Sunday, December 25, 2011

Week 27

Happy Christmas, Harry. Happy Christmas, Ron. I think those two sentences will stick with me for a while...:) It was great to be able to talk with the family back home! I'm glad to hear you're all doing okay. I know the Lord has been blessing and guiding us all very abundantly. Yesterday, Elder Su and I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting about "the true meaning of Christmas." I was super nervous Saturday and Sunday morning because we were super busy during that time. Saturday we had our ward party, in which we and the Youth sang "Little Drummer Boy" sang in the style of the King Singers (very good song, by the way). But youth leaders wanted to me to direct and arrange it! Oof! So with the couple hours I could spend on it I arranged the background parts for the men and taught it to them, and ended up directing the song as well. It kind of fell apart for the performance...but it was fun. I'm grateful Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to be able to help the ward by doing something I love doing. On Sunday morning, our ward practiced a musical number, "Angels we have Heard on High" arranged by Sally DeFord It has a two-person accompaniment on piano so they had me play the lower half. But amongst all that, we prepared our talks. I really was braindead all of Saturday morning, even during my studies and at night when I was making my talk. But I was praying really hard, because I was still unsure of what I would even say. But as I laid on my bed that night, I had two thoughts I felt prompted to write down, which became the two pillars of my talk the next day. I was so grateful to be able to receive that revelation to be able to guide and comfort me for the next day. I got up at 6 to start writing my talk. Ideas started to flow through my head, and I was able to pull out a lot of scriptures for my talk. Here's about how my talk was: I remember one time my brother asked me on Christmas Eve, "Do you still believe in Santa Claus?" I thought for a while...and I actually forgot what my answer was. But inside was a feeling of "no, not really." This was when I was pretty young, maybe 12-13 years old. And since then, I just had the idea that I didn't believe in him anymore. But all the same, every year I would see a present from mom and dad, and another present - from Santa Claus. After a few years of this, I thought "strange....I'm pretty sure my parents know I don't believe in him anymore." And yet, the presents kept coming. Without fail, one from mom and dad, and then one from Santa Claus. This is when I truly realized the love that my parents had for me. Every year they gave me what I already wanted from my Christmas list. But they would always give one more, because they truly loved me. They wanted me to be even happier. This let me think of a scripture. In 3Ne 14:9-11, Christ teaches. That we, being mortal and imperfect, know how to give good gifts to our children. Then how much more does our Heavenly Father, who is indeed perfect, will give to those who ask of Him? I know that Heavenly Father doesn't stop at just what we ask. He doesn't stop at what makes us satisfied. He always gives us the other present - the unneeded present - because he truly loves us. In the case of Christmas, we know the Lord has given us the best present that he could. This is, of course, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that this present gives us the opportunity to attain true happiness. So what does this gift truly entail? We know that Heavenly Father's perfect gift to us can completely wipe away all sources of unhappiness. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can overcome each and every one of these things. We can narrow down all unhappiness or discontentment to 4 things. I hope you can all think of one thing that you are discontent with, and see if it applies to one. The first is Death (Corinthians 15:22) - the death of a loved one, fear for your own. The second is Sin. (Alma 11:40) As we know, wickedness never was happiness. Every sin brings unhappiness to yourself and others around you. The third is weakness. (Ether 12:27) This might be one of the hardest ones, because we have to bring our weaknesses with us everywhere we go, as well with deal with the ones of those around us. The fourth is any other sickness or hardship not related with sin (3Ne 12:3-4,10), such as financial, educational, or emotional problems. I love the scripture in Mosiah 3:13. Because we have the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we all can have the effects of having our Savior with us like he walks among us. In His Ministry, he healed all sicknesses, he tended all wounds, and he comforted all who were weary. I testify that we can all receive this comfort as if Christ stood beside us. So what is our responsibility? We've been given this wonderful gift. All he asks us to do is: 1. Mos 2:21-22 All he asks is that we repent and obey His Commandments. Use the gift he's given 2. Mos 2:17 Serve someone. Show your gratitude. 3. PMG says that as you understand Christ and His purpose, our desire to share it grows. So share the gospel with those you love! I love Christmas. I know our Savior lives! I know he has made it possible for us all to be happy eternally. Merry Christmas! I love you, -Elder Liu

Week 26

Thank you for all your packages and your letters! I love them. You all know how to make a missionary happy :D This week has been really good. We've been...what's the english word? Ditched? Anyway, whatever it is. We've gotten a lot of it this week. A lot of people say they'll come but they never do. But we still were able to see miracles. We had an adventure going to ZaoQiao and Houlong this week. Each is about a 30 minute bike ride away. We had a lot of time on Saturday so we decided to visit the souls of those townships. We found a lot of potential investigators and that day we found 3 investigators. We really were lead to prepared people. It was amazing to see the Lord's mercy and guidance. These three were all willing to set baptismal dates as a goal to change their lives. I hope we can hang on to every single soul. Our investigators have been progressing really slowly recently. But it's okay. I know that they have their own pace and their own agency. I'm still grateful that they are still willing to meet with us, and willing to make small changes in their life because of our message. We have a wen1 dx that we've been meeting with recently. He's 30 years old, and he's a really great person. But he has a really special characteristic. He needs to fully understand everything he learns. So he'll ask a lot of questions until he gets the knowledge that he wants. He's meeting with us because he wants to get to know God more. We keep teaching the Book of Mormon and coming to church, but he wants to fully understand them before he does too much. So as of now, he won't come to church, and he'll read the Book of Mormon, but he won't pray about it. He feels that it is already true. I know he'll come around sooner or later. It'll just be a little longer of a process. We have another investigator who's 18, yang2 dx. He loves to talk, and he loves Christian stuff. But his parents might oppose him learning. So he sneaks out to meet with us. Hopefully his parents will be able to soften their hearts. He really is great. I think right now he just likes talking with us more than our message. But he still learns a lot and finds the stuff we share really interesting. We recently shared with him the Plan of Salvation. I think this helped him understand more about why we all love Christ so much, and that he has a lot that he can learn here. Our new district is wonderful! We have 4 Taiwanese and then 2 from Provo/Orem. Yay! Our mission is focusing on Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel, Developing Christlike Attributes. This week we've been learning about Love, Charity, Virtue, and Knowledge. We did a super interesting role play as well. We had two companions demonstrate contacting on the street using their usual way to contact. But then we switched to me, where they said I was Christ, and I had to contact someone. It really changed my perspective on how I would go about preaching the Gospel. I really hope we can all live up to our role as a representatives of the Lord. For Chinese I'm studying "Phase 2", which are everyday words in alphabetical order. So I've been studying A-E words. It's fun to be able to start using some new stuff in my every day life. Wow, I can't believe Christmas is already coming up! I guess it's hard here because there isn't much of the change that I'm used to. There's no snow, and it's taken a while to get cold. And the only places that have decorations is 7-11 and McDonalds. I'm hoping Chinese New Year will make up for the lack of Christmas :P But I know that I have a wonderful opportunity to invite others to remember the life of Christ with me. Love, -Elder Liu P.S. We've been playing a card game by the same people who made Bang! and Dominion called Citadels. Pretty fun game. It's like Bang! and Dominion mixed together.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 25

