Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

Hello Family!
We're having a great preparation day. Today me and my old companion Elder Chen (he moved back down to gaoxiong) met up with one of our old recent converts from yuanshan, Shi Bo Yu, the older one of the two brothers who were baptized on New Years. He hasn't been to church in 5 months, because he got in a fight with his dad and moved out to qianzhen to live with his uncle. He just disappeared, and I was sad about that. Right before I left that area I was able to run into him though. Then last zone conference I asked the elders there now for his phone number, and called him at night and found out where he was living, and then today I took the subway and met up with him and elder chen, and we got to sit down and meet with him. It was a really fun, sweet experience. He asked us really simply and humbly, "do you think I'm bad because I haven't been able to come to church lately?" And I knew he's going to be okay. It was so much fun. I was looking for a scripture to share and came across the oath and covenant of the priesthood. It didn't seem to fit at first, but I felt like I should talk about priesthood with him. We were able to explain to him that we loved him, and the lord still loved him, and we expected to hear news of him receiving the melchizedek priesthood and going to the temple, and serving a mission. I felt the spirit really strong. I realize now how much better it is to help him have faith and work towards a future goal of living the gospel, rather than trying to make him feel bad for not coming to church recently. Turns out he just has to work every sunday, and his dad just really dislikes him, (his dad's a real bum) so he has to live by himself and also support his little brother at age 18. He's going into the army soon, so if that didn't happen today, I don't know when that would have been able to happen. I'm so glad last night at 10:20 I got the thought to call him, and set it up.

guess what else?
Yaaaaay! We're going to have a baptism! Brother Zhu is set up for baptism this week.
This entire process with him has been guided by the spirit. Especially in helping him to get to know the ward. Even though they didn't get to announce his baptism in church, they announced it at the ward activity that night, and everybody knows about it. I've really seen the hand of the Lord in his conversion. It's been perfect so far. So many subtle promptings have made situations just right. I can only remember one lesson where we didn't have a member with us. Every other time, the right member was able to come just at the right time. So he's really good with the bishop and alot of other members.
The key meeting was friday night.
We had our ward mission leader set up to pei our ke at eight, but then he wasn't able to make it. At seven we were meeting with the Zheng Family (they are a beautiful little family that has set a baptismal goal for the 23rd) and our member friend brother Yang, said he would be able to come straight over there with us. We went, and Zhu dixiong had smoked that day, and didn't know if he could keep the commandments.
Yang dixiong told his conversion story, and bore testimony how the gospel could bless zhu dixiong's family and then bore testimony of how he quit smoking, and kept the commandments, and was baptized.
Then I bore testimony about how the very best thing he could do for his family is get baptized, receive the holy ghost, and the priesthood, and become a priesthood holding father. And I promised him very specific blessings for each child of how he would receive inspiration of how to guide and protect them. Then we invited him to quit smoking, drinking, tea, and coffee (he already quit betelnut) do a baptismal interview and get baptized the next week. I could feel and almost see the spirit working on him as he thought for a second. And then he just decided to do it. He didn't smoke the next day, or the next. Passed his baptismal interviews, and is set up for this saturday. After a long time of not baptizing, through faith and the help of the Holy Ghost, we are excited to see this father accept baptism. And he can baptize his little kid as soon as he turns eight. We are going to sic the sister missionaries on his three daughters this week, because the two taiwanese sisters are way better than us at meeting with teenage girls.
Last night, I didn't think we were going to visit him, because he'd already been at the church all day. But, I felt just slightly that we should probably go visit. So we did, and then we just read book of mormon stories, and the spirit was really strong. I'm so glad our family read book of mormon when i was a child.
That's about it. Right now the only other families we are focusing on is the zheng4 family. They have the cuuutest little 1 year old kid that bonks his head into everything. They came to church yesterday and seemed to enjoy it. The father works all night until seven in the morning, so they came to the afternoon ward. We were trying to think of ways to maybe get them baptized in that ward, but after church we sat down with them, and he said that he would probably be able to come in the morning twice a month, and then in the afternoon twice a month. That's great! well, obviously every week in the morning would be better, but I think they could totally hit their 23rd goal if it's about half and half like that. Every time I see this Zheng4 family I just think of them in the temple.
The xie family has just been really busy lately. The dad had a surgery on his eye, and apparently he's not even able to bend over. We offered a blessing, and we're going to go over tonight and see if we can give him a blessing, and heal his eyeball, and hope that helps them gain a testimony.
apparently the mom has had to handle most of the work at the shop, and then she's also a lawyer, wants to test to become a judge, and takes care of two kids. So, we'll just keep praying for them, but we aren't focusing a lot on them lately.
We've also run into some really really funny less actives lately. One guy was so drunk that when he started laughing he couldn't stop for about five minutes and pretty soon we were laughing right along with him. Then he told us he had been baptized in Tainan years and years ago. I was so surprised. At first I didn't think he was drunk, because I didn't smell beer. I thought he was just crazy. But then I realized that what he was drinking wasn't beer, it was just pure liquor. He took a huge swig and then just started laughing and waving his hands around in the air. We said a prayer with him, but I kept my eyes on him the whole prayer, I didn't want to close my eyes while he was doing weird hand movements.
Today we ran into the depressed less active with long hair. Every time we go to visit him he doesn't even acknowledge that we're there, until we sing hymns and he tells us to be quiet and leave him alone. But today I just told him I wanted to take a picture with him because he was really handsome, and gave him a bunch of other compliments and it was the first time we've ever gotten him to smile.
We also ran into the guy who sells coke. we bought drinks from him one time, and I started contacting him, and then after questioning him a while, I finally get it out of him that he's a member! I've never seen him without a cigarette in his mouth. Oh well.
Oh we also have one really fun investigator named Mr. Wang. He loves speaking English with us foreigners, and our lessons are always us speaking chinese, and him speaking english. So at first I didn't think he actually had interest in the gospel. But, turns out he's been reading book of mormon every day, and then when we taught the plan of salvation, he believes everything. And we found out his Dad passed away about a month or two ago. When we shared about the spirit world, Brother Wang shared with us that he felt like his father had a hand in him meeting missionaries. He said "I feel like my father sent you two to tell me about the God, and the fuyin!"  (gospel).

