Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas!!

After a great Christmas eve Skype with Elder Gilbert we felt happy and peaceful to have seen his bright spirit, humble confidence and missionary zeal.  Being together was the best Christmas gift of all.

Wow! What a great week!! Still on cloud 9 from that skype yesterday, what a good time!

This week went by really quick, couple highlights:

We went over to this lady's house this week to share about the Book of Mormon. She told us that her son was home, and we asked If he would be willing to come meet with us. She said she'd go ask. All of a sudden THE SICKEST Taiwanese guy comes down. He was wearing an Odell Beckham Jr. Giants jersey and loves the NFL. To make it even better he has intrest and has started to read the Book of Mormon!

We met this new guy this week that works the night shift at a hotel. He works from 11pm to 7:30 every night. Even though he's exhausted, he came to Church yesterday with us and wore a full suit! He already looked like a member and seemed super interested!

 Steven came to church as well!

 These two bros we're meeting with accepted a baptisimal goal!

All in all a great week!
Merry Christmas!

Elder Gilbert

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Well, another week has come and gone.. I can't believe I'm already here again. There was only one Sister missionary in my missionary "generation" and she just went home, which makes me officially old in the mission. Weird feeling. I'm glad this week s over, the first week with a new comp is sometimes strange as you try and get a feel for them, but it went well! 

My new comp Elder Eisert is great! Something I admire about him already is that he stays super positive about missionary work. We had a lot of people fang us this week (not show up to the lessons) even when we call and they say they are coming! But we persevered! We're still able to find a lot of super cool people and see some miracles! 

Ran into a lady this week that told us she has talked to tons of missionaries before, but always shut them down. She basically told us "I guess someone or something wants me to hear this message" and is going to start meeting with us. 

A little while ago we ran into this cool mom who manages the 7-11 right by our apartment. As we got talking she told us that her sons are super interested in Christianity. We met with them last night and they thought our testimonies of the Book of Mormon were so cool! Elder Eisert shared Mosiah 4:9 with them and they ate it up. Fun to work with families.

Dang.. We taught Tithing to the couple we're working with and it was kind of hard for them to take. The lesson was a little rough, but we felt like the spirit was there. Luckily we have a super cool member who has been really good and fellow shipping them, and always texts and encourages them. They told us that it might take them some time to accept this, but are still willing to meet and come to church and read the Book of Mormon. Aghhh so hard when people are so close...
We had a good learning experience at ward council yesterday. We had this one investigator a while ago that had been meeting with missionaries forever. When I got here I talked with my comp and we felt like she hadn't really made any improvement in a while, mostly because no one invited her to be baptized! So we invited her and kind of helped her understand our expectations. She told us that she didn't want to get baptized now and we agreed that it would probably be best to not meet. Anyway, our Relief Society president was talking to this former investigator the other day and brought up what happened in our meeting. She told us that we need to stop scaring people away with baptism. The bishop started to agree with her and turned to us and said "could you bring this up with your mission president?" Our ward mission leader then just looked at him like he was crazy and said "stop inviting people to get baptized early?" The other bishopric members backed us up and then the bishop kind of changed to our side as well. This was a good opportunity to learn to handle different types of people with love... I definitely need to repent too. Its a good feeling to know that most of the ward members really love us and have our backs. 

Listened to the president Eyring talk in the Christmas devotional! So good! Being on the mission for Christmas is a really good way to really understand what its all about, but it sure does make me miss you guys!

Elder Gilbert

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Interesting week

Well, to say the least this week has been one of the most interesting of my mission... I think I know know why they have us in companionships of two and not three...but we still had some exciting things go down!

First off I'm getting a new companion! Elder Seoane will be moving down south and I'll be getting Elder Aisert. I don't really know much about him... He was trained the same time that I trained Elder Huang so I've seen him a couple of times. Hopefully it goes ok...

Despite the fact that it was a lot harder to teach this week with the tripan, we had a couple of really good things happen.

Steven was super worried about the Word of Wisdom, but after we met with him this week we were able to smooth it all out. A member shared about the blessings they've gotten from it and Steven was fine with living it!

Recently we've been finding some success at the college! College students have usually been pretty flaky since I've been here, but we've got a couple solid investigators who we've been able to work with.