This week has been great! This week we're focusing on particular Christ-like attributes each week to improve. It's been a great opportunity to be able to focus on Faith and Hope this week. I feel that by better understanding how to express my faith, it can more easily grow. I think a lot of us have the faith to do a lot of things, but our faith won't grow unless we realize what the Lord wants us to do with it and to do it. Reading a clear definition from Preach My Gospel really helps a lot to sort out how you can express your faith to the Lord. This week has been a little harder for Elder Su and I finding/teaching-wise. We haven't been finding too many people and our investigators are wavering in their progression. But I know because of our hope, and our willingness to keep pressing forward, we will be blessed. I think the Lord planned out these topics really well for our situation this week. I know that I can continue on, even with the trials we face. This week we had our baptism with Wang2 dx! He had a great baptismal meeting. He shared a lot of miracles and stories that he's had since he met us. It was wonderful to increase our faith by hearing how the Gospel and Atonement have healed his wounds. Last Thursday we were able to give him a priesthood blessing because his anxiety and seizures were acting up. I shared a message from 3 Nephi 17, how the Nephites had great enough faith for Christ to stay a while and heal their sick and afflicted. I shared how these blessings will be according to his faith in Jesus Christ. I know we can all be the same. We don't have to limit the Lord's power by our doubt or feelings of insignificance. Wang dx was feeling a lot better after our blessing. We are still debating how to differentiate someone who has a mental problem and just someone who is a bit different. And then most importantly is if they still need to be baptized. And then what to do if we decide they doesn't need baptism. Wang dx has major depression, but I personally feel mentally he's perfectly fine. But some members say that he still has some problems. But our leaders were willing to let him be baptized, so we went through with it. I guess they see this kind of thing a lot in Miao Li, so they're all a bit more cautious. Yesterday we were able to see some of a broadcast of the First Presidency Christmas message. I really miss all this wonderful Christmas stuff, especially the MUSIC! Seeing the Orchestra at temple square made me squirm in my seat! I really miss band, orchestra, and choir. But I know that that can come later. It was a great opportunity to appreciate some really good music again. But for some reason, our satellite feed was interfering with a BYU-Aggies game, which was fun to listen to (don't worry, I didn't pay attention. Since both signals were coming in equally strong, there were some funny moments. Right after an Aggie touchdown, the Tabernacle choir started to sing "Joy to the World!" I was the only one laughing because only I understood it, I guess. Yeah, it's getting pretty cold down here. But I got some wonderful clothes from my family ^^ (thank you!) and I bought a cheap windproof pair of gloves that I've come to love a lot. I've actually been getting a lot of stuff from you all, so thank you! I will thoroughly enjoy my Tim Tam Slams in this cold weather :D We have an investigator, Qiu1 dx, who we've been meeting with for a while. He's been through a lot. He was in a car accident a couple years ago, and they had to amputate his foot. Recently two of his best friends passed away. And so we know that our message really can help him out. We know that he knows it, too. But he's lacking the faith to be able to do a lot. He forgets to read scriptures a lot, and he has a lot of excuses to keep him from coming to church. It's been hard to see his potential to improve but choosing not to. We hope our lack of teaching skill isn't preventing him from making a full decision. But of course we understand. It's hard sometimes to let go of what you're used to relying on and start to trust in the Lord. But at some point, we've got to take the first move and let go so that the Lord can take our hand and lead us. Work here is going great! I love you all. Thank you for your love and support. And good luck with finals! Love, --Elder Liu

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 24

Greetings! Wow! Elder Su and I are staying one more transfer! I've really come to love this place. I'm excited to stay here longer. Although I think Elder Su was excited to change things up a bit. But I think this will be a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our ward and our area. Winter hit us really hard, really fast. It was 29 degrees Celcius one day and then 13 the next. I guess it's about time -- It's already December! Wowsers! So Wang2 dx hasn't been baptized yet. We were going to wait a week or so because he has been drinking coffee to keep himself up in the mornings. But he should be well on his way, still. He just found out he can still drink Coke :P But he'll try to slowly not use that, too. He has a serious, serious case of depression. So he ends up saying some pretty weird stories, and it kinda scares the ward. But I think he'll be okay. He's a really great person, and his testimony is strong. This Sunday was really great. I felt the Spirit prompt me strongly that my answer to my question this week would be in the Book of Mormon. Lo and behold, it was! The next chapter I read was wonderful to answer my question and encourage me to do better. I really have learned to love the Book of Mormon. I'm grateful for its teachings and its guidance. The scripture I read was in 3 Nephi chapter 4. A simple story of how keeping our provisions high (Spiritual provisions of Scriptures, prayer, and church) as well has constant prayer for protection will allow us to recieve any situation with the "Strength of the Lord" (v10) This scripture really helped me. I know that these things are true. I spent more time on pictures today, so that's about all for this week! Stay warm, everyone! I'm praying for you! Good luck with Finals and everything. I know the Lord is with us in all we do! I love you, -Elder Liu

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 24

This week has been great. Especially the Zone conference that we had on Friday. We were trained by a lot of different companionships on different Fundamentals of Preach My Gospel. I feel that by learning the fundamentals, I am able to better focus on what can best help our investigators get the experiences they need to have a testimony of the Gospel. Recently we've been having a few investigators who ask really great questions, and seem like they really are interested in the things we share. We just hope we can provide the Spirit strong enough for them to be able to recognize the Truth. I have truly loved being in MiaoLi. The members here are so amazing. This place is amazing. The people here are amazing. Elder Su has been a wonderful companion, and I feel we improve every day in our unity and our teaching. I can't believe the transfer's already almost over! I started Phase two 2 days ago, and I'm really really excited! For learning Chinese, we have phase 1 through 3. Phase one is all gospel terms found in Preach My Gospel. Phase two is 1600+ random words that are more everyday stuff. It's already been a blast trying to apply the new words that I've learned. We have an investigator who is getting ready for baptism this coming week! A Brother Wang2 An1 Qi2 王安岐. He's been really great! Wang2 dx is the who found us at a Family Mart convenience store. He's had a few problems with the Word of Wisdom, but he's gotten over it pretty quickly. He really has seen a lot of miracles. He suffers from depression, and so he's needed to take pill to sleep and to get better. But he says that because of prayer, he doesn't need any pills anymore. He used to take 6+ pills a day, but he slowly got rid of them. It's been great to see his testimony grow extremely fast from his humble desire to change and be healed. He is married with one daughter. They're not too interested in the church yet, but we'll see. They don't oppose to his being baptized. He'll be having his baptism interview this Friday, and if all goes well, his baptism will happen this next week! Wow, this one kinda snuck up on me...But I am definitely not complaining. I think this is a great example of how the Lord prepares his people, not the missionaries. I feel I haven't really done anything. But I know the Spirit has lead us to each other to be able to help Brother Wang know that God loves him. It's been such a wonderful opportunity to work with him. For our Thanskgiving.....actually, I forgot it was Thanksgiving. But we had a Family Home Evening yesterday about thanksgiving, so I think that counts. Taiwan doesn't celebrate it, but some of the members still like it. We went around the circle and said what we were grateful for. I truly am grateful that the Lord has smoothly transitioned me to Taiwan. I know that it was his arrangement to send me to the only place I knew in Taiwan, Taipei, JinHua Ward. And then here in MiaoLi, where everyone loves everyone. It's been an amazing transition to be on a mission. Sorry, no time for pictures this week. I'll get them to you next week. I love you! -Elder Liu

Week 23

Hello, everyone! This week has been amazing. We've been able to meet with a lot of our investigators, and a lot of them are making really good progress. We've been working recently on Teaching Skills as a missionary. I feel that as I focus on our investigators, as well as my teaching skills, I feel the Spirit more strongly in our meetings. It lets me feel better that I know I am doing all I can as a missionary, and that it really is their own choice to accept or reject our message. This past week we've had a Specialized training was amazing. There were two main topics, one was to invite the Spirit into your lessons, and the other was How to Begin Teaching, as found in Preach My Gospel. These things have really helped me increase my faith in our living prophets. Preach My Gospel is an amazing tool, not only in missionary work but in our everyday, normal lives. We teach people every day, and we hope to affect them for good. And Preach My Gospel can help us better understand how to do that in a more loving and effective way. Oh yeah, I got to TRANSLATE for my first time! I translated half of the English talks that were given at our training meeting. It was quite hard, and I'm sorry to those Taiwanese who had to hear me talk, but I did my best. At times I could definitely feel the Spirit help me understand their meaning and be able to portray it in my own words. It helped me have more desire to work on my Chinese. I'm grateful to have an opportunity to share my talents with others. I'm really sad to hear about Frisky being put down, but I know it's okay. It just makes me even more grateful for a perfect plan of happiness :) I'm glad we have plenty of pictures to remember him by. This past week we had a Thanksgiving party with our zone. It was great to eat some American-style food! Including stuffing, chicken (they don't like turkey here, sadly), sweet potatoes, and all that jazz. There was a cool miracle this week. We had a lesson setup with 2 highschool kids. And we were going to meet at a 7-11. I saw them there, and a friend that I hadn't seen before. I said, "okay, let's go!", and I walked to where we were meeting. And they ran off right in front of me! Talk about Fang4 ge1zi. They did it right in our face! But I saw their friend stay and she got on her scooter by some other friends, and she pulled out a cigarette. I had a first prompting to talk to her. But I thought it would be weird, so I continued to walk, but then I thought again, that I had to. So I turned around and asked, "Do you want to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" And she said "Maybe when I have time" (which in Taiwan, usually means no) So I gave her a little tract and left to go sit down with Elder Su and our member friend. We talked for a few minutes, and as we were getting up to go, this girl walks up to us and said, "you can stay, I want to talk with you a little." She asked why I was willing to serve a mission, and a little about our beliefs. We found out her name is Sister Zhou1. She was curious why Christ was so great and his works, so she has been reading the bible recently. It was amazing to see this girl, who didn't look like she would be at all interested in hearing about Christ, and see that she had a deep desire to find the peace and joy that Christ could provide. We've had another lesson with her, which went really well. We talked about the Atonement. She seemed to really like it. Thank you for all of your emails! I know that even though we all hit rough times, every single one of our trials can be "Swallowed up in the joy of Christ." I know this gospel is true. Thank you for your support and love. I love you! -Elder Liu

