Well, here we go! The work is going well! today is move call, but it doesn't really affect me, because my companions already switched. I'm getting used to a new companion, and the last couple of days, we've had a third companion for the last couple days, a local missionary from Taibei, named Elder Xiao. It's been really fun speaking Chinese with him, and I can't wait until I'm actually with a local missionary. I'll for sure have that opportunity on my mission. The missionaries from taiwan are so much better than us foreigners. They are just amazing! Elder Xiao told me that one of the apostles had prophesied when the day came that there were more native missionaries than foreign in taiwan then mainland China would open. That's so exciting. I look for families, and for older people to teach, but I also really love teaching young men, because they are ready to hear it, and they can prepare to go and serve missions! My newest member Chen Hao Feng is so great. He doesn't ever talk that much, but last time I met with him, i asked if there was anything I could do for him, and he quietly asked if he could have some more of the pamphlets we give out on the street, because he wanted to give them to all his friends and have them come get baptized. So exciting!
Well, I have to tell you about Chen2 Zhi4 Tai4. I was riding my bike contacting people at my favorite intersection, probably 4 or 5 weeks ago, and I got him to pull over to the side of the road to talk with me. (The way we do that is while they are waiting at a red light, we put our contact cards in their hands before they can say no, and say "write your name!" and then the light changes and we go to the side of the road and say, "Oh, no! you're in the middle of the road! That's sooo dangerous! Come over here!" And because they have our pen and cards, they come over to the side of the road, and then we get 'em!) Anyways, this guy pulled over, and I invited him to come to church, and asked a little bit about his background. he said he had recently been looking for spiritual strength, and didn't know where to find it. I said, "congrats, you found it!" And then I bore my testimony to him, set up a time and a baptismal date with him. He met with us, we had some members come too, some of them were helpful, others weren't, oh well. We gave him the book of Mormon, and he read through first nephi before the next time we met with him. I asked him how he felt when he read, and he said he had felt a "gong4 ming2" de feeling. I had no idea what that meant, but I said, oh that's great! and then that night looked it up in the dictionary, and gong ming meant that it resonated. He had a feeling of something about the Book of mormon resonated with him. But.... he smoked. And it was really really hard for him to quit. he'd been smoking for 15 years since he was 14. But the gospel meant a lot to him. And finally last week, during the lesson i had the thought to just ask him for his cigarettes right then in the lesson. He was just quiet for a long time, and then pulled them out of his pocket and handed them over. So now I have some cigarettes! And Chen dixiong stopped smoking! He passed his baptismal interview and his baptism is this Saturday! It's such a blessing to be a tool in the hand of the Lord, to see someone who needed the gospel, and was so ready for it, progress from knowing nothing about it to reading the Book of Mormon and getting baptized! The timing of the lord is so exact. I learned later that Chen dixiong had injured his hand and been unable to work for a month or so, and I think because of this trial he had been prepared to meet the gospel. That's why he was willing to pull over, and why my testimony touched him. He said himself that he believes it was Shen de Anpai "the organization of god" that he ran into me then. So cool!
Well, I pretty much have to go now. Sorry I no send picture today.
p.s. This morning for excercise we went and did tai chi with a group of old ladies that only spoke taiwanese. That was really fun.
love, Elder Vernon!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
So, saturday night we had a baptism!!! This kid's name is Chen2 Hao4 Feng1, and he's really solid. Me and Elder Adams taught him, and then the week he was getting baptized Elder Adams left, and I had to set up the baptism and everything. Which doesn't sound like that much work, but sometimes it just takes a lot to make a baptism happen, I had to call a bunch of ward members and bishopric, and they all speak chinese really fast, and it was fun. Anyways, nobody came to the baptism, except us, and the kid, and his friend, a few members and zhan yi rong that we asked to baptize him. It wasn't the most smooth baptism because he had to be baptized 4 times too, but the spirit was there and he finally got baptized and it was really fun. It's been a way stressful week, because my new companion doesn't know the area or the people, so it almost seems like I've been senior companion this week, making plans and going places and leading discussions. But i've also grown a lot. We went to a meeting with the ward leaders to report on our investigators and people we were focusing on, and after the meeting I realized I was able to understand almost everything they said and that they understood what I said. So good!
