Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28, 2015 Two P-Days in One Week

Soooo yeah im not exactly sure why either but today is pday and here i am in the famous internet cafe. We were actually really low on missionaries before this big wave of 35 came in, so, i think now we're back up to around 200 missionaries, maybe a little less.

 YESYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYESSSSS!!!!!!!! SO HAPPY ABOUT PHIL'S JOB!!!!!!!!!!! That's so awesome!!!!!!!!!! Im guessing he's completely ditching the 24 gig right? And still trying to get the training certifications on the side? That's so great!! I've been praying so hard that something like this would come through!

Yeah the sleep is really rough. Like I wouldn't care as much if i didn't think it was hindering my ability to be a better missionary, ya know?

Smeag's got a pretty tough schedule, but seems like he has good teachers so sounds like a perfect combo to me. Cant believe he's already at the dreaded junior year. Although i thought sophomore year was harder tbh...

Yes,  i now have a lock on my bike although i dont think anyone would steal this one...

How's the practicum been so far, senor? Are the students adjusting to your different method?

Thats gotta be fun having the hamster over, although, not a cool move going to melanie's...fun she gets to see some of her old friends, though.

You must explain more about stephen hawking's new solution!

So Amy told me she got a smartphone what??!?!!!?!?! Do you guys also have them???? If this is true, the world truly is coming to an end..

You know, it really is a whole different experience just trying to help people understand the concept of who God is and how the Plan of Salvation really works. There are a lot of similarites with other religions but there are also a lot of differences. Like you said about your hindu friend, its more a matter of helping them see that Jesus is not just some other God. Quite a unique experience, to say the least.

Wait what's wrong with Uncle Emilio? is he ok?

That sounds fun with the grandparents and Janny! Jealousss, also that's sweet, did Smeag pick an american flag for his colors? USA

Speaking of my laptop, how are you liking it mommy? :)

Let's see what happened over the past few days of worth mentioning...well, first, I got the MOST AMAZING PACKAGE EVER FROM AUNT DEANN OH MY GOODNESS IT WAS FILLED WITH TREATS AND GOODIES AND EVERYTHING AMAZING AND A SUPER AWESOME COOL FLAG OF THE ROCKETS FROM SMEAG AND IT JUST MADE ME SO HAPPYYYYYYYYY Okay, sorry, ill try to calm down but im seriously so blessed!! You guys are too good to me!! The package literally made my month! 

Hmmm, lets see, besides our progressing investigators, we were also able to meet a couple of cool new people this week. The first is named Kelly. We added her from English class. She's a single mom who works every day all day and literally has like no time. Her only free time she uses to come to English class. She said she really just needs some help right now and is looking for some inner source of peace and optimism to continue to face her trials. I feel so bad for her, but know that this gospel will be able to help her!

We also met this guy named Lai Xiansheng. Hes super cool. Hes a little younger than us and his parents own this huge art gallery on the side of the highway. He kind of has this philosophy where he believes in some kind of higher power, and is actually pretty familiar with the Bible and prayer which is unusual in Taiwan. He seems to really have an interest in learning about our church though, so that's super awesome!

Tomorrow we are having winnie's baptism! I think i may have the opportunity to do it too! She's come a long way from when we first started meeting with her so it's super cool. It was like all of a sudden something just clicked with her and she told us that she believed that God existed and was answering her prayers and wanted to get baptized. She also has made a couple really good friends in the ward so we're really happy!

You know every week i have to make some comment about the food and this week it was truly a beautiful thing. We were treated to this superrrr gaoji chidaobao. Basically it was an all you can eat buffet on the bottom of this super fancy hotel and man did i eat. They had pastas and meats and rice and pizza and vegetables and fruits and breads and desserts and drinks and i went HARD. Like i think i literally ate 8 full plates of food. It was sooooo good. They had a 2 hr limit though unfortunately..haha

Ohhh and then last night was the weirdest of all. Remember when we went and did that dan jones activity where when we just get to Taiwan we stand up on those pedastals and preach and then go hand out book of Mormons in a super crowded night market? well. Last night when all of the new missionaries came in we got to be the ones that helped them hand out the Book of Mormons ( last time we had an older missionary with us leading us and thats who i was this time). So here i was 6 weeks later, and the tables had turned. It was so weird because it feels like it was yesterday but also an eternity ago at the same time. And i remember exactly how i felt when i did it. My guy was actually super brave and was going up to a lot of different people bearing his simple testimony. And i could understand everything everyone was saying and it was just like a major throwback..

