elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
Hope everyone had a great 4th of July and a good week!! This week was a good one over here in Guiren Ward!! We worked hard and saw some cool miracles as a result. It was really rainy during the first couple days, but since Friday it's been sunny and really, really hot. Like the kind of hot where the second you walk outside you're just sticky and sweaty. It's great :) The summer is honestly so fun over here, the fruit is cheap, they've got mango bing, and it just feels great to be a missionary. Good times over here in Taiwan.
All of our RC's are still doing great and loving the review lessons. They are super fun and I love them all so much. In terms of investigators, it's going a little bit slower, so we've had lots of finding time. One thing that's been great this week is despite lots of rejections, Elder D and I haven't been mad or frustrated at all this week. I love that about him, he's very patient and loving with the people. The toughest rejection was a college aged kid named Bing. We tracted into him, and he said he grew up in South Africa for 14 years before moving here, so his English was fluent. He was super cool, and it's one of those contacts where you really want them to add so bad, but in the end they don't. It's tough, but everyone has their agency, and we know he'll get another chance in the future! We finally saw hard work pay off at the end of the week when we met Bryan Lin! He's a 12 year old kid who likes english and hanging out with his friends. We shared about the Book of Mormon and prayer, and he was willing to pray with us! He loved it, and set up again for next week! Cool little miracle after a long week of contacting.
Besides contacting, we got to visit with lots of members who wanted to visit Elder D, which meant we got treated to lots of food which was nice haha. The members in this ward are so great, I love them all so much. They are so kind and loving, and so accepting of all the missionaries, members, investigators, and visitors. It has definitely been a blessing serving here and learning from them.
Well, this Thursday the 13th marks my 1 year mark on my mission. In all honesty the 1 year mark doesn't really mean that much cause I'll be doing the exact same thing I'd be doing any other day, sharing the good word with the good people of Taiwan, but I just wanna share a few of my thoughts really quick. Over the past year of my life, I've done some of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I've learned Chinese to the point where I can teach, talk with people, and even read (all of which I couldn't even imagine, even at the start of my mission). I've learned how to get along with all different kinds of people. I've learned how to really study the gospel. I've learned how to set goals and plans to help me achieve those goals. I've learned how to be independent (sort of haha). I've learned a lot about myself. Most importantly, I can say without a doubt that I am closer to my Savior now than I was a year ago. This mission has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It's been the hardest thing I've ever done, but I love it so much, and now, looking back on all the ups and downs, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm ready to hit the second year with all I got and keep working hard!! :)
Hope everyone has a great week this week! Love you all so much!! If you have any questions for me or about my mission, just shoot me an email! :) email@example.com
This week was a really good week. As you probably know already, it was Elder J's last week in Taiwan. We had lots of good food, including a really nice buffet on monday, met with lots of cool members, and had a great time. My time with Elder J has been some of the funniest and happiest times of my mission. We've had a great zone with other great Elders, and it's been a blast. He's such a stud of a missionary, and we saw some really cool miracles together. I will forever be grateful for his example and friendship to me. I'll miss him a lot, but America needs him now haha. Love you Elder J!
Well, I'm staying in Guiren, and my new companion is Elder D. He's super cool. He lives in Draper, Utah and went to Corner Canyon. He's 6 weeks older than me on the mission, and was really into road biking before the mission, so hopefully he doesn't leave me in the dust! He's super cool, and we're gonna work super hard here in Guiren!
This week was a little slower in terms of missionary work. We started the review lessons for our RC's Kelly, Sharon, and Jason. They are all still doing super great, and loving the gospel. We love spending time with them and seeing the changes they are making in their lives bring blessings. Our investigator Allen Cai is pretty cool too. We met with him again and tried to establish the importance of the Book of Mormon. He still kinda thinks our church is the same as other churches, but we'll get him there. Hopefully he can meet again this week!
Other than that, not much news this week. Finding has been really hard lately. We haven't had a new investigator in a couple weeks, so we are really gonna hit finding hard this week. I'm super excited to get after it!
