Friday, July 5, 2013

Jul 1, 2013

Dear Family,

I am feeling much better. Last Monday I was pretty much wiped out. Except for getting up to do emails and to do laundry, I pretty much just slept the rest of the day. Since the Sunday lunch to Tuesday morning breakfast all I had was pretty much a banana. My stomach was all over the place and not wanting to cooperate at all. Finally by Thursday I was back to full strength again and being able to eat an actual full meal. Definitely having a prayer of faith in my heart that Heavenly Father would help me return to full strength helped.

The week wasn't too bad. It's the same old, same old. We got the new missionaries in. Not a whole lot of chance to really bond with them or anything. We say hello and see them around here and there. But at the sushe they are all on the first floor where as all my generation are together in a group on the second floor. There classrooms are right next to ours though. Two new districts in our branch. So about 20 or so new missionaries. None to Taichung though. I believe the new Taichung missionaries will come in in about 2 weeks. And also Elder Soule is in my branch. His classroom just down two from mine. I stopped in and said hi and such. We'll probably get a pic some time before I leave. He is also a district leader now. Did I also mention that I am not district leader anymore? Yeah Elder Ward is the new district leader. Although this week for the first time I was senior companion with Elder Turner, so I met with Elder Ward to interview for our companionship. He mentioned to me that it just felt weird interviewing me because he felt like that I am still the big man and that I already know everything so I should be in charge. But he's done a good job taking over and handling leading our district.

Yes I very, very much enjoyed the box. I love adding the collection of my stuff I get. Everyone loves having the huge Taiwan flag hanging in our class now. Also when I first opened the box I was seriously confused at why there were target sheets in there. I thought you were maybe sending them to try and reminisce with me about the day when we all shot the bb pistol. Then I dug deeper and saw the dart guns. Oh my goodness!! I was not expecting that. But they have been fun. Of course I am smart and keep it in the bounds of just our room. And yes, fei chang yes, I extremely enjoyed the cake. That Friday night I downed the cake in about 3 minutes. It was so good. And that will be insane when you send the huge cake. We will probably eat it in class and watch mormon messages. We watch a lot of those....but they are really good. If you want to watch something cool and funny and see what we as a district work on to help with listening to Chinese, go to, then I'm a Mormon and watch the videos there. There is a chinese guy who is a tourguide in Taiwan. I think his name is Kiping. There is also two girls. One lives in Taibei and tastes different foods writing reviews. Another is in Cali. But all speak Chinese. So we listen to them, very often repeating parts, trying to understand what they say. I can sometimes get like half of the words they say. They speak very fast too.

TRC was amazing this last Saturday. We didn't have it the Saturday before because there weren't enough volunteers. On Friday we thought we weren't going to have it again. But we actually did. So within the three hour block of class in the morning, Elder Turner and I taught Chen Dixiong  briefly about the plan of salvation and overview (which he was really excited about and is looking forward to our next meeting. He is preparing by studying 2 Nephi 31 with his family, which talks all about the Gospel, or the Way, in which you achieve the plan of salvation, or return to Heavenly Father and be with your families together forever.), then we taught two volunteers 20 minutes each about receiving answers to prayers and how they help our lives. Yes I am able to teach the gospel principles ok and I understand a fair amount of what our progressing investigator says and what the volunteers say. We taught in TRC two friends, separately, one served in New York and the other served in Taichung (which we thought was way cool). But it was really fun getting to know them and then talking about prayer. I asked Vince (the one who served in Taichung) what he felt when he prayed. And he responded back that it was good and such. But both were really good teaching appointments. Our laoshi told us though that they are looking to go away from TRC and start having the missionaries instead Skype teach with recent/new converts from Taiwan. How sick would that be!?! That would be so awesome. Also based on the broadcast I hope they really soon quickly update the Taiwan mission to incorporate more technology. I hope we will get to use smart phones and tablets. It would make the work progress so much faster and be a more effective and useful way to find people rather than knocking on door to door. Also we as missionaries for Taichung are wondering if they will reopen the Gaoshung (not sure how it is spelled) within the next year. The Taichung mission when we get there will be up to close to 230 missionaries.