Yesterday was a stressful sunday, when church was starting Hao Feng still hadn't come, and he was supposed to be confirmed, ... and so we called his house and they were all asleep, but his dad answered and said he was still sleeping and didn't want to wake him up. So we prayed real hard and then hao feng rode his bike up and was able to get confirmed the day after his baptism. then I accidentally told one of our investigators a class was in the wrong room, and he ended up just waiting in there by himself for a long time while I ran downstairs and tried to catch another investigator who was leaving. Oh well. we do all we can, and then the Lord takes care of the rest because there's just way too much to do.
So, today is a great preparation day, I can relax a little bit. The rest of these pictures are just on the way to the post office and internet cafe. Missionary work is so fun. I saw that guy sitting on a big motorcycle and said, "hey your motorcycle is really cool!" and he got all happy, and I said, can I take a picture next to you?" and he got even more happy, then I set up a time to meet with him and a baptismal goal. That's one add for today. we'll see if he comes, or if he ends up fanging our gezis. That's a picture of a little asian child. They're rather cute. And a picture of the stake center here in Fengyuan. It's way cool. It has three floors and it's really pretty.
This morning I cleaned the apartment for three hours, and it was really fun. There was some really gross old garbage in some places that missionaries just let sit there that might have been there since Prenten was here, who knows. but now my apartment is clean, and that feels real good. You learn a lot about yourself on a mission, and I learned that I really like things organized just right and clean just like Dad, but I also love just rolling up my sleeves and doing big cleaning projects like Mom. I'm excited to go buy stuff today, and take some more pictures. I want to get some cool action shots of me adding people on the street and then send them sometime.
So, the investigators we are focused on right now is our ward mission leader's son, who is 16 named You2 dixiong, or steven. I really hope we can get him baptized soon. His grandpa opposes and tells him not to get baptized, and steven himself doesn't really know what he wants. he doesn't have a baptismal goal yet, but I think we're going to throw him in a baptismal interview tonight at eight so that he could get baptized any time he decides he wants to.
And also a 29 year old Chen2 zhi4 tai4 who is just really solid and willing, and I'll tell you more about him next week!
Bubye, Elder Vernon
Monday, August 16, 2010
Well, I don't have much time. I love you all! I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures! I went to the temple last week! That was fun. And then two days ago the president called and told my companion that he was moving down to Gaoxiong to be a zone leader! Aaaah! It really caught me by surprise, because we're only halfway through the move call, but because a lot of missionaries were going home, they did a little mini move call. Fun! But I'm a little nervous because now I will have to lead to places, and roads and investigators houses, and I'm the one who knows investigators and their concerns, and so I have a little more responsibility. But I love this area, and I love the people, and I love my new companion, so we can just rely on the spirit and everything will be okay. One time we were trying to remember where this one house was, and we had written down the wrong address, because Elder Adams had one time on exchanges ridden around for an hour or so trying to find it but couldn't. So I said a prayer and then rode in the way that I could best remember. Because we've only been there once before a while ago and it's way up in a different place next to rice fields and hills and buddha temples. But I just rode in what seemed like the wrong direction, and then just picked random roads, and eventually somehow ended up right at their house. The spirit really can lead us in funny ways. Like last night my companion really needed to find a member that could drive us to the mission home this morning, and I facetiously said brother Wu, who I knew doesn't really like missionaries. And turns out there was another Brother Wu who was willing, and my companion said "O, that's a great idea!" and so called him and he said he would. So things work out for us if we just go and try hard and rely on the spirit!
My companion's name is Elder Kossman! he's from Chandler, Arizona. He's half Korean and really super nice. this is his first time being a senior companion, he's on his seventh move call now, and I can tell things are just going to be absolutely great! There are a lot of people here in Fengyuan that I want to see get baptized this move call or next. But things are all on the lord's timing and not mine. I saw that last move call with Wang Yu Li, who had been investigating for a long long time, but when the time was right, things just worked out together and he got baptized. That's a picture of him I sent. he's so solid, he told me today he wants to go serve a mission, in less than a year's time he'll be in the mission field too! YES! I love missionary work! It's so much fun!!!!! whoooooo!!!!
p.s. my companion had to use that ugly pink bike because his isn't sent up from Gaoxiong yet. It's really funny so I took a picture. I've had to ride it a few times too when my bike has flat tires or something.
