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

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中秋節快樂! (Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!)

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Doing some Kung Fu at the college

Super awesome week here!!!   Here are the highlights:

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL!! Super fun! We got invited by the Relief Society to BBQ with them, so we had a few grill masters, plus the one white dude in our ward here teaching English there, to fire up the meat!

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Grillmasters  中秋節快樂

10(!) new investigators!! Elder Degn and are continue to trust in the Lord and work our hardest!!

General conference! Such an awesome and revelatory experience! Lots to learn and listen to from the modern day apostles of the Lord. Especially loved Tad. R Callister’s talk on the Book of Mormon, and Elder Anderson’s talk on among other things, learning Mandarin Chinese!

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English General Conference squad

Crazy thing that happened this week!!! We went to the college to do some language study and found our way into the Statistics building- Elder Degn is a stats major at BYU and he wanted to check it out. We found this little alcove on the 4th floor and started doing our language study. We soon were approached by a professor, who we thought would kick us out, but instead started a conversation with us. We said we were from America, He said he had one American friend who also happened to be a stats professor at the one and only BYU! He said he had met him first when his friend was serving his mission here 20+ years ago. I asked him what his friends name was, and he said he couldn’t remember, and I asked him if his name was Dr. Reece. He said yes!! DR. REECE WAS MY STATS PROFESSOR AT BYU!!! Small world. The professor was delighted with joy and said how he really looked up to us for being missionaries and serving his people. He said how much he had been impacted by Dr. Reece. He left, and came back with two of his TA’s and told them to help tutor us in Chinese! Super cool experience!

This week was awesome and I love being a missionary. I love doing what I am doing and love serving the people here! What an awesome opportunity this is. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

20+1=1000

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1000 contacts this week in Tainan City!

WHAT IS UP Y’ALL!!! We just threw down the best week of my mission/life this past week!!!! It was so hard, so much fun, and so so rewarding!!

This past week, in honor of my 21st birthday, we made it a goal to invite 1000 people to come unto Christ! We went out and bought clicker counters, and we decided that in order to be able to 算 (count) someone, we needed to teach doctrine, promise a blessing, and invite them to act/repent. It was an awesome challenge for us, and it got us talking to so many people who we might have not had the thought to before! It was tiring, but it was so rewarding! We did nothing but street contact and go for adds (or setting up a time to meet with someone to learn more off the streets either at the church or a 7-11) all week long. We ended the week with 1000+ people invited unto Christ,  9 new investigators, all of whom were found this week, and a solid 10 more adds lined up for next week. The miracles that come with sacrifice are so real. We took half meal times to be out on the streets more, and we really did nothing but ride our bikes around and talk with everyone we could! I haven’t knocked a door since Chinese New Year lol. We went home exhausted every night, but it was so worth it. We literally we running people down on the streets to talk to them, it was so sick!
I love being a missionary, and right now is honestly the happiest I have ever been in my life. There is no stress, no pressure, no deadlines, just you, your companion, and The Lord walking side by side trying to help make peoples lives happier and more full of hope. It will be sad to see this all end in just 5ish short months. I hope I can leave every last drop of sweat on the asphalt here in Taiwan. This week honestly changed my whole outlook on the mission. Before it seemed a little daunting to go out and find the mission standard of 1 new investigator a day, but now I can see how easy and fun it really can be. WE HAD FUN THIS WEEK! It was fun to leave it all on the streets and lay our hearts out trying to serve the people here. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate turning 21 than to offer the day in service to The Lord and the people of Taiwan.
I hope everyone had an awesome General Conference weekend as was able to soak up the words of the living apostles! Ours is next week due to a translation delay, but you can bet we missionaries are excited! What an awesome time to receive revelation in our lives. What a blessing it is to have modern day prophets and apostles to help guide us in our lives.
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Wow! 超帥der (Super Handsome”der”)

That’s about it for this week! People on the streets have been starting to ask if I am Taiwanese after talking with them, so I think kicking the foreigner accent is a good sign for my Chinese! There still is so much more to improve on though! I love you all so much! Have an awesome week!!
Love,
Elder Stroud
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Took Elder Degn to the all you can eat seafood restaurant for my 21st birthday! All hail Harbor!!

1/2 way done with training!

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Random kid pulled us over and wanted to take a picture with us

This week marked the half way point of my time training Elder Degn.  As weeks go, it was kind of uneventful week.  We went out to find, we found, picked up some new investigators, got dropped by some other investigators, and had a blast doing it all! Nothing really eventful to report on here. So, this email will pretty much just be pictures. Sorry!

