Whitewashing YuanLin

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Found this tank in the middle of nowhere.

Hello all! Another week down here! Big news of the week is that Elder Sagastegui finished his mission and went home and President Teh made the executive decision to whitewash the zone leaders out of Nantou and into YuanLin!

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Said goodbye to Elder Sagastegui

We are excited to get the work started here! I haven’t had the opportunity to whitewash yet on my mission, so it should be fun! (whitewash just means that both you and your companion are new to the area, so you don’t know your way around, you don’t know the ward, etc.)

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Went out to our secondary area in Nantou, 中寮(Zhongliao),  last week. We biked an hour up the mountain to get there.  It’s beautiful.

My new companion is Elder Councill from Franklin, Virginia! He went to BYU for 2 years before the mission and he has 4 transfers left after this one. It will be really fun lighting this place on fire together!

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 Zone picture from the stake athletic activity last week

I’ve decided to go as hard as I can for my last 12 weeks here in Taiwan! It was sad to leave Nantou after only being there for a transfer, but I am excited to get a fresh area in YuanLin. I hope everyone has been lighting people’s worlds and preparing for Christmas! Have an awesome week!

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Christmas tri-zone conference 

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Train ride back from zone conference.

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Santa Arrives Early

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Santa came to YuanLin to deliver smartphones to all the good little missionaries in the ZhongXing zone!

Note from Zach’s mom:  We sent him the santa suit to re-create a photo that his Dad took as a missionary in Japan.  That photo shows Zach’s dad, who is 6’2″ wearing a Japanese santa suit that is about 7 inches too short for him.  It’s a classic photo!  Coincidentally, the santa suit arrived for Zach the same week he was going to be passing out new smartphones to the missionaries in his zone.  So the timing of wearing the santa suit was perfect!

Hello all! This was an action packed week filled with meetings upon meetings. We spent about 1 hour total proselyting in our area this week haha! I love being a zone leader though! It is an awesome opportunity to serve the other missionaries here! I don’t have lots of time today due to answering tech questions about the new smartphones from all of our missionaries! Just pictures today!

Elder Sagatesgui and I went to the bishop’s house and wrapped/ate dumplings last night.
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Exchanges in MingJian with Elder Pang

SMARTER MISSIONARY WORK

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The missionary game has changed forever with the Smartphones! 

What an awesome week it has been! Te(c)hnology (President Teh pun) has completely changed the missionary work here in Nantou! The day we got our new smart phone we were able to have a Skype lesson with our Filipino investigator Gertrude, and the Tehs (who are also from the Philippines), right from the comforts of our apartment! The crazy thing is that the Spirit was just as present as a normal lesson! The phone has enhanced all aspects of the work here. It is easier to stay connected without investigators, easier to connect them to people who can fellowship them in the ward, easier to find people’s addresses, easier to stay in close contact with the bishop, and the myriad of fun language study apps has made learning and improving my Chinese something I look forward to everyday. What a blessing it is to have such an incredible tool.

This week we had our annual mission tour with Elder Muers from the Seventy. I personally received lots of revelation on how best to improve myself and my area, as well as the (Nantou) 中興 zone. Although we didn’t have more than a total of a few hours in our area to proselyte this week, I feel we did our best with what the Lord gave us.

One awesome thing I have loved has been the church’s #LightTheWorld Christmas service initiative. It has made serving people and remembering our savior Jesus Christ even more a part of our days here. You can check it out at https://www.mormon.org/christmas

As for light the world, we have had tons of cool experiences on seeing investigators being touched by the message of Christmas. One of them, a college professor, said she would show the light the world videos to all of her students daily until December 25! How great is that! I love being a missionary, and I love serving the Lord. What a time it is!

I am so happy to be serving at this time! I hope you all had a great week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Baptisms and Buddhas

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Yang family baptism day

Awesome week here! It was another crazy one full of exchanges and tons of events! The life of a Zone Leader is one without breaks! This week we got to baptize the Yang family, which was a tender experience. Sister Yang has changed so much since the first time she met missionaries and claimed to be possessed by a devil! She dropped all of her bad habits and really turned a new page by being willing to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized! We are super happy for her!

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Dressed in aboriginal Taiwanese clothing.

On P-day last week, we went to Sun Moon Lake and got to play around there! It is super pretty! There is a famous place there which sells lots of cool Aboriginal Taiwanese stuff, so we got some cool pictures!

112717 buddhaNot a lot to write this week! We are still finding, teaching, and hopefully within the next couple weeks baptizing again!

Being a missionary is awesome, and I love my time here so much! This week we are getting our smartphones, so it should be another great one!

I love you all, I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving!

Until next week-

Love, Elder Stroud

 

Busy Busy Busy

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Got to do service for like the first time in 6 months cleaning up a park. There are 0 opportunities to do service here…

Awesome week here! Being a zone leader kills though!! We only had a total 3 hours to proselyte in our area this week! We spent Monday night planning a training for zone conference on planning and goal setting. Tuesday we exchanged with the YuanLin 2nd elders, which was super fun! I learned tons on how to have more humility from Elder Chang. Wednesday we went to Taizhong to have Zone Conference, and had to take care of some things after, which resulted in us getting home around 10pm.

On Thursday and Friday we exchanged with the Assistant’s in Taizhong, and I got to learn from the master Elder Neuhaus! We taught one of the craziest lessons on my mission with a Dr. Sun, a world renowned bio-nuclear doctor/researcher at his hospital.

