Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27, 2010

William Preston Vernon

No big e-mail this week. sorry, I wrote little e-mails to different people in the family, and then had no time left to write. Thanks for supporting me on my mission and being so happy to see me go and i'll try hard! We had a baptism yesterday, and that was really good. do people actually read letters I send? okay, bubye!
p.s. don't send beef jerky to taiwan, it's illegal. or any meat.
New mission president this week! wow!
Keep up the good work!
elder Vernon

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 21, 2010

Well, It's been a good week! Wow, the week went really slowly but also really quickly. First of all, I want to tell some really cool mission stories, just because I've always wanted to have mission stories to tell, and now I actually do!!!
Last night was full of miracles. Shen de anpai (God's organization? I don't really know exact translation).
Riding my bike around last night, something just clicked. I started feeling full of the spirit, and just loving everybody, and talking to everybody, and it was so good. I gave away some copies of the Book of Mormon and got talked to many people at an intersection. It is so funny, Elizabeth and Julia and I used to play this game to see if somebody was in a bad mood if you could make them laugh and the person would try really hard not to laugh. That was good mission prep. Because I'll pull up next to an old guy on a scooter and he'll just pretend like I'm not there. And I'll try and make him laugh. And then after he's laughing I bear my testimony and tell him to go to church.
Also (Mom won't like this part) missionary work reminds me a lot of some video games-zelda. You go talk to people to try and find stuff out, get little assignments from the bishop to find certain people, when you finally find them they tell you to go find somebody else. Or chasing people down on your bike to talk to them, or following them to their house, and you have to keep up with them, not get squished by cars and keep them in sight. It's all good. p.s. reading the scriptures is better preparation for a mission by the way.
Oh, I haven;t even told any stories yet. So, after riding after people on bikes for a long time, we went home to eat some food. After like ten minutes our new member called us and said he was already at the church waiting to help us teach investigators. His name is Wang zhi cheng and he's about ten days older than me, baptized about two months ago, and he loves helping us teach and he's good at it too. So we ate real fast and were riding up to the church. I was still talking to everybody, so I see this one guy riding his bike crossing the intersection. I decided to go talk to him, so I started riding next to him and speaking broken english. For example you go up to them and in english say, Hewwo! you are sooo handsome! Your bike is sooo cool! and they'll usually understand because everybody here likes to study english. Every time I do I think of how hard Julia would laugh if she heard me, and it makes me laugh too. So I say, "Hewwooo! Are you very good?" And he answers back "yeah, I'm doing okay." I say "how is your english sooo good?" And he says "I got my MBA at cornell university." ohh, that's embarassing. So I stop him and say, I'm a missionary, we want to talk to you. and he says, "I have some questions for you." Now, the last person who said that was a russian guy who only wanted to argue about praying to Jesus, so I was hesitant. But I said, okay, when can we talk to you. He said, well, I live in shanghai, so I don't have a lot of time." So turns out, he just rode with us to the church right then, where our new member was already waiting, perfect lesson set up. It was such a miracle. What if wang hadn't called, or what if I had been slower and missed that guy, or whatever. It's just that if I go talk to everyone and do my best, I don't have to have huge inspirations of which door to knock on, the lord will place people in my path! anyways, it gets even better
We take him to the church and say, okay, what's your questions!?
