Monday, April 27, 2015


Prayers were answered this week. I got a phone, a bike, an area book, and many other pretty useful things!! That was very nice. Everytime I wanted to think 'wow this sucks without a phone and a bike", i thought back on my experience in ZhongLi where I rode a bike with no pedals for two weeks and was comforted hahahaha!! Things could always be worse right?

The water shortage is still in effect. Saturdays our apartment reeks of urine and sweat. That much is lots of fun.

This week of finding on the streets was particularly interesting. I met a man who when I asked him if he had seen missionaries before, said "Yes, and I HATE you all. I HATE what you are doing here." Typically people are nice here, regardless of their beliefs. This is a shout out to all those in the Bible belt and also in Russia or other various places, my hat is off to you guys for what you put up with a regular basis. It's not so fun having people tell you they hate you for what you are doing.

We found a Mexican food place! So that guy can hate me all he wants while I chow down on some tacos and quesadillas! :-)

Last week on monday we were able to go to the Chinese National Palace museum and go see some pretty sick artifacts and what not. But we only have 2 hours to do it. It reminded me of the days that we were going to a museum like that and stay there for 8 hours looking at everything haha. Not totally sure which pace I like to look at museums. Probably just a good middle of those two. It was all so dope though, becoming half Taiwanese has made me really like this kind of stuff now!! We are so going back when you come to get me mom and dad!!

what pictures of the green and lushness don't show is how freakin humid it is here!

close up

close up

We also have been exploiting the Ikea in our area. I love it so much. So so lucky!!!

Regardless of the difficulties of this week though, I did make some minor changes that made this week one of the most fulfilling as well. Prayer. We decided we would prayer at least 100 times a day hahah and just really seek that help. It works. What do you know? Such a primary answer. Remind me about this week when I get home and I'll tell you all about it, it was cool.

We had a member of the 70 come tour our mission this past week. Elder Gong. That was super cool. On tuesday we got to Taibei for a night devotional. And it was the craziest thing I've seen on my mission! They brought out these HUGE buckets of ice cream for banana splits! And then we had social hour!! I don't remember the last time that I got to just go relax and talk with other missionaries and not be so rushed or so focused on something. Wow. It was so foreign to me..

But I was actually able to have a pretty long one on one conversation with Elder Gong. I asked him what brought him the most satisfaction from his mission. He ultimately said his own personal development. I have faced some difficult things this past while, as any missionary will, and it is hard to be satisfied with that. But I have grown up soooo much in the past while too. I am so happy with my personal growth and development. Missions are the perfect practice field to practice being an adult on. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. It really is unmatched.

Love you all. Keep living life to the fullest, know I miss you all.
YM/YW helped us contact for a day.  Dinner at the end made it all worth it!

Monday, April 20, 2015


There is no English equivalent to XinKu. And there is also no way to put this past week into words.

All missionaries who served foreign missions before the 2000's, I think I understand a bit more of how your missions went. Being lost. Having no investigator pool. No less-active pool. Basically not even having a ward as I wasn't able to meet them all until yesterday. No way to contact people except when you are face to face. Walking 100 miles a day. And so forth.

This week was a bit of a challenge.

So that voice was a little disheartened maybe. I'm not. I just don't know how else to express this new phase of the work I'm in. My head has nearly fallen off a few times because when you are at every disadvantage you could possibly imagine, laughter is the best cure. 

Also my area has one of the five in Taiwan, and the largest of the five I might add, Ikeas. I won't even attempt to describe my happiness with that find.

One miracle though, and a major relief for the two of us, is a man on the street saw us and approached us about our church and actually shows great interest! We've since met with him a few times. Which is always very exciting, especially since that hour we are with him is one less hour that we need to be on the streets chasing down people. Nearly everyday this past week we have been out finding on the streets 8-9 hours a day.

It is mentally and physically exhausting. And actually spiritually as well because it is pretty difficult to bear meaningful testimony 100 different times a day. Sometimes I wish I just had a script I could read :-)

XinZhuang does have its beautiful side to it though. It is next to a mountain trail! So exercise in the morning entails of running up a jungle mountain to an awesome viewpoint of Taipei (although the pollution makes it a view into haze somedays) which I'm sure all of you who know me, that makes me very happy. I love it here.

the awesome view of the haze here

this is what I run nearly every morning :-)

I could look directly at the sun.  It was kind of cool!
I finished the Book of Mormon this past week. After 9 months of intensive reading every day, it came to an end. That book is pretty neat. "If you haven't read it, read it" --President Monson

Almost forgot, I survived an earthquake (6.6) this morning. My first one. What a fun ride!

