elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
This last week was a good one for us here in Taizhong. We saw a lot of cool things happen, and had a lot of fun. It was also my last time celebrating Chinese New Year on my mission, which was kinda sad. We had a great last dinner with the Bishop's family, and had a good time doing a spiritual share with them. Lucky for us, our ward mission leader is setting up a bunch of lessons and meals with members this next month, so it's like Chinese New Year never ended 😁
This past week we had a sad setback with C. C has been doing really well at quitting smoking, and we were feeling pretty good about him hitting his baptismal goal for the 10th of March, but he told us that because of his schooling, he can't come to church until the end of May. Apparently the class he takes is only offered on Sunday and conflicts with both morning and afternoon times of church, so we were really bummed about that. On the bright side, we were able to find 3 new investigators this past week and teach a lot of lessons. We got a referral from a less active member that we've been re-activating, and then two others from contacting, so we are pretty stoked about that! Now we just gotta keep the momentum going and keep finding new people.
We've also recently started to find lots of opportunities to serve, which has been really cool. I think we have a service activity set up for almost every day this next week, which is something to be excited about. The service projects vary from sweeping leaves and garbage, cleaning floors and windows, helping a member move in to the ward, and remodeling a house. We are pretty excited, doing service is fun, and it's always awesome to see how happy people are after you do something cool for them.
We had a real cool experience in a lesson with one of the investigators that we met with this past week. I remember it was about two weeks ago that we contacted her, and it was a really awkward contact cause it was in the middle of the city on a busy Sunday night right next to a bus station, so it was really loud and kinda awkward haha. I remember that night I was particularly frustrated with our lack of success, and it was about 8:30 so I was ready to call it a night and start heading home when we decided to contact her before going back. Well, she came to our lesson this past week and was hung up on one question. She said, "out of the thousands of people you could have contacted that night, why did you choose me?" we explained a little about the guidance of the spirit and then got to know her better and started with the lesson. She grew up living above a Mormon family, but had never been invited to come to our church and had never been contacted by the missionaries until the day we met her. Her family members are members of other Christian churches, but she thinks they are all hypocritical because they act loving at church but not in the home. We taught some basic principles, and tied it back to her question of why we chose to talk to her. She said something that blew my mind, she said "so maybe God put you in my path because he knew I was ready to hear this message. Maybe my time has arrived." I'll tell you what, to hear someone you just met say that is one of the best feelings a missionary could ever have. It's so awesome that she is already recognizing the spirit in her life. She came to church yesterday and loved it, and even started listening to talks by President Thomas S. Monson on our church website (the thing that makes this even more crazy is all we have taught her about so far is God and Prayer). She is very prepared, and this experience reminded me that God places people in our paths for a reason. I completely believe that we were supposed to contact her that night, and I am so grateful that we did.
I heard a quote a little while back that I'd like to share with y'all this week. It's from a missionary that used to be in our zone, and he said they always say this where he's from in the South. The quote goes, "Get on your knees and pray like it's all up to God, then get on your feet and walk like it's all up to you." I looooove this quote, because it shows us the importance of humility and accountability. We must be humble enough to ask for God's help, and not just ask for it, but really desire to have it. After we do that, we must be accountable and do our part to receive the blessings we are hoping for. Since I've heard this quote, I've been trying to be better and praying for things and then actually working hard to make sure it happens.
Well, that's about it for this week! Basketball is still going strong, and I'm having a lot of fun with that :) love you all so much! 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.