Monday, September 29, 2014

Baptism!

Hey, how is everyone doing? It sounds like everyone has been having fun. I was so glad that I was able to talk to everyone on the phone on Tuesday.  It was great to hear everyone's voices again. Sorry you had to wait so long in the car, but I guess it worked out cuz it was right during Ian's half time of the soccer game. It sounded like everyone was doing well. I wish that we could've talked longer but we had to end sometime. After I finished calling you, we unpacked and then rode our bikes around to all of our recent converts and investigators. I was really nervous when I was meeting everyone and didn't say a whole lot since I didn't know anyone or even my companion very well lol. We basically had short lessons with different people for the rest of the day and it felt like forever! My bike was too big too so it was not fun to get on and off  it. lol. The next day was a lot better and I borrowed a different bike that actually fit. I still need to get a bike from a member or someone because out of the four Elders in my apartment, we only have three bikes, so sometimes we need someone to sit on the handlebars. haha.

We were teaching this great guy named D... He was a big smoker and had trouble with the law and had a hard family life. We taught him and he was baptized two days ago and then I confirmed him on Sunday! It was so great to see the change in his life. Every time we visit them now, I can feel the love in his home. He has a close friend named J... who lives with him with his two little girls who are 7 and 4. He was inactive and just got out of jail when we visited him with D..., and he's decided to come back to church and bring his girls with him! It's so great that they're all coming back and they are such a loving family with the gospel in their lives. D... really was one of those golden investigators because he basically came straight out and said that he needed to quit smoking before we even taught him the word of wisdom. I was really nervous at first about teaching in English but now I love it. I can really express how I feel. The lessons aren't even like what I taught at the MTC either. We do a little planning, but we basically just apply everything to the listener and teach by the spirit and address their concerns. I love it so much and I'm grateful that I've already seen such a miraculous change in someone's life.
 
  We go to member's houses for dinner basically every night and sometimes we even have two dinners just to make people happy to have us over lol. With two meals I have to force all the food down just to be polite.  One Elder already gained 25 pounds in 6 weeks! I don't think that'll happen to me though, because I try to exercise.  My companion is cool, his name is Elder Carlin and he's been out about 13 months. He's fun and we get along well together. Our other roommates are Elder Firpo and Elder Polegyi (pronounced pology). They're cool too.
 
  Thanks for the story. It was good, and maybe I'll even be able to see the carving when I get to Taiwan. I'm glad that you got the picture of my companion and me. We were meeting a member family and teaching them a quick lesson. That actually was my companion that was going to do interpretive dance, I was going to either play the cello or piano for him lol.
 I'm still not sure how long I'm going to be here, but I'm not really upset to spend some time here. I still want to go to Taiwan, but I'm having a good time here. Teaching the gospel anywhere is a privilege. I'd love to tell you more about my time here so far, but it'll have to wait. I have a lot less time here to email than I did in the MTC so I'll save some for next time. I love you all very much. I'm so glad I could talk with you and I hope you all have a great week!
 
Love,
Andrew
p.s. I took some pics of D... baptism and us golfing earlier today, but I didn't bring my camera to the library with me so it'll have to wait for next time.

 
Elder Stevens and Elder Carlin.  What A Team!
 
 


