Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Pictures

December 24, 2012

Hello momma! How was your week? MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Sounds like christmas has been pretty busy! Haha the christmas tree is looking pretty good! Tell conner and corrin they did a pretty great job! That is so cool, voyager ward has 3 more missionaries out! Man our ward is so great. Tell the ward thanks so much for the christmas letters they sent me! I enjoyed reading them. Also, thank you for the christmas package!! I have not opened any of the wrapped things yet because..well it's not christmas! I will open one tonight though. Sounds like moving everything out of Darcis house was quite the job! Like Dad said, too bad he didn't have any bird brains over there helping him out!
      This was a pretty good week for us. We are already starting to see christmas miracles! On thursday we had our mission christmas activity! We went to this place called ming jian and went around to see some of the cool places there. We also had a little fireside at the end of the day and talked about Christ being our foundation. On our way home, our bus broke down so we ended up having to walk over to the train station and hop on the train. After sitting down in our seats we started up a conversation with the people next to us who were way cool. 
       This week we also had a christmas activity with our branch at the chapel! We had a few investigators come and they had a great experience. We watched a bit of the beggining of the christmas devotional from the first presidency and then the projector fell over so we played we went straight to the activity part which every loved. It was super great for our investigators because they got to know the ward better and had a chance to learn the real meaning of christmas as well as feel the spirit of it! So great. I am very grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ and at this christmas time I am filled with even more gratitude as I reflect on the meaning of Christmas and the story of Christ's birth. Born as a baby in a manger, come to save the world from sin. What a miraculous story!
       So about skyping! We are going to come to the internet cafe which has webcams and skype and what not and skype you on wednesday morning at 8 which means it will be teusday night at 5pm for you! Is that cool? We will plan on that! and I will be using my own skype account so watch out for me! Talk to yuo soon! Love you bunches!

December 17th, 2012

      How was staying at Aunt Alices with grandma? If you see her let her know that I love her! That is so weird that Nick is already home, it does not seem like 2 years ago that we went to his farewell. How is he doing? 
       Paul-HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! You better slow it down a bit! I think you can get into movies for the senior price now right? That must be nice. Haha love you bro. Miss you! Hope all is going well! Have a sweet birthday!
      This week was a pretty good week. It was Elder Hansen's very last week on the mission! It is super weird to think he is leaving! We dropped him off at the train station this morning! My new companion is Elder Stratford. I was actually with him in the MTC for six weeks! It is cool to be able to see him again and see how great of a missionary he has become! I am excited for this coming move call with him! We are going to work hard and have a good time. I am sure he is going to love xin ying, this place is the best. The members here are so great. Speaking of which, this last week we got taken out to dinner quite a few times because Elder Hansen was leaving. Sweeeet :D The ward here really supports the missionaries big time and loves doing missionary work, it is the greatest! I am super glad I have had the opportunity to serve here. I have met life long friends, including Tyler! He is my big bro in taiwan. He wants to add you and dad on facebook and he says if you want you can email him- Haha he is a funny one. Super cool kid, tell him he is your son in taiwan, he says he wants to be part of the fam. This week we also had a pretty cool christmas activity in jaiyi. Our whole district went and they had some performances and a huge lunch! Christian organizations from all around town came and did some performances as well! It made me realize how much the church has an impact on the community! We had some recent converts and investigators come with us to it which was super cool too.  One of the greatest feelings ever-when your investigators consistantly have good experiences while reading the Book of Mormon. I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the huge blessings it brings into our lives when we read it and strive to better understand it. Just as Joseph Smith said, we can grow closer to God by reading and living by the teachings in the Book of Mormon than by reading and living by the teachings of any other book. 
       Well I hope you have a great week! Thanks for the music!
Love and miss you! 
Oh yes and for christmas we will either skype you on christmas morning or night. Not sure yet, we have to tlak with some members and see what their schedule is like. I will let you know next monday.      

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 10, 2012

Yeah I got the if you could hie to kolob one, but I did not get the masters hand one. Thank you!! Make sure when you send the music that they are Mp3 files, otherwise they will not work. The if you could hie to kolob was mp3 but that christmas music was not. And yes I can get CDs onto my drive no problem! As far as new music goes I will think some this coming week and let you know next week! So when can I skype you on christmas? We are pretty much cool whenever so it is up to you guys! Let me know what time you want to do it so we can start making some plans! 
        All is going pretty well, the weather is getting cold! It has been pretty rainy and cold lately. It is kind of a nice change though. A few people even put up christmas trees! Pretty awesome. Well time is getting short we gotta jet! Sorry this week is a little short! Love you momma! Love    -Elder Ripley

          Another great week here as well. It is starting to get pretty cold these days! Darci is moving into a house right next to the gilbert temple? That is so cool! That is super close to our house too!  I really liked the picture of your breakfast the other day, I have been craving a breakfast like that lately! Haha love you dad. I wish we could go get a tree together too. Miss you guys! Go get one and take the stick with my picture on it with you :D Well our time is about up. Love you dad! Talk to you next week!  
             Love   -Elder Ripley Tell paul he is getting old! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 3, 2012