I really enjoyed our Elder's quorm lesson yesterday. We were able to have a great discussion on service. I really like what President Hunter says:

Not all of us are going to be like Moroni, catching the acclaim of our colleagues all day every day. Most of us will be quiet, relatively unknown folks who come and go and do our work without fanfare. To those of you who may find that [thought] lonely or frightening or just unspectacular, I say, you are “no less serviceable” than the most spectacular of your associates. You, too, are part of God’s army.

I think that's a good thought to remember, especially around this Christmas season. Everything we do is accounted for in Heaven, no matter how large or small. I'm growing to appreciate the little things people do for me, and am trying to get better at doing them for others.

Love you all, so grateful for all the love I've felt, so grateful for all the lessons I'm learning out here.
Hope you have a great week :)

-Elder Gilbert

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

WHOOOO! What a good week!!! So many good things happened, and its going to be the craziest end to the transfer this week. I'll explain why in a minute, but first I'll cover some of the Highlights this week.

So we had a super sweet baptism on Saturday for evan! That family has come so far, and it was such a good meeting. (hahaha except for the youth speaker who gave a little talk at the end. He told everyone how his parents brainwashed him into getting baptized, and he just thought he was going to play in the water. I never laughed harder as he talked about all the things that he hated about church when he was little! Everyone was so appalled, but the night was really good.)

Other investigators are doing good. Steven came to church and told us he's super excited to get baptized. He's got some beef with the Word of Wisdom though, that'll be fun to get over :)

The week has just been SO good. So last year for Christmas I was in the middle of nowhere where I swear half the people had never even heard of Christmas. Great place, but a little lacking on the holiday spirit. Right now I'm in the middle of Taichung, and the contrast is HUGE. There is so much Christmas stuff everywhere, its the best. I just hear Christmas music everywhere and see Christmas decorations in almost every store. The only sad part is the holiday is even more Commercialized than in America. Literally nothing about Jesus... No worries though, I guess we've got a good opportunity to fix that a little.

So why I say its going to be a crazy week is that we just got a call from the assistants last might and told us that elder cook is going to be in a companionship with Elder Seoane and I! Hahaha I'm so excited! So there a bunch of Taiwanese missionaries that are in our mission waiting for their visas to go to their real missions. For some reason they've been having a hard time getting them, so they just come and are missionaries in their own country or a couple of months. A bunch of them just got their visas, so its going to mix up our mission for the next little bit. Elder Cook's comp has to go with another missionary, and the only thing that worked was for him to come over with us! It'll be super fun to be comps with him again! (only till the end of the transfer next week though..) 

Love you all,

Elder Gilbert

My District

Evan & Sister Ji

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Happy belated Thanksgiving everybody! Thanksgiving day didn't really feel all that special, and even though we were planning on doing something fun for food, we just ended up getting noodles...Then, at the end of the night we went over to meet with this part member family we started working with. They totally treated us to KFC! It was one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I can remember having :)

I've never been colder in my life!! On Sunday it was raining and just got freezing. I wore a big jacket to church yesterday and kept it on the whole time. All the ward members were making fun of me and saying that I wasn't even from America. I was pretty embarrassed, but seriously cold! I guess I just got way to used to all that hot weather.

This week actually went by pretty quick. We had a lot of lessons, which is always so nice as a missionary, but sometimes can be a little stressful. We found a lot of new investigators as well as Have a few that are so close to baptism, but just have a problem or two! Super exciting to have a baptism coming up in the next few days. Seems like we've got people at all different stages of the progression process. Keeps the days interesting :)

We're totally teaching this super sick Croatian right now. He's studying at the college in our area, and has already come to church twice. The problem is he doesn't really speak Chinese and Church gets pretty boring for him! Haha we're working on it.

I went on exchanges with Elder Cook this week. It was pretty fun to be with him  (he used to be my comp and we also lived in the same four man like a year ago, so I've pretty much been around him my whole mission).  He's been a really good friend for me, and I always have such a great time doing missionary work with him.

Quick thought on a scripture that I absolutely love: 

Moroni 6:8 But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven.

I love this for two reasons. 1: Really helps us understand the mercy of God. He's not going to hold things over our head, and he really wants to forgive us. 2: He's also a God of high expectations. We need to sincerely repent with "real intent" if we want to fully partake of that forgiveness. 

