Monday, September 26, 2011

What a Crazy Week

Hello Everyone!
How are you all?  Hope all is going well with you all.  Wow this week has gone by so fast.  The weeks just go by faster and faster.  I think I have a lot to share so I'll get right into it.
So Monday we sat down with our Wei beibei and taught him the 2nd lesson.  It went so good and he is so awesome.  In previous visits I had always thought that he had been reading the Book of Mormon, but just felt like I needed to ask him.  He said he hasn't at all.  I committed him to read a section for the next time we visited him. 
Tuesday was probably the scariest day of my life!  So there was a training meeting for all district leaders, zone leaders, and trainers, and since my companion is district leader, and the other senior companion in our district is a trainer so a trainee and me went on exchanges for the day.  That meant that I was the senior companion for the day.  We both aren't very good at the language so we were both a little worried.  However, we had faith, pushed through the day, had a few good lessons, and did the best we could!
Wednesday we sat down with one of our neighbors fro the 1st time.  We taught him the 1st lesson, gave him a Book of Mormon, and he said he believed all the words we had said and would definitely read the Book of Mormon.  Set up another appointment for tomorrow so hopefully things go well.  Later on we met with one of our progressing investigators, Wu dixiong.  He is so awesome and he truly is ready to be baptized.  Gave him a baptism goal for October 8th and said he probably could that day.  YES!!!
Thursday I went on exchanges with Elder Graham and we spent our entire trying to visit recent converts, less-actives, and member referrals.  Came across a few people, including member who have weird views about our church.  One in particular is that once our church gets a few more members, the amount for tithing will change from 10% to 5%.  We came across a few more people with weird worldly views. 
Friday was such an awesome day.  Had our weekly planning, and then right after that I passed my phase 1 language thingy off.  Now I'll be able to focus more on expanding my vocab on more than just gospel related words.  Because of the pass-off, we didn't get much time to proselyte.  But it was still such an awesome day!!
Saturday we saw both let-downs and miracles.  So our newest member, Lin dixiong hasn't come to church or answered his phone for the past 2 weeks.  We decided to go find him at his house, so we spent some time trying to find his address.  We had no clue where it was so we decided to ask this woman who was cleaning her garage.  She said she just moved here and had no clue.  We then asked if we could share a message about our church and she told us she was already baptized.  She had apparently been baptized quite a while ago, but hadn't been to church in forever.  We sat down with her, taught for a bit, and she said she would definitely come to church, which she did.  We then left and then asked a few more people where this address was.  We finally found it, stood at the door, but couldn't get in.  We needed a special key to open it.  Not long after, this older woman was like, "You're at the wrong door.  The entrance is over here."  We went over by it and these two college students walked right up and opened the door, perfect timing.  We knew he was home and so we sat there knocking and ringing the doorbell forever.  We finally came out and just walked down the stairs without saying a word.  Something definitely was wrong!  Went down and talked for a long time and tried helping him with his concerns.  Did the best we could and then finally had to go.  It is so sad to see how such a strong new member can be influenced by such little things and completely change in a matter of days.  We'll continue to work with him to help strengthen his faith.
So I gotta go, but I love and miss you all.  I know this church is true and has brought me so much joy and blessings.  This is the Lord's work and I'm glad to have the opportunity to help gather his sheep.  Well time is up.  ‘Til next week.
Love, Elder Smith
p.s. I'll answer all those questions you gave me next week.  Landon, I have seen lots of cool cars lately:  Ferarri's, Mazerati's, BMW's, and Bentlyes :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This was an Awesome Week

