Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Taiwan, Taichung Mission

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Members and Miracles

Such a great week! If anything could be going better than the missionary work, it would be the weather! Its been beautiful and not too hot the last couple of days. I need to soak it up because its going to get a lot warmer soon! I'm excited to give a little update on the work.

We had a lot of lessons..... and a lot fall through. Its really annoying, we're not getting fanged a whole ton (where the person tells us they'll come and just doesn't show up) but people keep canceling or changing time on us last minute. We've been getting better and better at being flexible and having good backup plans. We've really been trying hard to be more balanced (its something President Teh has really been emphasizing the last little while).  The mission culture here is to just go crazy and street contact all day every day, and its historically been a little difficult to work with the wards.  But we're trying to do what President wants! Seeing some really cool miracles because of it.

Two members have just come to us and have friends they want to refer! We should be set to meet them later this week!

We met a college student who set up to meet. When we got there we found out that he brought a classmate who is a member from another ward and that he has a cousin whos a member! He's already got a great support system.

We have one investigator who started doing a bunch of internet research and actually didn't get negatively affected by it! He knows all this stuff about the church that we didn't tell him and he says he believes it all! He told us he really wants to get baptized! Thats kind of what happened with our RC Brother Chen who got baptized a little bit ago. He looked up all this stuff and got super interested. He's actually going to come with us tonight and help us teach the investigator (hopefully I don't jinx him, it literally happens all the time I mention people..).

We had zone conference this week! It was awesome! I loved all the training, my two big takeaways were to appreciate the Book of Mormon more and to be more wise in the way I do missionary work.

I came across this President Eyring talk from a few years back and LOVED it. Thought I'd share the end:

If you go for the Lord to bless others, He will see and reward it. If you do this often enough and long enough, you will feel a change in your very nature through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Not only will you feel closer to Him, but you will also feel more and more that you are becoming like Him. Then, when you do see Him, as we all will, it will be for you as it was for Moroni when he said: “And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead.  Amen.”

If we serve with faith, humility, and a desire to do God’s will, I testify that the judgment bar of the great Jehovah will be pleasing. We will see our loving Father and His Son as They see us now—with perfect clarity and with perfect love.

Love,
Elder Gilbert

Elder Coats and I at the amusement park last week

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bible bashing (Taiwanese version)

Another great week in Gaoxiong! Loving so much! This week was kind of a roller coaster, lots of ups and downs. We were blessed to see a lot of cool miracles and are meeting with some awesome investigators.

So for whatever reason part of our dtm the other week touched on using the bible and the book of Mormon together. I found this sweet little pocket Chinese new testament in our apartment and started taking it out with us every day. We don't normally run into Christians, let alone teach them, but we thought maybe it would be nice. The funniest thing happened, ever since then we've had the opportunity to teach a whole bunch of Christian people. We've been able to whip out the Bible and share scriptures with the people to introduce our message and its gone really well! I've realized this week my bible knowledge is next to nothing (We almost never use it because we're always using the Book of Mormon to help others start to believe in Heavenly Father and Christ)Good thing all the people that we've used it with have been nice! So I've got to get better in that category. 

We met with this one guy who was a recent convert to another Christian Church. When we asked him why he was meeting with us he said "because you're not bad people" We were able to share some cool scriptures from the Book of Mormon and show him how we believe in the same Jesus that he does. It went really well, and he even started taking some notes! I noticed in the middle of the lesson he wrote "Good" on his little note pad. Kind of reminded me of the one scripture:  

For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.

 I restudied President Nelson's talk from conference about drawing in the power of Jesus Christ. When his wife asked him what impact his special topical guide study of Christ had on him he answered "I am a different man" That got me good! He's an apostle and he's still changing! I know that The Savior and His Gospel can really change people! Love being able to take part in it a little every day! 

Love,
Elder Gilbert

Me, elder Coats, and Tabasco sauce

On the high speed rail. (normal train takes almost 3 hours to get to Taichung for exchanges and meetings, this guy only took 42 minutes! ridiculous! President just approved them

Pizza and fried chicken all you can eat. Tasted amazing, felt awful!


video


Sunday, April 16, 2017

復活節快樂!

A GREAT first week with Elder Coats! He is a really hard worker and has brought a lot of fire and enthusiasm here to San Min. To give you a better description of him, just think of Uncle Ryan Simmons. Literally the same person. haha he's hilarious and is always getting me to laugh! Our week was filled with miracles, excited to see what we can get done.

We should have a baptism coming up in the next couple of weeks. i always get scared to tell too much about our investigators that are progressing towards baptism because I feel like it curses them....
We are working with this pretty cool investigator named Zed. He reads the Book of Mormon like crazy and gets a lot out of it. He also told us his favorite talk from conference was the Primary President's talk about the kids.  He's really cool, we had a great lesson with him and our Ward Mission Leader the other day. Our investigator pool is looking pretty nice right now, hoping we can drop in a couple more people for Baptismal dates this week. 

We had a little meeting with the bishop as well this week and he showed us all these new goals the ward has. We have a really really good ward! Elder Coats just came from a place with a pretty weak ward, so he's really excited and helping to remind me how great we've got it here. He's brought a lot of faith into the area and its really showing.

To be perfectly honest it didn't really hit me Easter was here until Saturday night. Elder Coats and I realized that we needed to start sharing a little more about it! Even though most people have absolutely no idea what Easter is or why its a thing it was a really good opportunity to get right into the center of our message. It just felt really good in a special kind of way to share with others about Christ and His Atonement/Resurrection. I love that the church has that #PrinceofPeace thing going on. Helps us to remember the literal peace he can bring into our lives.
(I know I've shared this scripture recently, but thought it fits well).

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as
the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be
troubled, neither let it be afraid.