But first, he said this, as if he was opening a meeting, "First off, I want you all to know, that I believe in miracles. I believe you can think something, and then it happens. For example, yesterday, for some reason I don't know why, I thought I wanted to meet someone from a church and talk to them about religion. Today, you came and talked to me. That is a miracle."
It was such a cool experience. I felt like I was reading a cool mission story, but it was me! That's the coolest feeling to be able to see miracles like that work through you.
1. does your church have commandments, chastity? what to eat? we told him all of the commandments including tithing, and he said, that's really good. He was really smart, and we taught basically a whole fourth lesson in three minutes.
2. does your church criticize other churches? Nope, in fact we're probably the most criticized. we want to befriend other faiths. Good!
3. What makes your church different from the other christian churches? Taught him the first lesson really quickly. gave him some good material to read. including the Book of Mormon
4. Does your church allow really really rich people to join? This one made me laugh. He said he worked as an investment banker in China for a long time, and a lot of other financial stuff that he had to say in English, and I still didn't understand what it was. and even though he was humble he was probably really rich. I told him about all the wonderful people in Alpine where I was from who were wealthy and generous and good members. We also told him about tithing and accepted the idea very well.
5. Can I have that book there? Um.... He had noticed the PMG we had given to the new member, and he wanted one. I figured, if there's any book out there that explains the gospel well it's preach my Gospel. So our new member was really nice and gave him his, and we told him which parts were more applicable to him, and that was awesome.
So, then we extended the baptismal commitment. and he said that he was leaving Taiwan to go back to Shanghai this week, and he didn't want to give us his phone number, so... that was an interesting lesson. His commitment was that he would be in Taiwan in a month, and he would find us and talk to us and maybe get baptized.
Then while we were talking to him, another investigator came who had been taught a long time ago and then dropped off, and we talked to him and he was great and said he wanted to be baptized this saturday!!! Baptisms are so awesome! So I'm really excited to see my first baptism that came partly from what I did. And while we were talking to him, One of our other progressing investigators came, and I had to start teaching him by myself. He hadn't come to church because he slept in. I couldn't understand a lot of what he said, but I knew I had to bring up the word of wisdom with him. thankfully our member and my companion came in right after I told him about the word of Wisdom, and he said there was no way he could stop smoking and drinking, because ...then he went on for like five minutes about how hard his work was building buildings and putting in plumbing and drinking with his boss and smoking with his coworkers, and I didn't understand it at all. So I need to work on my chinese a little bit. But it makes me happy that most people are really surprised when they learn I haven't been here three weeks yet. They ask me where I was transferred from, and I say the MTC and they get confused.
Well, my time is almost up. Remember to do missionary work, every day. I think some of the greatest missionary work could be raising kids good. (That was to make Rachel and Hallie and Sarah and Lizabeth and Carrie and all the rest feel good). But it is the most important work there is. I know that's true. I know the Book of Mormon is true!
p.s. I played basketball with Elder Norton this morning. That was fun. He's a great example, all the missionaries talk about how good of a missionary he is. At zone conference he gave his "final remarks" and they were good. I'm glad he's done so well. I think I might even go on exchanges with him in a couple weeks.
p.p.s. Hooooootttty Totty!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