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Did anyone else have an amazing 11.11.11 11:11? Because we did. Besides being able to making the biggest wish in my life, that friday went really well, too. Recently we've been really blessed to run into some amazing people. But we've been also running into some problems. Apparently there's some long-running conflict between Taiwanese and Americans? ....what? really? why? It really does make me sad, angry, and disappointed at some of our missionaries here. I'm not really sure what to do about it, but I feel I have some kind of obligation to try to change it. I just don't know how... But aside from that, we saw so many miracles this week. But we also faced some of the hardest times. I think that's how the Lord works most of the time. The greatest lows bring out the greatest highs. Elder Su ran into a lady who got out of jail that day. But in jail she learned the gospel, and has wanted to join our church ever since she heard it. She really wants to make that change in her life. We ran into someone who wanted to know how to pray. He said he's done it before, and he felt pretty good about it. He said he really likes prayer, but he just wasn't Christian. I found a lady tracting who, after her mom rejected me, came out and started talking to me. She works in China, and is leaving next week, but says she wants to meet with us starting tomorrow. Hopefully we can get far with her before she has to leave. I feel I've learned more about what it means to be continually reliant on the Spirit to do His work. I find that every time I just say a simple prayer in my head, I am completely led and prompted to talk to someone. I feel that every time I have a small success, I can feel the Spirit confirm to me that person is ready as I go talk to them. I am so grateful for the Lord's tender mercies to me this week. I really feel the Lord guiding me in my efforts to become a better, more humble missionary. The Lord really is so merciful in leading all us, as long as we remember Him in everything that we do. This week I'm going to focus hard on the next level after finding, which is making my teaching experience a great one. I feel that once I find someone willing to meet, I get excited, and I forget to teach them a lot that would help them. But Elder Wang in our district told us we should not be finding just investigators, but finding investigators that are progressing towards baptism. So I resolved that I can do better. I know the Lord is blessing me to slowly get better at it. This week I'm going to be focusing on Knowledge and Virtue as my Christlike Attributes. I hope that through these attributes I can teach with more sincerity and simplicity. It's great to hear from a lot of you through email and through letters! I'm glad to hear you're all doing great! 加油! It was great to see Dad last week :P We just coincidentally met at the mission office while I was on my way to the temple. I've actually got a lot from my dad, including the translations for General Conference and the translation for "On the Lord's Errand" DVD that we've been starting to show investigators. I love you! Thank you for all your support! -Elder Liu

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week 21

Wow! November! It's supposed to be getting cold over here, but it's not. In fact, the days are getting hotter. But I should be grateful for the warm weather. They all say that winter is super super cold over here. The temple was a wonderful experience for me. It was great to be able to have that renewal of spirit and mind. It really is a great blessing for one to be here.\ These week was a little rough, but the Lord made up for our weaknesses. Yesterday, I was feeling particularly not so good while we were out contacting, and so I sat down to say a prayer. As I looked up, there was a lady that I felt prompted I needed to talk to. She was putting together a fold-up bike, and she was trying to carry this huge bag while riding her bike home. I asked her if there was anything I could do. And she responded in English (she loves to speak English) and said I could help her find a way to carry her bag. And so I spent a few minutes trying. After a prayer in my head, we finally got it to work out, and I think she made it home okay. But before she left she was willing to talk to me and we setup a time to meet again. It was a cool experience. I know that the Lord sent her to be able to comfort me in my weaknesses. Our Ward Mission Leader, Dai4 di4xiong1 (dx) took us out to a huo3 guo1, and I ate really, really full. I think I actually gained wait now! I just hope it's not fat... I think our biggest problem so far is our church attendance. We had 7+ investigators say they would come to church, and only 4 came, with only 1 staying the full 3 hours. But I think it's our problem in not teaching the importance of it well enough. It's just so sad because I've seen my prayers answered so many times by going to church. Maybe you have some suggestions that I could use to help teach? Maybe experiences I can share? I'm doing really great here. Thank you for all the letters and packages that I've been getting. I love you, -Elder Liu

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 20

Temple Day! This is why I didn't write two days ago. We're going to Taipei today, which is about a 2 hour train ride. It's such an amazing blessing to have a temple here that we can invite all our investigators and new members to prepare for. This week has been amazing. Our new district is great! We have 3 companionships still, and each companionship has one Taiwanese and one American missionary. Having a half and half companionship has its tough spots, but I think we're all doing really well. It's hard to be able to make friends and have true unity with a language barrier. You can't make your usual jokes or express yourself fully. But that's what the gospel is for! We all have the same purpose, and we all, in a way, have the same background. So yes! Tang jm is baptized and confirmed! And better yet, she's still active! It's every missionary's nightmare to baptize someone who wasn't ready, and have them leave right after their baptism. We found another investigator that is making amazing progress. Okay, that's not actually true. An investigator found us, who is making amazing progress. We were making calls and a Family Mart (a convenience store), and a 40 year old man walked up to Elder Su and said he's been looking for us. He shares his story of his depression, and how he's already tried to commit suicide. But his wife and daughter helped him through that hard time. He said he wants to turn around, and do whatever it takes to be baptized. Wow. Talk about prepared! It's going to be amazing to work with him and help him through this journey One of the most frustrating things out here in MiaoLi is that it is more apparent then ever the principle of being compelled to be humble. Yeah, these people are humble in their every day life, but they all don't want change until they need it. In essence, they ask for God's humbling. They ask for trials, tribulation, and sorrow. Why? That's probably something that hurts me the most out here. It's that people can't see how this Gospel can not only make their lives immediately better, but that they can avoid the sorrow and the pain that comes from the compelling the being humble. But at the same time, I think we all do that sometimes. I know I've done that. I've not wanted to improve because I thought my life was great. Tang jm gave a really good analogy I've never thought of. Our life is like what we can carry with two hands. We can only have so much in our lives. But sometimes the Lord wants us to put something really good down on the table, so that we have an extra hand so He can give us something better. It's the good, better, best principle that is so often shared now. And the Lord always has an even "better" for us, until one day we can receive the absolute best. One of the greatest blessings of the gospel is being able to search the scriptures and see all the blessings you've already recieved. And you truly know, as in 1 Nephi 17:13, that it is God that really did lead me through this path. Thank you for all your prayers for my investigators and for me! I really do feel them! I'm praying for all of you, too. I love you! -Elder Liu

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 19

Whoo! My first baptism! It's been amazing to be able to take someone throughout the entire baptismal process. And I know that's actually quite a lucky experience, too. A lot of times people will move before they can see their investigators baptized. Tang1 jm did wonderful. She bears her testimony every time with power and with sincerity. We had a musical number, where Elder Su played the piano, I played the guitar, and 4 members from Insitute sang "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus." I really love that song. I feel the Children's Hymns are so amazing. They're simpler in word, and more musically interesting as well. The day before the baptism, I read in Alma chapter 29:9-10, which talks about how his joy comes from finding the penitent who are willing to accept the words of Christ. I really have come to feel that taste of joy. And as I see the successes in missionary work, I really do feel that the Lord loves me. I'm reminded how merciful He is to all of us to give us all that we have. So my call this transfer STAY in MiaoLi! I'm so excited to be able to continue to build the friendships that I've already made here, including my companion, who is also staying. Elder Su's family came to visit him in MiaoLi. So no allowed, but there's not much we can do. We were at the church teaching a lesson when Elder Su started acting really frantic. And I couldn't get why. But then he said, "Elder....I think my family's here." This was when the lesson was about done, so we ended with a prayer and we went outside. And yes! His family was there. They said they didn't try to plan it out to see them, but they were going to drop off a package at the door. It was cool to be able to see his family. I'm sure it's a lot harder for him to be living so close to his home. Miao Li is right next to Taichung, which is where he lives. So he's really, really close to his house. Elder Su plays the Chinese flute! So I've been having some fun with it. :B Just so everyone knows, my address will be the same for sending me letters no matter where I move. So keep them coming :P Thanks everyone! I've been sick recently, but it's alright. Just a light headache and some sinuses blehs. Hopefully it'll be gone soon. I love you! -Elder Liu