Hello!!! Wow it looks like the wedding was a success! You have no idea how bummed I am that I missed it!! Ahhhh I wish I could have been there. I would have loved to have spent time with everyone and support my sista! Tell her I love and miss her so much! Disneyland was probably a blast too! Sounds like everything is super exciting back home! And christmas is coming up so quick!  I am glad I could attend the wedding as a picture on a stick at least :D  Better than not being there at all right? Riding those buses sounds like it would be a pretty nice ride! Wait how is Dan related to the Udalls again? I still remember hanging out with them in california! Fun stuff.
       As for me all is going pretty great! This week was pretty sweet. It has been getting cold! Right now it isn't too cold but it has cooled off abunch I love it! When I first got to taiwan in the summer I couldn't even begin to imagine it being cold in taiwan. I thought it was miserably hot year round haha. It is nice though sometimes I can wear my long sleeve shirts now. I am having a great time with my new companion Elder Hansen, he is pretty cool. It is weird to think he is going back to America in two weeks! Crazy...This week we saw some cool miracles with our investigators. 
      Well it is about time to get going, love you all bunches and hope you have a wonderful coming week! Thanks so much for the music mom!!! I am super pumped to listen to it! Love you!
      -Elder Ripley

November 26, 2012

       Hey Mom!! The music works! I can download it onto my flash drive! Thanks so much! I will start thinking of some music I want :D Thanks for the birthday card as well, I really enjoyed it! Thanks so much mom and dad! I know I am getting so old, it is super weird to say I am 20, especially since I have to tell people everyday on the streets. (That is one of taiwanese peoples favorite questions to ask you when you contact them, they all freak out because of how young we are, especially when I was 19!) Disneyland sounds like it has been a blast so far! I am super duper jealous! It has been awhile since I have been there! Thanksgiving sounds like it was pretty awesome too, I have been craving dads pancakes lately. I try to make pancakes on sundays, but I just can't do it quite as good as dad, I am getting there though! Yeah that picture of us holding our bikes up is from a few weeks ago when we rode our bikes to bu dai! The ocean! That was pretty sweet. Will you send me that picture?
       This week was pretty good. Elder Hansen and I found some pretty sweet new investigators. The ward here in xin ying is so great. They are some of the coolest people!  One of the ideas that alot of people have here is every church teaches the same thing, do good things! So every church is good because they are all the same! Yes, alot of churches are great, and they really do teach people to do "good things" which is awesome. Our message to the world is quite abit different then do good things though, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the restored Gospel and restored priesthood authority of God in order to help God's children understand how to recieve their greatest happiness in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come. There is no greater purpose than God's, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I am so grateful for this gospel and the blessings it brings into our family as well as the people I get the chance to teach. 
       Well hope you had a great week and have a good coming week as well! Enjoy disneyland! Love and miss you!

November 19, 2012

     Momma! Thanks for the birthday wishes! It is weird to think that I am almost 20!  Tell Julie thanks for me! Lauren Filichia is already home!? That is crazy! I miss Matt. Tell him hello for me if you see him again! Sounds like Kenny is a little sick! Hope she gets well soon! Tell her I love her for me! Blake and Blythe sound like the did pretty good in their primary program. I can just see Blythe going up and saying uhh I kinda forgot hahaha she is a cutie. Disneyland is coming up soon isn't it? I am sure they are freaking out. Send me a churro if you get the chance!
      Taiwan is fantastic! This week the weather just got alot colder and rainy and today it is warm again. There's Taiwan weather for yu. Unpredictable. I got a new companion today! His name is Elder Hansen. I knew him when I was in taizhong becuase he was an office elder at the time! He is the bomb. He leaves in 4 weeks! So crazy. He comes here and then leaves so fast. I am super excited to be his last companion and work hard together! This last week we had a mission tour! Elder Wilson from the asia area presidency and his wife came and toured our mission. We talked about working with members and teaching by the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon. It was super great, I learned abunch about missionary work and am excited to apply what we learned from Elder Wilson. Today we ate shi tou again. The all you can eat meat/ everything else restaurant. Oh man it is so good, but I forgot to take pictures again! Sorry! I will be sending a memory card home soon with all my pictures on it though. Well love you momma and have a great week! Sorry I feel like everytime I email I am in a rush and i never type one long enough or that could even come close to explaining all of the experiences I am having! Hope you still enjoy them. Love and miss you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 12, 2012

Sorry this weeks email might be a little short because we don't have much time! Today we rode our bikes out to bu dai! That is on the coast by where I am. It was pretty sweet we got to see the ocean and go to a huge fish market! You guys would probably think they are pretty gross :D I have surprised myself lately at how used to the food I am. I actually enjoy eating things that 7 months ago I would not have thought twice about even trying it.
This week was a pretty good week, just like every other week is as a missionary! This week while contacting some people I ran into this guy.  He reminded me of something important! He said when we rode up with big smiles on our faces he felt the spirit strongly. It made me realize how much just a smile can do. When we are happy and have the spirit with us just a simple smile can lift up those around us more than we know! Just like you were saying mom, decide to be happy, it makes us healthy and make those around us happy as well! I am so grateful I had this opportunity to be a tool in the Lord's hand and find one of His lost sheep. There is no work like missionary work! The gospel is true! I am sorry I feel like every week my emails are too short, but we gotta go! Love you mom! Have a good week!     -Elder Ripley

November 5, 2012

This was week was great! It was halloween! They don't really celebrate        halloween here. Maybe a tiny bit like candy is cheaper at convenience stores but   they definitely don't trick or treat. How was halloween back home?  This week for our english class we had a halloween party! It just so happens that halloween was on wednesday, same day as our english class, and it just so happens that every 6 weeks (The last week of every move call) We have a little party for our english class! So we had a halloween party! It was fun we just played some games that you would play at a fall festival and what not and had a spiritual share.  If only every family knew what they could become through the gospel, Eternal! Love you family! Have an awesome week!
       -Elder Ripley

