Sunday, September 30, 2012

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming Swimming Swimming, What Do We Do? WE SWIM!

Book of Mormon Activity

How is it going everyone? Hope all is going well. This past week I hear was a rough one for some of us, some more than others, and I know a little how ya all feel cause it too was a bit rough here in Taiwan. No worries, I have a feeling that this week will make up for last week's rough spots, especially since General Conference is this week. I won't be able to watch it until next weekend, but that's ok.  This week, as I said, was a bit rough, but we still had some awesome experiences.
Jerry is progressing more and more.  As I may have stated in earlier letters, he is already Christian, being baptized last year. We shared with him the Restoration of the Gospel along with the Priesthood authority and everything just clicked with him. He is willing to work towards a baptismal goal and knows he needs a priesthood holder to baptize him. He is still working towards fully keeping the Word of Wisdom, and has improved since last week. He still hasn't had a sip of alcohol and is working to chew less and less betel nut daily. From that point it'll be just to help him quit smoking and he will be well prepared. It's the small and the simple things daily that will bring this miracle come to pass.
Brother Hong Zhi Zhong is doing pretty well too. We finished teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him, and he mentioned he knows baptism is necessary, he is just not prepared yet. He is waiting for 'mighty' answer to come before he makes his decision to be baptized. We have planned to work on commandments with him and help him see the blessings and joy that come from keeping them. As he does so he will feel the Spirit work within him, and that's what he is looking for.
Brother Ye is a recent new investigator. He came to our stake conference last week and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Some of the talks mentioned the Plan of Salvation, and so this week we were able to teach him it. He came to church yesterday and again, everything just seemed to fit perfectly with the Plan of Salvation and what has caught his attention. He is doing great, is really searching for an answer, and again, it will come through those small and simple things. He accepted a goal for the 27th of this month and I'm excited to help him work for that date.  
That about wraps up this past week. The missionaries in my district got together and held an activity for the two wards that we are in charge of. The focus for the activity was the Book of Mormon (see attached photo).  It all went smoothly and really helped strengthen the members testimony on the Book of Mormon and helped those nonmembers understand more about our church. My testimony was strengthened as I heard the testimonies of the ward members. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that as we apply the principles within, we will become a better person, coming closer to God. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and that he, through the power of God, translated the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is clear proof that God loves us and I'm so grateful he does. I know he loves you all and is there to comfort us when we run into those rough patches in life. I love you all too! Until next week . . .  
With all my love,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

You Can Do It, Jerry!

Caring for the Sick
I love the Tawainese people!
Hello Hello!
How's the family holding up these days? Sounds like you all had a killer week: Homecoming, campaigning, working, and studying for school. Yeah! Love it! Taiwan is holding up alright and things went pretty good this week for us here in XiaoGang. A bit crazy, a few changes, but overall went really well. Here's a quick overview of what went on this week:
We had a wonderful service opportunity this past week to feed the elderly and those who are physically unable to survive on their own.  It was such a great experience and I had some great conversations with some of the people we were able to serve.
Brother Tan, Jerry, is doing super awesome.  We visited with him every single day last week to help keep him away from the temptations to drink.  We just made small little goals with him, to get him throughout the day without drinking.  As a result, he didn't drink one sip at all over the last week.  Such a big change compared to the week before we he started drinking more than usual.  It was such a blessing to see how that through prayer and reading the scriptures, those desires to drink vanished.  In his own words, "I have completely quit drinking!"  I love the scripture that says through, "small and simple things are great things brought to pass."  It is the little things--reading daily, praying often, and going through with commitments--that has helped Brother Tan overcome this addiction.  I know as he continues to do the small and simple things, he will be able to fully quit smoking and chewing betel nut.  
Yes, I am training a new missionary again.  I absolutely loved it a few move calls ago and learned so much from that experience.  My new companion is Elder Lathen, fresh from America (Colorado), and is already super awesome.  This past Saturday we were completely packed full with teach lessons and my companion has such a huge desire to help bring souls unto Christ.  He was able to invite quite a few people to be baptized, they accepted, and one of them even attended stake conference with us yesterday.  I know we will see miracles, big and small, with him as a missionary in Tawain.  I remember around this time last year I was still pretty knew to Taiwan.  I look back and see how time has flown right out the window, but cherish the experiences I've had.  I hope I can help my new companion do the same so that when he looks back a year from now he can cherish these precious moments we have as missionaries.  
Well, I love and cherish each and every day.  Each day is another day for me to grow spiritually, physically, and mentally, as well as to help my fellow brothers and sisters of Taiwan do the same.  There is no better time and place for me to do so then right here and right now.  I love this work.  I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and for the sacrifice He made for me, allowing this change to become a reality for me.  I love my Heavenly Father and for the love He has shown towards me.  I love the Book of Mormon.  Each time I indulge in the scriptures I learn more about myself, and how I can continue to change myself.  I love our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  He is an inspired man, called of God.  I love that this is the true church, and I'm grateful and honored for the privilege I have to be a missionary for the Lord.  I love you all!  Miss you all!  
With all my love,
Elder Nick Smith

