Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Temple trips and Tony Horton

Hello! It has been an incredible week here in the Dakeng ward! We are seeing miracles daily! Elder Cook and I are having such a great time together, time is going by way too fast! 

I have been so tired this week and that is for two reasons. Number one is we are hitting the streets HARD. I love working with Elder Cook because he's willing to go out there and get it done. I'm a very firm believer that Heavenly Father is willing to reward us with blessings as we express our faith in Him and His son. How do we express our faith? Diligence and obedience. It's been awesome, and we are trying to get better. The second reason is that we've started the p90x3 program. We've been doing it daily, as well as about twice a week we go play ball with the other missionaries who are in our chapel (there's a ton of elders here). It can't get any better than starting off or ending the day with a little Tony Horton! It is so fun and easy to wake up every morning, it's changing my life! 

But for real, missionary work is what's important here so I'll keep the focus on that. We were really lucky to see a whole ton of miracles and interested people this week. Tuesday we ran into a nice man (Wang, JiaHuang) fishing and we asked to join him for a little. As we were talking he brings up Christ and then we just start going off. We taught him prayer and our relationship with Heavenly Father and Christ. Then we said a prayer with him and the spirit took over. He turned to gold in about 2 seconds and told us he felt good inside and wants to meet again same place in two days! So on Thursday we head to the river and he was there fishing and was happy to see us. So we start teaching about families, Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. At the end we invited him to keep praying with faith and to ask God for an answer about what we just shared. He also came to church and was looking like one of the most golden people ever, but that our hearts broke as we found out he lived in the AP's area. I swear that he told us that he lived right by where we met him, but oh well... He's still going o get baptized and have his life change a whole ton, that's whats really important. Just would've loved the opportunity to teach him and watch him progress.. It's all good though, if there's one person like that, there's bound to be a lot more. I know there is! The people here need what we've got! 

We were really lucky to meet our friend Bruce again, and we got to have a cool sit down with him. We set up for tomorrow to share the book of Mormon with him, and we're going to get this super cool member in our ward that speaks really good English to come help us out. 

I still think that the best part of my week was being able to go to the Taipei Temple last Wednesday. It was such a peaceful experience, and so great to be able to get away from all the stress and things that are going on right now, I can't wait to go really consistently when I get back home!!

So the other night we stopped by one of our member's drink shop and said hi to him for a little bit. He got super excited that we stopped by and said we had to go with him right then to see his other shop that was in a night market. We had planned in finding on the bike ride home to end out the night, but he was just like "no its super close and in our area, you can talk to people and see a new part" we were kind of apprehensive, but our ward member was pretty nice and neither of us knew him super well, so we decided it was ok to go with him. turns out he totally exaggerated and drove us to this MASSIVE night market that was wayy far away! Elder Cook and I just looked at each other and had no idea what was going on. We told our member that we needed to get going and we didn't realize it was sop far away. He was just like "oh lets just go in for a minute I want to buy you a snack" then he ended up buying us a whole bunch of food and drinks, haha we were so confused, and he was being so nice to us. I guess a good tender mercy of it was that an la we have works there and we were able to talk with him, and our member flipped at him for smoking (but in a good way).. it was fun to get to know this member his name was brother su. he told us all about his conversion and is a really good guy! haha members are so good to us here, but sometime they don't exactly get it :)

I finished reading the Book of Mormon again this week. I really appreciate and cherish the love I've gained for that book on my mission. I was happy to take on Moroni's challenge again and pray for confirmation and a stronger witness of the truthfulness of the book. I can really say without a doubt that its true. I've seen it change so many people's lives, and I've seen it transform my own. I have a new goal of getting really good at scripture references in my personal studies so I can really help investigator's answer their questions. Hopefully it goes well. I love teaching with the Book of Mormon, it is literally the greatest thing of all time! 

I love you guys so much!!

-Elder Gilbert

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Whole New World!

My new companion Elder Cook with Elder Cole in the background.
WOW!! Taichung is crazy! I literally feel like I moved to a whole different country!  Before, I was biking through rice patties and not seeing buildings over 8 stories high. Now I'm in the heart of Taichung with 4 million people and live in like a 25 story apartment building! It is super different, I was almost as far as you possibly could get from the mission home and am now like a 10 minute bike ride away, and see a ton of missionaries every day. I'm also in the same building as Elder Cole for church, so I see him every day, that's fun :) We play basketball in the mornings with the office elders and others in the area, so that's also a new plus. I'm really sad to leave Dong Gang, it has my heart, but I love the opportunities and blessings that I have before me! My new comp is a beast! I've basically served around Elder Cook my whole mission, and its been really nice not to have those first few awkward days where we're feeling each other out. He's really excited to work hard with me, and we've seen miracles every day! The people here are awesome, there's so many more people, and I feel like we have met a bunch of cool/funny people.

