Sunday, May 27, 2012

Polishing and Refining

Dear family and friends,
 How's it all goin?  Hope all is well with you, just like all is well going here in HengChun.  Well, lets get right on into this week.
 Monday went by super fast.  We began by heading on down to the very southern tip of Taiwan to go play at a lighthouse they have there.  We then began our proselyting time and ran into a pretty awesome man.  He is what is called a Daoist "jitong" (i'll explain what they do another day).  Basically what he said is that his role is very similar to that of a prophet, looking for truth.  We shared the 1st Vision with him and his family and he was very open to reading the Book of Mormon.  We have been looking for success down here and we are hoping that it begins with this very young family. 
 Tuesday began with an amazing DTM on how we can work better with the ward members and how to properly receive member referrals.  It'll be great to see how applying that in the future plays out.  Today we ran into another great guy, Lai, and visited him for a little while.  He mentioned that he had made mistakes in the past and that he's trying to mend things right now.  He gave up drinking as a result of that.  He really wants to learn more and he is such a humble man. 
 Wednesday was a great day to find the man we run into most here in HengChun in the most random spot in the area.  We call this man Political Huang because as we run into him nearly everyday he always talks about the government here in Taiwan and how bad the economy has been lately.  Well, like I said, we found him in the most random spot in this area and told him that it had to have been arranged by God.  From that he was willing to meet with us the next day so we could share more about God our Heavenly Father.
 Thursday we went and visited with an investigator, Dong.  It has been a struggle to actually get him to keep committments and so we re-emphasized why we have been inviting him to do these things like reading, praying, and coming to church.  We focused not on why we missionaries are inviting him to do them, but on why God wants us to read, pray, and come to church.  He recommitted to do those things as we went on our way.  We then visited with Political Huang and found out that he has met with missionaries before.  We retaught the Message of the Restoration and how he can come to know for himself.
 Saturday was a wonderful day to go out and find former investigators.  Today was a pretty crazy day in HengChun.  Why?  I don't know either, but the streets were just full of tourists.  We went and did our best to work with these tourists along with trying to find these former investigators.
 Sorry these days don't have a lot of interesting or miracle stories.  This was the best I could pull out of each day this week because the miracles and interesting stories decided to wait and come this upcoming week.  We are excited to go forth each day of this week to find those miracles and to run across those interesting stories.  Although it has been super rough in the beautiful land of "eternal spring", I personally have learned a lot that has strengthened my testimony and my own desires.  I had a wonderful experience just last night that has changed how I will work and act for the rest of my mission and life.  I absolutely love the talk given by President Eyring entitled "Mountains to Climb."  He talks about how his mother went through life battling through cancer and how President Specer W. Kimball said that God only wanted her to be polished a little bit more.  I know that the trials and challenges we go through in life are for our personal benefit to polish and refine us for what is ahead.  I have seen how this has been played out in my life and how I've been blessed from it.  I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and how by living it's principles my life has been changed for good.  I'm grateful for this time to serve a mission to help others come unto Christ, to help them realize how the gospel can continue to refine and polish them for the rest of their lives.  I love and miss you all :)  Til next week.
Love the One and Only,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More Will Hopefully Come

