Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25, 2010

Well, Hello Family! Here's the report,
We had an amazing week. Really amazing. Staying here in my area with my companion was a real good thing. Things are just getting lots better. We focused this week on contacting better, and trying to get people to sit down with us that day or the next. We sat down with 7 new investigators this week, and also have some great progressing investigators too. We've seen a lot of miracles. Or maybe it's just summer break so the kids don't have anything to do except wan diannao. Play computer. It's sad but pick almost any teenage boy off the streets at this time in taiwan, and ask him what he does all day. He'll say plays computer. all day, and then take any teenage girl and all she does is go mai dongxi, buy stuff. buy shoes, and then they'll go eat food or buy some more dongxi with friends. Anyways, we saw a lot of success with first time sit downs this week.
Last night was also an amazing baptismal service, for one of our investigators Lin Chen Hui. He's a sixteen year old kid that is extremely shy. Like so shy that he doesn't really say words, ever. The baptism was so special because he is a member referral, from his older sister. His sister is a recent convert, and she has been helping her whole family to progress so much. The father is a inactive melchizedek priesthood holder, and the father's brother, sister, and all their families are active in the fengyuan ward. So, when the kid was baptized there were about twenty people there that were just his family. His aunts uncles and cousins, and then his dad came too, and his sisters that aren't members yet. And it was just really good to be a part of seeing the gospel bring a family together right before our eyes. All because of the efforts of the older sister. There is no possible way we could have baptized this kid without the family support. After the baptism the Dad starting talking about when he was baptized, and how if the missionaries came to his house his mom would hit them with a stick, and how his sister said she wanted to go to college but her parents told her it was impossible, that she should forget and learn how to work. But she joined the church, and through the gospel studied, and opportunities came for her to go to college and start a big happy family in the church. Now her family the zheng family is one of the most solid in fengyuan! Every member here has amazing stories of how the came into the church. It's awesome
So that baptism was good.
And we've got another one lined up for saturday night, which I'm even more excited about. His name is Wang yu li and he's 23 and been investigating the church for I think over a year. He's met with missionaries countless times, goes to institute and church every week, and the whole ward knew him. Whenever I would talk to him at church I just felt like he needed to get baptized, and had faith that no matter what his problem was we could help him get baptized. So, we sat down with him and told him to get baptized. It was the most boldest bluntest lesson ever, shared some good scriptures, but he still wouldn't. But then he had been visiting with an elder that used to serve here who he got close to, and said he'd been going through a tough time with work and stuff, and also that he doesn't really have any reason to not be baptized, and I think it's just all the Lord's timing. So I'm excited to see Wang Yu Li get baptized. The mission president even gave permission for the other Elder, Elder Beus to come back up here and baptize wang yu li before he goes home next move call, because it was Elder Beus that helped him progress to baptism, I didn't even do anything.
And... hopefully can help a lot more people get baptized here in fengyuan.
One Investigator we have is a way cool 18 year old kid named Cliff. People in Taiwan have the funniest English names. cliff isn't too bad. We also have an investigator named Cloud. and I've recently run into people named Denim, Yodi, Mars, Cave, and plenty of other funny ones. Anyways, Cliff is great, he's just really nice and fun, and loves the Book of Mormon. We were teaching him the first time, and he started talking about how he enjoys reading about ancient history of like Jerusalem and stuff, and told us the whole story of the tower of Babel, and is real smart. And now he has read through first nephi and remembers a lot from it. It's not often that somebody understands the book of Mormon like he does in taiwan. Most people just don't understand it. And one of our investigators, this really funny old guy can't read at all, so we just show him pictures and tell him to get baptized but he won't because he still goes to another church.
As for me, I'm doing great. I must have spent way too much money in the first of the month because I'm really broke now, but it'll be a new month soon. I'll be fine just as long as I can feel the spirit. Sometimes everything around me is foreign and I'm tired and grumpy, but if I can feel the spirit then everything is okay. I also find that if I have an opportunity to teach the gospel, then I feel at home. No matter where I am the gospel is the same, the scriptures are the same, the spirit is the same.
Thanks for the family pictures, I love showing them to people, and they always just have a cow over a family with nine kids. They say my Mother and what she did is Bu jiandan, and also weida. Not simple, and very great. It's true, it took lots of years of effort to finally get rid of the last kid. What does mommy even do anymore? I just can't picture mom making food that would only serve two people, that's just not how mommy does it. Well, I'm sure grandkids can keep you busy. Oh yeah, and you're going to burley. Trips to burley are really xinku. hardworking/I pity you.
Well, I'll go now. The church is true, I'll see you in a couple years.
Bubye, Elder Vernon

