Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September 21st Letter

Hey Mom!

Well apparently the Ogden Temple re-dedication was really cool and special because both you and dad mentioned about it and even about some of the same speakers. Bit of a bummer though that you have had to put off your homework until today. I guess that is life sometimes, hey?!

So yeah I got my package on Friday as we were going out the door after weekly planning session. I pretty much grabbed it, took it back to our apartment, opened it up to see all that was inside (a little sad there were not any Star Wars stickers, I only have one more right now that I am going to put on my new planner for the next move call next week, but then I am out but still will have 5 more planners), and then walked right back out the door. Then I wasn't back home until Saturday night because I went over to do exchanges with Elder Christensen in Dongying (which super side note and really cool is that Elder Christensen has met Travis Pastrana before because his dad had done rally car racing before. So they stayed in the same hotel and everything as Travis Pastrana).  So hopefully today or tomorrow I can open up some of the goodies. I have already tried out of the sweaters and such. Look great!

But so as dad probably knows because of his little sniffer nose of finding out everything that goes on in Taiwan, we had a "Typhoon" come through Taiwan yesterday (this is where you picture me doing air quotes with my fingers). Saturday night Elder Williams and I were at a dinner appointment/party with several members (we had known a little about that a typhoon was coming through and that it supposedly throughout Sunday would go up through Taiwan from south to north) when Elder Christensen called us and in a sense pleading/asking that we help out to go with the Dongying ward to the night market to sing hymns/contact (because he forgot about it and already had a lesson scheduled). So we went to help out with that and then found out through one of the members that the Stake President called a snow day for Sunday, or in this sense a typhoon day. Pretty much meaning that church was canceled on Sunday. So we get home that night and I have a text from the zone leaders that it could be possible that us missionaries have a snow day as well, so not going out at all. Before we went to bed the zone leaders confirmed on that that we are not going out on Sunday because of the Typhoon. We woke up Sunday doing our regular schedule thinking to be inside even though we see outside it isn't too windy or rainy or anything. Right before 10:30 get another text from the zone leaders that we have the green light that we can go outside. So basically we have a whole day ahead of us and no church. It still turned out really good. The Bishop invited us as well as the sister missionaries over for lunch, and we actually even did the sacrament at their house (Elder Williams and I blessed it). That was really cool and special. But we shared more with the Bishop and his family about why we came on missions and what helped influence us (they have 2 girls right now the oldest probably no older than Sahara). 

But we went out that day meeting with a less active 70 year old man (caught him just as he was going on his scooter to church because he didn't know it was canceled, and he is just less active really because he has no calling). We met with him, went to a park, walked around, and just had some more casual time with him and seeing how he is doing. We also did a lot of tracting and found 2 people that are willing to meet and hear more (one a 15 year old boy and the other who at first was arguing that he couldn't accept our religion because then he couldn't worship or in sense doing the sacred ritual rights to respect their ancestors, but after explaining more to him he is willing to meet and hear more). 

So yeah we did have zone conference this last week. All of it was really strongly emphasized on understanding and really having our purpose inscribed in us. It's been a bit of a hard month for the mission. As of last week I know that the mission as a whole has only had 13 baptisms this month (president has set as a standard a while back that he desires and strongly believes that our mission can hit 60 baptisms each month). As of last night in our zone we have only had 2 baptisms this month (those being Elder Williams and I) with a goal of having 10 baptisms this month in our zone. So the zone leaders are a little worried and concerned and have asked us district leaders to find out anything we can over the next couple days about what is possibly holding us back or why things are kind of like this. Then to report back to them on Tuesday night. 

Super cool but also super sad is that our investigator Z is all ready to have a baptism interview with President and has been doing super good of not smoking. But we found out last week that he doesn't live in Taiping but lives in Nantun (still Taizhong city). So today we have set up to meet with him and have the Nantun Elders meeting with us as well to hand him over. His goal is lined up right now for the 4th of October. Regardless of when it happens we will still be looking to attend his baptism as well as I know Elder Randall will probably come up because him and Elder Bennett started teaching him and were the ones who found him. We are super happy for Z though. He has such a good and righteous cause for wanting to be baptized, quit smoking, and be obedient. He talks about wanting to have a happy family and seeing how happy we are all the time (he isn't married yet, he is 28). So we pray for him that everything will go smooth and well.