William in Taiwan

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike Hoer
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 8:19 AM
Subject: Your Son in Action

Brother and Sister Vernon,
Thought you might enjoy this video of Elder Vernon in action! Your son is doing a great job!
President Hoer
5873K Download

Monday June 14, 2010

William Preston Vernon

to me
show details Jun 13 (2 days ago)

xiayu tian!!!!! Rain Day!! It's pretty intense out there. Rain droplets approximately the size of Swallow eggs. I have no idea how big swallow eggs are, but it's raining hard. It has been the last three days. On friday we were just riding our bikes, and then it started raining super fast, and I got completely soaked in about one minute. So I wear my jacket, and some rain pants over my slacks and ride around in the rain and still get wet, I love it. Rain days are fun in Taiwan. They are all really afraid of the rain. It might be that 80 percent of them ride scooters. Or maybe they just like having the rainy day as an excuse to not go to appointments with missionaries. But it's really funny, they all ride around on their scooters with these big yellow ponchos or rain clothes on.
Yesterday was church. It rained real hard that morning, and usually you won't get any investigators to come to church in the rain. Even the members sometimes won't come in a rainy day. But most of the ward showed up, and we still got 4 investigators to come, which was good. In fact it tied for the most that day with Elder Norton (my zone leader). It's so fun to be out here and missionarying.
Every Wednsday we teach a free English class, and most of the time only members of the ward come. So It's kind of annoying. but this week I found a lady who had a cute little chinese kid, and invited them and they came to English class. Turns out the family just moved here from the da lu (Mainland China) and were interested in learning about the gospel. So we set up a time to meet with them. They fanged our gezis, (okay it's time- I guess there is a chinese legend probably about some buddhist monk that let somebody's pigeons go free, and it had some significance. I don't know. But that's the literal meaning, "you let my pigeons out!" "Ni you fang wo de gezi!" It means they stood you up.) It happens a lot. so the next day we set up an appointment. Again they didn't come. They next day when they didn't come we found out where they lived and rode our bikes around in that area hoping to see them. A miracle happened and we ran into the lady and her kid again and they still wanted to meet with us! So we set up a time that night and it rained and they didn't come. Then we committed them to come to church over the phone. It rained and they didn't come. I still hope we can baptize them. I really want to baptize a family from Dalu. that would be so cool.
That's what missionary work here is like. You talk to people on scooters, ask them to be baptized, and for the most part of the day you are calling the people you talked to yesterday on your cell phone, seeing if they actually do have interest, and if they do trying to set up a time to meet with them, and eventually you do meet with some! It's awesome. I was scared of phone calls at first because chinese people are impossible to understand on the phone. But I'm getting better at it. Now I can help my companion with the calls pretty well. It made me real happy, we were sitting down with a less active member and he guessed that I had been here almost a year. The members all think that I was transferred from another area. But I shouldn't say that because it's prideful.
Then on Tuesday? Or maybe it was wednsday or thursday I forgot, I was about to call someone and president Hoer called the cell phone. I answered and told me that Grandpa Vernon had passed away. Well actually he said "Your parents e-mailed me," And I said, did my grandpa pass away? and he said "yup." and I said, okay. I wasn't too surprised, after the e-mail last week. That must have been a special experience there when Dad gave him a blessing. Grandpa Vernon is such a good person. But to tell the truth I wasn't even sad a little bit. I don't know if that's because I was expecting it, or if I just now that I am teaching the plan of salvation have no doubt that I can see him again, and have him help me here on my mission. I told my companion a little about grandpa vernon and then said we have another member on our team. It's so true. I've felt him help me so much this last week, and it's been so great. I know the scriptures are true which tell us that ancestors can help us in this life. I especially like D&C 84:85 now "I will go before your face, I will be on your right hand and on your left, my spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up." Chabuduo, I don't really have it memorized.
Well, I'm out of time. Till next week fam. I'll pray for you all and I hope this week is just a wonderful one. My only regret is I would have really loved to play violin at grandpa's funeral. I haven't been able to play violin for a week or so now and it's been hard. But the lord asks us to sacrifice. He who keeps his life shall find it, and he who loses his life for my sake, shall find it. I also like the scripture in Mark 10:29-30 that He who leaves a family and home and friends or whatever for the gospel's sake will receive a hundred fold in this life.
I think about Parley P. Pratt who when his younger brother William couldn't believe he was leaving a beautiful farm, house and orchard to follow the gospel, pulled out his "promisory notes" and told him from the scriptures about receiving all the father hath and blessings of the gospel.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Note from Pres. Hoer

We informed Pres. Hoer that William's grandfather, Dr. Leo P. Vernon had passed away.

Dear Brother and Sister Vernon,
Thanks for this information. Please accept our deepest sympathies. I have already called Elder Vernon and given him this news. You are correct that he was not surprised. He is doing a great job and I am sure he will remain focused and diligent. In fact, I told him to expect that now maybe his grandfather would be helping him from the other side. He said he had actually felt his presence the past day.
Warmest regards,
President Hoer

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pictures from Taiwan

This man is so cool. He bore such a powerful testimony at his baptism, I didn't understand much of it, but it was great. He'll be a strong member.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June 6, 2010