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 18

This week was a little rough at the beginning, but turned out wonderful at the end. Great peace came to me as I feasted on the words of our living prophets in the new edition of the Liahona about the Book of Mormon. I love the Book of Mormon! I've been realizing that I'm not sharing that love and that knowledge enough to my investigators, so I'm trying to make that a goal in each of the lessons we share. Our one investigator, Tang1 jie3mei4 (jm) should be baptized this week! She's come a long way! She's faced questions about other gods, family opposition, and some other repentance problems, but she has had enough faith and desire to overcome these problems. She really has been prepared from the Lord. She says that recently she's had a really hard problem in her life, and gang hao we were able to befriend her and help her heal from her past. I really love being able to see the change that the Gospel has made for her. Sorry, it's hard to write about her, because I really don't know a lot. My Chinese lets me miss a lot of the personal things about her, but I can still teach her. She works at a place that works on a 2 days working 2 days resting schedule. But she's recently be studying to be a government worker...I'm not really sure what it is. But Elder Su says it's to regulate moving, some deaths, and just keeping track of people, I guess. But this job will let her take Saturdays and Sundays off, so we're hoping that she'll be able to do well on her tests so she can come every week. We just met with a recent convert named Liao4 jm. She has a son and a husband who's not a member of the Church. It's almost been a year since her baptism but people still haven't had the new convert lessons with her yet. So we started yesterday. We talked about Laws and Ordinances. We had their whole family as well as Xu2 jm. We talked a lot about temple marriage and being sealed. And after, Liao4 jm's husband was talking to us, and he agreed to start taking the lessons! Wow! He's always just rejected before. We don't know why he was so happy that day. This was a miracle we were really happy about yesterday. Yesterday we also taught a Gu2 jm. Recently she's been having a really hard time in life. Her relationship with her family has never been good. Her work has bad co-workers, and she has to stand for 12 hours from 7:30pm to 7:30AM. She says she wants to know if God exists, but she's been reading the Old Testament, and feels that God isn't fair and not loving because of the things that he does to those who don't follow Him. She says that she never receives any answers to prayers. She's been really hard to work with, sometimes. She has a lot of questions and we don't have enough time to answer them. But we've been trying to get her to read the Book of Mormon instead of the Bible. It's like in the Liahona. Mormon really did see our day. He really does talk to us, even though he's not here. The Book of Mormon can solve every one of our problems in every situation. And it's not that the Bible cannot, but it just wasn't written for our day. It's hard to understand. I'm so grateful that I have the Book of Mormon that I can read every day to feast upon the plain and simple words of Christ. As the Book of Mormon solves the problems of my and my investigators lives, my testimony of it grows. I had exchanges with an Elder named Elder Thatcher. Elder Thatcher is an amazing missionary. He reminds me a LOT of Chris Pope. His voice, his hair, everything, and especially his testimony. And it just made me realize how blessed I was to be with all the friends and family I was when I grew up. Every single one of them were amazing, and I know that together, even though apart, are doing amazing things. We are all influencing a lot of people just by our example, even when it's not apparent. And it's all because the Lord is guiding our actions. I am so grateful for the amazing influences you all had on me every single day. Thank you for your testimonies! I am doing great here. I hope I don't move from Miao Li just yet, maybe a couple more months or so. I love it here! I love you! -Elder Liu

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 17

Hallo! Everything here is awesome! We finally got to hear General Conference this week, and it was great! Although, I had to hear the English talks through the Chinese dubbing, so I know I missed a lot of it by nature. But I still had a lot of spiritual experiences and answers to my prayers. I particularly loved President Eyring's talk about lessons from the Book of Mormon. I loved his story about giving his talk for that college. The Spirit was really strong as he talked about how he remembered the Prophets, Abinidi, Ammon, Alma. And how they, against the world around them, boldly and shamelessly shared their testimony of the Lord. I think that I can do better at this. I know that I can be more confident in the message that I share, because I know that it is true, and I don't have to fear the consequences. I was also especially pleased to hear Dad's voice over a couple talks. It was really fun to try to understand all that I could just by listening to Chinese, when I couldn't hear the English. Sister Tang1 is progressing amazingly. She has a wonderful humility and a desire to change. She's faced a lot of problems so far, but that's good. She's learning to use the Atonement in her life, and the amazing, inconceivable power that it holds. And she's using her faith to overcome these problems. I think of the statement in Preach My Gospel that says that "we will find great joy in repenting daily." I know that the Atonement can change lives, heal souls, and redeem all wrongs. We're hoping that she will be ready to be baptized for her goal, which is the last sunday of our transfer. I got a bunch of letters this week! Thank you all! Thanks especially to the Primary! I loved all your drawings. We've had a huge wave of investigators and people to remember. We've been working on our Area Books, which is just a big collection of records throughout that area. It's been amazing to see the blessings of records. Just like the Book of Mormon. There is a very special power in a well kept record of anything. It's really cool to be able to keep things organized and well kept. I love you! Love, -Elder Liu

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 16

Everything in MiaoLi is awesome! Elder Su and I are very blessed to be seeing miracles every day by serving here. Right now we have one particular progressing investigator who is well on her way for baptism! Her name is Sister Tang1. We saw an interesting comparison between her and another investigator, Sister Ye4, who we had lessons the same day. Sister Ye4 is not doing so well, and I don't know if we'll see her again. But they both had a small desire to learn more about the church and to see what we're all about. But Sister Ye4 never developed adaquate faith because she had no works. She wouldn't pray for us, she would read scriptures, all because there was "too much pressure." But Sister Tang1 was willing to try. She's already read past Mosiah in the 3 weeks that we've known her. She prays everyday, and even tries to attend some of our other lessons with other investigators. She's had one major problem, and that is that she needs to ponder more about the differences between having one God and many gods like her culture teaches. But I know that she has the faith to overcome this problem. I love how this Gospel is all about working and doing. It's only when you really want to, and go and act, that you'll get a real testimony of the truthfulness of the doctrine. We had a youth activity that was really special. We had all the youth in our stake go with missionaries to go on a mission for a day. It started out with 1 hour of personal study and then 1 hour of companionship study. In our group we had 2 young women, 3 young men, and 2 other adults that were willing to drive us up to Zhu2 Nan2, where the activity was. Our youth were particularly hesitant and unwilling to work, but as they were more exposed to the work, they all loosened up and served with their heart. It was particularly interesting to see one young woman who didn't really say anything. Her name is Sister Wang2. She said she was dragged there by her leader. But during one particular contact, an a-ma, she opened her mouth for one sentence. She said that she knows that the a-ma's family could be together forever. I felt the absolute power that came with that statement, and I knew the lady could feel the Spirit. She later didn't accept, but I know that we did our part. I was glad to see that turnaround in our young women. I think they all enjoyed it in the end. I know that that small miracle testifies to me that it doesn't matter how complicated your testimony. The simple, heartfelt ones are the ones that have the most power and influence. I know that God loves all His children, and will always help them according the effort and desire of their hearts. Elder Su is an amazing person. He says at first he hated coming on a mission because his friends wanted him to stay. But because he came, his mission changed him a lot. Right now I would have had no idea that he struggled about coming on a mission. He plays the Di2 zi5, or Chinese Flute! Whaaa! So you can imagine that I"ve been playing a lot of Dizi. It's really fun. He's also learning Viola, so it's a fun trade. He's a great person. He's patient with my weaknesses, and is always trying to strengthen his own. I've learned a lot from him as we discussed together. We found 9 investigators last week! I'm so excited! I hope that we'll get a good chance to see every one of them progress. On Friday I found an older man, in his 70's. He's Buddhist. And usually by that age they're pretty set in stone about their life philosophies. I've found that the older they are, they are either more prepared and softened to the word, or hardened and prideful. And he was definitely more prepared. He said that me, being a representative of a "true" God, was his savior. He said that such a young man telling an old man about religion humbled him. He stopped in the middle of the street and turned off his motorcycle. He lives a long ways away, but I know that he'll progress. I can't wait for conference next week (for us)! I hope everyone enjoyed hearing the prophets and apostles. I've already heard some great stories about how their prayers were answered through the words of the prophets. And wow! A new Provo Temple? That's amazing! I can't wait to see it when I get back! I love you all! I pray for you every day! Love, -Elder Liu

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 15

Miao Li is continuing to amaze me! Although the members are few, they are all great. And the work is progressing really well. So we live in Miao2 Li4 Shi4, but our area is the entire Miao2 Li4 Xian4, which is HUGE. It covers a lot of mountain and has a few cities in it as well. It used to be all one Zone, which is about 10 teams of missionaries. Right now we have 2 really good people who are progressing. The first one is a Sister Tang1. I met her 2 weeks ago on the street. Before she was a little unwilling to accept God because He would make her leave her culture and to only worship Him. I think she's still thinking it over, but she's coming to a lot of activities. She's coming to English class as well as Church. She even ate dinner with us one day. It's great that she's not only our investigator, but she's becoming a good friend, too. We also have a miracle factory -- the Tim Zhou kid I talked about last time. His mom before was really opposed to us meeting with him. One time we called Tim's cell phone and him mom answered. She said to not call that number again and to stop meeting with him. But our prayers really were answered! Yesterday she and Tim came to the church in the morning to talk to the Bishop, and she let him stay for the meeting. We were able to have another lesson with Tim. In his prayer, he prayed that his mom would join our church, too. His faith is amazingly strong. I love it. His mom isn't fully ready to hear our message yet, but hopefully her heart will be continued to be softened so they can all have the wonderful blessings of the Gospel in their family. She later told us to keep Tim our of trouble, and to look out for him. We agreed with no problem. I know that God is watching over every single one of our works. There is nothing that is coincidence. As long as we trust in God, we can know that any the path we are taking is the very best path we could ever take in this life, and of course, in the life to come. I love you all! I'm doing great, thanks for the emails that I've gotten. It's great to see how everyone's doing. -Elder Liu

