MAKE IT RAIN MIRACLES

This week was ridiculous. That is the only way I could describe it. I have never seen so many miracles on my mission. THIS WEEK WE FOUND 15 NEW INVESTIGATORS! To put that into perspective, the mission standard 2 months ago was 3 new investigators a week, and then got changed to 7, which is still a very, very lofty goal. We doubled that. This week the Lord led us to 3 new families that all are very prepared to hear the message of Jesus Christ.

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Bringing Jesus to the streets of Taiwan. Sunday night tracting is the only efficient time to do it here.

One of the families we found while lost and looking for a member’s house. As we biked past their house, we looked in and saw a family. Elder Poon stopped about 5 seconds later and said we needed to go back and hit them up. As we pulled up, I spoke some dumb Taiyu and made them all laugh, and we were graciously invited inside. Their family had 4 children, the youngest of which is 10. Taiwanese families having more than two children is very rare. They were a pretty rowdy bunch, but as soon as we said the opening prayer, you could feel the Spirit fall over the room as they all intently listened to the message we were sharing. We were invited back to share more next Friday.

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Cool bro we met playing basketball at this secret court in the middle of nowhere under an overpass in our area.

 

The second crazy miracle we saw happened that same day when, we were waiting at the church for a member to eat dinner with us. A man randomly walked in, asked to have a tour of the church, and asked us how he could better know God. Things like that never happen.

 

 

 

For Thanksgiving our ward put on a MASSIVE activity, even though Taiwanese people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving at all. But it was a massive party with enough food to feed the 200+ people there in true Thanksgiving fashion. Someone even brought COSTCO pumpkin pie, so on top of the rice, noodles, and pretty much all the other non-traditional thanksgiving food, we American missionaries had at least some normality.

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Costco pumpkin pie with chopsticks! And still rocking the Squanto headband.

We missionaries were tasked with telling the story of how Thanksgiving came to be, and I was given the role of Squanto in the play lol! It was pretty hard to translate all of that stuff into Chinese, but we managed to do it!

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The life of Squanto, and two of our investigators, Qiu DiXiong and Pony.

I was just so grateful this week, and I can honestly say it was the most grateful week of my life. Being away from family was a lot easier than I thought it would be when you are focused on trying to help others, and that is all we do every day.

 

Be grateful for what you have and focus on the positives of life. I invite everyone to read Elder Neil A. Andersen’s Thanksgiving MTC address on being grateful. I know I learned a lot reading it.

https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-neil-l-andersen-delivers-thanksgiving-message-at-provo-mtc?lang=eng

 

 

Pretty much that’s it for my week! My Taiwan national health card came this week, so we are going to the dentist for the equivalent of $3 today to get a checkup and teeth cleaning! Yeah… there isn’t much to do here on pday, lol. Love you all! Happy December!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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I thought I ordered seafood at this steakhouse, but I got a ginormous squid instead. Doesn’t matter, it was delicious.

 

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Tastes Like Dog

Another great week out here in Changhua! This email is going to be pretty short as we are going up to Taizhong today so not a ton of time, but I’ll try and touch on the basics.

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Went up to Ba Gua Shan again on exchanges with Elder Bradford. His recent convert family from Tainan came up to hang out with us.

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They took us out to lunch at a place where you can grill up as much meat as you want.

 

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Our table was number B9, like my dorm building at BYU, so I had to take a tool pic.

We are teaching so many cool people!

Our most golden investigator, Sister Lin (same last name as Jeremy Lin (and actually pronounced like leen) is progressing super quickly towards baptism, and is super awesome! She is willing to accept any invite, and has come to church twice!

We still are teaching like 10 different people from Mainland China, so that’s fun! It’s so crazy to teach someone with LITERALLY no religious background, like never even heard of Jesus Christ or even Buddha.

This week in English class we asked the class what they ate for dinner, one of our students, Susan, said she ate 狗(Gǒu), which means dog. We were like 熱狗(RèGǒu)??? which literally means hot dog, and she was like “no”… 狗肉(GǒuRòu) which means dog meat. We were like… um what, and the rest of the class turned and looked at her and was like umm… what. In Taiwan they don’t eat dog, but in some parts of China they do, so everyone was kind of shocked. She said that there is a place by the college where you can eat dog, so were gonna try and find it this next week hahaha.

