Sunday, June 28, 2015


June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!! I have the best one, sorry to break it to you all..

I am having a hard time starting this email honestly. You know when you come out quantum physics class a little bewildered and unable to take it all in? That's about where I am at right now trying to decide how to share the lessons I've learned.

I've thought a lot about what classifies as actual "victory."

And I have determined that I cannot fully comprehend what it is.

I have never tried so hard on my mission to have a super good, successful, effective weekend as I did these past few days. We have been on the streets all day, everyday. No set up lessons. Yesterday alone, we knocked doors in the pouring rain for 4 straight hours. No one listened. I have been mocked, laughed at, and insulted this past week more times than I can count. Our only consistent investigator this past week even went as far as to tell me that I am impatient, unloving, a liar, ignorant, and many other things, all as a result of me simply praying that all the wounds in his heart would be healed.

Needless to say, the week was a little tough.

However, as I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday, I have never felt so successful in my life. I watched an investigator of the sisters in my ward get confirmed and I felt so much that she was my own RC getting confirmed. (which is a big deal as a missionary) I felt SO good. So many endorphins in my brain, it was as if I was "high" honestly. 

In the end, I don't know what my efforts have actually done to influence anyone here in 新莊. I'm not even sure if most of the ward knows who I even am. And we have no baptisms anywhere on the horizon right now. Yet, I feel so satisfied with it all. Every bit.

I'll share a story that President Day shared with me while I was talking with him in his office one day. He leaves this next week, so it's only fitting I pay him a little tribute. The story he shared was:
"There was a man with God. And God came to the man one day and told him to push this massive rock. The man willingly suited up and set right off to it. But this rock was enormous. After a few days of pushing, this man starting looking at the rock from different angles, trying to strategise his next moves in hopes of pushing this huge rock. He did everything. He dug trenches, he used wedges, and he pushed on every side. However, after many weeks of pushing, the rock hadn't moved hardly an inch. Dejected and frustrated, the man went back to God to tell him he had failed, and to also ask him what that was all for anyways. God looked at the poor little defeated man and said to him, "You did not fail. I told you to PUSH that rock. I did not tell you to MOVE that rock. You have pushed everyday valiantly. You have done all in your power to do as you were told to do. And as a result of your faithful efforts, look at how strong you have become. Look at how cut your biceps, pecs, abs, and quads all are. Again, look at how strong you have become." 

Yesterday as I sat in that meeting pondering my feelings, I had a chance to figuratively look at myself in the mirror. And I will proudly say, I am RIPPED now!

Some of you are going through trials alongside me right now. My heart goes out to you all. But know this, I am so excited for you all to get your chance to look in the mirror as well. It feels pretty good. :-) At the moment, it is what I would consider "victory" as.

I love being a missionary. I love Taiwan. But I love home more. Miss you all so much. You're in my heart and prayers.

hiking maniac!!

Monday, June 15, 2015


When storm clouds rise, run for shelter. Or if you're as fortunate as us missionaries in Taiwan, you just ride your bike through it. The common cartoon image of people standing on the side of the road and getting soaked by a wave of water as a bus passes by is actually a real thing here in Taiwan. I laughed so hard when I experienced that for the first time. "Fiction becoming reality" moment for me. But anyway, I've learned a wonderful lesson this past little while. Running for shelter is the easy thing to do, and the most desirable of course. Riding your bike through the waterfall from the sky isn't so much fun. However, no matter which decision you make, those storm clouds are going to blow over. The clouds always break for the sunlight eventually. And when those clouds pass, the only thing that matters to you at that point is when you can look back and see the distance you've come. Under your shelter you didn't get anywhere. On your bike you went far.

I'd rather get up on my bike.

Speaking of riding my bike, this past week, it was a particularly hot and humid day as we were riding into our area. I was riding down this busy road about half way there when i realized i had exactly matched the speed of this huge diesel right next to me. I noticed it had a convenient little handle hanging out to the side at my left at about my shoulder level. I grabbed onto it and rode effortlessly the whole rest of the way into our area. When Elder Miner caught back up he was soaked and I hardly had broken a sweat. That made for a really good day.

We have investigators now. I have people to call at night. People to set up with during the day. It is the nicest feeling. My heart goes out to those in Russia and other hard places. It is difficult having nothing going on ever.

The storm clouds have passed now for the most part I believe. Sunshine is on the forecast.

I'm going hiking today.

Love you all! Keep it up in all you do!

my hike last week

call me a photographer

This stud came and played a bit for us.  Michael is the raddest Taiwanese person I've met.

Yep, my area has one of five.  And it is the biggest.

