Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26, 2010

So, as far as missionary work goes, I'm doing okay. We have one really solid 18 year old kid named Tu2 Ren2 Xiang2. His baptism is scheduled for Saturday. I'm excited for that. We also have a 14 year old kid that might get baptized next week. That would be good too. I ended up giving the grandpa and grandma investigators to the sister missionaries and they are doing great things with them, and the 90 year old grandma is scheduled for baptism the next week. My little chubby kid would have been able to get baptized next week, but he didn't come to church yesterday. So I probably will have moved by the time he gets baptized. That made me sad.
Sometimes things just make me really sad. I kept thinking of our newest convert Chen Zhi Tai this week, but he was really busy with work. We finally met with him, and he had smoked some cigarettes again. Cigarettes are so so gross. I hate smoking. I pulled this bum guy off the street into church yesterday and he was really funny. He smoked an entire cigarette in like two puffs before he came into church, and then coughed all through sacrament meeting. oh well. he can change. So I confiscated his cigarettes, and had them in my box on the back of my bike, but it just brought a real bad feeling to even have the cigarettes. It was like Satan had more leverage to get to me just because I had some of his stuff near me. Even though smoking isn't a temptation for me, having stuff that satan has control of just brought a bad feeling, so I threw them away. Anyways, because chen zhi tai is such an amazing amazing new member, Satan pounded him real hard last week. We met with him and set goals with him to work towards being worthy to get the priesthood and go to the temple, and committed him to meet with the bishop. But he didn't come to church the next day. Maybe I was too hard on him, and just made him feel guilty that he had smoked or something, and felt awkward. So If you could say prayers for Chen2 Zhi4 Tai4 then that would be good. It was this that made me first realize how missionary work really is like a war. A war with satan. Because after everything we do to get this person to the baptismal font, Satan's very favorite tactic is to swoop in on the very newest members, and just get them while they are still weak and haven't developed a real strong testimony. And when I saw satan doing this, I just got real real mad, madder than I've ever been, because I'm not going to let him just take this person who found such joy from the gospel, and make him miserable. I don't know what our missionaries and our members are doing wrong, but unfortunately this is a war that it seems satan is winning right now. We have a Recent Convert list of people baptized in the last year, and there are 36 or so people on it, and of those only about 13 or 14 are active in the church. It's so sad. And our ward list has probably about 500 people on it, and of those only about 120 come to chuch each week. And this isn't just my area, this area is one of the oldest strongest wards in the mission. And this mission is the jewel of the Asia area. We actually truly need every single member to wake up, break out of their little shell where they feel comfortable, and go out and be saviors. go out and be the savior's hands, do his work. I don't know why I didn't realize this before my mission. I just came to church, and focused on myself. And if a friend or investigator or less active came to church I'd just think they were some weird new kid and not really talk to them. Well, I just hope that in General Conference someone will address this, and help our members realize that they actually do need to start doing missionary work. That like Elder Bednar says, they should not be praying for the missionaries to do their responsibity of finding people to teach. Oh well. Mom I'm only sending this to you because you are a such a good example of not fearing man more than god. It doesn't matter what other people think of you. If you bring somebody to the celestial kingdom is it worth an awkward moment? So keep being awesome and encourage as many other members as you can to do missionary work, give referrals, find less actives and strengthen them. alright, bubye!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


already forgot which pictures I put up there, i'll try and explain some of them.
one's probably a big red statue. That's a statue of the first man baptized in taiwan. Just kidding, I have no idea who it is. just some government guy.
One is our guanliyuan. He's just a guy that sits there all day every day at our apartment complex and takes care of the mail, and garbage and phone calls and stuff. He's super funny and I just love him so today I took a picture of him.
The black shirt I'm wearing in one of these says "you ban fa" on the front. That means, "there is a way" It's a saying that President Hoer is now famous for. It's just the idea that if you have faith, and work hard, nothing is impossible. On the back it says, WOD stands for Worthy Obedient Diligent. those are good things to be.

September 20, 2010

Yesterday was a TYPHOON!!!!!!!! be a man, with all the strength of a great typhoon. I was so excited to go mission in a typhoon, but it turned out to just be extremely lame. People in Taiwan are super exaggerated about weather. The word is kuazhang. They all built up this typhoon for a week by talking about it coming, and it was this big deal. And they tell us that during a typhoon, you just can't go outside at all. The winds were pretty strong there for a little bit, but overall I was really disappointed. The worst part is they canceled church, and all of our investigators now can't hit their baptismal goals, because they have to go to church at least three times before they can get baptized. Bah. and so yesterday we proselyted, instead of going to church, and it wasn't even raining. Oh well. The people we are looking to baptize now are an 18 year old kid named Tu Ren Xiang, he's solid, and probably will be baptized saturday or sunday. Also the little chubster Liu zhi cheng, he's progressing pretty well. We've been focusing on recent converts quite a bit too though. It's been fun.
A couple days ago I went on companionship exchanges and rode my bike real real far. it was soooo much fun. I felt like I rode my bike halfway across Taiwan, because I probably did. Me and Elder Burk rode from Fengyuan to Da ya, and from Daya to Qing shui sha lu, and then back to fengyuan. There was a big honk hill that we had to ride up. And it was raining and it was a pretty view and I realized being on a mission is just so much fun! Then I got back to the fengyuan stake center and a bunch of members from the stake were there eating lots of yummy food and we ate with them.
Well, add some oil everyone! Jiayou!!! I think I'm going to have to paint my bike all uglify because recently a bunch of bikes exactly like mine have been getting stolen. zao gao! (messy cake!). Oh well, it was fun to have a shuai (handsome) bike for a little bit.
p.s. general conference is coming up!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010

