As you can probably tell from the title of this email, I've moved areas! I moved to the wonderful city of Pingdong! Pingdong is one of the most southern parts of our mission and yes, it's still really, really hot haha. My new companion is Elder H. He is from Tabei and is my first Taiwanese companion!! He just barely finished being trained, and really seems to have a love of talking to people. He's super friendly and nice, so it's gonna be a great transfer. Hopin' my Chinese will improve lots this transfer. It was really sad to say goodbye to both Elder D and Guiren. Elder D got called to train there, and he will do a fantastic job. He's such a bro, I'll miss him a lot! Love you Elder D! It's always so hard for me to leave areas and the people I've met, but I know God has a plan for me. I've seen his hand in every one of my transfers so far, so why not trust him now? :)
Also had to say another hard goodbye this week to the one and only Elder A. It was really awesome that we got to serve around each other for the last three transfers after being companions earlier on. This last Thursday, I got to go on his last exchange with him. It was super fun. We found a new investigator, worked hard, and had lots of fun. It was really hard to say goodbye to him, but, America needs him now haha. Love you Elder A!
We also had another exchange this last week with the Anding Elders. It was a busy week, and we didn't really get to spend much time in Guiren which is a bummer but it is what it is. I went with Elder R, who also happens to be from Kaysville. We taught one of our investigators the WoW, so hopefully he can start experiencing the blessings from following that! We also dropped in a baptismal goal for 9/9. His name's Kevin, we've been teaching him for a while, and he said he's finally ready. I'll have to get updated on that!
Another cool thing that happened this week was I got to read some family history stories about my great grandpa and grandma. As I was reading these stories, I really felt a spirit of love come over me as I was getting to know these people. It was really cool to read about their lives and what they went through. Family History is actually pretty cool, I feel bad about not doing much before my mission haha.
Well, moving days are always a mix of nerves, stress, and a little bit of sadness. It's always hard to have a new start, but at the same time, it's great. I'm super excited to get working here in Pingdong!! I know this is where the Lord needs me now :) Love you all so much!! Be safe and have a great week :)
This week was a little bit slower in terms of the work, but there is still lots of good stuff going on here in Guiren. Last week we made it out of the typhoon and were able to go to the church to play ball. That's always a good time. I miss playing ball everyday. I'm feelin very rusty over here in Taiwan so I'll have to play with Mark lots when I get home ;)
While we were eating lunch this week, the restaurant started playing, "Here's to Never Growing Up" which was our graduation song. It was a kinda surreal feeling sitting there and realizing, wow, we actually are growing up. Led to some interesting reflection on how the last year has gone, and made me feel really grateful that I'm out here on my mission :)
This week we met with A 湯奕辰 for the first time in a while and had one of the best lessons I've had in a long time. We had Brother L help us with the lesson, and we started off by showing "Hope of God's Light". A loved that video, and he said he thought it was really cool that God was there every step of the way. We then transitioned into sharing about why we need to read and pray to recognize God's influence in our lives. Lots of good testimony was born, and I could tell A was really touched by it. He said he'd read and pray, so we hope he'll do it! We have him set up again for Wednesday, so we are excited about that.
Another cool miracle was we were tracting late Wednesday night and it was almost time to go home. we really wanted to hit standards that day, so we prayed really hard right before tracting to be able to hit that standard. We also expressed that we knew it was possible. On the last house we knocked, we were let in by a 15 year old kid named J. J was super cool, and seemed pretty interested in our message. We shared about the BoM and Prayer, and ended up going back a couple of days later to teach the restoration.The only problem is J has a very interesting family situation. We've never seen the parents, and his older brother and sister seem to not like us very much. He was hesitant to set up again and wouldn't give us a phone number, but we told him we'd come back and check on him this week, so we'll definitely make sure to do that.