We were biking around a huge park and basketball facility when we ran into a nice old man named Bruce. He was walking around the park punching and kicking the air. When we talked with him he just exploded in energy. His English is super funny and he uses such intelligent words with bad grammar and it just sounds hilarious. We fell in love with him so fast... then he said he doesn't like Christians anymore because his Dentist is a Christian and ruined his teeth. (There is a dental place here called Jesus Dental: He Uses Me. As in it is Christ doing the dental work. Its in Chinese and it makes more sense) Bruce said "I saw Jesus on his business, I TRUSTED HIM!! See my teeth? These are fake because of him. I trust a Christian and this is what happens. Never in a million years would I think this would happen to me! Never! He made me ugly and I cannot forgive him. Next time I see him I want to punch him right in the mouth. He should go kill himself!" After his rant we got to fit so much gospel answers into what he just said and we calmed him down to the point were we prayed with him and he said he will go to the Dentist and tell him how he feels without getting mad. :)

Oh and my testimony of talking with everyone went up a whole ton this week. Elder Cook and I were taking a little break because it was pouring rain and contacting wasnt going so good. We decided to talk to a guy at a drink shop and get a drink from him. After a minute it was clear he didn't really like us, and I debated in my mind whether or not I should give him one of our soggy church tracts. I decided why not and then gave it to him. Anyways, a little while later we realized I lost my wallet, and got a call from the mission office saying that it was at the drink shop! It turns out the guy called the number on the tract, which was incredibly lucky because I didn't have a number to call in the wallet. It was a miracle! That would have been super bad to loose my wallet, and I was super grateful for that! 

We don't have a ton of investigators here, to be honest its pretty dead. But thats ok! We are on the rise and Elder Cook is really excited to rebound from his last companion and help out this area with me! The exciting thing is we have a clean start and an opportunity to talk with everyone and bring those who are ready into the fold of Christ. 

For my spiritual thought, I'd like to share a cool experience I had reading Elder Holland's last conference address. If you remember, he was talking about how general conference is a spiritual high, and soon we will all return to the real world. I feel like that has kind of happened to me, not because its really bad here, just because of how good it had been in Dong Gang and how many incredible experiences we had seen. As I read the following words I felt inspired and invigorated for a new start and for the challenges that lie ahead: 

Now, with that majestic devotion ringing from heaven as the great constant in our lives, manifested most purely and perfectly in the life, death, and Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can escape the consequences of both sin and stupidity—our own or that of others—in whatever form they may come to us in the course of daily living. If we give our heart to God, if we love the Lord Jesus Christ, if we do the best we can to live the gospel, then tomorrow—and every other day—is ultimately going to be magnificent, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. Why? Because our Heavenly Father wants it to be! He wants to bless us. A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.

I love you guys and hope that all is well at home! Keep doing great things! I am loving my mission! It is the perfect thing for me, and I am so happy top have this oppurtunity to grow and better know my savior. Time to get to work :)

Elder Gilbert

Monday, May 16, 2016

Big Changes! Going to DAKENG...

Hello Everybody!!!   Elder Gilbert coming to you from the heart of Taichung city! I just took over a three hour train ride up to my new area, I'm serving in the Da Keng Ward! My new companion is awesome!! Elder Cook! He was in my same MTC District, and we were living in the same four man together about two months ago. We're already pretty good buds, and now we're companions! I am so excited!! Its going to be such a fun time here, I can't wait to see what we accomplish! 

Elder Park got some really good seafood to celebrate our great move call.
I'm going to miss Dong Gang a ton! Elder Park and I had an incredible time together, one I don't want to forget. (Except I left my journal on the train so I don't have a single entry from the last transfer is gone....) hahah but thats ok, it was a really amazing time! We saw so many miracles, and I think I had just about as much fun as I've ever had in my life! 

This week was absolutely the best way to go out. We had so many lessons, and literally spent almost no time finding because we had so much to do! It was honestly incredible, I've never felt so busy and stressed in my life, but I also think it was just about as happy as I've ever been! I cannot even put into words how incredible of a time I've had. It is amazing to see what just a couple small changes and a whole lot of faith and effort could bring! 