But yeah that's about it. We don't know really yet exactly what will happen with the new missionaries if they are coming or not. A member  was talking with us last night about how I guess the Taiwan government has supposedly changed a stance that only 10 missionaries can come to Taiwan a month (and that is combined between the two missions, so only 5 missionaries for our mission). Supposedly there was suppose to be like 26 missionaries coming this new move call. And there are like 20 missionaries going home. So we have no idea really what is going to happen. Ball is kind of in the air. Still is feel though like move call will still happen and everything.

Also thank you so much for the package! It is great!

Love you so much!

Elder Roo

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sept 15 Letter from Chris - 2 Baptisms!

Hey Mom!
So as for my package I am not exactly sure. No I haven't gotten it yet. If it has gotten here at all they would be holding it still in the mission home to wait and give it to me tomorrow at Zone Conference. Yeah tomorrow is Zone Conference and it is going to be big. We are having both the Taizhong zones meeting together (so pretty much a third of the mission). That is going to be way fun but it will be really uplifting and inspirational (which is something I feel I could really use and need more of right now). The focus is going to be completely on our purpose as a missionary. So really diving in good that it isn't just about lessons, seeing how many people you can contact, or how many people you can get baptized. But really about listening, resolving concerns, adjusting your teaching to each person, so on and so forth.

I remember you saying and mentioning that for the next month or so it is pretty busy with all the different kind of meetings coming up. I don't know if I have ever been to a regional conference at our home in Alpine. At least that I don't remember. Sounds like you had really good talks and lots more guidance, direction, edification, and uplifting. 

Well so, about the was one of the most touching experiences ever really. Brother A had asked if I would baptize him, and since I would already be in the water (and Brother L didn't have any preference to who would baptize him) I would baptize Brother L as well. The sad part was that about an hour before the baptism, Eli (a member who is assistant to the Ward Mission Leader) told me that the Sisters's  two investigators (a mom and her daughter that I had done the baptism interviews for last week) were not going to be getting baptized because the Father/Husband opposes to them getting baptized. Apparently the Sisters had just found that out earlier that day. It was really sad and we have been praying for them that the Father's heart will be softened. The Mom and daughter will get baptized, it is just a matter of when. I feel a little sad because Sister Parkinson (one of the Sisters) had asked for a Priesthood blessing on Thursday, that I gave to her. I really prayed hard that the Spirit would inspire to know what to say and part of the blessing I talked of her taking comfort and joy in saying the progression of her 2 investigators getting baptized on Saturday. Well.....that didn't happen. I don't know. Heavenly Father definitely moves in mysterious ways and that there is particularly something else that needs to happen.

But so earlier that morning I was making sure I had everything for the baptism and what not, and went out the door thinking everything was good. Not until we were sitting in the baptism service right when it started that it dawned on me and I looked at Elder Williams saying "I forgot a spare shirt". We both just kind of went bright eyed and were like uh-oh what do we do. Luckily Elder Williams went out to go try and find a shirt. He came back and told me to not worry at all. So we went and did the baptisms. Brother L went first. We had earlier explained what would happen, but it must have either slipped our minds or he didn't understand quite exactly that I had to say the prayer first, because he at first just tried to kneel down and go under water. Then when I did say the prayer and went to baptize him he still went for the kneel again (like kneel praying if you are Islam) and so at first I was like what the but still tried to see if he could get fully emerged. Nope. So we did it again but Eli helped explain in Taiyu (which side note the difference between Taiyu and Chinese is probably not what you think. Not like the difference between US English and British English or like Dad thinks of Tokyo Japanese and further norther Japanese. It straight up is pretty much like the difference between English and Spanish. Seriously! Even probably a third of people in Taiwan don't know Taiwanese or Taiyu or can only understand it some but not speak it) to bend backwards and fall into the water. So on the second time it went all ok.

