Monday, June 29, 2015

Temple Visit And More...

Hi Everyone,

  This past week was pretty good! We didn't get pday, but that was because we got to go to the temple! This is the second time I've been to the temple here and luckily this time it wasn't raining so we got to enjoy walking around the outside for a while. It was a nice day and unfortunately I didn't bring my camera. I just assumed it would be raining like usual and that I wouldn't be able to take any pics. Maybe I can just borrow someone's camera and grab some of their pics. It was fun riding up there. I sat next to my old companion, Elder Smith.

   This week we also went on companion exchanges, and Elder Steele came up to Donghai to work with me for a while. And as usually with exchanges, super good things happened! We met with a guy named J... for the first time and he's super cool. We actually had told him to come the next day for a baptism but he showed up a day early and wanted to meet. That's ok with me! He's a really friendly guy in his late 20's. He even said he wanted to come to the baptismal service too! And what I love most is...he asked a lot of questions! So hopefully we can keep meeting with him cuz he's pretty cool. 
    Speaking of the baptism, the Fengjia Elders, Galura and Steele, had three of their investigators that just got baptized. I hadn't met one of them, but the other two were really cool. One was a girl named J... who is in some of the pictures I sent home, she's tall and doesn't smile a whole lot in pics haha. She's really nice though. The other guy was named L... and he was a miracle that I didn't know about until recently. I'll explain. Remember the exchange that Elder Kujanpaa and I did way back in April when we had tons of miracles happen? That was a sweet exchange! Well L... was yet another miracle from that day. During the exchange we had a lesson cancel on us so we decided instead to just grab some of the old records of former investigators and try calling them up. We grabbed a stack and started calling through them. On the records the missionaries from before will write some stuff about what this person was like and whether or not we should call them again. On L...'s sheet it said that he was not interested and that we should not call back.  So I almost just threw the sheet in the trash. But then just randomly decided, why not just call him up and see. When I talked with him he remembered meeting with the missionaries and all the stuff they had taught. He said he's had a ton of challenges in his life and that he tried everything the missionaries had taught and it didn't work. He said that God had forgotten him and He wouldn't help him even though he had tried before. I just bore a simple testimony about God's love for each one of us and that He had definitely not forgotten him. I told him to give it one last shot, and after more complaining he finally agreed to meet later that week and gave us his address. As it is with exchanges, I went back to Donghai later that day and went back to working with my own investigators so I forgot about L... A few days ago the Elders told me that the day after I had called to set him up, they tried to call L..., but the number was out of service. L... said that for some reason his phone broke and he had to get a new number. So if on that exchange, our lesson hadn't cancelled, and we hadn't grabbed THAT stack of records, and hadn't called him at that time, literally one day later, we would never have been able to get in contact with him! God really knows what He's doing and He has a plan for each one of us. I'm really grateful that He is there and guiding us. I'm grateful that He trusted me enough to lead me to find L... and play a small part in his life.
  So all in all this week has been pretty good! After I finish emailing, we are all going to go up to Costco and get some good American food! Yeah! Dad and Ian, I'm glad that you made it back in one piece and didn't crash, and that you made it all the way! Nice job! That would be fun to go on a biking trip with all of you when I get back. I love you all very much and I'm thankful for all that you do for me!
Elder Stevens

Fun Time Attending The Taipai, Taiwan Temple

Monday, June 22, 2015

Teaching, and Basketball...

Hello Everyone, 

Well, we just had another awesome week up in Taizhong! I'm sorry to hear that back home you had all that rain during your campouts. Luckily here we haven't had any rain all last week! Eric, I feel your pain though. It is super hot here too! The hottest months in Taiwan are coming up, luckily I'm in Taizhong though and not down further south. It's still really hot though. Luckily the room that we sleep in has an air conditioner, but as soon as you step outside of the room you start to sweat like crazy. I went to wash the dishes for a few minutes and by the time I was finished, sweat was dripping all off my nose. It's lots of fun!

  Other than that our week was great. We've been meeting with a really cool investigator named Eric recently (yeah with a name like that he'd better be cool).  And he is an awesome college student here at Donghai. We've met with him a couple times and he always has the best questions. Here in Taiwan they aren't used to asking a lot of questions just because of how their schooling system works so a lot of times when we teach, they just nod and don't say anything. It's difficult to tell if they understand you or not. But Eric just asks questions the whole time we meet. He also says he loves reading which is what we missionaries love to hear when we ask them to read the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, school will get out really soon for him and he will be going back up to Taipei with his family for the rest of the summer so we can't keep teaching him. It's all good though. I'm sure the missionaries up there will be able to help him out just as well or better than us.
  We went and played basketball at the college last pday and it was a lot of fun. I'm really grateful for how tall I am because it really came in handy. We played some games with a bunch of the college kids and some of them were actually pretty good. Unfortunately for them, the stereotype is true and they were all a lot shorter than me and Elder Steele who is taller than me. It was a pretty unfair height advantage.
  Also this week I got to go to a training meeting! It's hard to believe that I've almost been serving for a year now! Apparently I'm supposed to be one of the "experienced" missionaries now. I certainly don't feel like one haha. It's a good thing that we are on God's side, otherwise I wouldn't know what to do.
  Some good news! I stole the camera from a sister in my district so I have some pictures to send to y'all! I hope you appreciate them. That's all I've got though. Thanks for all the love and support! I love you all!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Good News, Sad News...

Hey Everyone!

  I realized that Father's Day is about a week away but I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't late in wishing everyone a Happy Father's Day. And Eric, a very happy birthday to you! I hope that you had a fantastic bday! I think that God, for your birthday, gave me a present.