It really is that simple! All they have to do is read the Book of Mormon and pray about and they can get an answer straight from God about whether or not it is true! I am sometimes amazed when I hear people reject this invite! After reading the Book of Mormon, who wouldn't want to know that it is true!? 
 I have had plenty of times on my mission where I want to think that I have reason to complain or be angry but then I think, wow, I am a servant of my Lord Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to give it all to Him for two years, and He is always by my side, I couldn't possibly be in a better place doing better things. I absolutely love being a missionary! Thanks for helping me to remember how happy we can be if we just choose to be and learn from our experiences.
I have had plenty of times where I am tired or discouraged from getting rejected and I think for a moment, would my Dad stop working right now? No he would work 10 times harder. So that's what I do. Just like my Dad taught me. When the going gets rough, the rough get going! Your encouragement lifts me up more than you know!With God by oursides we can do anything! Love you dad, Have an awesome week.       -Elder Ripley  

October 29, 2012

Hello jia ting! (family) How was your week? This whole disneyland trip sounds like it is going to be pretty sweet I am jealous I will be missing it! You will have to take some good pictures and send me some! I can just see the kids being excited to take a link off the chain each day. Tell them thank you for the letters and pictures! They are some good lookin kids :D Love them. 
Sounds like the baptism was nice! You need to help her understand that when Christ performed the atonement he suffered for the sins of all children that sin in innocence and before the age of accountability! So children do not have the need for baptism! (Moroni 8) 
 You can accept the friend requests I get on facebook by the way. Some people in my ward may take pictures and what not and you can see them! 
It is amazing to see the changes the atonement brings into the lives of others. There is no greater happiness and joy than that which comes from applying the atonement in our lives daily and weekly by taking the sacrament. This last conference there were a few talks given that talked about how to have more sacred experiences during sacrament. They were great! Look them up! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 22, 2012

      Hello Momma! Oh please no email can be boring, I love to hear how things are going at home! Your volunteering sounds like it is going pretty well. They probably made you take that class because you haven't been treating their patients well! Haha I am just kidding..I am sure you are a great volunteer. Especially since you walked that man in his wheel chair to the building he needed to go to! Dang it seems I am just missing out on everything! Darci gives a talk in church, Darci is getting married, what's next? Darci wins the lottery?! (If she does tell her to buy me a bughatti veyron for when I get home :D) Wow if Dustin likes your food then it has to be pretty dang good.
      All is well over here! This week one of our investigators (Sister xu, the 55ish year old lady) Dropped into a week B! That means she is getting baptized next week! She decided that is when she wants to be baptized and committed to start preparing! She is doing great and her desire to follow the Lord is obvious by her effort to keep the commandments and give up drinking tea! She can do it! Please pray for her! More news next week!
       Sorry my email is going to be a little short this week we don't have aton of time! Today we went to see the crocodile king, a croc so fat that he can't move so you can pet him and what not, along with some other crazy animals. I will send pictures next week! I really liked your picture of you on the beach with your Monti Carlo, whatever happened to that car? How long ago was that? Love you all! Talk to you next week!
    -Elder Ripley

October 15, 2012

      Darci is getting married!!!?!?!?!? You couldn't wait for me to get home!!??!!? Whoah that is so crazy I am bummed I am not even going to be there!! You will at least have to send me pictures!! Tell Darc congratulations for me and I love her! I haven't even had the chance to approve of this guy yet!
       Oh yes and I remember you asking a question about the chinese hymnbook. It doesn't have all of the same ones as the english one, but it has a good amount. About 200 songs! Audio scriptures, that sounds pretty convenient! Looks and sounds like Darci's engagement party was a hit! Wish I could have been there to party with everyone! Blake's part sounds alot like Dad typed it, hmmm....haha tell Blake I like his avengers shirt, he is a stud! 
       Well this week in taiwan was pretty fantastic! Conference was so good!! 18 year olds can serve missions now, so cool! Tell Trent to hurry up and get his papers in and get called to taiwan so I can be his trainer when he gets here! I learned so much from this conference! What was one of your favorite parts? I always love Elder Holland and Elder Bednar's talks! Elder Bednar has recently talked about testimony and conversion quite abit! Testimony is what we know is true by the power of the holy ghost, conversion is being true to what we know! He talked about how conversion is a proccess that happens gradually, almost imperceptibly, and requires all of our heart might mind and strength, much more than just knowing! So true, we never realize how much we grow or how fast until we look back! I am so grateful for our prophet Thomas S. Monson! He holds the authority of God to lead God's people, what an amazing blessing for us!
       Our investigators and recent converts are all doing quite well here in xinying. Our one investigator right now with a baptismal goal is Sister xu. She is about 55 years old. I am not sure if I have already told you about her? Oh yeah and here in xin ying there are no sister missionaries so we teach the sisters. She is doing pretty good, she is just working right now to give up drinking tea! She is doing pretty good, she has stopped drinking family mart tea which is a start! (Family mart is a convenient store that is on every corner here) Pray for her! She needs it! We had the opportunity to meet with a few new investigators this week as well that I am excited to keep meeting with. The recent converts here we have been working with are amazing too! I love the ward they are all so great.
       Hope all is well at home! Love and miss you!
       -Elder Ripley