The city at dusk

Ham fried rice for lunch

Pot stickers are the BEST!
Hello Everybody!
I hope everything is going well for you all.  Sad to hear about the Cougs this weekend...oh well.  They'll get em next time!  KATIE SANDERSON, if you get this congratulations on the marriage this coming week!!!  Anyway, I'm doing well here in Fengjia and I'm absolutely loving it here.  I got your package this past Wednesday.  Thank you! Not only did my companion and I love all the candy, but so did all the thousands of ants haha.  Anyway, this week has been awesome, it went by super fast. So on with this week.
Monday we had such an awesome preparation day.  We decided to go out and actually do something.  You'd think that a big city like Taichong would have lots of fun things to do on p-day, but nope.  We ended up having to travel quite a ways to go bowling.  It's been so long since I last went and oh it was so much fun. On our way back my companion's bike started being retarded, flat tire, and the brakes stopped working, and so we ended up having to walk back, so we didn't get as much proselyting in because of that.  However, we did end up sitting down with one of our investigator's uncle and taught him in the short amount of time we had.
Tuesday I went on Zone Leader exchanges with Elder Hanich.  He is such an awesome missionary and I learned so much from him and learned from his different styles of teaching.  We had a few lessons, and one of them happened to be with a lady who I actually met on our last exchanges.  However, this time was a little different.  She was a member now!  Even though she wasn't one of my investigators, I was so excited to see her and hear about her baptism.  We then met with a few other people who are struggling to believe that God exists so yeah...
Wednesday we met with one of our awesome investigators, we call him Wei Beibei (Way Baybay).  I may have already mentioned him, but he loves meeting with us, praying with us, and he loves the scriptures now.  While we taught him, he pretty much proved Buddhism is wrong haha.  After meeting with him, a member in our ward asked for us to come bless his home.  His name is Ellias, he is a student at Fengjia University and he is actually from Paraguay.  He obviously speaks Spanish, but his English is so good and he knows quite a bit of Chinese.  Ever since he has moved into his new apartment he has had these terrible nightmares pretty much nightly, and so his dad told him to have us bless his home.  When we got there, we decided not only to bless his home, but also to give him a priesthood blessing.  I actually gave the blessing on his home, and had no clue what to do.  However, it was such in awesome spiritual experience.  We found out that the next day he didn't have that nightmare, and so it just bore testimony that the power of the priesthood is real, and that it truly is the power of God. 
Thursday we sat down with one of our new investigators Shi dixiong.  We talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon and why pray is so essential.  He truly wants to know of the gospel's truthfulness and so we emphasized that he needs to READ, PONDER and PRAY about it all. 
Friday we spent most of our time just trying to find new investigators, visiting our less actives, etc... because all our lessons fell through.  So yeah...
Saturaday was so awesome!  We had a lesson with a Guo dixiong at Fengjia and the lesson went so well.  He isn't quite sure if God exists and so we focused on how he can come to know that, and that is through prayer.  One problem though, he personally wouldn't pray.  We told him that it will help him get into the habit of daily prayer, but he told us that he wouldn't because his dad is a Buddhist, or some other religious missionary.  Kinda frustrating, but we can only do so much.  He now has to act upon what we told him and actually pray.  Later on we attended a baptism of a sister!  Ah, so awesome!!  I absolutely love attending baptisms.
Sunday we had an awesome lesson with one of our other new investigators, Wu dixiong.  He has been to church twice and this was our first time meeting with him.  He is kinda shy, but he said when he comes to church he has the feelings of just talking with someone, which is awesome.  He truly wants to know if this gospel is true and so we promised us he would read and pray daily he could come to know that it is.  He is so awesome and so ready for this gospel in his life.
So yeah, I'm loving missionary work and I'm loving being here in the Fengjia area.  It is so awesome and I'm grateful for all the blessings it has brought me personally, and to my family.  I know that if we continue to stay obedient and follow the commandments, our lives will be so much happier.  I have personally witnessed that in my life.  Thanks for all those who have been examples to me in my life: my family, friends, ward members, etc.. I'm grateful for you all.
With tons and tons of love, Elder Smith 
p.s. if you didn't already know, "dixiong" just beens "brother"  (Shi dixiong = Brother Shi); Also attached are photos of my area and some of the food I get to eat.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Every Member a Missionary