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 14

Yeah! This place is so amazing! I absolutely love Miao Li -- it's city enough that you can have convenience, small in enough to get there fast, and beautiful enough to make you want to stay. The people are a lot different -- they have different problems. The hardest part is trying to have them change when they already think their life is fine. This week we've been on fire! Miao Li has been of a dead area in the past, but hopefully Elder Su and I can spark it up a little. This week we've gotten a high in investigators and lessons. I'm truly grateful for our success, not from anything that I've done, but from the Lord. He is so merciful in letting the willing and humble to guide his work. The farther I go, the more I know that my teaching needs work, my contacting needs works, and my testimony needs to be stronger. And better yet, it needs to be in Chinese. It's easy to get prideful with some success, but I need to remember that all good things come from Christ -- even my small successes in the mission field. Elder Su is truly amazing. He's from Taizhong, and he's already taught me a lot about sincerity and self improvement. We get along really well. We teach each other English and Chinese, so it works out really well. The members here are awesome, though there are few. We only have one ward in the entire Miao Li Qu (which is our whole area -- it's HUGE), but all the members are especially nice. There's one investigator that this area just picked up. His name is Tim Zhou. He's amazing! He's around 14 years old, but his fire and his determination to learn about God is baffling. He's so friendly, and so thoughtful. It's amazing to see such a young man be so passionate about learning. I really learn from his example. Love you all! THanks for your emails! -Elder Liu

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Week 13

Yay, my first ban1 jia1 tian1 (transfer, "move day") This week I'm going to the western city of Miao3 Li4! It's a huge area, and it's actually what Elder Hubrich started out in. People there speak Mandarin as well as Haka, so I'm excited to get to a new place and have a new companion. His name is Elder Su. He's from Taiwan, so I'll be sure to get a good and proper accent from him. Mail might get to me a little slower, so sorry if I reply to written mail for a while. You're all still welcome to email, though. I'll get those every week.

This week we did some babysitting for the brand new missionaries. Elder Hubrich and I got an Elder Braithwaite. He was great. His Chinese was surprisingly good. It's just crazy how that day seemed to be yesterday, but yet it seems like I've been on island forever. Introducing him also gave me that fire of how awesome missionary work is, too. I could see myself more happy and more willing to do the Lord's work. It was a real blessing for me to help him out.

It really is hard finding out you're moving to an area that you've fallen in love with. I think so far in JinHua I've learned to better cherish every moment. I really have made some wonderful friends here, but I feel I could have done better by making every action my best work. Time is short, and so everything should be like you really mean it.

Just recently we were fed by 2 people, a Brother Peng2 and a Brother Ye4. It was really a blessing to be able to just sit down and relax with a meal with a friend. The members here are really amazing. So willing to give of themselves.

This week just about every one of our lessons was about the Atonement. It was good not only for the investigators, but for me as well. I really want to gain a stronger testimony of the Atonement, because I know it is that act alone that I'm out here. There would be absolutely no reason to serve a mission without the wonderful news of the Atonement. The Gospel really is the "good word."

I've had a lot of miracles of with the "umm....sure, let's do it" feelings that the Spirit gives me. One of them was a pizza store owner that is actually really close to our house named Mr. Wu. He was really prepared to meet us. He said recently he's been looking for different truths to base his life on. He recently picked up the Bible, and has been trying to be happier with a more truth-filled life. My companion will have to keep up on him after I leave.
Thanks everyone! -Elder Liu

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week 12

Hello! Wow, this week went by pretty fast. I'm already almost done with my first transfer on the island!

This week our forgetting-our-limits goal was to get one investigator every day of the week. And we did it! We taught someone the gospel and made plans to continue to share at least once a day. It was amazing to see the pattern of our work. "Oh man, today we might not get our investigator....oh. Let's pray." And every time we would humble ourselves to pray, the door of miracles would open. Recently I've been studying about humility. In Preach My Gospel it says that humility is the willingness to the submit to the will of the Lord and to give all honor of our success to Him. I've really felt so much stronger as I stop and think of my weakness, and my reliance on the Lord. I can feel the Lord more easily guide me, and enlighten me. It's like Ammon says, in His strength, we can do all things. Including finding an investigator, finding a job, succeeding in school, or whatever we need to do.
But I think now I need to work on gratitude to fulfill the latter part of humility, which is giving our honor to the Lord for whatever has been done. I feel I need to thank Heavenly Father for giving me so many blessings already. For blessing me with Chinese before even coming to my mission. And to have the testimony and experience that I've already come here with. I know it's all the Lord's plan. I know He's prepared every step that I've been willing to take. So I need to show my gratitude in every step that He continues to allow me to take.

This week in english class, my spiritual thought was about the Book of Mormon. And I had a really great experience. First of all, I started 10 minutes before the lesson started with no idea of what I was going to do, but I prayed. And then I got an idea. On our tracts that we hand out to everyone, there are "soul-searching" questions that are found in Preach My Gospel that the Book of Mormon can answer. So I decided to have an open discussion where people could choose any soul-searching question they had. I had to pray super hard that I could think of the scriptures needed to respond to everyone's questions.
We ended up answering three questions with the time we had. The first one was about how all Christian religions say something different about Mary, and how God could have made her have a child?
At first I tried to explain it by myself. I explained how there are many things on this world that work, we just don't know how. Like our bodies. Like the world! And how we know that God gives us all that we need to know. But they didn't really understand. (I still have a problem where I translate too directly what I want to say, and so Chinese thought processes don't really understand) But then I thought of a glimmer of a scripture. I knew that Nephi saw Mary in a vision, but that's about all. I didn't know how it could answer his question. But I looked and I read, and I smiled. 1 Nephi 11:14-17 answered the question exactly how I wanted it to, the way I wanted it to (and in Chinese!) It is the angel asking Nephi right when he sees Mary, "Knowest thou the condescensions of God?" in which he replies "I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things." I bore testimony that God loves his children, and so He gives us every bit of information that we need to know to have faith in Him and return to Him one day. After sharing the scripture, He clicked! And he said to me what I was trying to say to him all along. I was truly blessed with inspiration at that moment. I really am grateful for that experience. I know the Book of Mormon can answer all of our questions. And I know through the Holy Ghost we can learn all that we need to in this life.

Thank you everyone! I love you all! This is all I have time for this week.

-Elder Liu

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've been out on the Island for a month now! It's gone by really slowly day by day, but the weeks go by so fast! It's amazing.

Yes, there is a big big hurricane in Taiwan, but Taipei's not seeing much of it, which is good. All we get is a little rain. We were called in yesterday right after church to stay in our apartments. But today they let us out. We'll see about tomorrow. I hear there's one in the US, too? I hope everyone's okay.

Yesterday we had a baptism for a lady named Grace Zhan. She was great -- she's been going to church for years, but she's never been baptized. And yet yesterday, she seemed so happy after she had performed the ordinance. She brings bread to all the missionaries, without fail, every week. And she always brings too much! We all love her, and her bread. She really is known around here for the lady who brings bread to church. I don't know where she gets it, but she's so willing to share and give of herself. She's a wonderful example.

We had so many meetings this week that it was hard to be productive missionary-wise. We had zone conference, district meetings, special training meeting, an English ward party, and so many other things taking our time. So number-wise it was hard, but I learned a lot. I"m ready to face next week with a brand new start. We've set a goal to get one new investigator per day, as opposed to the standard of 5 per week. Our "special training" was given by Elder Osgulthorpe, the Sunday School President. He talked about how a vision starts with the Leader, or the Mission President. Say maybe 400 new investigators. But then by adding other leaders, such as the Zone Leaders or the District leaders, that becomes more possible, and more likely. But it's only until you add every single person, including junior companions, can you reach a high goal. Elder Hubrich and I have also been talking about standard setting. And how we can't take the set standard to make our goals, but rather, we take faith and confidence and we make those are goals. Like in track, it was considered humanly impossible to break a 4 minute mile. But there was one man who finally worked hard enough to break it. Soon after, there were hundreds of people that flooded the sub-4 minute mark. And now under 4 minutes is the professional standard for mile running.

So this week, we're trying it. We're taking something that seems less possible, and testing it with full confidence. We're going to forget the standards, and start to fly. I know this week I'll see miracles. I'm ready to do everything it takes to reach my goals.

