A Week of Firsts and Superheroes!

Hello all!!! What an awesome week it has been! Training a new missionary is definitely a whole new ball game! My trainee’s name is Elder Degn (pronounced like  “great dane””) and he is a 6’5″ GIANT from South Jordan Utah! The coolest thing about him is that he played middie on the BYU lacrosse team last season, so we have had a lot in common!

082117 Elder Degn

Elder Degn and I

The beginning of the week was spent hanging out in the GuiRen area with Elder Densley while we were waiting to pick up our trainees. One of the absolute craziest things I have seen in Taiwan is that in the middle of GuiRen’s secondary area, LongQi, is a temple where they literally worship Marvel superheroes. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. Video on the attached google drive link below!  (Mom’s note:  Sorry, tech issues… video is very funny, but Google won’t allow a shareable link for some reason, bummer.)

It was a blast to hang with Elder Densley for a couple of days! Today we are taking our trainees to the sketchy zoo, as well as trying to take down the Douhua challenge in their area! Should be a blast!

On Thursday I caught a train up to TaiZhong to pick up my trainee, and we were on our way back down south to the promised land of Tainan 2nd ward!

082117 New Trainee on train

Our train ride back to Tainan (featuring one of my old favorite companions, Elder Choi, who is also training)

Since then I have learned many lessons, including the fact that being a trainer is super hard and just about 100% of the companionship workload burden is on your shoulders due to the new missionary’s language barrier, as well as having to figure out how to balance training and teaching opportunities alongside normal missionary work. Because I am training, we have to stay inside an extra hour a day doing studies and practices for the new missionary, which takes an hour out of finding time outside! There really is not enough time in the day to do it all!

Elder Degn has been holding up like a champ, even though I can see it is physically exhausting on him! I remember I was very similar to that last year as well. It takes a while to adjust to the swing of things and to get over the culture shock! Taiwan is awesome and I love being a tour guide for him! I can’t wait to show him all of the awesome parts of this country and culture, as well as showing him how to be a successful missionary! I am super grateful for my trainer, Elder Nelson, who showed me the ropes and started me off right last year!

Aside from the abnormal training things, the work here is progressing at a very normal pace, and we are still seeing miracles left and right. I love being a missionary!! It really is such a happy time. It’s crazy how fast time flies when you are working hard! I will hit my 18 month mark in a couple weeks, and it’s all downhill from there! There just isn’t enough time! It’s crazy how your perspective on two years changes!

Anyways, I love you all so much, and am grateful for the support I receive from you all every week! It means the world! I hope you all have an awesome week! Until next time!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Elder Zachary Kearsley Stroud
饒一鳴長老
–> # 498-11, WuQuan Road, North District,
Taichung, Taichung 404-46
Taiwan (Republic of China)

All Aboard the Training Train!!

 

081417 Pokemon Go contacting

Contacting at a Pokemon Go hotspot… still popular in Taiwan!

Hey y’all this week’s email is going to be short with a lot of pictures, sorry! I guess the big news of the week is that I am going to be a Trainer! It really is a honor to be trusted with a new missionary, and I am pumped to help him love the mission, the culture, the people, and the language! All things that mean so much to me! I will be picking him up at the mission home on Thursday, and we will be heading to our area after that! Should be a blast! I am so happy here in Tainan! This place is awesome, and I’m pumped I get to stay another 3 months! I hope you all had a great week! Happy back to school for all my young LHP friends! I love you all!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Elder Zeyer and I  have had such a great time working hard together this past 6 weeks! Here’s some of the great things we did this week before he left for his new transfer area.

We found some elementary kids in the park one day this week while contacting, and they let us play baseball with them. It was super fun and they loved us!!

081417 baseball

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It is tradition in our mission for Elders to burn a tie at their 6 month marks, and for whatever reason I never did back in the day. Thankfully Elder Zeyer hit his 6 months, and I got to do it with him!

 

We found one of the best burgers I have ever eaten! Smokey Joe’s is the only authentic American/Mexican restaurant in Taiwan! This burger was about 400 kuai, or about twice as much as I usually spend on 3 meals for the day! Worth it.

081417 goobye Zeyer

It’s been awesome serving with Elder Zeyer.  He’ll be great in his new area!

Tainan – The Promised Land

Hello all! This last week was great! Lots of the same old same old. Finding and teaching! Here’s my week in pictures…

080717 burritoI went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders on Tuesday, we went and got some pretty decent burritos at the mall in my area! It was fun to be with Elder Storey again after living together in a 4 man apartment last summer in AnDing.