This week in personal study i came across one of my favorite scriptures - Helaman 4:13. It says something along the lines of they boasted in their own strength so they were left in their own strength. Life is hard, and there are times when we literally can't do it alone. If we are humble enough to remember all of the things that God has given us and continue to turn to Him in times of good and bad, we will be blessed and be able to face anything that comes our way.

I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Elder Nelson

Nizhanglao 

August 24, 2015

HEROOOOOOO FAMIRYYYYYYYY

Woww sad day with the bros heading back up to Austin. Now Smeag is truly alone..and yeah the prices in austin are absolutely ridiculous. Funny to think last year i paid 400 a month for rent and food and that was pretty expensive for provo.

Sounds like you guys had fun with the Ridds. I think Lukas will soon realize what hes getting himself into. I miss byu..and sunday dinners. I almost bought some little fish sticks to eat on Sundays so that i would feel like i was partially there haha. And Wei Ren hasnt eaten pi dan??? Is he even asian???

5: 45 sounds absolutely brutal. My guess is every one is still gonna show up at 6:00...Im sure smeagol is SO EXCITEDDD

Sounds like the trip to Utah is crazy, tiring, exciting and fun all at the same time. So was the blessing done in Church this time? How was the Cannon Center food? Did smeag like Utah State/Byu? hahahaha amy told me about your guys' dinner at Denny's but i feel like its still one of those moments where you just have to be there..

I REALLY hope this thing works out for Phil. He works so hard and deserves for something to finally go his way! When will he know??

15 missionaries thats crazy - also crazy to think that Alex Woolums is done.

Every day im here i think i understand a little more about the culture and love the people a little more. It's harder than you think to try to ignore the numbers but im doing my best. And yes the Benson talk on pride is always a good read/reminder. Especially applicable in the mission field.

hahaha i will never understand your shopping mommy. I would much rather stay home and read a good book. 

Crazy to think you only have 2 yrs left with a high schooler mommy..just watch though, right when he graduates youll be called to be a seminary teacher haha You probably wont find that joke as funny as i did...

Fun that you guys get to have Amy around for a while. #Jealooussss

I think ill just leave my pants torn up..they'll manage.

How are y trips going? Going enough to make up for the monthly fee?

Glad to hear the bathroom worked out, how could it not with such a professional and experienced painter? :)

In terms of runs im lucky to get 2 short ones in a week. My companion has this strange habit where he likes to sleep through workout time..im sure phil is probably very familiar.

In terms of whats going on, on this side of the world...Well first off this week will be a little out of the orinary. We have a 2nd pday this friday (which is when i will be able to email) but then the following monday we wont have a pday. I think it has something to do with the 35 new missionaries who are coming in, which apparently is a Blickenstaff record or something. So ,yeah, i will be writing this friday as well..

Besides that, last Monday we spent our Pday going to Costco and it was GLORIOUS. I got normal bread and milk, peanut butter, carrots, honey bunches of oats, bagels. I will be having some very delicious breakfasts and lunches for the next couple of months. I think it will also end up saving me money in the long run..It was hilarious, though, because we had this huge box of stuff that we were carrying on the bus then tried to finagle with bungee cords and such to the back of our bikes. We eventually got all of the goods back to the house with the help of a member and a couple of trips later. SO WORTH IT, THO. I dont think ill ever stop eating 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch..

I know I probably sound like a baby but the hardest thing for me right now is the sleep. I haven't been sleeping well recently and at times it feels like im sleep walking as we go throughout the day. It was really bad at first then it got better and now its bad again. Maybe this is just how every missionary is supposed to feel, but I feel like its really hindering my ability to give my 100%. Hopefully it will get better or something.