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

        Hey momma!!! How was general conference!!?!? Gaaaah I am dying to watch it over here! They don't broadcast it here until this coming weekend! A friend of ours in the ward here was just telling us about how the age for serving a mission was changed for boys and girls like you said! That is so crazy!! The Lord needs more missionaries!! And there is a Tuscon temple now!? Holy cow Arizona is trying to compete with Utah! So cool! The Lord's work is moving forward! And the local news talked about general conference and the temple? Wow that is new!
   I love how in every picture brock is missing clothing. He is such a stud these days.  Paul Julie and the fam look great! And Darci and the girls do too! They are all growing up so quick! Thanks so much for sending me the music and the guitar book!!! I was like a little child on christmas when I opened the package and saw what was inside, I listen to that CD all of the time now. I was laughing when I read about celeste taking your keys with her hahaha have you gotten them back yet? And volunteering sounds like alot of fun! You must have been a hero for that man, taking him over to the other building in a wheel chair, that's my momma!
       Everything here in taiwan is going great! The weather is cooling down more and more. In the morning and at night the weather is amazingly perfect, it feels so nice! It is like Arizona in the fall and spring! The investigators are doing great as well! This week we met with quite a few people who we were meeting with for the first time! Lots of new investigators! Also, we were riding by the basketball courts across from the chapel and there was a guy shooting some hoops on one of the courts by himself so we went over and talked with him. Turns out he was baptized awhile ago in taichung but moved here to xinying about 3 years ago and just never came to church because he didn't know anyone here. We are actually meeting with him tonight! I am pretty excited he seems like a really cool guy. This past week we had the opportunity to go hometeaching with a member here to a less active in our ward. His house is in one of our secondary areas that is pretty far so he came and picked us up and we headed out there. When we got there the father happily welcomed us in but was a little reluctant to get his wife and son to come in and listen. We shared with him a talk by President Uchtdorf about family happinness. It talked alot about forgiving family members and seeking forgiveness as well as other principles relating to family happinness. By the time we were done he says "I wish my wife and son would have heard this!" We challenged him to hold family home evening this monday and teach his family. I love watching the spirit work inside people and soften their hearts! What a great opportunity it is to be a tool in the Lord's hand, and have the spirit work through you to testify to others. We should all be praying for opportunities like this! They will change our lives as well as the lives of others. 
       Well I love you and hope you have an awesome week! Hope you all enjoyed conference and were inspired by the words of our prophet and his apostles! Love and miss you!
      -Elder Ripley 

Friday, October 5, 2012

October 1, 2012

     Hello mother! This whole adventure with the new dog sounds pretty exciting! So turns out he just ran away again and now you can't find him? He can jump over the backyard walls? That is pretty rediculous. Haha Brock is getting so big holy cow. Does he just walk around on his own now? I swear when I left he wasn't walking yet. Was he?
       My new area is super great! The members here are awesome and really welcoming! They love to be involved in missionary work too which is always great. We are still a branch but sacrament attendance is about 75 each week. I think it is not a ward yet because they need more priesthood holders, I am not sure though. But I am super pumped to be here! Also, I think people here in the south are alot friendly than in the north. People actually smile and wave back it is pretty awesome. It is a bit warmer down here which is a bummer because the weather was just getting super nice in Taichung when I left, but!.. i love it nonetheless. I know the Lord put me here for a reason and I am excited to see what His plan for me is here in xinying.
       We had a baptism this week! A lady who is about 53 years old named Sister Han. She is such a sweet lady. I only got to meet with her twice before she got baptized but I am excited to get to work with her as a recent convert! I was talking to her yesterday night on the phone to see when she could meet this week and I asked her about how she felt after being confirmed. She said she had a feeling of safety, a feeling that she has never felt before. Of course it was the spirit she was feeling and we talked about how the spirit is our guide, comforter, and protector. What an awesome experience for her to have as a new member! I love seeing the change the gospel brings into the lives of people. They just light up! They know their purpose in life, they know that God loves them and has a specific plan for them, a plan for us to return to Him, they know that Jesus Christ is their savior and redeemer and that through His atonement they can find peace and purity in their lives as well as strength to endure to the end and keep pressing forward! Could life get any better? I submit that it cannot!  I love and miss you family! Hope all is well at home! Brocks party looks like it was a blast! I have aton of pictures to send but the computers we have been using are kind of junky and it won't let me attach them. Maybe next week we will have to find a better place. Love you!
      -Elder Ripley

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September 24, 2012

Area: Xinying
Companion: Elder Ault

Hey Momma! I am glad you had another happy week! My week was a pretty good one too! Haha sounds like taxes are pretty fun this year :D That is so awesome that you and Dad are going to the clubhouse and working out everyday! When I get home I am definitely coming with you guys. That is super good, stayin healthy! Looks like Dad and Johnny are keeping pretty busy with Aunt Alice's pool, wish I was there to help! Thanks so much for the books I am excited to get them! Tell Myla thank you so much!!
This week was abit of a crazy week! I found out on Teusday that my companion is training a new missionary which means I got kicked out on friday! Because I am so close to the mission, when the new missionarys came on thursday night we got to go do the Dan Jones activity with them. The new missionarys all come and stand up on these boxes at a super crowded night market and yell their testimonies while holding up a Book of Mormon and then right when they step down one of the missionaries there will run up and grab them and take them around and contact people at the night market for about 45 minutes or so. I got to take a native taiwanese elder around it was alot of fun! He is also liu zhang lao. Same as me! There was 26 new missionaries this move call which is pretty rediculous! That is the most this mission has gotten in one move call in a long long time!
So on friday morning I took off and stayed with the Dakeng elders in their apartment which is pretty much right down the street from our apartment. Move day isn't until monday so we just had us three together for a few days which was fun. On saturday night we found out where our new areas are! I am now in xinying!!! It is in Tainan which is pretty much the central part of our mission. My new companion is Elder Ault! He seems like a pretty cool guy so I am super excited to serve with him! I just got to xinying about 5 hours or so ago. I took the train from taichung to here in about an hour and 30 minutes, not bad! That was the first time I have ever been on a train! I think... well I love you family and hope all is well! I have tons of pictures I want to send but I forgot the cord to hook my camera up to the computer! Sorry! I will have to wait until next week. Love and miss you!       -Elder Ripley

