Running 7’s

072417 English Class

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!

The Fuzz

Hello all! Another week down here! It has been a lot of the same around here! Finding, teaching, sweating, just the usual missionary work here in the Taiwanese summer!

As far as the week goes, there wasn’t much new going on here!

Biggest thing of the week is probably that I changed my Chinese last name from 繞(Rào) to 饒(Ráo) (Note the tone/accent change). The biggest reason is that 饒(Ráo) is actually a Chinese last name, where as 繞(Rào) is not. I just got tired of people asking in every contact why my last name was so weird. It really was killing a lot of contacts we were having. I don’t know why but they gave me the incorrect one in the MTC… no worries though! New name tags are on the way! It’s pretty sick too because it has a few different usages. One is 饒命 which means to spare a life, and another is 饒舌 which is Chinese slang for rap music. Chinese is weird, but I love it. In Chinese, because there are words that sound the exact same but have different characters and meanings, you always have to introduce your last name. So now I just say 我是饒長老。饒舌的饒。And it is pretty sick. Google translate will butcher that super hard, so don’t trust what it gives you for that.  (Mom’s note:  Google translate says its something like, I’m Elder Rao, like rap music).

As far as other stories, we got the cops called on us yesterday, so that was fun! There is this crazy homeless lady who is always at the church, and has been hanging around for like 20 years, and she has taken a liking to me… She calls our phone about 10 times a day and night and of course we never answer. She thinks Jesus Christ owes her about $300k USD. She always asks us when Jesus will give her the money. We ended up staying after church for about 3 hours to help the bishop’s daughter fill out her mission papers, and as we walk outside, there is Crazy Grace talking with two policemen. As I walked over there, I heard her say my Chinese full name and I questioned the police what was wrong. Grace then turned around to start yelling at me that I had left her and she didn’t know where I was. I apologized to the police and they proceeded to get angry at Grace for calling them when there was no need. Grace then turns to us and yells at us as we bike off haha. Good stuff. She called our phone at 2am this morning and woke us up. Also she called the sisters, and they made the mistake of answering, and she kept on asking them where we live, and a bunch of other sensitive questions… All a day in the life!

As far as pictures go today… Sister Lin, the Less-Active member Elder Nelson and I rescued in AnDing came down to take Elder George and I out to lunch at the seafood buffet here in town. It was good stuff and they had all types of sashimi, so I was a happy camper. Also the DeWitt’s invited us over for fresh mango ice cream with a very wealthy business partner of theirs, so that was also a super nice treat!

061217 DeWitts

We will miss the DeWitts when they leave Taiwan! They are so good the missionaries here!!

061217 mango icecream

Ice cream with fresh mangoes!

Love you all! Have a great week!

 

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

Drink It In.

060417 monkey

We did some explore contacting up on Monkey Mountain last week. Watch out for monkeys!

Great week here! Monsoon season has arrived and we got wrecked all week long. It pretty much dumped rain nonstop, and I can’t think of a time where we were 100% dry this week.

Apparently there was some pretty severe flooding up north in Taipei. It’s all good though! Rain outside means that Taiwanese people flock to the 7-11s here, which makes for good contacting, since they are all trapped inside, haha!

This week didn’t have much go on besides us finding. It seems like lately that’s all we have been doing. It’s good though. Builds character. We did find two new investigators this week, so that’s great! We hope we will be able to continue working with them in the future!

060417 Formosa Blvd

Gaoxiong’s Formosa Boulevard (underneath our area)

Aside from the finding, we got taken out to a super nice steak house this past week by a wealthy member in the other ward. He treated our whole district to some filet mignon. Good stuff. It’s been a while since I have had some good American steak.

060417steak

My excellent steak

Elder George and I are still getting along super well, and it has been pretty fun to troll around with him looking for people to teach! Despite the challenges, our faith hasn’t dropped yet! I’m hoping this week we will be able to whip up some success and see some miracles!

I hope y’all had a great one! Happy summer break! Summer here means rain, heat, and mangoes, so it’s not all too bad! I love you all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

端午節快樂 – Happy Dragon Boat Festival

052817 dragon boats

Dragon boats ready for racing on the river.

Hello family and friends! Happy Dragon Boat Festival! It is just another one of the thousand cool holidays they have here in China! There are tons of people in Gaoxiong right now for the famous Dragon Boat races along the 愛河 (river).  This week was full of finding for us, as it seems all the past weeks have been here. Elder George and I are getting along well, and the work is moving along.