All the RC's finished their review lessons this week and are all set to go!! It's been super fun to watch all of them grow and learn in the gospel. One of them, K, is giving a talk next week, so that will be fun to see. J should also be getting the priesthood soon so I'm stoked about that. We've also been working with some LA's recently. It's really interesting to meet lots of different people and see their views on things. One thing it's helped me realize is not to judge people based on outward appearances or what other people say about them. These people have all been very nice, and despite their varying problems, they are still great people and have helped me humble myself a little more and be more accepting, which I definitely need haha.
This week we also had interviews with the best mission president out there. President Teh is so great. He talked to me about skiing for a little bit and then shocked me by showing off his character reading skills. Pretty impressive considering the small amount of time he has to do language study. He's full of wisdom, and I always look forward to meeting with him.
Well, that's about it for this week. Transfers are next week, and I have no idea what is gonna happen haha. I've loved this transfer with Elder D, he's a stud and we've had lots of fun. Despite the recent downs we've had in terms of getting dropped by investigators, we've maintained a positive attitude and had a lot of fun with the work. I'm grateful for the time that we've had together so far!!
Hope you all have a great week!! Love you!!
Taiwan is super bipolar with the weather. One week it's super sunny, one week it's super rainy. The one constant is it's super humid and I sweat a ton, so there ya go. This week was an interesting one. I was still pretty congested so that wasn't super fun, but we still went out and worked hard. Of our 8 new investigators that we found last week, 5 have already disappeared, so that is super sad :( no worries though, we just keep going. Finding is a sifting process. For P-day today we are going to play ball if we can make it over to the church. It's been really rainy lately, but we'll do our best.
Yesterday we were supposed to get hit by a massive typhoon. Everyone was freaking out, and everything was preparing to close down. They announced the night before that our church was cancelled, which was a huge bummer cause we were supposed to give talks and now we just don't have to. I had prepared a bomb one one President Holland's talk from last conference, so that's a bummer. We woke up that morning, and nothing was even happening. We ended up eating lunch at a members house. I got to play "The Judge" by Twenty One Pilots on the Uke. That was pretty fun, and they all enjoyed that. Later on in the afternoon, the second typhoon hit, and this one was much worse. It was raining really hard all night, and made contacting very tough haha. Still a good time though.
This week, we had a pretty cool finding experience. We were tracting and this dog started following us. We stopped to pet it for a second, and then this guy pulled up on his scooter. We asked, "is this your dog?" He said no. We then asked, "Is this your house?" He said no again. He was chewing betel nut, so we were a little hesitant to talk to him, but he turned out being super friendly and nice. He set up to meet with us the next day, and we were able to share a first lesson and give him a goal. His background is really rough, and we know he can find comfort and peace in the gospel. Super cool stuff! We also found one other new investigator that is pretty cool and can meet every Tuesday, so don't worry we're still moving the work along!
For my spiritual share this week, I wanna talk about some thoughts that were coming to me last night as we were tracting in the rain. We had been outside all night working hard in crazy rain, and barely met anyone. Everyone was turning us down, and I was feeling a little down in the dumps haha. As we were walking our bikes home (we got a flat tire) I was wondering why we hadn't gotten blessed for going out and working hard when we didn't want to. The thought popped into my head that the reason for working hard should be because it's the right thing to do, not because we wanna get the blessings that might come. The success we might get as missionaries is a blessing from the Lord, and the motivation to work should be we want to be like Christ and do what he would do. Pretty humbling thought for me, but really glad I could learn that lesson last night in the cold rain haha.
Love you all so much!! Have a great week!! :)
Hope everyone had a great week this last week, cause we certainly did!! I'll just start off by saying this was the best finding week of my whole mission. We saw so many miracles, and it was the busiest I've ever been, which meant the week flew by haha. The only unfortunate thing about this week was I was sick for most of it, which was not very fun. Sometimes I'd catch myself thinking, "man if I was home right now I'd be sleepin' or chillin' or something," but I tried to put those thoughts out of my mind and work hard anyways. Luckily, we were busy so that was a big blessing.