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Tim, the legend himself, straight out of Inner-Mongolia. He offered to bring us back some fake Rolex’s when he goes to China next month, so that should be sweet.

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Tim, (one of my favorite members) had us over for dinner this week. We bought his kids OREO cakes, and they were super happy

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Here’s a picture of a delicious bottle of Lebron’s Mix Sprite that they only have in Taiwan, I think.

Pretty much that was it for our week! Everything else was pretty standard. Hope you all had a great one! Remember to keep us missionaries in your prayers! Love y’all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

FenYuan- The Land of Gold

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Fresh cuts courtesy of He JieMei

Another great week her in ZhangHua! We found 7 new investigators this week, which was pretty sweet! Also we taught like 3 DaLu Ren, or people from Mainland China, so that was fun! For whatever reason we are just finding DaLu Ren like crazy here, so it’s interesting haha! It’s fun to finally hear Chinese accents like the kind I was taught in High School!

This week we went out to our Secondary area FenYuan, which is like an hour bike ride away in the middle of nowhere, and we struck gold when we met this super sick lady who came to church on Sunday! She said she loved church and can’t wait to come back, so that was a cool miracle!

People are going crazy for Trump here, and because we are literally the only Americans, they get so happy when they see us haha! This dude hopped off his scooter on election day and started jumping up and down and hugging us and going nuts just yelling “ChuanPu” which is the transliteration of his name here lol. We also visited one of the LAs in our ward and she gave us some fresh cuts for free, which was sick. We also got qinged to a chidaobao this week, which is always good!

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Free ChiDaoBaos are always nice

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Dinner with some of the Second Wards investigators!

So I was inspired by Elder Pothier this week to make a ESPN NOT TOP 10 of events that happened this week! Here ya go-

  1. At the ChiDaoBao Elder Rindlisbacher, who is in my district, scooped up a bowl of “Yogurt” and took a giant bite of what was actually mayonnaise. hahahahaha
  1. After English class we were talking with one of our students, Tim, who is also a member, and setting up a dinner appointment with him and his wife. The entire conversation he was just no shame ripping audible farts, so that was funny!
  1. Chinese mainland people have a very heavy accent, and Taiwanese mandarin does not. For example in Taiwan if you want to say the word “where” you say NaLi, and in northern parts of china you say “Nar”. Both are correct in both places. In the middle of one of our lessons this week with a couple of college kids from China, we also had the same farting Tim as our “member present”. Well Tim is from Inter-Mongolia, which 算 China. Tim has a Taiwanese wife, and has been living here for about 10 years, so he has a Taiwanese accent, but as soon as he heard these kids talk, he busted out his old accent and just started going hard with these kids. I looked at Elder Poon and just burst out laughing in the middle of the lesson because we literally did not understand a word of their Chinese because the accent was so heavy.
  1. There is a pretty valid stereotype that all the sisters in the mission have awful Chinese. The sisters in our ward went out to this teppenyaki place we go to all the time for food. It is $60 Kuai which is less than $2USD for a pork or beef teppenyaki, but for whatever reason the chicken is $120 Kuai. Well the sisters went alone one night and both ordered chicken, and were shocked when the dude kept on insisting that they needed to pay $60 kuai more than they thought it was. There is literally a giant sign out front that says the prices of things, but they both can’t read characters soooo… yeah. They ended up throwing a fit and leaving because they thought they were being scammed. Then the next day they came crying to us and we told them the deal lol. We went that night with just the elders and joked with the 老闆 that we wanted $60 kuai chicken too! He wasn’t happy hahahah

Pretty much that’s it for this week! There’s not much to do here in ZhangHua, so we are pretty bored on pdays, but that’s ok! I hope you all had a great week and saw some cool miracles! Love  y’all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Thanks, Lake Reams Ward for the awesome banner!!

