Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

  Well, one thing I should talk about is, this week we had a mission conference. We had a sleep over in my apartment with the Elders from Qianzhen, and xiaogang. We didn't have enough beds, so me and Elder Mikkelsen slept out on the balcony. wheet. that's the closest I've gotten to sleeping under the stars for over a year. Anyways, then we woke up early in the morning, made it to the gaoxiong train station by four thirty, (the people we contacted on the way thought missionaries must just be crazy and proselyte all day and all night) and then took a bus up to taizhong for a mission conference! Elder Jay Jensen came and talked to us,  and it was great. More than just what he said about missionary work, what I really liked was just learning from his example. Elder Jensen who has a bunch of degrees in education, and has been doing missionary work and gospel teaching for over 50 years, He taught really really well, from the scriptures. He explained and expounded things that seemed confusing, and they were made really plain and understandable. it seemed like he could answer any question. In otherwords, he was just a master teacher. Some of my favorite things were...
- he said we really need to use the hymns, and the power of the hymns in bringing the spirit, and teaching the doctrine. also the children's song book songs. (by the way I do use a children's song book. I take it with me in the pocket of my violin case, and every time I teach a lesson with my violin, I use the children's songbook, because it teaches the gospel real plainly, and easier to remember. I often have to ask myself how it is I came to know and remember the gospel, and I think I forget that most of my gospel knowledge  didn't come from reading straight from the scriptures. That might be bad, but coming to church, listening to people, singing the hyms, family members' testimonies, and watching church videos, and seminary. I should try and let my investigators in on as many aspects of the church as possible to broaden their testimony.
- this is the thing that stuck out to me. He shared a lot how we are spirit children of our heavenly father. we received our first lessons in the world of spirits. he talked a bit about what those lessons probably were, and how everybody we teach already knows everything that we teach (as long as we're teaching correct doctrine). And then he defined conversion this way, He defined conversion as "remembering" when we connect with those first lessons that our spirits received, we are converted. That happens by the spirit, and the spirit doesn't testify of our examples, or our ideas or anything like that. The spirit testifies of pure testimony, the truth, and the words of the lord as expressed by his prophets.
I sure love being a missionary. The spirit was really strong in that meeting. We had to do weekly planning on the bus ride back though, and that was a little bit tough. We planned well enough for our investigators.
I'm real worried for brother huang, even though he came to church, he's not really progressing well, because he doesn't understand the importance of the gospel and frequently releases our pigeons.
The xie family didn't come to church. and then didn't answer their phone later when we tried to call them. They needed to come to church this time to hit their baptismal goal. Messy Cake.
The dad of the chen family stays up late every night gambling and drinking. So he didn't come to church.
But the zhu family dad and little boy came to church and loved it, and they seem really golden! Tonight we have them coming over to the bishop's house for fhe, and we are really excited!
I love you all. 
Elder Vernon

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23 pictures

picture 1. No matter what kind of cameo he wears, Elder Harper sticks out like a sore thumb. He'll have a hard time blending in with the crowd. 
picture 2. This is the monkey that got mad at me for staring at it. Monkeys are kind of feisty, and these ones weren't really scared of us at all.

3. Me and Elder Harper in front of the Gaoxiong 85 story building. It's not quite as tall as the Taibei 101, but I think it looks cooler.
picture 4. The Gaoxiong 85.
Yup, the panda shirt is still around Julia. It's a pretty big hit in Taiwan. Except for the fact it just makes them mad at hina all over again, because for a long time Taiwan didn't have any panda to put in their zoo because China wouldn't share, they just kept all the pandas away from Taiwan.

