Monday, January 25, 2010

Letter # 40

Hey Family!

Well another good week but had some irritating parts none the less. Mel the 18 year old investigator was not able to make it to church. He didn't wake up to his alarm. We are probably going to have to change his baptismal date. But he is progressing.

That young couple that we are teaching are doing great. The husband came to church this Sunday and really like it. He was listening so intently to everyone talking trying to get the most out of it. We meet with them again tomorrow night.

We also set a new baptismal goal with an older women this last week. She has pretty much investigated every religion on the face of this Earth. Teaching her is no easy task! We have really been pushing the importance of the Restoration with her. Her name is Mei yu Chen. The last lesson we had with her we printed off a talk from the November Ensign, the Conference edition. The talk is called Joseph Smith, Prophet of the Restoration by Elder Tad R. Callister. We read it along with her and it really put things into perspective for her. For me as well. It helped me realize very crucial doctrines that we as members of the Church might sometimes take for granted. For example, the type of being that God really is, what relationship he has with his son Jesus Christ, where we come from, why we are here, and where we are going. In essence... The Plan of Salvation. Without this, imagine what our lives would or could possibly be like without these useful doctrines. What comes to my head is LOST! we would be lost, and would be relying on other means to satisfy the great questions of the human soul. I cannot express how thankful I am to know this doctrine and its divinity that comes with it. What a blessing we have.

In the same lesson I was able to share the story of my older brother whom I have never met. Michael. He passed away as a toddler. To those who are not familiar with the Plan of Salvation I can't begin to imagine the grief that would cause any parents. I expressed to this investigator the blessing of knowing that through the book of Mormon a lost and crucial doctrine was restored. In Moroni 8 it talks of little Children being alive in Christ. It speaks of their innocence. With this we know that those children are not lost but in fact have already received their salvation automatically and are living in the presence of God. What a blessing we have for knowing this. I was called to share a quick message with the ward on Sunday at Sacrament meeting and shared the same story. I was touched with what I was taught spiritually. It was a great experience to realize the big picture of the Restoration and what comes along with it.

Good story from this weekend. The Elders in the area right next to us had a baptism. We came to the baptism. But right before the baptism we were getting ready and making some calls and stuff, when the other elders busted in the room and told us that we had a serious situation on our hands. I got a little scared and jumped up from the desk wondering what was going on. I thought something really bad had happened. But the Elders led me into this room, and there was this huge spider! Like Huge! Soon enough all these kids from the ward found us in this room chasing this spider around. I elected to kill it! I don't think spiders should be allowed to be on this earth! But the other Elders wanted to catch it. So they gave me this plastic container and I cornered him in and got him. We ended up just letting him go outside. Which I am still furious about. But it was way funny.

This week I also had the chance to go on exchanges with an Elder that I served with in my last area. He actually played lacrosse at UVU the same time I was at the Y. We played each other twice that year. I still keep up the smack talk with him now though. Like pretending like I don't know what the name of his school is called or asking him if he remembers the scores of the games when we played. (ha ha ...brings me back to high school) I have been in his district twice and he is an Elder that I really look up to because of his pure humility. He is seriously the nicest person and never shows an ounce of pride towards anything. He serves hard, loves these people and always speaks with love in his voice. I have never heard him say one bad thing about anyone or anything. This week I realized I needed to become more like that. I was really thankful for that exchange.

Well the scripture for this week is the talk I mentioned. Its on Its really powerful I hope everyone has the chance to read it.

Okay love you all so so so much.
Wei Zhang lao

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Letter # 39

Family, Family.

Well things still going fantastic. We set up two more baptismal dates last night and we are really excited about it. We also found a FAMILY this last week. They are the Zhang Family. They are a younger couple with a one year old son. We met them outside contacting. He said that he wanted to know how to raise his son the right way. Prepared?... ya. Our first lesson with them was just a couple days ago. We had it at the home of one of the members of the Bishopric, and it all went great. They set up another time to meet with us next week and we are really looking forward to that. Pray for them please.