Monday, September 22, 2014

Last Day At The MTC

  I can't believe that this is my last day at the MTC!! It just seems like yesterday that I got dropped off here and had no idea what was going on when I walked into the classroom the first day. I've certainly learned a lot here, but I don't feel ready to go out into the field. This morning my companion left at 2 30am , Elders Pearce and Rosen left at 3 30am, and Elders Lauti and Gordon left at 4 30am. So I stayed up until around 12am to talk and help them pack and then I got up at 2am to hang out with everyone before they left and then I went back to sleep for an hour after everyone was gone. I'm exhausted right now but it's worth it cuz they were pretty cool guys and I don't really know if and when I'll see them again. So right now I'm companions with Elders Decker and Bergeson who are going to Canada. They're pretty cool too. We had a good group of like 15 to 20 of us who were all speaking Mandarin and we were all pretty close, but now only 5 of us are left so it's a little depressing. Hopefully I'll see a lot of them in Taiwan when (or if) we get our visas. 
  So some bad news...I discovered a few minutes ago that I don't have the 'privilege' of calling any family when I leave the MTC. I was really looking forward to talking with everyone and with Eric too! (Sorry you went through all the trouble of getting special permission to call me for nothing.) I'm pretty disappointed but hopefully the visas will come in soon and I'll be able to call everyone before I leave for Taiwan, because I'm pretty sure that they'll let me call then. (And Eric, hopefully you can get permission to talk with me again). If the visas don't come, I guess I'll just wait for Christmas to call everyone, so I'll be able to eventually, just not as soon as I would've liked.
  Some good news...since I'm going by train to Salt Lake, I don't have to make sure all my bags fit under 50 pounds! Everyone that left already had to leave behind a lot of their stuff because they couldn't fit it all under the weight. It's because of all the language stuff they gave us. Someone weighed all our books we received and it's like 22 or 25 pounds or something like that, so you either take that or your clothes haha. So a bunch of them gave me some things to hang on to until we meet up in Taiwan and I can give it to them. I was really underweight before coming here so hopefully when I leave for Taiwan I won't have trouble with fitting everything under the required weight. 
  I did eventually get to see a general authority. Last Tuesday, Elder Richard G. Scott came in and spoke with us. It was nice to finally get to hear an apostle speak. He gave a really nice talk. It was a really short one though so I was a little sad that I didn't get to hear him speak for longer. If I get to go to General Conference though, I'll get to hear plenty of talks from general authorities. 
  Sounds like everyone back home is doing well and having a fun time. That would be fun to go camping and cook some good food there. It makes me hungry just thinking of that. I'm excited to get some real food once I leave the MTC. Eric was saying that missionaries in Salt Lake have eating appointments like twice a day, so I'll be getting plenty of good food lol. Apparently most of the time, the missionaries just get tons of referrals from the members to teach their friends so I won't have to do a whole lot of street contacting. That will make things a lot easier. Is it starting to get colder? It's getting a little colder here so I may have to buy a coat if I'm going to be staying in Utah for a while. 
  Well I hope everyone has a good week, and that I'll be able to survive the first week out in the field. I'll let you know my new address as soon as I can. It's too bad I won't be able to call because I was looking forward to it but I guess it's alright. I know I'll have a great time in Utah and make the best of things as they are. I love you all very much.
Love,
Andrew
 
 
Two Mandarin Districts
 
 
Our Beloved Teachers!



 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

My New Call Is To...

Dear Family,
Well I found out where I'm going to be serving for the next 6 weeks. Anyone want to make some last minute guesses? Everyone brace themselves, I'm going to...............Salt Lake City, Utah! I was so right! I was almost 100% sure that I'd go there and I was right. Everyone says that Salt Lake is so cool so maybe there's something to it. I'm going to be leaving on Tuesday by train and I'll be taking a 40 minute ride. The only downside is that since I won't be waiting for a layover, I'm not sure if I'll be able to call or not....I'll work it out and see. If I am able to call, it'll prob be around 6 or so my time, maybe later. I'm in the Utah, Salt Lake City Mission, do you know anyone that I should see in that mission? Oh, I'll be in Salt Lake during general conference so maybe I'll be able to attend a session there. That would make it a little better lol. Well, I'll keep you updated on everything that's happening.
Andrew
New Update:
Ya, hopefully I'll be able to go to the general conference. I'm not sure though. It's in my mission and I'm pretty sure that the Salt Lake Temple is in my district too so maybe I could go there too. Everyone got sent all over the place. My companion is going to southern California...he's soo lucky! We have some people going to Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and maybe some other places. I'm the only one in my zone going to Utah though lol, of course I would. Everyone's family lives in the mission I'm going to, so they all want me to visit their family and friends lol. That would be a good way to set up appointments lol. Everyone else is going to be able to call, but they're all flying so they'll have time during layovers and such. I think that I'm the only one not flying so I may be different and have to wait...Idk who I need to talk to but I really want to try to call. Hopefully I'll be able to call Eric too. I hope that we can all meet up and fly to Taiwan together but again, I have noooo idea lol. That would be really cool. Oh, and the group before us didn't get their visas either so they're already in their respective states for the temporary call. I really hope that I meet some Chinese people in Salt Lake City even though I don't know how well I'd be able to talk to them. I really want to though. My teacher might give me the names and numbers of some of her chinese friends who live where I'm going so maybe I could teach them. Anyway, some big changes are coming up.
Love, Andrew
 
Salt Lake City Temple

Monday, September 15, 2014

Visa Still In Limbo...Where Will I Go?