This past week we had a zone conference, in which our district did a musical number for it. I am so lucky to have my viola here -- I'm really bad now, but it's a big blessing to be able to play it. I really miss sharing my testimony and heart through music. I hope I'll be able to do it more in the future. We sang a medley of "I believe in Christ" and "There is a Green Hill Far Away." We found at that we can play the beginning and ending phrases of both hymns together at the same time and it makes a really nice harmony, so that's what we did. We had two groups sing both hymns at the same time. I don't know how it sounded in the audience, but I thought it was cool.

Right now I'm trying to improve most on contacting -- talking to random people to share the gospel. And it's hard! It's hard to rely on the Spirit to know what to do and say. It's hard to discern their needs right then and there. But I know that this is a learning process. I might not be very good at it right now, but I'll be improving day by day. I know by the end of the mission, I'll be miles ahead of where I was here. I'm grateful that I have the knowledge that the message really can help anyone no matter what their life is like.

So yes, last week I had a picture wearing a vest doing service. That interesting use of time. It's called the "Clean up the World" Project, sponsored by 7-11 (oh yeah, they're really really big here). It's just a project to get to try to clean up Taiwan. The thing we went to was a 3 hour pep rally. Afterwhich we just cleaned gum off the floor of the metro station for 15 minutes and then were done. We were all a little frustrated that we didn't really do much for 3 hours, but I think we made a good impact on the people around us.

Right now we have some pretty amazing investigators. There are so many people here that are willing to seek truth and to live by it -- or at least give it a try. And I am really humbled by their willingness every time someone accepts a commitment. I always think, "whoa...they'll do it just like that? Just because we wanted them to?" They have such amazing faith, and they don't even know it yet. I"m blessed to be in Taiwan.

I love you!
-Elder Liu

P.S. Thank you all for your emails. They have really helped me.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 10

Hello, everyone!

The mission is going great! This week we've seen wonderful things! But first, some announcements:\

The rule in our mission is actually that everyone can email me! Yes, that includes you. But then the rule also says that I can't respond via email, but rather I have to write you. This way a full reply only takes 2 weeks rather than 3. But you can still write me, and then email me. That's okay, too.

It's been really really hot this past week. There hasn't been much rain at all, and so the heat has just been building. But gang1 hao3, we've been having a lot of lessons recently, so we've been inside the church most of the time. We haven't really been contacting as much.
So for Chinese study, we have 3 phases. The first phase is only Gospel terms. The second is every terms. And the third is reading and writing characters in the Book of Mormon. So I'm on the first phase, in the second lesson, which is all about the Plan of Salvation. Usually people get through all three phases in around a year. It's been hard to focus only on doctrine stuff when I still need to communicate with everyone everyday. But I know that there's power in this system, and it's inspired.
In our district we've been studying about how to use the Prayer of Faith, and how to increase our faith with prayers, as well as praying with more gratitude in our prayers. I would encourage everyone to find/use more prayer tools in their everyday life. They give more purpose and meaning to our prayers. And the Lord will bless us for striving to do better at keeping His Commandments. Preach My Gospel has an awesome list in Chapter 4 about the Spirit. I'll write how that goes next week.

This week we got a bunch of golden people. First we have Jerry, which Elder Hubrich found contacting. When they first met, and Elder Hubrich said he could really get an answer to prayer he was amazed. He was blown away by the fact that God really does listen, and He will respond to our humble prayers. Sometimes it's relearning the power of the simple things that gives us the greates encouragement and testimony-building experience. It's wonderful to see people marvel over the smallest principles that I've lived with all my life. I am truly grateful that I've had the Gospel as a child.
Another golden set are a couple that love religion. They feel that every religion has their good points, and so they wanted to know about ours. Right off, they wanted to know about the Plan of Salvation. They were intrigued about our emphasis on families. They were impressed that even our littlest kids are dressed up like missionaries, running around the church, preparing to one day serve as a missionary of the Lord. We had a lesson with them the night after we met them, and went to church the next day. They're always loaded with questions. They've been prepared so well for our message.

I recently ate at my Aunt Si4gu1gu1's house. We are Er4gu1gu1 as well, and her husband. Her husband isn't a member, so we were hoping that we could spark some interest, maybe. But anyway, we just went over (wow! I still remembered a lot of it! Some very good memories) and we had lunch. We then shared one scripture each and why we liked it. I shared 2 Nephi 4:27-30, and how because Nephi makes the Lord his support, we don't have to fear our weaknesses, our enemies, or our inadequacies. I've always loved this scripture, because it shows that our sorrow really can be swollowed up in the Joy of Christ.

I've been thinking recently about how in the scriptures, Christ says that to be His disciple, we need to carry our own cross. (I'm sorry, I really want to give a reference, but I don't know one now) And I've been wondering what my cross has been. My life has been so smooth -- so normal. Nothing bad has really happened. No sacrifices really needed to be made. So what is my cross? Is it serving for two years? That doesn't seem to bad either...I don't know. But I'll think about it this week. What have I done for the Lord that makes me qualify for His discipleship? Maybe everyone can send me their story? I would love to hear it. What makes you a disciple of Jesus Christ? What is your cross?

I hope everyone's lives are going great! If so, I want to hear it! And if not, I still want to hear it! I'm praying for every one of you. Thank you for being there for me.

I love you,
-Elder Liu

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 9

These week has been crazy. Sorry if you're expecting a letter back from me – Since I've gotten to Taiwan, it's been hard to figure out exactly how mail here works. I've gotten some stamps now and should have them for sure sent out by today.

This week has been filled with miracles. I got my first 3 investigators. My first one was someone named Lin2 Zi5 Fa1. I just met him by a convenience store. He had 3 bottles of wine next to him, but he was very willing to talk to me. I introduced myself, and just talked a little. We ended up saying a prayer, and after, he said, “...Could you say another one so I can stop drinking?” Oh yeah. No problem. So I said one, and he really appreciated it. We're going to meet with him on Wednesday for the first time. He seems to be really willing and ready to learn. I'm excited. I know the Lord has blessed me with success. I think I feel so much more fire now that I have someone that seems...mine, in a sense. Someone that I've worked with from ground zero, instead of a bunch of people I'm just meeting.

Although people here have been amazing. For example, a lady in my ward named Cielo is from the Philippines. She works for a famous artist named Chen..something. I forgot his full name. But he's even met the Pope. We got to help move his enormous pictures for our service. I wish I had some pictures to send, but maybe next time. But in return he gave us some of his books. He's really good – I was very lucky to have met him.

Cielo also brought us to a place called Din Tai Fung. I think it's a Japanese restaurant, but it's really big here. There's always a huge line to get in. They serve dumplings, baozi's, and other delectables. It was awesome.

So a thing I've noticed is that I'm famous around here. I guess Dad, Jonathan, Mom, si4 gu1gu1 Kyleen, and Jay are just too amazing. I've already gotten countless number of “Wait, you're related to _______, aren't you?” And you know what? I used to just get kind of annoyed, because no one knows me as me – It's always by someone else. But I have really learned to appreciate that. I can now proudly say yes, I am related to them. I guess what was the change? I guess I figured that that's all I do out here. I represent the Savior. In fact, we all do. And I am so proud to represent someone who is amazing. I am proud when people look at me, and see someone else that has brought them joy. This was my small epiphany. Small, but powerful.

This week we get to tune pianos! Yes, that's right. There's an senior elder, Elder Hahn, that tunes pianos and teaches piano as his calling. He said he was sad that his profession might die with him, and so Elder Hubrich said that we would learn how to tune from him, and he gladly accepted. He tunes by ear, and so it's way hard, but it'll be way good!
It's rained here quite a lot, and I don't have real rain gear yet. I had a rain jacket, but that's it. So we were biking with soaking pants and shoes. But it was great. I think the Lord blessed me with the ability to not care when I don't need to, which I'm actually really grateful for. I know if it were a vacation or something, I'd definitely be murmuring.

So yes, it's been great. There have been occasional bad days, where nothing happens, and no one accepts our message. But I know that it's a test of our patience and faith.

Jia1 you2, everyone! I love you!

-Elder Liu

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil -- for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff; they comfort me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week 8

Hey! Sorry for the late email. Today is our temple day, so our Preparation day always changes to match our temple day.

It has been great out here. It's been a little hard adjusting to noise all the time, with cars everywhere, and sweating all the time. But it's not too bad. I know that I've been blessed to already be half fluent in Chinese. I can already talk to most people with little understanding issues.
(A Peanut Butter burger? It was pretty good.)