This week in my studies I came across a bomb scripture in D&C. It's D&C 45:3-5. In verse 3 it reads: "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him." When I read this, the thought popped into my head, "listen to Him, the only person that wants your success more than you do." That was a really powerful thought for me. Think of how much you want to succeed in whatever it is that you are doing, and then try to imagine how much Christ, the one that Atoned for you and me so that we can become better, wants you to succeed. It then continues, "Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; 5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." I love my Savior so much. I know that without him, I have no chance of becoming who I want to become, and more importantly who He knows I CAN become. I love this gospel and the hope it brings into our lives so much.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week and 4th of July holiday :)
P.S. Gordon Hayward pleaseeee stay
What a great week over here in Guiren!! Lots of amazing miracles happening, and I'm so grateful that I get to be a part of it. I guess I'll just start with the good stuff: Jason, Kelly, and Sharon all got baptized last week!! :) What an amazing miracle it's been to be a part of all of this. Quick background on them if you forgot: Jason is a 12 year-old boy who is always with a member family in our ward. He's been coming to church for over a year, and we started teaching him about 3 weeks ago. It was very clear that he was very prepared and ready to accept the gospel. Kelly was met through a member in our ward, and we've been teaching her since about the middle of May. She also progressed very quickly, and she is a super outgoing fun person. She also drew a dope picture of me ‘cause she is a really talented artist, so I was super stoked about that haha. Sharon is someone we've been teaching since about the end of April. She's a little quiet, but she has such a strong testimony, especially about prayer. She's been so much fun to work with! It's been amazing to see the growth that these people have made. In the Tainan zone, the Zone Leaders started calling baptism baptehsm in honor of President Teh, so #baptehsm 💯
Last P-day, we played basketball at the chapel in Yongkang with a bunch of other missionaries. That's always super fun. I miss playing sports so much, so I love any chance I get. After that, we got treated to a really nice buffet with Elder M and Elder T, so that was super fun. Unlimited Haagan Daaz Ice cream was somethin’ else haha. We are going to another one today for Elder J's last P-day, so it should be a good time. Speaking of Elder J, he's the man. I love him so much and will miss him when he goes back to America. He's such a Christlike Missionary and a great example to me of someone who works hard until the very last day of their mission. We've had a great time here, and I'm grateful for all that I've learned.
This week I got to go on an exchange with the legendary Elder G, one of our Zone Leaders. It was super fun, and we came across a super prepared man, so that was awesome! Later in the week, Elder J and I met with Allen, the college baller that we came across last week. He seems really prepared and is willing to learn, so hopefully we can get him progressing!
I'm loving life so much right now. The mission is truly something that can't be described or understood until you've done it. I've gone through some of the toughest times of my life, and reached some of the happiest as well. I can tell you without a doubt that I've never done something as worthwhile as a mission. What a privilege it is to say I am a servant of the Lord, and I get the opportunity to represent him every day. I love my Savior.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week and be safe!
First off, Happy Father's Day to the best dad around, the one and only KJ. Loved by all who meet him, he definitely deserves a great day. Love you dad!! Thanks for being my homie and role model :) Hope everyone had a great week last week! Fam, the pics from Europe look AMAZING!! I'm so jealous! Keep em comin! This week, it rained every single day, so I didn't have a lot of pictures, but we had quite the busy week, so I'll get right to it.
Update on our investigators: Kelly, Sharon, and Jason all passed their baptismal interviews this week!! They have come so far, and it's been amazing to be a part of this process. Working with people like this is what makes everything worth it. Seeing people recognize the truth, search for answers, and make changes in their life is incredible, and being there first hand to see the effect is amazing. I love it so much. Sharon and Jason will be baptized on Saturday, and Kelly on Sunday. What an amazing miracle.
This week I went on exchanges with Elder T. He's from West Valley, and is definitely one of the funniest people I've ever met. He is in his second transfer, and really has a strong desire to help everyone come unto Christ. We met a dope guy who played basketball in college who had interest, so that was a cool part of the exchange. I'm so glad I can talk to people about Basketball in Chinese now. We had a great conversation about how Kyrie's dribbling ability is insane, and Steph splashes like none other. Making connections through sports has really helped me get people to realize that missionaries aren't scary people, and it gives me a good opportunity to testify in a relaxed setting where they feel comfortable around me. Who knew sports could be so useful in missionary work!
This week, we were tracting, and these twin boys were outside playing around. They would not leave us alone haha, we were trying to knock on doors, and they just kept yelling at us. They were about 5 years old to give you an idea of what was going on. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, they just start yelling "Happy New Years 是什麼東西？！" Which basically means, what the heck does Happy New Years mean? hahah we were dying, and translated it over for them, which made them go even more insane. I love Taiwanese people they're so funny. Speaking of funny people, in Gospel Principles they were talking about the Seagulls coming and eating the bugs in Utah, and they asked Elder J how long it would take for a seagull to fly from California to Utah. The teacher just turns to Elder J and says, "蔣長老(Elder J), SEABIRD" and we totally lost it for a second hahaha. When Taiwanese people try to speak English, it sounds pretty funny. They decided that it would probably take 1 hour for a seagull to fly from California to Utah. We didn't bother correcting them lol.