Love you all so much, hope you're as excited for Christmas as I am :)

Elder Gilbert

We asked him what is one of the things he likes most about being a missionary. This was his response:

One of the things I've noticed lately is how grateful I am for little things. I don't have many things right now and it makes me way more grateful for what I do have. I find joy and excitement in tsimple things. I really am grateful that I've been able to realize how many blessings I have. My capacity to not take things for granted has increased a lot and my sense of entitlement is lessening.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Another great week has come and gone! I as I was thinking about it this morning, and I honestly don't know what happened this week... I feel like not many exciting things, but then again this is missionary work so I guess it should all be exciting!

So our investigators our doing great. Evan is looking fine to get baptized next week and the others seem to be doing great!

We had a cool miracle happen Saturday night. We were literally 1 minute away from our house and we stopped by one last 7-11 by our house. We ran into a guy Elder Seoane had talked to a while ago that we hadn't been able to get in contact with. He was so happy to see us, and we invited him to come to church the next day. He said he was really touched, and is totally on to start meeting now!

The college in our area has a lot of foreigners, they're usually the worst and really weird. We ran into this German atheist guy that was super interested in what we do as missionaries. He was down to meet, but sadly didn't actually have a whole ton of interest in doing anything. As we were talking about the plan of salvation, he brought up that he believes that after we die there's nothing. Then he just got really quiet for a sec and said it again kind of depressed. I just had this profound feeling of gratitude come over me as I thought about how lucky I am to have the testimony I do.

We also had interviews this week. President is super awesome, always gives so much good and loving advice.

Lastly I'd just like to share this quote from one of my favorite talks. Elder Renlund from April 2015 conference.

As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. 
As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming than about who we once were.

I'll leave it at that :)

Love you all so so much!!
-Elder Gilbert

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Smooth Sailing

Wow, what a crazy awesome week! I say crazy because we found out Wednesday afternoon that Donald Trump won! What the heck?? People are going nuts over here! I remember a few months ago Taiwan had their presidential election and I swear Trump winning is bigger news then when their president won back then! People are literally losing their minds, they all hate him! I have literally no idea why people get so angry about all this, I personally have absolutely no idea whats going on. 

Missionary work wise it was a great week! Evan is so cool! We went over to their house to teach the
My companion Elder Seone & our investigator Evan
restoration, because we actually haven't had a chance to teach him it yet. When we asked him if he knew who Joseph Smith was he just goes off "Oh ya, he's that guy who didn't know which church to join so he prayed and had Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared and called him to be the prophet..." Then continues to talk about all the facts of the restoration like Moroni appearing and the translation of the plates and even the timing of when it all happened. He knew so much I honestly couldn't stop laughing! It was such a good moment, and so cool to see him progress :) Their family is doing so good! Sister Ji actually got to attend Gospel Principles for the first time because her 3 year old daughter finally likes the ward members enough in nursery to let her mom leave. They are literally my favorite people!

Steven and Miranda are also doing good. Steven had a business trip yesterday, but Miranda came to church! They're progressing a lot. Steven absolutely loves reading the Book of Mormon. We shared Moroni 10:4-5 with him this week and the scripture really seemed to connect with him. He really liked the promise Moroni gives and is really excited to pray with "real intent" so the power of the Holy Ghost can "manifest the truth of all things" to him. Fun to see a scripture I've read a million times affect someone else so much. It brought a lot of new meaning to me. The only problem is his wife is obsessed with learning English and just signed up for this English cram school which takes up all her free time! We're trying to help her realize that the gifts of the spirit are 1000 times better than any English class! We're working on it.

My thought for the week kind of has to do with that experience sharing a scripture and getting a chance to re-appreciate it in a way I hadn't in a while. I've been thinking about that a lot lately that there are so many things we take for granted!  President Monson gives a talk called "The Divine Gift of Gratitude" which I highly recommend in light of this Thanksgiving season. President Monson teaches:

"To express gratitude is gracious and honorable, 
to enact gratitude is generous and noble, 
but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."

I know that this is true! just stopping and being grateful every once and a while makes life so much better! I'm so grateful for the blessings this Gospel brings and for all the things I'm learning right now.

Love you tons,
Elder Gilbert

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Getting chilly

It's honestly getting cold here. Being down in the south of Taiwan for so long, I think I've kind of become a wimp when it comes to the cold. I'm always freezing when the sun sets.  Thats ok though, because missionary work wise, the Feng Jia ward is on fire :)

Greatest thing of the week probably came hen we stopped by our RC Sister Ji's house. When we got there her son was waiting outside and super excited to see us. Then one of the first things he told us was that he's made a really big decision. then he said "Its such an important one that I'm scared to say it, I want my mom to tell you." Then she told us that Evan wants to get baptized! Everybody was super pumped, and we talked about the plan to get him ready. (He's already ready, but he picked a date for a few weeks from now. At least its a date his family feels good about.)