Then Brother A came in and he was pretty much straight forward and simple. He was already baptized once before, so he pretty much had a handle on it. Afterwards as we were in the bathroom and all changing really couldn't stop from smiling and it truly was a blissful feeling. Brother L was saying some things but I kept telling how happy a moment it was and he expressed how he really felt a good feeling. Brother A was happy and excited too (although his emotions don't always come through as much). Brother A afterwards though shared a really strong, solid testimony that even got some members afterwards to particularly comment on. 

So yeah I already said in the Picture email where Brother A was found. We met with him after church, gave a baptismal goal, then planned to meet with him again after English on Wednesday night. By that time we had prepared a baptismal planner (basically mapping out all that needs to be taught and happen before his baptism goal). So I had written out basically every lesson stuff that needed to happen just putting them on days thinking that it was a start and if needed to change could change. But nope! Brother A kept to that plan down to the exact point. There was even one time we had written down that we would meet with him but we had mentioned saying that we would teach those another day and hadn't even confirmed with him really that we were meeting on Saturday night. Now flip flop to me and Elder Williams in the car with K  (the other Taiping Elders' RC) and I get a call from the Dongying Elders saying that Brother A is at the church and telling them we were suppose to be there teaching him some commandments. So I talked with Borther A, apologized that we would not be able to meet because we were in the car heading down to Yuanlin to attend a baptism. He was fine with it and so on. Brother A is already on top of the game asking me about getting a triple combination as well as saying he wants one of the smaller hymnbooks. Which we are getting those tomorrow at Zone Conference and will give to him later in the week (as well as a triple combination for Brother L).

Brother L was found through tracting. Back at the last move call at the second to last week they did something called the no companionship left behind week (kind of funny that we made jokes about no child left behind). Basically what happened is they really wanted every companionship to get 3 new investigators that week, and if any companionship was struggling or having a harder time to let their leaders know. Pretty much what the Zone Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, and Assistants were doing the whole week was more just going finding over in others areas (those who were maybe needing a boost) to find new investigators. Our area was fine but the Assistants said they would be back in Taizhong on Friday and wanted to go on power splits with Elder Randall and I. So Elder Sumsion and I hit up one part of Taiping while Elder Randall and Elder Vandiford hit up another part of Taiping. That is when Elder Randall and Elder Vandiford found Brother L. They just talked briefly with him at the door and invited him to church. Then that Sunday he came to church. but we didn't get time to sit down with him. We set up though to meet with him the following Sunday before church. We had a member sit in with us who knew Taiwanese (who actually in my mind ended up being the perfect member to have in the lesson that first time, who we had just thought of the night before and asked to attend our lesson). We simply taught him about Heavenly Father and how the gospel blesses families, then felt impressed to invite him to be baptized. From there on we always tried to have a member help attend lessons because Brother L is from Tainan with a pretty unique accent and prefers to speak more in Taiwanese.

You will have to have fun with Cody and Pat over for pizza. Oh man good for Jaren. So funny that he hiked up Timp with a girl. Good date idea. I hope it goes well with them. I have been meaning to and thinking of emailing him. Just slips my mind or get so busy and caught up in emailing others.

I hope your studies are going well and that you are doing great. I love you lots and lots!

Elder Dayley

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sept 8 Letter from Chris

Hey Dad!
Well that wouldn't be good to jinx my investigators, now would it?! It's all good though. Thanks so much for fasting and praying for Investigator A and Brother L. I suppose I shall update you on the investigators and baptism stuff first. As of right now Investigator A and Brother L will get baptized on Saturday. Yay!!! Super fun!!! Elder Baker (my zone leader) came on exchanges with me in Taiping Friday to Saturday so that he could cover doing both of their baptism interviews (since I am District Leader, need to have the ZL do the baptism interview for our investigators). In Brother L's interview Elder Baker (and the member with him who helped to speak Taiwanese) found out that Brother L had been smoking. It is like this, that he himself doesn't buy cigarettes at all or anything. When he is home he says he has no desire to smoke or anything. But when he goes out neighbors or others offer him a cigarette and so he smokes it. All about being courteous and respectful to others generosity. Which is funny that yeah I have had the same thing of people offering me cigarettes when I bike contact them on their scooter. But yeah Elder Baker told him he could still get baptized if he didn't smoke at all this week. If he does we will have to move his baptism date back. But so yesterday at the end of church when I was sitting with Brother L having him fill a few things out on his baptism record, I asked him how the smoking stuff was going, and he said he hadn't smoked at all. He said that when people had offered it to him he simply told them no. So he is doing super good. Investigator A pretty much passed his interview flawlessly. Elder Baker said he is super good. So Investigator A asked me to baptize him, and we forgot to ask Brother Lin, so we will ask him today when we see him.

