elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Heyyyy everyone I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Santa brought you everything you asked for!
This week was pretty bland. A lot of our investigators disappeared. They just stopped answering their phones and it's tough, but there's not much we can really do about it. We have had lots of time to go contacting, which is tough for me ‘cause I hate contacting haha but I'm trying to get better at enjoying it don't worry.
Obviously the biggest thing about this week was skyping my family :) It was amazing to see everyone's smiling faces and get to hear their voices. Although it was tough ‘cause it made me really homesick and I miss them a lot, I know why I'm here and that helped me refocus a little bit. Spend lots of time with your families this Christmas, ‘cause families are the best.
We had our Christmas party yesterday, and it was insane. Houfeng (my ward) and Dongfeng both came, and there was like a hundred people there, which is a really amazing turnout in Taiwan. We got to talk to lots of members and eat really good food. We also got to watch the Presidency Christmas devotional, but it was in Chinese so I didn't understand absolutely everything haha. But don't worry it's getting better.
On my birthday, we had to celebrate so we went all out at McDonald's (lunch) and Mr Steak (dinner). Hahah I felt so fat but it was so worth it. Gotta love some good American food. We also got to teach English class that night, so we taught them about Christmas in America and helped them get into the Christmas spirit a little bit.
The wrist is probably about 85% right now. I've started playing guitar, and I did some pull ups for the first time with no pain so I can probably start working out again.
Sorry this email is super short, I feel like nothing happened last week haha. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Light the World program has been awesome, and I feel like on a mission experiencing Christmas, I've gotten to know my Savior so much better. I love this gospel, and I know it is true. Just gotta keep on grindin’, ‘cause there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Love you all so much!! Have a great week and a Happy New Year!!
This week was so awesome and so hard all at the same time. But we made it, we got a baptism, and it was super special.
So our investigator Zhang DX got baptized on Saturday. Our ward usually isn't super in to coming to ward activities, but we had like 40 people there which was a huge miracle. Also, Zhang DX's three kids came to the baptism which was awesome. Guan DX, the member of the 70 that is Zhang DX's friend, was there as well and gave a great talk (Which I understood most of hehe). Zhang DX was super happy on the day of his baptism, happier than I've ever seen him. He was so ready, and his testimony is amazing. I know the Lord has lot's of things in store for him.
Zhang DX was taught 30 years ago by Elder VS's dad. He wasn't quite ready to accept baptism at that time, but Elder VS's dad left an amazing impression on him, something I will forever be grateful for. A couple months ago, Zhang DX was prompted to try to get in contact with Elder VS's dad, as well as come to church and try to find the missionaries. It all worked out, and we were able to teach him the lessons and he was so willing to commit to everything. To cap everything off, Elder VS got permission to come baptize him, which was super awesome. It was super spiritual, and something that I'm sure was really special for Zhang DX as well as for the VS family.
Another crazy miracle was Guan DX. He had been praying for so long on how to help the missionaries with the work. He went to school with Zhang DX but hadn't had contact with him in many years. One day, Zhang DX got back in contact with him trying to find Elder VS's dad. Guan DX was a crucial part of the teaching process and was our member present at almost every lesson. He bore such good testimony, and was visibly touched at the baptism. He was crying as Zhang DX was baptized, and it was super spiritual. I know, especially through this experience, that the Lord will bless us with missionary opportunities if we ask him in faith.
Nothing else really happened this week. Walking everywhere was tough, but a member in our ward shared a great experience in Priesthood. Friday night we walked about an hour to his house to teach him and his kids who are both LA (less active). We told them we walked to their house and they couldn't believe it, cause it was really cold haha. He offered us a ride home, and we politely declined, saying we wanted to be able to contact people on the walk home to best use the Lord's time. His kids were so inspired by this that they came to the baptismal service, and he said he was touched by our service. I didn't really think it was a big deal, but it was amazing to see the power our example had on them.