We just had two new sister missionaries come into the ward, and it got everyone hyped for missionary work! It also helped that yesterday we were able to have a pretty good number of investigators at church. Our gospel principles class has never been more crowded, such a good feeling :) The ward is so great! Bishop sat by me in priesthood and he even joked around with me a little, Then I read this sentence in Chinese on the board and he was in disbelief that my Chinese is getting better!

We've got this married couple named Steven and Miranda that we're working with right now, and they seem to be progressing nicely. We met the wife through English a while ago, and we've been telling her we want to meet her husband really bad. We asked her for every lesson forever, and finally she brought him the other week. The member we brought with us to the lesson last week was talking about the changes that the gospel has brought in her life and then all of a sudden Steven stops her and says "This church is sounds really good for my wife, she needs to get baptized!" haha it was awesome. They both are really good at reading the book of Mormon, and Steven came to church for the first time yesterday. 

Things are going great here, couldn't ask for any more :) Love you guys so much!

-Elder Gilbert

Monday, October 31, 2016


Sister Ji's daughter Jade in her Halloween costume
Actually Halloween really isn't all that special here. They already have Christmas decorations up in the stores here. In fact, our ward started singing Christmas songs in church the week before general conference! Great week as usual here in the land of miracles :)

Sometimes after a baptism, it feels like you have to start at ground zero once again, but whats nice about here is we've got so many cool people to work with!  We've got a couple people working towards baptism right now let me give a few updates:

So our recent convert's son Evan is awesome. What is kind of the biggest obstacle right now is his mom who just got baptized (sister Ji). She's just worried that her son doesn't understand enough yet, and wants to really make sure he's ready for baptism (we remind her that we were both baptized at 8!). We are trying to get a family night set up with the bishop's family and hers so we can all talk about it together. We all have a feeling he'll get baptized pretty soon here, just got to get all the kinks worked out. 

We've got this cool guy named Hubert who's about to graduate from college. He's been reading the Book of Mormon pretty consistently, and has been liking the message enough to refer his girlfriend over to us as well! They both set baptismal goals with us, and are super cool! 

We've got a bunch of other super sick investigators right now, and what I love most of all is a bunch of them (including the ones above) have committed and are really reading the Book of Mormon! It's fun to be able to follow up with them and hear what they learned. 

We had stake conference yesterday and our mission president came and gave a talk I really liked. He told us how he invited the stake presidents and their wives over for dinner, and only put one chopstick out by each of the plates. Everyone looked a little confused and finally someone asked why there was only one chopstick. He then pulled out the other half of the chopsticks and shared with everyone the principle of unity. He talked about how missionaries are one chopstick and the members are the other. We can eat a lot more food with two chopsticks instead of one. The stake loved it, and I think the members here are really super pumped for missionary work! President Teh is super awesome, and although hes changed A LOT of things, I know that he's just doing his best to follow the promptings he receives. 

These three elders were all in my first district together when we were in Tainan.
We're all in Taichung right now, and went and got some food together, good to see some of the good old mission buddies. getting me pretty warmed up for what BYU's going to be like in about a year from now.

For a spiritual thought today I'd like to pull from Elder Oak's talk entitled "Desire." I had listened to the talk a time a two before, and frankly thought it was pretty boring. As I listened to it again though, a few things really stuck with me (this builds my testimony of the need to constantly review things we think we have learned!). In the talk Elder Oaks tells the story of this man who had an 800 pound boulder fall on his arm while he was hiking. He struggled for 5 days to get his arm out, but to no avail. As he was about to give up and accept death, he had a vision of a 3 year old boy running toward him and being scooped up with his left arm. He took this to be his future son and an assurance that he could still live. He then made the drastic decision to use his knife to cut off his right arm and hike back for help. Now obviously this is a pretty crazy story, and most of us won't have to experience anything that crazy. Elder Oaks notes this, but then says something thats really impacted me. He says: 
"When we have vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously."
I testify that that is true! If we can remember our divine potential and all the things we can become, we're going to have so much more power and determination to overcome any obstacle in our path, even if its an 800 pound boulder! 

Love you guys so much, have a great week:)

Elder Gilbert

The following are pictures sent by the mission home from an event a few weeks ago where the missionaries helped put on a program celebrating 60 years of missionaries in Taiwan.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Doesn't get better!