Then it gets even better. The sisters have been teaching a mother and daughter from English (actually found in the intermediate class I was teaching) that just passed their baptism interviews yesterday. Which I was the one (since I am DL) that did their interviews. I am not going to lie, I was kind of nervous because I have never done it before I wanted to make sure they were ready. But it went really well.

So this is where it gets even better. We are having 4 people get baptized this Saturday! It is going to be super good! We are all really excited! :D I am just looking to the future now that we need to get some more good solid investigators, because we don't have any other baptismal goals right now on the board. I trust that it will all work out well. Definitely that I really want to kick my butt into gear. REALLY been thinking somewhat over the last day about not wanting to give half-hearted effort, so-so desire towards this calling and work. So I really am going to work my hardest to give it all, not think too much, and see more of the strengths in myself so that I bolster my confidence more.

Elder Williams makes a joke about no matter what you can't burn him (like dis on him or put him down) because he already survived Nebuchadnezzar's fire. Pretty funny! We still have some contradicting personalities. We stick to our guns when it comes to arguing points. So we have had some truce Cokes to settle it and make things better. But we get some good laughs and really I learn so much from him. Really to just get myself to not think too much.

I am glad that your EQP social outing turned out good! :D It sometimes is a pain to get people together all the time. But as long as you be yourself and have fun, you make it fun for others. Something I have found to be very true in English class. Yes I have discovered my personality in Chinese, but my personality really comes out more in the English language. And in English class where you have people who are used to schooling where you sit there quiet, accepting what is taught, and not asking questions, it can be pretty daunting and awkward. But I have found to just kind of be myself, make stupid jokes, laugh about things, be eccentric, and it gets the students to enjoy more of the class.

Man I miss Cody. But also I really don't want to think about that. Because in all honesty, as much as I sometimes hate and loath or think the mission is freaking impossible, it is the best thing ever, that teaches me so much that can't possibly be done in any other aspect of life. It's great, it's wonderful, it's beautiful. I mean yeah I do think of home sometimes and the cool things, the fun things and such that I will have when I am there. But then I was thinking just this morning how that when we come back there will be probably scenario where we are in Taiwan and we are sitting in the Taxi, that I will be up front talking with the driver and going to introduce myself and realizing that I am not 戴長老 anymore but simply 戴先生. It made me sad and think "darn, as much as it is really hard sometimes, I don't want it to end, I don't want to go". I really don't know if I will cry or not when I get home. I mean I have found I cry at odd times. It is really weird. I don't know...

Well things are rolling forward! I am so grateful to everyone who supports me and encourages me in so many ways. I pray and hope that I don't let them down. I just keep trying to do my best, and really tackling head on to be even more confident in myself and not think too much. I love you lots and lots! Hope your week goes well!

Elder Roo

p.s. A victory photo of bowling last week with Elder Williams and member Tony

p.p.s. Super funny on Saturday night it worked out that all 6 of us Elders in our district were at the church as well as an RC Kevin, and that Elder Anderson bent over to pick something up that then just caused a big rip. We noticed that the seam on the inside of his leg just completely broke to be open about a foot or so long. Didn't even start from a small rip, just popped open. This biking is killer on the legs of making them really big. Just about every missionaries' legs get bigger from all our biking. But that day we had played basketball as a finding activity we do, so Elder Anderson put some shorts on instead, which looked really funny because he was still wearing church socks, white shirt, and tie. Something to cherish and remember.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sept 1 Letter

Hey Dad!

I really like what you said about mindfulness. It's very true and definitely helps in getting rid of a pessimistic outlook on life. I will have to try it and work at it.

