much the Book of Mormon really teaches about humility. If you are looking to spice up your Book of Mormon reading, I would definitely recommend picking a Christlike attribute and trying to learn things about it from the Book of Mormon!
Well, that's all for this week! Love you all so much and have a great week!! :)
Another great week down here in Pingdong with Elder Y!! It's been really rainy these past couple days, but we haven't let that slow us down and it's been a really fun time. This past week we were able to keep the momentum going with finding as well as set a new baptismal goal!! Our new baptismal goal is for V, he's a 14 year old 8th grader who is really mature and likes to learn about the church. He set a goal for 11/18, but he needs to start coming to church and reading more, so we will continue to work with him on that!
This week while we were eating dinner, I was shocked to see Cosmo the Cougar and the Cougarettes on Taiwanese news. They were talking about how Cosmo is a great dancer and the person can't breathe very well while they are in the costume. It was soooo funny. I never thought I'd see BYU on the news in Taiwan, but I guess that just shows you how small the world really is. That's about the only positive news I've got about BYU, I heard they're terrible this year :(
Another side note, while we were teaching a lesson in a 7/11 this week, we were discussing about General Conference and it was going pretty well, when Eminem's famous, "Not afraid" came on the radio. Almost ruined the spiritual moment. Maybe that was God's way of telling me I shouldn't listen to rap lol.
This week we had zone conference which was great. We talked a lot about working with the members and helping them get involved in missionary work. We then had another conference on Friday where President Funk and President Snow came and talked to our mission. There were 3 members of the 70 in that conference, pretty cool feeling. I also got to see Elder B for the first time in forever so that was fun!
This last Saturday our ward had a little dinner party/talent show thing. It was a really fun activity and gave us a great chance to interact with the members. The members were shocked when me, Elder Y, Elder M, and Elder H got up and helped some members sing a song called hao xiang ni. It was pretty cool to see the members laughing and having a great time. The members are great in this ward and do a great job at taking care of the new members and investigators. It's been really fun to be able to work with them.
Well that's about it for this week!! Hopefully Sister Y can get baptized in the next week or so. We are just waiting on her to get work off so she can come to church and get confirmed, so when that happens, she'll be baptized. She's so ready and has a super strong testimony. It's been great working with her.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
This week was a really great week, but it didn't start out that way. In fact, it definitely started at about as close as you can get to 0 as possible. On Monday night, we got dropped by 3 of our investigators. 3 in one night. This was right after a ton of our investigators bailed on coming to church the day before. We were pretty discouraged, plus we contacted for 3 hours straight with no success. It was safe to say that we needed something to kick start our week. I found that through good, focused personal study, exercise time, and preparing in the morning, I was able to feel good about going out every day, and it definitely helped. Throughout the week we tried our best to stay positive and have a great time contacting, and we were able to see some really cool miracles, including 5 new investigators and some really good potential investigators that set up for next week. One of the new investigators is moving up to Taoyuan, but we got a lesson set up for him with the Elders up there so it should be good. It's been a great miracle to see how just by keeping your attitude in a good place you are able to overcome challenges. That was definitely one of the biggest lessons I learned this week. Another thing that came to me during my studies this week was found in D&C 58:3 which says,
"Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation."
I feel like when we are struggling and encounter challenges, when we think the work should be going better, when we wonder why more people won't say yes to our message, we have to remember that God knows us perfectly, and everything is according to His divine design. He knows us, and he will look after us. I definitely gained a stronger testimony of that this week. Elder Y is killin’ it in his first couple weeks here. He's working hard and really showing a lot of growth. Plus it's been really fun talking with him about the good old days up at Snowbasin. Man I miss that place a lot haha.
In addition to the new investigators, we have 2 investigators on date for this month! Sister Y is for the 21st and Sister X for the 28th. They are both looking pretty good to get baptized this month, so we are super excited about that. Sister Y finally got the situation worked out with her husband so we are really excited about that. She's told us that she's tired of putting off baptism, so we are really excited to help her take the next step! We've been working with both of them for a really long time, so we are excited for them to continue their journey of learning the gospel!