Wow, what a great week in Feng Jia!

Right before our baptism with Sister Ji
I think I'll start with the most exciting news of the week, Sister Ji got baptized!!! Having an investigator thats planning on getting baptized always makes the week go by faster, and this was no exception. It seemed like I blinked and it was Saturday! What a cool experience it's been to meet sister Ji. He sister (baptized a few years ago and is a less active member up in the north of Taiwan) gave us her number and helped us get in contact with her. I've never ever taught anyone so prepared in my life! She just accepted all of the doctrine and invites with so much humility and courage. It really didn't feel like we did anything at all, and really we didn't. She was so ready, and just needed someone to show her the path. As we were talking with Sister Ji early on, she shared with us that she really wants to be able to help out her family, but she's been struggling a lot. She believed that the Gospel was going to be a way to help get her life back on track and then act as a way for her to help those she loved. She's been divorced once, and is basically living as a single mom now raising two kids (she remarried, but she's separated from her husband and they don't really talk) Her 11 year old son Evan stepped into the picture after we had met with his mom a few times. He is only 11 but goes to class from 7 am to 8pm at night (and because he's got a big test coming up, its almost 9pm when he gets home) so we didn't really get to meet him at first. He's also become a really solid investigator, but because of the class schedule and some other concerns, we felt like it would be best to focus on his mom first, and then have a chance to really focus on Evan. Just a super cool family, and its been fun to see them change and learn. I think the coolest thing I saw all week, and maybe one of the coolest things I've seen my whole mission happened right after the baptismal service. After we got done we had a dinner at the church with all the members. There's been this one member thats been super depressed lately, and he just looked super sad the whole night. We talked to him, but nothing really seemed to reach him. Anyways, after we got done eating we walked back to the main part of the chapel and saw Sister Ji, sitting down and talking with him. She had literally gotten baptized less than an hour ago, and she was already doing what Alma called "comforting those that stand in need of comfort." Pretty cool to see! Even her daughter loves us now! She wouldn't even look at us in the beginning, and now every time we see her she just chats up a storm and gives us tons of high fives. What a cool family :) Hopefully we can start to make some good progress with Evan, his tests are ending soon! 

Sunday at church with Sister Ji and her family
Besides that it was an eventful week. We had Elder Funk, the Asia area president come speak to us. He's got a pretty big job. Did you know that the Asia area has half of the world's population? He also told us that half of all the church members in the Asia area live in taiwan and 17 of the 35 stakes in the area are all in Taiwan. Obviously a big reason for that is that China is closed to missionary work, but still, cool stats! He focused a lot of his remarks on the fact that Taiwan in now an area where the church is actually matured, and how we need to start being more like missionaries in a mature area of the church. He was super nice and supportive in his comments and I really enjoyed it a lot! 

The great thing right now is that we've got a really awesome pool of investigators to work with. There are a couple really cool investigator referrals we've gotten recently where someone's referred their spouse or girlfriend. Some super cool couples! This area is dripping in gold! 

Love you guys! 

Elder Gilbert

My birthday celebration at an all you can eat buffet

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Making progress

Another week has come and gone! days are getting shorter and its actually getting a little chilly in the night sometimes.

It was a weird week! We just kind of had a lot of stuff going on, especially this weekend.
First update, our investigator Sister Ji is going to most likely get baptized this saturday! That's exciting. Her son is also progressing, but we're going to hold off on the baptism for now, he's not quite all the way there. Things are going good with missionary work, and it was a really good day at church yesterday, had quite a few of the people we're working with there. 

On thursday the AP's called us and told us that we had to go help out with this big 60th anniversary of missionary work in Taiwan thing. The event was on saturday night, so we literally only had one day to go learn what they wanted the missionaries to do. We were able to see President and Sister Blickenstaff who were back for the event, which was really neat. I also saw Elder Park and a few other former companions. Then we had exchanges planned, and I went With Elder Cook. That part was really good. Going on an exchange with an old comp is always a good time :) But then this big event went all afternoon and night, and involved this huge performance where we had to go do stuff in front of literally thousands of members in the big theatre. It was kind of a weird two days and I am kind of glad its over. We were really blessed to still have so many investigators at church given everything going on this week.

We also have Elder Funk coming and doing mission tour this week, so theres just a ton of stuff going on. That's about all the exciting stuff going down. 

