Monday, April 28, 2014
We were happy this week to get some fun pictures of Elder Gummow! Two are from English class sent by a ward member. Elder Gummow is teaching them to sing "I Am A Child of God" . Another is a recent picture of a baptism that happened after he left his previous area. His recent convert was able to baptize one of the investigators that Elder Gummow helped to find. So awesome to see the work continuing to progress!
Hey this week was a good one. A bit of a mess, but it turned out pretty good in the end.
This week L... was baptized! It was a really good baptismal service too. I never seen so much support from a ward ever. We had almost all of our ward there at the baptismal service. So we had to hold the service in the chapel, the ward even sang a special musical number for him as well as the missionaries in our District, so the Spirit was super strong the whole time. He was awesome and I'm sure he loved everything that went on during the service. It was just a really good time.
So I'm super thankful for the ward here. They are super awesome, super supportive and super willing to help out. They really change the atmosphere of missionary work here. I've never seen someone so welcomed to a ward before. The more I think about it too I realize how much of a difference it makes. All of the Recent Converts here are still very active, and I think we owe that all to the love and the care the ward has for the new members.
The thing on the bad side...my companion was sick!! It was a pretty tough time for him this week and it was pretty bad on our missionary work this week. About Monday he started having a really really severe stomach pains and diarrhea and it just took all the energy out of him. He couldn't eat or sleep well for about 4-5 days so it was a huge trial for him for awhile. He's doing a lot better right now though. We ended up taking him to the hospital on Saturday and then Sunday some members gave him some really good medicine that helped a lot and he says he's pretty much feeling better today! Super excited about that, it was a tougher week having to work without a fully healthy companion. Although now I have a large new testimony of how much companions are needed and how much they help out in missionary work...I don't know what I would do without him!!
This week was pretty good otherwise, lots of good things happened and then it ended with the highlight of L
's baptism. Just grateful all in all for God' mercy and help in our weakness to give us the needed strength in order to overcome obstacles and for allowing us to serve him everyday here in Taiwan.
The missionary experience is definitely awesome. There is no better time to improve and grow, learn new things and come closer to Christ. It's more valuable than anything in this world and I'm sure I'll be eternally grateful for it. Change is hard and sometimes come slowly but it's the greatest thing ever!
So crazy to hear about all that going on back home and Sara starting school already! The summers coming up soon too! That's the most exciting part of the year in Taiwan! Sara probably knows...typhoons, mangoes, taiwanese ice, there is nothing better!
Love you guys and so grateful for all your help and support!
Monday, April 21, 2014
"This was a great week and a great Easter! President Blickenstaff and Sister Blickenstaff came to our sacrament this week and they gave us nice Easter candy and both bore testimony of the resurrection. It was a good meeting too. Our investigator L... came!!!!! He was awesome too!!! He passed his interview this week and he should be getting baptized next week!!! He progressed super fast and he's still doing really awesome!!!
This week we also had a bunch of awesome miracles. We were struggling to find new investigators all week but this Sunday we had two new ones come to Church. They were awesome too, and one kid feels super golden!!! He said we could meet with him anytime this next week and that he could come to the baptismal service this week!!! And he has a goal himself for the 24th now!!!
The highlight of all the events this week was probably the H.. family though. They are a super awesome family. But they are less-active right now. The family thought going to Church was too tiring and they got offended by something they saw one of the members doing before and they just left the Church. Now it's been 10ish years almost...a long time. Last night we had one of the most powerful lessons I've ever had on my mission and almost the whole family was crying as well as the missionaries there. There was no doubt that the Lord wanted them back in the Church. I just couldn't get it though - the Dad still would not budge, he had an unshakable testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Church but he still would not step up and take the plate of an active member. It made me think of myself and how there were things as a missionary that I was just like him. I know the what's right and I've felt it in my life and I know what I'm supposed to do but that gap between knowing and doing is huge and it's not easy to cross. The more we dedicate ourselves, the more we are blessed, but it takes true faith first.
If this man could just take the step of taking 3 hours off on Sunday and going to a Church service, you could plainly see how much it would bless his 4 kids, who need truth and direction in their lives. How much it could bless hundreds of others if he would just take the step and get his 3 sons on missions. How much it would bless the posterity of all his Children and the generations to come.
When we were meeting with him, I just remembered too that the path is not easy. I like the quote I think that Elder Nielson said about the record in the bible of Christ stumbling as he walked the path to his crucification carrying his cross. He said that it is a symbol to of how far God will push our limits in order to help us become our best selves. This is the plan of God for us. The road is not easy but it's worth it. Far beyond what we can even see now. I just feel so blessed to have the Gospel, to have God's help in this work and to be able to work in such a great purpose.
I just learned the powers of Faith and Obedience in this work and I know that they are true principles. There are blessings beyond what we can see sometimes. and they bring miracles.
It was a good Easter all in all and I love Douliu here and we are super super excited for next week's baptismal service. It's should be good - Douliu hasn't had many baptisms recently so they're super excited.
