Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

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