  Two days ago we were meeting with a really nice man in our ward named W.... He doesn't come to church very often and is the only member in his family which is really hard for him. We were talking with him and he said, I really want to start coming back to church! He has a son who is 11 and is really cool and always comes to our English class. He has never really come to church much but he said that he and his dad could start coming and that he wants to be baptized! Wow! What a big birthday gift! I'm really excited for this because W... is such a really nice guy and he has had a hard life with health problems and some family issues. I really hope that as they both come a lot, that there will be a change in the home and help their relations with the rest of the family.

  I also have some sad news...N... moved yesterday! She had been looking for a better job for a long time and she really wanted to be a translator because she can speak Japanese really well. She finally got a job for an engineering company but she had to move to xinju which is in the Taipei mission area. I'm really sad to see her go, but I guess I'm really glad that she finally got the job that she had been looking for, for so long.
  This week we went to the far reaches of our area to help a family move. Actually, the house was so messy that they just gave up cleaning it and decided to move. They left most of their stuff because it was all old and broken. Thank goodness we didn't have to move everything or that would have taken all day. I have a greater appreciation of how lucky we are to have such a beautiful home and such a clean place to live. We are super lucky!
  I'm really glad that Alexa had such a great time on her mini mission! It's a great experience isn't it. I don't think anyone would dare slamming the door on such a pretty face as yours! Unfortunately I can't say the same of myself  haha. Well, that's all I've got time for. I love you lots!!
Elder Stevens

Monday, June 8, 2015

Great Week...

Hey everyone!

 Thankfully this last week has been much nicer than the last two, it only rained one day this week! That made things a lot easier for us. We also had an amazing weekend. L... was baptized!! It was a double baptism. There was also a little girl from the W... family in our ward who was getting baptized as well. They were the family who were super good with helping us when we were first meeting with N.... It was a really nice baptism and L... was smiling big and really happy.

  For this next movecall I will be staying with Elder Moore again in Donghai. Elder Kujanpaa in our district is going to be moving out to Tainan, and my old friend from Tainan, Elder Galura is going to be moving into our district! I'm really excited that he's moving in with us. He was a really good supportive missionary when I first got on the island and it will be cool again to be serving next to him. 
 Yesterday was Elder Moore's birthday! So we had some cake and a little celebration for him at the end of our activity last night. The Sisters in our district baked a really tasty cake.  
  Eating at the toilet restaurant last week was pretty fun. Everything in there was toilet themed. My icecream was served to me in a squatty potty...that brought back fun memories of Africa haha. It was a good time.
 Well I don't have that much time this week. A member who is going on a mission soon to Oregon wants to eat lunch with us and we're going to help him get ready to leave. He's a super cool guy and was really pumped that he was going to get to go to America on his mission. Alexa that's awesome that you're getting a chance to do a mini-mission. That's good experience. Just enjoy talking with everyone and just sharing about why you love the gospel so much. It's a joyful experience. 
Well, I have to go. I love you all lots!

Sister Missionaries Decorated Elder Moore's Bike For His Birthday

Monday, June 1, 2015

And More Rain...

          Hey everyone!
  Well, the rain is continuing to fall here in Donghai and it doesn't seem like it will ever be stopping! Today is the 14th day in a row that it has rained! To say it's starting to be an annoyance would be a very big understatement. Before the rain came, everyone here was complaining about a drought, and now everyone just wants the rain to stop. I'm kind of hoping for the same thing haha. I'm really glad that I have those rain pants though. Before I thought I would never wear them because they look weird, but now they're the best. If I don't wear them and my jacket, then I'm completely soaked through in just 5 minutes of being outside!
  Other than the rain, this last week we had some other fun stuff happen. The past few Sundays we taught the members how to talk with people about the Church and do stuff like that, and we had a big ward mission activity. We had a bunch of members go to places around the city and do some missionary work with us. Unfortunately the rain came right when we were leaving from the church and we got drenched, but thankfully after about 15 minutes it stopped and the activity was great. I went around with a guy named M... who is getting ready to leave on his mission to Hong Kong in August. He is really cool and we had a good time just going around contacting. It was a little hard because of the recent rain to find people, but it was still good. It was fun to get him pumped to leave. We also found a lot of nice people. Unfortunately, they all live outside our area, but that's all good.
  Other good news..., L... is all set to go for his baptism! I'm super happy for him. He has a solid testimony, but because he is so shy, it's hard for anyone to get to know him or to see that he has one. He rarely says more than a few words at a time, but during the baptismal interview, apparently he just opened up and talked a ton about how he's already noticed a change in his life and his attitude. I was really happy to hear this. He is a really sincere guy and I hope that he can continue to be strong. 
  We met with Z... again this week and had a powerful lesson with him. We testified of the Book of Mormon and of the restoration of the gospel and priesthood. He believes that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he saw God and Jesus Christ. He just can't accept that his baptism was performed without the proper restored priesthood authority. He says he has been firm in his belief since he was a young boy and just can't accept that fact. It's sad to see that he is so close to being baptized. There's not much we can do though. It is his decision and God allows people their free agency. He is a wonderful man and I love him. He is going to be leaving for Hong Kong to visit his older brother who is in the hospital with cancer. It is in it's terminal phase so there isn't anything to be done. I would just like you all to pray for him and his brother.
  I'm pumped today because we are going to eat at a pretty famous restaurant. It is a toilet themed restaurant. Pretty strange if you ask me. We sit on toilet seats, and all the food looks pretty interesting haha. There's only one in Taiwan but apparently it's really famous, so I'm excited to eat there!
  That's too bad about the tornado at the Waffle House. Is it completely destroyed? I loved eating at that place! Well that's about it. Thanks for your love and support. I love you all very much!!
Bathroom Themed Restaurant