 

Smells Like Curry (Not the Taiwanese kind, and not the kind with a great 3 ball)

Hello all from the wonderful city of CHANGGGGGHUA!

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The boys

This past week was honestly one of the best on my mission!! Elder Poon and I are a dynamic duo here watching over the Lord’s flock in ChangHua City, and it is so much fun to do missionary work together! This area is sick because 1. It has a place we call 食物路 and it is a giant road with like 50 super cheap, super good restaurants and hundreds of people who are all super easy to contact! 2. It has a college literally at the chapel’s front door with thousands of college kids who are willing to talk. 3. Our apartment is bigger than a shoe box, so that is cool. 4. The Ward is awesome and loves missionaries and missionary work. 5. Asian college girls literally throw their phone numbers at white American boys, so it has been soooo easy to contact here haha! All you have to do is speak some Chinese, flash a smile, and boom, potential investigator. There are so many other good things about the area, but that is all I’m gonna write for now.

We have some sick investigators, almost all whom are college students, and they are all super cool. We have a Qiu Zhao Wei, a 20 year old bro who is in love with one of the sisters in the mission, who he met at college in Taibei, and he is on date for baptism next week. He gave his testimony in sacrament on Sunday and it was so awesome! The dude is sick and I can’t wait to help him come unto Christ real soon!

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Love me some good old-fashioned idolatry (ft. 八卦山) the largest Buddha in Taiwan (like 80 feet tall)

We are teaching this dude named Rsuria!! Picture the most stereotypical Indian guy you can imagine, mustache, almost unibrow, super heavy Indian accent when he speaks English, a bushy head of hair, and that’s him!  He is straight out of India and doesn’t speak any Chinese at all, but is going to college here (yeah, I’m not sure how that works either). But he is hilarious, and the Ward absolutely LOVES him! I have to translate all of church for him, which is super hard, but it’s worth it! Taiwanese people are super racist because there is literally no races here besides Asians, like the diversity in Taiwan is non-existent, so the Ward wanted to just call him “The Indian” and I was like NOOOOO you can’t do that hahah, call him by his name!! Also in Elders quorum one of the brothers sitting next to me says “He smells like curry”, and I just started laughing hahah. TAIWAN NEEDS TO CHILL.

We decided to go “basketball contacting” at the college and we met this court of like 4 kids playing pickup ball. We tried to get them to come to church on Sunday, and they said no. SO we said “if both elder Poon and I make half court shots, you have to come”. They obviously agreed because it was a ridiculous proposition, and you should have seen their faces when Elder Poon drained the first shot hahahahaha. Unfortunately I was not as lucky, and clanked the rim on my shot, so we didn’t get them at church :/

WE got contacted by some Vietnamese prostitute this week and she was more than happy to give us her number lol. Next week we are going to give her a Vietnamese Book of Mormon so joke’s on her.

I think this week one of the biggest testimony builders to me was ordering a Book of Mormon in the Tamil language, Rsuria’s native language. It just made me think… we have Book of Mormon’s in like 100+ languages, and all of them have the same content, the word of God. I am in Taiwan, I can read, write, and speak fluent Chinese. That is a crazy thought. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English in 1830, and I am sharing about it in Chinese(and sometimes Tamil) every day in 2016. How blessed we are that the work has progressed this far. This really is God’s gospel and his church.

I love you all so much and thank you for the support you give me every week! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Happy Halloween! Claw machine full of bloody hands (ft. Elder Poon)

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Cool rock we found

Trick-or-Tracting in 彰化 (ZhangHua)

Hello all! It was an eventful week for me here!! I got the movecall today to head 15 minutes south to ZhangHua! My new companion is Elder Poon (Yes, that really is his name), and he is such a bro! He’s from Cottonwood Heights, Utah, and we get along super well! His mom was born in Vietnam, and his dad in Thailand, so he looks very Asian, but he definitely is 100% American, so I’m glad I can have a comp I can bro down with again! I can tell missionary work is going to be very fun this upcoming transfer!

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My new stud companion Elder Poon

We had a pretty rough last week in NanTun, almost all of our lessons stood us up or 放我們的鴿子 (The google translate is awful for that, so don’t trust it, just ask your local Chinese person). So it was a very long week full of let downs on the investigator side of things. BUT I am pumped to do the work here in ZhangHua!

