Monday, March 29, 2010

Letter # 49

Okay Family/Everyone.
We had another good week here in Shipai. Our area is almost stronger than it has ever been since I have been here. This last week we brought six investigators with us to church. We also have six scheduled baptismal dates coming up. This week we set so many appointments up too. My companion is getting better everyday. I think he is getting really excited from the success and it is re-sparking the fire that he had earlier in his mission.

What also helped us this week was a couple of exchanges I went on. As a district leader I get the chance to go on exchanges with the Zone leaders. The Zone Leaders are awesome. You learn so much from older missionaries. This last exchange I was with Elder Day. He is from St. George. He and I have gotten really close, because he has been my Zone leader for 3 Transfers now. Anyway he came into Shipai with me and we saw a lot of miracles. We also set up a couple of Families with appointments. It was sweet.

Also later in the week the Traveling Assistants came into our area. The Traveling Assistants are two missionaries that the President assigns to go around and go on splits with missionaries all around the mission. To me that is the sweetest job you could get. But they were going through our zone and they stopped in our area this last Friday and spent the night with us and then split with my companion and me to go out in our area. So basically you get twice the amount of work done in your area. It was amazing. Luckily I knew both of the traveling assistants and was already good friends with them. We went out and it was a blast. We also saw so many miracles. The feeling of going out with some of the best leaders in the mission for a full day at a time is awesome. It's kinda like that feeling of the little boy waiting to grow up and become a missionary. It was a week filled with so many learning experiences.

A cool miracle happened. About a couple months ago I ran into this Vietnamese lady on the side of the rode and I told her that I wanted to give her a book. So we set a time with her and gave her the Book of Mormon. She said that when she would have time she would read it. I can't really remember but we called her about a week later and she said that she had not had the chance to read it and that she would. We didn't hear from her again until this last week when I ran into her again on the street. We started to talk and she said that she had read a little. After talking to her for a little longer my companion realized that we had a Vietnamese lady in our ward, something that never even popped in my head. So we told her and she got unbelievably excited and was all the sudden really interested in meeting with us. It was really funny. She set a time this next week to meet. I am way excited to see what happens.

All of the investigators are all doing really well. The prayers are helping. Especially with the Gao Family. The last time we met we had a really spiritual lesson with them. We shared with them about Enos and the Faith God wants us to have in order for us to receive an answer. At the end of the lesson Sister Gao looked at us and asked "How Long?" I didn't really know what she meant at first but than she said "How long until I can get my answer?" I told her that If she really wants the answer she will get it. I told her that the Lord knows all of us and what we are willing to do. It really made me so happy because they are both showing a lot of Faith, and I know they have felt it, especially the wife. Ever since we have talked about Eternal families, she has been asking so many questions and really thinking about whether the message is true or not. The Husband is really on board. He does not have any real concerns right now. He believes it and is getting ready for his baptism on the 24th of April.

Today for Preparation day one of our good friends took us to Costco to get food. I went a little crazy there. I felt like I was home in Utah again. But I finally got some real cheese. Yes real cheese and I am so excited to eat it. They have Cheese in the normal grocery stores here but in no way should it be allowed to say cheese on the front of the package. Because it is not cheese! AHHH what you people take for granted in the states. I give you all a Challenge! Eat Chinese Take out for one week straight and tell me how you feel! I dare you.......

Anyway I am so thankful for where I'm at on my mission. Things are going well. Not easy, But it is all worth it. I am really feeling my testimony growing day by day, something I had a problem noticing when I first came on my mission. Its all true and I have made the choice to cast out the doubt and just believe.

This last week in my studies I have been in the War Chapters in Alma. I just want to say that........... Captain Moroni is the MAN! The scripture today is Alma 48:17. (Keep the commandments of God)

Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.