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Shark Week . . . and Transfers are Coming!

Check out my wheels!

Dear Everybody,
How are you all doing?  It was great hearing from you all.  I just love knowing you all are still doing well and that you are loving life, for the most part.  Well some advice for you all, "Treat every week like it's Shark Week!" This month our mission has a goal to have 100,000 other lessons on the road (doctrine taught with an invitation to meet), I don't know if I told you this or not, but anyway, in order to carry our load and do our part, I pumped up my companion and I by naming this week "Shark Week."  For all those who have watched Shark Week on the discovery channel know exactly what I mean.  Well, "Shark Week" went along pretty well, some days a lot better than others, but lets get right on into it.  It'll be just a brief summary of each day just because we are on rushed time.
Monday, we visited a less active, Brother Hong, and shared a lot about opposition with him.  He is super busy with work and stuff, has questions, and ended up talking about opposition.  Went great and we're hoping we can start working with his nonmember mom and dad.
Tuesday, Patriot's Day, we had an ok DTM on how we can use Family History in our work.  I figured since we just barely got some Family History people here in GaoXiong and because the Taiwanese respect their ancestors that we could use that resource for our good.  Went out and sat with Jerry and found out he has been drinking a lot more than usual.  We shared with him Alma 36 and the story of Alma the Younger's conversion story.  It doesn't matter who we are or what we do, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from the mistakes we make each and every day.  He really has that desire to quit and it will come from reading, praying, and coming to church.  We then sat down with another investigator, Brother Hong, and reviewed the Plan of Salvation and then talked on what we can do in this life to be cleansed to return to live back with God.  It is only through Christ's Atonement that we can do so.  As we have faith in Christ and His Atonement, repent and change ourselves to live in accordance to His teachings, are baptized by water and fire, and endure to the end, we can be forgiven.  We were only able to share about faith and repentance with him this past week, and so we'll finish it up this week.
Wednesday was a rough day, especially for my companion.  It found us in our secondary area where we found not a whole lot of success.  It was rough mainly because my companion crashed into a parked car (don't worry he is ok. we laughed it off together), and then decided to bike over the mountain instead of around it.  Great day, great day!
Thursday was Zone Scramble which meant that Elder Barson came and spent the day with me in XiaoGang.  This day was dedicated to just talking to people and nothing else.  It was a great day and we talked to tons of people and saw some success from it. 
Friday, a random rain storm caught us by surprise which left no one out on the streets.  Along with that, lessons began to cancel and so it went a little slower than planned, but it was still great!
Sunday was probably the greatest of all the days.  Other than attending church and just having my mind at ease, we had an investigator attend church with us, which hasn't happened for a long time.  It has been one thing we have struggled with and this guy is great.  His name is Fu Guan Hua, 21 years old, and going to school here.  He enjoyed church and afterwards we sat down with him and shared the First Vision.  He accepted to be baptized and so we're gonna be working with him to hit his date.  
This was another quick letter for you all, but I hope you still enjoy it.  This week is the last week of the transfer/move call and it is very likely that my companion will be moving, which means I will be staying which I am totally fine with.  This area is great, and it doesn't matter where I am at, the work of the Lord is still the same.  To help others come unto Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  I'm grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and for the ability it has to change lives.  I love this work, Taiwan, and I love you all!
With all my love,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Stay Tune 'Til Next Week.