During this Christmas season, I am so very thankful for the Savior and his perfect example for all of us. I am forever grateful for his sacrifice, and the complete love he has for us. He is our perfect example, and through relying on him, we can become better each day, and eventually return to live with our Father in Heaven again. I know this church is true. I know that anyone who isn't sure about this church can find out for themselves. We invite everyone to read the Book of Mormon, Ponder about it, Pray, and Come to Church. I know that through these steps, God will reveal the truthfulness of this gospel. I am so grateful for this missionary opportunity and the chance I have to share the truth with everyone.
Love you all!! Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful week!!
Heyyy hope everyone is doing good this Christmas season.
First, I'm going to get a baptism :) our investigator Z. DX is getting baptized this Saturday, and I am so excited. The growth we've seen him make is amazing, and it's really strengthened my testimony being able to work with him. He has a really good testimony and just gave up tea and alcohol in one day, he's amazing. Every time we meet with him we ask him to share some of his favorite scriptures that he has read recently, and it amazes me every time. It's super special, and it makes all the tough stuff worth it.
Speaking of tough stuff, I had a very interesting couple of days last week. Thursday night we were biking back from an appointment with Z. DX. We had just finished the commandments and were feeling really good about everything. I was not being as safe as I should have been on my bike, and we were hauling. I biffed it pretty bad, and I knew pretty quickly that I was wrecked. We got a free ambulance ride where the EMT's kept telling me that I need to drink alcohol at night to help with my circulation lol. Got some X-rays and found out I have a linear fracture on the Ulnar bone as well as a sprained wrist. Got a nice cast and can't ride a bike for a couple weeks, so we are walking and busing around now. Always use two hands when you are biking :)
Last P-day we got to go to an amusement park, which was super fun. If it was in America, it would have been a really sucky amusement park haha but since we are in Taiwan and we are missionaries it was really fun. There was one super fun roller coaster that had a 90 degree drop so that was super fun. We went with some members from the neighboring ward and Elder D and Elder H, so that was super fun.
This week was transfer week, and Elder J and I are both staying here. There was another set of Elders in Houfeng, but they left so it's just us now, and we have a lot of work to do haha. We are super stoked that we get to stay here because there is so much work to be done. We can really help the ward out, and we have some really cool investigators right now, not to mention our english class is really fun haha. We have a really big turn out. We teach the advanced class, and we always have 10-15 students which is about double what we had in Taiping. The students are all super funny, and they all love to practice their English, so it makes teaching really easy ‘cause they all just wanna talk haha. There is a student named Marshawn ‘cause he loves Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks, so I have fun with him haha. Allen comes every time too, he's one of our investigators and he's super cool, I love him. The students are all super funny and have the funniest questions about America and English. We are still teaching Allen. He is slowly coming along, we are trying to get him reading the Book of Mormon, but he really likes the basic concepts of the religion. We just need him to keep commitments.
I also got some packages from my family and the Halls which were really awesome. Love getting some Christmas cheer cause in Taiwan nothing really happens haha. The language is good, it's coming slowly but surely. I'm finally out of Phase 1, which means I'm learning real world words instead of gospel words so that should help.
I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. The light the world thing that the church is doing is so amazing. We try every day to do the challenges that it gives, and it's really brought a whole new meaning into the Christmas season. I encourage everyone to continue doing the daily challenges and study about the Savior, I promise it will make the Christmas season have so much more meaning.
Have a good week everyone! Stay safe, and be safe when you ride bikes ;)
Mom's note: We received a short email last night saying that Elder Jones would not be sending a letter this week. He's off to have some well deserved fun with some members. He got a package from home this week that was 'amazing'. The book with pictures of the friends 'made my life' and the letter from their moms was amazing too! We're looking forward to more news next week! This is what he wrote:
I'm really excited to have a fun day and release some stress of working 24/7 haha. This week was one of the best weeks of my mission :) probably like a 9/10 right now, so super great! We found 4 new investigators last week, and our baptismal goal Z. DX is a stud, he is getting baptized on the 17th so I hope I'm still here!!
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.