Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 24, 2011

I'm in Taiwan!
Here's my missionary work update.
I pulled out my goals I had set as a new missionary for every key indicator, and realized some were too high, some were still reachable, some too low. And I hadn't looked at them for a year. So, I went back and looked at all my numbers for these past seven or eight transfers, and set new goals and then made red line graphs with my goals. And put the graphs on the wall where we plan every night. It helped me to be more focused and motivated. So, if you have goals in life, write them down and put them somewhere where you'll see them a lot.
All our investigators lost interest and stopped progressing. Oh well. no baptize. The two little Gao kids got baptized on Thursday, and the baptism was really great. I played violin, and baptized them. We also had a good Easter fireside where we sang hymns and dyed Easter eggs and I played violin. One of these days I want to buy an er4 hu2. I don't know how to say it in English. It's a Chinese instrument with a little box on the bottom and two long strings, played with an ancient looking bow. But the cheapest one would be 100 dollars American, so it's not worth it yet.
Anyways, I feel like Heavenly Father gave us this time with no investigators so that we could focus more on members. I realized the other day, that members in Taiwan, and maybe the whole world, aren't really doing a great job of sharing the gospel. There are some really good ones, but not enough are like Mom and give out pass a long cards.
So, we are going to start visiting all the members of our ward and sharing brief messages and inviting them to do missionary work, and we'll see what happens. Half of me is still a little doubtful, because it takes a lot of time to visit members. But I think it's what the Lord wants us to do. And he'll bless us if we do it good.
The faith of some members is incredible. There is this less active member Brother Ke who is handicapped, can't move his little tiny legs. And nobody really takes care of him. We went to his house to pick him up and bring him to church in the first time for a long time. His little kid didn't want to wake up and help us out that early in the morning, and there was no way that I was going to help Brother Ke put on a catheter, so we just had to stand there and persuade the little kid for 40 minutes to help us. When the little kid refused to help, he said, "forget it! I'm going to church today, and that's final. I don't care how hard it is, it's what Jesus Christ wants me to do!" And then he started grunting and scooting his handicapped stump of a body out of bed onto his wheelchair. It was pretty epic.
I also really like a less active Brother Zhang. He's less active, because he has to work on Sunday. We met with him, and invited him to pay tithing and come to church, and he expressed his disappointment that he wasn't able to. He had a desire, but because he signed his name on some mortgages for his sister, he went into some huge debt, and he lives the most basic life, with hardly any amenities in a rented apartment. But when we came, he brought out some little jellies to give us. I asked him where he got the jellies, and he had been saving them from his workplace where they gave them out for free. I wish he would pay tithing. He would get blessed. He needs to pay his tithing fully and honestly or he'll never get the full promised blessing. But he is always willing to help us teach investigators.
As far as investigator stories, only two come to mind.
1. Last night we were tracting, and we snuck into a big apartment complex through the back door so there were lots of doors to knock. After it was time to go, I said, there's probably one more door to knock, so I told my companion to "use the spirit" and close his eyes and hit one of the elevator buttons. He hit the fifth floor. we got out and found one door that was really fancy compared to all the others close around it. We knocked and to our surprise out came a bald white guy named Brian from California. He wasn't interested, but we happened to have an English book of Mormon that day, I don't know why, and we gave that to him.
2. We were riding home Tuesday night, and this kid caught up to us on his bike (we were riding fast) and said in English "I need to talk to you!" Turns out he lived in Canada most of his life, and that day, he had a fight with his parents, and didn't want to go back home, and didn't know where to go or what to do. When he saw the missionaries he felt like he needed to talk to us. He followed us on his bike, and finally caught up to us, sweating and heaving. We sat down right there on the spot, prayed and read scriptures and confirmed him for church and invited him to be baptized. I think he'll make a good investigator. I know that it was the spirit that led him to us. And he had to have had a group of angels pushing his bike real hard from behind, trying to make it up that hill to catch up with us. That was an experience I'll never forget.

