elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
nǐ hǎo wǒde jiātíng hé wǒde péngyǒu!
The weeks are really starting to fly by here at the MTC, partly because I really love it here and the days are always a perfect mix of spiritual and fun. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting here writing about my 4th week. This week was pretty normal so there might not be a ton but I'll try to think of good things to say haha.
First off really exciting news I was able to finish the full MURPH with a couple of my buddies in the zone. It means we ran a mile, did 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, then ran another mile. Doing these kind of challenging workouts every Friday is really fun and believe it or not, we all look forward to it every week. We think if we can do this insanely hard workout, we can learn Chinese. Maybe.
This week was really good for me spiritually. I was able to read the first half of Alma this week about Ammon, Amulek, the Sons of Mosiah, etc. I love their examples of diligent missionary work.
A scripture that was really important to my district this week was Alma 26:35-37 it says
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power,all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of everypeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.
I love these verses because they help us remember that it is not through us, but through the Lord's power that we can bring about miracles. Whenever we begin to become too prideful in ourselves and our work, we have to remember that it is through God and Jesus Christ that we can do this. It is through the Holy Ghost that people become converted, not through us. I know that without the help of my savior, there is no way I would be able to be doing what I'm doing. The MTC has had people come in and ask, "How do you teach all these young adults their languages so fast? What kind of crazy methods are you using?" What they fail to comprehend is the help we are all receiving from on High. It is really amazing the progress that we have all made in these short 5 weeks. I went from not being able to speak or understand any Chinese to being able to teach a whole lesson without notes and understand most of what our investigators say. It truly is amazing, and I know it would be impossible without the help of our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
This week was a really funny week for some reason. During one of the choir practices, Elder B and Elder K, two of my good friends and two of the funniest people here got on the big screen. When Elder B realized he was on the screen, he looked directly at the camera, gave the cheesiest smile, and winked. After that they started laughing uncontrollably and everyone was dying hahaha it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Elder B also tried to "fight" Elder K (related to Bronson Kafusi the NFL player from BYU) and Elder K picked him up and dumped him on his head hahaha it was so funny. We have a lot of fun times here at the MTC which definitely makes everything a lot better.
On Tuesday, Sister Oscarson came and gave us a great devotional message about the great worth of our missions. She started by sharing the experience of her daughter while she was serving a mission. One day, she was feeling really down about the trend of her mission. They weren't really getting through to the investigators in the way they would have liked to. They were getting really discouraged and didn't know what they could do to turn it around. Then, a question popped into her head. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" The answer is a definitive no. The Lord has experienced everything that we could ever experience. He knows exactly the challenges we go through and how we can make it through them. Most importantly, he knows each of us personally, and how to best help us to meet our needs and fulfill our divine purpose. When we rely on the Lord, we can become instruments in his hands to bring this gospel to those all over the world. She went on to talk about the holiness of each mission call. She said "Our mission is divinely right for us...The Lord has a mission experience prepared just for you...trust that the Lord knows what you can become." These are such powerful words and I know with certainty that they are true. My mission could not be more perfect for me. I can already see evidence of that in the MTC. The Lord knows exactly what I can become and exactly how to help me become that. If I can put my trust in the Lord, he will give me strength, guidance, and help in becoming an instrument in His hands. I know this mission experience will stay with me throughout all eternity, and help me to rely on the Lord and his direction in my life. I know that by coming unto Christ everyday, I can set the course for the rest of my life, and influence those around me for good.
I'm so grateful for every day I get to have on this mission. Even though I desperately wish I was in Taiwan Already, I'm thankful for every opportunity I have in the MTC. The tender mercies in my life are all around, and I know there is nothing better I could be doing with my life right now. I promise you all that as you draw nearer unto the Lord, he will guide you and bless you in ways you never thought possible. I love and miss you all. I pray for you and hope that you are all finding lasting happiness in your lives. Most importantly, make the most of every day. The thought I'll leave you with is a quote I recently heard. "The business of life is the acquisition of memories, after all, that's all you have in the end." Make memories. Have lots of fun. Most importantly, come closer to Christ each day. I testify to you that this is the way to lasting happiness.
Love, Elder Jones
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.