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

Checkmate, termites.

051517 Termites

Woke up in the old apartment to find 40ish termites running around in a circle in the sink. Weird because there is no wood in there…  

This week was awesome! We finally moved into our new apartment, and with no time to spare! As we were moving all of our stuff out, we discovered two new colonies of termites, one in an old dresser, and one in the walls behind the dresser! Gladly our new apartment is termite free (we hope) and we should have no bug problems anymore! It is pretty massive as far as missionary standards go, so we are pumped!

This week Elder Choi taught me to play a form of Chinese Chess, it is super fun, and we have been playing it all week long. In the parks here are tons of old A-mas 阿媽 and A-gongs 阿公. (Taiwanese for grandma and grandpa). They huddle around tables in groups of about 10 and bet on Chinese chess matches in the park all day long. Elder Choi and I decided to try and challenge an A-gong to a match, and not only could he believe that we could speak Chinese, but he couldn’t believe that we knew how to play Chinese chess either. 15 minutes and a whole lot of stunning unbelief later, I reigned Chinese chess victor over the A-gongs of the park.

051517 Chinese Chess

I am the A-gong now!

This week was pretty much just moving in to our new apartment and out of our old one, so there still was pretty much no time to proselyte. No worries though! We should be able to pick up where we left of and hit this last week of the transfer hard! Elder Choi and I have determined to push ourselves this week in order to hit our goals.

051517 Korean dinner
Last night we had a pretty awesome dinner at a member’s house. Because it was Mother’s Day, we decided to put together a mother themed spiritual share. The scriptures in Alma 56:47-57, and Alma 57:20-21 really stuck out to me-

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. 48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it. 49 And it came to pass that I did return with my two thousand against these Lamanites who had pursued us. And now behold, the armies of Antipus had overtaken them, and a terrible battle had commenced. 50 The army of Antipus being weary, because of their long march in so short a space of time, were about to fall into the hands of the Lamanites; and had I not returned with my two thousand they would have obtained their purpose. 51 For Antipus had fallen by the sword, and many of his leaders, because of their weariness, which was occasioned by the speed of their march—therefore the men of Antipus, being confused because of the fall of their leaders, began to give way before the Lamanites. 52 And it came to pass that the Lamanites took courage, and began to pursue them; and thus were the Lamanites pursuing them with great vigor when Helaman came upon their rear with his two thousand, and began to slay them exceedingly, insomuch that the whole army of the Lamanites halted and turned upon Helaman. 53 Now when the people of Antipus saw that the Lamanites had turned them about, they gathered together their men and came again upon the rear of the Lamanites. 54 And now it came to pass that we, the people of Nephi, the people of Antipus, and I with my two thousand, did surround the Lamanites, and did slay them; yea, insomuch that they were compelled to deliver up their weapons of war and also themselves as prisoners of war. 55 And now it came to pass that when they had surrendered themselves up unto us, behold, I numbered those young men who had fought with me, fearing lest there were many of them slain. 56 But behold, to my great joy, there had not one soul of them fallen to the earth; yea, and they had fought as if with the strength of God; yea, never were men known to have fought with such miraculous strength; and with such mighty power did they fall upon the Lamanites, that they did frighten them; and for this cause did the Lamanites deliver themselves up as prisoners of war. 57 And as we had no place for our prisoners, that we could guard them to keep them from the armies of the Lamanites, therefore we sent them to the land of Zarahemla, and a part of those men who were not slain of Antipus, with them; and the remainder I took and joined them to my stripling Ammonites, and took our march back to the city of Judea.
20 And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted. 21 Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

I am so grateful for the amazing mother that I have, and for the incredible righteous example she showed me growing up, just like the mothers of those 2,000 stripling warriors had. Mothers around the world have a major an impact on children, and it really is such an important calling. Words will never be enough to express the deep love and gratitude I have for my mother, and it was awesome to be able to Skype her this Mother’s Day! If you haven’t told your mother you love her this mother’s day yet, you still have time! Make sure it gets done!

I hope you all had an awesome week, and made sure to do something nice for your mothers! Until next week-

Love,

Elder Stroud

Summer has arrived in Taiwan

 

Contacting all day!

Contacting all day.

 

Hello all! Another average week here! We right now have pretty much 2 investigators, and we pretty much spent 100% of our time finding this past week. We were probably out on the streets for 50 hours proselyting this past week… and the result… 1 new investigator. Sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles! No worries though… We still keep the faith!

Since I am in the South of Taiwan, the weather can get to some hot and uncomfortable levels, and now that summer time has arrived, it is the worst time of the year! Nothing like biking around in slacks and a white shirt and tie. It is starting to get up into the 90’s here with tons of humidity, so it feels much hotter! My tan is coming back, so at least there is some benefit to the heat! The best part of summer in Taiwan is MANGO SEASON! Taiwan is famous for some of the best mangoes in the world, and we get to indulge in them for super cheap. Mango Ice is a staple here in the summer heat.

Taiwan uses the traditional form of Chinese writing so that's what I've been studying for the past year.  Mainland China uses a simplified form of Chinese writing, and I've learned that this is what most of the Mandarin classes at BYU use.  So I've switched my character studies now to focusing on this simplified version.  You can see the difference here in this photo.

Taiwan uses the traditional form of Chinese writing so that’s what I’ve been studying for the past year. Mainland China uses a simplified form of Chinese writing, and I’ve learned that this is what most of the Mandarin classes at BYU use. So I’ve switched my character studies now to focusing on this simplified version. You can see the difference here in this photo.

 

That’s pretty much it for our week. It has been pretty slow around here. I hope you all had a great week! Today we are headed up to Tainan to hang out with my trainer, Elder Nelson, before he heads home in a couple weeks, so it should be a good one!

Shout out to my cousin Andrew for being called to the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission! Bummer you can’t come to the best mission in the world, but you will kill it there regardless!

Have a great one y’all!

Love,

Elder Stroud

050817 90 kuai steak

My delicious 90 kuai steak. This converts to about $3!

Note from Zach’s Mom:  They are moving out of the termite infested apartment this Friday into the new one they found last week.  Zach told us that they had another swarm emerge this week, so they are very happy to be moving.  I asked him how they live with all the termites!  And he said once they are done swarming, they go back into their hiding places and they don’t see them.  That just gives me the creeps!  So glad they are moving this week!