Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 16, 2012

Hello Momma! I know the weeks are flying for me too! This wednesday is my 6 month mark! Wow! So crazy, already been gone for six months? It doesn't make sense. I Think you will be ok sending that deep blue stuff because I got the other oils just fine. I actually have not used them for my finger yet, I did put some peppermint under my nose on my upper lip though, it smells good and opens up my sinuses (Don't know how to spell that). Today we have some extra time at home so I am going to read those papers you sent me about them and figure out some good ways to use them. Thanks for taking such good care of me momma! How was your fourth of july party? It looked pretty fun, Dad sent me some pictures! I am jealous I was not there!
Yes we are still teaching yu an (brother Cai's first name) and he is doing pretty good. This week wasn't super great because he went to his grandparents house in tainan for the week and missed church so his baptismal goal dropped. (They have to go to church at last three times before they get baptized, so if they miss church too many times they have to push their goal back or set a new one) So that was a bummer, but last monday we hiked da keng mountian and he came with us! It was really great actually, because we had him, another investigator named park, and a less-active that we recently met all come with us! The da keng elders and their recent convert who got baptized about a week and a half ago also came which was sweet! We had a great time and got to know our investigators alot better which was awesome. Yu an is such a champ. It was super hot and we hiked for a good 3 hours as well as biked there and back and after we were done he went to play basketball with his friends. I swear he never runs out of energy. While on the hike, we got near the top and we ran into this crazy kung fu man (picture below). He was definitely drunk, and he loved to play these little balance games like we would play at reccess when we were little. You stand face to face and put your hands together and then you push/pull on eachothers hands and who ever moves one of their feet first loses. For being drunk he was surprisingly good at it! When we first got up he tells yu an to come over to him and starts making him play this game with him. Of course he picks the smallest skinniest one! He beat yu an a few times and I said alright let me try now, you can't just pick on the little guy! Beat him on my first try!! That's right crazy kung fu man, I am the balance champ. :D We also ran into some other interesting things on the hike like GINORMOUS spiders and gymnastic rings, i'll send pictures. I was pretty sore the next day!
This week we ran into a man named Dustin! We teach a guy that lives across the street from his little place where he teaches english. I said hi to him a few times before, but as we were locking up our bikes before going into our investigators house one day he just walked right up to us! We told him sorry we had to go but we could come back over the next day and see him, and he said alright! Turns out he is from england and moved to taiwan a few years ago to start teaching english. His life right now isn't going to smooth. He blows all of his money on whiskey. He told us he wants to stop but he just can't. He was catholic as a child but hasn't been religious for a long time. Although, he said he has been saying prayers at night for God to help him. Us meeting him is no doubt an answer to his prayers! It is really weird to talk to investigators in english, but I am kind of enjoying it! We have only seen him a few times so far, so more updates on Dustin to come. Pray for him that he may have the strenght to give up drinking! He needs it!
Well I hope you have a fantastic week this week! I love and miss you bunches! Thanks for being the best Mother ever!!   
Love, Elder Ripley

Cool views on the hike

Gymnastics rings on the top of the mountain?

Nasty spider - the picture definitely does not do it justice.  
This thing is the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life!

Yu an, Elder Boice & I

crazy kung fu man

Taiwanese hiking rest spots

gigantic praying mantis that landed on Elder Edwards neck and he freaked
out because he thought it was one of those spiders.  super funny

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9, 2012

HELLO! How are you momma? I know that what you said is totally true. The more consistant we become at doing what the Lord would have us do the more blessings we recieve. That reminds of a scripture, scripture mastery actually. D&C 130:20-21. Give it a read, it is a good one that talks about blessings and simply how we recieve them! How was Blake's birthday party? Why didn't he invite me? HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLAKE AND DARCI!!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!! Oh yes and happy fourth of july everybody! How was it? What did you guys do?
Updates on is still crazy hot! It rained one day this week which was a nice break from the heat, but every other day...a little toasty. I feel like this week went by so fast I don't even know what is new news and what is old news. My new companion, Elder Boice, is seriously the bomb. I am excited to get to serve with him! His chinese is crazy good too. This move call is going to be a great one!
This week..or maybe a few weeks ago...I read the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland from last conference-The laborers in the vineyard. I love that talk! Favorite quote-"Envy is a mistake that just keeps giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is-downing another quart of pickle juice everytime anyone around you has a happy moment!" Haha kind of funny, but so true! He also says "be kind and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live." What good advice! Being grateful that God is kind and being kind to others brings us more happiness than living any other way would! It surprises me how simple it seems, yet how hard it sometimes can be when we let emotions like anger or frustration get in the way. When we strive to be kind to others it really does make us happier! Just thought I would share that.
So momma you asked about what church is like here! We start at 8:30 and the first hour for us is priesthood, then sunday school, then sacrament! As missionaries here we usually don't greet at the doors, we just greet people before sacrament starts. Or I try and keep control of fu quan haha he is a little guy in the ward (about 3 or 4 years old) that loves running around and climbing on the missionaries. His older brother is a fireball as well. Have you ever given a taiwanese kid a warhead? Haha it is pretty awesome. Here in taiwan they don't eat nearly as much sweet stuff as we have in america and definitely not alot of sour stuff. I gave li zhi (fu quan's older brother who is about 10 or 11) a warhead and he clutched his mouth and started squirming around like crazy and then grabbed it and put it in his dad's mouth who was sitting next to him and his dad's face was so funny. I wish I had it on video so bad. Now everytime I tell him I have some candy to give him he says NO WAY! I feel like Dad, giving all the kids at church candy. :D Like father like son. Anyways our church attendance here is usually around 60 to 70 people, what is it like at home? I forgot maybe like 150?
Well I love you family! Hope all is well back home. Have the best week of your lives! Miss and love you all bunches!!
Picture-playing b-ball this morning with the taiwanese ballers. We invited some young men from our wards and then there were a few kids already at the courts so we all just started playing together, it was sweet!

