elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
nǐ hǎo wǒde péngyǒu hé jiātíng!
Another week in the books and another week closer to finally getting to Taiwan. We are all really anxious to get out and start to figure things out because there comes a certain time where you're just done learning language at the MTC and you just have to go over there and figure it out. The studying and diligence are definitely slowing down a little which has been really hard to figure out, but I've been able to kind of get past it a little and keep studying thanks to Elder H and Elder G. Anyways on to the week.
As many of you know we celebrated Christmas last week which was littttt hahaha. So the night before, we moved our cardboard tree (constructed by Elder C) into the common area and put all the presents under it. We then went around and taped everyone's doors so that they wouldn't lock when they closed them (definitely not allowed - do not do this) and then at 6 in the morning we had Santa Claus run in and jump on everyone's bed waking them up for Christmas. It was soooo funny. The rest of the day was full of Christmas fun. All the Elders in the zone wore sweaters, we exchanged gifts, we caroled around the MTC, and just had a really good time. It was so funny to see the looks people would give us. Most people loved it but other people were like, what the heck is going on. Our janitor said we had to take down all the decorations, but we quickly stopped him from being a Christmas scrooge by giving him some cinnamon rolls (which I guess didn't work because he wrecked our whole zone on our room checks - lol). The best thing about this whole Christmas celebration was how much happier we all were all day. The day went by really fast and everyone was in such a good mood. It's crazy how something so dumb could brighten everyone's spirit as we try to make it through these final couple weeks here.
In other news we moved classrooms this week. We moved from one of the more run down buildings to the newest building. They had to combine our district with another district due to a lack of teachers now that school has started, so we now have a district of 15 which is crazy hahaha. We are on the very top floor, have awesome views with awesome sunsets, and I'm right across the hall from Elder McQ! The weird thing about it is we are completely separated from the rest of our zone; they stayed back in the other building. Kinda sad but we love our new room, we call it "the roof" cause it's so much nicer than what we used to have.
Our devotional on Tuesday night was really really good. It was given by President Maynes of the 70 and his wife. They talked about the miracle of conversion and the power of the Book of Mormon in conversion. President Maynes told the story of a young man and woman that were converted while he was serving in the Uruguay mission. The young man's name was Carlos, and they found him after a really tough day of knocking and getting rejected. He was so eager to accept the gospel. He also converted a young woman named Rosario. Carlos and Rosario showed up together at a young mens young womens activity, both being about 17, and they ended up dating after that. They went to a devotional together where the speaker talked about the importance of every young man serving a mission and the sisters helping to motivate them to get to that point. As they were walking out, Carlos told Rosario, "I think I need to go on a mission." To which she replied, "I think you do too." So Carlos went, and about 6 months later, Rosario also went on a mission. They got back from their missions and ended up getting married. They had a son who ended up also going on a mission, and President Maynes stayed in contact with them this whole time. While serving as a Mission President in Uruguay, he asked Carlos if he could tell this story, and then have Carlos come up and bear his testimony. The simple testimony Carlos shared of the power of conversion was incredibly moving, everyone in the room had teary eyes. The point of him telling this story was to illustrate the effect of converting even just one or two people. Through the conversion of Carlos and Rosario, hundreds more were converted through their missions and their son's mission. Plus hundreds more through temple work. The worth of a single soul is incredible, and it really gave me some perspective and helped me want to love every single one of my investigators, because you never know what kind of impact one conversion could have.
This week we talked to an Elder heading to Sacramento from Taiwan. He taught us that wǒde màjí means "my homies" so while we were at this Chinese showing of a movie on Sunday, as we were leaving, I turned to the Native Chinese missionaries and said, "zàijiàn wǒde màjí!" They loved that they were all laughing so hard and it was so funny to make some Chinese Elders laugh a little.
Our zone is so much fun. We play volleyball during exercise time pretty much everyday and we all have a lot of fun with that. I love the strength that I've gotten from each one of them and the friendships that I've made. It's also so much fun to see all my friends from back home here. Seeing them so happy doing this work makes me so happy, and makes me want to try to be the best servant of the Lord I can be. I really do love being a missionary. There are times when it is really hard and really frustrating, but I know that we are getting so much help from the Lord. I really do feel all the loving support from home, it helps me so much and makes things so much easier.
My spiritual thought for this week comes from the scripture D&C 68:2-6 which has been one of my favorite scriptures this past week or so. It reads,
2 And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth--
3 And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
5 Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.
This scripture is just the best haha I don't know how to describe it with words. It gives me so much comfort and peace, especially when I'm struggling with teaching in Chinese or trying to figure out how to bring my investigators unto Christ. The Lord promises me that when I speak as I am moved upon by the Holy Ghost, it is scripture, and will have the power of the Lord. I love the part of verse 6 where it says, "be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you." I know that because I am relying on the Lord and trying to do his work, He will always be there for me and can comfort me, help me, aid me, and direct me to help those who have been prepared for me. I know that the Holy Ghost speaks differently to each person, but I also know that the Holy Ghost is the same for everyone. The same Holy Ghost that spoke to Joseph Smith is the same one that will speak to me and you, even though we may receive his words in a different way. This has really strengthened my testimony knowing that we can have the power of the Spirit that directed and still directs the prophets.
I love you all so much!! Make every day count, read your scriptures, and help yourself and others come unto Christ. This life is an amazing blessing and a privilege, and we should do all we can to show our gratitude for every day we are given. So go make something happen haha. Stay safe, and I can't wait to write you next week! jiā yóu (good luck)
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.