may 23, 2011

Missionary work is doing okay.
Yesterday was a little disappointing because only two investigators came to church, and brother Huang, who was supposed to have a baptismal interview, and get baptized the next week, drank the night before, and then went home early from church because his head hurt.
But, we were able to eat dinner at the bishop's house yesterday and it was soooo yummy. And that made me happy. I really really like the bishop of this ward. Bisop Zhou is just great. He's really on top of things, and willing to help out. I didn't really get to know the bishop in my first area much, but the second and third area, I've really enjoyed getting to know the bishops, they're excellent.
Anyways, the Lord has blessed us with some new investigators. The one's we're most excited about are three families that we've begun teaching. I think I've told you about this Xie family. The others I don't know. I'd really appreciate your prayers in they're behalf.
The Xie family is a miracle. they are so golden. The wife prayed for an answer in their life, she wanted to find a christian church, but didn't know which one, and the next day we contacted them. We shared the word of wisdom with brother Xie the other day, and he was pretty worried about coffee, because he likes drinking coffee every day. But, I was really glad to find out he didn't really drink or smoke.
The Zhu family is good too. Blessings also come from visiting the Bishop. We were on our way to visit him, and contacted the guy nearby, and turns out he has 4 kids all over the age of 8, and he really wants them to learn the gospel. We were able to go over and have the bishop peike yesterday.
And the Chen family is good too. They've come to English class twice now, and the wife told us she wants us to meet with their family, because her husband loves drinking. She said her life was really unhappy because her husband drinks all the time. The husband has a Christian background, and we told him that he needed to get baptized again, and he said that would probably be okay. But, we haven't shared a word o wisdom with him yet.
I really really want to help these families, and I hope that I'll be able to stay in the area long enough to see them all baptized. I think they'll all be baptized in the month of June.
I love doing missionary work. I especially love training. training is really special. Elder Harper is soooo funny. I just look at him and laugh. Because he's just like a huge baby.  I love being with him and seeing how many compliments I can give him. I know a good compliment from your trainer can go a long ways.
Take care,
Elder Vernon 

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

Well, I have a lot to say in this e-mail. I'll try to type fast.
This week has been amazing.
First, my trainee. To quote from Lambert, just look at him. "Isn't he ...huUGE?" Hahaha. Sometimes I just look at him and think he's so big. In the next few coming days, we're going to start an exercise/ weight loss goals and plans thingy. There's a couple missionaries in our mission that have lost almost 100 pounds.
Elder Harper is a wonderful guy. He loves singing, and he loves doing missionary work. He's a little scared to do it sometimes, and still could be a lot more confident in contacting and teaching, but he'll get there. I'm excited to set and hit a bunch of goals with him. Sometimes I might have to take some of my own goals, and place them to the side, and help him. But that's okay. That's a part of training. As long as we baptize, I'll be fine with that.
I haven't baptized in a long time. We have a Huang2 Yan4 Bo2 investigator. He's great. He still drinks and smokes though. But we are praying with faith and doing all we can to help him hit his goal for the end of May. It's seems like I've contacted so many prepared souls lately. It must just be another miracle of being a trainer. I am really grateful for this opportunity.
Anyways, the other day after visiting a less active, I rode past a guy wearing glasses in a car, and had a thought to contact him. It wasn't a big thought, and there were lots of other people around. But luckily I followed the thought and turned around immediately. He was just about to drive away, but I waved and yelled and stopped him and contacted him. He invited us in to his house right then, and seemed really interested in the message. The next day we came back, and ran into the wife. It was such a miracle. She told me that she had been Buddhist for many years, but just recently had began to wonder about God, and family members, and different things. She decided she wanted to investigate some christian churches, but didn't know where to go, so she prayed. She didn't know how to pray, or even exactly who she was praying to, but she prayed. and the very next day her husband told her that two American missionaries had come to teach them the gospel, and she was really surprised. They said they were going to come to church, but didn't, that was a little disappointing. But I still believe that this family is golden, and will be baptized. Their last name is Xie4 like thank you (xie4 xie4) And it's actually the same character. So I would really appreciate it if everybody could pray for the Xie family. I haven't been privileged to baptize a family yet on my mission, and I really hope that this one can pull through.
Now, I also would really like to share a quick experience that is really important to me. Because I'm in the city, and near the train station as well, we'll often run into people that aren't Taiwanese. It's kind of fun to talk to them sometimes. mostly they are Canadian, English, Australian, or American. Before now I've never had an investigator that was not Taiwanese. I'm so glad I'm on my mission in Taiwan. usually foreigners are really hard hearted and want to prove our message wrong. We've met with an Irishman William O'Leary for a couple times, until a couple days ago I said. "William, the next time we'll meet with you is when you have interest in reading and praying about the book of Mormon and joining the Mormon church." He said we'd never meet again. We have another one named Mike who is better. He isn't hard- hearted.
But, the other day, on the road we contacted one guy named Justin. He told me the Book of Mormon was a book of lies, and that science proved religion wrong and a bunch of other dumb things like that. We said goodbye, and he left. Then I had the thought come to my head that I hadn't bore my testimony to him, and I needed to. I couldn't shake the feeling, so I chased him down, crossed the street went into the shop where he was and looked him in the eye and said "I know the Book of Mormon is True. I know it by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know the Book is True." then left. I felt the spirit. But I started thinking a lot about my testimony and how I gained it. I realized that I had never fasted and prayed to know the truth of the Book of Mormon. I had a testimony, but it needed to be strengthened. I fasted. I prayed, and I read the Book of Mormon. It was really simple. I truly wanted to know. I had a desire, I fasted prayed, and while I prayed, the Holy Ghost truly touched my heart. I know the Book of Mormon is true. But, even more, now I know that I know. I absolutely love the feeling of spirit that comes when I can look at investigators and say "I prayed to God yesterday, and asked him if the Book of Mormon is true. I felt the spirit. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God."
I would like to bear that testimony to each of you. I know that it's true. I'm really grateful for my family who helped me read the Book of Mormon. I know this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I will work hard to spread it.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