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 17, 2012

Hey momma! Wow sounds like Caitlin is really a hero! That sounds super scary, I am glad they are ok and everything is fine! Dinner with everyone sounds like it was a blast, and tell Myla thank you so much for picking me out some books, she is too nice! If you can send me a sheet that will teach me how to read music as well because I don't know much about reading guitar music. :D I haven't really gotten a chance to practice it yet because the only time I can is p-days and on p-days we often go do stuff but I plan on learning some time.  You really look like a proffesional in your banner gateway outfit! How are you liking volunteering there? That is so cool!
This week has been pretty nice. The weather is so great! It is really starting to cool off. These last few days reminded me alot of arizona in the spring. Warm sun, cool breeze, blue sky. It is weird having a cool breeze, ever since I got here it is either raining or super humid and hot with a warm breeze, I am lovin it!
This week we had some success tracting! We were tracting in a pretty nice neighborhood with some huge houses and after getting rejected by a whole street, we ran into this young man riding his bike. We talked with him for a little bit and he invited us to follow him to his house! He goes down the street and goes straight to one of the houses that just rejected us. I was on splits at the time with Elder Bailey and we just started cracking up. He rang the intercom at the gate and told his dad there are some foreigners out here that can speak chinese and want to share with us about Jesus Christ. His dad says just tell them we are buddhist! (One of the most common responses we get while contacting people) He says but dad they want to share about Jesus with us! Eventually his dad wouldn't let us in but he came to church on sunday and his dad dropped him off! SO cool! Alright well I don't have anytime so I will write more next week! Tell Dad sorry I didn't get a chance to send him one I will next week!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 10, 2012

Hey mother dearest! Watching the ASU game at Pauls sounds like it was a good time! Blake even got to stay up late, wow! What a lucky guy! He probably gets to stay up later than me these days! Haha I got a pretty good laugh out of those pictures of Dad and scout with the discs on their eyes! Yeah that is a good idea, moving that trampoline over to darcis, they will get some good use out of it! Tell Aunt Alice and grandma that I say hello! That is so great that Rachelle came to say hi! I miss her! The floss you sent me was perfect! I love that kind, they don't have the good stuff like that at the store we live by. So thanks abunch!! Also, I am going to use the proactiv this week and see how it goes so thank you for that too! Your lectures on faith class sounds pretty fun and interesting! You will have to let me know what you are learning there. You asked about my watch-yes it did break but I recently got a new one so no worries. And I have not met a Taylor Powell, tell aunt winnie sorry!
Taiwan is doing pretty great! The weather has been a little warm the past few days which is weird, because it had just started cooling off! Other than that it has been pretty nice though. Not quite as much rain lately but still a few days every here and there. As for our investigators...well..recently we have been having some trouble. The last few weeks we worked to find some new investigators but just couldn't seem to find those prepared people! After some long days of contacting and lots of prayers we had some more success this week. This week my companion and I talked to more people in a week than we have since we became companions! We are set up with some pretty cool people that we met this week so we praying that the Lord will help us help these people progress towards baptism, confirmation, and enduring conversion!
We have been working with some less actives in our ward lately who are doing pretty good. One is a dance teacher! He teaches pop/lock/street dance type stuff! Pretty sweet! I told him he needs to teach me how to do that crazy stuff. We will see how that goes! We are hoping we can help him see the importance of keeping the sabbath day holy and partaking of the sacrament. That is one thing that I was really grateful yesterday. Not that I am not always grateful for it, but yesterday as I was taking the sacrament (and trying to control brother Huang's rascal child) I was thinking what a great promise we have, that we can have God's spirit with us always! What a huge blessing! Well I hope you have an awesome week next week! Love you mom! You are looking pretty stylish these days, especially with the peace sign! :D
     -Elder Ripley

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 3, 2012

Hello Momma! Sounds like dad has softened up abit and started letting you win in phase 10 again :D hehe
Taiwan is doing great! The weather yesterday was rediculous though! We were inside doing studies after chruch and it started to rain, but then stopped right when we went out to proselyte. Right when we got back in to make dinner it started raining hard again, and the rain drops were huge! We heard this huge rumbling in the distance and my companion and I looked at eachother like whoah...that was big. A few minutes later we heard a super loud crack and boom that was even louder! I wasn't sure how it was so loud, and then right after another one struck right outside our window and was the loudest thunder and lightning ever! We looked outside and the sky was just go crazy, lightining striking everywhere. It was super rediculous! Right when we went out to proselyte again the rain stopped again! Haha lucky us. 
Right now we pretty much are out of investigators that we meet with on a solid basis. We are working hard to find those people that the Lord has prepared, but lately it has just been a little hard to find them! No matter, I know the Lord is using this time to teach me, and faith always proceeds the miracle, so we are just going to hit it hard again this week and find those people the Lord would have us teach. One lesson I learned this week-We had a little activity planned this last friday with our investigator and some other missionaries and their investigators, but it turns out our investigator couldn't come, so it would have been kind of pointless to go. I thought that the Lord might have something else in mind for us that night so I was excited to go to work! We went tracting and contacted some people on the streets instead and we didn't find anyone, and we happened to tract by a less actives apartment that we have been trying to get in touch with lately. We went over and he wasn't home, but in taiwan they always have these security desks at the front of every apartmemt complex, and the guy at the desk told us to come back around 4pm to see the guy we were looking for. (Which is odd because those security guys usually don't like us very much and make it really hard to get in touch with people who live in apartments, they just tell us everyone isn't home or that we have to call them first, we can't just come visit) By the end of the night we had no success and I was bummed that the activity for cancelled and then we had no success on our back up plan. Sunday came around and we thought about that less active and put him in the plan for 4pm like that security guy had said. We went over at 4 and he was home! It was perfect timing too because he works night shifts so he had just woken up and had to go to work in abit. His attitude towards us changed quite abit too, he was really nice and invited us in and told us he wants to come back to church but work makes it hard. We talked about what we could do to help him come back and set some plans with him. I know the activity on friday was cancelled for a reason, even though I didn't see the results right away. It helped me realize that the Lord definitely has a plan for us, and he will bless us, we just need to hold out faithful even if we don't see a solution or results right away! I know it is kind of an obvious thing I guess but it was an experience that just kind of made me once again realize and strengthened my testimony. 
Love you momma and hope all is going well! Have a super awesome week!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27, 2012

