Friday, May 10, 2013

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

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