Love you all!!

I was confused for a bit as to why this sign had the red guy on top instead of on bottom...

Taipei 101

you could say Taiwan is pretty

we witnessed a pretty neat "changing of the guard"

Monday, April 13, 2015


Thank you all who sent me letters and packages these past few weeks in the mail. I believe I got the majority of them this past week. And they were all very appreciated. Those letters become worth their weight in gold when you're on a mission.

This week brought its pleasant surprises. And its heartaches. Leaving an area is difficult. Especially when the members have really grown close with you and they tell you they prayed that I could stay the entire time and never leave. But luckily and unluckily that wasn't the case. It is very difficult to describe the array of emotions you feel as a missionary. You can only experience it.

I'm going to miss my ZhongLi district.

had to say goodbye to my two favorite people in Taiwan

This past week we had an English class party. Harry Potter was the theme. That was loads of fun. Elder Ribar and I were in charge of Quittich. Basically a game of basketball with a pingpong ball and tables instead of hoops. So fun to watch everyone get so insane, these people are ridiculously competitive!

Then the time for goodbyes came. One of my LA's I was working with in ZhongLi found out through the grapevine and showed up without him telling me because he wanted to surprise me. It was cute. I'm going to miss that man. All the rest of the ward gave me a very warm farewell. It was much harder than leaving my ward in Utah not going to lie hahaha.

Zhong DX

But as for how this week turned out in the end, this is an excerpt that I sent to President Day in his weekly letter:

"What a week!! Let me start off by repeating to you the details you are already aware of. I just moved to XinZhuang with my new trainee companion. I am district leader. I am opening an area that is still not officially drawn up yet. I live about a 25 min bike ride out of my area. We have no bikes yet. We have no cell phone. We have no area book. When we first got to the apartment, we didn't even have a place to sleep, a place to study, and no running water for two days due to the water shortage."

water shortages, gotta do what you gotta do!

That is my current situation in a nutshell. So we will be taking lots of baby steps these next weeks. Luckily my new bishopric is super serious about doing missionary work because their ward was just split. So I have a lot of support and help from them.

Love you all. Wish you all the very, very best!!

My grandpa and baby!  Elder Westover left this past weekend though, he will be missed.

Your average sky setting in Taiwan: Grey

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 5, 2015 FuHuoJie

Happy Easter everyone! seems like that went quick. jeez. That means its getting all warm and ready for summer back home. Makes me miss the lake a bit. or just having my shirt off in general. But there is good news to that, I can take my shirt off when I'm in the shower so it isn't all bad right? hahaha

We had a good week full of sharing about Christ's resurrection to a bunch of people who didn't have any idea who Christ was... Asia for you.

Instead, April 5 was the national holiday here called "saomu" which means "clean the grave" so we had a good number of people unable to make it to church because they had to go out and clean the grave for their ancestors so they dont get angry and curse them. People here are so funny.

Last Monday Sean took us out to DaXi for some fun. Went hiking for a bit. Taiwan's mountains really are so pretty. But ridiculously humid. As you could imagine. And nearly every mountain hike is to some temple of sorts with a nonstop crew of karaoke fanatics blasting their tone deaf voices for all to hear. That is entertaining! So we went out and hiked around this reservoir that I guess is super low from the lack of rain. I hope everyone enjoyed their showers this past week. So did I :-) They delayed it a week because of the crazy rainstorms we had last week. But this past week has brought no rain so this wednesday and thursday the water will for sure be shut off. Looking forward to that.

hiking it up again

some Taiwanese scenery with the TuDiGong's

here is the devil reservoir

Hiking crew (except we were finishing as the rest were starting haha)

After hiking we ate iKea. I was in heaven.

best thing ever

I took up a new habit, a watermelon here is super cheap. Also there are red, orange and yellow watermelons so that is interesting.. But with summer moving in really fast, I need to drink more water and I need to eat more fruit to stay healthy. So kill two birds with one stone and eat a whole melon as your lunch. I think it is a brilliant idea and I love it.

the yellow melon!!
Aside for all that fun and games, this week brought some of the biggest surprise miracles I have seen. As you know from last week, I was planning on having 1 baptism this weekend. That baptism happened and LaiJM's son was looking so "shuai" (chinese equivalent of "handsome") in his little man suit as he sat super excited to be baptized. HaoWei did it like a champ, him and I got in the water and it was freezing, but he got right in and didn't complain. So that was really cool to see.

