小琉球>台灣大陸 (Little LiuQiu Island, Even Cooler than Mainland Taiwan)

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Elder Choi and I in front of the famous Flower Vase rock on Little LiuQiu Island.

Hello all! Another great week out here! Last Monday we made it out to 小琉球 (Little LiuQiu) that tiny little coral island off the coast of Taiwan, and it was pretty sick, probably the best pday of my mission thus far! We took a ferry ride for about 30 minutes to get to the island. Then we went around the entire island and stopped at all of the tourist spots, and it was a blast!  Below you’ll see pictures of us on the ferry ride, my tag at one of the shell sand beaches, Elder Choi and I at a little fishing marina, and the delicious fresh strawberry shaved ice/ice cream we ate.  It was super weird because we didn’t feel like we were even in Taiwan, which technically we were but weren’t!

 

The member who took us there was talking about taking us to China for pday next week, and we were like NOOOO we cannot do that! If didn’t you know, missionaries live by hundreds of meticulous rules, and one of the biggest ones is that you cannot leave your mission boundaries, so China would be a big 不行 (No No!) haha!

Anyways this week was great! We really worked super hard on progressing a couple of investigators towards baptism next week, and the majority of our time was spent helping them out! One of them is a golden member referral, and the other is a super weird dude who has a real desire to follow Jesus Christ and change his life, so it’s been fun!

I don’t really have much else to talk about, Elder Choi ran out of money, so we have been eating ramen noodles and eggs for just about every meal this past week. New money comes in on Friday, so hopefully we will be able to get back into eating real food again!

I love this work, and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being a missionary at times is extremely hard, but at other times extremely rewarding. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve these people and to serve the Lord! Have a great one! I love you all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

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Dragons, Tigers, and Sharks. Oh My!

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This past week was pretty great! Like I mentioned last week, we went to the Dragon Tiger Pagodas for pday and had a blast hanging with other missionaries and looking at cool Buddhist things. More pictures below.

We were also lucky enough to have one of the Less-Active members we rescued in AnDing come down to GaoXiong to take us out to lunch at a super nice buffet on the top floor of a skyscraper in our area. The restaurant is called 海港 (Harbor Restaurant) and it is a seafood themed place. We ate unlimited sashimi, shark, frog, and some foie gras! It was super nice! It was also super nice to catch up and hear about how the AnDing ward is doing these days. Crazy to think that I was there about a year ago! Time flies out here.

Right now we are doing pretty OK missionary work wise. We have a solid 7 investigators on date for baptism within the next month, but as it stands right now, most won’t hit their goals, so we’re gonna have to step our game up in that area. We are struggling to find, so that is definitely our biggest problem. It is crazy to think that with the millions of people who live in this city, how much harder it is to find than in the more rural areas. People are just always in a rush here and not very willing to meet. It’s ok though! We keep the faith, we keep working hard, and we see results!

032017 Lai Family BaptismThe Lai family got baptized 2 weeks ago in ZhangHua by my former companion Elder Daines! I found the Lai’s during my first transfer there with Elder Poon, and I taught them all of the lessons over a three month span! Unfortunately I left the week before they got baptized, but I still count them as my own! One of the coolest families I have taught my whole mission! SO pumped for them!

Today we are heading out to 小琉球 (Xiaoliuqiu Island), which should make for a super fun pday!  It’s Taiwan’s only large coral island and you take a ferry about 15 km off the coast to get there.  It has famous caves and rock formations.  We are having a member take us out there with one of our investigators! It should be a cool adventure! Because of that time is short today, so this email will be as well! I hope you all have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

One Year Down, One To Go

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Traditional 1 Year Mark – Burning of a shirt!

Well the big day finally came and passed, I have officially hit the halfway point of my mission. As I look back on the past year of my life, I can honestly say that I have grown and matured more than I have the entire rest of my life.

Missionary work is hard. There is no missionary on earth who can’t say that. Every day you live by extremely high standards, an exhausting schedule of work, and you see countless times of rejection and disappointment, after rejection and disappointment.

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Bring the world His truth.

There are two big things I have learned in the past year.

  1. No matter the situation, whether it be hard or easy, whether you have an effect on the outcome, favorable or not, you can always choose the attitude you have throughout the whole process. I have definitely had the hardest times of my life on the mission, but because I choose to try and keep a positive attitude throughout the trials, I know that they were easier to overcome.
  1. Turning outward is the most effective remedy for hard times. There is no way I would voluntarily subject myself to the trials of missionary work, if it were not for the people. Looking back on the past year and all of the sucky times that it has included, everything has all been balanced out by realizing how many people I have helped turn to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the change and progression that the gospel has on people, and the outcome of everything makes it all worth it. When we are selfless and turn outward is when we have the easiest times. Helping others only helps ourselves.