  How is everyone doing back home? It sounds like everyone is keeping busy. Good work Ian on improving your race time and for scoring another goal. This season is starting out very well for you and for your team. And you got a hunting license too, that's pretty cool. Maybe you'll be even better than me at shooting when I get back. Actually that probably won't be too hard cuz I wasn't all that good. I never would've thought that everyone would've obtained a hunting license haha. All of Alexa's suitors are going to have to be careful because everyone in the family can handle a gun. I hope that Dad has been polishing up his guns in front of all of them.
  Keep up the good work in school Ian and nice job on earning your life scout award. I remember when I had mine and it was easy to just sit back and not worry about getting the Eagle right away but just push through and get it before I come back.  Another elder in my district plays the cello and he is going to perform some time this week. When he was practicing his song, I got to play the cello for a bit. Too bad I couldn't remember many of the songs that I played but it was still cool to play for a bit. Keep up with cross country.  
  Only one week left at the MTC! But who's counting right? lol. I am really excited to go out to the field next week but I'm also a little nervous. I'm almost 100% sure that we are going to be temporarily assigned for a transfer or two.  We will receive our new calls probably thurs. or fri. of this week. It's kind of cool that we get a whole new mission call. Hopefully I'll be called somewhere warm because if I get sent somewhere any colder than it is now, I won't have any warm clothes to wear.  I packed for 90 degree weather year round, not for snow. One of the elders in my district got an email from a mission president from Pittsburgh so I'm assuming that's where he's probably going to go. 
  We have our third skype lesson tonight. I always dread them until I'm actually talking to the person and then I love them. So I'm not looking forward to it right now, but I'm not too worried. The previous two have gone really well. Our last guy we talked to was a 20 year old in the taichung area who is a recent convert to the church. He is learning a little English and his english was prob. about as good as our Chinese, so we had some good conversation. He was really cool so hopefully I'll meet him.     
  That's cool that Brealyn is going to Brazil too. They'll all be able to speak to each other when they come back. Hopefully she won't have any visa troubles. I prob. shouldn't be complaining about my problems cuz taiwan has never really had visa problems before and they should hopefully clear up soon.

  I'm excited to be able to call everyone soon! I'm pretty sure I'll be able to call you the day I leave but as of yet I don't know when that will be. It might be before next monday or a week or two afterwards...who knows. Hopefully I'll be able to set up a time with you for when to call. I still remember when Eric called us when he was about ready to leave for Japan. I doesn't seem like nearly that long ago. Well unfortunately a general authority didn't speak last tuesday. Literally everyone in the MTC thought that we'd have one so they were lining up several hours early to get in, and I was so pumped to be up on the stand but it wasn't meant to be. I'm pretty sure that one is coming this Tuesday because they're broadcasting this devotional to all the MTCs throughout the world so that's a pretty good sign. Who knows though cuz I was wrong last time haha. Well, I'd better go now. I'll try to take some more pictures today to email later on. Have a great week everyone! Love you lots.       
Love,
Andrew
 
  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Visa Problems, Chinese Movie, and Up Close At the Next Devotional

  Hey everyone! I can't believe that I've been here for 7 weeks now! I'm excited to get out into the field but I don't think that I'm ready. I may not be able to leave yet though. Taiwan changed their visa process and the travel agents here still tried to send in the old applications but they were rejected. The group in front of us was supposed to leave last Friday but they're going to have to stay for another two weeks or so, and then I think they're going to a mission in the US for their first transfer while they sort out the visa problem. I have no idea what is going to happen to us but what everyone keeps saying is that we'll probably do the same. I don't know what to believe cuz no one seems to know for sure what's going on here, not even the travel agents here haha. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens. Suprises are always fun!  I'm really excited to get to Taiwan so I don't want to go somewhere in the US before going to Taiwan. I guess I don't really have a choice in the matter and I'll still be able to help people no matter which mission I go to, so it isn't that big of a deal. If I do get sent to the US, I hope I go to a Mandarin area so I can keep working on my Chinese.  If I did go to an English place first that would be cool because I'd get 6 sets of name tags and have served in two different missions. That would be kinda cool but I'm still hoping that I can just go to Taiwan. A lot of people I've talked to that went to Taichung on their mission said that they loved it so much and it's so beautiful there.  So I'm super pumped. 
  We watched a movie in Mandarin last night and I was happy to discover that I understood a lot of what was going on. They had subtitles the whole time and without those I would've been lost, but when I followed along with the subtitles I was able to recognize a lot of what was being said. The only problem is that they just speak so fast. I'll still be trying to figure out what was said before and then I'd miss what they went on to say. It was still pretty cool though.
  Well my first skyping lesson with someone in Taiwan went pretty well. There was a lot of lag so it was difficult to communicate well but we were still able to teach a good 30 minute or so lesson. He was from a city in the Taichung area so we may even see him while we're there. Maybe he was just speaking slowly for us but i was able to pick out a lot of what he said. I need to really improve my vocabulary cuz i feel like i miss vital points in what he said, but I could pick out the general idea. I was expecting him to have a really heavy accent but it wasn't bad at all. We have another lesson tonight and I completely forgot about it so we need to get a lesson plan asap. 
  I'm glad to hear that school is going well for Alexa and Ian so far. I hope you have a lot of friends in your classes with you, and hopefully you like all of your teachers. It's a good thing Alexa likes her chemistry teacher. Hopefully you can maintain that attitude throughout the year. Good work at the cross country meets. I'm glad that both of you are enjoying it. 
  I decided that I probably won't get any of the vaccinations. They haven't mentioned anything to me at all about needing them so I probably won't even worry about it.
  Oh some exciting news...at our last devotional the speaker hinted that if ever an Apostle came to speak to us that we needed to be really respectful and stuff like that. I'm pretty sure that on Tuesday an Apostle is going to come speak at the devotional! Finally! What makes this even better though, is my companion is giving the opening prayer so both of us will be sitting up in the stand with whoever is speaking! So if an Apostle does come tomorrow, I'll be pretty pumped. I think that'll be worth the wait lol. 
  Well I think that's all for now. Thanks for all the emails. I hope everyone has a great week. Love you lots.
Love, Andrew

