elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Mom's note: Matthew had Thanksgiving dinner at McDonald's - could be worse. He also ate at a steak house this week with Mumford & Sons on a TV in the background. It's the little things :)
Hey fam, it's lit over here in Taiwan.
So this week, we won the lottery!! Kinda. In Taiwan, when you buy something, they give you a receipt with an 8 digit number on it. At the end of 2 months, they release the winning numbers. If you have like 3 out of 8, you get a little money, 4 out of 8 is a little more, and so on so forth. Elder J and I won a combined $1600 kuai, which is about $48 so we now have $24 each to spend, so looks like I'm buying more jerseys from Frank lol.
On Wednesday, we were in the middle of comp study, and we got a call from Elder H and Elder D saying their water was out in their house, so they got to come stay at our house for a couple days. That was super fun haha they are both pretty chill. During that time I went on exchanges with Elder H, which was pretty fun. We talked to some crazy guy that has been working in Australia and loves English swear words, and then some crazy old guy who said he would come to church on Sunday but when we called wouldn't answer the phone. So yeah, just your typical Taiwan stuff haha. It rained almost every day last week and is getting colder, so it's nice to not be sweating every day now.
Last week, we had a super cool lesson with our baptismal goal 'Z' DX (DX is Brother). Our peike (member) was 'G' DX, a member of the 70, and it was a really spiritual lesson on the Plan of Salvation. 'Z' DX is super great, he knows so much about everything before we even teach him, he reads the Book of Mormon like crazy, and he's just the best. He sent us a super nice text last week saying how grateful he was for his "little teachers" which was super awesome haha. I really think he'll get baptized, he's making progress every day and has already been to church 4 times. I can really see his testimony growing.
I don't have a ton to talk about this week so I'm gonna explain one of the unique things about Taiwan. The Ama's and Agong's (Grandmas and Grandpas) do some of the craziest "exercises" I've ever seen. They are convinced that if they slap themselves a hundred times that counts as exercise. I have seen 70+ year old people hurling themselves into trees, walls, or anything they can find. They also love to stand and swing their arms back and forth. I've even heard of people walking backwards around a track hahaha the exercises make no sense to me. So yeah, as long as you don't exercise by slapping yourself or running into a tree, you are doing better than the older generation in Taiwan. Grandma and Grandpa, please don't try any of this, it is not healthy.
That's about it for this week, it was a pretty slow, uneventful week. On the brightside, one of my homies 'A' from our English class set up and was really interested in the lesson we shared! He agreed to meet next week, so we are hoping that we can get him working towards baptism. He is really interested in the Plan of Salvation, so we are gonna share that with him next time.
This week I wanna bear my testimony about the Book of Mormon. I know without a doubt in my mind that the Book of Mormon is true. I know that it is the most correct of any book, and I've seen the impact it can have in bringing people closer to Christ, both in my life and in the lives of others. If you ever doubt it, read it, and pray and ask God if it is true. I know that you will get an answer, maybe not in the way you would expect, but it will be there. I have seen the way this book changes lives, and I'm so grateful for the chance I have to share it with the people of Taiwan.
Love you all, have a good week!!
So that says hello my friends and family, one of the few things I know how to write in Chinese haha. So this week was pretty good, and I want to start by telling you all my random new talents that I've learned over here.
1. I am really good at riding a bike with no hands
2. I am really good at pretending like I understand what people are saying lol
Yep those are my only talents hahaha but hey, I'm really enjoying life right now, being able to play guitar at the end of the day really helps, and yeah, everything is great.
This week was super busy and we didn't have a lot of time to try to find new investigators. One of the reasons for that is because we had Trainer Follow ups on Tuesday!! That was super awesome, I got to see Elder B, Elder V, Elder Ch, Elder Ch, and Elder P, so that was really fun. President and Sister Teh gave us some really good guidance on how we can be more effective as companionships, and it was just all really fun.
We have a super awesome, super prepared investigator named Zhang Dixiong (Dixiong just means brother) He is such a cool guy, he knows everything that we have taught him so far from the Restoration and reads the Book of Mormon every day, he is already cruisin through 2nd Nephi so he's doing great. He met Elder V's (an Elder in my MTC district) dad 30 years ago, and recently decided he wanted to see what this church was all about, he really wants to have happiness in his life. We got to teach him on Thursday, and I got to bear my testimony about 2nd Nephi 2:6-8 which was really special to me because it is one of my favorite scriptures. Even though I couldn't say exactly what I wanted to say, I could really feel the Spirit as I was speaking and I know he could too. It was super awesome. My Chinese is to the point where I can simply teach lessons, do street contacting, make calls to set up investigators, and that's about it hahaha. I struggle to make conversation, but hey, I've only been here for 9 weeks so I'm feelin ok about everything. Anyways, we are going to teach him this week, and a member of the Seventy, who happens to be Zhang Dixiong's friend from college is being our member at the lesson, so that is kinda scary haha. Wish me luck.
This week we also had a ward Thanksgiving activity which was really fun. They wanted to learn about Thanksgiving, so we taught them, and had them make a turkey with all their favorite blessings, and that was super cool. We have some super cool members. It was fun to spend some time with them and get to know them all a little more.
Lastly, I wanted to share one of my new favorite chapters in the Old Testament, Romans Chapter 8. I feel like this chapter is perfect for me, mostly because it talks a lot about hope and the investment God has mad in us as His children, and how much he wants us to succeed and return home. One of my favorite verses is 31 which says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" 100% true, if God is for us, we have nothing to worry about, so make sure you are living according to how God would want. I also love verses 38 and 39 talking about the love He has for us, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I love that so much. Always remember how much this gospel is about love. It really makes me grateful for everything I have, every challenge, every high point, every person I get to meet, it's all so great. I love this gospel so much, and I promise you that the love God has for us is infinite.