This last Thursday was simple amazing. We had a good 3 hours to contact people on the street, and we were probably teaching 90% of the time, which is really good. Everyone was willing to listen, and we taught a lot about the gospel. There was even a lady who poured out her soul to us. We were simply just talking, and she started talking about her life story, and her trials. But she was Christian, so she had faith that God really would help her in her trials. She started crying, and then suddenly went into a prayer. Wow. The Lord really prepared her for us to meet her. As she left, she said that she didn't know why she shared her story, because she usually keeps those things to herself, but there was something special about us. She didn't really set up to take more lessons, but hopefully we planted a seed that will stay with her.
(Elder Liu and Aunt 四姑姑)

The day after that was just plain hard. No one listened. No one even wanted to talk to me, let alone be taught by me. But I think it was for a few reasons. One, we got up late that morning. The Lord appreciates exactness in His commandments. So by slacking on our responsibilities, the Lord was a little hesitant to give us his spirit. And also, because of the success I had the day before, I think the Lord was testing my faith, and building my trust in Him. I learned that I really have a lot to improve on, and I need to rely so much more on the Savior.

I think the hardest part since I've been out here is to try to listen to the Spirit. One of my favorite talks by Elder Bednar is when he says if you're deciding whether it's your or the Spirit, to quit worrying about it. He says just be a good boy, and a good girl, keep your covenants, do what you're supposed to, and the Spirit will guide you. And while I like that principle, sometimes it's hard. We've always being taught "Without the Spirit, you can't teach. They need to feel the Spirit. The Spirit is everything." And while I know that's true, it's hard to know if I'm really following it or not. But I know through more experiences I'll learn to recognize the Spirit more effectively and strongly.

It was recently Father's Day here in Taiwan -- August 8th, which in Chinese is "ba1 ba1" which is very similar to the word for dad, which is "ba4 ba5". I got a kick out of that. It's a very meaningful pun. We Americans need to step it up with our holiday times.

We had a recent convert fireside about Marriage. A professor from BYU talked about how marriages makes you make more money, become more healthy, and makes you live longer. In fact, not being married is worse for your health than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. It was a very good fireside, and I think it was really what the people in Taiwan needed to hear. A lot of them needed to hear that families are still ordained of God, and so blessings will definitely come by raising a righteous family. I'm very grateful to have been born of goodly parents. And we all have. I'm grateful that the Lord can show His love to us through our families and our friends.

Good luck to all! Jia1 You2!

-Elder Liu

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 7 - First email from Taiwan!

Hey, just so everyone knows, I got here very safe and sound.

The trip was great! 24 hours of travel time actually seemed pretty fast. On my first plane to Detroit, I talked to this methodist missionary named Cosme, originally from the Phillipeans . He is awesome. He's very open to new ideas. I shared the first lesson with him and left him a Book of Mormon. We also switched emails and he said he wanted me to write an article for a self-run internet publication describing me as a Mormon missionary. I talked to my Mission President, President Grimley about it, and he said they would check whether or not I could. I think that would be a wonderful opportunity.

Taiwan is amazing! I remember a lot from 5 years ago since I was here, but there's still a lot to get used to. I guess I'd thought about it before, I never realized I'd be in mega-busy urban town, with cars everywhere.

My very first day we had Orientation with the mission office, the Mission President and his wife, and the Assistances to the President. We just talked about how everything would work around here. We ran to the ChenKaiShek Memorial for our excercise. We ate out at wonderful vendors. We had fruit sandwiches and other breakfast sandwiches. Oh yeah. The food I can definitely get used to.
At the end of my first day, we had 2 hours of contacting. My temporary companion was Elder White, who has been out about a year. It was only then when I realized, "oh....this is what I'm doing for 2 years." And it was hard -- we never practiced contacting in the MTC, so I never knew what to say. But through listening and observing I was able to try it myself. Elder White also had me Dan Jones for a bit. Dan Jonesing is....interesting. The motto around here is to talk to everyone. But this isn't the way I'd normally think of it. It's when you stand up and just preach to everyone, like they did in the olden days, and just preach the gospel. But of course we made it modernized and did it with a megaphone. They said they don't do it very often, but it helps you break out of your comfort zone. So I did it for about 5 minutes. Oh yes. Welcome to Taiwan.

I think the hardest thing for me has been contacting. I'm usually not one to go out and talk to random people, especially if they don't like me, and I can't even understand them sometimes. But it's not my work -- it's the Lord's. Sometimes the Lord requires things of us that will stretch us. In fact, he always will. That's His purpose; making us grow and become better people is why we're on Earth. But I've gotten the hang of it a little. I was reading in 2 Nephi chapter....13? I'm not sure, but it described how the Jews were the only people that would kill our Lord, Jesus Christ. Others would have seen the miracles and repented. But since this had to be done, the Lord was sent to the Jews. But it just testified to me that some people, no matter how well I teach or represent the Savior, will still not accept me or my message. But some people will see the miracles and repent. And my job is to find those that will soften their hards.
The next day was also some orientation. We went to the dedicatory prayer site of Taiwan, where the island of Taiwan was dedicated for missionary work. We offered our own prayers to the Lord for our dedication for our missions to bring souls to Him.

I think it's been hard to let the Spirit really guide me, because I'm just afraid that I won't completely understand them or that I'll disturb traffic or whatever excuse I have. But now that I've gotten more used to it, I feel I can listen more intently to really find those that are ready.

I've met so many people I know here. I ran into Matt Seibert on day 2. He's doing really well, and his Chinese is really awesome, too. I also have seen Sister Van duren, Wai Gong and Wai Po (grandparents), Si4 Gu1gu1 (my aunt), and the Chen's, who came to our house one time in Utah. I've been blessed to be able to see so many people I know. I know that the Lord provided that comfort and support for me here.

I've been assigned to the JinHua Area, which is right where the mission home, temple, church, and distribution center is. It is also the area where my grandparents and aunt go to church. I'm also in charge of the English ward of our mission, so we go to two sacrament meetings.

My companion is amazing. His name is Elder Hubrich (Hughbrick). He's from Kaysville, UT. He was in the Davis Marching band on the trombone, and he's going into physics at USU. He's been out a year now, and is really a great person. I also have a second companion, Elder Li, who is leaving today to his transfer area. He's from Taichung. He's such a great guy, a bit silly and exaggurated at times, but it helps me be a little more relaxed and comfortable. I'll send pictures of them next week.

On Saturday I attended my first Baptism here! It was for an 82 year old man who was just amazing. He bore his testimony to us after he was baptized, and you could tell he was prepared. He bore his testimony in Chinglish -- I mean true Chinglish. Every other word switched languages. There was a couple caucasian missionaries that don't speak Chinese, and I'm sure they got a kick out of it. He talked about becoming a new man, even at a good age of 82. It was truly a blessing to see the fruits of our labors so quickly after getting here.

Each day is so tiring, but I know the Lord is sustaining my body. Each night I just plop on my bed and I"m out until the next morning. The work is hard, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Best of luck to all. My next letter should be a bit better organized.

-Elder Liu

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Elder Liu's Mission Address

Write him letters and he'll try to write you back!

Elder Justin K Liu
Taiwan Taipei Mission
Floor 4, No. 24, Lane 183
Jin Hua Street, Da-An District, Taipei

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 5

Hey everyone! This week has gone by sooo fast. At first I didn't believe it, but it seems like I've been here for months, but yet only days. That doesn't make too much sense...but it does to me.

So I have been changed schedules, but not branches. I'm still in the international branch. There is probably more racial diversity than I've seen within these few weeks than I have in my whole life. It's great! It's great to see so many people from so many different places, all wanting to serve the Lord.
I got my travel plans. I'll be going to LA=>Taiwan on the 26th of July. The Elder Slawson, the elder who is also going to Taiwan in my branch, didn't get his visa in time, so I'll be the only one going to Taipei. There will be 2 other elders going on my plane, but then to Taichung.

Thank you all for your letters. Every single one helps me a lot. It's great to see how everyone is doing. I also get very well chosen snacks. :D Thanks.

Anyway, this week's fireside was great. We had a talk by W. Blake Sonne and his wife. He's part of the presidency of the MTC. Sister Sonne talked about how Heavenly Father always has His eye on you, how we don't have to worry about what happens, because He is always guiding those who trusts Him. (Hey, Consider the Lilies is playing here in the laundry room. Those lyrics almost go exactly with my last sentance.)
Brother Sonne talked for most of the time. His talked was centered around The scripture in Helaman 10:4-5, where it tells that Nephi, the son of Helaman, has great power, and why he is given that power. He is mighty in word, deed, faith, and works. And this is because of his obedience, asking the Lord's will, not seeking his own life, and not fearing the people. I hope I can strive to be able to strengthen those attributes in my own self. I think I can do better at trusting in myself less than trusting the Lord. Although I take time to pray morning and night, for meals and study sessions, for devotionals and meetings, I still feel like I don't spend enough time listening to the Spirit in my daily life. I feel like once I pray, I just get up and do whatever I want. I need to remember that the Lord promises to tell us all things we should do.