Hello! I'm a trainer now. My new companion is Elder Harper from Fridley (basically twin cities) Minnesota. Elder Harper is great, and I find it really fun to be able to teach somebody from scratch how to do missionary work. His chinese is actually pretty good, and I feel like this is going to be a great transfer. We have a couple good investigators, but actually, only one good investigator. His name is huang dixiong. He said he was willing to quit smoking and drinking, and if he actually does, then he'll get baptized. He has a pretty big desire, so I believe he will be able to do it.
Sometimes I feel like there are just a whole bunch of things to think about. A lot of key indicators, a lot of people, a lot of appointments and stuff. It almost feels a little bit overhwhelming, especially when I give myself pressure because I'm not hitting my own goals. But, today I once again read Bruce R. McConkie's talk the "Purifying Power of Gethsemane" and I just remembered that it's all focused on Jesus Christ. All doctrine is centered on Jesus Christ. We're not here to teach about prophets, and the Book of Mormon, and Priesthood and all sorts of different things. We're here to testify about Jesus Christ, and how each of these separate things testify of him as well. Our Purpose is to invite others to "Come unto Christ."  I felt that even though there are a lot of things, at least I had a burning testimony of Jesus Christ, and his atonement. And the fulness of my intent was like Nephi to persuade men to believe in Him and be saved. That made things a lot simpler, remembering that there really was only one goal, one focus, and everything else is just there to help us hit that. 
Elder Vernon

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Being a missionary is a great thing. I really love it.
I feel bad that we didn't have any baptisms for the last month or so. waaaah. I guess I need to go out be even more proactive in finding people and challenging them to get baptized and endure to the end.
Last night the sisters had another baptism, a wonderful couple from mainland china, that had to stay in a hospital in taiwan for a while because the husband is in a wheelchair, and happened to be in the same sickroom as one of our members, who shared the gospel with them. That's the way to do it. Members willing to share the gospel. They're baptism was great. Except for the part where the zone leaders forgot to turn off the water, and as we proceed to the font we see streams of water flooding from the bathrooms and out into the chapel. Hahahaha. we all cleaned it up and they got baptized!
I really love sharing the gospel with people from mainland china. we found a couple the other day that was only in taiwan for a couple days. and the wife was really interested. So we taught them a first lesson on the spot and gave them a book of mormon.
I can't believe how fast this transfer has gone. I've loved my time with Elder Farr. He's a really great, motivated and dedicated missionary. He'll probably be an apostle someday. I always tease him about that. I'm going to have to jiayou (add oil) to hit my goals, because their all really high. But I at least hit some of my personal excercise goals, including running a mile in 5:15. Now I've got to cut the hardest 15 seconds in order to hit my mission goal of a 5 minute mile.
Our best investigator right now is the miracle self contact kid I told you about named Kevin. He adjusted his study schedule and made it to church on sunday! that's a big deal.
But his parents won't let him be baptized and he goes back to canada in a couple weeks. :(
I've been able to feel the spirit help me a lot lately, and I'm grateful for your prayers!!!
I love you all.
Elder Vernon