Thanks family for all the help and support. This work is true and so is the Church. Never doubt it, and never fail to represent it either... I was so glad this week to meet an American on the road and after talking to him, he told me how awesome the members of the Church were to him, how well off us and our families were and how grateful he was for our examples. I hope that we are that way to everyone that we meet.
Love You family!!!!! So good to hear about Sara and Josh's farewells. I wish I could've seen them!!! I hope you guys got it recorded or something!
Love You Family!!!
Monday, April 14, 2014
Elder Gummow had quite a week! We are blessed to be getting some pictures sent to me via Facebook by an awesome member of his ward there! These pictures are courtesy of her camera and kindness. Some are of Elder Gummow and his previous Companion and some are of Elder Gummow and his new companion.
Wow what a crazy, action packed week. Maybe one of the best weeks ever on my mission, as well as maybe one of the saddest, and just filled with change and newness and just...emotional roller coasters.
The sad news first...yes Elder Dawson is moving. I'm going to miss that guy he is an awesome missionary. Super dedicated, obedient and striving with all his heart to improve which makes the best kind of missionaries.
He's moving to Hengchun, the most southern part of the mission. I'm pretty scared for him, he'll be there in the summer (the hottest place in Taiwan during the hottest time of the year). He'll have a blast there though.
My new companion is a Elder Zhu. He is Taiwanese and the funny thing is that he came on the same time as Elder Jiang. They were only two Elders that came on at that time and now I'll be working with both of them!!! Crazy!!!
I just heard news from Elder Jiang too...A guy that we met just barely before we left is getting baptized this week. I am so happy for him!!!!!!! He was super cool guy, 18, and when we first met him I thought he was just another contact, but turns out he was awesome and he brought his friend last week and loves Church. Hopefully I'll be able to see his baptism this upcoming week. Missionary Work is awesome!! And so worth it!!
This week we also met with L again. He is doing awesome and he had this friend that had a super spiritual experience recently and started to have huge interest in the Gospel. His friend is also super awesome too and he set a baptismal date for 5/17!!! We're so pumped!!!!
B is looking really good too. We shared two commandments with him this week and he was fine with all of them. He has his interview this next week and he's still super super awesome. I love this guy!!!
This week we also had an exciting event. We had two new Elders move into Douliu. They're are awesome guys too. One of them, we were together at the MTC for part of the time, the other is an Elder Chad Johnson for Highland, UT!!! Crazy!!!!
This conference was amazing and went super fast with all the changes and stuff and the anticipation of the future events, and Elder Dawson leaving. It's been a crazy couple of days, and I just felt like the whole conference was saying to me the whole time that I should step up and be an example of the believers. I'm so pumped to be a missionary after hearing all their spiritual messages too. It's my opportunity to represent Christ everyday.
All in all this was just about as perfect week as possible and I feel like missionary work is the best thing in the world. This is going to be a good next move call too!!!!
Love You Family!!!!
The time is short today because of moving and stuff, but love you guys!!! Glad to hear all the news this week! Jiayou!!!
Monday, April 7, 2014
We received lots of pictures this week of Elder Gummow. Some are from his Wednesday English classes and some from his lunch date on P-day with some special guests and the Chen family. There are also some pictures of them at their Grave Sweeping Service activity with the Sister Missionaries. One of them went to Jr. High and High School with Elder Gummow. It is always great to see old friends!
I'm so jealous that you guys are probably watching general conference right now. I want to watch it so bad!!! But we have to wait until and ...
This week was awesome though...It was Grave Sweeping Day this week so all of our zone was able to go to Jiayi and provide some service. It was super fun, plus good to understand the Culture of Taiwan.
L.... is still doing really good. This week we met with him 2 times and he came to Church even though he only got a couple hours of sleep the night before!! He's awesome though and loves the Book of Mormon. He's already read to Omni and has been searching on Google the names of the people he doesn't know, etc. He tells us every time we meet with him how much he loves the bible and the book of Mormon. Also he told us something cool...apparently Buddhism can be traced back to the time of Babylon and from there they apostatized and also apparently from the start they hated worshiping idols but now it's the focus of their religion.
Also this week we had a miracle. We met a Joseph Smith...well not exactly Joseph Smith but just like him. He was awesome, his name is P.... and he studies English at the nearby college. He's been baptized before too but figured out eventually that the Church he joined was false, he calls it a cult. And ever since then he's been trying hard to find a true Church. He's been to a ton of Churches before too. He says they all told him that their bible was the best, etc. and that some Churches even made him so disgusted that he would throw up. But he said coming to our Church and hearing about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and the atmosphere there, that he liked it a lot and wanted to stay.
Those were probably the highlights of this week. This week was awesome and were looking forward to the next one. It's the last week of the move call and Elder Dawson might be moving so we have to make the best of this time.
Also I added some pictures of us in Dropbox. I saw Sister Burr this week Sara and she really want to get in touch with you.
Love you guys, and hope that the messages of General Conference were good this time around I'm really super pumped to see it this week. Love You guys!!