I am so grateful for this opportunity that I have been given to serve this people for two years, and I definitely ready to hit the ground even harder this last year. My goal is to help as many people as possible, and get on that plane home feeling accomplished. Going home with super good Chinese is another goal as well.

This week we found some new investigators and dropped in some baptismal goals, so the work is moving along well here. Today we are going to the famous 龍虎塔 (Tiger Dragon Tower) to check it out for pday! It should be super fun!

Last week’s trip to Monkey Mountain was awesome.  Check out those monkeys!

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I love you all and hope you have another great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

P.S.  Here’s a couple pictures of my new favorite snacks we eat at Qijin Island – grilled squid on a stick and “bucket of snails” (both actually super good!)

 

 

In the city, the city of GaoXiong (Kaohsiung)- We keep it rockin’

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I ❤ Kaohsiung

Very interesting week here! We taught a total of 0 lessons and pretty much spent our time on the streets finding. Weeks like that always go by super slowly. GaoXiong is sick though! The city is HUGE! To put it into perspective, we have a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on the top floor of one of the skyscrapers in our area. VERY different from the rice paddies and fields of ZhangHua. Our area is super small size wise, only including the QianJin, YanCheng, GuShan, and XinXing districts of the city. The coolest part is that our area has an island called QiJin in it, and it is basically a Taiwanese Key West.

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The beach at QiJin and all of the freighter ships lined up coming into port from China

We can only get there by ferry boat, but it is super cool! There are literally millions of people here, and the potential is endless! The only bad part is that because our area is super super small, we find referrals for other parts of the city for days. Every time we find someone who lives outside of our area we say that another person gets baptized in Brazil. Lol.

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Basic tag in sand pic

Unfortunately because I am basically whitewashing into the area (my companion and I both being new to this area), we have to start from scratch to find people to teach, but with some diligence, we shouldn’t have any problems!

My new companion is Elder Choi from Provo, UT! His family is all Korean, and he also speaks fluent Korean! He is only 18 and graduated HS in 2016. He’s been on island for about 7 months, but his Chinese is super good, so it is easy to do work with him. He is a bro and we have very similar personalities! We should do great work here together.

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Chinese new year all over again with Elder Choi at dinner last night. Drinking winter melon tea which is super good!

That’s pretty much it for this week! Today we are going to Monkey Mountain for hiking and playing with the monkeys. It should be pretty fun!

Also shout out to my sister Liz on getting accepted to BYU!!! GO COUGS!

Love you all!  Until next week!

Elder Stroud

Off to Tall Hero 高雄

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Goodbye, Elder Daines it’s been great!

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On my way to my new assignment in Kaohsiung!

Well all, this week’s email will be very short, as in a second, I have to get on a train to “Tall Hero” Kaohsiung City (actually pronounced GaoShiong, Taiwan’s pinyin system, which translates Mandarin into phonetic English, is just awful). I will be serving in the ShiZhong 市中 ward in the SanMin district of the city, which 市中 translated literally means city center, so needless to say things will be pretty hustling and bustling!kaohsiung-map

 

I have only heard good things about Kaohsiung City, and am pumped to serve the people down there. Because it is really far down south, there is lots more Taiwanese spoken. Needless to say, there will be lots of opportunities to squawk some Taiyu (the native Taiwanese language) at old grandmas. #ComingHomeTrilingual

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I was asked to baptize this little 8 year old girl in our ward.

This week was pretty great here. We set up Lai DiXiong for his baptism next week. A process that has been 3 months coming. He is pumped to be baptized, and of course I am very sad I am going to miss out on the big day.

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Lai DiXiong and his family.

 

 

Elder Daines and I worked the college to get some new investigators, and we saw a lot of success there.

 

 

 

 

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The 帥哥 (Handsome Guy) Haircut. LOL!

Also a lady at church shaved my head on the sides and gave me a pretty sick haircut. Probably not missionary appropriate, but it should grow out in a few weeks haha! Pretty much I said I wanted a sick haircut, and she just took it way too far lol!

 

 

 

Anyways, I’ll write more next week when I’m in Kaohsiung! I love you all! Have a great one!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Found on the side of a building #yolo