One of the people we set a baptismal goal with last night is this 17 year old kid in High school. His situation is very interesting. He is a Christian, had met with missionaries before and has also been to church. We met him outside a couple weeks ago. Anyway this kid is so unbelievably smart. He is the top of his class in High School. Here that is big! The students here work really hard on the books. Most are incredible students. But he just retains everything we teach him its crazy. He understood the great Apostasy before we taught it. He is very interested in truth. He believes in Jesus Christ but like a lot of people confused about which Church to go to. Last night we met with him for the second time. When we first sat down with him I asked him if he had prayed about Joseph Smith. I was surprised when he told us that he had.

He then right away told us that he believed it. I of course asked him why? He went on to tell us that the night he prayed about it he had a dream about Joseph Smith and him translating the plates of the Book of Mormon. He said that when he woke up he had a happy feeling. He said this and I kind of sat there like "really"? I then didn't even know what to say. We had a whole lesson planned to teach him. But after he said that the lesson almost had no relevancy for him at all. We then talked a little about what this kind of answer means for his life. Lastly I asked him if he continues on this path and continues to feel the truth from it, Would he be willing to be baptized. He said of course. We set the date for the 13th of March. It really was an amazing miracle but we will see how it plays out.

The ward is also getting really excited with the progress of missionary work in the ward. They are supporting us completely right now. That is such a blessing to have the ward completely behind you in Missionary work. Our Relief society is amazing. The president and her counselors take down the numbers of all the female investigators we have and are constantly staying in contact with them and making good friends with them. That is so crucial for an investigator, and its been a blessing for us lately.

For me personally this last week I have been thinking a lot about developing a pure testimony. One with a root and foundation like the Savior talks about in the parable of the Sower, Gospel of Mark. I have been thinking and evaluating my own testimony lately, and it has been just another one of those humbling experiences that let you know that you've got a long way to go.

The Scripture for this week is Mark Chapter 4.
I hope everyone gets a chance to read it.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010

Letter # 38

ELLO! Everyone.

Our area is on fire right now! I'm loving it! It was a miracle filled week this week! Well I guess I can start on a funny note! There is old grandma that lives in the apartment across the street from us. We come in and leave the house every morning and night, she is sitting in her front room. So I like to joke around with her a little bit.. he he! So in Taiwan all the older people speak this dialect of Chinese. It's called Taiyu or Taiwanese. Basically when any foreigner speaks it they think its like the craziest thing. But I will always joke around with her in this language. Like tell her, her hair is pretty or something. She thinks its the funniest thing. This old lady is like 150 years old or something I swear. But one night as we were walking in the door I starting joking around with her again, and she started getting a little frustrated with me. But the next morning as we woke up we saw an ambulance picking her up in the morning. I kept thinking "Did I kill her?" I was worried that my joking to a toll on the ancient person. But just to make sure we went and asked the family and they told us she would be back in a couple days. When we saw her the next time we asked her what happened. She screamed "IM TOO OLD!" and then she started laughing hysterically with this little cynical laugh! It was Hilarious. Good thing she is back! I learned my lesson!

Well things are really going well in our area! We had 5 investigators come with us to church this Sunday and 5 new investigators from this week alone! My companion and I are really trying to do our best right now and we are seeing the blessings from it. Ming long Lee (the 18 year old kid) Came with us to church for the first time and is still working towards his baptismal date on the 30th. I think last week I told everyone that we were teaching a few middle aged women and they are all doing really well as well. One of them, Yi You Chan, has so much faith. She has been reading the Book of Mormon and has been praying non stop for her answer. This is the women that has been to many different Christian churches and is looking for her answer desperately. Please pray for her!

Anyway one of the miracles we saw was unbelievable, really! I think it should be in the Ensign or something. So two Sundays ago we met with this guy! His English name is Jeff. He is this 26 year old single guy. But it was someone that we had met on the street and said we could come visit him sometime at his house but he didn't want to hear anything about the gospel! I think that's the first rule if you don't want to hear anything about church. Don't invite the Mormon missionaries over to your home! We of course had a lesson with him. The lesson was one of the best lessons I have ever been a part of on my mission. It really was incredible. We taught him about the Restoration, and I know he felt it. But after we were done he said that he couldn't set up another time with us. I was really blown away. He said that he might come to church. But anyway two days after that we ran into him on the street and he kinda just walked by us not really saying anything. Two days after that we ran into him again on the street, and tried to set a time with him. He still said he couldn't do it. Then the next day on our way home lone behold there he was again walking right to us. This time was special Because I looked at him and said, Jeff you have ran into us three times in one week after we have met with you and you have only run into missionaries once before in your life. I asked him jokingly if he wanted any more signs from God? He said okay guys, If I run into you a 4th time I will meet with you. Ha ha ha I wasn't too worried about it, I know this is God's work. Last night on our way to a lesson I saw him walking right towards us. I got my companions attention and said "look who it is" My companion and I were just like "Jeff, get over here!" He came over to us laughing and put his hands up and said alright you got it. When can you guys meet? So we are meeting with him to tonight!