One of my teachers from the MTC, Xie Laoshi came to Taiwan this week to see old friends and stuff and he stopped by on Saturday morning so that was cool! He introduced me to a couple of his friends in the area and it was just super good to talk to him. It feels like the MTC was a millennium ago. Also you know he knows me because he brought 2 humongous things of crunchy skippy peanut butter. If theres one thing that you can never have enough of in Taiwan, its American peanut butter haha 

Winnie's baptism is still on for this Saturday after she passed her baptismal interview this last Saturday!!! She's super solid and we'll probably try to meet with her every day this week leading up to her baptism. She has some thing though where she gets really  nervous around a lot of people so she doesn't want a lot of people there but its kind of hard because the ward wants to welcome her and stuff.

Teaching Anna has turned out to be a really interesting experience. She really believes in her Buddhist backgrounds but she keeps telling us that what she believes really is no different than what we believe. Like when we talked about the 10 commandments and there's only one God, she was like "well what about Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost?" And we're like thats a really good question. Idk i feel like i dont fully understand what Buddhism is because she was talking about how there are a lot of Gods but you just kinda choose one that you align yourself more fully with? She told us that she believes God sent us because she had run into missionaries before but had blown them off. She has a testimony of prayer and God and  on Sunday after church we watched the Finding Faith in Jesus Christ video with her. The spirit was really strong as we talked about the Savior. I hope she felt it too..

Just one last story that I have to tell because it was one of those "you know you're in Taiwan when" moments. We had an activity this sunday where we were making dumplings with all of the single adults. so we were all in this living room which is pretty small ,because we're in Taiwan, wrapping dumplings. They don't have AC so its super hot, so we're all sweating profusely, chowing down on these dripping dumplings and tofu and stuff. Then they request my companion to play "Oh come all ye faithful."  So here we are, belting oh come all ye faithful in Chinese in the middle of summer, shoveling down some dumplings in between breaths. I couldn't help but laugh a little to myself. 

In personal study this week i really liked D&C 50:10-12. I feel like it really explains what true prayer ought to be like. If we are really communicating with our Father in Heaven we will be reasoning with Him, allowing Him time to talk back and guide us.

Anyways, the work moves on here in Taiwan. I am so grateful for all of your love and support and love and miss you guys a ton!

Elder Nelson

Ni (My chinese surname) Zhanglao (Elder)

8/17/2015 Family in Utah for Kendall's Blessing

HERROOOOO FAMILYYYYY

So you may not see this email for a couple days i guess since you're on your famous road trip to Utah. Not gonna lie,  super jealous. Get a lot of hugs from tinks and kendall for me. And pictures!

Senor sounds like youve had a crazy week. Worth it? Was the training cool? And you're writing a chapter in a textbook? #famous

The companion is good.
The food is goood and greasy haha. You'dbe surprised how much i miss boiled vegetables. Buttt today an awesome member is taking us to costco so im gonna stock up on some true American groceries LETS GOOOOO

The humidity is no worse than Texas tbh.

The language is tough but coming.

The neon lights are starting to become normal to me.

And i still try to avoid the squat toilets at all costs.

So on this end it was quite an interesting week. Probably the biggest thing that happened this week was that my bike was stolen. Yeahh...hopefully you're not freaking out at this point. Basically what happened was like a few days ago i lost my bike lock. I asked my comp if we should go get a new one but he was like "nahhh dont worry about it,  you'll be fine." Fast forward two days when we have two back to back appointments at a Starbucks (we found we like /starbucks better than mcdonalds because it's more quiet). When we come out, the bike is gone. We call the police who say they'll look into it. They gave us a ride back to our apartment ( i can only imagine what it looked like with two white guys in the backseat of this cop car lol) where we had a spare bike. Soo im now using this ooooold bike from a previous missionary which clanks any time you use a gear higher than 1 and goes about 2 miles per hour. It has also ripped up two of my pants. BUT the good news is that we were still able to make it to the rest of our appointments AND an elder who is going home this week said he'd give me his bike! So if the cops dont end up finding it i'll have a 2 year old bike instead of a 6 year old bike wahoo!!! Oh yeah and the spare helmet is the most hilarious helmet, makes me look like a straight up turtle lol.