Love you!
Elder Wei

Monday, March 22, 2010

Letter # 48

Wow what a long week. I am exhausted. Every night I hit the pillow I am dead! My companion and I are now having some issues. The last area he was in was A LOT different. I had interviews with President Grimley this last Friday and he told me some reasons why my companion was put with me. Basically my companion is not very happy with me. I think a lot of it is that he is just not used to it yet. Like I said his last area was A LOT different. From what I have heard him and his last companion were a little more relaxed. I'm kind of in a position where I don't really know what to do. I keep trying to be as patient as I can talking to him and figuring out what is bothering him so much, but we never seem to come to a conclusion. I am pretty sure any missionary will tell you that the worst thing is not getting along with one of your companions. It is like the hardest thing in the world to do missionary work when you and your companion are not on the same page. I think all I can do is just try to do my best. I think we just need to have a really long talk about it.

Besides all that things are going great. The Gao family is really doing awesome. For the first time the wife sat down with us and listened to the plan of salvation. The husband has a baptismal date right now. They really liked the part about the Celestial kingdom and families being together forever. It made complete sense to them. I think that was the thing that really turned the wife around and got her thinking about it. They have a son that is about a year and a half old. It's hilarious because his dad has a fairly big head and the son looks exactly the same. I crack up every time I see them together! Please pray for the Gao family.

As far as the other investigators, we are teaching a few people now that are in there 20's and also a 16 year old high school student. They are all doing really well. I don't know if I have told everyone but we have this Swedish friend that my last companion and I met about a month ago. He is like 6 foot 6 and he is hilarious. He opened his own Swedish restaurant right around the corner of our house. I was able to use some of my manipulating skills to work out a good deal with him for Meatballs and Mash potatoes (Ha-ha). Yes ...there are Meatballs and Mash potatoes in Taiwan (Believe it or not). Sorry Mom, but some of the candy you send me is going to compensate for the deal we made. He also gives us some Swedish Candy in return. His name is Sam Whalberg. We ordered a Book of Mormon in Swedish and are still waiting to get it. He is really anti Church and religion so we are trying to take it from a small approach.

I am getting a little skinnier. I eat these special Taiwanese sweet potatoes every morning. They are kinda like yams. But I think its paying off. In other news, Elder Woo (My Last native companion) is getting married in just a couple weeks. I am going to see if I can go to his sealing in Taipei.

Oh, something funny about my companion: We were contacting someone yesterday and the lady we were contacting stops dead sentence and looks at my companion and says "Your Mandarin is weird" "Where are you from?" I started busting out laughing we both thought it was hilarious. Its actually kind of a big joke in our mission. All the Natives when they go home have these accents because they are put with us foreigners and they have to listen to us 24/7 and it starts to wear off. It cracks me up.

This weeks spiritual message is going to be about something I think I talked about a few weeks ago. Its WORK! Something my brother John told me right before I left. It has been something that has not left my mind my entire mission. I believe something the Lord really wanted to teach me on my mission was that of work. I feel as time goes on I am beginning to understand what it truly means to be diligent and what the Lord really expects out of his servants. I have spent this last week evaluating a lot of the things I need to do to become a better missionary. I have realized that it truly is a process. I think back at when I first got to Taiwan and blows my mind thinking of the things I didn't know and understand. It is truly line upon line how we learn. That is Heavenly Fathers way of teaching us. I feel like the true trick to it is the word DILIGENCE. I think that is one of the most crucial things we can learn in this life. We have to learn to be diligent in everything we do. Otherwise there is no progression. and if there is no progression there is no point in this life. For that is the very reason we were sent to earth. that we could continue on in progression and become what god wants us to be.

The Scripture I want to share is Alma 34:32-33.

For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God;
yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to
perform their labors.

And now, as I said unto you before,
as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore,
I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate
the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life,
which is given us to prepare for eternity,
behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life,
then cometh the night of darkness
wherein there can be no labor performed.

I love you all so so so so so so much.
Thank you for everything.
Elder Wei

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Letter # 47

I am so stoked for Steve and Lori. A new Nephew when I get back! I was so excited when I read the email, especially the Chinese Steve put in there. How do you do that anyway? You must have like some translating program or something. But I was stoked cause I could read it.