That's about it. I'll send some pictures.
Elder Vernon

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20, 2011

Well, today was transfer day.  I'm staying with Elder Harper for six more weeks. Which is exactly what I wanted. Not just because I love training elder Harper, but because we haven't had any closure on our missionary work for these last six weeks. No baptisms yet. I really want to try harder, get six more weeks to try hard and baptize all these people. It's been so long, things just keep falling through.
The Xie family isn't doing so great. They seemed so golden. They think coffee and tea will be to hard to give up. Stupid. Tea and Coffee aren't even that good anyways! and mainly they are just too busy. They won't come to church, won't truly read or pray sincerely. So basically all that was happening is we were using a lot of our time to try and push them along. I got really angry about it, because it truly was a lot of time that we used. I don't regret it, but I'm just frustrated that they didn't progress and get baptized. GRRRRR!
The Zhu family is a lot better though. The Father has a lot of faith. the little kid has even more. The dad said he'd stop smoking, drinking, tea, coffee, and binlang. He needed to hear tithing, and we were going to share it with him, but then we didn't get to it. The next day we went to a family home evening of the first counselor, and the topic was tithing, and it was absolutely wonderful!!!
Then we threw them in a baptismal interview. The kid passed, and then when we looked at the record and he doesn't turn eight until august 17th!!!! Noooooo,. Chinese people say you're a year older than you actually are. (They count 1 from when you are born).
Anyways, the Dad didn't pass because he has a girlfriend. He's divorced, but he needs to keep the law of chastity. They're good though. Hopefully the Dad will be able to have the priesthood and baptize the little kid by august.
Things are going well. I'll let you know if I need anything. I think I'm okay.
I'm surprised how well everything we bought worked. I'm glad we didn't go straight to men's wearhouse and buy a bunch of suits. My trainees two really expensive suits he bought there are falling apart and I can buy nice suits for 60 dollars here. Even worse, he spent 100 dollars on the shoes, and his shoes completely fell apart. Both pairs. I don't know why. All the shoes I got at D.I. are so comfy and quality. I remember driving past D.I. and grandpa told me to go in and buy shoes, and I did for 5 dollars.
Their soles are taking a beating right now though because my shoes are also acting as my brakes for the couple days. My brakes went completely out and I didn't want to use proselyting time to fix them. So I've gotten pretty good at stopping with my feet. Wheet!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13, 2011