Yes the Lord does prepare people and that does not just happen! I was so happy last night, my companion and I were just cracking up about the whole situation. Another miracle also happened. But it was with myself. Last week I went on an exchange with a Native elder. Elder Huang. He is an 18 year old kid that has only been a member for three years and probably comes from one of the most humble backgrounds. He told me his family has no money and completely opposed him joining the Church let alone going on a mission. He told me one of his conversion and story. He told me that one time when he was an investigator he was reading the book of Mormon and then knelt down to pray about it. He said that he just started crying and he didn't know why. He said that he was just filled with joy and peace. A feeling that he had never had before. When he told me this story I felt so happy for him. I know its true! My testimony grew so much from just hearing one persons testimony.

The Taiwanese members are amazing. They sacrifice so much for this. They convert to something so different and so opposite from anything of the Chinese tradition. It leaves me completely amazed thinking about it. The Church is true.

The scripture for this Week is Helaman 5:30. ( I have felt this!) Okay gotta go have a good week everyone.

Love you
Elder Wei

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Letter # 37 - New Years!

Translation- Happy New year! My beloved family!

Well New years for me in Taiwan as a missionary is not really what you call an average New years! But rewarding none the less! Being in Taipei has been a huge reward but was just crazy during new years. The subway station is just unbelievably packed! Everyone going into the main city to see the fireworks. Pure Mayhem! But from what I heard the Chinese new year (the lunar calendar one) Is just complete chaos! Basically the whole country just shuts down and everyone just parties and eats food for 5 days! It's still a few weeks away but people are already talking about setting us up for appointments to eat at a members homes every meal, everyday of the celebration. A lot of the older elders have told me that missionary work almost dies during that week because none of the investigators are able to meet with you and everyone is just inside eating so there is no one to contact outside. I imagine a lot of knocking on doors. I heard this is when us foreigners get to eat the .....real......weird stuff! They bring out these dishes that only get eaten once a year! It should be interesting! ;) Which leads me to my next topic.

"What weird stuff I ate this week"....... We went to this investigators house and she brought out some duck dish that only gets eaten during the winter time. I will leave all the details out of it but I basically I ate some Duck intestine and Duck bladder! ......The texture was the nastiest part! The rest of it was not that bad.

Okay so on to investigators...... AWESOME!!!! the area is going well We had 3 investigators at church with us yesterday and the ward members jumped right on them. Taken them to every class becoming really good friends with them. The members are doing really well. The Relief Society rocks here! But some one in particular is this 18yr old kid named Ming Long Lee. He started meeting with us just a week and a half ago and he has a baptismal date scheduled for the 30th of January! He is progressing really fast. I asked him last time we met with him why he was willing to meet with us and want to get baptized. He was unable to answer. But he told me that he feels like something is leading him to do it. He said he didn't know why but he said that he feels like he will know after its all done! He has a lot of Faith to trust two Americans in white shirts speaking what we think might be Chinese to him, and then actually be willing to commit to what we ask him to do! The Spirit you might ask..........? Ya I think so...

The other investigators. All Christian! One is Catholic, the other Baptist, and the third was studying with the Jehovah's witnesses. All I have to say is I salute all the missionaries that go state side! You guys are awesome! and I thought Buddhism was a task. The Christians here can be very difficult to teach. But I do love it because the some of the strongest members I have met in Taiwan, all went to previous Christian churches! The Lord does prepare his people! in many, many different ways. The opposition is still the same here though! The Christians here know all the so called crazy rumors about "Those Mormons"! and I love the fight! I don't mean in terms of arguing or what you call Bible bashing. I just love preserving what I know is right. I have come to the realization that I will never be ashamed of the message I share...Why? cause its true and its worth fighting for! I do believe that with all my heart! I remember in high school following the crowd was for the most part the fun/cool thing to do! But right now.. I would rather be in the Minority.