I'm super grateful for the ward here. They are so nice to us missionaries, and always giving us food and just caring about us. They're so welcoming to the investigators we bring to church, super warm feeling at church, loving that. I think they are having a real impact on Sister Ji and her son. We also had at church this other college student also this women we met at English class as well as this creation guy that is studying at the college in our area. Lots of good things happening. 
Love you all so much!
-Elder Gilbert

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The real Christmas in the mission field!

Oh my goodness, have I ever mentioned how much I love General Conference?? Well I absolutely love it :)) It was so good, I feel like more than ever I was able to get revelation and answers to questions. I think I can pretty honestly say that I look forward to it more than pretty much any other holiday or big event. 

One pretty cool think that happened. There is a great family that we're meeting with (I talked about them last week). The last name is ji (紀)  (sounds like the letter G). Sister Ji's son (Evan) has been getting ready for baptism but has some beef with the Word of Wisdom. He really like drinking black tea and doesn't know if he can stop. He's only 11 and was super concerned about it so we talked about it with him. He was still kind of iffy toward the the end of the lesson. As we got talking about prophets and general conference, we told him that prophets will answer our questions! His mom and little sister came to watch conference but he couldn't because he had to go to his grandma's house with his dad. We promised him that we would listen really carefully for a talk that could help answer his question. Then... bang!!! President Monson in priesthood talked about the Word of Wisdom! We're going to print it out and give it to him! The Ji's progressing really nicely, and are working hard for the end of October :)

This is a picture of the zone conference we had this week.  President changed our standard goal from 3 new investigators to 7 (our goal is to get 7 new investigators every week!!) which is insane!!!!! 

Just really quick I'll share a thought from conference :

I absolutely loved President Nelson's talk on joy. I thought it was so cool that because of Christ we can literally have joy 24/7 no matter what :) I really want to be able to get to that point! 

Elder Gilbert

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Finally! A typhoon actually hit me!

Wow, what a crazy week! During this time of year Taiwan always gets hit with a couple of Typhoons, and they always way over exaggerate what its going to be like. Taizhong is famous for never really getting hit by them, and its always the worst. For example, like two months ago there was this super big typhoon, and everybody lost their minds a few days before. Everyone got off work, all of our investigators cancelled on us, and even the mission told us we probably shouldn't go out the night before. We woke up in the morning and there wasn't even a drizzle..... In the south it was really bad, but I guess because of how the mountains work or something, Taizhong usually doesn't get hit. Anyways, the whole thing happened again starting on Monday, and I was kind of expecting the same result. We woke up on Tuesday morning and the wind was blowing pretty dang hard, and the mission told us not to go out if we didn't think it was safe. Elder Seonae and I still headed out because it didn't look to bad. I kind of thought that everyone overreacted to the weather again, that is until we saw this garage door's metal roof got blown off by the wind right next us! Then when we were headed back for lunch this wave of wind absolutely stopped us in our tracks. I had literally just had the thought "What the heck Taiwan, this is the lamest typhoon ever," and then I just got punched right in the face. The wind started going crazy! Then they told us we should all go inside, which was a really good idea probably. 

The beginning of the week was pretty wild! It was super fun to be in the typhoon for a little, but then got really annoying because a ton of people cancelled on us, plus we went on exchanges, so it didn't feel like we actually got a ton of time to proselyte in our on area. (Also, both of our bikes are absolutely wrecked, so we have to wait until this Wednesday to have them back. We have on extra bike, so Elder Seaone pedals and I just sit on the back and chill. It's actually quite the sight. Good thing our area's not too big, we're doing a lot of walking too.) Even though we kind of ran into a bunch of set backs, we were able to have a couple really cool experiences with some investigators. I'll just tell about one real quick. 

So we have this family that we're working with right now. The mom's name is Nancy  (記虫彤).  She was a referral and I've never seen a more golden family in my life (I promise I'm not just saying that.). So she's separated from her husband and has an 11 year old son named Evan and a 3 year old daughter named Yong qi. The three of them have been coming to church together for the last few weeks, and are progressing so fast! They have family prayer every night and the mom loves reading the Book of Mormon. They should be on track to get baptized at the end of this month, super exciting!! The one small little problem (not really, just funny) we've had teaching them is that the little daughter is really slow to warm up to strangers. We'd always try to give her a high-five or talk with her, but she always ignored us and wouldn't really talk. We sat by them in church yesterday, and she kind of warmed up a little and gave us a high five on the way out. Anyways last night just before we went home we got a call from them. The daughter said our names and told us she was sick and she wanted us to pray for her! It was the cutest thing I've ever heard! It just got the two of us so pumped! The whole family is in now :) 
It was a great week. For a quick little thought... I was reading in 4th Nephi and it says that:  

"surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."