Some of the cartoons are pretty funny. Like in one your latest letters that had like two pages of cartoons with it Elder Williams thought they were pretty funny. I liked them too, like the one about I don't want to be District Leader anymore. You can always also send more Far Side comics or Dilbert. Those are pretty funny as well.

I think you spoil me too much with how much I get and receive from you and Mom. Don't get me wrong though I love it all. And am super grateful. 

Crazy the Courtney Wells came home a little early. She was in the MTC at the same time I was. I saw her around a couple times. Also super crazy weird that she came home only 85 lbs. Especially living in Japan (which compared to Taiwan is far more advanced and 1st world) and especially in Tokyo. She must have gotten some virus or something, or really came to a point of not liking the food. Hope she does well and recovers quickly. 

Yeah Ryan said he was going around Taiwan with Nate Erikson and then for a little bit by himself. I would say the things about when to come to Taiwan that are up in the air is if you wait too late into summer or August mangos go out of season and seriously you do not want to miss the chance to eat the fruit or mangos here. The only other big determining factor is weather which actually you and mom keep emailing about it being rainy over here. It actually has been an odd summer with not as much rain or Typhoons as normal. It finally rained last Saturday and the time before that was probably a couple weeks. So that is my 2 cents on Taiwan. Japan I have no idea on. That is your area. But going to Florida end of June and beginning of July sounds really fun. Sounds like a plan.

Thanks for praying for me and for our investigators. Investigator A is one interesting character. I love him but yeah he still is interesting. He is like 50, not married. But every single invite we have given him he is immediately willing to do it. We sat down with him yesterday to teach about Tithing, Fast Offering, Priesthood, and Temples. We had the 2nd counselor in the bishopric sit with us and really helped in just asking some direct questions as well as reviewing about restoration and priesthood. When we asked if he believes Joseph Smith is a prophet, he said he is, I mean the Book of Mormon is true, he translated it, so he must be a prophet. So we strongly encouraged him to keep praying asking Heavenly Father about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon as well as Priesthood. But yeah he has read to 2 Nephi now and he is looking really good to reach his goal of September 13.

Brother L is also doing really good. The members have been really good of welcoming him. He has already come to church 3 times. And it turned out really good last Thursday when we went on splits with the EQ, Elder Williams went with Brother X (the 2nd counselor in the bishopric) to visit Brother L, and found out that he wasn't exactly praying because he didn't quite know how to pray (this came about mainly because he speaks Taiwanese a lot better than Chinese, he can still understand Chinese, but he has an interesting accent and we are foreigners so we have an accent as well, so when we have met with him ourselves it is a lot harder to get points across, so we for sure need a member with us). So they helped to clear that up and made things right. So Brother L is doing really well as well. We still have a little more of commandments to share with him. But he is already keeping the WoW which for a lot of Taiwanese is hard. But he is keeping it really good.

That's about all that there is for now. I love you lots and miss you tons. If you want to know more of my current stance you can ask Allisa, since she knows a little more right now. Let me know if there is anything I can do!

Elder Roo

Hey Mom!

Sounds like church was really good. We had it really good with church yesterday. They definitely implement me a lot for playing piano. In Gospel Principles class (which we have a really strong and good class for our investigators) I play for an opening hymn and they have started doing a hymn sung by missionaries that are specific for the topic that day that I play the piano as well for. Then I play in priesthood as well. I even this last week Elder Williams and I were talking and he asked me about music and wanting to know more to play the piano. So I taught him some.

But as well as yesterday was 5th Sunday, and 3rd hour lesson was on missionary work. So Brother X helped in heading it up but gave time over for us missionaries to to do some training. Then right at the end of church a young man in the ward opened up his mission call (so even our investigators got to see it and understand more about missionary work). He is called to serve in Los Angeles Chinese speaking.

Aw man, you know me. Yeah the V-neck sweaters would be a lot better and i would like a lot better. As for treats and snacks I will like just about anything you would send. Just think outside the box of stuff that Taiwan does not have that is reminds me of home and is really good.

Pretty funny about Kev's bed being pink. You might just have to send him a Hello Kitty pillow. It would be perfect. Also good luck with the oral surgery. Doesn't sound too fun.

Love you lots, good luck with school this week, miss you and think of you always!

Elder Roo