This week we found 8 new investigators, did lots of work with less active members, and saw a mormon family! I'll talk about that first. We were sitting at a 7/11 doing studies, and all the sudden we noticed there were two boys sitting next to us that were definitely not from Taiwan. We said hi and they said hi and we thought that was gonna be the end of it. All of the sudden their mom comes out of nowhere and buys us slurpees. She said they were from Denver visiting (I'm assuming she was originally from Taiwan). She said it's awesome that her boys could see the missionaries in Taiwan and she hopes one day they can serve here. They already have fluent Chinese, so that was pretty cool considering they were both around 10 years old. Pretty cool miracle to run into a Mormon family in Guiren haha.
On to the new investigators. I'll just share about a few of the really cool ones that we found. One of them is Sherry. Sherry was contacted by the Anding Elders, who then gave us her number. She is apparently a former investigator, so when she showed up to the lesson, we weren't sure exactly what she needed to hear. We shared about prayer, the Book of Mormon, and Church, as well as touching on the Godhead. She was super prepared to hear that, and had lots of good questions. We met with her again this week and shared the 1st lesson. She was considering everything we said very deeply, and I think she is really prepared to accept this message.
Another cool thing that happened is right after we finished meeting with Sherry, we walked outside to our bikes and these two college age guys rolled up on their motor scooters. One of them was wearing a LeBron shirt, and sort of instinctively I just shouted, "LeBron!" He was just like "Yeah, he's so good!" using perfect English. We started talking to him and he studied college in Canada. He and his buddy (who happens to be his cousin) set up for the next day, and we were able to share a restoration with them. They both listened very intently and were really pondering the message. They accepted invitations to read and pray about it, and we have them set up again for tonight so hopefully it goes well!!
Lots of cool miracles happening here in Guiren. We met with a couple less actives this week and shared messages about the importance of CPR: church, prayer, reading. It was cool to be able to help these people and get to know them better, and one of them came to church yesterday! I've loved this week getting to know lots of different people and working really hard.
Lastly, I wanted to share one of my favorite scriptures. I came across it this week as I was studying about Jesus Christ for the Russell M. Nelson challenge. It's Moroni 7:48
'Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.'
I love this scripture, because it helps us understand that our end goal is to become just like God and Jesus Christ. They are the perfect examples, and the amazing truth that this plan they have for us can allow us to become like them is the best thing we could ever hear. I love sharing this gospel with others and helping them realize the true potential they have as sons and daughters of God. What a blessing it is to be a missionary.
Hope you all have a great week!! Love you all so much!!
Hope everyone had a great week this last week. To explain the title of my email, last week we were biking on one of our main roads just doing our missionary thing, when some lady walking out of an office yelled, "Hello, nice to meet you, I love you!" all in English. That was quite the shock. Elder Densley and I just looked at each other and started dying. Gotta love Taiwanese people.
This week we met with the 3 RC's. They are all doing great and loving the gospel. We are trying to see if we could meet with some of their friends/family members, so we'll see how that goes. We also came across a couple cool new investigators, as well as a few potentials for this week, so the work is looking great here in Guiren. We also started working with some LA's in our ward and that will be a great experience. All the Taiwanese people are very kind, and it's a great opportunity to be busy having lots of stuff to do with lots of different people.
This week we went on exchanges, and I got to go with Elder T again. He's the man. He's a younger missionary from West Valley, and he really has a desire to help these people. He's also one of the funniest people ever, so we had a good time telling stories from home and such.
Last week we had Zone Conference, and I really loved the messages that were shared. We talked a lot about finding and the faith to find, and Elder D and I decided we were gonna put that to the test. Our first 30 minutes of contacting after the zone conference, we were getting rejected left and right. No one wanted to talk to us, but we stayed positive, laughed it off, and kept going with a smile on our faces. The next 30 minutes, everyone we talked to seemed to want to listen, and although they may not have all added or become new investigators, we got some numbers and an add so we were really excited. Faith is a miracle worker let me tell ya. If you have time this week, read Alma 32 about building our faith. It's always a chapter I go back to time and time again.
Love you all so much!! Hope this week is great! Fam, have fun at the Man U game :) GGMU!!
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!!
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.