Well, I am kind of tired today. So maybe don't expect a super good e-mail. Today we rode our bikes really far to the top of a mountain, and took some pictures at the top, there was a buddhist temple there. Buddhist temples are really pretty, with lots of ornate carvings and stuff. But I do just get a little squirmy uneasy feeling everytime I look at the big grotesque statues of their gods. It just always makes me happy that I can be here spreading the true gospel, teaching people that Heavenly father loves them, and that Jesus Christ is a resurrected being, that overcame sin and death. Well, I have a lot of fun doing missionary work. Last week President Bishop suddenly came to our ward in fengyuan. That was a surprise. Chen Zhi Tai was confirmed that day. He is our most recent new member that had to give up a 15 year smoking habit to get baptized. He is such a solid new member, it just makes me so so happy every time I talk to him, because he just understands things, and gets what is going on. I'm excited that I'll still be here when he goes through the temple in a year to get his endowment, and gets the melchizedek priesthood. I started watching the movie "how rare a possession" with him, and it was a really special moment because it shows the story of how Parley P. Pratt found the Book of Mormon and read it. And I was able to say, "Look. The fact that I'm here today is a direct result of him finding that book. Because that is my great great great grandfather. That's the power of the Book of Mormon. It changes generations of people and can bring them to christ." And I shared with him that he has no idea how many people his choice to join the church will affect, that he was just like Parley P. Pratt. He told me something I didn't know then, said that he really related to that story because the night I gave him a book of mormon, he went home and read for four hours straight, way early into the morning. And the feeling he said he had when he read was that it "resonated" with him. Soooooooo gooood!!!!
It is just the thing that makes me the very most happy of any happy I've ever happied, is seeing recent converts come to church, and stay solid in the church. Chen zhi tai is way good, Chen Hao Feng is amazing as well. He wants so bad to share the gospel with his friends, And he brought one of his friends to church this week, and we've also sat down with his friend a couple times, and if his friend can get parent permission, he'll get baptized no problem. Wang Yu Li is the most solid any new member could be. He's already been to the temple to do baptisms, has a girlfriend in the ward, and preparing to go on a duanchuan, or a mini mission in preparation for going on a mission in about a year. Lin Chen Hui is still super shy, but he comes to church every week, and he's improving a lot. I can't wait to see him go on a mission and serve the Lord. chen hui's sister is getting baptized this saturday too. Yay. The sister missionaries in our district are super awesome. Sister Missionaries are just so much better than us dumb elders. They are more organized, nicer, smarter, mature. So girls should all go on missions. Zhan yi rong went off to college, but he's still solid and will go to church up where he is now.
Anyways, besides working with new members, there is still a lot to do with finding people to get baptized. I set a mission goal one time that before I go home I want to baptize a really old man and also a little chubby kid. The old man was more of just a challenge, because that's real hard to do. Old to me means probably over 70. As long as they are older than mom and dad. Last week a couple came by themselves to church, an old grandma and grandpa (a-gong and a-ma). They are both 90 years old! The tough thing about old people is that they are either really devout buddhists, and only speak taiwanese, or sometimes they are from mainland china and think religion is all useless trash because it can't help you put bread on the table or food on your back. These old people only speak taiwanese. darn, I might have to refer them to the sisters because Sister Li is from taiwan and can speak taiwanese.
I can speak only a little tiny bit of taiwanese. It's really kind of fun to speak though. It sounds way cool and way funny at the same time. taiwanese sounds different than chinese. Can't really describe it. But it's a fun thing to learn little phrases and talk to the old people that just sit there on the side of the road selling papaya and pillows and power tools.
So, the old man goal might take some time, but the chubby kid goal is looking pretty hopeful! I just really want to baptize someone that looks like a little chancho from Nacho Libre, that would be so fun!
About a couple weeks ago I ran into Liu Zhi Cheng. He's thirteen and extremely happy and giggly and hilarious and naughty and frustrating and golden and he's got chancho way outdone. I'm pretty confident this thirteen year old weighs as much as me. He came to church. It was a headache, but this kid is progressing towards baptism quickly. the first time I met him he set up his own time to come to the church. when he came, the young men and women were having a water balloon activity, and zhi cheng stayed and played with them the whole day. He also ate the entire table of desserts and put the rest in his pockets. :) oh well. More next week.
And God bless us, every one!
Elder Willi Vernon

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