Sunday, October 31, 2010

october 31, 2010

Well, our investigators right now are...
Pan Zhao Qi - this guy has the most faith of anybody. He's so great. we taught him the word of wisdom and tithing, and he looks at us and says "Tea!!?? one tenth!!?? and then thinks for a little bit, and then says. "okay. I can do that." and then does it. The only reason he's not baptized yet is because he can't make it to all three hours of church, only sacrament meeting. I think he should be baptized. but the ward and my companion want to wait until he can come to all three hours.
cai yao hui. Real cool guy that just needs to quit smoking and then he'll get baptized
Willi, a little chubby 12 year old kid. he and his dad came to church yesterday.
The shi brothers, ages 17 and 13. They love church, have testimonies, really want to be baptized. Their dad would ma them out if he knew they were meeting with us. that's called family fandui.
and the old Lin guy named Colin. colin is a really cool old guy, with long hair. really refined and smart. Believes in god becuase of how exactly the planets are organized. came to church yesterday and loved it. His son is a musician that studied at maryland university on voice, and is now an assistant professor in gaoxiong city.
one last story.
We met with our recent convert Cheng Guang Yi, he's such a great guy. I noticed recently that his pants were falling down, he didn't have a belt. So I brought one of my belts to give to him at our next lesson. I made a big deal out if giving him the belt and said. "I give you this belt as a present. But on one condition! Every day that you wear this belt, you have to read the scriptures! I hope that you wear this belt every day and it reminds you to read your scriptures!" It was great, and then we gave him the belt, and he looked at it and said. Um, that's not long enough. (he's a chubby guy) I said, are you sure? he put it around his belly and it didn't fit at all. oops. Then my companion said. maybe if you put it under your belly. Still didn't fit. It was an epic failure. I thought it was really funny.Bubye

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24, 2010

Ello everyone! I hope all things are going good for you, and all your little chiddlers too. things are startin' to pick up down here in the dirty south. Our investigators were all not progressing really. So we fasted. And then we gave two investigators week b goals. means they get baptized in two weeks. Hopefully they hit it! Then we started looking through all of our old records in our area book. There are some real funny stories on old records. you never know what you'll find. one record said the family was pretty bummed because their oldest son was conned on the internet and then kidnapped and sold on the blackmarket!!??? we have yet to visit them. We found this old record of an old man that was writing a book about all the religions on the world, so he would talk your ear off and meet anytime, but wouldn't progress or keep commitments. But we went to visit him. Turns out his 17 year old grandson answered the door. so we sat down with him instead. He was real golden! then his grandpa came down and started talking at us, and ruined the lesson. So we visited again, and I sent Elder Chen to sit and talk with the grandpa on one side of the room, and I taught the kid a first on the other side.
Then we saw a teaching record that said he was a ninety year old man that played violin. He'd been called a month ago and didn't have interest, but that's okay, we called him and said we wanted to come play violin with him. old mr. Yang said okay. We got there and he was so excited, he pulled out his little old violin and played happy birthday (that's about all he could still play). So I played a couple hymns for him, and then he said "ohhhhh, your vibrato is so good! Teach me vibrato!" He used to teach violin back in the day, but he retired about 30 years ago. He really liked hearing me play. So then I told him about Jesus. He said, "ohhhh, Jesus probably doesn't exist does he?" I said, "Yup, he's real." and he said, "oh, okay." So, hopefully we can teach him and get him baptized. That would be really fun.
After we visited him, we went to a ward activity, where everybody ate together. I mentioned to the bishop that I had my violin and if they wanted I could play a hymn. I usually wouldn't have done that, but I felt like I should. It was just an idea that came to me. The bishop got up and announced to the ward that I would play a hymn for everybody. hahahaha. this is the best part. I opened up my case, and there was no BOW!!!!! Yikes, that really gets my heart rate up. so the bishop got back up and announced to the ward. "Elder Vernon was going to do a musical number, but it seems he has forgotten his bow!" Everybody laughed. I remembered then that I had left it at the old man's house. So we rode really fast and he was still there awake, and we found my bow and it was all safe and sound.
This made me feel good to know the spirit was looking out for me. Because if I hadn't had the thought to play for the ward, I might not have opened my violin case for a week or so, and noticed that I was missing my bow! and now the whole ward knows that I play violin.
Well, today for preparation day, I think I'm going to go to a batting cage and hit baseballs! maybe that'll be fun! See you all. Be really good church members, and help out the missionaries. Give' em referrals and stuff. And also do missionary work everywhere you go, build up the kingdom! Jia you. Add oil!
Bubye, Elder Vernon
p.s. just so you know, everyone in Taiwan just says Bubye. it made me laugh when I first came. I thought they would say zai jian, but everybody just says "babye!" there are also a couple other english words that have made it into their language. If you say "schedule" or "morning call" anybody will understand. It's funny. Elder Vernon

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 17, 2010

So, my new area is Yuanshan! That's not actually an area, that's the name of the ward. We spend our time in the towns of feng4shan1 and niao3song1.
Life is good down here in Gaoxiong. I've found that overall the area is richer than my last one. One of the families we visited had a porsche! And my apartment is really nice too. After I've cleaned it up it will be really fun to live there. It is spacious and has 2 floors. Tha's one hittle treasure I've gained from my mission is a love of cleaning.
I'll send some pictures, and hope you have everything go well and good over there.
Elder Vernon

