House Hunters (ShiZhong Elders Edition)

042417 ​謝秉燊 hyped for baptism

Fo Guang Shan – Taiwan’s largest Buddhist Monastery

What a week it has been! We got home Monday night after proselyting to find our apartment infested with hundreds of termites everywhere! After being on the phone with the mission office and the landlord almost all night, we finally got the green light to move out! We knew that our apartment had termite problems, as there are a few structurally insecure places in the floor, where if you were to jump on them, you would fall through, but all of the termites decided to come out at once and mate to set up new colonies.

We have been in talks with real estate agents and landlords all week long. He haven’t even done any missionary work this past week… Basically the mission has given us a super small budget and full responsibility to find and secure a new apartment. If you thought buying a house in America is a long, confusing, and frustrating process, try doing it completely in Chinese. Reading contracts and doing negotiations in Chinese is pretty dang sucky. To say it has been a stressful week would be an understatement.

Other than our housing fiasco, we were lucky to baptize 謝秉燊, and he is awesome!

042417 Baptism

​謝秉燊 hyped for baptism

Member referrals are the key to missionary success! We are looking good for another baptism this week with 劉見昇! His progression and change has been incredible! We have been lucky enough to help both of them along this path!

Anyways, not much else to write home about this week! Keep us in your prayers, and hopefully we will be able to find a new apartment soon!  Have a great one, I love you all! Good luck to the LHP lacrosse boys headed to the state finals again! Keep the dynasty going! LET’S RIDEEEEEEEE BOYSSSSSS

Love,

Elder Stroud

Easter… What’s that? 復活節。。。那有什麼意思?

Happy Easter from the ShiZhong Elders!

A pretty average week here! We spent most of the week getting our investigators ready for baptism these upcoming weeks. Although we have a tough time finding new investigators here, the people that we have found are almost all super solid investigators who want to be baptized, so with the way it is looking now, we should have anywhere between 3-5 baptisms this transfer! Especially for our mission here in Taiwan, that is super good. Last month the mission only had 20 total baptisms. Needless to say… things are going well! This Saturday we should be baptizing 謝秉燊, and he is super pumped! If you remember, he is the graduate student who was already a Christian, so it has been pretty easy to teach him. He has had no problems, and has done all of the homework we give him! Every time we meet, he always talks about some super deep scripture doctrine, which is fun to go into with him! Teaching him has made me realize something super important on the mission. Investigators who actually, sincerely, read the Book of Mormon, receive a witness of its truths and get baptized 9 times out of 10. There is power in the book, and it truly is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is no coincidence Thomas S. Monson gave his conference talk on the power of the book. It truly is the most powerful tool in conversion, be it personal or of others, that we have today. The hardest part is just getting the people to just have the motivation to read the book…. but that is another story!

I think the saddest thing of this past week was that even though it was Easter yesterday, nobody in Taiwan cared. Easter wasn’t even mentioned at church yesterday once! Crazy to think how different culture is here. Thankfully we got fed dinner last night by a member, but instead of your Easter ham and fixin’s, we ate rice, dumplings, cabbage, sweet potatoes, and some mystery meat. Easter was also not mentioned at dinner once either, lol. But I’m not complaining! Getting fed by the members is always a blessing.

This past week we went to the 85 Sky Tower here in GaoXiong. It is the second tallest building Taiwan behind the Taipei 101. It is pretty dang tall. I think the coolest part of the building is that they designed it to look like the Chinese character 高 which means tall. Chinese people are creative! Also, it is starting to become monsoon season here, which means rain every day! I was reminded of Elder Choi’s conference talk about “drinking it in”. My companion Elder Choi and I decided that “drinking in” the acid rain of Gaoxiong was probably not the best idea haha, so we decided to not heed his uncle’s advice.

041717 View from top of 85

A view of our area form the top of the 85! About everything in this picture besides the very very back skyscrapers is our area!

Today we are going to Fo Guang Shan (佛光山) which is a giant Buddhist monastery up in the remote mountains of GaoXiong, so it should be a super fun trip!

I hope you all had a great week and a great Easter! Jesus Christ lives and I am so grateful for the fact that after death we all can live as He does as well. I am grateful to be His humble servant.

Love,

Elder Stroud

041717 Coral Kingdom

The Coral Kingdom, another name for Taiwan.

 

 

墾丁and 總會大會 (KenDing & General Conference)

041417 Kenting

The beaches at KenDing National Park

Last week we went to 墾丁 (KenDing National Park) for p-day and it was super fun! 墾丁 (KenDing) is the very southern-most tip of Taiwan and has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! It was spring break there, so there were tons of people going crazy, not the most missionary appropriate, but we stayed safe!