Love,
Elder Gilbert
The district

Monday, April 10, 2017

On to the next one!

Well, pretty expected, but Elder Larsen has moved! I have a new companion! Elder Coats from Layton, Utah! I just met him but I'm liking the vibe. Good things are going to happen, I'm excited to see what we can get done.

Bittersweet to say goodbye to Elder Larsen. We had a pretty weird last week (two trips up to Taichung and general conference) felt like we didn't get quite as much time to do actual missionary work as we would have liked. Regardless we did what we could and had some great stuff happen!

General conference was so good. Had a few people come. I know Chen shi ming really liked it. Kind of fun to watch it thinking about investigators thoughts towards it.

We met with a part member family this week and invited the non member husband to come to General Conference. He totally came for the session where Elder Costa talked directly to non members!! Loved the talk and loved it even more thinking about him watching it. Our ward was super good to him as well. Really treated him nicely afterwards. We'll see what happens.

We've been trying to work better with the ward and it seems to have made the atmosphere better at church. I really love this ward, the members are great to us.

I absolutely love hearing from the leaders of the Church and learning from prophets and apostles. I got a lot of things out of conference, but one particularly stuck with me. Elder Sabin talking about being "all in"

We don’t hold back to see what the minimum is we can get by with. The Lord requires the heart and a willing mind. Our whole heart! When we are baptized, we are fully immersed as a symbol of our promise to fully follow the Savior, not half-heartedly. When we are fully committed and “all in,” heaven shakes for our good.

I LOVE that. I really want to get lost in the work out here, I want to be doing it for the right reasons. I like how Elder Sabin talked about being all in is actually a lot easier in the end. I definitely know that's true, and makes everything we do in life more rewarding.

ALL IN

Love,
Elder Gilbert

We ran into Chen Shi Ming (the recent convert) yesterday. He texted us that he was in the store where we were contacting outside. We walked in and he bought us drinks.
He was literally just there studying the Book of Mormon and General 
Conference!!




An all you can eat buffet on the top of the 85th floor of this high rise

Our ward mission leader makes these really good rolls and he always gives us way too many.
Last time was a little over the top.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

One to remember

Another week in the books! I can't believe conference just happened, I feel like it was literally a week ago when we were talking about last general conference! 

Best part of the week by far was Brother Chen Shi Ming getting baptized and confirmed this weekend!! What a great time. He bore a really powerful testimony after his baptism and at fast and testimony meeting yesterday. Its really cool to see how confident he is and how much the ward members love him. Most investigators we bring to church (and most Taiwanese people for that matter) are kind of timid around people they don't know and its a little hard to get used to everything at church. It was a very different experience teaching Brother Chen the past little while. He just had such a desire to learn and understand what was going on. He's always ask great questions at church and in our lessons, and was super outgoing in getting to meet the ward members. After his baptism he bore a really cool testimony of the Book of Mormon and how hits really guiding him like the iron rod in Lehi's dream! At church on Sunday he talked about how he's excited to be able to start enduring to the end!!! So fun and blessed to be able to work with someone like that! This works really not about us at all. 

The baptism this week helped me to reflect on how cool it was to actually find Brother Chen. So I don't know if you'll recall or not, but a little while ago we had a super great investigator who disappeared  a week before his baptism. He was awesome and completely ready, but then just gone. That was super hard for Elder Larsen and I. It seemed like just about everything fell apart right then, we literally had nothing going good for us. I don't know why, but I remember when that happened that I just had calming feeling that everything was working together for our good, and I don't think I stressed about it as bad as I previously would have. We had some really hard and challenging days with just about nothing but finding the next week. It was the week after the investigator disappeared that in the middle of a hot sunny afternoon with not a ton of people out on the street we ran into Brother Chen. All we did was say hi and that we liked his shoes, then he got all excited as he turned around and said "You guys are the latter day saints, I've been really interested in what you're doing for a while now!" God answers prayers! Things have slowly been picking up ever since. In retrospect, all that happened to us has made me a lot more grateful for Brother Chen and has helped me to realize that on the mission there's a lot of things outside of our control, but also a lot of things we can do to overcome our circumstances. We've had some pretty tiring and hard days with a lot of rejection, but have seen a lot of miracles. We've also been having an absolute BLAST together. I am loving my time with Elder Larsen, things are just so good right now!!

Love,
Elder Gilbert

The Zone
Mission Leadership conference

Busy busy busy

Oh boy, what a week it was! The last couple of weeks we've been blessed to find quite a few new investigators, something we had previously been struggling with. I haven't felt like this since I was in my second area, just bogged down with lessons and things to do. (its a really good feeling in missionary work.)


We had a lot of great lessons and miracles this week, hopefully we'll be able to continue and get some more people ready for baptism!


Most exciting news of the week is that Bother Chen passed his baptismal interview! We should be all good to go for a baptism on Friday :) I'll let you know how it goes.


I think that one of the best parts of the week was at church yesterday. We had quite a few investigators at church, and that random LA guy we ran into on the street the other week came as well. The best part was that most of them were younger males, which got our Bishop HYPED. Most of the wards in Taiwan really struggle in having strong priesthood holders, just lots of women and kids. The ward members seemed really energized by all of the people and we had some great meetings.


I particularly liked the Priesthood lesson we had on Elder Stevenson's talk about the Book of Mormon from last General Conference. I love how he concludes:

Within the book’s pages, you will discover the infinite love and incomprehensible grace of God. As you strive to follow the teachings you find there, your joy will expand, your understanding will increase, and the answers you seek to the many challenges mortality presents will be opened to you. As you look to the book, you look to the Lord. The Book of Mormon is the revealed word of God.


The Book of Mormon has POWER. I'm seeing it in the lives of these investigators and certainly in my own live as well.


Love you all so much!

-Elder Gilbert