Monday, March 30, 2015

Taipei Temple, Working Hard, And More...

Hey, how are y'all doing!

 This week was really cool. Last Wednesday we got to go up to Taipei to the Temple! We woke up really early in the morning and biked over to the stake center, about 30 minutes away. It was pretty cool, I got to meet up with my MTC companion Elder Osbourne and another buddy Elder Lauti and rode up with them in the bus up to the Temple. It was cool to get to talk with them again. Unfortunately, it was raining the whole time so we didn't get to take any pictures. Oh well, next time I guess.

  We've been meeting with a lot of the members of the ward to strengthen relationships with them, and there are a lot of wonderful members here. A few nights ago a member took us to a really fancy restaurant and ordered some pig knuckles for us! Considering all the weird foods I've eaten already, I wasn't nervous in the least to try them out. They were actually really good, but there was a lot of fat that you just had to swallow whole because you couldn't really chew it up. The meat however was very tasty.
  We also went to the hospital to visit a guy named C...X...J.... He has cancer and it's really bad, to the point where he can only lie in bed and can't move anything except for his head. He's hooked up to oxygen too because he can't breathe well. He's not looking too good. It's really sad. He's in his early 20s and a really cool guy, he mixes music and raps. He really needs some help so your prayers for him would be really appreciated!
The rest of the week we just rode around and around looking for people to teach, without much success. I'm not going to lie, it was a little disheartening doing everything we could without any success for the whole week and a half, but as always the Lord blesses us for our sacrifices. At English class last Wednesday, we met a cool girl named N... that came for the first time, and she seemed fairly interested in meeting with us. We invited her to come to church but she wasn't able to come. She said that she would be able to meet at night though, so last night we met with her. She's been all over the world traveling to Canada, Australia, and Japan. While away, one of her close friends died and that was really hard for her. She was in Tokyo for about a year and ran into the LDS missionaries there and went to their English class for a while. She was really impressed with them and was curious about why she felt so happy whenever she went to their class. She heard about our English class a few days ago and was excited to come back and talk with missionaries again. We had a lesson plan to teach her, but we threw it aside when she just opened up and told us about herself. She had always been wondering if she would see her friends and family again, and she always thought that there was something more than what Taoism taught her. I don't even remember all that we said, just that it really touched her heart and she wants to be baptized. I could tell that she was super prepared and was led to find us. During the lesson I felt the Spirit really guiding me in what to say and I didn't struggle at all to say anything I wanted to say in Chinese. It was a big miracle and it makes the rest of the week's work worth it. As long as I just do my part, however small and ineffective my efforts may seem, the Lord will always be there and will guide others to find us. I feel like everything else I do is just me proving to Him that I'm ready and prepared to help those that he puts in my path. It's really neat how it works like that. And also, good work Eric. All the work that you're doing in Japan helping people from Taiwan is paying off! Keep it up!
  Well that's about it this week. Hope you all have a great spring break! I'll enjoy my year and a half long vacation in Taiwan! haha
Our Apartment in Taichung

Looking Outside Our Apartment Window


Monday, March 23, 2015

Sweet New Area And Companion!

Hey Everyone,

 Well, it's a beautiful day up in Taichung! My new area is pretty sweet and a lot smaller than my old one. I'm in an area called Donghai which on the border of Taichung so it's not too crowded but there are still a lot of people. It's actually a pretty big factory section so it's pretty smoggy and overcast most of the time. A bright side of the area is the amount of exercise I'm going to get. My whole area is on a constant hill. It just keeps going up and up, so there isn't a flat part in the whole area. I've heard that Elders get stretch marks because of how fast their muscle builds up from being here haha.

Our chapel here is really unique too. It's actually a part of a buisness building. It's on the 17th floor of a pretty tall building. It's super wierd taking the elevator up to go to church. The ward is really great here and are helping the missionaries to find investigators, which is important because the ward is small. Hopefully we'll be able to find some interested people though. My new companion is Elder Ames from Idaho. He's a pretty sweet guy and has been on island for less than a year. Hopefully we can get a lot of stuff done together.