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President Teh made a change of missionary standards here to where we should strive for one new investigator a day. The zone leaders made this incredible poster for their apartment haha!

This upcoming week we have made it a goal to invite 1000 people to come unto Christ! It should be a good challenge for us, and get us talking to people who we might have not had the chance to before! It’s going to be tiring, but it’s going to be rewarding!

I know that this church is true and that the Lord’s hand really is in our life every day. What a blessing it is that we can have the fullness of His gospel. As I hit the final lap of this 1600 meter race now, all I can think about is how I can do more. How can I be more diligent? How can I help more people? How can I serve more willingly? How can I be more humble and grateful? There are so many weaknesses that I have, and I just hope that by the time these next 6 months are up, I will have improved in at least some of them. I love being a missionary, and I love the work. There is no place like Taiwan! Have an awesome week everybody! Love you all!

​Love,

Elder Stroud

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Food picture of the week:  Classic Taiwanese lunch of BianDang. This one is super good and costs only 70kuai or about a little over $2USD

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Too lazy to write a full email this week!  Sorry.

Highlights:

Working hard and having a ton of fun.

Setting up Brother Sun for his baptism next week

Stake conference yesterday and seeing all of my old friends from the AnDing Ward

Pooping neon purple after eating 3 dragon fruits for breakfast one day

And… Many, many more!

Pics:

Pizza buffet with the GuiRen Elders who are also in training last pday.

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Getting mango ice with Brother Sun

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Reppin’ the Y with Guo BaBa, or better known by his English name “Lebron James” not even kidding haha he is a legend here in Tainan. All of the RMs send him BYU swag, and when he is not wearing a shirt and tie, he is Reppin the Y!

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Love you all!! Have an awesome week and stay dry from Hurricane Irma!

Love,

Elder Stroud

 

For Teh Boys (not a typo)

Mostly pictures today… sorry!

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Elder Degn and his first 1000 year old egg!

 

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At the Qimei museum in Tainan. Taiwanese girls all stick their legs out in pictures like this because they think it makes them look longer. After the picture is taken there is a 90% chance they look at it and say “好長哦” (translation: my legs are so long!) word for word. Not even kidding.

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Qimei is a super cool museum that looks kinda like the US Capitol building in D.C.

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Have to enjoy mango bing while we can!  Summer is almost over.  Bing is kind of like creamy shaved ice dessert.

Today we are going to a pizza buffet, also Elder Degn and I just bought 3 dragon fruits each, because they say that if you eat 3 of them, you pee purple, so we will see if it’s true! The title of this email references our mission president, President Teh, who is awesome!

Taiwan is amazing and I love it here!! I love being a missionary so much, and life really is super happy right now!

I love you all!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

吃到吐 – Missionary VS Food – Fail

Zach’s Mom’s Note: English translation of title refers to the aftermath of the food challenge failure.  I’ve taken the liberty here to give it a sanitized English title 🙂

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One awesome thing from this week: this kid randomly bought us ice cream!

Pretty awesome week here!! I love being a missionary! This week was pretty standard as far as things go, but it was highlighted by us attempting to undertake the douhua challenge and failing, a visit to a sketchy snake zoo, and talking with many, many people with only one person willing to accept! What more can you ask for here in Taiwan?

Douhua challenge: Eat 10 pounds of douhua, which is a type of tofu pudding, in 30 minutes, and it’s free plus your picture goes up on the wall. Result: I put down 9 pounds, and with about 3 minutes remaining involuntarily emptied the contents of my stomach and disqualified myself. Unfortunate. Was it good? Kind of. Would I try it again? Probably not. Overall experience: a solid 8/10.

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Aftermath of the douhua challenge

Sketchy snake zoo: Full of severely mistreated animals and reptiles. We watched crocs being fed, heard a lion roar, and watched a live chicken being fed to a boa constrictor, and got to play with baby cobras all for less than $5 USD. Overall experience: 9/10

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Playing with baby cobras.  Another note from Mom:  Dude!  What are you thinking! 