Hello!! Wow the party looks like it was pretty fun! Wish the girls happy birthday for me! Haha how in the world did Trent get a mohawk? That's pretty funny. Tell aunt winnie yes I did have a chance to meet with a family that Brooke baptized a few months ago it was way cool!
Well this week was abit of a crazy week! We did get alot of rain but as for the typhoon it didn't hit taichung. It will be coming back around and hitting taiwan again but I think it is hitting the south again, we will see.
We got to go to the temple this week! The temple was awesome. I love going to the temple, I wish we could go every week like we did in the MTC. Also on friday we went to sun moon lake! We didn't really get a chance to take a look around because we went straight into this building when we got there and then by the time we left it was dark. Bummer! We went there to help out with a youth activity that was happening there! There were about 400 youth from southern and central taiwan who stayed there for a few days and had kind of like a youth conference type thing. We went on friday night to do a book of Mormon activity with them! We split up and shared testimony about the book of Mormon and then gave every person there a Book of Mormon and had them write their testimony inside and think of a friend that they could share their testimony with and give them it! What an amazing opportunity that was for the youth here in taiwan to strengthen their testimonies! It was alot of fun but we didn't get home and in bed until 12 ish so I was exhausted the next day!
So about a week and a half ago our investigator, brother Yang, was baptized! Another lady was baptized that same night who is going to LA next week so maybe she can go say hello to Celeste! It was a great night. Brother Yang is such a great guy. His testimony and willingness to follow our Lord Jesus Christ is growing and growing. He has changed quite abit since the first time I met him. He is so much happier these days! He bore his testimony at his baptism and it was awesome. He talked about how he had been to our church when he was in highschool but never wanted to be baptized which we never knew! He told a story about how one day we had set up a lesson with him at his house but there was a typhoon! He was really surprised when we actually showed up despite the typhoon and thought that what we had to share must be really important if we rode our bikes to his house in that kind of weather. Sure enough he acted on what we taught him and gained a witness and testimony of this gospel through the holy ghost. I am super excited I had the chance to be part of this change in his life! He has been baptized and now knows what his purpose in life is and has that precious knowledge that Jesus Christ is his savior and through His atonement he can improve himself and seek comfort. It is amazing how the gospel changes lives! It is changing my life everyday! I am grateful to be a part of this work! Love you Mom and hope you have an awesome next week!
                -Elder Caleb Ripley

Our delicious burgers at feed me

Brother Yang who got baptized 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22, 2012

Hey Mom!     
       Sorry I didn't send an email on monday, we have preparation day on wednesday this week instead because it is temple day again! Sounds like you had a pretty fun week following dad around while he worked on some things! Wish I could have been there working along with him! Wow you really do have quite abit of hair in that picture! And I look like a funny lookin' kid in that picture, I told you I didn't want braces! Dad is looking pretty relaxed these days. I am super jealous you guys ate those sorbets without me! They are soooooo gooood! That is so cool that you got to meet that romanian guy! Did he grow up in romania? Introduce him to carson when he gets home! Speaking of which he has about 7 months left on his mission! Crazy how fast time flies.
       All is quite alright here in taiwan. We got alot of rain this week! We also got to go to the temple today which was awesome. The feeling in the temple is so different than anywhere else. It really is the house of the Lord! It is amazing how receptive we can be to the spirit when we attend the temple. Also Brother Yang was baptized last weekend! More details and pictures to come on my week next week. Sorry this weeks email is a little short, we got back from the temple and came straight here to email and are running a little short on time! I hope all is going well in AZ! Let me know what's going on, I love to hear how everyone is doing! You are always in my prayers! Love and miss you!
       -Elder Caleb Ripley

