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