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Exchanges with Elder Neuhaus in Taizhong

He literally was the smartest man I have ever met. His thinking process was just so far above the normal human. He has been researching different religions for years, and has pulled the truths out of each one. He has already thought about the entire gospel before without even going to church, or meeting with missionaries and he believes everything! Insane. The lesson was literally the deepest doctrine I have ever taught. We honestly didn’t know like half of his question’s answers, and we had to call President Teh afterwards to clear some things up for us, haha. Saturday we went up to PuLi for a baptismal interview, and spent pretty much the entire day traveling as well.

 

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Spent more time on the bus than we did in our areas this week.

Being a ZL wrecks, but it is super fun to help out so many different people! I love being a missionary and representing the Lord. This time is truly a time to be grateful for all the things I have been given!  I am so blessed!
I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving!
Count your blessings!
Love,
Elder Stroud

Just A Couple Pictures Today

111317 Nantou City
My new companion, Elder Sagastegui (from Kentucky) and I.  He’s a great missionary. This is his last transfer (6 weeks) before returning home.  We go hard every day!
My new area which includes Nantou City, Caotun and Zhongliao.  We bike about 30 km a day covering it.  This area has two main parts that are about a 45 minute bike ride apart from each other.  It is really beautiful and I love the mountains.
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Just have a short time today.  Headed to the dentist for a check up.
Have a great week!
Elder Stroud

GAME CHANGERS!!!!!!!!!

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Our District Graph: one chair for each transfer you have been out on your mission. (Each transfer=6 weeks).

Well all, I moved again! This time to become a Zone Leader up in the green mountains of NanTou!  It is known as one of the most beautiful areas in the mission, and I will send pics next week! I feel super blessed to be able to serve the missionaries here in the ZhongXing Zone! My guess is that this will be the last time I move! My new companion is Elder Sagastegui (Nope, I didn’t just bang my head on the keyboard to type that out, that’s actually his name) from Kentucky! This is his last transfer, so we are going to be going super hard!! We have already set a transfer goal of 6(!) baptisms!! Should be lit!

MASSIVE GAME CHANGER!!!!! OUR MISSION JUST BECAME A SMARTPHONE MISSION!! Which means full online proselyting will be enabled! THIS IS A BIG DEAL!! We should be getting our phones and being trained how to use them within the next few weeks!

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Saying goodbye to my “son” (trainee) Elder Degn

It was sad to leave Tainan and the boy Elder Degn, but we ended it on a sweet note with Sister Xie being baptized! She is super awesome and so humble, and we are excited for her continued progression in the gospel!

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Sister Xie’s baptism

Also last week we went to visit the community leader to ask for service opportunities (super hard to find in Taiwan) and she directed us to the senior center, where we met this super funny 97 year old ama!

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This Ama (grandmother) cracks us up!

Short post this week due to moving eating up like 5 hours of my pday time! I hope you all are well! Have a great one!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Sick week

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When sick in Asia, you wear sick masks.

Another good week here of finding, teaching, and seeing miracles! Not really a ton to write this week. We had a great time being missionaries! Transfers are next week, and I will finish up training Elder Degn! Time flies out here! We are hoping to see a baptism this weekend, so that should be awesome! I love being a missionary!

This week we both came down with colds and also got a little bit of a stomach bug after some not so fresh meat we ate… Our poor apartment’s toilets haha! All is well though we still managed to hit mission standards of excellence! Shout out to plenty of miracles to help us along the way! I hope you all have had an awesome week! Big congrats to BYU on winning their second game of the season! If we win out the rest of them, we might have a chance to make a bowl game. (sarcasm) Go Cougs!

Until next week!

Love,

Elder Stroud

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Our favorite, Sister Lin, took us and all of the youth from her ward out to a tasty Italian restaurant at the mall.

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Our English class student, Linda, took us out to a very fancy, very traditional Chinese restaurant. We were well taken care of this week!!

Week #85

Just pictures this week, sorry! I love you all!
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One of the members in our ward had a house dedication at her super nice new apartment complex, naturally there was a Taiwanese feast to accompany it!

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The Brothers, of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) came to play the Tainan UniLions this past week! We went out during dinner time to buy some merch and take some pictures!

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Our good friend Charlie from English class last year when I was in YongKang came down to take us out to a nice McDs lunch! Elder Storey also happened to be in YongKang last year too, so it was a fun reunion!

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We biked 2 hours into the mountains out to a cool Daoist temple last pday with the district!

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Morning exercise time: ball is life

GaoXiong Temple?!

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THE FUTURE GAOXIONG TEMPLE SITE. The church has bought this plot of land across from the Gaoxiong North stake center, and people say that it is the site of the future temple!

Great week here! Not much to report on honestly! Last week was 10/10 day, which is Taiwan’s Independence Day, so there were lots of festivities in the streets! We had a special meeting in GaoXiong, with Elder Snow and Elder Funk (The Asia Area President) of the Seventy, which they discussed topics of church history and the job of the church historian.

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Got to hang out with my friend Underground Frank last pday! He goes around the mission selling missionaries’ cheap stuff from his shady Chinese websites. Good guy.

Elder Degn and I worked, worked, and worked and had a great time being missionaries, so it was super fun! We hit mission standards of excellence again due to more than a few miracles, and all in all just had a great week! I hope you all are well! Stay safe and stay happy! Have a good one.

Love,

Elder Stroud

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We tried some Power Bomb. Some random energy drink we found for 24元