Monday, October 11, 2010

october 11 2010

So on wednesday, we were in a lesson, and President bishop called and told my companion Elder Kossman he was going to be training! So I got booted out of Fengyuan and hung out it Tanzi for a few days. But fortunately that week was general conference, so instead of going to the Tanzi ward, we all went to general conference at the stake center in Fengyuan. So I got to see all my new members and investigators one last time. That was fun. Then this morning I woke up, and packed up and took a train (riding trains actually is real fun. I don't konw why, maybe I'm just like daddy) all the way down to Gaoxiong!!!! Gao1 xiong2 is the second biggest city in Taiwan next to taibei, and it's way in the south part of the island. I'm not actually in the city, but I'm in the county there in an area called yuan2shan1. It includes a couple cities called niao3song1, feng1shan1 and ren2wu3. It seems like a great area and I'm really excited. My new companion is Elder Dillon Chen from bountiful utah, and he's Awesome. really nice fun guy. both his parents are taiwanese, so hopefully my chinese will improve this move call.
Well, I'll miss fengyuan. That place was absolutely wonderful. But I was actually really excited to move to. My first move. It's made me realize how much I've grown since I first came. Because last time I moved, it was into taiwan. and everything was strange.
The last night I was in fengyuan, we went to visit one of my favorite investigators, you2 shi4 feng1, and on the way I had just a little teeny tiny thought that I could go drop by Song4 zhao4 yi3 's house. He's my new member from the first move call, and he's gone inactive, and hasn't been to church because his girlfriend threatens to break up with him if he's not buddhist. Stupid huh. but I hadn't seen him for two months, because he is never at home. But on the last night, I visited. And then he wasn't there. And I was saddened. but then right as we were leaving, he pulled up on his scooter, and I was able to talk to him, encourage him to come back to church, and say a prayer with him. It was a tender mercy of the Lord. It's only possible through the spirit. There is no way to fight this battle without the spirit. Without the spirit we shall not teach. We might not realize it, but teaching includes almost every moment on a mission. on the street contacting, with companion, investigators, members. Might as well say, without the spirit we shall not mission. just like D and C 50. And also I like the fact that in Ephesians 6 the only offensive piece, the sword, is symbolizing the spirit. Sometimes I wish the spirit were a little more clear, it's not always easy to understand what I'm feeling. In fact it's actually pretty rare that I recognize something as a distinct impression of the spirit. But I just go around and do things, and then sometimes I realize that afterwards, that really was the spirit guiding my steps.
Missions are so much fun! Really! I love it so so so much here! I hope like president monson instructed us, that every single young man prepares to serve a full time mission!
Well, Bubye. more next week. I'll let you know what gaoxiong is like. because I actually am not familiar with it myself yet!
-Elder Vernon/ Wen Zhanglao

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 4, 2010 pictures

October 4, 2010

I'm jealous that you already got to see conference! I am really super excited to watch it. It will probably not be the same, with trying to make sure investigators and new members come watch it, but I think at least I'll be able to watch it in English. I've been listening to the CD of the old conference, and read through it in preparation for this one.

Last preparation day I went to an amusement park! we left early, went with another companionship from Taichung, and we took a taxi up to a little amusement park. It was about like lagoon, except for about half the size. It had only one roller coaster, and some other little rides. But turns out there were probably a total of 15 guests at the entire place, so we could just sit on the rides and say, "one more time" over and over again, because there was nobody there. It was extremely fun. I got real silly and screamed real loud and also got all wet, (I can just see daddy grimace). It was fun. Except for that night we found a real golden kid and took him in to the church and taught him, and we started singing a hymn, but my voice was gone, and it sounded real bad! haha.
Well, we baptized and confirmed Tu Ren Xiang, and he seems really solid. But, we'll be careful to call him every day and see if he reads book of mormon and prays, because Satan likes to grab new members and shake them around a bit. He is 18, and actually goes to college about a half hour train ride away, but is willing to come to church when he can in fengyuan, so we baptized him, and he'll make a great addition to the church! He likes having long hair, he said he used to have even longer hair, in pony tail.
I'm getting nervous for next week, when it's very possible that I'll be moving. I've already been in fengyuan for 4 months now, I am ready for a change. I really like fengyuan though. Some of my best friends are here. Like new member yu li, and also the young men here. I've seen them change a lot and get more excited about doing missionary work. Being at our lessons and fellowshipping investigators.
One last thing that might make you happy. Our ward mission leader's son still isn't baptized because he is scared of his grandfather's opposition. so we'll go and visit with him and try to get him baptized. Last time I visited him, he said he was starting to learn violin, and wanted me to help him. He brought out his violin, and I taught him a violin lesson real quick as part of our lesson. I e-mailed the mission president and asked if that was against the rules or not. He said "I think we need to figure out a way to use your skills to build the kingdom. Visit the boy and show him some basics. Then play a hymn to invite the spirit. Teach that the Spirit will help him and teach him everything he needs to know. Teach him that the Spirit comes little by little, just as skill to play an instrument. Use this skill to build the kingdom. Start now."
However, I still haven't played. every time I think about playing, the idea just doesn't feel quite right. So I don't worry about it, and just go mission until I feel like it's right to play violin.
Well, bubye! I love you all! I'm doing absolutely wonderful. Taiwanese people are just taking good care of me. It's real weird that already a fourth of the way done with my mission. I'm gonna have to start baptizing lots more if I'm going to hit my goals of over a hundred people. oh well.