We went back to the YongKang chapel last P-day and played basketball with a bunch of missionaries from our zone. It was fun to be able to go back and visit that place after I lived around there last summer while I was serving in AnDing. This picture is at our favorite drink shop by the church.

080717 favorite drink placeOn the bike ride over there to play ball, I ran over a screw which wrecked my tire… we walked around in the rain for two hours before we found bike shop that could fix my tire. Every place was closed because the Tainan city government announced a no work day due to the typhoons and flooding.

080717 tire fix

We also went to a great restaurant with Sister Lin from my first area, AnDing which is not too far from where I am now in Tainan.  She always treats the missionaries so well! Here’s a bunch of us at the restaurant…

080717 Sister Lin photo a

That’s about it for the week! Kind of a slow one around here. We did have interviews with President Teh a couple days ago, and I took advantage of the opportunity to have a one on one talk with a General 70, and grilled him with a few deep doctrine questions. Pretty fun! President Teh is the man! I love being a missionary and I love the work here! I hope all is well with you all back home! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

霖雨為災 – A plague of showers

073117 double typhoon day

Double typhoon day proselyting

Hello from the typhoon land of Taiwan! We got smacked with two typhoons, Haitang and Nesat, yesterday only hours apart from each other, so it was pretty crazy! President Teh didn’t even send us the lock in notice, so we were out on the streets proselyting in about 50mph winds! Kind of fun! People were just telling us how nuts we were all night! At one point some kind Samaritan let us in off the street and let us dry off for a few minutes! Typhoon days are pretty sick!

This past week was full missionary hard work and sweat, so nothing out of the ordinary! We met lots of new people and saw some cool miracles in the missionary work! It really is awesome to be a missionary! Not much to report on this week, but know that I am happy and safe here! Tainan is awesome! Hope yall have a great week! Until next time!

073117 pizza with Anding Friends

Some AnDing members took us out to an all you can eat pizza place last week. It’s always good to catch up with old friends!

073117 fruit gifts

Our fridge is full of fruit that the members give us!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Running 7’s

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Our awesome (and crazy) English Class kids

072417 English Class 2

Great week down here in the promised land of Tainan! Being companions with Elder Zeyer has been some of the most fun times on my mission! We wake up every morning with the faith to find and to get our daily goal of one new investigator, and we have been seeing miracles rain down upon us! This week in DTM (District Training Meeting) I really focused the training on the importance of the promised blessings in PMG (Preach My Gospel) and how if we do our part, the Lord will fill in with his. Last night it was 8:55 and we were sitting at 6 new investigators for the week. (Our mission standard is 7, which is a lofty goal each week!) We knew that if we could teach a lesson, we could be out til 9:30 (usually we have to be in the door by 9). Elder Zeyer and I were not going to settle for only 6 new investigators for the week. We went into the last 7-11 for the night, with probably the most faith I have ever had going into a contact on my whole mission. There were 3 people sitting in that 7-11 and we KNEW that one would be our 7th investigator for the week. Sure enough, we sat down with one of the men, chatted him up, he ended up being Christian, we taught him a lesson about the restoration, and added him for next week to meet again. We had the faith to find, and the Lord delivered in the final minutes of the week. Being a humble servant of Him is great, and I couldn’t be happier doing what I am doing now! The mission is an awesome time!

072417 zone conf

Tainan zone conference pic from last week- everyone in our mission is like 6’4″

072417 gate

Some random Christian church had a sweet gate

Short one this week due to nothing interesting happening besides mission work! Sorry to let y’all down! But know I love y’all!  Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

072417 checkers

Playing Chinese chess last pday because new rules say we can’t leave our area to go do fun things, and our area is 3 square miles big #sad

 

All I Know is Mango

071717 An Ping Fort

Elder Zeyer and I at the old fort at An Ping last p-day.

Hello family and friends!

Another great week here in Tainan! Elder Zeyer and I worked our butts off this week and managed to come up with 7 new investigators, a worthy haul! It is super fun going out every day and sharing this happy message with the awesome people here! I love talking with everyone!

This week wasn’t very special, just lots of sweat and hard work! Our baptismal goals are progressing nicely and are looking good to hit their dates! We are having a blast working with everyone! Elder Zeyer and I have decided to be more healthy, so we have been getting up early to go running or to go to the college to play basketball every morning! We have been having so much fun being a companionship! Also we made it a goal to eat mangos everyday, to make the most of our time here in the mango capital of the world, so that’s been fun too!