 
Taipai, Taiwan Temple


 Tie Contest (Mine Is A Pretty Sweet Tie)
 

 
 


 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week Six!!

  Hey everyone, I hope that everyone has had a great week. It sounds like things are picking back up with school and sports. I'm glad that everyone likes their teachers. I'm sorry to hear that Alexa didn't get the same chemistry teacher as me cuz she was really good. Good luck Alexa. I know that you're a hard worker and do well in school so if you just continue to work hard I know that you'll be able to make it through.
   I'm happy to hear that Ian scored the season's first goal to win the first soccer game. I wish I could have gone to watch you play. i always enjoyed watching you play and playing with you as well. We've had a lot a good soccer game here and in our last game I scored a pretty sweet side bicycle kick! It looked like something out of FIFA lol. You would've been proud of me Ian haha. We've played a lot of good bball here as well so that's always an enjoyable part of the day. I haven't done a whole lot of weight lifting for which I'm a little disappointed, but once I get out to the field, I probably wont be able to play a lot of soccer or bball so I'm playing as much as I can here. 
   I did get all three packages this week. The one from Dad and Mom, Gpa and Gma Stevens, and Gma Kaldahl. Thanks so much for all of them. The food all still tastes good and I send the compliments of my district to all of you. 
  I'm sorry to hear that Alexa isn't feeling very well. You might have had something similar to me cuz I had a bad cough that wouldn't go away for a looong time. I know it's very distracting from your school and sports and everything so I hope you get better soon. Yesterday my eyes finally felt better and I was able to comfortably wear contacts for the first time in like 3 or 4 weeks since getting pink eye. I hope that you get better a lot more quickly than that!
  I'm glad to hear that Dallin made it safely to Argentina. He told me what his email was but I forgot it. Can you tell me what it is?
  I still haven't received my visa yet and we won't until like a day or so before we leave for the field. It may not even come then. The group before us hasn't received their visas yet so they have to stay here an extra week at least. I hope that our visas come in on time but you never know. I still haven't done anything with my immunization sheet yet. They haven't even asked for it. The other shots that I could get are optional. Do you think that I should get them or do you think I'll be fine without them? I don't really care either way, but it would save a lot of money not to get them. 
  I'm excited to talk to everyone too when I leave for Taiwan. I still remember talking with Eric before he left for Japan. Now I'm going to be on the other side of the conversation so that will be a little weird. I wonder if I'll be able to call Eric too. Since he's a zone leader, he probably has a phone that I could call but idk if they'll let me do that. What do you think? 
  I'm sorry that all of my emails are so boring as of yet but there really hasn't been anything exciting that has gone on here so far except for all the studying. We haven't even had a general authority come speak with us yet and one hasn't come to the mtc in like at least 3 months or so. Hopefully we'll get one soon cuz Eric had two Apostles come speak during his stay and I haven't had any! We'll having our first Skype lesson tonight with someone from Taiwan! I'm actually a little nervous because I don't think they'll speak any English and we have to teach them for a solid 40 minutes! I guess it's good practice to speak with native speakers but I can hardly understand when my teacher talks to me in Chinese, so it's going to be extra hard talking with natives who'll probably have an accent. I better get used to it though cuz that's what it'll be like for the next 2 years. 
  Well that's pretty much everything i have. I'll try to take some pictures today so I can send them sometime later on in the day. I love you all. 
Love,
Andrew

 
The Two Center Elders Are Going To Canada

 
I Struck It Rich This Week!  Thanks Family