This week I was reading in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon. I have loved learning how the Bible and the Book of Mormon really do support each other. I read Hebrews 4:12 and then saw in the footnotes Alma 31:5. I really loved how these scriptures connected. I love in Alma how it says they decided to "try the word of God". I know that when we experiment upon the words in the scriptures, and pray for answers, we can truly receive them. I also know that the Book of Mormon and Bible were meant to support each other, not prove the other wrong.
Love you all so much!! Hope you have a great week!! Also, shout out to my boys KD and Steph for comin up clutch #dubnation 💯👌
This week was a great week in Guiren!! Our investigators are doing really well, plus, it was Elder Jensen's birthday last Wednesday!! He's finally the big 2-0 and lookin more studly than ever. Gotta love that guy. Our investigator drew him a picture of his face on Iron Man's body, so he was pretty stoked about that. We also got the best blueberry cheesecake ever, the crust was made of Oreos so I was stoked.
Last P-day, we went to the infamous Mr Steak and filled ourselves to the rim with fries, steak, and fruit. After that, we headed back to the church and just chilled and played games. I finally learned how to play majiang, which is super fun, I definitely recommend it. Chill P-days are always nice, I think we are going to do kind of the same thing today.
Our investigators are doing really well right now. Jason 曹家祥 is so awesome. We taught the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lessons this week, and he knew everything in them already. I can't believe no one has ever taught him before, he's been going to primary for like 2 years and just barely turned 12, so he knows the gospel pretty well. He loves what we share, and has been hitting the Book of Mormon really hard. He is a super cool miracle, and is scheduled for the 24th right now. Kelly 吳晏妮 is also doing great. We taught the 3rd lesson, and she really understands everything super well. Her parents aren't that fond of us right now, but we know that with faith she can get over this small obstacle. She is doing really well and scheduled for the 25th. Sharon 郭姿吟 is so awesome. We finished the commandments this week, and she agreed to give up coffee and tea because she felt if God commanded her to do it, she could do it. She came to church again and loved it. She is soooo cool, and is scheduled for the 24th right now. We are so blessed to be working with these awesome people.
This week I ate mangoes for the first time on my mission, and I think I'm in love. Just thought you should all know that
This week I was voted the 9th biggest jock in this mission by a voting committee comprised of missionaries in the mission. I'd like to send a shoutout to the voting committee for giving me the honor of being on this prestigious list with so many other fellow athletes. I'd also like to thank my family for helping me develop a love of sports. Shoutout to the other athletes on the list, you give sports in the mission a good name.
Well, that's about it for this week!! I read an awesome talk by Elder Ballard this week called Return and Receive from last April's conference. As a missionary, goal setting is really important, and I feel like this talk can help everyone as they learn to set goals in their personal lives. I'd encourage everyone to go and check it out!
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! Fam, be safe in Europe and love every second of it!!
Hope everyone had a great week this past week with school getting out and all that fun stuff. It rained 6 out of the 7 days over here, so we were soaked all week, but we didn't let that stop us!! It's actually super fun to be out in the rain. It's almost like swimming haha you just get soaked in 5 seconds. Taiwan rain is really interesting, one second its sprinkling and the next it’s raining harder than you've ever seen. It's lots of fun. Elder J is a swimmer, so every time it rains he's always stoked.
Last P-day we caught a lucky break with the weather and headed down by the beach to watch the dragon boats race. We also got to play football for the first time on my mission which was super fun. We had Zone Conference the next day, and that was super great. We talked a lot about the power of repentance, as well as how we can do better follow ups with our investigators. I always love Zone Conference because sometimes you just need your spiritual batteries recharged.
A little update on our investigators: KW 吳 (6/24 goal) came to church this week and really loved fast and testimony meeting. Her friend that referred her to us bore her testimony of the experience and the joy that it brought her, and Kelly started crying so that was a really cool spiritual moment. She is looking really good for her goal. SG 郭姿吟 (6/24) also is looking really good for her goal. We shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ this week, and she was loving it. She really is looking forward to baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. All our other goals are also doing really well! We are certainly blessed to work with these amazing people.
