Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mission Letter 5/18/2015

Dear Family and Friends,

This week has been simply incredible. Both for my area, and for the District as a whole. Elder Ribar and I were able to reach 40 lessons this week, 13 Book of Mormon's, and it was a miracle (In the past on my mission, I'd be happy if we reached 20 lessons in a week; that is the mission's Standards of Excellence, which means the goal that President Day wants us to strive for weekly). We've worked extremely hard this week, and focused our efforts a lot on really putting forth 100% in everything we do. And the blessings came! Our District did well overall, too; this week had a total of 102 lessons across the 4 companionships in the District. Last week we had about 63, which is a very stark contrast.

The week started with an exchange with the Taoyuan Zone Leaders. During that day, I learnt a lot about being bold and getting straight to the point (when talking to people) of us being missionaries, declaring our purpose, and inviting people to act. By so doing, we were able to talk to a lot more people, have meaningful lessons, and better judge whether or not people would be ready to accept the gospel or just (in a sense) unwisely use our time.

As a result of our efforts, we also did a ton of Team Jesus this week. I don't know if you've ever heard of Team Jesus before; that means that, when we find out that the person doesn't actually live in our area, we still do our best to help them as if they were our own investigator, and then hand them off as a referral. We had a lot of referrals that we gave to other areas, but Team Jesus usually pays back! We've received some awesome referrals in exchange, entitled, "Golden Investigator!" so we hope that we can help him become a golden member soon. 

Last Wednesday was also Temple Day! It's been a long time since I was able to go to the temple. In our mission, missionaries attend every three months, unless they're on the East Coast of Taiwan. And during the last temple day, I was on the East Coast of Taiwan. So it's been six months, which is still more often than some missionaries get to attend, so I should feel lucky. It was an awesome experience to be able to go. We also got to do sealings while were there, but they were in Chinese, and it's still hard to understand advanced Chinese coming from a like, 80 year old grandfather's mouth. But he was so lovable. 

​CAPTION: My companion, Elder Ribar, and I outside the Taiwan Taipei Temple after our session. The temperature was SO HOT and we were burning up, but that's okay.

Skype last Monday was also really awesome. It was a lot of fun getting to talk to my family at home, and man the time goes really quickly. Next time in December! Which seems far away, but time flies when you're on a mission.

This week is transfers. My friend Alex Welch is coming. Then next transfer is a short transfer. There will only be 5 weeks in the transfer, because President Day wants to do it before he goes home (rather than burdening the newly arrived Mission President with a transfer in like, 5 days). So that'll be exciting.

Other than that, it's simply been an incredible week. We heard a talk in Sunday about the enabling power of Christ's Atonement, and they talked to us about using the Atonement to improve ourselves, and particularly our Stake. They want to establish a new Stake in Southern Taoyuan, and they taught us about doing our duty because God can give us power to help us do His work in addition to what we have to do in our busy lives. He told us about how people will ask him to be released because they have "a test for work" or they have other responsibilities that will take their time for three months or so, and they don't believe they'll have enough time to fulfill their calling. He told us that through the Atonement, and putting God first, only then can we progress, and our Stake progress, and that God will help us. And I know that when we put God first, and rely on him, he can help us do things we never thought possible before. I definitely relearned that this week!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! May God be with you, and may you rely on Him!

Elder Sequoia Ploeg

Taiwan Taipei Mission