Enjoying a hike on P-day
Hello family and friends,
 How are you all today?  I'm doing just fine and enjoying life here in HengChun where its forever spring.  Just wanted to remind my Landon by saying congrats on the BIG 12 and getting the Priesthood this past week.  And mom, again, Happy Mother's day!  That's about it, lets get right on into this week.
 Monday was an amazing day.  First of all, I absolutely loved talking to each of you and seeing your faces.  As we began proselyting, we fell into our normal routine of finding some people to teach.  We ended up running into a small family and talked and ate some fruit with them.  I had run into the dad of the family a lot while he was out exercising, but never had much time to chat with him.  Well, they knew we were the missionaries and they wanted to know why we were different.  That led right on perfectly into the Restoration and the Book of Mormon.  Invitations were given and they said we could come over anytime to chat with them.  We've been praying that we would have a miracle and that we could actually find somebody to let us visit with them, and we're hoping it is this family.  More will hopefully come from them. 
 Tuesday was another great day to travel for District Training Meeting.  Today we learned about the nature of our loving Heavenly Father, and how we can better teach that.  It was really good.  On the way home I came back with a different companion, Elder Morgan, for companion exchanges.  We had another great day of contacting and teaching about our Heavenly Father.  We ran into a man named Zhang, who works at a glasses/contact store, and talked with him for a bit.  However, it was interrupted several times due to customers coming in and out.  Things got so hectic that we ended up leaving because he was left super busy.  However, this man has visited with missionaries in the past, and is willing to learn more.  More will hopefully come from him.
 Thursday was a wonderful day to have rain.  From when we woke up until we went to bed, the rain did not stop.  But, the rain will never stop the work of God from moving forward.  Today we stopped by my good friend qingsong(relaxed) Chen.  He is probably the most relaxed guy in the world.  I have mentioned him in letters beforehand...  He is a retired 50 year old man who wakes up each day to watch his stocks remain the same, watch tv, and sleep.  Without going into too much detail, he doesn't want us meeting more than once every two weeks because it'll bring pressure for him to join his church.  Well, last time we visited him he had mentioned he half believes in God and half doubts.  Today we let the scriputres do all the talking.  We shared about faith and read how his faith can grow.  With the few verses we shared with him, he said he is willing to go "plant" those good seeds, and wondered how he could start and said  "prayer?"  He nailed it on the head.  He said that praying often wouldn't bring to much pressure into his life, and he could already tell that it was a "good seed."  More will hopefully come from him.
 Well, although we haven't been able to see success in the form of baptisms or progressing investigators every day, I have seen small steps of success within myself and within my companionship.  We have some great people that we are trying to work with, and hopefully more will come with them.  I know that faith is a huge part of missionary work and it was by the faith of Nephi and Lehi that changed the hearts of the Lamanites (Ether 12:14).  I also know that miracles will only proceed after  the trial of our faith.  I'm continuing to grow my faith in myself, in these wonderful people of Taiwan, and in my Savior Jesus Christ.  No matter how hard this work is, I absolutly love it.  I'm grateful that I have another year to serve amoung these people, and look forward to all the many miracles, big and small, that are up ahead.  I love you all :)
Love the One and Only,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Just wanted to quickly wish you a Happy Mother's day.  Sorry this won't be long, but hope you like it.  Also, sorry I couldn't send you a Mother's Day gift.  The best gift I can give to you is the letting you know that I'm going out diligently each day to preach the gospel.  Preaching about our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Preaching that God is our Loving Heavenly Father and that through His Son, we can enjoy peace in this life, and eternal joy in the life to come.  Preaching that families are forever and that nothing could be much happier than that!  Hope that is a good enough Mother's Day gift for you this year....and it might be the same thing next year... but I LOVE YOU!
Love the One and Only,

Monday, May 7, 2012

One Year Mark!

This is about as close as I can get to the big blue ocean!
Sorry this letter will also be short and sweet, but at least there are pictures today.  There's some business that needs to be taken care of first... Landon, congratulations on graduating from primary and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  Wow you are growing up so fast kid!  Along with Landon's birthday also brings about my 1 year mark.  WHAT?!  Things from here on out will be winding down.  Time is running out...
Well, as for this week, not much really went on besides a lot of contacting the same people.  We were able to visit with our Zheng dx and from that lesson there was a few principles learned.  1) Like D&C 82:10 says, the Lord is bound when we do what He says, but if we do not what He says, He has no promise.  2) The Lord works according to our faith, and it is by faith that miracles are brought out.  As we visited Zheng dx last week we invited him to read and pray daily, come to church, and continue to keep the commandments.  We had the faith and promised him that if he did so, his father's heart would soften up, allowing him to be baptized.  However, the ball was in his hands and it was by his faith and actions that would bring about certain results.  Long story short, commitments weren't kept and his dad said no.  The Lord truly will prepare a way to accomplish what he commands IF we do what he tells us. 
Well, no matter what happens in the daily work, no matter what trials or challenges come up, and no matter if we see visual success or not, I know that this church is true and that it was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I know that our Savior Jesus Christ made it possible for us to live together with our families forever.  I love my family so much and grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.  Mom, Happy Mother's Day on Sunday and I look forward to seeing and talking to you all next week.
Love the One and Only,
 p.s. I'll be skyping around Monday morning around 11 am here, which will be around 7 pm on Sunday night :)  Please prepare some questions or whatever you want to talk about next week.