elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
nǐ hǎo wǒde jiātíng hé wǒde péngyǒu!
Wow, it's so crazy that I'm already back here emailing again. The weeks are starting to fly by, and I can't believe I've already been here for almost a month! This week was filled with so many ups and downs, and it really helped me strengthen my faith and realize that I really do need to rely on my Heavenly Father every day.
The biggest struggle that I had to deal with this week was the fact that I've been sick since last Thursday and am just today starting to feel a little better. I did a really hard workout on Friday which definitely didn't help with my condition. I had a cough, headache, and a sore throat that got really bad on Monday and Tuesday, and it has made it really hard to focus during class, study time, and everything else we do. I've taken cough medicine, mucinex, ibuprofen, you name it and I've probably taken it haha. On Tuesday I was really struggling, and it put me in sort of a bad mood. After the devotional on Tuesday (which I'll get into in a minute), we were sitting in our classroom when Elder P spoke up and said that we had been instructed to not hesitate to give Priesthood blessings to Elders and Sisters who were feeling sick or otherwise in need of comfort. It hadn't really occurred to me to ask for a blessing, so him speaking up was a tender mercy for me. I asked my companion to give me a blessing, and as my district gathered around me, I felt the power of the Priesthood so strongly. That blessing gave me so much comfort and relief, and today I have started to feel a little bit better. I was so grateful for the willingness of my companion Elder G to give me a blessing, and I'm grateful for his worthiness to be able to give that blessing to me. I testify that the power of a Priesthood blessing is incredible, and I challenge all holders of the Priesthood to be worthy of their calling and power. The Priesthood truly is God's power to act on the earth, and when we are worthy to use it, we can bless those around us.
This week my companion and I taught a couple lessons that were truly amazing and testified to me of the power of the Holy Ghost in working through people to testify of the truths of this gospel. Saturday was a particularly amazing day. We started with TRC which is where we teach a member about a principle of the gospel, and this week's principle was the power of sincere prayer and the blessings it can bring us. We had only 10 minutes to prepare for this lesson, so we were stressing about filling the whole 20 minutes. We can pretty much teach without notes now which is so amazing, so that definitely helps. We walked in to our first appointment and sat down with a young man who had served his mission in Taizhong and was attending BYU. We started out by reading a couple of scriptures about the power of prayer with him (which I believe were 2 Nephi 32: 8-9, D&C 9:7-9, and one other that I can't remember right now) and then bore our testimonies after each one. We reviewed some principles of sincere prayer found in PMG and continued to share testimony and experiences of times we have felt the power of sincere prayer and blessings we have seen in our lives. We challenged him to pray sincerely every day and try to recognize the blessings, help, and guidance he had received in his life. On our evaluation slip he returned to us, he said, "Not gonna lie, that was probably one of the best lessons I've ever been taught at the MTC!" It was so amazing to read those words and know that our testimonies and experiences had gotten across to him and made him feel more converted. The next lesson we taught was very similar, as the couple we taught told us that they loved our strong, sincere, simple testimonies of prayer and the power that it has in converting and blessing us. I love being able to share my testimony with others around me. I know that through sharing testimony, you and those around you can become more converted to Christ. It is amazing to see the effect of pure testimony in the lives of those around you. We also got one of our investigators to commit to baptism!! A big problem she was having was how Jesus Christ could atone for all of our sins and how he did that, so we showed her the video, "Because of Him" in Chinese, and the Spirit was so strong. We were all on the verge of tears as she said she understood and was thankful for Jesus's sacrifice. The next lesson we taught her, she committed to baptism. It is so awesome to watch your investigators progress, even if they just are fake MTC investigators. We love them so much and it is amazing to see them come unto Christ.
For our weekly movie Sunday night, we got to watch Ephraim's Rescue and the funniest thing happened. When the boy and the girl kissed, everyone went insane and there were like 1400 missionaries cheering and yelling. Everyone freaks out about that kinda stuff and it's so funny. Our maturity level is definitely lower than you might think haha.
On Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to hear Elder Neil A. Anderson speak to us, on his birthday. His grandson, Elder H, is our zone leader, so we got news that he was coming about a week ago. He gave a really good message about the desire of a missionary and the importance of keeping that going strong throughout your mission. He compared desire to a small flame burning, and warned us not to let that flame die when we go through challenging times in the mission field. He also told us to see the good in everyone, love the people you serve, talk to everyone, and search tirelessly to find those that God has prepared for you to teach. He said this mission will build the foundation for the rest of our lives, and build the foundation in the lives of those we teach. He closed by saying, "Don't be discouraged, be full of courage." I love that phrase, and while it is true we will all go through challenging times, we can work through them and come out better if we rely on our Father in Heaven. In our devotional testimony review of the devotional, the Spirit was so strong. After we closed in prayer, we all started humming Nearer My God to Thee, and Sister T who is the wife of the second counselor in our Branch Presidency and sat in on our testimony meeting, was moved to tears. It was such a cool spiritual experience.
I am so thankful for this mission experience that I am having. It is starting to fly by, and I'm thankful for the opportunities I get to become converted to Christ, convert others, share my testimony, bond with those around me, and serve the Lord. I know Taiwan is exactly where I am supposed to be going. I know that with all certainty. Even though the language is tough, I can slowly feel it coming, and it is amazing to see all the progress that I have made in this language. I apologize if my tones are a little wrong, but most of you couldn't tell even if they were haha so I'm gonna bear my testimony real quick.
wǒ zhídào zhège fúyīn shì zhénshìde. wǒ kěyǐ gándào shènglíng gēn wǒ gōutōng. wǒ zhídào yuēsè sīmì fùxīng zhège jiàohuì. wǒ weì tā shì hěn gánxiè. wǒ zhídào yēsū jīdū weì wǒmen gěi tāde huó. wǒ zhídào tóuguó yēsū jīdū de shúzuì, wǒmen kěyǐ biánchèng géng hǎo de rén. wǒ ài zhège fúyīn. féng yēsū jīdū de míng, amen.
I love you all, and I appreciate the love, support, and prayers that are sent my way. This gospel is truly amazing, and I can't wait to bring the knowledge, joy, and truth to the people of Taiwan.
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.