Besides that, I tried pi dan this week ( Renny should know about this). Some people call it the thousand year egg or something. Its one of the notorious nasty things in taiwan that every missionary apparently has to trie. It looked super nasty, black and everything, but eating it actually wasn't that bad. It just tasted like a slightly worse version of a boiled egg. Next on the list is chou dou fu..

To make up for that nastiness, I might have had the most delicious meal ever here at a member's house. The lady had lived in canada for like 4 years so her english is really good and she learned a lot of the american ways of cooking if you know what i mean. Suffice it to say we had ribs, pasta, kiwi, these japanese rice things, and this delicious yogurt. DID I MENTION WE ATE RIBSSSSSS. They were super delicious.

Things are going well on this end in terms of teaching. Right now we're teaching this incredibly prepared girl named Winnie. She had been coming to our FHE activity every Sunday night for a while and she has a lot of friends in the church. She told us she really has a testimony of prayer. WE have a baptismal date set up for her on August the 29th and she's super excited for it. Like when we brought up baptism with her she was like When's the soonest i can get baptised? She has no problems with any of the commandments. We just want to make sure that she wants to join the church for the right reasons and not because she has a friend in the ward.

Our other 2 investigators that are progressing are awesome. One is chen xiaojie, who i have mentioned before. Last time we read Alma 7 with her about Jesus Christ and she told us that she thought that the Book of Mormon was more or less the same as the bible and we were like YES! Shes gonna be in China for like 10 days, though, so wasn't able to make it to church this week...

The other is Anna who is super cool. She's studying English so that's a big reason she likes meeting with us, but she's also just a genuine seeker of truth. Like we gave her the restoration pamphlet to look over and the next time she had come back with like 10 questions about prophets, the holy ghost, etc. She has almost no background in Christianity, so its been a cool experience to help her build up this foundation from the beginning. She came to church with us this sunday and seemed to like it too!

For my scripture of the week I think i want to talk about Alma 37:40-41, 45-46.  I truly believe that it is through small and simple means that great things are brought to pass. ie saying your prayers, reading your scriptures, going to church. If we do these small things, we will be able to have the spirit with us more and we will be able to stay on the straight and narrow. More so than that, though, i think this scripture applies to life. It's the people who do the small things that truly become successful. It's how good people become great.

Anyways I love and miss you guys a ton! dont have too much fun in utah without me!

Elder Nelson 

Nizhanglao

Pi Dan - 1000 Year Egg


                                          American/Chinese Dinner at Member's Home

Monday, August 10, 2015

8/10/2015 The Typhoon Week



   






                                  Shattered Patio Door from Typhoon




City After Typhoon
 Debris Cleared Within Hours

Monday, August 3, 2015

08/03/15 First Drenching in the Rain!




                                          Taichung West Zone Conference with Costco
                                                                         Pizza!


Wellll another week is gone on that missionary grind. I blinked and it was gone. Time truly is a strange thing as a missionary.

I currently have not received a dear elder so im not exactly sure how all of that works. Sad i didnt get to hear from mommy last week :(

Sounds like you guys have an exciting week coming up!  What are the odds that you get that study going up at SHSU? And why cant it be funded?

The language is tough but is getting better. Right now im working on church vocabulary to pass off that thing that we have to pass off before i can start moving toward the other stuff like everyday vocabulary conversation as well as learning characters. Its frustrating for sure, but God must know i need patience or something haha. 

Sounds like things are still weird with phil and with 24...i pray so hard every night that he'll be able to figure out what he needs to do

Smeagol got his license WHATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT so old!!

Man sounds like things are hotter down there than it is here. Ppl really talked it up. I mean its hot here but texas was just as if not more brutal i believe.

