elder Matthew Jones
Taiwan, Taichung mission
nǐ hǎo wǒ de jiātíng hé péngyǒu!!
I love this mission so much. I am filled with so much love and compassion for everyone here and the people of Taiwan that I haven't even met yet. The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with everyone here is truly amazing, and something I have never been able to experience before. The weeks are starting to fly by, it's honestly crazy that I'm back here emailing again.
This week was really so much fun and so much work. We got new investigators to teach, zhōuxīnlì who is a buddhist and dīngxuélái who is somewhat Christian. It's been a really interesting experience for me learning to teach them and learning from experiences we have had. The first lesson we taught both of them was so bad. Elder G and I came out of both of those first lessons so frustrated and overwhelmed by the difficulty teaching them. I was really getting down on myself and thinking I couldn't do it, when we had a lesson on teaching simply while still meeting the investigator's needs. We decided to try to implement this method on our second teaching appointments with both of these investigators, so we quickly outlined the message of the Restoration in 8 simple bullet points centered around the fact that God loves us and the invitation to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. The difference between those lessons and the first lessons was insane. We were able to reach these investigators and teach from the heart to meet their needs, all while teach very simply about the doctrine of this wonderful gospel. I am now able to somewhat communicate with the investigator, bear testimony, pray, and teach in Chinese. It is truly an incredible blessing to me to be able to see the Gift of Tongues working in my life. Chinese is incredibly hard and I struggle with it every day, making so many mistakes every time I try to speak my mind, but I know that it will come.
Another thing that has truly amazed me while I've been here is to see myself becoming more converted to Christ. It is often said that this mission is not just about converting others, it is also about converting yourself. I truly believe that. Being able to read the Book of Mormon everyday and study out of Preach My Gospel has strengthened my conversion so much. I love the Book of Mormon so much, it helps me get better each day and draw nearer to Christ. Our Branch President's wife challenged us to read at least one scripture out of the Book of Mormon a day for the rest of our lives, and I'd like to invite all of you to accept that challenge. I know we can all better ourselves through diligent study of the Book of Mormon. It is the converting book and strengthening our individual conversions is one of the most important things we can do in this life. I know that is true and I know the Book of Mormon is true.
Our Sunday devotional was really amazing. It was given by Elder Allen and he showed us a bunch of old commercials put out by the Church. They all had these really good simple, one sentence messages at the end of them. For example, "When everything says you can't, believe in the part of you that says you can" "It's often life's small moments that are the greatest moments" and "People can't hear what's in your heart. If you love them, let them know." If you're getting this email, know that I love you all and I wouldn't be here without the support I have received and the friendships that have strengthened me throughout my life. I'm so thankful for each and every one of you and know that my friends and my family are one of the most important things in my life. The Sunday and Tuesday night devotionals are really special, we all look forward to the advice and guidance we receive and it helps so much with the lessons, enduring through days, etc.
My Zone is honestly so much fun. All the Districts are really tight with each other, and we are able to have fun while keeping in line with the missionary standards and having the spiritual moments each day. We studied Jacob 5 in depth with the Taibei district which was really cool to hear everyone's insights on the doctrine contained in the parable of the Olive Tree. We also played signs with them which is pretty much the funnest, funniest game you could ever play in the MTC. We have such strong testimony meetings but we also laugh harder than anyone here. It's the coolest mix of people. Elder B from the Taibei district has music on iTunes, Elder P shoots lots of guns, and Elder H can beat box like nobody's business (like I'm talkin spinning the CD beat boxing). Hahaha which reminds me we had the funniest rap battles this week. Elder V, Elder F, and Elder B duked it out and we were all laughing and having a good time. The Oldest district left to Taizhong on Tuesday, which was really sad but also really good. We got to hug them goodbye and picture ourselves in their shoes in 6 weeks. Wow 6 weeks is a long time haha but it's so good and I'm so excited for my turn to have that opportunity.
The MTC is so great. I love it here. The friendships I've made have helped me manage to make it through the long days. My continuing conversion to Christ has been so important to me. Learning Chinese and seeing it come little by little each day has been amazing. I'm so thankful for this opportunity in my life. A saying we have in our District that Elder V gave us is "Two people can do anything, as long as one of them is Jesus Christ." I love that quote and I know it to be true. There is no way in the world I could be doing what I'm doing: learning Chinese, leaving everything for two years, going to Taiwan, without my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for him and his Atoning Sacrifice. I have grown closer to him in these first 3 weeks and I can't wait to continue my conversion to him. I know with all my heart this Gospel is true and that we can all live together again with our Heavenly Father. What a blessing it is that I can share that message with the people of Taiwan. I love my mission.
I love getting dear elders and packages and I love hearing from everyone, so please write me! I'll be sure to respond, I have a lot of time to email on P-days and can write letters any day. I love you all and I love this Gospel of Jesus Christ!!
yīnweì wǒmen yǒu jīdū gēn wǒmen, wǒmen kěyǐ zuò měi yī gè shìqìng
(Because we have Christ with us, we can do anything)
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.