Not really much else to update on! We ended up going to the old fort here in Tainan for pday last week, so that was pretty fun too! I love you all! Sorry this week’s email is boring! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

071717 Petting dog

I petted (pet? I’m not sure ) this dog in a 7/11 for like 10 minutes straight waiting to contact the owner while its owner was in the bathroom haha! Sorry my English grammar is bad now!

071717 7-11

Got slurpees on 7/11 day! Sadly Taiwan has no cool promotion, so we paid in full…

Deep in the 南 (South)

070917 7-11 contacting

7-11 contacting

From July 9, 2017

Hello all! Another lit week here in the promised land of Tainan City, East District! The work is progressing and we are killing the missionary game here! Our area is sick! It has the #4 ranked college in Taiwan, and the best college in the south, so tons of good college kid potential! Our area is the smallest in the mission at a whopping, 2 miles across and 1 mile lengthwise, so super small! Elder Zeyer, my comp, is a baller and super fun to work with! We go hard every day.

Investigator updates:

查家庭 The Zha family:

They are super sick and on baptismal date for 8/12! It is a single mom and her 3 boys. They all have so much faith! The mom has gone through a ton of trials, and the gospel has really brought light into her life!

舒庭 Shu Ting:

She is also super sick! She is a 19 year old nursing student at a college here. She was actually supposed to get baptized last weekend, but ran into some family problems. We are working closely with her to try and fix her trials at home! She is on date for 8/5.

Sophie: Sophie is a little strange, but super funny! She has been investigating the church for at least a few years now, but her progress has skyrocketed lately. She has already read all of the BoM, and she actively lives all of the commandments in her daily life. Super cool! We meet with her at lest 3-4 times a week! She refuses to tell us her Chinese name though haha!

070917

Big Mac

Macdonald 麥當勞: BIG MAC! Macdonald is a Haitian studying at the college here! He is super cool and it is really weird to teach him in English! Also he is like the first black person I have seen in like a year! He is from a really poor rural part of Haiti and is super humble. Every time we meet with him, he says his prayers in Creole and it is super sick! He is awesome, and is also living the commandment invitations we give him!

Those are the major 4 investigators we have right now. We actually have quite a few others, but they are all in different stages of progression. Being a missionary is awesome!

Today we are headed to YuJing, the home of mangoes in Taiwan! It should be pretty fun! Apparently there is a giant mango statue there that the people literally worship, so that should be a sight to see!

I love you all! Have a great week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

070917 burrito

We found a super good burrito place in our area started by an american dude! Probably the closest thing you can get to Chipotle. Also like the first burrito I have eaten in a year plus. good stuff.

Back in ‘Nan

From July 2, 2017

Hello all, and happy transfer Monday! The move call came a couple nights ago, and I am again on the move! My new area is back in the wonderful city of Tainan, home of cheap food and happy people! My very first area, AnDing, was on the northern edge of Tainan, but out in the boonies, and now I am back in the city center serving in the Tainan 2nd Ward. I am pumped to start going hard and seeing miracles here! I am now the District Leader, as well as a “mom” or breaker (first companion out of training).

070217 Elder Zeyer

Me and Elder Zeyer

My new companion in Elder Zeyer (pronounced like the “sire” part of desire) from…drum-roll please… Provo, Utah!! He just finished training, and this is only his third transfer on island! He is very new and inexperienced, his Chinese is still coming along, but he is super fun and willing to go hard. Nothing more I can ask for! We are ready to hit the streets and light this place up.

This last week was a pretty fun one! Elder George and I tried to milk the last little bit of investigators out of ShiZhong, and it was fun to leave it all on the streets there. I was feeling a little worn out of that place. The people were awesome, but it was a small area, and I got a little tired of biking the same streets over and over again. Change is a good thing!

070217 diner

We went to a restaurant called the Arkansas Diner last week for pday. It was started by some expat. SUPER good southern food!

070217 tracting

Went tracting up in the mountains with Elder Moh.

Anyway, today is a little short due to moving and some time constraints! Im sure I will have a better email next week for you! I have been trying to send more videos lately, but Google Drive and myldsmail are dumb and its super confusing to try and set it up. Hopefully the videos work better today!  This one is of Elder Moh and I tracting up in the mountains.

Click Here for Video Link

Anyways I love you all and hope you have a wonderful 4th of July! Probably my favorite holiday! Weird to be experiencing it for the second time here in Taiwan! I love you all! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

070217 say goodbye

Sad to see good mission friends head home after two years!

