Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013

Hey momma, You can tell people that I will answer them it just might not be right away. We 90 minutes to be on the computers which includes report to president and what not so sometimes I can't get to answering everyone. School is out! That is super crazy! Do you guys have any sweet plans for the summer? Sounds like you are going to be a little busy! That is so awesome, I wish I could have gone to the baptism so bad! Tell them congratulations for me!! Tell Ryan I say I want to go to their family sealing in a year! Wow our sacrament meeting has quite a few people! Our ward here had 88 yesterday which is pretty good. The ward here is awesome.
     Elder Casperson and I worked hard on the streets this last week and saw some pretty good success. We had 5 investigators come to church this last week which was a huge blessing seeing as though the week before we had 0! We found aton of really cool people this week. Our mission just got these sweet new maps that are super useful. It was actually developed by on the of the members in taibao! (where I was previously) Pretty much what it does is breaks up your area into sections and then in each section it gives the members that live there a number, so when you look on the map you see each section and if you turn to that sections page it brings up a closer look with a sign where each member lives. Super convenient. It is the next step before Ipads. Previously there have been tons of people using ward lists to contact the less active members or find people who haven't been in awhile but didn't live behind alot of notes so what ends up happening is the missionaries after them end up doing the same thing they just did. After lessons we plan to go to nearby less actives and formers using the map and then just talk to everyone we run into on the way. It has been working pretty good for us. What we need to work on right now is bettering our relationship with the ward. It is pretty good but I just got here so I am still getting to know everyone. So things are going pretty good here, we are just setting a vision for what we want to accomplish within these next few move calls and making some plans! Elder Casperson says hello back! His brithday is coming up so if you or anyone in the family send a package sometime soon send a box of cereal for him. (Preferrably lucky charms, fruity pebbles, honeycomb, one of those kinds)
Well I love you momma! Hope everything is going great back home. Have a good week and a good start to summer! Oh yeah and tell Jack I love him.
Love, Elder Ripley (Caleb :D)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 20, 2013

May 19, 2013
Hey Mom! Celeste is working on sundays that stinker! Tell her to shape it up abit! We usually try and email right out the door so usually about 11 taiwan time but sometimes things come up and we don't get around to it until abit later. I am super glad I got to skype you guys too, always love to see your guys' faces! I can't believe how fast time went by, before I know it we will be skyping again! That is so awesome that Dustin got that job! Wow I bet it pays pretty good! Haha tell him by the time I get home he better have that house with the Helipad on top he was talking about so he can come pick me up and I can go chill with him.
This last week was a pretty good week! My new area is so great! I am loving it! I miss xinying and the people there alot but I know this area is going to be just as amazing. The ward here is super great! The church is really strong here. My companion is super great too. Elder Casperson! He is such a stud. We work together really well and are having a great time doing missionary work here in tainan. I am pretty sure Bro. Smith served in part of tainan before. It is really such an awesome place. This last sunday we saw a pretty cool miracle. I was contacting people on the street in xinying one day and I ran into a guy. He started meeting with us and it turns out he is in xinying mon-fri for work but lives in tainan so he goes back on sat/sun. We met with him a few times and then I left to come to tainan! Turns out he lives on the same street that the church is on here in tainan and came to church yesterday! That street is the other Elder's area so we won't be able to continue teaching him but we introduced him to the other Elder's and talk with him for a few minutes which was super cool. Pretty crazy! Elder Casperson and I found quite a few potential investigators last week too so we should have some super good lessons this week. We are pretty pumped! Everything is going fantastic!
I was reading the Book of Mormon this past week and was impresssed with the example of Ammon! Just as all of the sheep are scattered King Lamoni's servants start crying and talking about how they are so dead for letting the sheep get lost but Ammon just gets super excited and tells them hey lets go find those sheep! And then they do it! It is all about attitude. As we pray in faith and then have a good attitude through all of our trials we will see miracles happen.
Love you momma! Hope work is going well! I bet it is abit tiring, working with that many kids everyday, but you have got to be immune to anything seeing as though you raised Ripley kids. Thanks for being the best Mom ever! Love you bunches! Have a fantastic week! Your favorite child,    -Elder Ripley

