Monday, November 30, 2015

Life In Xihu...

Hello Everyone, 

 I want to start out by saying I didn't forget about Dad's or Grandpa's birthday! I just forgot to include the birthday wishes in the last email...sorry about that. I remembered them in my heart though so that is what's important! So I thought I would make up for it by wishing a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA! It seemed like you had a great birthday! Grandpa you certainly had a lot of birthday cards this year!! That's pretty impressive. I don't think I've ever gotten that many birthday cards before. You are very loved by all of us! Dad you are too! This certainly is the birthday season! It seems like everyone's birthday is in November.

  This week has been a great one. It's a little interesting adjusting to my new area. Unfortunately, I didn't take a whole lot of pictures of the surrounding area, but I'll do that this next week. It's a pretty flat area, not a lot of hills. It's near the sea...kind of. Our area stretches to the ocean, but our main area is a few hours away. We still get the strong sea breezes though and it's pretty cold. I pulled out my jacket for the first time a few nights ago. We went out to one of our secondary areas to help a member move, and we biked about an hour and a half to get there. The wind was fighting against us the whole time! The travel back was even more fun because we were tired and could hardly see a thing since we were in the middle of a bunch of rice fields with no lights! Yes Dad, to answer your question, I've actually seen some people here. It's actually a little bigger than I first expected and it even has one McDonalds here so this is a pretty developed place!    It's a little harder to find people to teach, and it's been a while since missionaries have found new investigators. They just meet with the same ones over and over again and there hasn't been a lot of progress. We have been working hard with the ward so far and for some reason the ward really likes me haha. They told me that they hope I can help turn things around...that's a lot of pressure but I'm willing to do it. One of the members even came up to me and said she wanted me to meet with her family and teach them. She was a less active member until she recently started coming back to church and now she hopes we can help her husband who has interest in learning about the church. So things are looking brighter already! I hope I can do a good job here, I'll need lots of your prayers though!

   Btw, I'm not district leader anymore, I'm too far out in the boonies to really be an effective leader or to help anyone if they need it haha. I have a great companion. Elder Williams is pretty cool. He's really chill, and he's really willing to try new things. He had to serve in New Zealand for about 6 months before he finally got his visa to come to Taiwan so it's been a little harder to pick up the language after that long of a break. He's doing great!

   Sorry I'm writing so much, but we had a great week. The whole mission got the privilege of going up to Taichung and listening to the new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Stevenson, speak to us. His son just finished up his mission here last week and so he was coming to pick him up and to give us some training. It was really neat to be able to listen to his experiences. He was a mission president in Japan a few years ago and he told us a lot of his stories and I learned a lot of things that I could do to improve. It was great!

   Actually, in the morning, before we headed out that morning to go to the meeting, I had the feeling that I needed to grab a copy of the Book of Mormon. I wasn't planning on taking a lot of stuff because it would be annoying to carry it all the way to the mission office, but I had the feeling again, so I just grabbed one and put it in my bag. Then on the bus and train ride I kept looking for opportunities to share it with someone, but nothing happened. I kind of forgot about the feeling and just thought maybe I was wrong. But then on the last leg of the trip home after the meeting, we got on the last bus and I sat down next to a college guy. I just started talking to him about school and stuff and then he said randomly, "Hey you're Christian right?" I told him I was and he said he wanted me to tell him more about it. He said he's heard about lots of different religion but that he has no idea what to do because there are so many churches he doesn't know which one is right, or how to know which was right. I didn't need to be asked twice, and so I pulled out the Book of Mormon and shared with him some scriptures about finding truth. I started from God and shared how He has given us his eternal truths that are unchanging and can guide us in life. I talked about how we have a living prophet that leads us today. I told him that he could know the truth by reading and praying about it and asking God, the source of all truth, which church is true and God would answer his prayer. He excitedly  took the Book of Mormon and said he would read it that night and that next week he would go look for the missionaries where he lived. He doesn't live in our area but we exchanged numbers and I told the Elders in the other area to call him up. It was really cool!

  I'm glad you all had a great Thanksgiving. We celebrated by going and meeting with Elder Stevenson so that was pretty nice. We didn't get any good food or anything though. Actually I forgot it was Thanksgiving because Elder Williams is from Samoa so he doesn't celebrate it haha. Oh well, I'll just have to wait until next year for some good food. I'm excited for Christmas though so I can talk with you all. I'll see how we'll work that out. i don't think that skype actually works this far out in the country side though.... haha don't worry it probably does.

  Well I love you all lots! I'm really enjoying my time here in Xihu! The Lord definitely sees that I'm not perfect and need lots of help so He has indeed blessed us a lot in this area so far! Thanks for all the prayers and love! I love you all!

Love

Elder Stevens


Special Meeting With Elder Stevenson.  Can You Find Me?


My Rental Bike Until Mine Arrived.


Unpacking


Elder Stevens And Elder Williams



A Few Photos From My Last Area Nanzi



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