Doing missionary work and training: Super fun, but exhausting! I love what I am doing every day! Training is super fun, and I feel like both of us in this companionship are finally adjusting to the norm. I think the hardest part about training is that you have to be inside for so long. It is a change of pace from when I was with Elder Zeyer last transfer and we did as little studies as possible to spend the most time outside proselyting. It’s all good though! Elder Degn and I are having a blast and seeing tons of cool miracles! Being a missionary is the best! Overall experience: 10/10

I love this work and I love Taiwan! It is crazy how fast time flies out here. I feel like time just slips away right before your eyes. I think the only thing to do is to just make the most of it and go super hard! Anyways, I love you all! Have an awesome week!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

A Week of Firsts and Superheroes!

Hello all!!! What an awesome week it has been! Training a new missionary is definitely a whole new ball game! My trainee’s name is Elder Degn (pronounced like  “great dane””) and he is a 6’5″ GIANT from South Jordan Utah! The coolest thing about him is that he played middie on the BYU lacrosse team last season, so we have had a lot in common!

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Elder Degn and I

The beginning of the week was spent hanging out in the GuiRen area with Elder Densley while we were waiting to pick up our trainees. One of the absolute craziest things I have seen in Taiwan is that in the middle of GuiRen’s secondary area, LongQi, is a temple where they literally worship Marvel superheroes. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. Video on the attached google drive link below!  (Mom’s note:  Sorry, tech issues… video is very funny, but Google won’t allow a shareable link for some reason, bummer.)

It was a blast to hang with Elder Densley for a couple of days! Today we are taking our trainees to the sketchy zoo, as well as trying to take down the Douhua challenge in their area! Should be a blast!

On Thursday I caught a train up to TaiZhong to pick up my trainee, and we were on our way back down south to the promised land of Tainan 2nd ward!

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Our train ride back to Tainan (featuring one of my old favorite companions, Elder Choi, who is also training)

Since then I have learned many lessons, including the fact that being a trainer is super hard and just about 100% of the companionship workload burden is on your shoulders due to the new missionary’s language barrier, as well as having to figure out how to balance training and teaching opportunities alongside normal missionary work. Because I am training, we have to stay inside an extra hour a day doing studies and practices for the new missionary, which takes an hour out of finding time outside! There really is not enough time in the day to do it all!

Elder Degn has been holding up like a champ, even though I can see it is physically exhausting on him! I remember I was very similar to that last year as well. It takes a while to adjust to the swing of things and to get over the culture shock! Taiwan is awesome and I love being a tour guide for him! I can’t wait to show him all of the awesome parts of this country and culture, as well as showing him how to be a successful missionary! I am super grateful for my trainer, Elder Nelson, who showed me the ropes and started me off right last year!

Aside from the abnormal training things, the work here is progressing at a very normal pace, and we are still seeing miracles left and right. I love being a missionary!! It really is such a happy time. It’s crazy how fast time flies when you are working hard! I will hit my 18 month mark in a couple weeks, and it’s all downhill from there! There just isn’t enough time! It’s crazy how your perspective on two years changes!

Anyways, I love you all so much, and am grateful for the support I receive from you all every week! It means the world! I hope you all have an awesome week! Until next time!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Elder Zachary Kearsley Stroud
饒一鳴長老
–> # 498-11, WuQuan Road, North District,
Taichung, Taichung 404-46
Taiwan (Republic of China)

All Aboard the Training Train!!

 

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Contacting at a Pokemon Go hotspot… still popular in Taiwan!

Hey y’all this week’s email is going to be short with a lot of pictures, sorry! I guess the big news of the week is that I am going to be a Trainer! It really is a honor to be trusted with a new missionary, and I am pumped to help him love the mission, the culture, the people, and the language! All things that mean so much to me! I will be picking him up at the mission home on Thursday, and we will be heading to our area after that! Should be a blast! I am so happy here in Tainan! This place is awesome, and I’m pumped I get to stay another 3 months! I hope you all had a great week! Happy back to school for all my young LHP friends! I love you all!!

Love,

Elder Stroud

Elder Zeyer and I  have had such a great time working hard together this past 6 weeks! Here’s some of the great things we did this week before he left for his new transfer area.

We found some elementary kids in the park one day this week while contacting, and they let us play baseball with them. It was super fun and they loved us!!

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It is tradition in our mission for Elders to burn a tie at their 6 month marks, and for whatever reason I never did back in the day. Thankfully Elder Zeyer hit his 6 months, and I got to do it with him!

 

We found one of the best burgers I have ever eaten! Smokey Joe’s is the only authentic American/Mexican restaurant in Taiwan! This burger was about 400 kuai, or about twice as much as I usually spend on 3 meals for the day! Worth it.

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It’s been awesome serving with Elder Zeyer.  He’ll be great in his new area!