This week in Personal Study I've been reviewing some of the General Conference talks from this past April. One that really stood out to me was Elder Mark A. Bragg's talk "Brighter and Brighter Until the Perfect Day". He described 3 ways that we can search for light in our lives: the light of the church, the light of the gospel, and the light of Christ. I love the emphasis he put on the basic things we can do each week to obtain this light. I particularly like this message he gave, "The Light of Christ will help us see others through the Savior’s eyes. We will be more loving and understanding of the struggles of others. It will help us be more patient with those who may not worship as we do or serve as we might. It will help us understand the great plan of happiness more fully and see how we all fit into that great loving plan. It gives life, meaning, and purpose to all that we do. Now, with all the happiness that will come to us as we more fully understand the Light of Christ, it will not match the joy that we feel when we see the Light of Christ working in others: family, friends, and even complete strangers." as well as Romans 13:12 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." I'm so grateful for the wonderful resources we have around us to help us receive this spiritual light. I know that as we develop these habits of going to church, studying the gospel, and growing closer to Christ, we will feel the light of Christ working in our lives and the lives of others.
I love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
Another great week over here in Formosa!! Last Tuesday, we got to go to a really cool museum in our area. It looked like it was a little slice of France right in my mission, so Lij, while you were visiting my mission, I was visiting yours ;) We got to see lots of good friends from the zone and the artwork was spectacular. Reminded me of going to museums in Europe. It was super awesome.
This week, we saw some really cool miracles. Miracle number 1 is we were tracting, and felt like turning down a street. The second door we knocked, we ran into a very golden, very prepared lady. She was so willing to listen to our message and pray with us. She also had a 99 year old grandma with her that was just going off in Taiwanese the whole time haha. I don't think she understood that we couldn't understand her lol. Second miracle was Jason. Jason has been going to church with this member family for months, but he lives in another city so we never thought about teaching him. We were just driving back from church yesterday, and we were like, Jason, do you like church? He said yeah, and then we were like, do you wanna be baptized? We were kinda just spitballing, but he replied very excitedly, yes I really do! We taught him the 1st lesson that night, and he set a goal for 6/17. He doesn't live in our area, but since this family is willing to take him to church every week, we will do what we can for him. He is super cool.
Our other investigators are doing great. We currently have 5 investigators with a goal for June, and I think they could all hit it. I love you all so much!! Have a great week!!
This past week rained like every day, but I still managed to get some cool pics for y'all back home, don't you worry. We had a super fun week, starting with a fun P-day at the beach playin’ football and chillin’ with a bunch of other missionaries. I pulled out my old wide receiver skills from the elementary school days as well as doing my best Russell Wilson impression to throw some TD's. Super fun day, but we all got fried haha.
One of my favorite things that I get to do in this ward is translate church into English for the Filipino members. That has been a really cool experience, and a fun challenge to test my Chinese comprehension. It has been a cool way to see how far I've come, and a great way to provide a service for these strong members of the church.
This week we had a really cool experience with investigators. We realized that lately we haven't been the best at being bold with our baptismal invitations, so we decided to pick out our investigators that haven't been progressing as well as some of our new investigators and give them the baptismal invitation. We were blessed to see 3 of them accept, all for the 24th of June, so we are hoping they can all make it on that day!! One of those goals, a new investigator name Kelly, is an amazing artist and said she wanted to practice drawing white people, so we get to be her models lol. She took lots of pics of us, some of them very weird, and said she'll tell us when she finishes. She's really good, so I'm excited to see what it looks like. Also, random fact, everyone here thinks I look like Justin Bieber lol. I don't really get it, but I'll go with it. You could say we are Taiwan's next top models lol.
We also had a very weird coincidence. We were biking through our secondary area which is just in the middle of nowhere in the mountains, and we hear, "Hey Elders!!" from behind us. We whip around and there are two BYU students in a car that pull us over. They were here on a nursing trip, and apparently one of them said her husband served in Japan and they were trying to explain to the driver what missionaries look like. Cool miracle that we were able to see them and help their guide get a first hand look at missionaries. Later that day, we saw a temple that has tons of marvel superheroes in it. I didn't know that's what the daoists believed in, but hey whatever works I guess haha it definitely was cool to look at.