This past week we learned how to make a language study plan. It's been hard, but I've been trying to learn ten words a day, reviewing often and moving on. I think it's working. I feel that I can express myself better as I teach people (not lessons) and to get around easier. Sometimes personal study gets frustrating -- I just want to focus on the language, because I feel that that is what I need -- that's what's keeping me from more success. But I know that building my personal testimony will do so much more. By building my own testimony, the Spirit can then witness to anything I say, and that's the most important part.

For Prep days we play piano and sing. I love my district. They all love praising the Lord through song and through sharing their testimony. We've come so close, and it's hard to leave them just next week. An elder from Taiwan, Elder Chu, already left last week, and we've all missed him already. I know these will be friendships that last forever -- especially since most of them will end up at BYU or somewhere around here.

Thank you all, again, for your support. I am really grateful for each letter and present you give me. I feel so blessed.

Best of luck,

-Elder Liu

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week 4

This week went by really really fast! The time seems to go by faster, so it seems like I'm less productive. I don't know if I really am or not, but I think we've gotten a little too comfortable, maybe. I think our district doesn't work as hard as it did, but I'll try to keep it up.

Yesterday we had a devotional about Repentance by Brother Richard Heaton. He talked about how repentance is a wonderful, joyful process, and shouldn't be dreaded or avoided. If we have any conceptions of bad that come with repentance, then it's Satan's work. Repentance is a gift from the Atonement. In D&C 19:16-19 it shows that Christ did the suffering for us so we don't have to. So by repenting, we can actually avoid suffering.

A lot of people are leaving our branch -- about half of them. It was an international branch, so all of those who already spoke their language were in there. But this week we're going to move districts to the Chinese district. We're going to finally be joining those who will also be leaving July 26.

I don't have my study journal with me, so I'll explain some things that have been going on.

I have an elder in my district who is also going to Taipei, Taiwan. His name is Elder Slawson. He's the only white person in our district. The rest are ABC (American Born Chinese) or Taiwanese. Two other elders are going to Taichung, Taiwan. So we'll be in the same plane over. The other three are going to the LA California mission and the Seattle Washington Mission. It's awesome that we're all switching spots -- everyone from America is going to Taiwan, and vice versa.

My companion, Elder Hsieh, is a wonderful guy. He's a bit lazy at times, but I know he has a great testimony and wants to share the gospel. His family was converted when he was nine, so he was kinda raised in the Church. He's going to LA. He misses Taiwan a lot -- he always compares here to there. It's great to have my companion be from where I'm going. He teaches me some Taiwanese (a dialect of Chinese) that people use every day, and it's almost like slang. He also is patient in me asking him a bunch of Chinese questions. It's been hard recently because his English isn't the greatest, so it's harder for him to be able to teach his part of the lesson. He tends to recite things rather than pour them from his heart. He also isn't very willing to learn English, beacuse even though he was called to LA, he'll be speaking Chinese. I keep telling him that more English will only help him at LA. But we'll see how it goes.

I hope everything is going great. It was nice that today was actually cool. Our classrooms have been really stuffy because it's been hot, but it has all gotten better.

In class we've been going over things they call "Fundamentals" of teaching. These are points like "The Role of the Book of Mormon in Conversion" or "Teaching People, not Lessons". They've been really good. This is a pilot program that they're teaching a bunch of districts. I think it works really well. I don't know what they've been teaching others, but I feel that I'm learning a lot, and though I'm not perfect, I know what I need to work on and how to work on it.

My teachers are named Brother Da Silva and Brother Richards. Brother Da Silva is from Uruguay. He actually just left to get married in Brazil. Brother Richards actually hasn't taught us very much, because he's been having some family health problems. But both of them have been amazing teachers. They've really stressed in teaching with the Spirit. They always answer questions really clearly and well. They also become our "investigators". We teach them and try to get as far as we can in the lessons. They've been good, but hard, because we don't get direct feedback. We have to talk with our companion to self evaluate our work.

Anyway, time's about out. Best of luck, everybody. I love you all!

-Elder Liu.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Week 2

This week has been wonderful. There have been some ups and most downs, but it's all been great.

I can see why people don't like the food here. It seems to get really repetitive, even though it's still different every day. It just seems all the same.

My district has continued to amaze me. They are full of wonderful people who all want to learn more of the gospel, and who want to be able to teach more effectively. We all help each other with our languages. I already feel that I've learned so much Chinese. We haven't really focused on Chinese yet. In fact, we're encouraged not to take personal study time to study our language yet, but rather focus on the Gospel. But nevertheless, my Chinese has improved. I feel more comfortable with it, and I know that I'm learning a lot.

One lesson that I've learned is that I have really underestimated the Book of Mormon. My teacher taught us that we can teach the first lesson even with 1 Nephi 1. Before, I would have thought "that's no good, get them a good scripture. Like this one." But I know that the Book of Mormon has enough power that one can gain their own testimony of it with any verse. Any scripture can influence people and draw them closer to Christ.

We were priviledged to have Jenny Oaks Baker come for our Sunday Fireside. She performed for us as well as talked to us about her experiences, and how they've drawn her closer to God. This was a wonderful experience for me, to still have that testimony that music can still draw us closer to God.

But speaking of music, last week I had an amazing TRC experience. TRC is when volunteers come and allow missionaries to come teach them. Usually they act as investigators or inactive members, but this time they let us teach the volunteers as themselves. This allowed us to really fit our lesson to the member's needs. My member's name was Mo. He's a Polynesian that works at Nordstrom in Orem Mall. For respect to Mo, I won't mention very much about his situation. But I know that from the lesson, we increased all of our testimonies. That day I tried to apply what I learned in class, that is, to not be afraid of silence in a lesson. Silence not only gives time for the Spirit to guide your thoughts and actions, it also lets the investigator feel and learn from the Spirit as well. Since I've applied that concept, my lessons have become sooo much better. I feel the Spirit more, and I feel like I know what I'm listening for to gain heavenly guidance. I just hope that I can continue to practice and improve so I can invite the Spirit more in my life and in my lessons. My lesson with Mo has been the highlight of my MTC experience. I have learned to love silence as much as I love silence.

I hope everyone is doing well. God be with you.

-Elder Liu

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 1

Hello everybody! The MTC is amazing. The spirit always seems to push me just hard enough during that day that I sleep very well at night, but never really am too tired. It's wonderful to see so many people I know here -- Elder Harrison, Elder Hunt, Elder Carlson, Elder Evans, and a few more.

My district is an amazing blessing. Because I am in an international district, which means I'll be staying 6 weeks instead of 12, there are mandarin speakers left and right. My district has 7 members, with two missionaries from Taipei Taiwan, three American Asians, one from China, and one from Seattle. It's wonderful because we're all either learning English or Chinese, so we all help each other learn the words that we don't know. My companion's name is Elder Hsieh (谢). He is a great companion. He's from Taipei, so he gives me advice on what to know and what I need to look out for. I think he is lonely, though, because he is one of the few Taiwanese people here.

I would agree with Elder Harrison. Laundry here is pretty stressful. Getting the whole system down is kinda weird, but I'm getting used to it. I'm also getting used to eating dinner at 4:30. I guess the MTC knows what they're doing, because I always get up, eat, and go through my day without any kind of problem.

Devotionals here have been so amazing. There have been new branch presidents being trained here, and so most of the General Authorities have been here teaching them. So we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Bednar, who gave an amazing talk about becoming a "Preach My Gospel" Missionary. A Preach My Gospel Missionary always recognizes that he is a representative of Christ, is worthy, recognizes the Spirit to be the ultimate teacher, and treasures up the words of Eternal Life. And last of all, he encouraged every single one of us that we can do it. We might feel inadequate, but the Lord will take our best and make it enough.

There has also been so much teaching about letting the Spirit teach. I never realized how important that the Holy Ghost is in our path to Eternal Life. Although it is true that we need to turn to Christ, it is the Holy Ghost that allows us to even find Christ and gain that initial testimony. It is the Holy Ghost that is our link to all the truths that Heavenly Father lets us have. And so we need to do our best to pray and to ask Heavenly Father for us to have the Spirit, as well as live in a way that the Spirit can reside in us always. This is why mission rules are so important. I know that some of them are kinda weird, like no music at all in the MTC, but there is definitely a reason. Even if there is no good earthly reason, if we obey the rules that God has set for us, then He allows His Spirit to be with us always. I have come to learn these things from week one.

Thank you all for your support and your love. Here I've seen people from so many backgrounds and so many places. I know I am really blessed to have the people I love around me.

-Elder Liu