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

Well, mission is good. I was going to baptize three next week, but then our solid investigator  turned out to be gay. that was a big surprise. So he failed his interview. So we'll keep working with him, and eventually he'll get a second interview with president bishop and get baptized. We also were going to teach and baptize two little kids that were referrals from the sisters' recent convert. But then because I felt like it was the right thing to do, we referred them back to the sisters, so I could do their baptismal interview and get them baptized this week.
Doing baptismal interviews is a great part of being a district leader. You can feel the spirit very strong when you determine whether or not a person has fully repented of their sins.
Anyways, things are good. My companion is the best missionary I have ever met. I'm not kidding either. I've never run into a more obedient, diligent, and focused missionary.  One of our investigators right now is a violin teacher. Last week I felt like we should go visit him. We hadn't set an appointment, but we just went. We were able to meet with his wife there as well, and share about how the gospel blesses families. She still won't come to church, because she's presbyterian, but we'll see what happens.
I love the Lord, I love this mission! I'll keep you all posted! Bubye!
Elder Vernon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11, 2011

Sorry I have little time to e-mail today.
The sisters in my last area baptized a wonderful family, the Xie family. It was a joint effort of the sisters, elders, and the ward. President Bishop took interest in it, and forwarded the sister's e-mail about the family's conversion to the area presidency, who liked the story, and wanted some more information on it, and a picture, so that maybe they could show it to Elder Holland and Bednar!
Contacting with the violin was really fun. We set up a table with pictures of the temple, Jesus, the Family Proclamation and a bunch of different brochures on it, and then I played violin near the entrance of the cultural center. They told me I have to register or apply to play there next time. But it was great. We didn't really add a whole bunch of people, but the best part was that we invited some members to come with us. So people would stop and look at me "why is he playing violin" And then the members, or missionaries, or both would contact the family and bring them over to the table and get their information. It was really fun to see one less active brother get excited and start contacting families by himself, he ended up giving us five referrals of the people that he contacted.
I also realized that it was an effective way to weed out those who would actually have interest. I feel like sometimes on the street I talk to, and even add too many people who actually don't have interest. But if they themselves stop, and are willing to learn more, then they are probably interested.
The first family a member contacted turned out to live in our area, and the wife had toured BYU hawaii and heard of the church there.
Another man that stopped had studied violin making with in Salt Lake City for three years, and said he had gone to music and the spoken word every week and loved it.
I realized that students never stopped, bums never stopped, but little kids always stopped to look at me, and families did too.
things are good.
Our best progressing investigator right now is Brother An.  His last name is special, means peace, or safety. Turns out I first contacted him in my last area, referred him over here, where he started meeting with missionaries, and then I moved over and he's progressing towards baptism. Yay. Also, there are two little kids that are nephews of the sisters' new member that are probably going to get baptized soon. It's nice when members prepare people to get baptized, and help share the gospel with their families. In fact that's the way it is supposed to be done. We heard that again in conference. But, there is also a sense of accomplishment when you baptize someone that you found on the street, and you know that you took them from knowing nothing about the gospel to being latter day saints. It's a good feeling.
I'll send you my thoughts on conference next week maybe, I don't have time today.
But I'll share one good little story, promise to tell Brother Story.
So, we went to visit this member, and I was surprised when we got to his house to see a bunch of tahition noni decorations and stuff. Turns out he has only been baptized for two years, he was inactive for a while, but now is doing better, coming to church almost every week. I asked him how he met the church, and he said he went to Utah to visit the Tahitian noni place, meet the bosses of morinda and hold some meetings or something, and then on the way home visited Salt Lake City/ Temple Square, ran into a chinese sister missionary, who referred him to the missionaries here in taiwan, and he was taught and baptized by my friend Elder Lundin. So, props to brother Story and brother Asay, and the other three guys. I think there's one of them that speaks chinese because he went on his mission to taiwan.
Maybe brother story can write him an e-mail and encourage him to go to church. haha. The guy's name is Wu2 shi1 xian2  or if you use the old romanization (wu shih hsien)
I love you all. Goodbye!!!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4, 2011

 Things are good. I like the new area, the new companion, the new ward. It's all really good. No problems, except for that our investigator that just passed his interview suddenly moved to the Taipei mission. He was real solid too. Oh well, my companion is really hard working and humble.
We met with an investigator for the first time, and he saw the violin I had on my back, and he said, "I'm a violin maestro!"  in English.  I was able to play for him, and he got real happy and said he'd come to church and bring his family. His wife is Presbyterian so she didn't come, but he did. He is brother Zeng.  Turns out there is another investigator family who owns a violin shop. The father is a member of the Gaoxiong Symphony on the bass, and he wants me to come over and play his violins. He wants to progress slowly in the gospel though, and I don't like slow investigators. So we hardly ever visit him.
I had an idea that maybe we could do a musical fireside, and the ward liked the idea, so we're doing an Easter musical fireside in a couple weeks. we're also going to try contacting people by playing my violin at the cultural center and having a booth set up about Family History and eternal families.
It's interesting being in a city with so many people around us, because if someone is not willing, we don't have  time to argue with them, because there are so many people out there, it's best to just move on and try to find the next person.
I love you all. Keep up the good work. I'm excited for conference this weekend.  We see Conference a week later here.
Elder Vernon