Anyway, some seriously big things have happened in my mission this last week. But I will start by reporting a little bit on the Investigators and stuff. Well this last Saturday we set 3 new baptismal dates with people, one of them being the Father of that new family. His name is Da Yu Gao. He is set for the 24th of April. He is really progressing and has been to Church the last 3 weeks in a row. He loves the Book of Mormon. He is really smart with history and stuff so the Book of Mormon is even more interesting to him. The other two were the older lady Mei Yu Chen, we reset her date because she wasn't able to make the first, and a new guy we started teaching. He speaks German and prefers to be called Jakkob. I actually don't know his full Chinese name. He is really good and completely willing to read and pray.

We still have lots of other investigators that we are working with. I am so thankful for all the people we are teaching right now. It feels good not having an empty planner wondering what we should do that day! Like John said right before I left. The Secret to missionary work....... is work! I know that if we are willing to put in the work ourselves and do all that we can on our part, the Lord will the make up the rest. This is an eternal principle. We are feeling the blessings from hard work. The more and more my mission goes the more and more I realize how much the Lord expects from me as an individual. When much is given much is required!

Well the real big news this week came in a phone call from the Mission Leaders. Move calls were this weekend and my companion Elder Shumway got moved down to Xin Zhu, which is close to the center of the Island. I was called to stay here and be the District Leader over the Beitou area. It was everything that I thought would not happen! I also found out later that nigh that my new companion was another native and that every single person in the District was native Taiwanese except for me. I am obviously excited but the last few days have been filled with thoughts of doubt and discouragement and feelings of unworthiness. I will honestly say that I am very scared. I think the stress is going to double now. I have been on my knees a lot asking for help these last couple of days. I think that is one of the Lord's ways of telling me that I need to rely on him more. This Transfer is going to be very interesting.

My new companions name is Elder Du. He is from Taichung (center of the Island). His older brother served a mission and like me he is a second generation member. I don't know anything about him but he seems really cool. He has a slightly laid back, but cool attitude.

Well today I really do not have time to tell a lot. We have to go pick up the other missionary in our district right now. So I gotta go. But I love everyone so much and I am so Thankful for my Family.

The scripture this week is Ether 12:27
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Letter # 46

Hello Family!

Things still going great! Loving it more and more as it goes. Well this weeks special shoutout goes to my nephew Adam (Elder Vuinovic) who is leaving for the MTC this week. I am so proud of you my brotha! It's the best thing you will ever do. That I promise. Adam, I will send you a letter to the MTC within these next few weeks.

This week we found new investigators, making it just about as busy as the last week! We set a baptismal goal with a 25 yr old guy named brother Tsai. We are excited about that. The issue we might run into with him is the fact that he comes from a family that is extremely loyal to their current religion. The name of the religion is called Yiguandao. The basis of their belief is that all religions are true, and that it is our job to find which "God" or "Heaven" you would like to end up in. In essence..... if you want to be Buddhist you can continue through reincarnation. But if you believe in Jesus you will end up in Heaven. Anyone hearing this obviously understands there is a bit of a large conflict here, but that is the way their religion was explained to me. It is going to be difficult for the first stages of meeting with him to overcome this barrier. That being said, he did set the baptismal date and told us that if he received an answer to his prayers that he would join the Church. Luckily one of his good friends is a person in the ward right next to us. So that will help a lot.

A few amazing things happened this week. I will start by explaining that in Taiwan there are a lot of part or single member families. For example this one Lady in our ward, she and her children were baptized but her husband was not. They are the Lin Family. Well this last week we got a call from him. Which is a miracle in and of itself. But really long story short he called us a few times within two days and told us that he wanted to meet with us and would like us to come over. We don't understand all the details but basically he called a few members of the ward and told them that he and his wife were dealing with a few things and he wanted to know what he should do. So he called us and told us that he wanted to meet and talk. We went over to his house and he explained to us that he was worried that he was not being the man he thought he should be, especially the Father figure in his house. He told us that he wanted his wife to know that she could completely rely on him. He looked completely broken and contrite. He was becoming or being forced to be humble like the Zoramites in Alma 32. When we got done he said the most amazing prayer and told God that he was willing to follow the direction of the missionaries to come closer to God. He then hugged us. It was the hardest and most heart felt hug I have ever received from a Taiwanese. His name is Lao Zhi Lin. I hope everyone can pray for him and his wife's relationship.