041417 Kenting Beach

Nothing much else happened this week. We are progressing our existing investigators, but struggling to build up our pool. ShiZhong is notorious for being hard to find in, but no worries, we keep the faith! Lately Elder Choi and I have decided that we have gotten too fat here, so we have been going super hard working out every day. We’ve been waking up extra early at 6AM to go run for an hour, come home study Chinese for 2 hours, do personal study for an hour, and head out the door to proselyte. We also have an extra hour of Chinese language study during the middle of the day. Our Chinese is pretty sick at this point, but we are always pushing to get it better. I am learning about 30 new characters a day, as well as reviewing and retaining the old ones.  When we come home at 9 at nights, we hit an hour of abs and core workout before writing in our journals and heading to bed! The problem is that Taiwan has no healthy food, so we are struggling diet wise. This week we have decided to go on an all fruit diet, so we will see how that works out haha.  But one healthy thing we like is this…

041417 Sashimi at Kentin

Fresh sashimi! This plate was less than $6 USD

I really loved General Conference this past week, especially Elder Costa’s talk focused toward investigators and people not familiar with the church. We showed it to one of our investigators last night and he cried, so it was a pretty cool experience! You can check it out here- https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/to-the-friends-and-investigators-of-the-church?lang=eng

It was also cool to hear from Elder Choi, who is my companion’s uncle! His dad was a feature of the talk so that was cool for him. Small world.

Anyways, that’s about it for this week! I hope everyone had a good one! Until next time!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

Hard Work >

040217 Ocean in our area

Having the ocean in your area comes with perks!

Hello all! I was another week in the books here! The work is progressing as are most of our investigators! This week at church we managed to get all of our baptismal goals at sacrament, which was a pretty big miracle! Right now the main people we are working with are:

陳昶麟- He is a member referral and the bishop’s nephew and about 32, his best friend is a super strong member, and his only problem right now is a desire to be baptized. He meets all of the other requirements, but that one. We are working super hard on that. He is supposed to get baptized this week, but my guess is that he probably won’t. Hopefully soon though!

謝秉燊- He is a graduate student and a super golden member referral and his is on baptismal date for 4/22! He has come to church these past 3 weeks and become super good friends with all of the members! Yesterday he was super pumped to tell everyone that he will be getting baptized in a few weeks! He is looking super solid!

全軒- She is a 20 year old waitress working at a night club, who is a Aboriginal Taiwanese, and already a Christian! She has a giant tattoo of Jesus on her arm, and is also pumped for baptism on 5/6! The best part about her is that she has time pretty much whenever we have time to meet! She also has investigated other Christian churches in the past and said she didn’t like any of them, so perfect for The Restoration.

劉見昇- He is a really interesting dude. He is about 42 and was a self-contact. He walked into the church at random with a cup of beer and asked us to teach him about Jesus. He really wants to change his life and follow Christ, but has lots of commandment problems, so we are working closely with him on that. He also was supposed to get baptized this week, but we pushed it back to 5/6 to allow him to work with us more on his problems! He has probably the strongest desire to follow Christ out of anyone I have taught on my mission thus far, so super cool!

Because our area is super small, it is pretty hard to find. The biggest problem is that, in being the city center, everybody works here but nobody actually lives here, so we find referrals for days! Elder Choi and I keep grinding though and hopefully we will keep seeing success!

040217 Ride the bull

Killing the mechanical bull. All the Taiwanese people were super impressed how well us 白人 (white boys) could stay on. #CowboyBlood

This past week we went to a fun little amusement place with games and bowling and a mechanical bull, so that was super fun!

We also got our hair cut by this super famous dude named 鍾 who owns a very upscale salon, but cuts missionaries hair for free because he was baptized about 5 years ago! He literally gets flown around the world to cut famous people’s hair. Probably the best hair cut I have ever gotten! He doesn’t use buzz clippers, but holds 5 pairs of scissors in one hand to get a fresh cut! He said he is moving to Utah in a few months to open up a salon there, so keep your eyes open for a 鍾 (Bell) Salon!

040217 Haircuts with Famous Hairdresser Member

Haircuts from 鍾 (Bell)

This week we somehow managed to get fed by the members every day, which was super nice! The members here love Elder Choi and I haha! One this past week we had 2 lunch appointments and 2 dinner appointments. It was too much. We got taken out to Smokey Joe’s, which is a super expensive Mexican restaurant, the only one in Taiwan, so it was fun to eat Mexican food, something that doesn’t exist here!

040217 Smokey Joes Mexican Food

Smokey Joe’s with 吳弟兄

We also ran into this group of about 50 tourists from mainland China who freaked out over us and took about 100 pictures with us! It was super funny. One of them had a Jehovah’s Witness book that he was reading that some JW gave him, and I said “no you don’t want to read that, read this instead” so I traded him for a Book of Mormon haha! Good times. Last night we got invited over to the U.S. Consulate to Taiwan’s house to eat dinner, and we had a thanksgiving feast! It was a pretty good week!

040217 US Consulate House

US Consulate’s Home with other missionaries in our district. Thanksgiving feast was awesome!

 

Anyways, we are going to Kenting National Park today, so it should be really fun! It’s one of the top tourist destinations in Taiwan and famous for its mountains, beaches, and coral cliffs.  I hope you all had a good week, and I hope you enjoyed General Conference! (Ours is next week due to a translation delay).

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

040217 Pokemon Cards

Elder Choi and I found a shop that sells sick Chinese Pokemon cards for dirt cheap. This ones in this picture cost about 100 kuai ($3.30)