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Looking for adventure!

We did go to Sun Moon Lake last Monday, and that was a blast! Probably the best P-day I’ve had during my mission! It was super fun there! I took lots of pictures, so y’all can check them out!

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Met up with the PuLi missionaries at Sun Moon Lake! The Chinese says Rì Yuè Tán which literally means sun moon lake.

Other than that I don’t have much to write about for this email, but next week’s will be full of my adventures preaching the Gospel here in ZhangHua! Since today is Halloween, we are going to go Trick-or-Tracting tonight, but instead of costumes, we are dressed a missionaries, and instead of asking for candy, we are asking if we can share the message of the Restoration. So it should be fun!

I love you all so much! Thank you for the all the support and love you show me!

p.s. I just had to hack into the computer to remove a virus from the SD card that a lot of missionaries get from the internet cafe computers here, so I feel super smart now.

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Said goodbye to some dope members in NanTun! This one’s English name is Messi (like the soccer player) and he is moving to Leeds, England to work in like two weeks! He helped us out a ton and was a great friend to us, he was such a bro!

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Some SUPER 高級 Chinese. The three Taiwanese people I was with were struggling to read it. This is some very old Confucian style writings. 張老師邢老師加油!

Mushroom Mountain

From October 24, 2016

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Mushroom farm

Hello all!! This week’s email isn’t going to be very long because 1. Not much happened this week, and 2. We are going to Sun Moon Lake today, and I don’t have much time to write.

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A giant 柚子 (Pomelo)

On Monday we decided we wanted to go hiking up in DaKeng, but instead we ended up getting lost and going to XinShe instead. XinShe is the mushroom capital of Taiwan, and if you know me, you know I’m not a fan of mushrooms, so I was less than entertained there lol.

We went to this giant mushroom farm and then wandered around the little town up on the mountain there.

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Even in the middle of nowhere there is still pizza!

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Crazy puppet show these two people were doing outside of a temple in the middle of nowhere. There was nobody watching them except us, and they were preforming before we got there. There were huge speakers blasting super advanced TaiYu and the three native missionaries I was with said they all didn’t even understand it.

I am pretty sure the people there had never seen a white person, because they were gawking at me all day. When I spoke Chinese to one of them they completely lost it haha! Also one man practically threw his newborn infant at me telling me to take a picture with it because I was white haha!  But it was a fun day, and I took lots of pictures, so you all can look at them.

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Amas getting ready for the Flower Festival in XinShe

We were lucky to have our annual mission tour this past week, where a general authority comes and visits the mission. Elder Funk the Asia Area President and of the 70, came and visited us. He said tons of cool things, but of what he said, I think the thing that struck me the most was a quick story he told us. He said that before general conference every year, every single general authority has a big meeting in Salt Lake. He said at the start of the meeting, President Nelson of the 12 got up on the stage and said “Every single General Authority of the church is with us here today, except Elder Michael Teh, who is currently on assignment serving as the Taiwan Taichung Mission president, we thank him for his service and note his absence.” It really made me think how blessed this mission is to have the ONLY General Authority Mission President out of 400+ missions in the entire world. Another interesting thing he said is that the Asia Area covers half of the world’s population 3.5 Billion+ people, and yet only has 1,350 missionaries covering it. It makes me feel like there is so much more that needs to be done!

He said that right now is a turning point for the church in Taiwan, where before it was a growing church, like it now is in Africa, and now it is an established one, more like America. We as missionaries have to help it make that transition.

I finished the Book of Mormon again this week and received another confirmation of the truthfulness of that book! What a blessing it is that we can open up a book and read the words Jesus and of prophets of old. My characters have gotten to a point where I can comprehend most of them, so this next read through, starting today, will be in strictly Chinese, wish me luck!

That’s pretty much it for me today, I hope you all had great weeks! Enjoy the pictures!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Love breathing in all of that smog/pollution

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Giant Buddha on top of this temple… compare to the scooters parked below.