Sounds like mom and smeag are staying busy with volunteering thats sweet. Whats it like? Im also jealous you guys get to see the gparents so often...having a celebrateion for gpas bday?

 lol idk who to trust about the new 59 pinepath pl construction business.

Pleaseee keep me updated on everything its so good to hear you guys emails every week.

Btw how much money is in my checking acct rn? 

As far as my end of the stick this week...ummm well for pday last week we played cards and did this icebowl challenge. It was this humongous bowl filled with ice and fruit and this nasty Taiwanese brown sugar type stuff that didnt taste like brown sugar and a bunch of different types of Asian beans, It started out okay but the bottom was seriously disgusting. It took a couple hrs and 8 people to finally finish it, and i am confident in saying that i will never do such a thing again. Probably.

Every Tuesday we advertise for our free English class and this class we advertised once again. However, this time the weather decided it would be a good idea to start pouring. Of course this happened on the one day that i forgot my rain gear so i got absolutely drenched. Somehow my bag came through in the clutch though and all of my bags and camera were salvaged. We went and got hot pot afterward for dinner and this super nice man came up and straight up gave me a rain jacket so i would be dry the rest of the night. Its crazy how nice some people are in Taiwan here.

We had another weird experience on Wednesday. We were buying some food off the side of the road when this guy came up to us and started talking to us in perfect, american english. He asked us which bible we read and we told him the KJV and he was surprised because he thought we were way different than like every other  Christian religion. When we told him that we also believed the Book of Mormon to be the word of God, he encouraged us to continue to read the Bible to make sure that it did not contradict the Book of Mormon or vice versa. He then gave us each 1000 kuai saying that the spirit prompted him to do so, and left with a blessing and encouragement to study the Bible more. Super nice and super weird at the same time.

We found this place where you can get a meal as well as unlimited soup and peanut butter for 4 bucks which was awesome.

This thursday we also had zone conference, where the mission president, his wife and the assistants all come and teach us on what we need to do better. The best part was the costco pizza for lunch ( we only got three pieces so i made sure to pick the largest ones available), And yes they do have costco here.

Saturday our ward had a mini mission activity where the youth got to serve a day in the life of a missionary with us. They did studies with us and then went and made calls and contacted with us for a few hours after which we had a fireside to discuss how the ward can help us in our missionary efforts. I swear im not fixated on food but it might have been the strangest day of food ive eaten in Taiwan. For BREAKFAST we had McDonalds chicken sandwiches and hot chocolate (why in 100 degree weather i have no idea). Then for lunch we had pizza hut with quite a few of Taiwans unique flavors (corn, japanese or korean cabbage etc) I myself stuck to the hawaiian as that was the most American. I straight up ate a whole medium pizza, thats how much i miss American food i guess haha. For dinner we had potluck, among which was pig's foot. Pigs foot tasted just like bone surrounded in fat haha,

We finished off the week on Suday with every single one of our 5 appointments cancelling on us or not showing up. Not frustrating at all.

Right now we have 2 main investigators that are progressing. One is this college student who has really good english because he lived in Seattle for a summer and is studying toursim. He's super cool and super interested in learning, it's just a matter of helping him develop his own personal testimony about the things that we've taught him.

The second is a Christian lady who believes that it's God's schedule that we started meeting with her because she recently has had some more struggles in her life. She has a testimony of Jesus, now she just needs to start gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon and how it can help her. the hard part is like everyone in Taiwan, no one has like any time to meet because theyre all so busy with work and stuff.

Now for something i learned in scripture study this week : Matthew 25:34-40. We are literally the Saviors's hands! It is through us that He is able to help His children, to comfort them and lift them up. I took special interest in this scripture when it talked about freeing souls from prison as I feel like that is part of my responsibility as a missionary - trying to help people come unto Christ. 

As far as a few random things...1) everyone here wears masks bc of the pollution

2)our apartment is fingerprint access only

3)ppl here are the opposite of America - they want to be white instead of tan so they wear jackets in 100 degree weaher

Anyways not a ton of time but i love and miss you guys like crazy! Thank you so much for all of the love and support!!

Elder Nelson 

NIzhanglao