Cleaning up the Streets Service Project
Hello Family and Friends,
How's it going?  You all doing alright?  Sounds like this past week was a bit crazy for you all with school and everything thing else.  That's great!  This past week was a bit crazy for me as well, which is always keeping me on my toes.  I love hearing from the family especially my brothers and sister (hint hint) and just all the fun things going on back in the state of Utah.  Well, let me tell you what went on here in XiaoGang  this past week.
Monday was the best.  We went with a few Elder's to the Dream Mall, one of the bigger malls here in GaoXiong.  (Picture attached).  Enjoyed eating some burgers from T.G.I. Friday's and then exploring the many wonders of the $39 kuai mall (similar to a dollar store).  We had an amazing lesson with a Mr. Huang tonight as well.  He is your typical smoker and betel nut chewer but has already started making some big changes in his life, for example he quit smoking last week.  Well, we just got to know him a little bit and just everything he said let perfectly into what we could teach.  One in particular he said was that a lot of people in this life don't know which road the came here from, and so that's why there are a lot of different religions because they are all trying to find the road that leads back to where we came from. We taught him about the Restoration, and he actually jumped the gun and asked if Joseph Smith was the man who restored the road that leads back.  He seemed real great and we're hoping and praying he is the one that has been prepared for my companion and I to work with.
Tuesday was amazing!  Began with our Zone Training Meeting and learned on how we can best apply what we learn from our studies out on the streets.  This provides us with some fresh, fruitful, finding/contacting ideas.  It really helped me out personally on how I can best do so.  From there I enjoyed a wonderful day with my wonderful friend and previous companion, Elder Garey.  I went to his area and enjoyed spending time working with him.  We mainly did a lot of finding in his area, and so we had fun while doing so.
Wednesday we just kept up our finding efforts until we exchanged back just in time for some teaching English.  That's about it.
Thursday began by going to do a baptismal interview for one of the sister's investigators that is getting dropped in this week.  Our sister missionaries here in this area are on fire and are so awesome.  Anyway, this sister that had her interview passed and is so prepared for her baptism (that happened this sunday).  We then visited with our good friend Jerry.  He is doing really great.  He talked about how he has fallen into the temptation of drinking a few times, but the amounts he drinks is significantly less.  It has gone from drinking an entire bottle to about 3 small cups.  It has also gone from tasting really sweet to the most bitter taste he can possibly imagine.  He knows that this is because he has been reading and praying daily and that God is helping him quit.  We talked about repentance and the steps it takes to fully repent, and how to do it properly.  He is doing really really well, its just a matter of time for him and helping him slowly quit drinking, and then smoking, and then chewing betel nut.  He actually just called me and said he misses me because when we are with him he doesn't have those desires to smoke, drink, and chew.  I love him! and miss him!
Friday I went on Zone Leader exchanges with Elder Peel in the more city part of GaoXiong.  We had a few lessons with their investigators, enjoyed some McDonalds, and I overall learned a lot from his example.  
Saturday we cleaned up the world.  Had a wonderful opportunity to do service for the city by cleaning up the streets.  It was an activity that all of Taiwan was involved with.  Super fun!
That summarizes this past week.  Sorry, some days it just gets to the point where I don't want to type anymore.  That's why some days are a lot shorter than the others.  I love you all, and stay tuned for next week.  Cause next week is...    
With all my love,