This week I had a very interesting experience in sacrament meeting. It was unlike any other Sacrament meeting I have ever been a part of. I know that I grew up in the Church and I have been taking the sacrament since out of the womb. But this was the first time where I felt like I was understanding just a piece of the importance of partaking the Sacrament. As I was partaking the sacrament the thought occurred to me and I pondered what it meant to "Always remember him". I obviously cannot explain the entire experience and the details of it. But I remember thinking of his suffering on the cross and what that meant for me personally. It was a good self evaluation of my relationship with the savior. It was an amazing reminder to me of why we even go to Church and what it is all for. I know that might sound fairly basic and to most members of the church they might have the thought of "duh"... "of course" ...But it wasn't like that. This was much more deep and clear. I have decided that from now on I will try every Sunday to have an experience like that, and always "Remember Him".

The Scripture this week is 3 Nephi 18:7-15
I love you all so much! Talk to you next week!
Elder Wei

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Letter # 45

我非常愛親愛的家庭 (My beloved family which I love so much)

I emailed a couple days late today because today is our Temple Day. So this week preparation day changed to Wednesday. But next week will be regular schedule. First thing I want to say is to give a shout out to my niece Madeline who is AWESOME!!!! Getting into BYU on Scholarship for acting! I am way proud of her. Its crazy to think that next year at this time we will both be going to the same school. WEIRD...... I hope that the plays and Lacrosse games don't have any conflict of schedule! If they do Madeline will just have to tell them that the show has got to wait. HA ...I am really excited about it though.

About this last week, I think exhausted is probably the right word to describe the way I feel. It was the busiest week I have had in this area. We saw so much success too. Including the 2 baptisms last Sunday! That went really well, and the Ward is really happy about it. I feel like the Bishop really trusts us. He sees that we are really working and trying to do our best. So he and his family have been really willing to help.

Well a little about the investigators. The Zhang Family is still really struggling to make the transition from hearing and understanding to the doing and the action of it all. It seems like the husband knows it and feels it. But the wife is holding back so much and is really scared of making commitments. The first time we asked them if they were willing to set a date to be baptized the Husband was completely willing but the wife did not feel comfortable with it. I personally feel that she needs to get into the Book of Mormon. The biggest change that I have seen in Investigators on my mission has always been through the Book of Mormon. That book has so much power. I have seen it change hearts without the person even knowing it.

I don't know if anyone remembers the 18 yr old from Longtan. His name is Ren Bing Zhong. He was the one I met at a stoplight and he was baptized a few months later. He has an amazing story about his testimony of the Book of Mormon. Anyway he got up and bore his testimony in a Sacrament meeting and he told everyone about his testimony of the Book of Mormon. (I am not sure whether I have already told you this story or not). In his testimony he told a story of something that happened to him a week or so prior. He said that one night his friend called him to go out with them and his friends. He said that they invited him to a place that was well we can say "full of temptation". His friends told him that there was going to be all this beer and stuff, and his old girlfriend was going to be there too. Basically for any 18 yr old here or anywhere, the answer would probably be what time? and where? But he went on to say that at first he obviously wanted to go but then he became really troubled with what he should do. He said that he picked up the Book of Mormon and opened it. He said that he came to a scripture in Alma chapter 13 verse 27. It was Alma inviting us to cast off our sins and to not Procrastinate the day of repentance. He immediately called back his friend and told him he couldn't go. He said that his friend started giving a him a hard time about it but he just told his friend sorry and that he couldn't. When he told me this story I was filled with so much joy for him because he really got it. I knew the Holy Ghost had spoken to him.

I testify that something like that DOES NOT happen unless the Book of Mormon was the Word of God. I know its the word of god, and that story has become a great source of my testimony of the divinity of that book.

Well the funny story for this week was last night when we were sitting in a park for a lesson and I looked over and low & behold I saw a bunch of Chinese grandmas line dancing to Brooks and Dunn! I was dying laughing. Mom, you would have lost it for sure.

Well I am kinda out of time right now. But the scripture this week is Alma 13:27.
Everyone..... I love you and I pray for you!
Elder Wei