A Time of Learning

Hello all! Happy 10/10 Day! Today is kind of like Taiwan’s 4th of July, as they celebrate the start of their country 100+. So right now I am sitting in a WangKah, or internet cafe, surrounded by 100’s of high school kids who don’t have school today, all playing League of Legends, blasting dubstep, and swearing at their microphones in Chinese and really broken English. It’s pretty funny actually! Quite the contrast from my friend Matt who is serving in Honduras right now, and who wrote in his email last week that the internet went out in their place like 3 times and they had to move. If the internet went out here, there would be riots for sure.

beach2

beach

OLD pictures I found when we went to the beach like 4 months ago.

It was such a great week over here with General Conference (we were delayed a week due to the translation stuff), and I can honestly say I learned so much. I think the greatest thing about GC is that every single person can get something out of it no matter what you personally need. Aside from GC this week, we had quite the bland, boring week with nothing out of the ordinary. We are teaching TONS of people, it is pretty sick. I have never had a bigger investigator pool on my mission. Right now we have about 15 investigators and about 7 on date for baptism in the future. The Lord really is blessing us for our hard work. Because we have so many investigators, the majority of our time is spent going to and from lesson to lesson, so we haven’t had much time to get out and contact, thus the lack of picture this week. (Sorry!) Also the fact that our area is very small and in the middle of a huge city, with not much cool to see has limited my picture taking as well.

101016-home-shrine

It can be pretty intimidating going tracting when almost every door has a giant shrine to worship idols at behind it!

So for this week’s email I’m pretty much just gonna talk about General Conference. I know for me the biggest thing I got out of GC was the fact that we all need to look for the joy in our lives. I’m going to be very honest with you all, the past while of my mission I have rarely felt joy. It is extremely difficult to do what I do every day with the circumstances I have to do it all under. I know that personally I have been caught up in the grind of missionary work, with a companion who I hardly get along with, and I haven’t felt any joy. In reality I have been looking towards the negative of things, and not towards the blessings that I have right now. My favorite talks of this past GC were Elder Yamashita’s “Be Ambitious for Christ” and President Nelson’s “Joy and Spiritual Survival”. I think that Elder Yamashita’s talk really hit hard for me, as the focus of it was about an Elder who had such a desire to serve, who got called to serve in Japan, and because he was missing a leg and the reoccurring problems that came with that and riding a bike, he was sent home to a mission stateside where he could drive in a car. It really put things into perspective for me, and allowed me to see my situation with a new and different light. I realized that I take so many things for granted, and that I really need to refocus on what is most important. I was getting bogged down with the little things and not seeing the big picture. I think the most important quote from that talk was “We are ambitious for Christ when we serve faithfully, accept humbly, endure nobly, pray fervently, and partake worthily.” 

I realized that I needed to count my blessings and not focus on the negatives. I am so blessed to have a loving and supportive family, as well as the opportunity to come here to serve these people and teach about Christ, and as a bonus, at the same time become fluent in Chinese. Do I still have struggles? Absolutely. The mission is rarely a time of “sunshine and rainbows”, every day is hard work, and the fact that you are trying to teach a people something that will change their lives, but they won’t even give you a chance is hard on anyone. In President Nelson’s talk, this quote really stood out to me- “If we focus on the joy that will come to us, or to those we love, what can we endure that presently seems overwhelming, painful, scary, unfair, or simply impossible?” I have come to realize that all of the problems that I have always have a way of working themselves out in the end, no matter how daunting they seem in the moment. If we look for the joy in things, we WILL find it! I know that I’m so blessed to be here right now, and even though it is so hard, life changing lessons are being learned.

Sorry this email isn’t very interesting, I’ll try to send a better one next week! I challenge all of you to count your daily blessings and write down 3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day. I promise you that you will be better able to see the joy in life. I love you all so much! Thanks for staying safe during that hurricane! Until next week-

Love,

Elder Stroud

ikea-dinner

We went to Ikea for dinner this week. Let me tell you how strange it is to be eating at Ikea in Taiwan!

 

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