Have a good week!! Love you all
Zhong Zhang Lao
nǐ hǎo wǒde péngyǒu hé jiātíng!!
This week was great, there was so much good to be seen and so many miracles.
I'll jump right into it. On Tuesday, we were praying all day that our new investigator Chen Jie mei would be able to come. We were also really struggling to find a peike (member present lesson), so we were praying all day for that too. We did everything we could, and then hoped that the Lord could come through for us. Turns out, there was a peike that called like 5 minutes before the lesson started, and he was awesome. He bore a really strong testimony and helped our investigator understand how this gospel has changed his life. It was an awesome experience, and she is reading the Book of Mormon and praying.
Another super cool thing happened on Sunday. Like half an hour before church was about to start, these 4 kids just walked into the building and said they wanted to come to church today and learn about Jesus. It was so awesome. They went to all the classes after sacrament too and are going to meet with us this Thursday.
We also had the opportunity to go on exchanges this Friday. I was with our Zone Leader Elder T. He is super musically gifted and taught me a ton of stuff on the guitar. He also taught me something very interesting about Imagine Dragons. All of the songs have church references. He gave me examples from like 10 different songs, so I am convinced haha. If anyone wants to send me some lyrics and challenge me, feel free lol.
Last P-day we went to a mall, and I set the record on a basketball arcade game, so NBA here I come lol.
Right now I've been really focusing on faith in all aspects of the work. I've been relying a ton on prayer and really trying to strengthen my relationship with God. I know that it has blessed me a ton over these past few days. I've really had more faith in finding and been able to bear better testimonies and understand a little more. I still have no idea what is going on half the time, but I love every second of it haha. I love my mission so much, and being able to help people learn of Christ is the best thing ever :)
Have a good week everyone! If you have time, read Elder Holland's talk, "The First Great Commandment." It really affected me this week. Love you all so much :)
zhōng zhǎng lǎo
Sorry about the depressing letter last week haha, I've had some rough times but everything is looking so much better this week.
Our new area is dope. It's got everything, a super busy section, super cool places to go tracting, and the ward is super great. I'm super blessed to be here, plus the apartment is much nicer than our last one haha The area is just super cool, and has lot's of opportunities to talk to lot's of people, plus a lot of diversity in what we can do. There is this super cool night market, and there's a part of the city that reminds me of a very miniature Times Square haha. It's super cool. We try to contact there (at the night market) every once in a while A lot of times people are too much in a rush to talk but it's still worthwhile. We eat there sometimes too. We like to mix it up. I still eat McDonald's or KFC at least twice a week haha. We are going to get Korean chicken this afternoon, which will be really spicy so good luck to me.
There is a super cool guy in our ward named Mao Kai Ping. If you search "I'm a Mormon: Mao Kai Ping" You'll get to see a little bit of what my life is like haha. There are a few English speaking members too so that's super nice. We are whitewashing again but we have 2 new investigators with a couple more that might set up. Just working really hard and having faith that it will work out. Companionship is more harmonious, so everything is working out. Still a couple rough patches every once in a while, but it's getting there. The weather here is awesome right now, instead of being mid to high 90's it's like low 80's. I wore a long sleeve shirt for the first time on Thursday.
Last Sunday was an interesting one haha. We had the Law of Chastity lesson for the second week in a row, so yeah, I basically know everything about that in Chinese now and not much else lol super funny. We also had the craziest priesthood lesson. The whole time, this guy just explained how to do different kinds of blessings and did demonstrations and had people come and practice hahaha. It was so chaotic. I'm not sure if that is super allowed, but people here need to learn the applications of the priesthood, so they usually do something like that every once in a while. It was super funny, we were all dying watching them figure it out. I was super stoked Yesterday because I felt like I understood the gist of almost everything that was going on at church :) I still miss tons of words and still hard to respond some times, but it's getting better.
On Saturday we got invited to a members house for a dinner activity with some investigators and stuff. We got there, and there was just tables and tables of food, and they were blasting English music that was not the most appropriate lol. It was super funny, and we got to meet some investigators so that was super fun. They played High School Musical so you know I was rockin' out haha, as well as some songs that were from my playlist back home. Nice little break, then we got right back out there to spread the good word.
Our English class is super dope, it's just 14 homies that love white people and wanna practice English haha. One of them is named Marshawn because he loves Marshawn Lynch, and another one lived in California for a long time, so they are all super cool haha. We had a really cool spiritual share this last week. We showed them the bullying video "Just Stop It" or whatever it's called. It was awesome. The spirit filled the room, and we talked to them about how the Savior is our perfect example of being nice to everyone. We hopefully will get some good setups out of English, we are meeting with one of our students next week so that's awesome!!
This week I got super discouraged one night. I just sat down and told my companion, "I don't feel like I've helped anyone on my mission. I can't speak the language, I don't understand that much, and I haven't baptized anyone." He then helped me realize all the other things that are important about a mission. I realized how part of it is about helping myself come unto Christ, as well as other missionaries and those at home. That made me feel a little bit better about everything.
I want everyone to know that even when you can't directly see the results of what you are doing, the influence it has on other people is sometimes unimaginable. There are people that are influenced every day by our actions, words, and how we carry ourselves. We are examples to the world of what LDS church members are. I would encourage everyone to try to be mindful of the example you set for those around you, and realize how much you are looked to as an example in your own life. I love you all, and I love my mission :) One more thing, I've been reading a lot about how I can better dedicate myself to the work, and one scripture that really stood out to me was Mark 8:35. Lose your life in the gospel, and discover true happiness. That's all for this week folks, keep on keepin on!
zhōng zhǎng lǎo
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.