Hey Dad!
I can't believe Jack is already getting home! Time is just flying by, it is a super weird feeling. You sent out 300 post cards? Wow...Oh yeah I keep meaning to ask, what is the average number of people that attend sacrament meeting in our ward? We are always keeping track of that here as missionaries so I am just curious as to how many our ward usually has. The church is growing so fast here in taiwan it is amazing! I am so grateful to be a part of it!
Today for P-day we are celebrating a few peoples birthdays by going to pizza hut. All you can eat pizza hut pizza for less than 10 dollars...can you believe that!? I will take you there when we come back to taiwan together. Hope you had a good week this week! My new companion is enjoying those snacks you sent. We have almost got them finished off. We have been working out pretty hard in the mornings to keep in shape haha.
We had a good church meeting this week as well. We had a joint meeting and had a workshop on family history! Really cool! I got to talk in sacrament this week too. I made em laugh a little bit as well as got a pretty good gasp out of everyone when I told them I am the youngest of 8. They really liked that. The ward here is really great, I am loving it already! Taiwan is such a great place.
Hope you have a good week Dad. Love and miss you.     -Elder Ripley

May 13, 2013

Hey mom! Loved getting to see everyone today! Happy mother's day!! My new area is called Tainan. I am in the city. Thanks abunch momma! Hope you have a fantastic week! Love you bunches!!   -Elder Ripley

Super happy I could see you dad! Thanks for the advice and strength that you give me! Love you!    Your best friend, -Elder Ripley

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 6, 2013

Hey Mom! How was your week? Yes I can download music from Elder Magnuson is great! We are having a great time working together here in xinying and are seeing lots of miracles! And to answer your question about eating at the church-that week some members provided lunch for us at the chapel! The members here in xinying are so great. Magda and Kevin are getting baptized!? Wow! That is so awesome! I know it will bring more happiness into their family than anything else! I have seen it! This is so great! I can be there for when they get sealed in the temple next year :D Tell them congratulations for me!! Looks like you guys had a fun time on your field trip! Haha I can just see all the kids wanting to get up in the luggage rack like Celeste. Blake is looking like a stud in his football uniform! I am excited to be able to go see his games! 

This week was a pretty good one! We had some pretty cool miracles! The Lord is blessing us big time here in xinying and allowing us to see miracles as we set high goals out of a desire to help more people come unto Christ and then rely on Him to help us accomplish those goals. 
Well I hope you had a great week last week and have an even better week this week! Love you momma!  Oh yeah and about skyping next week-Next monday is move day so I am not sure if we will be able to skype that morning, it depends on wether or not my companion or I move. President said if we don't get a chance to skype on monday we can do it tuesday. So plan on being free on sunday and monday night around 6 because I am not sure when we will be able to. I would like to do it monday but we will see. Just log into skype on sunday night at 6 and if I am not on I will just email you abit later and let you know when I will skype. Love you!     

Hey Daddio! Being sick is no fun. Hurry up and get better! Get lots of sleep! Hope everything is going alright!
Magda and Kevin are getting baptized!? You are baptizing them!? That is so cool! Wow send me some pictures of the service! I wish I could be there to support them! I am super glad I will be able to go to the temple with them in a year when they get sealed though! :D
This kitty sounds like quite the pal. You will have to send her over here in a box and let me play with her for a few weeks. Ask Celeste what she thinks about that.
Oh man I wish I could be there for your cooking at the outing, It has been too long since I have eaten Dads pancakes or hotdogs/hamburgers. Those pizzelles were fantastic though! We ate them all up really quick! My companion loved them as well and told me to tell you how delicious they were! Thanks so much dad! We really enjoyed them.
How is work going lately? Take it easy while you are sick. I know you will just keep going at it but I am sure mom will make you slow it down abit :D Thanks for your great example to me dad! Love you! Hope you have a great week this week. Yeah I usually just send the stories from the week before in the email to mom cause I know she shares it with you. This way I don't have to type everything twice. Love you Dad!  Your best friend and son,    -Elder Ripley 