I think thats for a couple of reasons, but what really stuck out to me is that in the verse above it says they were filled with the love of God. So I guess thats the answer, if we want to be happy, love people the way God loves them :)

I love you guys so so much.
Elder Gilbert

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The HAPPIEST week of my mission!

Roof of our chapel :) this is the coolest place of all time
Oh my gosh, I promise my subject title wasn't a lie! My new area is far and away the coolest place in the mission. So how it works is its all kind of centered around this feng jia university/night market. There is such a perfect mix of everything. The college has got to be one of the coolest to go in taiwan, there are so many students always walking around (good for finding people to meet with) and there's always these parties and activities going on. SO much fun. besides that there are just a million apartment buildings in our area, and I've never seen so many skyscrapers in my life! We have like three malls in our area. The coolest part about it is that I swear almost every one we run into lives in our area too (we had a big problem with that in my last area). Except we learned the hard way this week that we have to avoid the night market on weekends. I'll take a picture next week. It looked like an anthill of people.

My area. I've seriously never seen so many skyscrapers in my life
Elder Seoane and I have been getting to work here, and I'd be hard pressed to think of many weeks that have been more miracle filled. For example: we got cancelled on for a lesson we had at 8:30, but by the time he called us it was basically time to go home. We literally had 10 minutes to hit our back up plan, which was just go into this park by our house and do some finding. We said a quick prayer, and asked Heavenly Father to bless our diligence with a quick miracle. Literally, right as we said amen, this girl walked right past us. We started sharing with her about our purpose in life, she loved it, set up to meet with us, and then our time was up and we went home. It was literally the most efficient finding I've ever done in my life! Sounds like a little thing probably, but when you're a missionary it gets you PUMPED! There's just been a ton of little experiences like that this week. I think that one of the main reasons it this: we're just having a blast out here together. I'm so happy right now, and not to sound arrogant or anything, but I don't know how you could resist talking to us:) We've got the spirit, we've got the greatest message this world's ever heard, and we're just dripping with happiness. Plus, all the Taiwanese people think that my Mexican comp is super cute. Hahaha and not in the way where they're necessarily attracted to him, but like how you think a child or a dog is cute. Literally every comes up and says "oh, you're so cute" and I loose it every time and then make up some weird facts about mexico and tell them about it. He hates it :)

So in closing here I'd just like to share the scripture I talked a little bit about with the ward when I gave my little opening talk in sacrament meeting yesterday. 

Alma 26:37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of everypeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

I shared it for three reasons: 1 its a great missionary scripture, and Elder Seonae and I want to get the ward HYPED for some good missionary work. Secondly, we had a 'gator there who is struggling with her belief in God, so I kind of spoke to her for a little of it. Third, is because I'm just so happy right now!! I know I said it a couple times already, but I'm just loving life right now! I can't stop giving "thanks unto my God!" Missionary work is so fun. Love you guys so much. I love hearing about with going on with everyone! I'll be writing back in a quick 7 days :)

Elder Gilbert

Monday, September 19, 2016

Moving on!

Hello everybody, my time is up! I have left Dakeng, and am moving onto the Feng Jia Ward (逢甲支會) I'm actually really pretty close to my last area! We're in like the coolest part of the city. One of my old comps served here, and its the only place in Taichung that i've ever wanted to go! Taichung is kind of the lamer part of our mission, but not Feng Jia! We have the second biggest night market in Taiwan, and apparently the most heavily populated area in the mission! We are not going to run short of 'gators here :)

My new comp is named Elder Seoane! He's sick! He's from Missouri, but originally born in Mexico! he moved to the states when he was 11. I'm totally going to re learn all that high school spanish again! He's relatively new on island, and I'm excited to see what I can learn from him! I still don't know a ton about him. We kind of did a little intro of each other and so I know a little about his background. he's starting his 4th transfer on island. He's going to BYUI when he gets back!! His brother is there right now! He's only had two comps, and they were both studs, so I'm assuming he's going to be awesome! oh my gosh, speaking in english again is such a relief, you have no idea how hard it is to always be speaking Chinese! I'm excited.