Zai xiang huiuiuiuiui!
Bubye!, Elder Vernon
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Well, hello everybody. Today we went on a temple trip to Taibei. It was really fun, we woke up at 4 30 am and went to the mission home and then our zone all went on a bus up to Taibei. we watched the testaments and the Joseph Smith movie on the way up, and it was really funny to see the parts of the Testaments about Jesus Christs ministry in English. Because the same parts are in finding faith in christ, and I'll watch that movie in chinese with investigators quite a bit, and it's fun to every time I watch it understand a little bit more. I remember watching it in the MTC, and not understanding one bit. And now I can understand one little bit. so that's progress. Well, the temple was pretty. Really small compared to some of our big utah ones. I always like bragging about all the temples back in utah, and how there are like five temples within an hour's drive. temples really are great. I decided today I definitely want to work in the temple when I'm an old guy. Maybe even a mission where I work in a temple would be fun. So that's why I didn't email on monday, is because the temple trip today counted as our preparation day, so we go to the temple, come home and email, and then go teach english class. Right now I'm teaching the beginning class, it's kind of an adventure. the first hour is english teaching and then the last half hour is sharing about the gospel. and when new people come we ask them if they'll meet with the missionaries and get baptized. It's better than last move call, when I was teaching the primary age class. That's tough to try and teach like 10 little kids english for an hour and a half.
Anyways, I hope everything's just rolling smoothly at home, sometimes I think about how lame it would be if I was home right now. I love home, and I'm excited to go back, and some times I even miss it, but then I think about how if I were there right now instead of being a missionary it would just be extrememely flat, and I wouldn't have helped anybody get baptized. So, I hope the family knows that Elizabeth is over there in Connecticut baptizing just as many people as I am. So far we're tied right now from the time I left on my mission to now. And now I issue the family a challenge.
Can you help as many people receive baptism as I can during my mission??? I bet you can! This includes our whole immediate family. All my brother in laws are great missionaries too. I plan on baptizing lots, but wouldn't it be great if my family did the same back home? It's a lot of work but it's way worth it. YOU CAN DO IT!!! you just need to have the mindset of wanting to find someone to baptize wherever you go and then the lord will place someone in your path, that you can see progress in the gospel to baptism, and it will make you really happy!
Alright, well, I don't have a lot of time. Have a great week! Bubye!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Sarah had her baby. Wow! That's really amazing, good job Rod! and Mom! and I'm glad Sarah didn't die or anything. What are they going to name it? Seven kids. When I tell people that my sister has seven kids they are really surprised. That was fun to see pictures of Nancy June, and Marilyn's weddings. That's good! So the count so far is Julia, Marilyn, Nancy June married while I've been gone so far right? Who else will be married when I get back? hmm....all those guys could get married, Parley, David, Kendall, Will, Rodney, but Jessica will probably beat them all. haha.
Well, things back here in Taiwan have been great as well. The baptism we had on Saturday was so good. There were quite a bit of people there, and Wang Yu Li is so solid. I hope I can see him go on a mission before I leave Taiwan. Because I always talk to him about hymns and how much we both like the hymns and music I wanted to do some music for his baptism, but it didn't look like anything was going to work, because there was nobody to play piano or to sing with, but it turns out that an Elder Huang that came up for the baptism could sing, and so we sang Abide with me after only singing through it twice, and it was really pretty and worked out great. Blessed by the spirit. So, that was a great baptism.
one thing that wasn't so great is that one of our recent converts, Song dixiong just stopped answering our phone calls, and doesn't come to church. And he was so good too. I don't know what his problem is. We went and visited his house, and talked to him and he said his girlfriend won't let him go to church. It made me sad. we'll keep working with him, because I'd feel really bad if I helped somebody get baptized and then they just drop out. that's no good. We have a really good investigator named Cliff still, but his family won't let him get baptized. We have probably five kids we could baptize in week if they didn't have family opposition. But they need permission and their parents are buddhist. Oh well.