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13, 2012

Hey Momma! 
This week was an awesome week. We had some really cool experiences and saw some miracles! I love being a missionary and working hard everyday to help others come to know their savior Jesus Christ. There is nothing better than the satisfaction that comes after a long hard day of missionary work!
This week we met with one of our investigators, brother Yang, a few times. He is the one that we have been meeting with since I got here in april and he would always say he was coming to church and then never come for unknown reasons that he didn't want to tell us, and then just recently started coming to church! Now he has been to church for the past three weeks straight! In our lesson with him this past week we watched the movie finding faith in Christ. Right as the movie ended he turns to us and asks "So when can I get baptized?" My companion and I said great this is extactly what we wanted to talk about today! We set a goal with him for august 18th, which is this saturday! We have set two baptismal goals with him before, and taught him almost 20 lessons now, so I have spent quite a bit of time getting to know brother Chen. These last 3 weeks he has changed so much. As he started praying and reading daily and coming to church, and repenting of his sins I have seen him change so much. Now everytime we see him he is so much happier and relaxed! It is amazing the changes that the atonement and this gospel can make in our lives. I am so excited to be able to see him take this huge step in his life to follow our perfect example, Jesus Christ.
Also, this week we went to visit a less active in our ward, brother Chao. I have also been meeting with him since I first got here in april. This lesson we talked about the sabbath day, We talked about why we keept it holy and why we take the sacrament. We also talked alot about all of the blessings that come when we do! Right in the middle of the lesson he looks at us and says alright next week I am coming to church, a new start! Wow, so cool! I am not sure why it wasn't until now that this happened, but I know the spirit was there and I know he felt it! I am super excited to see him at church this week and see him renew his commitment to follow Jesus Christ. What an amazing blessing the sacrament is!
Well I hope all is well back home! I miss and love you!!
       Love- Elder Ripley

August 6, 2012

     HELLO Momma! I feel your prayers and love everyday no doubt. I pray for you and the family everyday as well, I hope you are feeling my prayers and love too! David was such an amazing guy. He did alot to take care of grandma and we are all very grateful for it. It is always sad to hear that someone has passed away, but how great it is to have the knowledge that he is on to do a different work now. The joy that the plan of happiness brings into our lives is irreplaceable! Grandma Mabel definitely did live a good long life. I love her and know she has moved on to do a different work now, just as David has. 
     Brother Thomas told you about that chair? Haha as you know I can sleep anytime anywhere. :) Wow sterling is getting so big! He is almost a man now! All of those kiddos are growing up quick. 
     As for me this week was pretty good! We are continuing to see miracles! Last monday night we had in our plan to go visit a family that we recently started teaching. When we got to their house they weren't home! We were a little bummed out but our back up plan was to go and visit a less-active that lives nearby who we had not seen for awhile. He and his wife are both members, but his wife works at the hospital (she is a nurse) all the time, so we have never had an opportunity to meet her because she is never home! He always tells us he would like to come back to church, but his wife has no time to take him, and he cannot drive himself because of some medical conditions. He is also scared to go to church without his wife by his side, because she is a nurse so if anything were to happen concerning his medical conditions she would know what to do. When we got to the apartment he lives in we rang up to his room and waited for a few minutes. No one answered, and just as we were getting ready to go he walked up right behind us! And his wife was with him as well! They invited us in and right as we sat down his wife told us all about their night. She told us that they had been out shopping and for some reason she was in a huge hurry to go. She kept telling her husband hurry up hurry up! She said she usually doesn't do that to him and she wasn't sure why she did! As they were driving up to their house, she said she saw us missionaries and then just completely relaxed, she knew why she was in a hurry to get home. We had a super amazing discussion with them about how God is always watching over us, His precious children, and we invited them to come back to church. Yesterday he and his wife both came. What an amazing experience! It is so great to watch the Lord's hand work in our lives! He really is directing His missionaries as well as all of His children to do His work.
     This week the weather was super wild. On wednesday we had some big winds and a little rain. On thursday we woke up at 6:30 and it was raining super hard. We went to bed at 10:30PM and it was STILL raining super hard! Typhoon! The winds were so rediculous, I don't think I have been in stronger winds before! When we woke up and looked out the window it looked like the rain was falling horizontally!The rain pretty much felt like rocks falling out of the sky and if the wind blew towards you, you would go from going super fast on your bike to almost stopped in a few seconds. But if we were lucky the wind would blow behind us! It was like mario kart or something, when you get those little boosts and go super fast. I got going so quick on my bike, it was almost scary! It's funny because there are so many really tall buildings here that the wind often follows the paths of the streets, so we would be riding and then come to an intersection and the wind would blast our sides and you would pretty much be leaning over the ground while riding. Ok maybe not that bad but almost. That day there was hardly anyone on the streets and all of the stores were closed. This big city was practically a ghost town! Besides family mart and 7-11 of course. The wind destroyed alot of stuff. Huge trees were ripped out of the ground everywhere. Everyone always parks there scooters in these big rows, and the wind pretty much turned all of these scooters into dominoes, it was kind of funny but a bummer if something broke! Peoples scooter helmets were rolling down the street and what not. It was pretty exciting. Don't worry mom, I am unharmed. The typhoon did provide us with some awesome service opportunites though!
     Well I hope all is well back home and I hope you all have an amazing week! I miss and love you!

Pictures from the top of the da keng elder's apartment building. We ran up the 27 flights of stairs again for our excersize in the morning haha it is apretty good view from up there!

My power ranger get up for typhoon day. I cut the sleeves on my rain gear too short so my white shirt sticks out..oops

The plastic bags on my feet actually worked!