I was taught a valuable lesson on faith the other day. We had been out contacting all night long, and had zero success. It seemed like every person we talked to either had no interest or lived outside of our area. It was about 8:45 and I was feeling a little discouraged. We had nothing to show for our efforts. I related how I felt to Elder George, and he encouraged me to keep up the faith for the final 15 minutes and to go hard until the end of the night. I pushed all thoughts of discouragement outside of my head, and focused on the goal ahead of us. Surely enough, within those last 15 minutes we found 4 people who lived in our area, and who were willing to either set up times on the spot to meet with us, or give us their numbers for a later time to meet. They were the only 4 people who were interested that day. No matter how long I have been in the mission field, I still continue to learn something new every day. Although this week we didn’t find any new investigators, I know we gave it our all, and I know that the Lord knows that as well. I wouldn’t say I am proud of the result we put up for the week, as it is hard to say that with a big 0 tally for new investigators, but I can safely say I am proud of the effort we put into it. Sometimes when you go fishing, you some home empty handed. I do know though that if we are willing to keep working hard, being obedient, and putting our trust in the Lord, we will be rewarded with some people to teach.

052817 DeWitts A

Dinner with the Dewitts

Last night we were invited over to the DeWitt’s house for dinner again. If you remember, Brother DeWitt is the American Consul to Taiwan, and it is always an honor to be invited to their house. Interesting enough he served his mission here about 40 years ago, and now he is back as one of the American government big dogs. Dinner was filled with delicious American food and engaging stories. It is always a good time at their place.

052817 zoo hippo

Baby hippo and me at the zoo.

Last week we went to the zoo! Admission was ONLY 20 KUAI. Which is the equivalent of about 60 cents USD. Good stuff. Funny thing there is that the zoo is on top of Monkey Mountain, and the wild monkeys like to come and mess with the zoo animals. The zoo has hired a guy who drives around on an electric scooter and carries a paintball gun to shoot the wild monkeys with, haha.

That’s pretty much it for my week here. Today we are watching the dragon boat races and going to the lotus pond again. Should be a good one. I love you all! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud  一鳴長老

052817 pizza

Our new favorite cheap pizza!

Where The Gold At?

052417 funny guys

​We met some super funny Filipinos down at the port the other night. Bad quality picture, but good quality dudes!

From May 24, 2017

大家好! (Hello Everyone!)

Transfers have come and gone, and I am staying in GaoXiong ShiZhong for a 3rd! Elder Choi is headed farther south to the DongGang ward, and my new companion is Elder George from Fresno, CA!

 

052417 Elder George

Elder George- my new comp

Things have been going a little slow here lately. It feels like we have been going out to find and are just coming up empty handed every day. It is hard to be in a super small area like this. You bike the same 3 streets every day and things start to feel stale. No worries though! Hopefully Elder George can be the key to unlock the treasure chest of gold that this city has to offer!

As of late, our solid investigators are-

昶麟- Same old story for him… He comes to church every week, has had all of the missionary lessons, but is unwilling to get baptized. He is the one whose uncle is the bishop of the ward and all of his friends are members as well. We don’t really know what to do with him at this point except keep trying…

有信- His name in Chinese literally means “have faith”! He is a 50+ year old dude we met on the street a couple weeks ago. He has been to church 3 weeks in a row, AND HAS READ THE ENTIRE BOOK OF MORMON. He has been looking into tons of other Christian churches for the past few years, but has yet to find one which “has the whole truth”. His problem is that he doesn’t actually live in GaoXiong… he is actually from TaiBei, but is trying to sell a house here, so his time with us is very limited before he goes back home.

小芳- She is super cool, but a little weird haha! She was found by some other missionaries in our district, but lives in our area. She LOVES animals, and most of the lessons we have had with her have been focused on animals… She is kind of like one of those PETA people, except a Taiwanese version. Lately she has been more willing to listen to gospel stuff though, so that is great! She sells soap at a mall here, and when I told her I sold soap for my job back in HS she lost it haha!

峻銓- He is such a bro and a new investigator! He is a member referral from one of the YSA’s in our ward! They have been dating for like a year, and she felt like it was time to bring him to church! We have only met with him once, but it was a super great lesson. He has also been to church the past two weeks as well! Hopefully his GF keeps pushing hard, and we will be able to see him baptized in a few weeks!

Hopefully these next few weeks will help us reap the benefits of the seeds we are trying to sew out here each day! There’s not much else to talk about for this week… it was a slow one!

052417 Salmon sashimi

Our ward had a Young Men’s activity, where we bought a giant salmon and made salmon miso, salmon fried rice, fresh sashimi, baked salmon, and grilled salmon. Somehow that one fish was able to feed about 15 of us! It was delicious. This is one of the 3 trays of sashimi.

052417 Ramen Night

On Sunday we made 15 packs of ramen and had the LingYa elders over for lunch

We are probably going to the zoo today, so that should be fun! I hope y’all had a great one! Congrats to my little sister for graduating high school last week! Next stop- BYU! GO COUGS!!

Until next week-

Love

Elder Stroud