Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Sunday, April 24, 2016

This place is on FIRE

Hello everybody! Hope its going well back in the US! I'm literally having the greatest time of my life here in Dong Gang. I love it so much! Can't wait to tell you about the week! 

So, first off it is hotter than a sauna here! I thought I had it bad last week being soaked in the rain, but I've arguably been wetter this week soaked in my own sweat! The good news is its only going to get hotter from here :) It also doesn't help that our dryers been broken, because our clothing does not dry in the humidity haha, but for real I love this sunny weather though! It means people are out and willing to talk to us more. 

Ok this week has just been nuts, I don't know whats going on, but we are just seeing miracles like crazy. Its hard to explain, but it literally feels like we're magnets. So many times in the past little while we'll just be going to a lesson or the church and we'll say hi to someone, then all of a sudden we get in to a conversation about stuff and they say they're willing to meet. I don't feel like I've ever been busier on my mission! All of a sudden all of these people want to meet with us, and we even found a super cool new family in Dong Gang last night! Like even this morning leaving the door, we said hi to a random guy at a light, he said he'd been to our church before, and gave us his number before he drove away. It been so awesome, and I really believe its because Elder Park and I are working so hard and trying to be the best missionaries we can.

We had a super sweet lesson with our closest baptismal goal this week. We were really nervous, because the last thing we had to teach was tithing, which sometimes can be hard for people. Plus, I was super nervous because I haven't had a ton of chances to teach tithing because we haven't had any investigators get this close to baptism for a while. Literally the second we brought it up, she was just like "oh ya, I hear a really cool story about the blessings of tithing at church a few weeks ago, that won't be hard for me to do at all!" It was the best thing ever!! Elder Park and I were just going nuts and gave each other a fist bump under the table. She has a baptismal interview on Thursday night and should be getting baptized this Saturday, or maybe next (The other ward in our building has a wedding reception that night and it got all confusing, so we might have to change it haha). Regardless, she's ready and really wants it, we might be able to start working with two of her other daughters that live with her. Super Exciting!

Ok last little thought: We had interviews on Thursday with president. The two of us talked about how the power of a single missionary and a companionship can do a lot for an area. He shared with me how faith is a principle of action and power, and it was really cool to talk about the changes that have happened in me as well as the area. Although I know its not all about the missionaries and that we'll have our times where bad things happen, I am experiencing the power of faith in the form of action daily. We go out every day completely believing there are people ready to get baptized and accept the gospel, and you know what? Its starting to happen. We're laying a lot of seeds right now, but this place is improving like crazy, and its inspiring to see.  I've never had a stronger testimony that the Lord will bless us if we're willing to put our trust in him! 

Love you guys so much!!

-Elder Gilbert

P-Day last week: Costco in Gaoxiong
It was great to meet up with my trainer Elder Pearce

Elder Park and I

Sunday, April 17, 2016

RAINY

Hello Everyone! Thank you for all your thoughts and your prayers! Excited to report on another great week with Elder Park in Dong Gang! 

So this week could probably be summarized as RAINY. On Thursday Elder Park and I had to make the ride from Dong Gang to where we live in an absolute downpour (plus wind so it took even longer!).   About halfway through we were so wet that I'm pretty sure we might as well have broken the mission's no swimming rule.... It was actually super fun, but then we had to go soaking wet into the lesson with our baptismal goal Wu jiemei. (jiemei is how you say sister in the church in Chinese and her last name is Wu if you were wondering) She has accepted almost all the commandments now, and is really progressing nicely! Her date is in two weeks and she should hit it! We totally thought her granddaughter that she takes care of was 8 (and so did our bishop) so she's been getting ready for baptism as well. We figured out the other day that she's actually 7, I don't really know how... I guess here they count the time your in your mother's stomach as life, so for some reason both us and the ward members thought she was 8. Oh well, she'll just have to wait for her birthday. Her name is Annie and she's honestly golden. She's the reason that her grandma became an investigator, and she's super excited to get baptized as soon as he can! 