Well, if you thought there were a lot of scooters in Provo, you were wrong. there's a whole bunch here. like a veritable sea of scooters that I weave in and out of on my shiny new bicycle that hasn't been stolen yet luckily. Oh, where to start? Everything is so crazy and awesome that I don't know how I'll even be able to describe it.
So, I left the MTC.
it was a little annoying to take my violin as my carry-on but I managed and everything is totally fine. In fact I played it for a little tiny bit afterward to see if it was okay and it was. But President Hoer said to put it away and not worry about it. He called it a "net" that I needed to leave behind like the apostles and follow Jesus. That made me a little bit sad, but oh well. So he'll just sit in a corner for a while.
On the airplane ride to LA Elder Van Noy and I gave a Book of Mormon to a really cool guy. and we tried to share the gospel the whole way but we were all so scared. It's weird now that only a few days later I've basically overcome that fear already. Not completely, but you really just have to or else.. why are you here?
I also taught a first lesson in chinese to a nice couple at the airport and gave them some pamphlets and stuff, and had a couple other good missionary experiences in the flight.
We finally got in to Taiwan and rode a bus down to the mission home. President and Sister Hoer were just awesome and amazing like everybody had said. It was a fun orientation to Taiwan. We ate some great food that first day. Overall the food here is really yummy. We ate some grosstuff though of course. Like I didn't really enjoy eating the fish brains and eyeballs. Especially because when you chew into in it pops open and squirts out foul tasting stuff and has a hard crunchy lens inside also that you're not supposed to eat. (That part I only wrote because I wanted to gross Julia out). I didn't dare eat the coagulated pig-blood squares.
So, yeah. Lots of Taiwan people here. It's all just city. Taichung is a big one too. Just lots of buildings and scooters and asians and that sort of stuff. So, we did some fun stuff like visited a real real real big buddha and confucius temple, and then met our trainers and went to our first areas.
Some of the things that surprised me the most in Taiwan- there's a 7/11 on every corner, and we also ate at a TGI fridays. yum. Mcdonalds and other stuff too. How fast people speak and don't articulate. I don't understand them most of the time. and besides, all the old people speak taiwanese. oh well. The thing that surprised me the most is just how missionary work is done here. I don't know, I guess I expected that you would find a couple of people maybe from referralls or contacting, meet them, have a nice little sit down lesson and continue progressing them until they are ready for you to ask them to be baptized. Nope. The big thing in this mission is that you talk to everybody and ask them to be baptized. It's rather funny. So, it's basically like this. You ride your bike, see a kid on the side of the road. Stop, run up to him and say (this is about how I sound) - "Handsome Boy! Yes, you with backpack handsome boy! I am Jesus Christ's representative! He loves you, wants you baptize! Baptize help us have new start. Good opportunity. You willing with missionary meet to prepare for baptism? You awesome! I know you can!" and then come the hard part, you have to set a time with them to meet, and then the baptismal date, get their cell phone number, address and name.
And we do that, or something like that with everybody. On our bikes, when we pull up to lights, we talk to all the people on scooters that we can, and the best part is, the red lights tell you how much time you have left. Oh thirty seconds to get all this man's information. It's hilarious, because people here are pretty nice, they'll talk to you, and give you their information. Sometimes I just ride up on my bike and hand them a little card and smile and say. "I'm a missionary, what's your name? What's your cell phone? what's your address? when can we meet? will you be baptized in a month?" It works. they just write it down. Also some times we will ask people to pull over to the side of the road on their scooter and talk to us, or my favorite is at every stoplight you go up and knock on car or truck windows and say "Helllooooo!" and they roll down their window and you start talking to them. If people ignore us, we just follow them and keep saying helllooow?" I'm pretty annoying. I get a lot of "don't use, don't use, embarassing. Bubye" It works pretty well that I can't understand them because I just keep talking until they give me their numba.
Anyways. that's missionary work. It's different and harder than I expected. So my trainer is an Elder Jase Adams from Littleton Colorado. He's awesome. Our area is called Fengyuan, and is the most northern area in our mission. It's pretty awesome. The first full day here was saturday. It was really hard for me. I was super super tired and I didn't understand at all what was going on, and everybody was speaking chinese. The first few days feel a lot like wakeboarding. the part of wakeboarding where you're trying to get up out of the water....for a whole day. You're just getting dragged through a bunch of stuff you don't understand headfirst and it's confusing and not very fun. So, I prayed a whole bunch, and Sunday morning was getting sooo much opposition, like Satan was telling me that this was pointless, because Taiwan culture is annoying, people will either not listen to you, or fang your gezis (which is a little bit true) I don't have time right now to explain what fanging someone's gezis is. I also questioned whether I had a strong enough testimony to come out here and tell thousands of people that the church I belonged to was the only true one. What made me better than them?and so on.
Don't worry. I popped up out of the water and now have begun to have a lot of fun. It started when I went to church. The ward meets in a really beautiful building and they are such great members, and we got four or so good investigators to come to church, and then directly after church I baptized two people, Song hong zheng and Zhang ya pin. an old guy and a young girl. I felt the spirit real strong. The girl was taught by the sister missionaries, and Song dixiong was taught by my trainer before but he just gave me the opportunity to baptize them, and it was really good. Things are great! Keep up the good work at home! Bubye!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

William's new address

Elder William P. Vernon
Taiwan Taichung Mission
#498-11 Wu Chaun Road
Taichung 404-46 TAIWAN