I've been thinking lately about what my motivation is to do missionary work every day. Sometimes it's because I want to look diligent in front of others, sometimes its because I feel a responsibility. But the goal, the best, most powerful, spiritual, christlike motivation is charity. Love for the people that is strong enough to motivate us to get on our bikes in the heat and sweat all day on the roads trying to persuade them to be healed spiritually.

Things are good.
We were really happy to see the Xie family come to church, they only came for a little bit of sacrament meeting and then had to leave though. But they came. Seeing them at church was one of the happiest things ever. I am really excited for when they can be baptized and confirmed members of the church. And then later when they can go to the temple.
But, the Zhu family is doing even better. This is the family of a single dad with four kids. He came with two of his kids to all three hours yesterday. He said he felt really peaceful at church, and was excited to keep coming and get baptized. At night we went to visit, and we called the bishop to try and pei ke, but the bishop just wouldn't answer. we were disappointed that we couldn't find a pei ke. But, when we rode up, the bishop and his wife were waiting outside his house, and had just felt like they should come visit. Thank goodness for the Shengling! Isn't that cool? We were able to read some scriptures with him, and he really had a lot of faith, said he was going to try his best to stop smoking so he would be able to get baptized.
Our other family the Chen family-is not progressing. they just come to English class every wednesday. That's okay. Because I added another couple with the cutest little kid. I think asian kids are really cute. They came and met and confirmed for church next week. The lord is blessing us. I really need to focus and just get these people baptized.
I didn't realize it, but because I've switched my focus from my trainee to investigators, Elder Harper might have been feeling a little neglected.  But he sings hymns, and he prays a lot, and he has some really powerful spirit friends come and do missionary work with him. It's so obvious when he gets their help. Some people just don't realize spirit friends are around. oh well.
have a good week!
Elder Vernon

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 6, 2011

Our family is great. I'm really glad our family still all contacts each other. Taiwanese people are always surprised how big of a family we have and ask how we ever keep in touch.
Did you know that Taiwan now has the lowest birthrate in the world? I just learned that recently. Sad. I need to go teach people the gospel so they can have kids and go to the celestial kingdom.
I hate money. So many people in Taiwan are completely one hundred percent focused on work, and money. Nothing else even matters at all. Eat Sleep, make money, buy stuff, make more money. sleep. that is not the purpose of life.  The poor girl I marry might just have to put up with the fact that I don't especially care whether or not I'm really rich when I grow up. As long as we can get by. Maybe we'll just take all our kids around on one scooter like they do in taiwan. It's really funny, to see whole little families of 5 on one scooter, sometimes all without helmets. Driving on the wrong side of the road, through red lights, weaving through traffic.
 Two nights ago we were going to attend a baptism for the Elders in Qianzhen, and we got stuck in a Taoist parade instead. The ones with all the reallllly loud firecrackers, flashing lights, people dressed up in grotesque costumes of 10 foot tall Gods, and carrying false idols on little platforms for people to worship. That was exciting. I bet it looked a little out of place for us two missionaries going through the middle of the parade honking our little bike horns trying to get through. Haha.
I came to the conclusion that Daddy would hate being in Taiwan. loud fireworks at random times during the day. Really Hot and sweaty. No root beer.
Oh yeah, it just got real real hot again.
Today is Dragon Boat Festival. Yay. We eat little triangle sticky rice things wrapped in leaves with meat inside called a zhong4zi.
This is my second dragon boat festival in Taiwan. Yup that's right. I have now been in Taiwan for 1 year. I love it more than ever and feel really at home.
Our investigators all didn't come to church and progress. Keep praying for them! Thanks.
Love, Elder Vernon