A couple highlights: We met an Australian family the other week and have been meeting with them. I've literally never enjoyed teaching more! Its so easy to teach in English! Like the coolest thing ever, just a really satisfying thing to do.

We're also meeting with this Presbyterian family in Dong gang, and we had a super cool lesson with them and this family in our ward last night. They aid they'd be willing to get baptized into our church if they knew the Book of Mormon was true! Super Cool! 

We have three investigators in the area that I can say with a lot of confidence will get baptized next month! Hope the missionaries can keep it rolling over there! 

Ok we had so much fun when we met this crazy atheist white guy! The four elders in my district had just gotten done going on exchanges, and he walks up to us and goes "Wow, 4 of you guys in one place, what do they call a group of Mormons? a gaggle?" haha then he just starts ripping Joseph smith and tells us about this anti Mormon podcast that'll help us realize why we are brain washed. hahah since we're in Taiwan, we don't get that a whole lot! It was so funny! We were just super nice to him, and he was so mad that we weren't getting mad! The best part was when Elder Park started pretending he was just a Taiwanese person and didn't know what the guy was saying! Hahaa that was a really fun time. 

Last Thought: The church is so true! I don't have any scriptures to share, just want to say my personal testimony. I have never seen so many miracles in my entire life. I know right now more than ever, that The Lord is willing to bless us if wee ask and work for it. I am so excited to be in a new area, and am probably the most happy and positive I've been ever in my life! 

Love you guys!!
Elder Gilbert

A member from Tainan who came to visit us
On a split with Elder Porter

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day

No formal letter from Elder Gilbert this week but we had a great Mother's Day visit on Skype.  I will report that Elder Gilbert sounded WONDERFUL!  He was happy, energetic and SO excited about all the good work he and Elder Park are doing together.  Yesterday in church they had 8 investigators in their gospel principles class.  The time visiting flew by.  We got little peeks of Elders Porter, Poither and Park.  For just a heavenly moment, it felt like our family was all together again.  Happy Mother's Day!!

Testimony in Chinese

Mother's day message

All 8 Gilbert children together!

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Baptism week:)))

Whooo! This was probably one of the best weeks ever!!! Oh man, I'm just so happy! Glad Everyone's doing good at home, its been a really cool week here, hope I can put it all into words.

So first I want to talk about our investigator Sister Wu that got baptized on Saturday! We were a little stressed, because we've had this baptismal date for a little while, but didn't know there was going to be a big wedding reception at the chapel that night as well. We figured it all out, had the baptism in the afternoon and then everyone went to the wedding reception after, literally the best night ever.

Its been really cool to see her progress. We met her through her granddaughter that she takes care of at English class, and eventually were able to start meeting with the two of them. She quickly became best friends with the bishop's wife (who is a return missionary) and then it was just game over from there. I honestly think that we weren't necessary to be there. Really it was our great ward members who are the real reason she was baptized. It's been really cool to see the ward rally around her and the baptism. It made Sunday a special day. Fast and Testimony meeting was super sweet and everyone was just really happy that this ward got a baptism (It became a ward about a year ago, and this is the first time they've had one). It finally felt like they had something to rally around, and it was awesome to see them so excited.

Outside of the baptism, it has literally been the busiest week of my mission. We have no finding time ever because we've just had lessons for days! I'm so grateful for it, but its pretty stressful to squeeze everything in all day!  We have a lot of new investigators. one just quit drinking coffee and so we had a party and she brought us cake. another came to the baptism and church on Sunday, we will probably set a baptismal goal with him tonight. He is real golden I think.I will tell more if he actually is.
I have a funny story to tell.  So we have this one ward member who's like a 50 year old mom, and she's so obsessed with me! I have literally never heard anyone fit handsome in a conversation more than she has! Its kind of scary, but awesome, because she always gives us food haha. Anyways she just started using English to tell me I'm super "cute"  Also we've got Elder Pothier in our district who's 6'7" and people give him lots of extra attention too. I guess I don't have it so bad :) People's reactions to us here are the funniest things sometimes.  

Final thought comes from ammon's wards in Alma 26:  35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all powerall wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.

I'm so happy!! Oh man, this is real joy. I can't even put it into words. This church is true, and I promise Jesus Christ is the place to go for real, everlasting happiness. This is a special time and one I do not take for granted.

I love you guys so much and can't wait to be with you again soon,

-Elder Gilbert
Our p-day adventure