Monday, July 19, 2010

July pictures

William's friend Gavin Norton from our ward in Alpine is his zone leader. Here are some pictures from Gavin. He was super excited to see William and he comes home July 21. It will be fun to hear him report on Aug. 8

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18, .2010

We got move call! Me and my companion are both staying in Fengyuan! It's a great place! You can see it behind me in those pictures up in the mountains. That was last preparation day we biked up to a miao in the mountains, and it was really cool. But we couldn't go inside because it was actually just a bunch of dead people and you had to know which dead person you wanted to see to go in. Well, yesterday we baptized Zhan yi rong, and he was so happy. He was just really excited to get baptized, and we had a priest in the ward baptize him. the taller one is yi rong. That was a great experience. It's only been a little over three weeks since I first stopped him on his bike and invited him to come to church and meet with us. Solid! Well, bubye! Elder Norton will be home soon. It's still the same ol' Gavin, but way different. but still the same. you'll see. He's grown up a whole bunch and I hope I can too. Missions are good things.
Elder Vernon

William pictures July 18

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 12, 2010

Well, Hello everyone! howdy doody! Rootin tootin pootin lootin ole family still kickin? I don't know why I typed that. oh well. Here I am in a weird looking old internet cafe listening to the sounds of computer games as little asian kids waste their life away. Last saturday was sure an awesome experience. The whole mission gathered together in Taizhong, and it sure was fun to see my old MTC district again. We all had a lot to say to each other about missionary work and how our areas and companions are different. I was happy that most of them had seen baptism in the move call, and were expecting some more this week. haha, it's going to be so good to see what we can all do in two years. We had quite the group of ten missionaries there in my district. Every time I get a referral from one of them I get really happy. Then we took a mission picture with President Uchtdorf, all went inside and were really reverent while we got to shake his hand. It was awesome. President Bishop spoke for a little bit, gave a really solid talk about the doctrine that we are supposed to be teaching. I liked it a lot. It's great because when he interviews you he pulls his glasses up onto his nose and looks at you just like a doctor, and you feel like he's making a diagnosis. Then we heard from the Asia area authority President Perkins. He was amazing. He read out of Alma 16 and talked about how important it was to use the Book of Mormon in teaching. Then sister Uchtdorf spoke and she was so great. She talked about it was so hot in Taiwan (it does get pretty hot. What does 35 C translate into fahrenheit?) and how she admired us so much. Telling us her conversion story and how she answered the door as a little girl and let the missionaries in, and her mother read the Book of Mormon and knew it was true. She also told us the keep our apartments clean and have companionship unity. Then President Uchtdorf stood up and talked to us. He's pretty tall actually. He's a powerful speaker. He told us to follow the spirit. He based a lot of his address on D&C 90:11, and said that we were fulfilling this prophecy and that it was to be fulfilled in our lifetime. and then that we were to follow the spirit, and teach about Jesus Christ. he also told us to not settle for mediocracy. To never level off in learning the language but to strive to speak it as perfectly as possible to deliver the perfect message. He said that we have the ability to learn the language in ways that nobody else does. I also really enjoyed one thing he talked about. He said missions were like a treasure hunt. That got my attention I like treasure hunt. He said the Lord has placed treasures all around you in your mission, and we should seek those treasures. A couple of examples he gave us were President and Sister Bishop were a treasure that the Lord placed here. There are people we will meet that the Lord has placed there as a treasure, in each companionship there are things to learn that are treasures. Treasures in scripture study. He mentioned that overcoming homesickness was a treasure of the mission, and also learning the language and the culture was a treasure. I like that. I hope I can remember it. He also said this about who missionaries were "You are tuly the extended arm of the quorum of the twelve apostles. That is who you are," But I think the very best was when he read Doctrine and Covenants 58:42 and testifies that the Lord really won't remember our mistakes if we repent, and to teach our investigators how to repent, and also the truth that God will forgive. He said that it was Satan's plan to dig up old sins and feel sorry about them, and Satan likes to make us think that we haven't been forgiven. He testified three times in a row saying "I testify in the name of the Lord, that God will forgive." and it was one of the most powerful moments I've ever been in. The spirit was so strong. He said we will remember our own sins as a barrier, to protect us. But it is also a beautiful part of the plan that as we areforgiven and move on we won't be pained by those memories any more.
I'm just real lucky to be able to hear an apostle speak. That's the fourth apostle I've heard so far on my mission. My times almost up. This sunday we have a baptism set up for a kid named yi rong. zhan yi rong. He's rather shy, but just golden. And I really hope that I can find friends for him in the ward that can help him be active and happy member of the ward. One of my favorite ward members is a Brother Gao (means tall) and he is tall and really funny. He reminds me a lot of Scott and it makes me laugh. Well, how's the family doing? Sorry I haven't sent any pictures. I think I might send home a card soon even though it's not full yet because Mom would really like it. Alright, Bubye!
Elder Vernon
p.s. next e-mail will be the end of my first move call. already! I'll probably stay in fengyuan