July 30, 2012

Hello Momma! How was your week? Sounds pretty busy to me! It seems like everyone is getting sick these days! Tell David I say hello and to take it easy. Ohhh i know what you are talking about now! I was sitting on the couch in the mission home with some buddies while waiting for my new companion to get here if I am thinking of the right picture. I remember that girl taking our picture but I didn't know her name! Oops. Has Elder Warners mom emailed you yet? How are the pinckards doing? Tell them hello for me! Trent's birthday is coming up! Ask him if there is anything from taiwan that he wants haha. What is Bora bora?
Taiwan is great! The weather this week wasn't as hot because we got quite abit of rain which was nice. We had some pretty big thunder storms! Last monday night my companion and I were riding our bikes down the street and all of a sudden everything around us lit up really bright and we heard this huge CRACK! It was super scary, and I lost my eyebrows but other than that I am ok. Oh yeah and now sometimes when I touch people I give them a little shock. Kind of like nephi in 1 nephi 17:53.
Lately we have been meeting with two young kids. Yu an and Que yi. They are both so solid. One is 13 ish and the other is about 16. They are reading and praying everyday and coming to church and they love it! There is no doubt they are feeling the spirit and love the support from ward members. The only probably is we have been having problems with their parents being against them getting baptized. They are ok with their kids meeting with us and going to church but do not want them to get baptized. This is pretty common in taiwan, the younger generation is more open to learning about Christ and more willing to meet with missionaries while most of the older people are very traditional buddhist/daoist/a mix of the two and really do not want to change, though there are definitely exceptions. We have been trying all week to find a time to bring a brother from the ward with us to meet their parents and talk a little about our church and about baptism but everything keeps falling through! It is kind of frustrating, but we are working and praying to see some miracles happen this week and see the Lord soften hearts.
We did see a huge miracle this week with one of our eternal investigators (investigators that are very willing to meet with you but only progress to a certain point or just not at all) brother Yang. He met with the missionaries once in february of this year and then dissapeared and then met with Elder Bentley and I right when i got here in august and has been meeting with us on and off ever since. He will randomly call us up and ask to meet with us and then dissapear again. He has told us he is going to come to church quite a few times in the last 4 months but hasn't come once.....until yesterday!! We were so excited to see him! Last time we met with him he had read the entire new liahona magazine too. He seems to be making some progress these days! I know he will be baptized some day, I am just not sure when. He really liked church and definitely felt the spirit, so I hope he comes back! Funny fact about brother Yang-everytime we see him he is wearing the same super duper high pants. Ha he is a great guy. Everytime we have a lesson with him he is furiously taking notes the whole time, it is pretty amazing. He was the same way at church!
We went to visit an older guy in our ward named brother Huang this week. He doesn't come to church because of his health (He is almost 90 and can't move around too well) so us missionaries go over and see how he is doing every once in awhile. He loves to tell us stories about when he was young. When he was first baptized about 50+ years ago, president Hinckley would often come to taiwan and he tells us alllll about it. He is so funny. This week he actually stood up out of his chair and imitated President Hinckley giving a talk and it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. He pretending like he was speaking english and just made random noises and pretended like we were the people attending the talk. He just stood and pointed at us making these funny noises as if he was president Hinckley giving us a bold lecture hahaha. Just thought I would tell you about that.

Well I gotta get going, I hope you have an amazing week! I feel your prayers every day and I pray for you every day as well! This gospel is true! Love you    -Elder Ripley

Saturday, August 4, 2012

July 23, 2012

Mother Dearest, 
       This week was great! Pretty warm except for yesterday, we got some good rain and super loud thunder. The fact that my haircuts get better as my chinese gets better still proves to be true. This haircut is not too bad! Lesson learned this week-If you push forward and continue to work dilligently despite letdowns in life/your mission, you will always find success and be satisfied with your efforts! You gotta choose to be happy everyday no matter what is happening, because you don't have time to be sad and think about yourself, some else might need a smile or some help that day!
       We had Zone conference this week which was awesome. President Bishop talked alot about repenting and forgiving. If we are constantly repenting and forgiving we are constantly improving ourselves! We receive spiritual strength and confidence as well as strengthen our relationships with others and the Lord. What a great blessing it is to be able to repent and be forgiven! After zone conference we went on companionship exchanges with the zone leaders which was pretty awesome. I always learn alot from exchanges with our leaders out here.
       Our investigators are doing pretty good. We set a baptismal goal with one of the young men we have been meeting with,jia mao. We set it for august 11th! He is such a stud. There is nothing better than following up on a commitment with an investigator and finding out they have been reading or praying or whatever it was, and when jia mao says he is going to do something, he does it! He has been praying and reading the book of mormon quite often! Also, our investigator Park is already in 2 Nephi! They are both so great, I can see them changing and feeling the spirit as they continue to do the basic things we have all been asked to do many time. Read, pray, and go to church! Austin came to church yesterday dressed up in these white pants with a white button up shirt that had black pin stripes, and a black skinny tie, he is such a stud as well. I love teaching these guys and watching them develop their own relationship with God and study the gospel! Please pray for them that they will continue to progress and eventually be able to recieve the wonderful blessing of baptism.
       Yu an's baptismal goal dropped this week which is a huge bummer. He was doing so well, but he has been going out of town so often that we have had trouble getting a chance to meet with him and his parents, and he hasn't been to church for awhile. Please pray for yu an as well that he will be able to continue to come to church and that his grandparents will let him be baptized, because they are really against it right now. It is sad when we run into people who do not desire to recieve such a blessing as baptism, but it is even more sad when we teach someone who desires to be baptized but can't be!
       I would like to hear from Nik Huff if you have any letters from him :D Also, a friend of mine from the MTC, Kelly Warner, wants to go to BYU Hawaii when he gets home from his mission, so if he does go we will probably room together. His mom might email you soon about school stuff so if she does don't be surprised! 
       Well I hope you have another amazing week Momma, miss and love you!     -Elder Ripley

more pics from the hike

funny signs from the hike that are worded in English funny

what happened to the poor cd that you sent

Celeste should recognize this plate