Fengjia Night Market where we contact people!
Hello family and friends,
Wow it is always so good to hear from you all!  Dad, thanks for your letter and stories.  I always learn so much from them.  Mom, thanks for you letter as well.  I really enjoyed hearing the words from our wonderful Prophet about 9/11.  Anthony, enjoy your new area.  You said its a huge ward?  I can't wait to attend a big ward.  It just doesn't feel right only having like 50 people at church.  Spencer, hope your hip gets feeling better.  Enjoy school though!  I see all the college students here and it kind of makes me miss it.  Julia, you've always been a workhorse in sports...well most of the time.  But it seems to me like you really are enjoying volleyball.  Work your hardest and they'll see your talent and put you in varsity :)  Landon, I can't wait to get my duct tape wallet. So not much happened this week, but here are the highlights of this week.
So this past Wednesday we met with a really awesome person, Brother Chen.  He was a referral for us and he is such a nice guy.  Right now he believes in pretty much every religion, but is willing to learn from us.  We taught him a bit of the 1st lesson and gave him a Book of Mormon.  He was so interested in reading it and asked if he could mark the things he liked in the book.  We were like "Of course!"  So we got talking with him and he absolutely loves soccer.  He showed us all his trophies and everything.  He even had an actual soccer ball from the 2006 World Cup in Germany.  AWESOME!!! It made me miss soccer sooo much.  Anyway, he is willing to learn more from us and he has already set up like five dinner appointments with us ha ha.
Friday was so awesome!  Let me explain a little.  So we have been trying to work better with the ward here, and so we set up an activity for the youth.  So our activity was to have a bbq and then do the "Dan Jones" with them in the FengJia nightmarket.  Well, everything went well until none of the youth decided to show up.  Didn't go as we had planned.  Well, earlier that day we had a bbq with a family in our ward and we told them about the activity we were doing that night.  The family consisted of the mom and four little girls, all under the age of 10.  They ended up showing up and did the activity with us.  They stood on chairs and would yell "Come to Church." They would run up to every person they saw and gave out all our missionary tracts.  It was so cute! haha.  So the statement "Every member is a missionary" really is true.  No matter how old you are, everyone can help build up the kingdom of God. 
Saturday was awesome as well.  So last week on exchanges, Elder Johnson and Elder Zheng came across a nice old man, Brother Wei.  I don't know much about his situation, but lately he has had a lot of back problems I guess, and is in a lot of pain.  We figured we would give him a priesthood blessing.  We explained the purpose of these blessings and he was willing to let us perform it.  It was such a powerful blessing and the Spirit truly was there.  We then gave him a Book of Mormon and he really wants to learn more.  So we'll see how things go with him.
So that’s it.  I hope that all of you have a fun, safe week. Elder Smith   p.s. if you ever need gifts and want anything from here, just tell me and I can get it.  Items at the night market are really cheap so... :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pressing Forward

My Wheels
Hello everyone,
Wow sounds like everyone is having such an awesome time.  Sounds like school started off great for Julia and Spencer.  Julia, those bruises look nasty, keep working hard with volleyball and they'll notice how good of a player you are and hopefully move you up.  Spencer's goin' to Homecoming!!  Atta boy!! Dude, boating is gonna be such a fun activity for that.  You gotta get me some pics of that soon.  Mom and dad, thanks for your letters.  They really help me move on with this missionary work and help me become a better missionary!  Dad I know just how felt with those "I don't have any time" or here it's, "I'm in a rush".  I don't know if this is how it was for you, but EVERYONE here is always in a rush, have no free time.  I kinda mess with them and say "ni hen xingku" (knee hun shingkoo haha).  It means that they are such a hardworker.  Also, when people want to be "punks" to us, they'll start speaking Taiwanese, which is another language that they speak here, but its an unwritten and evertying.  So yeah... So enough of all that.  Lets start with what happened this week. 
So we are still not having as much success as we would like.  We continue to have appointments set up, but these people never show up.  However, last Tuesday one guy actually showed up.  His name is Chen, and he is such an awesome guy, wanting to learn more.  We taught him the first lesson and he was willing to start reading the Book of Mormon which is awesome.  Wednesday, we then met with a Brother Jiang and watched "Finding Faith in Christ" with him.  He could see that he felt something during the movie, but all he would say about it was that it was a good movie.  We invited him to be baptized, he has been taught everything, but says he is too busy to come to church and so that is why he isn't progressing as we'd like him to.  However we're still working our hardest with him.  So the weather Wednesday was a little crazy.  So the typhoon that I guess hit Japan came right passed Taiwan and so we felt the effects of it a little.  I was on the other side of the island as it passed by so it wasn't as bad.  Just crazy wind and lots of rain.  So today we had a "Specialized Training" for all the trainers and trainees, me.  We went over a talk that Elder Bednar gave to the missionaries in the MTC called, "Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary."  I was lucky enough to have heard it and so this training pumped me up to become a better missionary.  
So lately, we found out our investigators have been to "buhao yisi" (boo how ee suh) to say that they didn't have interest in our message.  But it helped us realize that it is so important to teach to their needs rather than throwing all the messages right in their faces and expecting them to believe it all.  Also, right now we are focusing more on working with the ward leaders because we really think it could strenghten our ward.  Our ward isn't the strongest right now, and we don't know why.  So we will be trying to become better friends to ward members and leaders.
The language is coming, the work is fun but hard, and the church is true.  This is the Lord's work and he truly has a hand in it.  Without Him, missionary work would be impossible to do.  Hope all is well with you wherever you are and may the Lord bless you all. 
With all my love, Elder Smith
p.s. I'll be looking for that package :) can't wait.  Oh and dad, here is my adderss that you wanted so you could look it up. It's in charcters and that's how it is on google maps so... my address is on the 2nd line