I'm also in a new zone (taichung has 3). Our ward is about average, 60-70 people. We meet on the 19th floor of a skyscraper!! 

It was a great last week in Da Keng and the members were really good to me! We got treated out to restaurants a lot. It was Mid autumn festival this week and the tradition is to have barbecues, so we went to a super fun barbecue with a bunch of the members! The members of the church in Taiwan are so good to us missionaries! I'm so grateful for them and their Christlike example! 

I was studying Charity this week and I read the words of paul that say If he has not charity he is nothing. (1 corinthians 13, great chapter on the value of Charity) As I read that, I had this thought come to mind that said "that also means that if you have charity, you are something." We learn that Charity is the "Pure love of Christ" (Moroni 7:47) I really have felt my Savior's love, and I know that even if we feel like a failure, if we're trying our best to emulate his example, its enough. 

Sorry its short this week, I'm excited to give you an update of my new area and comp! I am so happy with my situation!

Things are really looking up, love being a missionary and all the really cool things I'm learning!! 

Elder Gilbert

Sunday, September 11, 2016

God's hand in all things

Hello! What an exciting week back home! Hope Paige and John had good birthdays!! I sent a little something something in the mail, but I don't think it got there yet :( Also in tears about the BYU game, but I guess every year we lose the odds of us winning the next year just go up right? I love BYU.

This week was awesome! A couple cool miracles: So a few days ago we were just kind of walking the main part of our area in the middle of a blazing hot afternoon. Afternoons here are not the most lively at times, and I was kind of getting mad because in the afternoon you tend to run into a lot of the crazier people that don't have work or anything to do. Anyways, I was a little frustrated and didn't really feel like I was actually helping anyone when I saw a guy in a wheelchair that got stuck on a big crack in the road. I got pumped because I finally saw someone that actually needed my help, and ran over to help him keep moving. As we offered to push him home we were able to talk a little bit about what we're doing as missionaries, and he actually invited us over for lunch the next day. He got in a pretty bad car crash a few months ago and can't use his left arm or leg anymore... But it was really cool to be able to meet him and share a little. We should be going back over in the next few days. 

Then yesterday we had a lesson set up at this family mart, and we got fanged. The guy didn't show up... it actually happens a lot. But anyways, while we were waiting for him, a guy that I had contacted a month ago showed up and we were able to talk again. He was really cool, and this time around a little more interested! We set up to meet with him this week. 

Prayer has had a special meaning to me this week. I've really been able to learn recently what sincere prayer really means and I've had so many comforting experiences talking with my Heavenly Father. I really do know he hears and answers our prayers, we just have to be humble enough to listen. I think that Paul said it best: "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) It really works, super grateful we have that blessing. 
Love you all, 
Elder Gilbert

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's getting real

Wow, welcome to September! It's been a great week that has absolutely flown by. 

For P-day we went to the bat caves on the outskirts of the city.  It was probably my favorite p-day since I've moved to this area! It was nuts, there were so many bats that just attacked us. What a great way to get ready for a great week of proselyting!

Honestly not a ton of crazy success this week, but we are working thorough it and staying positive! The people of Taiwan are so great and it always seems like we can find new investigators that will meet a few times. Our problem lately is that they seem to just not be able to help them progress past those early stages! Its bound to happen eventually! All we can do is just keep getting better ourselves, can't change anyone else! 

I've actually been thinking about that a lot this week. Kind of just about change and what the Savior expects us to eventually become. I think one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon is when he speaks to the Nephites in 3rd Nephi 27. He talks a lot about His Gospel and pretty simply states what he wants us to become:

 27 Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.

I know that as we repent every day and try to become more and more like the savior, the power of His Atonement brings real change. I see it every day, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this marvelous work. 

Much Love,

Elder Gilbert

A few additional questions he answered that I think give a little more insight into what he does:

Q) What finding approach are you using now that works the most effectively for you?
A)  I like when we bike to each 7-11 or other places like that and just talk to everyone outside and sitting down. most people usually contact on their bikes to people on scooters, which I like a lot, but is not as natural is talking on foot.

Q) When you get people past a street contact to a first lesson, do you do it in their homes or at the Church?
A) Nobody lets us into their homes, and President Teh really doesn't wan't us to go to the church because its a waste of time. Usually we teach in Mcdonald's or 7-11 (which are really classy here).  It's not quite as spiritual but we're working on trying to teach in member's homes more often.

More pictures from the P-Day adventure: