Monday, December 21, 2009

Letter # 35

Translation: (Hello my beloved family, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas)

Well my time came to leave Longtan 龍潭. I was a little disappointed to be honest. We were actually in a meeting when the assistants to the president called me and gave me the assignment to go to the city of Shipai 石牌. So I actually just got here a couple of hours ago and I am pooped! I didn't get to bed until 12:30 and had to wake up at 5:00 to get up here!

So the city I am in now is in Taipei county, and again like my first area is nothing but buildings. I am going to miss the rice patties and all the farmers in their funny hats. It actually was really hard leaving my last area. Longtan has a really special place in my heart, partly because of the learning experiences. The biggest part was obviously the people. That was the area that I fell in love with the Chinese people! I also know that one of the reasons why I was called to Taiwan was to meet a couple of the people there specifically.

Yesterday I stood up in front of the ward and bore my testimony on how much I knew that we were all brothers and sisters of our Heavenly Father. I remember just looking at them and feeling that is was true, That they were family. Anyway when a missionary leaves an area the ward there pretty much goes ballistic! They love the missionaries here. Food, pictures, gifts, food! They treat visitors way too well here! But it is totally their culture to just give to others, especially if your a Foreigner! All the Members kept offering a place to stay for my parents and food and all that stuff! So the Weinberger family has it made here.

Well this last Saturday we had a huge ward Christmas Party. A lot of the community showed up. About half of the people there were not members. So we were running around like crazy trying to talk to people and having members help us talk to investigators and all that stuff. It was pure mayhem! But it was a really successful night. A lot of investigators showed up and they all loved it! We actually had one of our investigators perform and sing a couple Christmas songs for everyone! That was another thing that was so hard about leaving. There were so many people we were teaching and they were all doing amazing. Especially the Lin Family. I think I told their story a couple weeks ago in an email. But they came to Church for the first time yesterday and they loved it. They said they were so touched! It was perfect because this week was the Primary Christmas program. Then a member of the bishopric got up afterward and started bearing his testimony of the example of children. It was really powerful.

That night the Lin family invited us over for dinner so I could eat with them one last time. It was really sad. I gave the closing prayer after the lesson and the mother wanted to say another prayer. But this time she wanted to offer it. As she started to pray she started to sob. She was crying the whole time! I didn't know what to say. But It just made me so happy that I had a chance to see the true process of finding God and the true Gospel unfold in a person right before my eyes! I am 100% sure that they will be baptized within the next couple months. I am going to beg with the mission president to let me go down there to see them baptized!

Oh ya my new companion. His name is Elder Shumway he is from Idaho Falls. He seems like an awesome guy! I have only been with him for 3 hours so we will see what unfolds. He didn't really get along with his last companion from what he told me. I told him it was going to be a sweet next few transfers or however long we are together. I am actually really excited to be with him. He is a young missionary and works hard from what I have heard. Also there are not a lot of investigators in our area right now. But that gets me so pumped! That might sound weird but the challenge gets me way fired!

Okay well the scripture I chose for today is something I read in my personal study this morning. It is 2 Nephi 9:41-42. I had a really strong feeling when I read it this morning. When you read it try to think of what the Savior expects of you?

Okay I love you all MERRY CHRISTMAS from 台灣 (Taiwan).
Talk to you on Christmas!
魏長老 (Elder Wei)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letter # 34 (HUMP DAY, Dec. 10, 2009)

Hello everyone! ...WOW

I have been on my mission for one whole year! Its such a crazy feeling to think about what I was doing a year ago! What's weird is that two days ago I looked at my watch and realized that I was already past my year mark! That was not a normal feeling you could say. My companion and I are going up to our roof to burn one of my shirts! I don't know (Supposedly) it's some missionary year mark Tradition. I don't really want to burn one of my shirts but my companion insists. Again, I don't really care cause I love burning stuff! The part that freaks me out the most is realizing how fast time flies! Well this week went well again. I'm Lovin' it :)

My companion and I have been finding a lot of new people this week. Last night we went over to this old Investigators house. We saw his teaching record and his address and we were curious why he stopped meeting with missionaries. We got there and were welcomed right in by an amazing family with 5 kids. They set up an appointment next Monday with us and they want to feed us. I am way excited. But unfortunately My companion and I both think that I am going to be transferred this next week. Its a huge bummer for me because we are teaching now 4 families and a lot of other people with great potential. We actually set a baptismal date with someone yesterday! (For the 23rd of January).

Oh on Bad news the baptism this Friday fell through. Her name is Zi Ji Zhu. It's actually a really complicated story but basically she had members from a Church down the road telling her all these things about our church. We were luckily able to meet with her one last time. We committed her to pray about it and ask God what she should do. Couple days later she called us and told us that she had gotten an answer. She said that her answer was very clear that the message we were sharing was in fact true. But she told us that she just can't join the Church. I am still very confused about the whole thing. Supposedly from what she explained is that she was in some debt a while back and some of the people at this other Church lent her some money. So in other words she has to pretty much do what they say. It is really a sad situation. I personally think there is a deeper problem that we don't know anything about. But we will continue to keep praying for her.

We have a New investigator right now that is doing awesome. She is actually another one of my English class students. She is about 36, and miraculously is best friends with that Lin family that I told you all about last week. Ya really interesting. But she is progressing really fast. Especially for someone 2 weeks ago who wasn't even sure that they even believed in God. Its amazing to see those miracles. I love teaching the Plan of Salvation. Every time I teach about it, it seems to just get more and more clear.

The scripture for this week was Moses Chapter 1. I want everyone to pay attention to the part where Moses talks about him being a son of god. I read it last night and it was really powerful. It helped me realize the power and promises that we have given of God, just because we are his Children.

As usual I don't have much time to email today. I love you all and I hope that everything is going well. And next time I email it will be the new transfer. Excited to see what happens!!!!!!!
Your in my prayers
Wei Zhang Lao!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter # 33

Hello everyone!

Okay so surprisingly enough the Christmas spirit is strong here in Taiwan. Well at least in my and my companion's apartment. I got the little tree you sent Mom. My companion and I Loved it. My companion's parents sent a bunch of Christmas music. We have been going crazy with that the last couple days. I think a white Christmas might be a little to much to ask for right now, especially when it feels like May in Utah here. Surprisingly they love the Christmas advertisements here. They have green and red and Santa's everywhere. But obviously it has nothing to do with why we even have Christmas......Still fun though.

Well a little about the Investigators.... We still have Sister Zhu getting baptized on the 18th. She loves church and loves coming to all the Gospel classes and stuff. She actually attended a lot of different churches before she met the missionaries. She is gaining a testimony fast and its awesome to see. The 18 year old kid we were teaching is still struggling with his family going against the church and they told him that he couldn't be baptized. We are really praying for him and we had a huge lesson with him on Faith a couple days ago. He said that he would continue to pray for his parents hearts to soften. Oh his name is Kun Ting Lee. Please pray for him!

We also are still teaching the two Chan Families. They are still progressing but they are still praying for an answer to know if what we are teaching is actually true. They need prayers as well. One of the biggest Miracles I have ever seen actually happened last night. Well this story actually starts back about two months ago.

One night...... We were going to visit this member family and give them a card because it was the Mom's Birthday. When we got there the mother was not there but as we were about to leave we had a feeling that we shouldn't leave the area. I looked down the road and I thought maybe we can just knock these doors. As we started knocking these doors just a few doors down from the members house we knocked on this one door. The women came to the door. Actually excited to see us. She came out the door and just said, "come in, come in,". I looked at my companion in disbelief, both of us just kinda had our mouths open thinking that something had to be wrong. As we sat down with her for a while we found out that her daughter is actually a member. Her daughter is away at college. She said that she had been to our Church multiple times but she was actually a member of another Christian church. We also found out that the member, her next door neighbor, they are actually best friends, and grew up together. Their Family name is Lin. As we continued to talk to her we found out that the reason why she never joined the Church is because she could not except that Joseph Smith was a real prophet and really restored God's Church. From then until now we have met with her a few times and continued to teach her the doctrine of knowing through prayer the truth. It all changed when last night when she invited us over for dinner and then for a lesson.

The difference this time is that her husband for the first time was going to join us. We had a great dinner with them I ate my first "Thousand year old EGG" In case you haven't heard of that I guess the easiest way I can explain it is by saying its a black egg. A very black egg. From what they told me back in the olden days the way they made these eggs was by putting the eggs in horse urine and then burying them in the ground for a very long time. After they told me this I obviously wanted to know how they are made now?..........They didn't know.... That of course was very reassuring for me. If you wanted to know how it tasted. Just imagine gagging a rotten egg down your throat. Other than that I guess it wasn't too bad....

Okay, well like I said dinner went great and we met the husband and he really like my companion and me. During dinner we got talking on health and good food and stuff. We took that opportunity to teach them about the revelation Joseph Smith received called the Word of Wisdom. They thought is was amazing that the Church knew about this Law of Health way before anyone knew about that stuff. They were both very curious from that point. As we sat down with them we new going into it that we were going to be teaching the Plan of Salvation. From the beginning we both had a feeling that we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation out of the Bible and compare it to the Book of Mormon.

As we were in the process of showing them all these scriptures they both were just blown away about the doctrine. Doctrine that was clearly in the Bible but nothing that they had ever heard before, or had been taught in their Church. The husband was amazed and he told us how excited he was about this. As we finished he told us that this is so clear, and that is why he had so many problems with religion in the past is because there were so many unclear doctrines. He kept writing down notes and kept pointing and saying "Look, its in there" It was amazing because It all tied back to the importance of Joseph Smith and the need of the Restoration. They believed and they knew it was true. It all helped my testimony so much. They both kept saying how thankful they were. Especially the husband. He kept saying how confused he was in the past, and how he understands now. As we said a prayer to finish the appointment we asked the Sister Lin (the Wife) to say the prayer for us. As she was saying the prayer she just kept asking Heavenly Father to give them the truth. To let them know if Joseph Smith was really a prophet. It was unbelievably touching.

My companion and I left the house with a feeling that I don't think I have ever had in my life. With my email I don't think I could ever explain the spirit and clarity of the lesson taught that night. But it was unbelievable. As I was teaching I felt like I learned about it just as much as they did. Even though I have taught the lesson a thousand times. Also I found out this week that a girl in a Family I started teaching in my old area is getting baptized this Saturday. That made me really excited to hear as well.

So the scripture this week is special. I want everyone to read Joseph Smith history in the back of the Book of Mormon and ponder on why the need for a restoration was necessary. As you do this prayerfully things will become even more clear then they were before.

Okay I gotta go. We have to catch a train up to Taipei.
Love you family!
Wei Zhang Lao

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Letter # 32

Nimen Hao Ma? Hello my Fam!

This week went great!
Well I guess except for my Thanksgiving meal. It was my first Chinese Thanksgiving experience. I guess. I had a self made tuna fish sandwich for lunch and a zhuabing for dinner. Its kinda like a Chinese crepe. I guess you can just say the Asian Taco. Street vendors everywhere have them. My companion and I couldn't help but think about what our families were eating. Oh ya know the basics:
  • Big steaming pile of Turkey
  • Bucket of mashed potatoes
  • butter and creamed corn
  • perfectly steamed and moist stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • Homemade rolls
  • corned bread
  • Honey baked ham
  • Green beans in gravy
  • Oh and not to forget a piece of perfect pumpkin or pecan pie, slapped with whipped cream!
If I was able to get that all out of my head I was able to somehow swallow down the zhuabing. It kinda made us laugh a little bit about what it is that we were doing. But hey sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven right? It would seem that way for my companion and I right now. We are still seeing a lot success. Setting up new people every day, still teaching those families, and teaching people who are still praying for the answers. It's great!

Funny story:
We were outside and I ran into this guy outside a bank. He told us he was waiting for his wife. I saw she was at the counter paying bills. Well I asked him if she was paying bills. Now the right way to say paying bills is (JIAO FEI) But instead my head came up with (JIAN FEI) which means going on a diet to loose weight. So in other words I asked if his wife was trying to loose weight? Right after I said that I realized exactly what I had said. He then looked at me and then looked at her through the window. Then turning back to me says "Your right huh! She is kinda fat!" My companion was about to loose his mind he thought it was the funniest thing. I, of course at that time was sweating bullets and I don't think I have ever apologized to someone so much in my life. I think I set a record for the number of times saying the word "sorry" in a minute. I felt like such a MORON! Anyway, funny story, hope everyone gets a good laugh out of it.

I also had an amazing experience with an Investigator this last week. This investigator is Brother Lee. He has some sort of disease in his legs and hasn't left his bed in years. Last time we met with him he started coming up with all these concerns and he was scared about joining the church and also saying that he was unable for many reasons. One of them being because he felt like some things he did in the past made him incapable of joining, especially in the handicap state he was in now. When I heard that I remembered a quote by Elder Worthlin the Apostle. He said "We see ourselves as yesterday and today, but our heavenly father sees as the eternal beings we are capable of becoming" As I translated that to him I remember becoming so choked over by the truth of that profound statement. It was a testimony to me that when correct doctrines are taught with love the spirit is so evident. A feeling I could never deny. Again also testifying to me of the truth of God being mindful of ALL HIS CHILDREN! Its true.

God loves all of us and does see us as the beings we are capable of becoming! I know that is true.
The scripture this week is Mosiah 4:9-12.

I love you all so so much!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Letter # 31

Hey family!

Well my eyes are black and I am exhausted. These last two weeks have been so exhausting. My comp (Elder Constantino) and I are doing awesome. We are loving the area we are in and the investigators are going well. We actually are teaching three families right now and it is going great. Everyone is progressing. But I am afraid I will not be in Longtan next transfer so that will be sad. I'll just pray real HARD!

Well two of the new members are Sister Lin and Brother Zhong. They were baptized last transfer and they're doing awesome. Zhong was an 18 yr old kid that I met at a stoplight about 2 months ago. Now he is doing amazing. He comes and teaches with us in our lessons. He said something in one of our lessons that made Missionary work just that much more worth it. He told the person that we were teaching that he wouldn't be here if it wasn't true. He told her he would not waste his time on Sunday coming to church if it wasn't true. He bore his testimony strongly and he has only been a member for a few weeks. He is also talking to us about plans to go on a mission. To me that is one of the most rewarding things of a mission, to be able to see the people you teach progress.

Also Sister Lin is amazing. She comes and teaches with us all the time. Her testimony is so powerful. It blows me away. She sounds like she has been a member all her life. Anyway she got accepted to go to New York for college in a few months. Her English is really good so she will just go to a normal ward in New York. She also is really excited to see all the Church history sites. Well my companion and I went on a couple adventures this last week. We were riding our bikes in this super rural kind of jungle going to an investigators house, and we saw this small road to the side that was blocked off so cars couldn't get in..........we of course jumped our bikes to see where it led. As we road a minute in this Jungle we came to this big tent. I was so freaked out. As we peaked our head in we saw a bunch of boxes. I first thought they were Drugs for sure (ha ha ha). But anyway me being my curious self I opened one of them and there was a huge vase in it. Again being curious I opened the lid ..........................and behold ASHES! yah, human remains in the vases. We found all these urns deep in the jungle. I felt like Elder Indiana Jones. (haha) I was freaking out. My companion wasn't real happy but it was funny! We ended up biking out of there as fast as we could.

Well this week has been another great week as far as investigators and more personal growth. I have noticed that as my Chinese has gotten better and communication isn't becoming the biggest problem. I have really started to grow such a love for them. I remember when I first came to Taiwan. I thought the Culture was so weird and in all honesty I thought the people were a little weird as well. But as I started being able to listen to what they say I realized that I was wrong. I have realized one firm fact that I can never begin to deny. That is that we are ALL children of our Heavenly Father. It has become so apparent to me. It has strengthened my testimony so much to understand the most simple principle of the church. It ironically been the thing that has changed me the most and taught me how to love others. I love it here! I can't think of anywhere else I would want to be.

Well I don't have a lot of time as usual but the scripture is Alma 26:37 I know God is mindful of all his children.

Love you all so so so so so much.
WEI Zhang Lao

Monday, November 9, 2009

Letter # 30

Hey family.

Well Transfers came around again, and I got a new companion. His name is Elder Constantino. He is from Italy and his dad is in the Mafia! Just kidding he is from Kaysville. He is an awesome guy. I was friends with him before so the awkward first couple weeks with someone you don't know has been completely avoided. Its just weird not being with a Native. I have been with Natives for about the last 5 months. It also helped me realize how bad my English is. My grammar is terrible. Its just weird being in the house not speaking Chinese and constantly having to ask "what, say that again?" But I am totally stoked about having an American Comp.

So the baptism went really well last Saturday. She asked me to baptize her. It was sister Lin. I am pretty sure I have already told everyone about her. She is someone we invited to English class about a month and a half ago. We were able to start meeting with her and a month later she was baptized. She is one of those people for me that makes me feel like there was no doubt that I was supposed to be called to Taiwan. She actually is exactly like Lauren. But she is a High school Music teacher. In Taiwan a teacher is a pretty respected job! But she wrote her own song on the piano and played it at her baptism. It was unreal! All the members were blown away.

So saying goodbye to Elder Woo.... That was hard! I learned too much from him. I changed more from him then any other person on my mission by far. Most of the time it was never anything he said. It was all his actions that stood out as the example! Well he goes home to south Taiwan tomorrow. So this last weekend we were taken out to eat every night by the members. We went to these places called Hot Pots where you boil all the food in front of you. Its so good! But ya I have been stuffed for the last few days. Sometimes with things I didn't wont to put in my mouth!...... On Sunday night we went to the bishops house for dinner and is wife made this Beef noodle soup for us. It was good but as I started eating I started to notice this weird looking meat and it was chewy and hard to eat. I asked what it was........ Big mistake! I was eating a bowl full of Cow STOMACH!

I wouldn't dare not eat it. One its the bishop two because that stuff is expensive here. But as I was able to muscle past the gag reflex I was able to eat the whole bowl. An hour later I wanted to die! I had a stomach full of stomach. It was NASTY!

Besides my nasty food stories all is going really well here. We just gave two more people baptismal dates for the first week in December. I am way excited about it!

Well I gotta go, But in honor of my new companion I am giving you one of his favorite scriptures. Alma 41:14-15. It talks the blessings of Righteous actions.

Thank you all for your prayers. Your in mine!
Love you
Wei Zhang Lao!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Letter # 29

Hey Family!

Well good news. The two baptisms last Saturday went really smoothly. Well for the most part. One of them had to be baptized 2 times over because we kept seeing that his foot was coming up at the last second. It was kinda funny because when he finished the second time he left already and was on his way to the bathroom to dry off and stuff. My companion and I were debating whether his foot had actually come up or not. To be safe we had him come back and do it again. It was kinda awkward at the time, but their testimonies at the meeting were really touching.

They both are really young. One 18 and one 21. The 18 year old, his name is Zhong. He talked about before he ran into the missionaries God to him was just a Buddhist statue, or something you go bow in front of. He said that now he feels that when he prays he feels good knowing that he has a God or heavenly father he can communicate with. He said that he knew God was listening to him! It was awesome. He is actually someone I rode up to at a stop light and asked him to pull his scooter over about two months ago. He has met with us ever since. What a miracle!

This coming Saturday we have another Baptism. I will tell the story about that investigator next week. She is even more of a Miracle!

Well anyway tomorrow we have this huge conference with the mission. One of the Quorum of the Seventy is coming to talk with us. He is also interviewing missionaries. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen to be interviewed by him. Yah ...I am a little nervous, but of course excited at the same time. It will be a sweet experience. I am praying hard for some inspired questions I can ask him. So this Friday I find out who my new companion is. That will be weird!

I feel like I have been with Elder Woo forever! I really have such a testimony I was put with him for a reason. One because we are complete polar opposites. A complete Humbling Experience! Something everyone knew I needed. But from him I have learned some lessons that will effect me for probably as long as I am alive. I have been with him 3 months, but learned more in those three months than my entire mission before I was with him, times 2. I am really so grateful for the positions I have been put in. Even though at the time of those trials I wondered how I could ever keep going! But I did, and the Lord knows what he is doing. That I know with all my heart!

Well this week I had no time to email so I will give more news next week and some funny stories, and of course the news on who my new companion is. Well the Scripture this week is something I have been sharing on the street a lot lately. It is 2Nephi 2:25, Men are that they might have joy! Joseph Smith said that "happiness, is what God desires for all his Children"! All of them! I know that's true. Sometimes I think we as people forget that our Heavenly Fathers desire for us is to have Joy, nothing less. That is what all trials and all heartaches lead up to. Joy and happiness that only the Savior can bring.

Love you all!
Wei Zhang Lao

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Letter # 28

Hello my Family!

How is everyone? Things are picking up in Taiwan I think in every single part of the Work. Especially In Longtan! Our 2 investigators passed the Baptismal interview for this coming Saturday and we will be having two more interviews for next Saturday. I am so excited about all the success. It is the most I have seen on my whole mission!

I also saw a huge miracle this last week. It was in the morning and we were biking to drop off some mail. While we were biking I wasn't really thinking or I guess day dreaming If you will. As we pulled up to the post office I had this big feeling that came over me. The feeling
was like "Why aren't you looking for someone?" It was kinda like a "PAY ATTENTION DUMMY" kind of a feeling. I Immediately looked forward and saw one person. It was an older lady on a scooter. I pulled up to her and she wasn't terribly excited to talk to me. (Big Surprise) Anyway as we started to talk she told me that her son is going to our church. After a few questions we found out that her son was Yang peng yuan - Who is getting baptized on November 7th.

We invited her to come to church but she said there was no way because she already went to another Christian church. Surprisingly we were meeting with him that night. As he showed up for the lesson his mom came with him to even more of our surprise. We took her around the church and was able to sit down with her and teach her a full lesson. We shared the Restoration with her and taught her about the Book of Mormon. It was a very basic first lesson. As she read the Book of Mormon she said it was so clear. Long story short.... She said that she would be willing to be baptized and set a Baptismal date for two weeks after her son, She told us that she was for sure coming to Church with her son this Sunday. It was an unbelievable miracle.

But of course with such good comes such opposition. We called her the next day and she told us that she couldn't come to church with us. We assumed that she had spoken to one of her friends from her other church. I guess they gave her some advice and she decided she wasn't sure yet what she should do. Her son is still praying for her and so are we. We really hope that she can remember the feelings she had when she first met with us.
Everyone please pray for her.

Well this week I gotten bitten twice! Once from a Pig and once from my companion. The pig I can explain well. I was taking pictures with its piglets and it bit me on the leg. Luckily it couldn't grab on or break skin or anything. My companion...... well I don't remember what happened but We were making lunch and then all the sudden we started wrestling and as I got him in a good hold. HE BIT ME!

Oh something else funny that happened. My Companion got attacked by a Grandpa in a wheelchair. We were contacting the person who was pushing him along the street, and we were able to stop her and start talking to her. As we started talking this 300 yr old guy in the wheelchair, Started freaking out. I swear this was the oldest person I have ever seen in my life. But he still had the fight in him! He didn't have teeth and I couldn't understand a word he was saying but he starting pushing and hitting my companions bike and staring me down. I was dying laughing. My companion didn't think it was that funny!

So I received an Email from Bishop Bunnell and in the email was an attachment. The attachment Is called (Lifting burdens : The Atonement of Jesus Christ "Mormon Messages") It can be found on I hope everyone can look at that. It is so filled with truth and I was truly filled with love and hope when I watched it. It is the most simple doctrine of this gospel. Yet the centerpiece to how we are able to obtain anything of worth in this life. The fact that we have a Savior that is with us and loves us brings so much peace to my heart. Its true! ITS TRUE! I know because like Alma says in Chapter 32. I can feel the swelling motions in my heart. I know that the seed is growing! ITS TRUE! I cannot deny what has been confessed to me by my feelings. This is the way!

The Scripture I chose today was something I actually read this morning. Mosiah 23:27. Read the whole chapter and focus on why Alma is so certain that they need no reason to fear.

Okay gotta run! Love all of you so so so much!
Wei Zhang Lao

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Letter # 27

Well Hello everyone.

This week went well for the most part. I can start by saying that It has truly been a refining process for me the last few weeks. Realizing the personal weaknesses that I have has been a painful process,of course, but a slight sigh of relief knowing that I have a good amount of time to become what I am supposed to be.

My companion and I got into a bit of an argument. Basically the argument was about how much different we are from each other. It progressed to the point when I did not have much desire to go out and work with him. I ended up asking him "What it is that we can do?" We ended up kneeling down in prayer and as he started giving the prayer he started to cry and apologize to God for what had happened. As he gave the prayer I realized how quickly the argument was my fault and how low my personal pride had brought us. After the prayer was over Elder Woo stood up and being a little embarrassed to ask me; if he could give me a hug. For their culture I will tell you that is not the easiest thing to do for them. In other words "they don't do that". I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. Mostly because I knew better. As a missionary who has been out as long as I have I realized how much more growing up I need to do. A lot of growing up.

This last week I have really reflected on why is it that I am doing the things I am doing. As I reflected I realized how much praise I still seek from man and not so much the Lord. And How much every decision relates back to my own personal selfishness. Most importantly, the true Love and Charity that I feel I lack so much in my heart. Like I said, this past week or so has been a refining period of much prayer.

Other than that the work is going fantastic. We now have added even another person with a Baptismal goal! It is a 28 year old women who is in my English class. After class, two weeks ago, she came up to me and said "so are you guys like priests or pastors or something" I told her that we could set up a time and answer that question! (Ha ha TRICKY TRICKY). She is now into the Book of Mormon and praying every day. I am really excited about her because she is unbelievably smart. She seems to understand what is taught! Awesome!

Oh, on a funny note one of our Investigators is a Chinese Doctor. What I mean by that is that he not a normal doctor. He does the Chinese medicine stuff. It’s called (Zhong-Yao). He does the Acupuncture and all that weird stuff. People pay him a good amount of money to do it too. Personally I think it’s all a load of junk. Some of the treatments are so weird. They stick needles in their head to help them sleep better. Ya I would pass out too if someone stuck a bunch of needles in my head. Well ...He drinks his own urine. Yes, drinks his own pee! ...everyday. He is convinced it’s good for you. But he told us this when we were teaching him the word of wisdom. It was so funny!

Well my companion is going home in three weeks. He does not talk much or ever about it. For me, if I was going home in three weeks it would be a little difficult to not think about it. But he is not really going back to much. For those who don't know...He is from south Taiwan 27 yrs old and went on a mission after being a member for only a year. He is going back to a lot of debt because he bought his family a house when he had money. Then invested the money and now it’s all gone. He has sacrificed more than any other person I have met in my whole life. Lately I have been messing with him about finding a wife. President told him in an interview to find a wife as soon as possible. So I have been teasing him and pointing out old women for him... HA ha. He hates it. It’s funny because the President's wife even mentioned someone for him to come back and date. Some girl from Taipei that just got back from Temple Square serving a mission. I had fun with that one too!

Oh Mom, I almost got killed. I was riding my bike "reasonably fast" trying to make it through a green light. With a bus on my left not realizing the bus had a blinker sign to turn right at the light. I will just leave it at....I was fairly lucky! Don't worry I'll make it off the Island alive.

The scripture for this week is Mosiah 13:1-7. It’s about the Prophet Abinadi. I read this in my personal study a couple days ago. It’s awesome!

Love you all.
Love Peace and Chicken Grease!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Letter # 26

Hey Family, 你好 魏家庭 大家, (Hello Wei Family, Everyone)

Yes the Chinese name for Weinberger is "WEI" it is pronounced like the restaurant (PEI WEI), or (by the "WAY") I am pretty sure I am the only person with the last name Weinberger to go to Taiwan or have a Chinese name for that matter. So I hereby forever pronounced
("WEI" 魏) to be the Chinese name of all Weinbergers, everywhere. I put the character for the name in the last sentence. That's how I have to write my name.

Well first I want to say. Conference was AWESOME! It was really refining. It taught a lot of basic principles in the Church such as Love and the most basic doctrine of God being a loving heavenly father. I think sometimes as members we almost forget the small simple doctrines like that sometimes. But when properly learned brings about great change. For me, I always new that love was a good thing. Everyone knows that. But it wasn't until about a few months ago when I started to really understand what true love meant. It was through the scriptures and something a member said when we were in a meeting to spark my interest to think what love really was. What it really meant to love those around you. Obviously coming from the love of Jesus Christ. Then confirmed by President Uchtdorf I realized what I had learned prior about love was in fact true. Such a basic doctrine. Probably the most basic. Was the one that changed me the most. This conference made me reflect on my kindness towards others, and how that I might better learn to love. My favorite talk without a doubt was Elder Holland's. My mouth was pretty much dropped the whole time he was speaking. It was Amazing. I don't know how anyone could openly listen to that talk and not be convinced of the truth of what he was saying.
Personally I don't feel like my testimony of the Book of Mormon has ever been that strong. But that talk strengthened it so much! I think that everyone should get online to watch the talk called "Safety for the Soul" again. Maybe it might be a little different as a missionary but I was completely blown away.

Well miracle story from this week is from a new investigator that we have. Well long story short he is a 40 year old guy who is divorced and doesn't have any relationship with his two kids. A long time ago he was almost baptized into another christian church. His name is Brother Woo. So anyway the first time we met with him was at his store and it wasn't really a special feeling type of lesson or anything. But the second time, a few days later. He came to the church and we had a great lesson. We taught about the holy ghost and the blessings of baptism. He said that the things we were saying to him made sense. He told us that the thing that makes sense to him is making an agreement with god. We gave him a baptismal goal right then and he accepted. After we asked him to kneel with us in prayer and asked if he would give the prayer for us. As we started we all bowed our heads and were waiting for him to say a prayer, But he didn't say anything. My companion and I just looked up at each other wondering what we should do. But he just kept with his head down praying. After a few minutes he lifted his head up and tears filled his eyes. He picked up the Book of Mormon and was just looking at it with tears still running sown his cheeks. It was obvious that there is pain from his past. But it was a miracle and an awesome experience. He is reading and praying everyday. Also yesterday started on his route to quite smoking by his baptismal date.

Our area is blowing up. We are so blessed right now. In all honesty I think it is because of my companion. He has sacrificed more than any person I have ever met and it his last transfer. The Lord is blessing him. Right now we have 4 people getting baptized this transfer. That is more than this area has ever seen. My last area in Banqiao, I was there for almost 6 months and saw 2 baptisms. I have only been here in Longtan for 2 months and have seen a baptism and then 4 more coming quickly next month. Its also not normal for the area I am in. In the past this area was one of the least baptizing in the mission. So I am so grateful for the success we are seeing its amazing.

Well I gotta go. Today we are going up to this reservoir in the mountains. It should be awesome. All the missionaries say it is beautiful.

Well the scripture this week is going along with the conference theme, Service and Love. It is Mosiah 2:17. Also the commitment to everyone this week is to pray every day for a chance to help or serve someone who is in need. I am excited to hear what happens.

Okay love you all so much
Wei Zhang Lao

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Letter # 25

Hello my beloved family, everyone!

Well I did it! I made it through my first Taiwanese summer! The gallons of sweat is only half of it. I got one more summer to go. So speaking of the weather. We got really lucky and avoided a huge Typhoon that pretty much destroyed the Philippines. It pretty much just broke off right before it got to us! So the good thing is that the wind didn't get us..... but the rain did! I have been soaked the last couple of days. My companion and I have got the system down now for drying our shoes in front of the fan while we sleep! Other than that it has cooled down a lot!

On a funny note I caught my Chinese companion trying to throw some of the turkey jerky mom sent me in his crazy invented Chinese soup! It was funny I caught him right in the act! I was like What Are You Doing? He just kept saying how good it was going to be!........I tried, it wasn't good. He actually has taught me how to cook this stir fry and stuff! ...Yes mom and dad I am buying, cooking, and eating my own veggies. I know, who would've thought!

Investigators are going great! we have two that are really progressing right now, and are both planning to get baptized on the 31st. One of them is an amazing story. My companion and I were riding our bikes contacting and stuff and we passed by this guy he looked like he might of been in college or something. We both waved at him as we were riding our bikes by him. He just kind of looked at us and didn't give us any mind. As we kept biking. I had a feeling that came to me, it said..... (don't give up that easy!) I gave into that feeling and immediately turned around. As we
started talking to him we found out that he had met with missionary's a year or so ago. He immediately set an appointment with us and has been progressing ever since! It is a miracle. Like I said earlier his Baptismal date is scheduled for the 31st of this month.

Oh ya, transfers came around again and I am still with Elder Woo in Longtan. This is his last transfer of his mission. I have so much respect for him! I have never met anyone that has sacrificed more than him. Although we are complete polar opposites I have learned and progressed more form him than any of my other companions. Sometimes it gets a little boring when we are together so I have to find my own way of having fun with him.
For example:
  • Making him say Jackie Chan lines from movies/Any American slang!
  • Slamming my breaks when I am riding my bike in front him.
  • Turning off all the lights in the apartment and hiding, waiting for him to get up to find the switch and then popping out and scaring him.
  • Wrestling with him, ha ha he hates it and refuses to fight back!
...ha ha he is too nice. But that's about as crazy as it gets with the two of us. He is a really simple guy who likes the simple laid back life. Last week I got some of the best advice of my life. It of course came from my all wisdom Chinese companion. Usually when I am struggling and I need advice I just go to the American elders and ask them questions and advice. But this time it was at night and we were home, and I was just feeling down. I told my companion that I was struggling and worried that I was not becoming the person and missionary I am supposed to be. He told me something that I will never forget. "Before a pretty butterfly becomes itself, Its just a little worm in a cocoon, The worm has to work its hardest to get its way out, that's not easy work. But eventually he gets out and sees what he has become". Now everyone imagine a Chinese person saying that to you in as many English words as he could use! It was such a basic principle of life and especially the gospel and It was given to me in a way that made sense. It was an awesome experience.

Well I gotta go. but the scripture this week is Moroni 8:26.

Everyone really ponder this scripture. What the gift of the holy ghost means, and how do we keep it with us. This scripture really touched me this week.

Okay I love you all! thanks for the family letters I will get back to all of you!
You're in my prayers
Wei Zhang Lao

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Letter # 24

I have not been transferred. I am still with Elder Woo and we are still in Longtan. This is his last transfer of his mission.

Today we are going up to Taipei. I am visiting my old area of Banqiao and visiting my old companions and some friends. We are going to my favorite restaurant where it is unlimited food, steak and other stuff. You cook it all yourself (I will be sending pictures next week). This place is only 9 American dollars a person for unlimited food. This food is really pricey too! If this was in America it would at least be $25-30 a person. So all the missionaries love it!

The baptism went well. I got to baptize him. Other then that there isn't anything crazy new this week.

Paul, I loved your letters. I was laughing so hard! I have the best family in the world!
Wei Zhang Lao

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letter # 23

(Hey everyone, its Elder Wei)

Things went pretty well this week. We have contacted into a lot of great potential investigators. So we have a lot of hopes for the next couple weeks. Brother Shi is getting baptized on Friday. He asked me to baptize him. That will be cool. I am excited about that. We are still working pretty hard with the member work. The members here are seriously awesome. Surprisingly I think I like the ward better here then in my last area. The picture I sent is of this 12 year old kid that is in my English class. I have gotten to be good friends with him. He loves hanging out with us because he so set on going on a mission.

Well this week My companion made me my favorite food in Taiwan for lunch. IT was AMAZING! Its this curry rice plate! and then this drink that they make over here! Its called dong gua! I guess the only way I can describe it... its kinda complicated. Its like those buttered popcorn jelly belly's flavor and carmel made into a drink. Ya terrible description I know But all the American missionaries over here love it! So I got some pictures from the Family..... Noelle I am so mad at you! Sending me a picture of a perfectly assembled American burger! It made my rice for lunch taste even worse.

Well not a bunch of crazy new news for this week. Just a pretty normal missionary week. I have been thinking about what I want to say in this letter and I feel that I should let the family know that in all these letters I feel like I have left a false impression about me and how the missionary work actually is. What I mean is that I feel like by my letters it seems that life over here is just great and things are going really smoothly. Anyone who has served a mission knows that it is rarely a time when things are going exactly how you want them. I will admit that things have been hard lately ...really hard. The thoughts of self doubt, personal trials, thoughts of a lack of testimony, and constant rejection eventually take their toll.

So this week the scripture I chose was Ether 3. It is based purely on Faith. I know that everyone has their own personal trials every single day. I promise that if you read this scripture and try to apply it to yourself you can see where you all can show faith to overcome our trials.

I love you all. Thank you for all the prayers I can feel their help. My companion said something that really touched me. He told me that I was so blessed to be born in the family that I have. He said "Your family prays for you a lot" This is coming from someone that doesn't have very much. I started to cry a little bit and realized how blessed I really was!

I love you all so much thank you for everything.
Wei Zhang Lao

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Letter # 22

Translation: (My beloved family, Hello everyone)

I know that Last week I did not give much information to everyone, and I am sure there are some people that might wonder what it is exactly like out here. So I thought of a good idea. I want everyone to email me the questions that you might have about Taiwan. The food, the People, anything. Next email I will do my best to answer everyone's questions.

Things are still going great in Longtan. We have been really praying for a family. So we have really big hopes for that. It was a lot easier to find people in my last area so it has kind of been a challenge there. For example yesterday we didn't have any lessons so we were out looking all day. For the most part we were out in the country stopping by farm homes and stuff. Basically the only people home were old Chinese grandmas. Most of them don't even speak Mandarin. They speak this Taiwanese dialect which is like Alien talk I swear. But luckily I have a Native companion who speaks it. He has actually been teaching me some of it which has been cool. The people love it out here if an American can speak the Taiwanese dialect. I just have to say one thing in Taiwanese and It will get people to stop and talk to us without fail every time. There blown away "whoa you speak Taiwanese" Then I have to tell them no Mandarin is hard enough. Most of the time I can get a few laughs but then they loose interest quickly.

Oh ya I don't think I told anyone what I did for my birthday here. Well basically nothing. Honestly It was a normal missionary day. It didn't feel like my birthday at all. I wouldn't of known any different, but I kept reminding myself. I bought a cake and ate it with the district of missionaries I was with, and some members gave me a couple gifts. Ya I'm not a teenager anymore. I know everyone is thinking how did I survive until 20? But I did ...barely.

Well we have an investigator who is getting baptized in a few weeks. He is a miracle story. He met missionaries 30 years ago. Some of his family actually joined the church. But he decided about a month ago that he was going to accept the gospel. He came to church on his own and basically self contacted us. Really humble guy and wants to change and learn as much as he can. We love him.

As far as the weather here... NO RAIN! it is blowing my mind. It hasn't rained since I got to my new area. Its so weird. But its been nice not being soaking wet all the time. We eat inside most days which is a change from where I was before. But it saves money. My companion cooks some mean noodles. If anyone is still wondering. Yes I eat Rice, Noodles and Postickers about every day...and Yes it gets old. I cant tell you the amount of money that I would pay for a Cafe Rio Burrito.

Well other than all that, All is well. We are doing things right and we are seeing a lot blessing with us personally. This week I have learned so much about sacrifice. Especially from my companion. He doesn't know that I know this but another elder told me that my companion is in debt thousands of dollars. He is from south Taiwan and he comes from a poor family. Basically he bought his family a place to live and now he literally has like no money. He was a convert for 1 year until he decided that he needed to go serve. His family was really against it but he went anyway. He literally has sacrificed everything. We are completely different from each other but I have an unbelievable amount of respect for him. I think I know why the Lord put me with him. This last week I have been really trying to follow his example and learn to sacrifice, and have seen the blessings already from it.

This week the scripture is Mathew 10:39. I really want everyone to read it and ponder what Christ is telling us. "Those who loose their lives for my sake will find it"

Love you all. Write me and let me know how you all are doing.
Wei Zhang Lao

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letter # 21 ...First Pics of Longtan!

Hey Family,
Okay well there is a lot of big changes for me this last week so I will do my best to share them all. I was transferred to the "town" of Longtan. (has over 100,000 people but here that's a town) Its so cool to get a glimpse of the countryside. It's beautiful out here. I'm glad to be out of the city. I can actually breathe! So I found out that Longtan was voted one of the best places to live in the country so that's nice to know.

The people are more humble out here it seems. There is also a huge population of the original ethnic group from Taiwan. In English we just call them aborigines but here they are called yen ju min. They are a super humble people and they speak this crazy dialect but they are most of the time really willing to talk to us.

Well as far as the work goes. We saw so many miracles this last week. The week before I got here there was only 1 investigator at church. But my companion and I worked our tails off on the streets trying to talk to everyone. This last week we had 7 investigators at church. It was amazing. A couple of people came to church on their own they wanted to learn about the gospel and the church. One guy had met missionaries 30 years ago and his family is baptized and he decided that he wanted to better his life and learn about the gospel. He now has a baptismal date for next month. We are truly seeing a lot blessings. Most of our investigators are actually moms. Ya, its a little weird teaching girls all the time. In our last area we had sister missionaries.

My companion just turned 28 and we went out to some seafood noodle place for his birthday. INTERESTING..... But the food is pretty good actually. I would have never touched that before my mission ...but things change. Especially when you don't really have a choice at what your going to eat. He is a great Elder ...Super obedient and almost a little too mature. Sometimes a little too serious but he has softened up a little bit. Its fun to make him say things in English. He sounds exactly like Jackie Chan. I make him say lines from movies. It seriously is the funniest thing. Well, other than that things are going well and progressing. It seems that the Lord has placed me in places and situations I am completely not used to so that I can learn. It has all been a real humbling experience.

Okay so the scripture this week is D&C 5:24
I have been trying to read in D&C a lot lately and I love this scripture. It talks about the blessing and gifts of truly humbling yourself before the Lord.

Well love you all...
Wei Zhang Lao.