So for 4th of July we will get a special celebration. We will have a devotional of sorts on Thursday night and then we will get to watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks from the campus. So not completely ignoring the holiday. So it will be special and cool.

I can see photos I believe when you send them in emails. The sad part though is that here at the MTC I will need to borrow an SD card reader to send photos because I just tested and the compurters (since they are so locked down here at the MTC) do not recognize the camera when plugged in since it is not a local file. Oh well :/ 

So now more from my week. There have been several really spiritual moments. We will start with the earlier ones. So we taught Chen Dixiong earlier this week specifically about prayer. From the previous week we had followed up with him asking if he had personally prayed. He said that he had prayed with his family, but told us he hadn't prayed personally. He gave us some small little reason behind why he hadn't, and I think I understood what he had said. So this last week we prepared mainly a lesson around the importance of personal prayer. We compared to how he as a father likes to hear about his children and their days to how Heavenly Father wants to hear about our days individually. We shared our testimonies with him and how personal prayer has blessed our lives. We invited him again to pray personally and he said he would try. I asked him though why he was unsure about praying personally, and he told us that because there are so many people in the world and that God wants to help all his children that he feels right now that he doesn't have any big questions or problems. So he doesn't want to bother God and rather have Him help more those who have bigger problems. He also was talking about how he wants to be able to learn and grow on his own, so I think he feels that he doesn't want Heavenly Father to help him or else he won't learn as well. We talked with him more about how you don't have to always ask God for things, but rather just tell Him about your day and what you are thankful for in your life. We bore testimony to him again about how important and helpful personal prayer is, and he said he would try. We've done what we have as missionaries and invited him, so we will follow up with him. I am thankful he is praying with his family though.

Next for the week, Elder Turner and I were blessed to be able to say the sacrament prayers this week in church. He said the bread and I said the water (of course being in Chinese). I was a little nervous earlier in the week. But it went away and I was so happy I got to do it. Brother Averett (the 2nd counselor and only member of the branch presidency who speaks Chinese said I did a very good job with the prayer). It's difficult to have to make sure pronunciation is correct, tones are correct, and speaking loudly since we don't have a microphone.

Next is that all four of the Jiemei asked us Elders that they would each like to receive a blessing of comfort (help with the language and such). So I was blessed with the opportunity to bless Sister Peng. I definitely felt the Spirit and really felt it there while I blessed Sister Peng as being a missionary and help with studying the language.

So I guess just more some personal feelings and thoughts from me. First off Dad and Marty should watch the Mormon Message video "Earthly Father, Heavenly Father". I have watched it several times already this last week and it just makes me so excited to be father when that time comes. It also helps me to appreciate and understand more my relationship as a son with my Heavenly Father. Also I don't know if I need to continue to build on my patience, trust, or hope, but something needs for work and foundation building because it isn't easy sometimes during the week. There are some things I really like about the MTC, but a lot of it I don't like and I just hope and wish more and more to be out in Taiwan. I also am mainly learning the most from language stuff right now. The Gospel principle things that are taught I already know or have already been taught multiple times. It's also hard having limited communication because there are many times where I just want to talk but then I have to wait until p day so it sits on my mind, then I have to wait for a response. Its too slow sometimes. But I am thankful I have email, especially when I will be in Taiwan.

That's my week


Elder Chris Dayley

Elder Turner and I in front of
Provo Temple
My stock of Zonas

So just a few pictures here. One is Elder Turner and I in front of the temple yesterday for temple walk. Sadly now the temple is closed until after we leave. Then a picture from a couple weeks ago when I had a huge stock of Zonas. It was pretty awesome (I did give one of those to Sister Anderson because she loves Zonas as well and had never had one of the Lime Rickeys before). And then a picture of the boxes we have accumulated. A few are donated from the rest of our district or a few other Mandarin Elders. But pretty much they are all our room's, most being Elder Jenkins. We plan to make a box fort today for P-day since we now have so much extra time because we don't go to the temple. Also it was great. Elder Teerlink and Elder Oberg slept over last night since we have two extra beds. We thought that they might move two new Elders into our room this last week, but they didn't. Heck Yeah!!
Our accumulated stash of boxes

So here are a few more pics consisting of our box fort we built today since we don't have temple time anymore.

The Four Musketeers in our fort