  It was really sad leaving Tainan, my birthplace in Taiwan. It was a really nice place and had a lot of cool members. It's crazy to think that I was there for four months. It flew by pretty fast because it was such a cool spot. I actually didn't get the call that I was officially moving until about 10:30pm the night before I left. Luckily we had recieved the call that Elder Anderson was training and I had a heads up that I would probably be moving. Otherwise, I would've been up all night packing.
  The last week in Tainan we found a lot of wonderful people to teach, so I hope Elder Anderson and his new companion will have lots of people to baptize there. We also went around visiting a lot of people and saying goodbye. X... X... and the Ama were especially sad. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend their baptism or any of the others in Tainan because I am super far away. I received a lot of nice goodbye presents from people, and we got lots of goodbye dinners too! I should've tricked people earlier that I was leaving so we would've gotten more dinners!
 We didn't really do much on Friday except moving and ever since I've been in Donghai we've been hiting the streets talking with people because we don't really have any investigators. I just need to get good at finding people like Eric. It seems like he is always finding tons of people...even if they do not live in his area.
  So today isn't our pday, it's been postponed again.  However, this time it's because I'm going to the temple! Yeah! I'm stoked to finally be able to go to the Taipei Temple. They only let the upper few zones attend every once in a while and my area happens to be in there! So on Wednesday we are going to wake up at 5am and drive up to Taipei. I'm pretty excited. After we get back from the temple I should probably have another hour to email too so feel free to send more emails if you would like "wink wink".
  Well that's everything to report this week I think. I will try to get some pics of my new area to send soon. Well, I hope everyone has a great week! Love you lots!
ps the name wen zhong jie is my full name. A traditional chinese name has three characters, and they consider the first character to be their "xing" or their last name. My xing is wen, and my first name is "zhong jie"
Elder Anderson, Ama, X...X..., Elder Stevens, Tainan, Taiwan

Taichung, Taiwan 

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Transfer!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Power Week!

Ni Hao Ma Everyone,

Well, the first week with a new companion is always a little different. You feel so comfortable working with your last companion and you think it's impossible to work that well with someone else. But Elder Anderson and I got right into the swing of things. This week was what the mission calls power week. Which means that we only have an hour of studies in the morning and then get right out the door at 9 am. Then we only have a couple minutes for lunch and dinner and we are contacting, tracting, or doing whatever for the day. It was cool to have even more time to find people to teach.  We did have less time to study the language.  I really love studying Chinese and look forward to studying it everyday.

During the week we had some lofty goals of new people that we wanted to find to teach, but nothing seemed to work for us. Actually Elder Anderson was really surprised by how different the people can be in this area compared to everywhere else he's been. We were pretty disappointed with how the week was going, and were expecting to end the week without a ton of success. As it is though, missionary work is reliant upon miracles, and that's exactly what we got! Right out the door on Saturday we started riding around talking with everyone, and randomly a lady drives up next to us and says that she has people that want to talk with us and we needed to follow her. I was pretty stoked and we followed her to the house of the lady's mother, who lived with a caretaker lady from Vietnam. They weren't home when we arrived, but the lady (who is a member in YongKang) said to come back later in the day. She said that the Vietnamese lady's husband had died a few years ago and had heard about our belief in eternal families and was interested.

Later that day we had an activity with the ward in which a bunch of the young guys and girls in the ward would come to a mini MTC activity and then pair up with a bunch of missionaries and go out and do some missionary work. It's a sweet activity to pump up the guys preparing to go on a mission. But what was even better was that our investigator came!! J... is a super cool kid and he decided that even though he isn't a member, he wanted to come out and teach about the things he's learning! It was a great opportunity for him to strengthen his beliefs and to better understand the importance of the gospel. He wasn't really the best at talking with people, in fact everyone was actually really unkind to him because he was so courageous at inviting everyone to meet with us. I hope that didn't deter him. What was really sweet though was we planned to teach a lesson with the Vietnamese lady at the same time we were going around with J.... So he got to help us teach her and the other lady. The Vietnamese lady is named Q...X... (I think, she has a heavy accent) and I couldn't understand the name of the older lady. They were both super golden and Q...X... was super excited about finding a way to be with her family forever and seeing her husband again. Q...X... readily accepted a baptismal date for April 4th and was happy to have us come back again on Sunday. When J... talked about what the gospel meant to him, everyone got really quiet, and the feeling in the room was so special. He really is a great guy and I really think he will be baptized in the future. It's tricky now though because his parents don't really support it and he's only 17, but he wants to. He really enjoyed the experience of doing missionary work with us!

  We also had a great lesson with V... yesterday. She's been meeting with missionaries for a very long time and has heard everything but just isn't willing to make the change. She was really touched by the blessing last week, and that was the subject of our lesson. We talked about God and how He knew her personally. We just gave our testimony of how important the gospel is to us and what God wants for her. You could tell that it really hit home with her. She still said she wasn't ready to be baptized, but she really is. We told her to pray and ask if the end of March was the time that God wanted her to be baptized. The decision is all up to her. She knows it's true.  She knows she needs the change, but whether or not she follows through with it is out of our hands. I am really praying that she will receive her answer. Could you all pray for her as well. She's so close!
  Well that's about it for the week. This week turned out to be one of the best so far and I'm looking forward to serving more with my new companion. He's a really chill guy and has a great desire to get work done! Things are going to get done! I love you all very much. Thanks for all your support. I still haven't received the package yet, but I hope it comes in soon!
Zhongxing, Jiayi, And Tainan Zones
Training From President Blickenstaff
Elder Stevens Sitting With Companion Elder Anderson (Right) 

Elders Stevens and Anderson (background), Sister Hancock (foreground)


Monday, March 2, 2015