This week we got to watch conference, which was amazing. I felt like every message was personalized for me, which is a really cool feeling, especially on a mission. I had written a few questions down before the conference that I was hoping to get answers to, and I'm confident that the messages within the conference answered those questions. President Uchtdorf started off the conference right with a great talk about God and the natural man's inclination to return home. Elder Holland delivered a classic Elder Holland talk that always leaves you completely ready to change and become better. President Nelson gave one of the best talks about the BoM that I've ever heard, President Eyring backed it right up, and Elder Andersen gave a stellar final talk and left me with a desire to review conference as much as I can. I feel like there were so many memorable quotes from this conference.
Some of my favorites include, "Remember to put your focus on Jesus Christ today," "Perfection is Pending," and a great quote from the late Elder Hales through Elder Andersen, "when we choose to have faith, we are prepared to stand in the presence of God," as well as many other inspired teachings. I really loved listening to this session of General Conference, and encourage you all to review it over and over again. I just want to add my testimony on to those already born by our prophets, seers, and revelators. I know that the Book of Mormon is vitally important to our salvation. It is crucial to helping us avoid the temptations of the adversary and make good choices in this life to prepare for the life to come. Life is hard, but through the Book of Mormon, we can receive the spiritual strength to face any challenge that comes our way. I love the Book of Mormon so much. It has changed my life, and I know it will continue to change my life. No matter how many times you have read it, I encourage everyone to read it again and again. It really makes a difference, and I promise you'll be able to feel it.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week and remember to put your focus on Jesus Christ today and every day!
What's up everybody?! Got lots of news for this week so I'll get right into it. Saying goodbye to Elder H last week was really sad. He's one of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met. He was always a fun time and a great missionary. He was also very patient with me and helped my Chinese a ton, so I'm very thankful for that. After that, I was in a 3 man with my homies Elder M and Elder H for a couple days which was a blast. We had lots of lessons, got treated to some really good food, and had a great time. We also got to do service for two different members out in their fields. That was super fun. I was rockin' the classic Taiwanese rice hat and boy that was a life saver. if I didn't have that guy, I would've gotten a 3rd degree sunburn haha. It is actually super fun to have those opportunities. I don't think I will ever sweat more than I do when we are out doing service for the members in their fields, so it's a great memory :)
On Thursday, I woke up at 4:30 and headed up to Taizhong to get my companion. When we got there, I was reunited with Elder G, my MTC companion. It's been over a year since we've seen each other, and it was super fun to be able to catch up and talk about the good ol' days in the MTC. He's training in Houfeng, my second area, so that will be super fun for him. We got some training from President and Sister Teh, and then met the trainees. My trainee is Elder Y from Layton, Utah. I was so pumped when I found that out, cause I knew there were some people from Layton coming to this mission. He lives like 5 minutes from my house which is super fun. He's a snowboarder and also went to Basin so we've probably crossed paths before. He also loves tennis and skating, and we're having a great time so far. One thing that has been super cool about being around Elder Y is seeing how brave he has been. On the very first night I was like, "ok, you're leading us in these next couple contacts," and he was super down. He helped us get a really cool add on the first night, who became our new investigator :) Unfortunately, she's moving to Gaoxiong this week, so we won't get to meet with her much more but she's super cool, she'll do great with the missionaries over there. Elder Y has inspired me to not be afraid to talk to anyone, which has been really cool to see. He's a BEAST! Super pumped to be able to work with him.
Another thing that I've learned from Elder Y is the power of the Gift of Tongues. When Elder Y got up to give his testimony in sacrament meeting, he was really nervous, but he got up and did a great job. He was using good words and whippin' out the grammar phrases that they teach at the MTC, and I really felt the Spirit through him as he expressed his love for the people here. It reminded me to never take for granted the extra help we have in learning this language. It was a really cool feeling for me to be able to see that. It's also been cool to think back on when I started and see how far I've come. Training has been super fun so far, and I'm stoked to keep it going!
Well that's pretty much it for this week. A lot of our investigators bailed on us for church this week, but that's alright, we'll get em. Just gotta keep going out and doing our best, and of course doing everything with a smile on our faces. Serving the Lord is great. Even when it's hard, it's great. Hope you all have a great week, love you so much!!
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.