Monday, October 10, 2011

General Conference + A Baptism = PURE AWESOMENESS

Hello Family and Friends,
I'd like to start off by saying the General Conference truly was amazing.  It seemed so so different watching conference on the other side of the world, but the same Spirit that was felt back at home was felt here.  The talks at conference were truly inspired and I felt like each of the speakers were talking to just me.  Each and every talk has helped me so far and has given me the desire to push forward in this work and in this gospel.  I learned so much and cannot wait to hear Conference again in another 6 months.  Had another awesome week and so here we go right into it.
So our good friend Elias, from Paraguay?, has a friend who has been asking a lot of questions about the church lately.  He was born and raised in Canada for most of his life and so both his English and Chinese are really really good.  You'd almost think he was born in America with the way he speaks English.  Well, we decided to sit down with him and answer all of his questions.  Turns out that all of his questions would be answered by the lesson we had talked about teaching him.  Said he didn't believe that God exists, but if he did that would be important.  We taught him about prayer and how our Heavenly Father can and will answer his prayers.  He then asked why there are so many Christian churches on the earth.  That led right into the apostasy and the restoration.  Had such an amazing lesson with him and the testimonies of our members present (two returned missionaries) truly helped a lot.  We gave him a Chinese Book of Mormon, but he said he would better understand the English, and so we had to order one.  But the lesson went so good and he just needs to put forth the effort to prayer and read to help him understand the truthfulness of this gospel. 
Went on exchanges with Elder Graham, from Kaysville, and we spent a lot of time searching for less-actives and trying to actually have a lesson.  They have been struggling in their area to find progressing investigators, so we went out looking for them.  One house we came across said "EDM" out on the front.  I sat and thought to myself, "That sounds so familiar, but how do I know what that is?"  Peeked inside the house and saw some posters of EDM machines.  I then remembered that I took a class about all that stuff down at BYU from Grandpa.  Elder Graham didn't know what it was so I told him all about them.  Thank you so much Grandpa Kohkonen!  The class I learned the most in and had the most fun in was your class so THANK YOU!!!
Friday we had the wonderful opportunity to take one of our ward members and proselyting with us.  He is about 14 or 15 and his mom really wanted us to get him excited to serve a mission.  So we took him out proselyting, mainly tracting since his bike was broken, and had a lot of fun with him. 
Saturday and Sunday were so awesome!  So first of all, Conference was amazing.  As I said earlier, I learned so much, but I want to spend a little time talking to any young teenagers out there.  So before I came out to serve, Elder Anthony Smith advised me to start reading the Book of Mormon, studying Preach My Gospel, and a few other things to help prepare to serve.  I did for a little bit then kinda lost track of it.  All of you young men, especially Spencer, start now (if you haven't already) to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, this Church, Joseph Smith, the existence of God, and many other things.  Have the mindset to serve a mission and start now to prepare.  Have the desire to serve and only do activities that will continue to help have the desire to serve a mission.  I promise that if you do, you will come out with a strong desire to work hard and give your all.  Your mission will be the best two years FOR your life, so you might as well start preparing now.  
After conference, we had the baptism of Wu dixiong!  Wow let me just tell you how awesome he is.  His faith is so strong and you can literally see how happy the gospel has made him so far. 
Just got done with an activity for all of Taichung.  Tons of wards came to Fengjia University for this running thingy.  It was to get families excited to start exercising together.  They said, "Continue to read and pray as a family, and now we are encouraging you to exercise as a family."  So they had all these relay races and stuff.  Pretty fun even though I didn't get to run for it... 
I forget who asked about the weather here, but I'll tell you how it has been lately.  So instead of random days of snow we get random days where it is nice and cool with the nicest breeze you can imagine—Perfect temperature to do missionary work.  When this weather doesn't roll in, it is usually hot and humid.  Occasionally we'll get rain and it seems to get even more humid at those times.   We were warned that a couple more big storms might be coming this way so we'll see how the weather turns out here soon.
I am so glad I came out here to serve a mission.  Being out here as helped me become a better person and a better disciple of the Lord.  I am grateful to be here in Taiwan and l'm loving every second of it.  I miss you all at home.  Continue to be safe and have fun in school and all your other activities. 
Love Elder Smith