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Elder Vernon

July 6, 2010

Wheeet! I bet mom was real worried when my e-mail didn't come yesterday! Sorry, we had a combined district training meeting yesterday, and then today was preparation day instead. So we got to meet the new mission president yesterday, President Bishop. He seems like a really wonderful guy. It's going to be a great mission. He's from Orem, and a doctor, and a good leader. So that's good. I didn't really get to know President Hoer very well, but he was amazing. President Bishop said not to play my violin for the first year, so violin is sitting in a corner until next march. oh well, I'll just do the best I can to become a really good missionary and then once I get to use my violin again, I'll have forgotten how to play it. :)
Well, how's the family? Today we had a zone activity and visited a little museum, and ate at a kao rou-barbeque- which was really yummy. I think I ate a whole cow by myself. Parley would really like that type of restaurant. Living in taiwan is always an adventure. But at least I haven't been wrecked into a car yet. My life is full of little miracles a couple weeks ago I was contacting in a park and I came back and noticed my raincoat was gone. I was real real sad because I had spent lots of money and really liked that raincoat. we looked and looked and finally figured it was stolen. I ended up buying some rainclothes at the store, but they were a lot brighter blue than I thought. really shiny blue. So if you thought you look different in proselyting clothes walking around, it's even better when I'm this big shiny blue thing riding my bike in the middle of rainstorms talking to everybody. I was also thinking of buying another jacket but I got the feeling that I should wait a little while. Then I was calling on the phone one day, and there, on the side of the road was my green coat! I guess it had fallen out of my bag, and then a lady had picked it up and hung it on a little hook next to the road. I was real happy that things like that can happen.
So, guess what!!??? This Saturday President Uchtdorf is coming to visit our mission, and will give us a mission conference! Yay! I'm so lucky! I feel bad for the missionaries in the MTC that will just barely miss that. I don't really have too much to say about myself, except for I feel really fat and tired right now. hopefully I'll be skinny by the time I come home. The food here isn't especially healthy. It's greasy and makes my tummy queasy sometimes. I ate pig's blood the other day. That was gross. But the good thing is that we exercise every day. Go running three times a week and then work out in the apartment the other three. So I should be able to beat up Parley when I get home!

We have some pretty good investigators right now. Well, yeah. They are good. everybody just has their own problems. I don't know of any investigators yet that don't have problems. We have a brother Liu who likes meeting with us, and came to church three times in a row, but has a bad smoking problem, and just likes smoking too much. I remember contacting him a while ago, and I want him to get baptized. Also I contacted into a young man thursday named zhan yi rong. I yi yan wei ding 'd him to come meet with us that night, and he came, and we taught him the next day, and then he came to church the next day, and he's awesome! Hopefully he can get baptized soon, but he might have a hard time getting parent permission. Our two other progressing investigators are named Lin. one only met with us because he felt too embarassed to tell us he didn't want to. But that's okay, we used that as a tool to get him to meet with us twice more and he's also come to church twice now. He's really goofy and whenever we extend commitments to him he whines like a little kid. the other one is in the army and is really cool, but won't commit to follow the word of wisdom. so, that's what i'm doing right now. It's so good to actually have investigators though. Every now and then I don't feel like calling any more people, and then I'll think, "I would have given anything to be able to go talk to and call real taiwan people in the MTC." I thought of that today when in the zone activity Elder Graham from my MTC district and I were able to have a few minutes together while we were waiting and we went and contacted together. It was so fun to see how much we've progressed, and talk about what we've learned from our trainers and from being in Taiwan. I'm excited this saturday we'll be able to see the whole mission, and I'll get to see my ole MTC group. I realize more now how much I loved the MTC. It was such a great experience. It was just a lot of fun. Our district bonded so much, and we grew and learned a whole bunch!
okay, well, I missed the fourth of July. Nobody here in Taiwan cared at all. It was just another day. but at night I remembered that it was the fourth of July and before I went to bed went into the living room and sung through patriotic songs by myself. that was fun. Don't worry, I'll see fireworks too before I leave. One of the ways the people here worship is by doing fireworks. on some sundays you'll just hear all these big booms and I'll feel like I'm in the middle of a war. I think it's when they do daojiao parades that they do fireworks too. One time we accidentally rode into a daoist parade and I almost lost my hearing from being next to a string of firecrackers that went off. It was awesome. Daddy wouldn't really like it here. But their Buddhist and confucius temples are reallly pretty. There is one up in the mountains that I want to hike to, and I'll take some pictures and send them home.
Okay! Well, jiayou! I've got the best family ever! I will see you all in the gaorong guodu! Bubye