April 29, 2013

Hey momma! Thanks abunch for the music! That was actually not the song I was looking for but that is a super good song too! We have permission to get on now and I found the arise and shine song that I was looking for on there too so don't worry about it! I told you wrong, it is called arise and shine forth. oops! Looks like you guys had a good time at field day! I remember those days. Too much fun! Wow that monkey looks like a pretty mean monkey! At least she shot it before it got to her! I bet they are having a great time out there in Africa. Sounds pretty crazy to me! 
       This week in xinying we saw miracles. Elder Magnuson and I set goals and worked hard to hit them and in the proccess were blessed quite abit! The biggest miracle we saw this week was with Brother Wong. He is the best investigator I have ever seen at reading the scriptures. He reads everyday without fail and just can't stop! He has read quite abit of the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, and lately has started reading Jesus the Christ as well. He has been extremely busy lately so we have been finding time here and there to teach him over the phone. We have been emphasizing praying as he reads lately so that he can recieve an answer from God that this is His true church. On saturday we called him and he didn't answer and then on sunday we called him again and he didn't answer again and also did not show up to church! I was super worried about it. After church ended we were eating with some members and Brother Wong walks into the church! He says hey I need to tell you something. We go into one of the rooms in the church and he starts to tell us about a dream he had. He said everything started out really dark and he felt really scared, but then everything all of a sudden light up and he felt a really strong feeling of warmth. He said it was a really good feeling that he couldn't describe. Afterwards he saw a man with white hair and had a deep feeling of respect and awe for him. After that he woke up! He said he remembered every detail and feeling he had very clearly. As he was telling us his experience I felt very clearly that his was an answer to his prayers. After telling us this I asked him do you think this is an answer to your prayers? He said I know it is! We invited him to be baptized right then and he accepted a date for may 11th! Super huge miracle! I can't even express how grateful I am to have been able to be a tool in the Lord's hands. Brother Wong is going to be a huge blessing to the ward here in xinying and is going to be such a great leader. I am so pumped for him!! I know the Gospel is true! I have seen it change the lives of many, including my own. I am so grateful for our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and for his infinite atoning sacrafice for us.
      Have a good week momma! Can't wait to talk on mother's day! Love you bunches!     -Elder Ripley

April 22, 2013

      Baylee! Holy smokes you are a freshman in highschool now!? Where did time go? I can't believe you are that old! Slow down abit! Payton! Your are already in junior highschool! Wow you two are getting so grown up. I love you guys too!! Miss you bunches and can't wait till I get to see you!! If there is anything you want me to bring home for you from Taiwan make sure and tell me!
       How's Natalie doing! Looks like her and celeste are enjoying their wintermelon tea, was it pretty good with ice cream? I love that stuff. Wow our new couch is looking pretty comfortable too! Why didn't we think about buying that while I was still sleeping on the couch every night? :D
      I have thought alot about how my mission will effect my life as well. Just like you said, my testimony, being a member missionary, learning a new langauage, my future family, my relationship with Heavenly Father and so many more ways. I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve the Lord for two years. It will/has changed my life more than anything I have experienced thus far in my life.
      Things are going so great here in xinying! We just had a mini move call today (It is a transfer day in the middle of a move call or six week period) and my companion was called to go to ping dong in the south! So my new companion is Elder Magnuson! I am super pumped to be with him! He is from Florida and is super great. We are going to have a really good time together and see alot of success, we are both pretty excited! So this last week we had a pretty fun experience. The ward had been calling some members lately and ran across a few whos numbers were no longer in use and were hard to get ahold of so they asked us to go to their houses and make sure they are still there. One of these members lives in nan shi keng, A small village up on top of mountain. So we made the journey out, about two and half hours, up to nan shi keng! Once we got up there we looked and looked and looked and just could not find this house. The house numbers there are all mixed up and super hard to find. After riding up and down a few times we stopped on the side of the road and said a prayer. We asked Heavenly Father to help us find this members house! After praying we felt like we should head back up the mountain a little ways to a Daoist temple. Yeah it was a little weird having the feeling, "go back to the Daoist temple" haha but we hopped on our bikes and headed back! As we rode past the Daoist Temple we ran into a small group of people and stopped to ask them about this persons house. Amazingly enough one of the people was their lizhang or the person that oversees there village and he says oh I know them, they moved 20 years ago! WHAT!?!? At this point we were thinking ok we rode all the way up here to learn they moved 20 years ago? Oh man..the guy goes inside for a few minutes and then comes back out with a paper in hand. He gives us the paper and says oh here is their current phone number, they moved up north. WHAT!?!?! They moved 20 years and somehow this guy who lives up on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere has their number..huge miracle! We were extremely grateful to have a way to get in contact with this member. As we headed back down the mountain it started to get dark and we took a few wrong paths on the way down. Just as it gets dark enough that we can't see much a truck passes by and we stop him and ask which turn we need to take to get back down to the city we were headed to. He points the way and then takes off. My companion and I start heading back down the mountain in the dark with no lights (they had just ran out of batteries) and we can hardly see a thing because there are no road lights up there. Just then truck passes by us, turns around, and then pulls right up behind us. It was the same guy! He says hey throw your bikes in the back and I'll take you guys to the bottom of the mountain! There is no doubt Heavenly Father was looking out for us that day as well as allowed us to find one of His lost sheep. We totalled about 40 miles that day :D I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that takes care of every single one of His children.  
       Well I love you fam! Hope you have a great week! Take care!     -Elder Ripley