Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Taichung Missionaries

Elder Smith is on approx. row 8, 3rd from left

Dear Friends and Family,
At this time of year, we remember our Savior, His birth, life, and above all, His atonement.  We are grateful to Him. We are privileged to be able to serve Him at this time, in this way.  We wish all of you a Merry Christmas.  We hope that all of you will be filled with joy as you remember Him and His gift to all of us.
Love, Taiwan Taichung Missionaries

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

In front of a worshipping alter

The Orient sells #10 can size of PB & J -- but thanks Mom anyhow!

Human statue poses with us

Temple alter

Next to another temple alter
Hello everyone,
So I don't have a ton of time, but I have a lot to say, so we'll see if I get through it all.  First of all, Grandma and Grandpa thank you for that package you sent a few weeks ago.  I forgot to thank you for that..  Also mom I got your small package of goodies and cd's so thanks.  I still haven't gotten your Christmas package or the package from the young women, so I'll be looking forward to those.  So this week is CHRISTMAS!!!!!  I'm so excited, but it will be super weird to celebrate it without all you...  However, I do get to talk to you all.  Yeah!!!  So probably the easiest way to do it would be through skype.  One of our members told me that I could use his computer for it so I'm pretty stoked for that.  I first have to set up an account, but its super hard here cause it's all in in Chinese so it'll take me a while.  But I'll get it created this week and add mom and Anthony for it.  I'll also test it out this week sometime so be ready for that.  The time I'll be calling/skyping will be next Monday morning at 10:30, for me, which means it'll be around 8:30 Sunday night for you guys.  Hope that is ok and that this all works out!
This week has been full of finding and rescuing.  Our mission president set a goal for every companionship to have a "White Christmas" in the baptismal font.  We have been working our hardest to accomplish this goal, and we found a former investigator who actually had his baptismal interview, but was never baptized.  We've been working with him a lot lately, but he pretty much is determined to be baptized after the elections here in Taiwan.  We do have a few investigators who could drop in for baptism, one in particular is named Klara.  She speaks really good English, and has been taught everything and is living everything.  Her only concern about baptism is that she doesn't know if she can fully endure to the end if she is baptized.  We had a pretty powerful lesson on why the gospel of Jesus Christ is so important.  We asked her to pray about what God would want her to do at this time.  We'll be praying that God will answer he prayers before Saturday so she can be baptized :)
Wow, Christmas is almost here and it has made me think a lot about Christ and his life.  I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have about my Savior and of the joy and sense of peace it gives to me.  I'm grateful for the Savior's Atonement and that through Him, we can continually improve and become like Him.  I'm grateful for this privilege to serve Him to share His gospel to those who need it in their lives.  This is a special time of year and I would encourage all to focus this time on the Savior.  I love you all and can't wait to talk with you all next week!!!  Hope all goes well with that! Elder Smith

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's a Small World

A Big Temple in Taiwan

Taiwan Dragon Statue and Me
Hello Everyone,

How are all ya'll doin today?  Life here in my new area is awesome.  This week I felt like I was back home in Centerville with you during the giant wind storm.  Here in HengChun, during the winter time, the wind gets really crazy and we have only experienced a little bit of it so far.  Last week I sent a package home, so be expecting that soon.  I received Grandma's package, but I still haven't received your packages yet mom... So I learned quite a bit more from my companion this week.  Turns out that he knows the Seljiaas family, as you mentioned, and knows quite a few of my soccer buddies.  He also mentioned that he worked with Anthony and Kyle at Bailey's and told me some good stories. My companions parents names are Robert and R'Lee Field.  He said they'll be in Arizona this month, so I don't know how you would get in touch with them mom.  Maybe cell phone??  Anyway, this week has been pretty good.  Oh, also Happy Birthday to Aunt Anneli and my cousin, India. 
So last Monday I got all settled into my new area.  Traveling was a pain, so hopefully I stay down here in HengChun for a while.  We just visited a few ward members and recent converts to let them get to know me.
Tuesday felt like Monday all over again.  We had District Training Meeting, but it was in a completely different area.  So we took an 1 1/2 bus ride to DTM, learned about how we can better work with the ward members in our missionary work, and then took an 1 1/2 bus ride home.  Took up a lot of our proselyting time, but thats just how it is.  We then met with an 8 year old who is a recent convert.  I don't know where this kid gets his energy, but it just never runs out.  We sat down and reviewed the Restoration with him and his sister who is also a member.
Wednesday we biked to one of our extra areas to visit with a less-active, Wang dixiong.  We sat down and really focused on him Keeping the Sabbath day Holy.  He has had problems coming to church in the past because of his work, but he found a new job which allows him to come to church now.  He then took us to meet a few of his friends and to share the gospel with them.  They didn't really seem that interested to meet with us, but this less-active got really excited and wanted us to keep visiting with his friends.  Came back to our area and did a bit of tracting until English class. 
Thursday we sat down with another less-active, Gao dixiong.  He also has had problems coming to church because of work, but he is now the manager, so he should easily be able to get it off.  We began by talking about the Book of Mormon, and it was so awesome to see that he noticed the pride cycle that goes throughout the entire book pretty much.  I didn't even notice that my first time reading through.  He is so good!  We then sat down with another less-active who has two sons, both around Landon's age.  We focused on the Sabbath day as well and he felt that coming to church was important and told us why we go to church, but when we invited him to start coming back he told us he wouldn't.  He pretty much bore his testimony to use, but has no desire to progress at all.  We will still continue to work with him and strengthen his testimony. 
Friday we began by having our Weekly Planning session and then sitting down with a part-member family.  This family is from Hong Kong and so the speak both Mandarin and Cantonese.  As we read the scriptures, I asked them to to read in Cantonese, just so I could hear how it sounds, and it surprised my that I was able to understand most of it.  Crazy!  We just focused on how reading and praying can help us develop our relationship with God.  We then sat with a former investigator and reviewed the Restoration with him. 
Saturday was another full day of visiting less-active members, recent converts, and trying to find new investigators.  I don't remember all of their names quite yet, but I'm working my best at that. 
That pretty much sums up this past week.  My new companion and I have been getting along pretty well and I love this new area so far.  I'm loving this time here as a missionary and only have a little bit left.  7 months have gone by CRAZY fast and these next several will only go by faster.  I love you all, and I hope you enjoy the package I sent!  Take care!

Love Elder Smith

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Area?? Yup!

Me, Elder Smith, in front of a cool Dragon

Hello family and friends,

So it’s December now...  Where did November go?  Time seriously has gone by so fast!  Start getting ready for the Christmas season because it will come and go sooner than you know.  However, I won't be seeing much Christmas here, especially because I am now in a new area, HengChun (hung chew-un)!  It is our mission's most southern area.  It is right at the very bottom of Taiwan.  Don't know much about it besides that it is pretty rural and very hot. Completely different than where I just was in Fengjia, big city and starting to get very cold.  So this is my first move in a completely new area so it might take some getting used to.  However, the work is the same and I'll work my hardest wherever the Lord puts me. My new companion is already so awesome, Elder Field from West Bountiful.  We have gotten along well so far and have lots of the same interests, such as soccer :) Don't have a ton of time, but I cannot wait to start working with the ward members in this branch and with the investigators we have here.  I love you all and be safe, especially now that trees are blowing everywhere.

Love, Elder Nick Smith