This is the "cool thing to do"! I love this Church and this Gospel!

The scripture I want to share this week is Romans 1:16.

Love you all have a great week!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Letter # 36 - The Christmas Call!

Translation( Hello my most loved people in the entire world).
Well that was awesome having the chance to talk to everyone on Christmas. I felt like I was in some dream or something and then as soon as I hung up I got slapped back into reality. Ya ...weird feeling, but I loved talking to everyone none the less. It sounds like everyone is doing amazing! I will admit it was a little hard for two days after I hung up, but I hit my knees, had some tears and picked up and kept going. I think it should be that way anyway! I think if I didn't cry about it that would be the bigger problem! Yes I miss my family with all my heart and I am so thankful for everything (especially allowing me to stay alive through all my demonic years as a child). I'm surprised I wasn't cast out to outer darkness or something. Thank you. I truly love my family and anyone who dealt with me in some form during my dark years! (my own little apostasy).

Well I will talk a little bit about what we did for Christmas. My companion and I had some extra pancake mix...Yes I know pancake mix in Taiwan!.... But we tried to make breakfast as elegant as we could. It didn't really work out but we tried. Then we opened presents talked to the family! We tried the whole caroling thing to find investigators. Like we went and knocked doors and before they could say no we just started singing Christmas carols........ It didn't really work. Caroling in Taiwan I guess doesn't bring the warm fuzzy welcoming like it does in the states. It was kinda funny though. We had a couple lessons one being with a Jehova's Witness. All I am going to say about the lesson is that MY PATIENCE WAS TESTED :) !

For Dinner my companion and I just went out to a restaurant. We spent a lot of time outside 'contacting'. On the way we were able to set up to more people for appointments. One of them being a Family! Then the night ended with us teaching a community english class. It wasn't what you call a "Traditional Christmas". But I liked it knowing that I was doing the absolute right thing! Ya its hard thinking what your family is doing half way around the world but I shouldn't have been anywhere else. My Christmas miracle happened with myself.

But it wasn't until the day after when I got the gift I was looking and praying for. Growing up in the church I hear every Christmas about the Birth of a Savior, a Messiah, One that will come to redeem the World, The Prince of Peace, one that brings tidings of great joy, and so forth. After all my years I NEVER GOT IT! It never occurred to me what that actually meant. ...Until I was sitting at my desk in the morning finishing studies or something and I remember just looking at this little Nativity we have in our house (Thanks Mom for sending that by the way). I was just struck with a feeling of amazement and aah! As I looked at the baby Jesus I got it. I finally realized it! Because of this one birth, the mistakes, griefs, pains, sins, illnesses and sorrows of every soul that has and would forever walk the Earth would be redeemed and paid for by and from this noble birth. That is the gift of Christmas. In no way am I saying that I gained a full understanding of the importance of Jesus Christ's birth. I am saying that I was given a foundation of the eternal perspective of the baby born in a manger. That was my greatest Christmas gift ever given to me.

When I got to my NEW AREA I was told that there was not much going on here. The only investigators were a 13 and 11 year old boy. Basically we spent a week straight outside talking, talking and talking. It was exhausting! But this week we now have 4 new investigators and lots of new lessons with potential family investigators. I am way excited! The hardest task this transfer will be building the ward. The ward has so many inactive members and the Priesthood numbers are not very strong. We are going to do our best. The number one focus I have right now is finding more investigators because from what I have seen in the past, if the Ward sees a lot of new faces always coming to church they all get super anxious and excited about missionary work. I think that will be the spark that gets the ward rolling!

My companion. Elder Shumway! Really hard working, obedient young missionary! Perfect! Humble kid from Idaho falls. He is an amazing example to me. I knew it from the first day I was with him why we were put together (Well at least one of the reasons). I feel like he is going to be a really big key in my spiritual growth. He is really a good kid. I am looking forward to this transfer.

Well the Scripture this week is actually from the Hymn book. "Joy to the World". Homework- everyone go read the lyrics!

Okay love you all!