Being senior Comp is different. I feel really stressed in lessons that I won't understand, but its been alright so far. I feel like my language is going to get better because of it. I feel like I've been able to set good expectations for being diligent and obedient and Elder Park is really down to do our best in those two areas. I couldn't have asked for much better of a comp to go senior on, its super fun!

Finding here has always been hard. We have Wu jiemei who will get baptized soon as well as a couple other baptismal goals that have good hearts, but still a long way to go. We just found a technical school, basically a college, that is by Dong Gang in our Area. That could be the answer to a lot of prayers! College students in Taiwan are much more willing to meet an open to a lot of thoughts.

Thought: it was pretty sad hearing the news of Elder Hampton in our mission who hit and killed early in the week. I didn't know him at all, but Elder Park did, and it was just really tough to hear someone that a missionary so close had that happen. A ton of people know about it, and a lot of members and investigators have brought it up. Although it was really sad, it has provided us a really good chance to testify of the plan of salvation. It was really cool to be able to tell people that even though this is a sad thing, he's in a better place and families can be together forever! I really have a testimony of God's plan for us and that this life is just a small part in it. I'm so grateful that I can be with my family forever, what an awesome restored truth! 

It was a good week! I'm having a fun time here, trying to do my best to soak in every moment, good or bad. We're going to go to Gaoxiong today for P-day, and I'm super excited. We're getting lunch at Costco, which I have missed! I got addicted to it in training because we lived right next to it and haven't had it since! Also I might get to meet up with my trainer because that's where he's serving right now!

I love you all so much! I'm praying for you and I know you are for me! Keep doing all the great things you do! 

Love,

Elder Gilbert




Our new district

Cool thing we saw on our bike ride

With a dude in our ward named Jimmy

Loving life in the rainstorm

Thought this guy was pretty cool
Chilling by a rice patty field

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chaporean

Hahahha I was just asking Elder Park what I should title my email for the week and he told me this was his nickname back home... Classic. I guess I'll start with a quick intro to my new comp. He is AWESOME! Elder Park Is from Syracuse, Utah and has been out here for about 3 months. His dad is from Korea and his mom is from China but is part Japanese too. He's got super good Chinese and is hilarious! Its actually super funny, he tells everyone out here that he has all of those countries and they go nuts! Its actually a super good way to connect with people, they love asking him about it and will start saying a little Japanese or Korean. We are already having an awesome time together, loving every minute of it! 

This week has been pretty intense, being the senior companion for the first time and being the one that knows the area has given me a ton of stress. But its kind of a good stress.. Our first night together we met with this one family and the dad and our member started getting into this really argument about coming to church. As I looked over at Elder Park we both just cracked up because neither of us really know what we're doing! It was so weird to know I was the one that had to change the lesson and get it on the right track. We were able to say a prayer together and everything worked out :)

Another takeaway from the week is that Chinese is hard!! I am learning so many knew things now because a lot more often I have to stop and ask the person what they just said. Its been pretty crazy, I need to keep working hard on the language, its a beast! 

Not many stories, We moved our baptismal goal up a few weeks! We should be able to have two baptisms at the end of the month! Thats pretty crazy, its been a long time coming, and if we can help Wu Jiemei and her granddaughter Annie get baptized then it would be really, really special. 

Quick thoughts on conference: President Eyring started it with an absolute bang! Such a good way to be ready for the enlightenment that was coming. I loved all the talks but thought President Uchtdorf also killed it with his two talks in Priesthood and Sunday. We all absolutely lost it when he made the Chewbacca Joke! That was the funniest thing I've ever heard in conference haha. On a more serious note, I feel like I had many questions answered as well as new things I would like to work on. I don't think a talk has ever inspired me more as conference ends than Elder Holland's did. Heaven is cheering for us! I felt it as he talked. I can also feel all of your prayers! They do not go unappreciated. 

Love you all so much! 

-Elder Gilbert 


We had to help out at this big family history event in ping dong this week.
Fell asleep for a little bit in conference

Monday, April 4, 2016

There is no end to Dong Gang...