Me and the Mayor

From June 27, 2017

Another great week here! This week was once again filled with going out and talking to everyone we could talk to! We pretty much were once again on our bikes for 7 days straight! It’s cool though! I love being a missionary here! This week the referral karma finally worked in our favor! After weeks of sending off referrals to other areas, we finally got a couple that actually live in our area, and actually have interest in learning more!

We had a special opportunity sing some hymns for Brother DeWitt and for some of the big shots of the Kaohsiung city government at Brother DeWitt’s farewell bash! It was super awesome and we got to meet the mayor!

Mayor

Us and Mayor Chen of Gaoxiong in front.

062717 banquet

They made some fish look like a squirrel at the banquet dinner.

062717 singing

Singing with the DeWitt’s and other missionaries, “Because I Have Been Given Much”

Honestly, aside from the party with the mayor, it was a very average week. Elder George and I are still trying to go super hard to get some investigators out of this area, but the work has been a little slower lately. Its ok though! We keep on truckin’. Transfers are next week, and the chance I move is pretty big, but its all up in the air! I love you all! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

062717 soap

We visited one of our investigators Sister Huang at her work at the mall last pday! She sells soap, so her and I were able to talk some soap. Shout out to that high school job working at Basin at Disney!

So if you have a strong stomach… here’s a hilarious video.  ​This video is of Elder Moh and George doing the duoduo challenge, a Taiwan Taichung Mission classic! Basically the gist is to drink 20 or 21 of these little yogurt things on your birthday. DO NOT WATCH IF YOU GET SICK EASILY! But yeah it was super funny! Hopefully the Drive link works this time.

Watch the Yogurt Challenge video

 

I’m getting married?

061817 QiJin

View of QiJin from the top of the fort last Pday, before it started raining every day.

Crazy week here! We didn’t teach a single lesson this week. It was finding from morning to night every single day.  It rained all week long, and Elder George and I just about went contacting in every single 7-11 in the boundaries of our area! When it’s wet on the streets people flock to the 7-11’s for shelter (they are more like coffee shops with places to sit here). We had a couple sick miracles this week!

We hadn’t found a new investigator all week long, despite the long grueling days of contacting.

We went out every day with faith, we were obedient, and we worked our hardest. Come church on Sunday, and all of our investigators who committed to come stood us up. Pretty sucky right?  Yep.

But that’s how it goes sometimes. Sunday morning before we left our apartment, Elder George and I pleaded with the Lord to let us see a miracle at church, and through the grace of Heavenly Father, we got one! While we were in Young Men’s at church sharing about missionary work, and literally telling the boys how sometimes no matter how hard you work, how faithful you are, things always come on the Lord’s timing. We get a knock on the door from a member and he’s with some random 19 year old kid who had just walked into the church looking for English class. Anyways, he stuck around, loved church, and set up for a time to meet with us next week. Cool stuff.

061817 Port

View of the little port in our area along the GaoXiong harbor.

Funny/crazy story of the week:

Crazy Grace from last week’s email called the cops again on me this past week. We were out contacting, but the sisters were at the chapel. Grace starts banging on the door with the police hysterically crying and asking where I am. The sisters say “we don’t know, he isn’t here”. The police ask the sisters if I am missing. The sisters laugh and of course say “no”. Grace flips out and the police ask the sisters if she is “all there”. The sisters say “of course not, she is crazy”. Grace then flips out says she isn’t crazy, and gets mad at the sisters and accuses them of opposing her marriage to me… (Grace is about 60 and homeless by the way). The cops were frustrated, yelled at Grace for wasting their time again, and escorted her off the premises.  SO we had to call the bishop and some members of the stake presidency to come down and just wreck her later that night when she showed up again. ALL A DAY IN THE LIFE HERE!

Anyways it was a great week! I ate it on my bike because it was pouring rain and the sidewalk was too slippery to brake when some girl darted in front of me, so I kind of did one of those cool powerslides they do on motorcycles, and I popped right up in front of this group of girls said the Chinese equivalent of “sick”, and hopped back on the bike and biked off. I hit my knee pretty hard and I was worried that I had done some interior damage. The first thought that crossed my head was “what if I had torn something and have to go home” the second thought was “I don’t want to go home yet, I still have so much more to do here”, and I was happy with that thought. SO yeah, it is safe to say that I am in a good mental place here on the mission. It really is such an awesome time every day! I love it so much! I hope you all had a great week! Enjoy the sunshine in Florida! We haven’t seen it for like 5 days here! I love you all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

061817 DeWitts lunch

The DeWitt’s had us over for lunch again! Brother DeWitt is retiring and he and his wife are going back to America next week. We will miss them!