July 7, 2012

From:  Cynthia Smith (Caleb's cousin. She wrote this after she picked up her daughter Brooke at the airport.  Brooke just returned home from the same mission as Caleb)
When we were at the airport and met some of Caleb's mission friends, they told us how great he was doing.  They said he was very enthusiastic and fun to work with.  One elder put his thumbs up the way Caleb does.  It was fun that Brooke could finally see him and that he is doing so well.

Take Care,

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012

Area: Beitun
Companion: Elder Boice

Hello Momma! How was your week!? Sounds like Celeste, Darci and the girls had a blast! I am super jealous, disneyland and the beach sounds so great :D I got the essential oils and CDs and letters, thanks abunch, I love to hear how everyone is doing! I just got the package two days ago so I haven't had a chance to use the oils too much yet, but they are great thank you momma!
This week was great for us here in Taiwan! Last preparation day we rode our bikes to Da Keng mountain which was great fun! I think i may have already told you that. We also went to an amazing burger place called Hawaii 51! The owners are from Oahu! They love us missionaries and give us a sweet discount. Super nice people. This week has been pretty hot and pretty humid. This was the last week of the move call so trainers were called and one of the Da keng elders was called to be a trainer, which means the other one came and lived with us for 3 days! It was a little crazy with three of us, but aton of fun. We were with Elder Miller! He is the bomb. He is actually from Arizona! Lives on the otherside of phoenix though.
We have recently met a young boy, brother Wang. He is so great. He is about 13 years old, and after meeting with him twice and asking how his reading in the Book of Mormon was going he explained to us in detail Lehi's dream of the tree of life and gave us an explanation about what he thought the things in the dream represented, and the story of Lehi's family up to that point in first nephi. I was so amazed I did not know what to say when he was done explaining to us what he had read! So awesome! This week at church was his first time coming to church and in the middle of sacrament he leans over to me and asks "Can i come next week too"? I said of course you can! He even started his own missionary work and brought a friend to church. There is no doubt he is feeling the spirit in our lessons and his desire to develop faith and follow Christ is evident in his actions. He is amazing. Please pray for him that he will be able to prepare himself to hit his baptismal goal for July 28th! It is kind of funny how we met him. We ran into his dad outside of his house and his dad said hey i gotta go to work but go talk to my son inside, so we did!
This week I have been reading the conference edition of the ensign! I recently read the talk by President Eyring 'Mountains to climb". It is so great. He says that if the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble. He goes on to say that the solid basis for a foundation of faith is personal integrity. Those hundreds of little decisions we make every single day are what build our foundation of faith. He also talks about what we are taught by moroni in Ether 12:6-9, ye recieve no witness until after the trial of your faith. Acting on even a twig of faith allows God to grow it. I testify that I have seen this happen in my life. As I think of the little decisions i make everyday and I begin to make small actions based on my knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God grows my faith. I have seen it happen so quickly in the last few months, and I know that anyone who acts in faith, no matter how large or small it is, they will see it grow, God has promised it! Don't forget to continue reading the words of the living prophets! They will guide and completely change our lives.
Also, i got a new companion today!!! I am no longer with my trainer! His name is Elder Boice, and he is from tempe arizona! His is japanese but was born in AZ. He seems pretty awesome. We have only been together for a few hours up to this point, but he is awesome :D I am still staying in my first area, Beitun! More updates on Elder Boice to come.
I was just thinking about it and I am impressed that celeste knew how to say zai jian when i skyped you guys, kind of random i know but i just thought i would say :D Also i read your talk on pray again the other day and i love it! I am sure the ward did to, you are amazing momma. 
 "Chillin with Obama and Michelle in Taiwan"

Hawaii 51 restaurant

Janice, the lady from my english class that always gives us stuff! 
Those art lychee fruit that she gave us. Very yummy.

I saw brooke today!!! Yay!!! Right before she is going home