But perhaps the shock miracle of this week was I had 2 baptisms this weekend. My Phillippino investigator that I've been teaching for a while surprised us hahaha. We've been meeting since last November. And there was a point in time that I thought we lost him. But we saw him last Wednesday and he says "my only concern about getting baptized was I still haven't read the BOM the whole way through yet." I tell him he could get baptized this weekend if he wanted. And he says lets do it. So then it was a rush against the clock to get that all sorted out. And quite stressful for me as well if I can be honest. But his baptism was also beautiful. And when I make it to the Phillippines in the future, then we are going to go have some fun. Looking forward to then.

Ian my man!
And to top all of that off with a cherry on top, I got a call last night that I will be moving this week. And training. Nothing more exciting than training and whitewashing at the same time! Pray for me. hahaha. I'm super excited!!!!

Love you all!! Hope all is going well. Keep writing me! I love all the letters/emails i can get! Hope Conference was good. I will be watching that next week somewhere still unknown to me at the moment. Have a good week!!

so good to see this shuaige! elder Huntsman

March 29, 2015 QueShui

Hello from Taiwan again.

I saw the biggest miracle of my mission this past weekend. After a long week of terrible weather, it rained and the wind blew for 4 days straight with no stopping, this past Saturday and Sunday I saw blue skies. Not deep blue like in Utah, but at least they had a blue tint to them instead of gray, pollution as usual. Yesterday after church, we had about 15 minutes to spare before we had to get back on those bikes to our next appointment, so Elder Ribar went outside on the steps of the chapel and sat in the sun. I was loving life.

But here's where the miracle came with a catch. Apparently there is such a thing as a drought on a tropical island after all...don't ask me. So all of Taipei and Taoyuan counties will be conserving water. The Taiwanese method of conserving water is to just shut the water off here for 2 days every week. Like completely shut the water off, doesn't matter if you are in the nicest hotel in all of Taipei, there will be NO water on Wednesdays and Thursdays for us for a while. So everyone at home enjoy your showers in the morning for me and know how jealous I will be of you. Haha. My prayers lately have all included asking God to send more of the dreaded rain our way :-) Never once thought I would be praying for rain while I was in Taiwan...

Life is all about experiences.

As I write this, the internet cafe is blasting Chinese rap. I'll stick with Nikki Manaj when I get home.

During this week, we had no success. It was not my favorite week. I thought for sure we would be lacking on numbers and fall short on a lot of stuff. But somehow at the end of the week, we still pulled off our 20 lessons standard and didn't fall too short. This past week was one of those that blew my mind how it turned out the way it did. That isn't uncommon though.

I ate chocolate brownies this past week. I almost fainted.

This past Saturday, my RC's (LaiJM) son also passed his baptismal interview, so I'll be helping him this weekend to get baptized. Super stoked about that! But after his interview that night, they left the chapel about 10 minutes before we did and they were on a scooter. However, we still managed to pass them on the way back to our house (we live across the street from them). So I rang my bell and waved as I sped past. Then the next morning in church, the bishopric starts the meeting and announces the baptism, but they still hadn't gotten there. They walked in like 2 min before the sacrament.

LaiJM talked to me after church. They were headed home on Saturday, but HaoWei made her stop so he could watch us ride past on our bikes. Which is why we passed them going home. And then he wanted to be more like us missionaries, so he made his mom ride behind him on his scooter while he rode his bike to church like us missionaries. Which is why they were late to church. Cutest thing. I feel very honored. That 11 year old will make a difference in this world when he goes on his mission. Super happy I was privileged to be here in ZhongLi for the past 6 months to get to know him.

Looking forward to this week. It may be my last full week in ZhongLi, but we will see.

Love you all. Hope all is going well