Monday, June 8, 2015



Before I came on a mission, I know that I would inevitably run into a ton of trials. I knew I would face ones I never imagined having to deal with. But that is the tricky thing, dealing with ones that you don't expect. There is beauty in that though, being able to run the hurdles that life throws at you. I've learned through experience that sometimes you trip over a few and have a few bruises as a result. But when you finish, all those bruises are just things you laugh about later on. 

Not much has happened recently in 新莊 that I would want to really tell you about. But there have been some minor cool moments.

We went to 土城 for a zone meeting this past tuesday. On the way back, we were super rushed and I had no idea where to go because we were on our bikes riding like 40 minutes outside of our area. We finally found the right road, which turned out to be a free way, and a super tall bridge over a wide river. Riding a pedal bike alongside a freeway with a 300 ft drop off to your side is a bit of a thrill, but the view was awesome. We stopped for pictures.

from the bridge

One night, after some ridiculous rejections, I decided we were going to take a break and get on top of this massive exercise building in the middle of the city and look at the lights a bit. We ended up meeting someone who was super interested in our church, but only took a Book of Mormon. So we planted some seeds from a good view.

night skies of Taipei

We made it home a little early one night. And we have this mountain trail next to our house that we like to run most mornings. So we took 20 minutes to do a night run and saw Taipei 101 in the night sky way out there.

We got another Taiwanese steak, but this one was especially good because it came with a buffet on the side. I got myself a "Mexican Cake" which I thought would be like a tortilla. It was a deep fried chip folded over a jalapeno and a chunk of ham. Maybe that doesn't sound so good, it wouldn't to me either, but in Taiwan, even the greasiest Mexican food will do.

I ate a lot of mangoes this week. They are the size of my head.

Keep living life! Pray for those in need. Have faith in miracles. Life is beautiful.

for Christina

Elder Miner and I

biking life

this guy snapped at me.  scariest thing in my life


May 24

Wow, that took some effort to type that title. Unfortunately I can text fast, but only because I have the BuPuMuFu memorized on the little number pad and not on the computer. But it reads "Long time no see!"

Sorry I have been silent the past two weeks. I just unfortunately have not had a lot to say. I'll update you all a bit on my "stats" for the past weeks though.

-1 investigators (we just had to give one away, really our only one.)
40+ hours of knocking/contacting a week
7 consecutive days of rain
3.5 set up lessons a week on avg.
1 car wreck (not even a scratch)
2 steaks!!
-5 lbs
1 Ikea stop weekly (sometimes more)
2000 or so characters from the Book of Mormon committed to memory.
And I'm 99% happy smiles (1% crosses over my eyes)

And speaking of "crosses over my eyes," here in 新莊 (XinZhuang), it's kind of like that computer game Minesweeper. We have all these little dots on our map of where we can go contacting or knocking. And every single one we are totally uncertain about what lies beneath that dot. I remember trying to play that game a little when I was younger. More often then not, the first square I chose was the little dead guy. I lost a lot.

I'm also realizing I'm not very good at the missionary-minesweeper game either. If I win, or come close to winning in the coming weeks, I'll let you know. We're bound to choose at least one non-deadguy dot one of these times aren't we?

I believe I have been a little impatient with the Man upstairs lately. There are many nights that I wonder, why is it that here I am walking and knocking till I am exhausted every day (except Monday of course) and not contacting even one person who semi shows interest in us other than our white skin? I have had some impatient prayers lately.

But to show that miracles, no matter how small, do happen, I will share with you an experience from last night.

We were wrapping up our long week of no success and lots of slammed doors when I decided I was sick of tracting. We got on our bikes for our last 30 minutes and I had this little mentality "Well God, if I really am still doing what I should be, show me." Luckily God is merciful. I rode in lead and every intersection we came to I followed that imaginary light beam down the "chosen" road. We went through some dark and narrow alleys. But when we finally saw someone out walking, we stopped him and talked to him. Immediately he says "I've been reading the Book of Mormon!" I was super, super puzzled. He could tell I was at a little loss for words and continued "I ran into you two in the park a few weeks ago and you gave me that book." That was the extent of the coolness. He was in a hurry to buy eggs and didn't want to talk. He didn't set back up with us. But! We got his number and he said we could call later. When we went back last night, we found we had no record of this guy. I don't even remember him. I still have no recollection of meeting this guy in the park and giving him a Book of Mormon. So. Although he didn't talk with us, although he didn't want to set with us, although it may not lead to anything else, at least God showed me He is still there.

So I am going to be more patient. And more grateful for the tiny things, though they be few. 

It's all part of the experience.

Have a good week!!