Hello Everybody!! Transfers have finally come, and pretty crazy, but I'm staying in Dong Gang! This will be the start of my 4th movecall here! I don't know about other missions, but here our mission president doesn't usually leave us in an area for too long, so it feels like I'll be here for an eternity! Pretty crazy to think by the end of this, I'll hit just about 6 months! My new companion is named Elder Park! I don't know anything about him except that he just got done being trained in Tainan 3rd ward (right next to where I was trained) and that he is Asian! He sounds super awesome over the phone, I'll be picking him up at the train station in a little while! I'm going to miss Elder Stoddard, we were together for a really long time! He taught me a whole lot, and we had a lot of funny/awesome experiences together. 

Ok, so one pretty interesting experience we had this week. Elder Stoddard and I had this one investigator family that lives in the middle of no where. We don't love going super far away from our main area, but because they were so nice and wiling to meet its worth it! We were in the boonies and Elder Stodddard's bike chain somehow snapped off his bike! It was awful, we were stranded with no help... Then these two super random nice people stopped on the side of the road, helped us make his bike work a little, then helped show us where a bike shop was. Since Elder Stoddard's bike couldn't pedal, I had to tow his bike behind mine on a rope for a few kilometers on the highway before we could find a little town with the bike shop.  The people that you find when you get out a little farther are not as used to seeing white people, so I can imagine it was quite the sight to see me towing him with a rope going super slow down the highway, hahaha... It was pretty cool though, everyone felt super bad for us, so they were so nice! We had like 3 people talk to us about the church/our English class, nothing came out of it, but it was nice to have these unplanned opportunities to share about the Gospel. Someone also gave us a big thing of wax apples (not made of wax its an actual fruit) and every was super friendly because they felt bad for us.  It was pretty rough, we didn't even get to go to our investigator's house after all, but a few small miracles of people being really nice to us helped me to love the people more and see how kind their hearts are. 

I have a classic Taiwanese moment for you guys. We had an English party for English class on Wednesday and taught them how to do the cake walk. I don't know if you know what that is, but it is by far the lamest game of all time and super boring. We told them the people love doing it in America. If they won we'd give them a piece of candy, and they were obsessed with it! It was super funny, they didn't want to try the corn toss or the other stuff we had, and they just did that a million times, and wanted to keep going when the party was over. Does that sounds funny at all???  We couldn't stop laughing!!  Every single English student was just dying to play! They love the most random things here and it always makes me laugh.

There's also this receipt game you can play here where if you save your receipts for two months, you can go to a 7-11 and check the serial numbers, if you have a certain few you can get free food! I won 200NT (about $6) worth and just went a little bit ago and got ice cram and candy and Doritos and a bunch of stuff, so that was super awesome. 

On a more spiritual note, I'm really trying to prepare myself for general conference. I thought it was pretty cool last October to watch it for the first time in Taiwan. I had written down some questions and prayerfully pondered them and was amazed to see them be answered through those servants of the Lord. I am doing the same this conference, and so excited to see what revelation I can get through their words as well as the spirit. We shared Elder Holland's testimony of the Book of Mormon Mormon Message with our English class the other week. So powerful to hear those testimonies, I know those men are called of God, and that they receive revelation in our day! I love you guys so much, I hope it was a good conference weekend! So excited for Saturday and Sunday!!!

Love,
Elder Gilbert


Saying goodbye to my district
Goodbye to Elder Stoddard.  We ended on a really good note after a good last week together and companion inventory;)
My new companion is Elder Park.
He just got done being trained so he's as old on the mission as I was when I came here.
He's half Korean, fourth Chinese and Japanese, 1st generation American from Utah.
He is really cool, I'm excited to be with him! 

Also it's so crazy, that Elder Pothier guy you were telling me about is in my fourman now! Haha what a small world!! Elder Pothier came to our 4 man on Friday 
his trainer is Elder Porter who is one movecall ahead of me.
We are probably the youngest district in the mission now!!