This week I went on exchanges with Elder M. He's super dope, he was Elder J's companion a while ago and we had lots of fun. We also ate one of the best steaks I've ever tasted. It was up there with Ruth’s Chris. What a day. Their area is huge, and we biked at least 50 miles on that exchange to add to the tons of miles we bike in our own area, so I'm feelin’ great haha.
This week, I was reading in 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10. It says "9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
I really love these teachings by Paul. None of us are perfect, and I am definitely not the perfect missionary nor have all the skills to be the perfect missionary, but through relying on the Lord, we can be strengthened to be what he wants us to be. I know that when we rely on the Lord, we find the true strength to progress and become more like what he wants us to be.
I love you all so much!! Have a great week, and remember to root for the Warriors and read your scriptures! :)
First off, just wanna wish all the mom's out there a happy Mother's Day! You have no idea how much you do for all of us, and we are so thankful. Specifically thankful for my mom and all she does for me :) She's the best! Everyone who knows her is blessed by her wonderful spirit. Love you mom!
Wow, we had such a special week. Last week on P-day, we headed back down to Gaoxiong 高雄 to check out Lotus Pond. It was super pretty, and we had lots of chances to take cool pics, so there should be some good ones this week. We also got to eat some Mexican food which I've been craving for months. It's hard to find Mexican food here, so it was a real treat.
Next super awesome thing about this week was we got to go to the temple!! Elder J had an RC that got baptized last year, and this year she got sealed, so we had the special opportunity to go to her sealing! We got to take the High Speed Rail up there which was so awesome. We went to the ceremony, took lots of pictures, and got to see some cool parts of Taibei. What an awesome day. It was super amazing that that day happened to be the temple day for our ward, as well as the Fengyuan ward where I used to serve, so we got to see some old friends.
And of course the best part of the week was skyping the fam :) Seeing them was so awesome, and being able to chat and tell stories and have a good time was the best. Family is so important, and I'm so grateful for the one I have supporting me all the time. Love you all so much!
That night after skype, we had a really cool miracle. We had a lesson set up with a 林小姐 (Mrs. Lin). She came and we didn't really know what to expect, cause the first thing she asked us was why we can't eat on Sunday. We started sharing, and worked into the first lesson, and realized she was so prepared. She had so many good questions that she's been looking to find answers to, and we were able to answer them and help her out. She was super excited to get a Book of Mormon, and we'll meet with her again this week!
I love you all so much! Have a great week, and remember your moms this week. Sorry this was kinda short, my fingers hurt haha.
好久不見. The times are flying by haha. This week was a really good week! We had lots going on and met some really cool people. We also got to visit a lot of members, so that was pretty fun too. Lots of weird stuff also happened this week, including one of our investigator's dad telling us that his friend was god, and he teleports around the world. We were a little bit shocked by what he was saying haha. We also had some guy yell "Jehovah's witnesses! Amen!" and then cross himself hahaha. He recognized lots of Christian sects, but apparently not ours lol.
Last P-day we went to Monkey Mountain down in Gaoxiong 高雄. That was super dope. It was a super pretty hike, and there were so many monkeys on the way down. They were small and look really cute, but beware, they are vicious. We had a bunch of crackers that we were gonna feed them, and they started jumping on us and going crazy for the food. It was pretty wild. I felt like Nigel Marvin or someone like that from Discovery channel. It was super fun, plus we got to see lots of cool homies.
This week we found a dope investigator. We were originally contacting his girlfriend, and then he walked out so we thought it was gonna be super awkward cause he probably thought we were hitting on his girlfriend or something, but he turned out to be super dope. We met with him later that week, and after the 1st lesson he said he felt like this was something he could accept. He had grown up with no strong beliefs, but he has been to Christian schools and understands a lot. The biggest miracle was he came to church on Sunday!! He said he wants to come again next week, so that was dope. He seems really interested, so we are excited to keep working with him! Willy is doing great too! He is reading the Book of Mormon like a champ, and loving the lessons. Unfortunately, he couldn't come to church cause he had work, but we'll keep praying that his boss will give him some time off!
We got to meet lots of the members this week. I love working with the members, because you really come to love them through serving with them. You really start to care for them and want to help them as much as you can. During our spiritual shares with them, I really felt the spirit guiding us to help them in the ways that they needed to be helped. It was a really cool feeling. We also found out this week that once a month, we get to teach mission prep to the young men and young women in our ward, so if you have any good ideas for that, shoot me an email!
Well that's about it!! I love you all so much. I know this church is true!! Have a great week!!
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.